The Food and Wine Hedonist

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Top Chef Boston Episode 12: The Final Battle of Bean Town

Previous Episode

One of the best pieces of marriage advice we ever received is to never go to bed angry.   We treat it as an assumption instead of an option and it’s really worked out well for us.   When I started writing this blog, I made it a point to apply the same rule here – never write a post while grumpy.

You know what I’m about to say, right?   I never said Boom Boom and I were always successful with our rule. S o you know that writing a post while angry on this silly little blog was bound to happen.



In my recap of episode 10, I brought up the question of whether it’s better to be the best in the competition or just not be the worst.   Even though “playing it safe” is always viewed as a negative on the show, I still think it’s the smart thing to do at least until you get to the finals.   There’s nothing wrong with playing the numbers.

This week, another interesting debate is brought up.  Guest judge Wylie Dufresne summed it up perfectly –

Does well-executed trump creative and disjointed?

The Elimination Challenge calls on the chefs to be creative as possible.  Rather predictably, a decision had to be made between one that was more creative versus one that’s clearly better.   On one hand you want to get the assignment right.    On the other, you just want to be the dish right.

So who’s going to win?

Clearly not you. I’m grumpy, so be prepared for some unsavory language that I’m too tired to edit out.


Quickfire Challenge

Dufresne and Padma explain that, although Boston has always been associated with baked beans, the dish itself and the nickname has fallen out of favor.   The challenge is to create a dish that features and elevates beans with the winner gets trip to Napa Valley.

Melissa really wants to win the trip because, you know, Napa.  But she’s from San Francisco and probably goes there a lot.  It’s like someone from Manhattan really wanting to take a trip to fucking Hoboken, NJ.

George: Tomato base with chickpeas, cumin, paprika & pork tenderloin

Mei: Black beans, corn with chipotle peppers, bacon, poached eggs, & pinto bean foam

Melissa: Seared pork tenderloin with bacon butterbean puree, roasted carrots, & fried chickpeas

Gregory: Navy beans with sake, ham, avocado, & carrot chips

Winner – Mei.  I don’t agree with this as it sounded and looked disgusting.  And, outside of the foam, it’s something any asshole can put together in the morning. In fact, this asshole has done it with massive hangovers.


Elimination Challenge

Make a dish that’s innovative and pushes their culinary boundaries.  The winner goes to finals and gets $10K.

Gregory: Salmon in tom kha broth with roasted tomatoes, crispy chicken skin & crispy salmon skin.

Melissa: Seared duck breast with faro, walnut miso, & pickled cherries

George: Charred octopus, yellow split pea puree, green apple & harissa

Mei: Duck curry with vadouvan & yuzu yogurt

Favorites: Mei and Melissa

Winner: Melissa

Least Favorites: George and Gregory

Gone: George. He really put himself out there with the dish. It was a little bit of a shitshow, but what did him in was the overcooked octopus.


Random Thoughts

– Greg’s dish was labeled as “too safe.”  I disagree.  The only thing that was too comfortable for him was the soup base – it was an unusual mix of ingredients and textures.   Flavor should really win out because I can put together a bowl full of beef jerky, applesauce, dipping dots, and chocolate -covered pistachios.   It’s as creative as all hell.   Sure it’ll taste like microwaved shit, but it’s innovative.

– I didn’t think Melissa’s dish was all that innovative as duck and cherry go together like peanut butter and jelly.   But it also could’ve won because it was well-executed.   I  think Mei should’ve won as her dish clearly haunted the judges with it’s layers upon layers of flavor.  And she nailed her vision of a light airy curry.

– And while I’m ripping on Melissa…. What do you call those things where the contestants are giving their little color commentary to the camera? Whatever the those things are called, couldn’t they get Melissa to change her fucking shirt?


– And I’ve been rooting against her the whole season, but now I want her to win.   Just so she can make a ton of money and get a real haircut.

– And how many times is she going to say that she’s really happy to be there?

– It seems that this year has been light on prizes. In previous years Quickfire winners would routinely get 5 or 10 grand.   And they usually give away a couple fucking Toyotas by now.   Toyota looks to have dropped out and Healthy Choice is tightening the purse strings.   But at least they were able to throw in a plug for Anolon cookware.

– Too bad Anolon sucks ass.



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.

7 comments on “Top Chef Boston Episode 12: The Final Battle of Bean Town

  1. a2sicilian
    January 23, 2015

    I couldn’t believe there was no molecular gastronomy with Dufresne there. Maybe it’s a passing fad, hmmm? (And I don’t call foam innovative…I’ve seen it several places in Ann Arbor. It’ll be at Applebee’s within a year.)

  2. a2sicilian
    January 23, 2015

    Never respond to comments when you’re angry…

  3. Salty Sweet Life
    January 28, 2015

    HAHAHA! You crack me up. I might like to try your jerky, dipping’ dots, pistachio melange!

  4. Pingback: Top Chef Boston Episode 13: Getting Prickly in Mexico | The Food and Wine Hedonist

  5. Pingback: Top Chef Boston Season Finale: Mano a Mano | The Food and Wine Hedonist

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This entry was posted on January 22, 2015 by in Television and tagged , , , , , , , .
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