I totally forgot about this show and am so happy that it is a Top Chef recap night! It will be a welcome change after RHONY I’m sure. And I haven’t even watched that yet since I am doing setups. And we are going to Parma, Italy! I need to make a cheese plate! Also, I forget how many people are in the finale. I think three right? Then it goes down to two? So there will be one or two more episodes. Right? Hopefully enough to fill the RHONY gap. Though now that I have see the episode and the previews for the rest of RHONY season, I am thankful for the hiatus.
Oh Parma is also famous for it’s ham. I have lots of ham. Maybe I will get some new recipes. I haven’t been particularly inspired to cook lately. So I have been eating a lot of my favorite Trader Joe’s crackers with cream cheese or goat cheese and cherry tomatoes from my garden a thin slice of onion and some crispy jamon or prosciutto on top. It’s delicious.
The Elimination Challenge
Apparently, we are done with the quickfire challenges. We are not even in Parma yet and they are already getting instructions for the elimination challenge. They will make two dishes, a primi and a secondi using parmigiano reggiano and prosciutto di Parma. The primi is an appetizer and they are to make either a rice dish or a pasta dish. The secondi is an entree and they want a meat or fish dish. Their guests will all be highly acclaimed Italian chefs and the restaurant is a Michelin star restaurant. Allegedly. I checked the Michelin restaurant guide for restaurants in Parma. There were nine. This restaurant was not listed.
The next morning in Parma they meet up with a tour guide, Chef Lorenzo one of the youngest chefs ever to win a Michelin star. He is going show them around town. First stop, a cheese factory! The cheese looks amazing. It has aged for 15 years and is all crystallized like the best cheese are, in my opinion. The chefs get a HUGE wheel of cheese for their dishes.
The Ham Game
Next, we are off to get some prosciutto di Parma! Everyone is basically in PPE to tour the miles of hanging hams. The Italians warn that prosciutto should never be cooked. I hope the prosciutto police don’t show up at my house. I like it crisped up like bacon and I am just fine with the blasphemy. They get a whole leg of prosciutto.
Next, it is off to shop for ingredients. They have 90 minutes and 300€. Stephanie peels off from the group right away. She is doing a dish that celebrates the vegetables of the region. This is risky because this is a town about ham and cheese. AKA my kind of town. But she thinks her vegetable forward dish will make her stand out. I predict she will either win or go home on this dish. There is no in between. Kevin gets Borlotti beans that are apparently like kidney beans only much lighter in color. His primi is going to be pasta and beans.
Antica Corte Pallavicina
Ah! I found the restaurant, Antica Corte Pallavicina and it does have a star. I don’t know why it wasn’t on the Parma list. Here is what the site says about this place, “This property, which resembles a castle, was built as a customs house on the River Po in the 14C. It is now a temple to culatello, with an impressive cellar where these famous hams are seasoned. In addition to the culatello, almost all the produce is grown or raised on the property. The menu pays tribute to the culinary traditions of this river region, including pasta and poultry. The Hosteria del Maiale serves more rustic fare, with a focus on pork products – the house specialty.”
It’s really an amazingly beautiful place! It’s nighttime and the head chef takes them down into the cellar where are are miles and miles it seems of hanging hams. It has sort of a creepy feel which prompts Melissa to wonder if this is the part of the competition where they get ax murdered. The hams often have names of the famous chefs across the world they are aging them for. Then they enter a room with candelabras and a charcuterie table of sorts. Bring it to my mouf! Kevin is having an out of body experience with the ham. Melissa doesn’t quite get it but I do. We love us some pork in the ATL.
The group moves on to the dinner table where the chef prepares their tasting menu. The first course is eel. That’s a hard pass for me. Or not. It looks delicious. But is river eel safe to eat? Wait! They didn’t give us nearly enough of the food porn! Why are we wasting airtime of reminiscing about the season instead of hearing about all of these dishes? I’m so disappointed. Oh and Bryan and Melissa are the top two left in fan favorites. I was so rooting for Eric. I guess I’ll vote for Melissa now.
The chefs pair up for rooms at Antica Corte Pallavicina with breakfast brought to their rooms. #LifeGoals Wow, the rooms are cheap there! 160€ for a standard small room up to 310€ for a suite! It appears that there are only 11 rooms available to book. Compared to Paris, that is a bargain. Sorry, I got lost in their website click here to see why. Is it just me or do they seem to only be open during the late fall and early winter months? I love experiencing this with Stephanie. And, I totally get the overwhelming joy of visiting a beautiful country. I hope I am able to do it again in the future.
It’s Do Or Die Time!
The challenge is ON! They only have three hours in the kitchen to prep and cook two dishes. Wow. Ah this is the final challenge before the finale so someone is going to be devastated. And so will I. I love all four of them. Stephanie’s primi dish is a prosciutto ragu with fresh fettuccine. The second dish braised cabbage with prosciutto. Where is her cheese? And SHE IS COOKING HER prosciutto! She is going home. Oh she is keeping the cabbage quarters intact an placing the prosciutto and cheese in between the leaves. I’m feeling better about it now. But cooking prosciutto (no matter delicious it is cooked) is a cardinal sin. It’s something you must do in the privacy of your own home and never speak of. Like masturbating. Or using A1 sauce on steak.
