Oh, how I hope that Mike I. goes home this week. He still doesn't understand why he was almost sent home.
The Cheftestants met with Tom and Guest Daniel Baloud, who is known for updating French food.
They are going to be working with escargot. They need to make a winning dish that is unique, using snails as the main protein. It's a high stakes Quickfire. The winner gets immunity, and the loser is going home! That's crazy!
They have 45 minutes to make their dish in Daniel's kitchen and pantry. So, add to the pressure of cooking an unfamiliar protein (to many) by tossing them in an unknown kitchen. Chaos ensued. Except for Mattin, who was feeling confident, because he grew up on escargot.
Ron made escargot provencal with caramelized shallots, pernod, and fresh herbs.
Jennifer made escargot with grilled ramps, brussel sprouts, chantarelle mushrooms and yuzu.
Jesse made an "ELT," Ecargot, mache, and fried tomato. It looked weird.
Laurine made a sauteed escargot, lemon risotto, spinach, parsley pesto & garlic butter.
Hector made Carribean escargot with pickled mushrooms.
Robin made a play on Bagels and Lox with her poached escargot, marmalade, gooseberries and rye crostini. That's different, for sure.
Mattin made a fava bean crostini with escargot, sauteed in a piment d'espelette and anise. I don't know what half of that means.
Ashley made escargot mirepoix soup and salad.
Kevin "Red Beard" made an escargot fricasse with mushrooms, brussels sprouts, and candied bacon jam.
Bryan made escargot with red wine risotto, spinach emulsion and marcona almond froth. Froth and foam rarely look appealing to me.
His brother Michael made escargot & chantarell mushroom bolognese lasagna.
Mike I. made sauteed escargot over potato garlic puree, spring onion and ouzo broth. He tried to tell them about his Cretan inspiration, but they didn't seem interested.
Favorites were Mike I (boo), Red Beard, and Jennifer. Red Beard brought in the win and immunity (thank goodness it wasn't Mike I!). Jesse, Ashley, and Robin had the least favorite dishes. One of them is going home... BUT they have 20 minutes to go into the kitchen and create an amuse bouche for a cook off. I like that twist.
Robin made an avocado soup with yuzu, green apple, mustard relish, and crab.
Jesse made a tuna tartar with sorrel, gooseberries, a fried egg and fried bread on top.
Ashley made fois gras with caramelized pineapple, tarragon, and ramps.
The chef going home is Jesse. I'm not surprised. She wants people to know that she doesn't suck this badly.
Everyone draws knives except for Red Beard. The knives either have a French sauce or a French protein. Mike I is feeling uncomfortable (yay). They have to work in pairs to create a six course meal using their sauces and their proteins. They will be serving to a table of some of the best French chefs in the world. Red Beard doesn't have to cook, and indeed, he gets to eat with the amazing collection of French chefs.
They have two hours to prep at the Top Chef kitchen, but first they have to pair up sauces with proteins and go shopping (30 minutes, $200. I wonder if that is per person, or per team?)
Mike I. was planning on making a non-traditional Bernaise sauce (I love bernaise sauce, so I am wary). Michael V. and Jennifer looked to be working together beautifully. Ron was having problems with Robin's frantic talking, but didn't let it bother him too much.
I think Eli gets the quote of the week, "I'm looking forward to seeing Robuchon (one of the famous chefs, who has won Chef of the Century) in the flesh. I pretty much was under the impression that he didn't actually exist, and that he might be a Unicorn."
Ron was doing his job with his frog legs, but Robin was focusing on the salad and he was worried about the brown butter sauce. Laurine was worried about reheating her lobster and it getting tough. Hector wasn't sure he'd be able to rest his meat enough.
The table includes a translator. Awesome.
Ron & Robin have a frog leg meuniere with lemon confit, mache & arugula salad with fried capers. It looked a little like vomit. The frog legs were over-breaded and a bit over cooked. Robuchon thought the frog flavor was masked.
Mike I. & Bryan made a warm cured trout with deconstructed bernaise. The diners loved it, and I guess Mike I. isn't going anywhere this week.
Eli & Laurine made a lobster, sauce Americaine with cauliflower puree and raw cauliflower. The lobster ended up tough and the sauce was a little bitter.
Mattin & Ashley made seared poussin (that's young chicken) & ravioli with sauce veloute and green asparagus. There was too much bacon in the veloute, and nothing really worked.
Michael V. & Jennifer C. made rabbit chasseur with mustard noodle and shiso. The rabbit got great marks.
Hector & Ash ran out of time plating and didn't get enough sauce on the plates, and too much blood from just cooked meat. Yummy. They made a chateubriand with sauce au poivre, with confit de pommes and spinach. The sauce disapperared on the plate and the meat was badly butchered.
Red Beard joined them in the stew room. He was unwilling to dish about anything he heard at the dining table. Bryan, Mike I, Michael, and Jennifer were sent to the Judge's Table first. These guys are consistantly in the top. Michael and Jennifer loved working together. In the end, though, Bryan won and is invited to do something with Robuchon. I didn't catch what it was. Did you?
Mattin, Hector, Ashley, and Ash were sent back for the bottom rung. Mattin admitted that he probably put too much bacon in the veloute. He said that he didn't shoot down Ashley's idea for making the sauce using asparagus, which he totally did. The lack of sauce on Hector and Ash's plates, in addition to their terrible butchery were a problem.
In the end, it was Hector's horrid butchery that doomed him. I think it was a good decision. And you?