Top Chef Season 5, Episode 7: Sugar-Free =/= Healthy, Crappy =/= Creative

Top 10 Reasons Why There is no Post for the Last 2 Episodes:

10.  Due to a complex mathematical formula inherent in the programming for this web page, the numbers 5 and 6 can only be used once per calendar year.

9.  I was out of the country following a messy break-up with Padma (it’s over girl, be thankful for what we had and move on!)

8.  I told Miss Macchiato to do those posts, but she was busy posting about cooking of all things.

7.  Retail Christmas. 

6.  See #10.

5.  See #10.

4.  Brett Favre.

3.  I had to renew my Anthony Bourdain Snarky Writing Style License, which expired in November.

2.  Citizen Chef Jr. and I were hard at work investigating the Creature of Kapu Cave.

..and the #1 reason there was no post for the last two episodes of  Top Chef

1.  I did post them, they are right over there… (ninja smoke bomb) POOF!  (run away)
 

So let’s get to this episode, and I will endevor to bring three times the venom, which shouldn’t be tough…..

 
QUICKFIRE CHALLENGE

OMG it’s a French Pastry Chef!!  And they have to do a dessert that is healthy, which means sugar-free since those are exactly the same thing.  Before I get off onto that rant, let me say that any chef that goes on Top Chef and doesn’t expect that they will have to make a dessert, is like someone going on Survivor without knowing how to make fire with two shoelaces and a grape.  It’s not just stupid, it’s ignorant.

 
Ok, so here is my entry into the healthy sugar-free dessert challenge:

Triple-Fried Chocolate Nut Crusted Health Bar

  • 32 oz rendered duck fat
  • 32 oz macadamia nut oil
  • 32 oz lard
  • dark chocolate
  • 1 can wasabi-flavored peanuts
  • 1 lb smoked bacon
  • 1 lb butter (unsalted)
  • equal parts flour and cocoa powder
  • 1 pint buttermilk
  • 8 oz blue cheese

Combine the flour, cocoa powder and the buttermilk to form a batter, mix in the blue cheese.  Form the butter into a bar shape and coat with the batter.  Fry once in the lard.  Let cool and then wrap with the bacon, batter again and fry a second time in the macadamia nut oil.  Let cool once more and then pour over the melted dark chocolate and roll in the wasabi-peanuts.  Batter one more time and fry in the duck fat.  Serves 1.

Ok I’m obviously being facetious, nobody would ever do anything as crazy as that.  But my point is making something healthy, and making something sugar-free is not the same damn thing.  See what happens when I don’t post in a while?  I get venom-backup.

 

ELIMINATION CHALLENGE

Cook something good!!  I actually appreciate, and I’m sure the chefs do too, the chance to just cook good food without the arbitrary restraints.  It’s pretty obvious that the new judge taking over for Gail, Toby Young, is actually supposed to be a replacement for Bourdain (let me see your Snarky License there bub) but so far, he doesn’t seem to be mean for mean’s sake.

The spring-board for this part of the rant was Gene’s plea to save his ass “I was just too creative man!  I mean I’m out there on a limb WOO  HOO look at me being creative pairing daikon with tomato and basil when they don’t go together at all!!  I’m a maverick, that’s for darn tootin!!”  Colicchio summed it up best:  “Well if you tried it before and thought it worked, then it wasn’t really a risk, was it?”  Return of the snapskies!!

I love Creative.  I really really do.  I like complicated things better than simple things, always have.  I appreciate smart people taking risks, and more than that, I just like goofy crap for goofiness’ sake.  But it has to work.  And to limit the discussion to food, that mean it has to taste good.

Our efforts, our creative attempts, our scientific approach is to allow for delicious, to highlight and elevate delicious. Without delicious there is no point.

Great food doesn’t have to be creative.  Alot of our enjoyment of food is about simplicity, letting the ingredients speak for themselves.  And a lot of it is about home and comfort.  And until moms across the country start serving their children Transparency Of Manchego Cheese that’s going to be pretty simple fare.  Thomas Keller’s favorite recipe has three ingredients:  chicken, salt, and thyme.  What I have a problem with, is people citing “creativity” when they just plain f*cked up.  If the dish works, it’s creative.  If it doesn’t, then it just sucks.

So as I predicted, to nobody since I never posted on that episode, but if I had you would have been impressed by my preternatural gazing into the future, last episodes “gift for the holidays” of not sending anyone home, got yanked out of their collective stockings as they sent two people home this week.  I’m a little sorry to see Gene go, not quite as sorry to see Melissa go, and petrified as usual that Veloci-Cosby-Raptor still pads through the verdant jungle, her terrifying “HOOTIE” call echoing across the dewey undergrowth.

~Citizen Chef

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