Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Seafood Should Never Be Boring

Try as I might, the All Stars food is just not inspiring me. Doesn't tickle my taste buds, doesn't have me yearning to recreate. This past episode should have been a home run food-wise. It was about New Orleans, it was about fresh seafood, it was about being creative and inventive. Instead it was about working with a sous chef you may not like and it was about catering food for 300 people. I know the efforts were for charity but it's the results that just made me sad.

Honey Glazed Shrimp, Grits with Jalapeño and Cheese, Shellfish Sauce - Tiffany

Grit-Crusted Gulf Shrimp, Sour Cream and Chive Potatoes with Pork and Lobster Sauce - Mike

Fried Grouper with Collard Greens and Chow-Chow Pico - Carla

Crispy Gulf Snapper with Pulled Pork and Citrus Grits - Richard


Blue Crab Cake, Corn, Jalapeño and Andouille Relish with Crab Broth - Antonia

Amberjack Stew with Andouille Sausage and Potatoes, Creole Mustard Crouton - Dale

Sweet butter on a biscuit, was it raining deep fat fryers and grits in the kitchen for this challenge? Don't get me wrong I loves me some grits but not on EVERY SINGLE THING I EAT. This may have been why Dale lost, failure to incorporate some form of ground corn into his dish. Actually Dale could have won this if he had found some way to use that gorgeous amberjack like maybe some twist on a Bánh mì which is a Vietnamese sandwich using a baguette and any number of fillings thus touching on the French influences in New Orleans and the Vietnamese flavors of the shrimpers and crabbers. Instead we apparently got mustard stew. Carla lost her mind back in the Quickfire and didn't get it back at all for the Elim, hoping her previously eliminated sous chef Trey would help out in the Southern Cuisine Ideas Department. I'm not even sure why she was asking Trey, since Southern food should be in her wheelhouse but it didn't matter anyway because what can no longer be hidden is that Trey ain't all that when it comes to thinking quickly outside the box. I thought Carla was a goner for sure with her second failure to fry fish. I was excited that Antonia pulled crab because she has an interesting inventive spark with her style of cooking. Not here, just your basic, over-frilly crabcake. Blaise finally releases his death grip on the liquid nitrogen tank (I think???) and busts out.....fried fish and pulled pork on a bed of grits. This wins the challenge. Not because it's crazy mad New Southern Cuisine or takes the New Orleans culinary world in a new direction....but I suspect because it didn't suck. That's where we appear to be before the next to the last regular episode before the two finale episodes. Not sucking. Doing just enough to get by. Or to get by the person who screws up their dish. What I'm saddest about is wondering what Kevin Gillespie or Bryan Voltaggio would have done with this challenge. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have been a big plate of not sucking.

8 comments:

MakingSpace said...

I was actually wondering what some of the earlier eliminated chefs, like Tiffani and Jen, might have done here.

You know it's bad when Carla's off her game to that extent... and feels like she needs to apologize to her followers on FaceBook...

I'm kind of relieved to see that I wasn't the only one who sort of lost interest, I couldn't honestly remember who won and who lost...

MakingSpace said...

Dale L. would have been fun to watch here...

Big Shamu said...

I know, lots of lost opportunities.

MakingSpace said...

Right. I think should the show last enough to do another All Stars there should be a different way of handling eliminations. I'm not sure exactly what it would be, but more like a tennis tournament or something? I'm talking off the top of my head. But better people got eliminated earlier, IMO.

That said, a Carla/Antonia/Tiffany finale would make me proud.

Captain Obvious said...

Captain Obvious almost cries(or comes close to slapping somebody from sheer joy) when eating a good banh mi.

froggy said...

For those who Twitter - last night Carla went out with Tiffany and twitter pictured her entire meal. She's @carlahall

Buzz Kill said...

I think a lot of it was left over from the Paula Dean "fry everything" quickfire. The chefs seemed to have frying and New Orleans scope-locked in their heads. And I thought frying anything for that many people was risky because if it sits, it's going to get soggy.

I really think these catering challenges do a dis-service to the chefs and to the audience. You can only be "so" creative when you're cooking for 300.

Oh, when I saw this episode and Padma announced the elimination challenge would be cooking for 300, I couldn't resist yelling "THIS IS SPARTA" and "TONIGHT WE DINE IN HELL" at the TV. Bwahahaha

Big Shamu said...

Buzz, I think I would really enjoy watching Top Chef with you. I totally agree about the 300 but I've harped so much on the catering challenges that I sound like a badly broken record. This close to the finals there should not be a 300 guest catering challenge. I also agree with you about the fry-over from the Quickfire and it pisses me off to no end. Wasted wasted opportunities.