Top Chef Comes To Napa  »

NapaDid anyone watch Top Chef this week? They were sorta-local to San Francisco; in Napa Valley, being judged by Michael Chiarello of Bottega, and he shockingly did not throw a hissy fit at any of the chefs. He must haveve gotten some anger management classes in between filming this episode and Top Chef Masters.

The entire episode was a commercial for Napa, filled with tons of scripted “confessionals” about how OMG AMAZING Napa is and I have to say: good for them for really milking that Top Chef placement. Vegas kind of wasted that potential.

Anyway, I come back to you for this episode because the elimination challenge specifically demanded making one vegetarian dish and one “protein” dish (notice how they did not say MEAT, they just said “protein”), which made it a far more veg-friendly episode than most. Which is to say, it was still covered in foie gras foam but.. at least the herbivore guests were not doomed to eating the garnishes.

Here were the options:

Kevin Gillepsie

Roasted Beets and Carrots with Carrot Top Puree and San Andreas Cheese

Ignoring that the puree looks like chewed up baby vomit and the cheese looks totally superflous it still looks pretty good. I remember the first time I had a beet that wasn’t out of a can. It was glorious.

Jen Carroll (our eliminated cheftestant) (Sorry if you haven’t seen it yet, I know I just ruined your life forever)

Chevre Mousse with Honey Mushrooms, Braised Radishes and Basil

UGH MORE PUREED FOOD IT’S LIKE THEY’RE TRYING TO KILL ME. The honey mushrooms are not what you think they are. I know the judges liked it because of the basil, but this dish is why I think Jen was eliminated. What is it exactly? It feels like she just put this random assortment of ingredients together. The radishes would be a nice amuse bouche.

For some reason, Bravo TV did not put up recipes for Michael and Bryan’s vegetarian recipes, so I have to use my memory, which having gone to a liberal arts college, I have to say, is not that great. Michael made poached eggs and veggie pistou  (Padma did not like her poached eggs) and Bryan made a goat cheese ravioli, which everyone seemed to love. If Jen had been a bit more careful with her veg-dish, he would’ve gone home.

So, the big question: who do we think will win? It’s anyone’s guess, but I’m hoping it’s Kevin.

Local (as in Napa) places featured on this week’s episode:

Rutherford Winery (where they met to hear the elimination challenge details)

Long Meadow Ranch (the “farmer’s market” they bought their local produce from)

Brix (where the elimination challenge dinner was held)

Napa Valley Wine Train (where the quickfire challenge was held)

The links above are given for reference only, not as an endorsement of any of those establishments.

Image: Via Flickr Creative Commons

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