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Top Chef Las Vegas - Ep. 4 - 09/09/09 (spoilers)

Daniel Boulud as guest judge - talk about quaking in your boots!

Escargot as the ingredient to use for the QF and there are some who are cocky (Mike I.) and some that are concerned (Jennifer). And as a high-stakes QF, it's not that the winner gets $15K - it's that the loser goes home! Yikes.

Amazing dishes were Mike I., Kevin, and Jennifer and Kevin wins it! I was thinking when Mike I. was shown mouthing off in the confessional early on, I thought the Elves might be telling us something.

Bad dishes - Jessie, Ashley, and Robin - rut-roh! BUT - they get a chance to save themselves - they have 20 minutes to make an amuse bouche out of anything in the kitchen. They all seemed pretty good - but it's bye-bye, Jessie!

Elimination Challenge - classic French sauce, or classic French protein...and Mike I. doesn't know what a lot of them are!

ETA - to fix the 5th guest chef judge Keller, Tourandel, Boulud, Robuchon, and Joho (I haven't heard of him) - are eating at the table for the EC dinners! Holy smokes! And even MORE Holy Smokes is that Kevin won't be cooking AND will be joining them at the dining table!

Pairing up of sauce and protein begins...Jennifer and Mike V. are paired - VERY good pairing! And Brian and Mike I. are paired. And they're off!

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  1. Extremely difficult challenge! Who normally knows how to cook snails. Looking over my book don't know if I even have a recipe.

    Sadly it was time for Jess to go.

    And MIke I. is still talking down to the viewers.

    Got a bad feeling about Ron.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Withnail42

      Agree with the challenge being one of the most difficult QFs I've ever seen. And yes - even Jessie said she just seemed out of place since she got there.

      I'm thinking more bad feeling about Robin. And Mike I. doesn't want to make a traditional Bernaise? WTH? Think about who you're cooking for! But Brian may have a good idea with his eggless Bernaise he's used in the steakhouse...we'll see.

      BTW, just checked the time frame of the show - yet another 75 minute episode. Love when they do this...I think this particular episode should have been at least 90 minutes! LOL

      1. re: LindaWhit

        > Bad feeling about Robin...

        What about the fact that she's been nearly invisible for the first three weeks and now she's gotten more screentime than Mike I makes you say that? ;-)

        1. re: momjamin

          i also have this weird feeling that Frenchie may blow it on this one.

          ETA: i was right! i *knew* Mattin was going to screw up that sauce.

            1. re: momjamin

              Nah, sorry to be a spoiler within a spoiler, but I think I remember a promo w/ her getting into a bit of a fight/tiff w/ Eli. But you're right- I don't have a good feeling at all about that team. The editing did a great job of highlighting it, but yikes, those two just didn't really mix well. Kind of uncomfortable to watch.

              1. re: momjamin

                But Robin's in the middle. Again.

          1. Probable and Almost Certain: Mike I will hang on a long time. He's a good villain for this season. They need him for ratings.

            It was also predictable that Jessie would be eliminated. I don't know if she can cook, but she sure psyched herself out of the running.

            3 Replies
            1. re: chicgail

              afraid ashley and robin are going to psych themselves out next.

              or think it would be interesting if ron or mattin (french trained) managed to mess this one up. hmmmm.... we'll see!

              1. re: AMFM

                I had the same thought about Mattin and Ron in this episode.

              2. re: chicgail

                Put your prejudice aside for a moment. Mike I's not the best but he's still one of the better chefs. He's not there just because he's a good "villain." It's annoying that no one gives him any credit because he's sexist. Good cooking isn't related to one's propensity to be sexist.

              3. Tom C needs to work on his poker face. did you notice his expressions after tasting some of the QF dishes? they were priceless! unfortunately they were also spoilers for some of the bottom dishes.

                i'm glad Jesse went home. she was in the bottom every week, and clearly felt out of her element.

                Ron & Robyn is a pretty underwhelming pairing, but i almost think the elves are setting us up to *believe* they'll tank, when, in fact, someone else will end up going home...

                1 Reply
                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  Missed those spoilers...but one thing I noticed in the previews for the dinner - what a bonus for Kevin to sit and listen to how they discuss the dishes the cheftestants are preparing for the guests. AND he gets to comment as well!

                  Looks like Mike I. and Brian kicked butt in their course, but Eli and Laurine didn't do that well....Mattin is up with Ashley - rut-roh. The Frenchie doesn't do well!

                  And Jennifer and Mike V. are next....and THEY kicked butt! And here come Hector and Ash...And I'm thinking Hector and Ash will be in the bottom along with Eli/Laurine or Mattin/Ashley.

                2. And Brian wins - and gets to stage for a week at Robuchon's restaurant - WOW. But did I hear Mike I. say that he and Brian shot the idea for the deconstructed bernaise back and forth? Wasn't that Brian's idea?

                  Hector/Ash and Mattin/Ashley are in the bottom. Mattin saying he didn't shoot down the suggested asparagus veloute that Ashley suggested? Wow.

                  64 Replies
                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    ugh, that was such a douchebag move by Mattin. but i think Hector may be going home for the hack job he did on the beef...

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        As the episode went on, I became more convinced that Hector was going to go. He had a real problem with the meat; and Daniel pointed out that it takes an hour to make the Sauce au Poivre and what Ash puts on the plates is not even close to a good sauce. They were doomed.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Mike I totally rode on Brian's skills. Without Brian telling him how to do the Bearnaise, Mike I would have been toast. Like I said, they're going to keep him around so we have someone to boo.

