The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

Top Chef California Episode 4 – But it’s a Dry Heat

In this episode they continued their California journey by going out to the insane heat of Palm Springs. I’ve been there before and can attest to it being crazy hot.   The title of this episode makes reference to that old saying about how hot and dry is much more bearable than hot and humid.   That’s true, but even though it’s dry, at 110 degrees small children explode.

Which makes perfect sense that Kwame would wear a black, long-sleeved shirt layered over a t-shirt.

Kwame desert


That all said, whether it’s humid or dry, I’d love it.   As I write this Michigan is experiencing an unseasonably warm, balmy December day.

It’s 37.   Ugh.


Quickfire Challenge

The chefs get schlepped out to the San Andreas Fault line to cook for the great Jose Andres. I’ve had his food a few times and he may be my biggest culinary crush.  They had 30 minutes to make a dish using solar-powered stoves.   The winner gets immunity.

Least Favorites: Grayson (skirt steak with fresh salsa), Giselle (couscous with asparagus and bacon), Phillip (Italian sausage with oyster and coconut chamomile)

Faves: Jeremy (seared halibut with pickled mushroom), Wesley (shimp with coconut broth, lemongrass, musrooms, pickled red onion), Isaac (hatch pepper and Manchego cornbread, smoked butter, vanilla milk)

Winner: Wesley, who won immunity and a 10K donation to charity in his name. While serving his food to Padma and Jose, he planted the seed that the winner should get one of the stoves.   So Andres threw in an oven for him.


Elimination Challenge

The chefs were split into two teams and were tasked with making a 4-course meal on a golf course from refreshment carts while the judges played.

Orange Team

Kwame & Chad – marinated swordfish with tuna and sweet potato emulsion

Grayson & Angelina – avocado, chorizo, shrimp & corn

Giselle & Amar – spiced rubbed NY strip with bacon, asparagus potato salad & salsa verde

Isaac – Grapefruit Sabayon with tequila whipped cream, lemon shortbread almond crumble

Blue Team

Jeremy & Karen – Citrus-marinated halibut ceviche, with kumquats, passion fruit caviar, avocado mousse

Jason & Marjorie – grilled shrimp, summer squash, roast eggplant puree, tomoato celery salad

Wesley & Carl – Roasted pork loin, yogurt, green chili, apple & grapes

Phillip – coconut pudding, strawberries, basil & rum lime air


Best Team: Blue. Not even close.

Best Dish: Karen & Jeremy

Winner: Jeremy, who got a weeklong vacation in Palm Springs

Worst Dish: Grayson & Angelina

Gone: Grayson



Random Thoughts

– After they were split in teams, we got to see Angelina & Giselle demanding that they not work together on a dish.   Clearly don’t get along.   I think this is the first time I’ve seen that on Top Chef as they usually just suck it up and go.

– Not sure if it was a matter of her not being on her game, but Grayson was nowhere near as good as she was back in Texas.   Although it could be that the competition is much, much better now.

– And not only was she not as good at cooking, she wasn’t the fun and lively Grayson of old.   Throughout these episodes she was pretty whiny and bitter the whole time.   After losing, she was furious that she took fall over the whole dish.   That’s when her ugly side came out with a major entitlement rant – she felt she should’ve stayed simply because she’s older and a more seasoned chef.   Hate to say it, but – good riddance.

– That Grayson and Angelina’s dish was the worst was predictable. First and foremost, their dish sounded like the last thing you want in the desert while playing golf.   But there was time between serving the two sets of judges and Andres had given them feedback about their corn. They didn’t make the change and the second group didn’t like their food, either.   Wesley and Carl did take feedback to heart and made changes. That second group of judges included Tom, and everyone knows his is the vote that counts. Although I’m not sure it would’ve made that big a difference as the dish didn’t sound appealing.

– I really don’t want to jinx them, but my faves so far this season are three that had the best dishes in the Quickfire – Wesley, Jeremy, and Isaac.

– I’ve played golf in Palm Springs before and can attest to it being really hard to play in that heat.   But that does not excuse the judges’ pathetic attempts at playing the sport.   They may have more cooking talent in their pinkies, but I’d kill them on the course.

– Over at Last Chance Kitchen, Grayson and Garret had to make a dish with two surprise ingredients.  Grayson edged out Garret but only (in my opinion) because she had more to work with.   It’s really a bummer that Garret got eliminated from the main show that early because he’s a great chef and made for even better TV.





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.

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This entry was posted on December 21, 2015 by in Television and tagged , , , , , .
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