Bryan is making a pasta dish with chitarra pasta. Because, he’s fancy. He’s really focusing on the cheese and making sort of an Italian fondue called Fonduta. For his secondi he is making bass in broth with prosciutto. Sounds like a winner to me. Melissa’s primi is Anolini in brudo and her secondi is scallops with prosciutto xo sauce. Xo sauces is a very spicy Chinese sauce that sounds delicious. But, we’re in Italy. Yeah. I dunno either. Kevin is making Pasta e Fagioli a pasta and bean dish for his primi that uses the Parmesan two ways. For his secondi he is making pork roast with apples and prosciutto. Sound good to me. I think a female chef is going home. Probably Steph. 🙁 But Melissa just totally fucked up her brodo and has to start over. Is there time for that?
I’m Nervous And I’m Not Even On The Show!
I want this season to be a four way tie! Kevin is getting a very cocky edit. Stephanie is getting an edit that says “I’ve come father than I hoped for already.” Hmmm Melissa was able to clarify her broth on the second attempt and is pleased with her dish. YAY! There are sixteen Michelin stars at the table two diners have three stars each. I’d be pooping my pants like Sonja (or was it Ramona) in the bar in Newport. Also it looks like the two females are going head to head and then the two males. Why can’t everyone just do their two dishes at once instead? I do not care for this format.
First up, it is Steph and Melissa. Stephanie’s primi is much more delicious than they made it sound previously. Melissa’s Anolini in Brodo looks delicate and amazing. They loved Melissa’s dish. They also liked Steph’s first dish and there was not call to the prosciutto police about the cook. At least not that was saw on camera. Perhaps they will arrive at the judges table. Side
Things Take An Awkward Turn…
Next we have Bryan and Kevin’s primi dishes. Kevin’s table service of the grated Parmesan on his dish is VERY awkward. He could totally go home for this. WOW! Voltaggio is going DOWN HARD. Tom said he probably made the best pasta so far, but it was not the best way to showcase the Parmesan. A female Italian chef didn’t like it. A male chef said, the dish was “devoid of any love or passion.” DAYUM! They liked Kevin’s dish for the most part. But the table side addition of the Parmesan was unnecessary. Bryan, you in danger, girl! Sidenote two full glasses of Merlot have hit the rug during this recap. Both were Banjo’s fault. I replace this rug with one just like it about twice a year. So it is really the loss of Merlot in a pandemic that is concerning. 🙂
It’s time for the girls to present their secondi. Melissa looks very…sparse. But perhaps that is expected in Europe at this level of cooking. Steph’s dish is more rustic looking and bigger. AND IT HAS COOKED PROSCIUTTO! HOLY SHIT! One of the judges is Enrico Bartolini! He has EIGHT Michelin Stars across five restaurants and the most Michelin stars in all of Italy. AND HE LOVED MELISSA’S DISH! You go girl! Another chef LOVED Steph’s cabbage dish. Saying it was the best dish so far! YES! Everyone loved it! A guy is definitely going home. This is so exciting!
The Guys Present Their Secondi’s And They Are Both In Trouble
First up is Bryan’s bass dish with a pumpkin seed pesto and prosciutto. Kevin’s dish is roasted pork with heirloom apples and 36 month prosciutto. Kevin loves pork on pork. And so does Gail. However, Tom and an Italian diner feel like the prosciutto is not the star of the dish. It seems like an afterthought. Another diner/chef says the pork is tough another judge says, “It’s not so good.” If Kevin goes home on a pork dish, that will KILL HIM. And that is looking highly probable.
Padma liked Bryan’s dish much better. But an Italian chef said his dish had no soul. OUCH. A female chef says the pesto didn’t go with the dish. Another Italian chef agreed about the pesto. Tom said that Bryan’s dish was just okay but not worthy of the finale. OUCH again. Behind the scenes, Kevin says it’s going to be hard to get this far and not cook at the finale. Foreshadowing? Bryan sort of smirks. It’s going to be kind of fun to see the two guys on the bottom who seem to think they have the whole thing won.
The Judges’ Table
This is so exciting! I love this show! When Padma says the top two chefs were Melissa and Stephanie, Steph gets all choked up. Aw, I really want her to win now. I was slow to warm to her but I love how much she appreciates traveling and does her own thing. Kevin and Bryan look like they want to crawl in a hole and die. Stephanie is so like….I’m just happy to be included in this group of fine chefs. I love her. Melissa gets her third win in a row. And I am okay with that.
Now for the bad news. Shit! Kevin is talking his way into elimination. Bryan at least kept his mouth shut and didn’t do any more damage. I think Kevin is done. But as the judges talk it could be either one of them. This is so dramatic! Kevin seems to know he is going. I hope the finale is two parts. I am not ready for this to be over. Kevin gets the most brutal cut of the season. You did good homeboy. Maybe one day I will make it to one of your restaurants if there ever comes a time I feel safe leaving the house. You did the ATL proud.
Sadly, next week is the finale. They have to make the best four course meals of their lives. And of course some chefs are coming back to help them. I am kind of rooting for Steph now. It looks like she has Kevin on her team.