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Top Chef Boston, Ep. 3: The Curse of the Bambino

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With this blog being a few grunts above completely lowbrow, I’m sure it’ll come as a surprise to many of you that I have an MBA.  I got it years ago and it’s a tough call whether it was worth it.  On one hand, I don’t use ANY of the skills I learned there in my present job.  On the other hand, just having it got me an interview for a job that led down my current career path.    At very least, it gives an illusion of credibility when I talk about the team challenges on Top Chef.

There are two MBA lessons that I’ve seen displayed several times a season:

Lesson 1 – Good culture = good teamwork = good product. Teams that work well together, display respect, and use everyone’s unique talents put out good products. Those final products are often better than the sum of the individual parts.

Lesson 2Never admit your mistakes.  Ok, that wasn’t something a Professor taught me, it was something I learned from classmates.

Last week’s Top Chef was no exception.  Aaron and KerriAnn were at each other’s throats the whole time.  They argued in the planning phase, second-guessed each other while cooking, and backstabbed each other in front of the judges.  Here’s what they said in front of the judges and the dinner guests:

Padma: how was the challenge of working together as a team?

KerriAnn: I think we came together pretty good in the kitchen

Aaron: Kerriann and I see food much differently, towards the end it got a little panicky, I feel like Kerriann was pretty erratic, made some bad moves, made some bad decisions…


This devolved into ripping on each other’s work on the dish. Then later, as they returned to the kitchen:

Dougie: So???

Kerriann: so Aaron’s a lying sack of shit, but other than that…


So it’s no surprise they’re dish was a shitshow. As uncomfortable as it is to watch that kind of stuff, it really does make for good television.


Sudden Death Quickfire Challenge

In celebration of the Boston Tea Party, each contestant has to cook a dish that features one of thirteen varieties of tea. Winner gets immunity in the Elimination Challenge, the loser faces elimination.

Favorites: Melissa, Gregory, Ron

Winner: Gregory’s tuna crudo with strawberry white tea and young coconut.   WOW! How could I not notice until now, that Gregory:



is Urkel!

urkel-1 bluntbitcom


Least Favorites: James, Aaron, Rebecca

Worst: Aaron, with his overcooked monkfish cheeks. This meant that he had to go head-to-head against another chef of his choosing.  In one of their arguments, he said to KerriAnn,”I’ll cook you under the table.”

So, he chose Katie.

Not too bad a choice, because she hasn’t shown any kind of talent so far.  They had to make a dish using only the heat from a few pots of boiling water.   Aaron made a spring roll that had a wrapper made of shrimp.  Katie made a saffron hand-cut pappardelle with some tomatoes and smoked cheese.  Aaron won, so got to stay in the game.


Elimination Challenge

The challenge was to cook a dish for a small dinner party at Fenway Park – the oldest stadium in baseball.  They had to use one of several ballpark snacks as ingredients in a fine dining dish – peanuts, pretzels, cotton candy, popcorn, cracker jack.

Favorites: Gregory, Melissa, Katie

Winner: Gregory’s Roasted duck, peanut nam prik pao, peanut brittle, crispy shallots, and fresh herb salad

Least Favorites: Ron, KerriAnn, Katsuji

Gone: Ron’s popcorn soup, breaded fish croquette, dill pickled celery, sun gold tomatoes.   As the judges mentioned in their discussions, it just wasn’t fine dining.


Random Thoughts

– When they started cooking for the elimination, I heard Ron say fish croquette. I immediately thought, “This guy’s gone.”

– Ron kept making the point that he was and old-school, down-home chef who cooked big portions. Hasn’t he watched this show before? How could he think that dish would win?

– Katie, too, deserves a special slap for her pasta in that cook-off with Aaron.  Simple pasta?  C’mon, that’s not Top Chef-worthy.

– Gregory’s been kicking ass since the first episode.  All his dishes have been high concept with perfect execution, almost in a class by himself.  Assuming he doesn’t mess up colossally, he’s going to be in it in the end.  He’s kind of like Paul from TC Texas, who was far and above the others.  Like Paul, it feels like he’s just toying with us; like he’s only shown a hint of what he can do.

– Dear Top Chef Producers, last week you brought out all the clichés to talk about the firemen and cops. This time, we got “swung for the fences, but struck out.” Stop this. Please.





About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

11 comments on “Top Chef Boston, Ep. 3: The Curse of the Bambino

  1. Pingback: Top Chef Boston Episode 2: Boston’s Bravest and Finest | The Food and Wine Hedonist

  2. a2sicilian
    October 30, 2014

    The Dude made the same Urkel observation!
    P.S. Your Lesson 1 is textbook MBA drivel–congratulations!
    P.S.S. I always tell my kids to spend that 2 years getting an MBA. Whether it’s worth it or not, they will live their lives watching other people get the job interview they wanted because their resumes lacked those three letters.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      October 30, 2014

      Drivel, yes, but still accurate. As to value, it really depends on where it’s from. Quick rule of thumb – if they advertise on TV or radio, stay away. It’s also better from a full-time program. Mine was from a very good school known for their part-time program. But the full-time programs matter more in employers eyes.

      Damn you, you got me all serious and shit.

  3. Nicole
    October 30, 2014

    hah! I never noticed how much Gregory looked like Urkel. I can’t unsee it now.

  4. elizabeth
    October 30, 2014

    I hope this isn’t another Kristen Kish situation in which a really strong player gets knocked out too soon because I really like Gregory so far. (Yes, I know Kristen came back to win it all, but that’s beside the point.) I also really liked that the tea challenge wasn’t a sponsored one, for once, because that’s how we were able to see them use some wacky combinations.

    Top Chef has a huge tell when it comes to who will prevail and who might go home–if you hear personal interviews with heart-tugging stories from a cheftestant, they will likely either rise to the top or sink to the bottom, so as soon as we saw some pictures of Ron’s son and Gregory’s story of how he pulled himself together, they were both positioned as key people to watch this episode.

    I kept cracking up at the one cheftestant who kept telling us what emotion she was feeling at any given moment all while maintaining the blankest facial expression and the flattest delivery possible.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      October 30, 2014

      Kristen getting booted on restaurant week really ticked me off because she fell on her knife for that one person’s mess-ups. Can’t believe I can’t remember her name because she annoyed me to no end. Gregory’s kinda like Nina from last year as she was kicking but in the beginning, too. Tho I thought Nina was a one-trick pony – all pastas. Can’t see Gregory fall in to that yet.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      October 30, 2014

      Wait… which one was doing the stone-faced emoting?!? Gonna have to rewatch now

  5. A Famished Foodie
    October 30, 2014

    I hope Aaron goes home soon, he’s just such a downer. I agree that Greg will be going pretty far- there are several Top Chef names that seem to be really respected in the food community- Qui being one of them, and I could see him joining those ranks.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      October 31, 2014

      It looks like he has some great credentials, too. Good backstory. It’s interesting, Aaron kept talking about his rough upbringing and “broken home.” Which, btw, I thought wasn’t PC anymore… Everyone has a story, so he’s really just gotta shut up.

  6. Pingback: Top Chef Boston Ep 4: 12 Chefs Walk Into a Bar | The Food and Wine Hedonist

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This entry was posted on October 30, 2014 by in Television and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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