I am really enjoying Top Chef Kentucky. I haven’t spent much time in Kentucky and I feel like that needs to change. Perhaps Banjo and I will rent one of these houseboats for a week or something. Banjo is not much of a water dog though, except for that one time when he was a puppy and we were walking by a full drainage ditch after a huge storm. He went to check it out and ended up in the fast-moving stream. We are both still traumatized by that.
Speaking of traumatized, I’ve been thinking about Fatima Ali from season fifteen tonight as she is in the end stages of cancer. She is such a beautiful soul and if you are the praying kind she has been asking for prayers in the last few days as it seems that all medical options have been depleted last week almost the entire cast and Padma were there to say their goodbyes.
On the heels of last’s week’s disastrous carne challenge, the chefs are going to Lake Cumberland to cook on houseboats. Kentucky has more shoreline than Florida. The chefs will spilt into two teams to throw a houseboat party for one hundred guests. Each chef must be responsible for at least one dish. The guests will vote on their favorite party. There are nine players left so Eddie gets to pick his team and can decide whether he wants a team of four or a team of five.
Eddie did NOT want to pick teams. He reluctantly just picks Adrienne, Michelle, Dave and Brian for his team of five. Sounds like a good team to me! The remaining four,Kelsey, Sara, Eric and Justin will be the second team. Honestly, there really aren’t any weak links at this point except for maybe Sara, the Kentucky homegirl who bombed miserably last week. I feel like this may be Sara’s redemption week. It time she caught a break.
Adrienne is pissed that Eddie took five chefs (including her) because of the tight quarters when cooking in a galley. I would have gone with four as well. It’s two and a half hours to the lake. Kelsey starts trash talking the other chefs saying this is her challenge to win because she throws parties for a living. Eddie looks like he is going to throw up from all the pressure.
Back at their stunning house, Kelsey explains to the green team that the only way people eat raw oysters in Alabama is with cocktail sauce, hot sauce and a squeeze of lemon. Kentucky girl, Sara wants to do something more fancy but is shut down. Sara will be doing the oysters, Justin takes on a watermelon salad, Sara has lobster rolls and Eric is doing fried walleye escovitch (basically fire hot vinegar with onions and veggies). They also want to do jello shots and give a party favor of “puppy chow.” Puppy chow is basically rice chex with peanut butter and chocolate sprinkled with powdered sugar. I have not had supper yet and now I am starving.
The blue team is not the partying kind. Brian will make porchetta. The rest of the team is worried. That’s all the information we get from the Blue Team for now. The green team seems to have the menu to beat. Dave is doing a seafood dumping with a spiced coconut broth. Sounds delicious. Doesn’t sound like houseboat food because of the broth. Adrienne and Eddie are both at the seafood counter as well. Adrienne mentions salmon. Eddie buys scallops. I love scallops but there are scallops in every single Top Chef challenge. They are almost as ubiquitous as ceviche and tartare.
On to Whole Paycheck Foods where each team has a $1,500 budget. Does that include booze? 🙂 Sara’s lobster rolls go right out the window because they have no lobster. She will have to use shrimp. Sara will go home if green team loses. Mark my words. The green team is using a lot of money on party decorations and fun party stuff.
I am super behind on this recap because I just had to get up and make myself a snack (sliced pear, cheese and walnuts).
On the way to the lake Adrienne is feeling unwell. In the previews she has a hard time getting though the challenge.
At Lake Cumberland, Captain Lee is on one boat and Captain Sandy is on the other. I was hoping Captain Lee would get the green team but it looks like he got the blue one. Sorry , Captain, I think you have the losing team. The houseboats are huge. Both kitchens are very small. In order to up the fun factor, Brian wants to carve his porchetta while standing in the hot tub.
Kelsey talking about her plans for raw oysters is making me want one. And I don’t even eat raw oysters. Over in the blue boat, the power went off. As if they needed more obstacles.At least they will have a good excuse if they lose. Kelsey offers to let them use her kitchen.
Emeril Lagasse is the guest chef. Which reminds me I have been trying to find a good cajun/creole spice mix for weeks now and am almost out of harrissa that I have been using as my north African substitute.
The green team’s puppy chow is different from what I thought. It seems to still have rice chex (maybe) but it has coconut, keylime and banana. That sounds delicious! The green team is getting tipsy testing their jiggle juice. The next morning Kelsey runs her oysters through the dishwasher to steam and clean them. Seems smart to me.
Blue team’s power comes back on ten hours before service so the porchetta has plenty of time to roast. The bad news is Adrienne is very sick and down for the count. Eddie picks up Adrienne’s dish (fish tacos) and now the four chefs have five dishes to prepare plus decorating the boat. Go get Captain Lee to call Kate! Brian hasn’t slept in over 24 hours.
It’s party time! Justin’s fryer loses power putting the fried fish dish in jeopardy. The judges rave about the green team. They love Kelsey’s oyster’s and Justin’s watermelon salad with fried shrimp. I am so hungry. Did I mention I am on a healthy eating plan? Eric’s fried walleye escovitch finally makes an appearance and the judges love it. Winner, winner walleye dinner. Padma did not care for the jiggle juice. Despite the walleye being a bit delayed, Tom loves it and Eric is in the driver’s seat for the win I think. Everyone agrees the green team has a better party with the strolling jello shots.
Sigh. On the blue team, Dave dish served in a plastic cup to hold the seafood broth receives mediocre feedback. Sara’s shrimp roll seems to be fine. The walleye isn’t ready because of the deep fryer issue so they scramble to use the kitchen stove to get a dish out. Brian’s south pacific porchetta gets a slightly positive feedback. Eddie serves his dish and Adrienne’s tacos. Michelle’s take on fish and chips is well received by the judges.
At judges table this week it’s a complete turnaround from last week. They are very pleased with both teams. Adrienne is so sick she can hardly stand so they send her to her quarters.
Green team won with 79 out of 100 votes. That was clear from the beginning. Emeril actually loved Sara’s shrimp role. They seemed to like everyone’s dish. Everyone got high accolades. In the end they gave the win to Kelsey for her oysters and her puppy chow. I’m so happy for her!
On the blue team Eddie is very nervous as team captain and being responsible for two dishes. I hope they decide not to send anyone home. Michelle’s fish was cold. Emeril says his was hot and delicious. Eddie’s shrimp lollipop failed to impress. The loved Adrienne’s dish that Eddie did. David’s hot coconut broth dish was a miscalculation from the beginning. I imagine he is leaving. David’s porchetta was did not stay tied during cooking. He should not have brined it. They are not fans. I still think David will go although Brian continues to disappoint. Brian seems a bit entitled in the makeshift “stew room” and has the nerve to call his team mates out for not sticking up for him. I hope he goes for that alone.
Brian does indeed go home for poorly cooked meat. Perhaps his disastrous performance last week contributed to the decision. Either way the time has come for Brian to walk the plank. David caught a break and needs to step it up next week.
The chefs are going to sleep on the boat before heading to Nashville next week. Hunter Hayes will be a guest judge and Kings of Leon lead vocalist, Caleb Followill, will be the guest of honor for their meal. Michelle cries about her father while presenting her dish, and one of the black guys with beards gets sick.
Check out Captain Lee’s book Running Against The Tide! You will not regret it!