                      1. re: chicgail

                        OK, I thought I had heard that correctly! I really REALLY wish they wouldn't keep someone around for the drama!

                        And a chuck wagon in the desert for next week's show? And Tom steps away from the table to remove something from his mouth and throw it in the sand? LOL!

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          the chef responsible for that dish he throws out is going to be *haunted* by it!

                        2. re: chicgail

                          I wish the cameras would show Brian's face when Mike I said with a straight face that it was a collaborative effort. That lying sack of used food!

                          1. re: chicgail

                            Funny respnses - I thought it was a collaborative effort, Mike wanted to deconstruct - Brian knew how....also, to advocate for the devil, I think its amusing how everyone thinks Mike's continued presence is purely ratings-based because of their dislike of him. Brian didn't have anything to do with him being near the top of several of the challenges so far....having Daniel Boulud pick his escargot as one of his favorites is an indication that the man can cook.
                            On a weekly basis, I'd a hundred times rather watch what a talented 'villain' can turn out of the kitchen than a likable hack. He's probably high-middle of the remaining pack, but he definitely still belongs there, i'm just saying....

                            1. re: rawdog

                              Well, I see your point but is he as talented as Stefan? Or Tiffany? Or Stephen? I don't know, but I don't think so. The thing that made those "villains" so much fun is that they had a confidence about them that grated on people. I think Mike I can execute, but I think he is far inferior to the V brothers, Kevin, and Jenn.

                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                I agree that Mike I's not as good as Kev, Jen, and Volt x2 but I don't think much of Tiffany and Stephen from season 1. Those people are clowns compared to the latest season. As for Stefan, he's not very creative.

                              2. re: rawdog

                                Well, as has been stated in the past, by both Colicchio and many others, keeping someone on TC for ratings does *not* happen. The judges only know the food and what they see at JT - they don't see the hijinks behind the scenes until they themselves watch the show, so they're judging solely on the food that gets put in front of them and what they see when that food it being given to them.

                                I shouldn't have said above my comment about keeping someone around for the drama - I know it's not. Editing is kind of funny that way, though, to make you think that. :-)

                                Agree - so far, his food shows that he still should be there. I just dislike him, his childish pouting attitude, etc.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  I agree with both you guys in terms of him not being up to the caliber of the top four; maybe a notch below - along the same lines of Eli or so.
                                  Terrible disclosure upon being the devil's advocate - I kind of like Mike I., in a skin-crawling, inexplicable way. While I generally can't stand the whole "I'll act like an ass to stand out" mentality, or the past chefs like Stefan, Lisa, Ilan, etc..., watching Mike painfully/awkwardly try to flirt to w/ Jenn and act like a 12 year-old dipshit who can cook is somehow highly entertaining to me. That said, I apparently need to now reassess my life...

                                  Also, was it just me or was the Mike V. and Jenn reciprocal compliment-fest at the judge's table bordering on sparks-a-flying or what?

                                  1. re: rawdog

                                    Rawdog: Agree on the inexplicable Mike I like. I don't know why either. I think he is an ass but at the same time I think he can cook pretty well. Will he be in the final three? No. But he is like the kid at camp who is at the fringes of being in the cool clique and it is entertaining. And to bring the camp analogy along, Mike V and Jen are totally going to sneak off to the counseler cabin and make out.

                                    1. re: lbs

                                      Ha - the counselor's cabin analogy...now that's funny.

                                      Makes me envy these chefs and their lifestyle - i have a feeling if i ever tried to pick up a girl by complimenting her rabbit-butchering skills, it may not go too smoothly...

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        You two make me laugh. Hey, maybe your right after all.My grandmother could kill a chicken for dinner, and grandpa was a butcher, so I guess they were a perfect match.Oh, and she could milk cows and even made a lace tablecloth with peacocks in the design my dad said. Don't find gals like that anymore.
                                        By the way,I figured Hector would be going sooner or later. I noticed he mentioned about latin and carribean food alot,seems he just couldn't get the hang of french food. And shame on Mattin.
                                        He's french so he sound know this stuff blindfolded.

                                    2. re: rawdog

                                      I totally see the sparks-a-flying between Mike V. and Jenn. IIRC, when they were in the stew room they were sitting next to each other and Jenn had her arms crossed over her lap. I think I saw her finger hooked into the cuff of his chef's jacket. Hmmmmm, a love triangle between Jenn and the Mikes?

                                      1. re: dmjordan

                                        "I think I saw her finger hooked into the cuff of his chef's jacket."

                                        You saw that too... I wasn't sure if I saw that or not... I guess I did.

                                      2. re: rawdog

                                        I still think Mike I gets it on with Jen....the Volt bros got better things to do than Jen.

                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                  I thought Brian had done an eggless Bernaise at his steakhouse, but that it was Mike I.'s idea to do a deconstructed Bernaise. I thought he would crash and burn on that!

                                  I was sorry to see Hector go- it can be hard cooking something like a roast in a foreign oven- just knowing when to put it in if the oven isn't calibrated like the ovens you're accustomed to. Ahh well. I know that if we can roast a great beef tenderloin at home a pro should be able to cook it and plate it for 12. If they can do it for weddings....

                                  Mattin instantly went from flying below my radar to coming across as a total jerk who is relying on his accent and bandana to get him through. A French chef should be able to pull off a perfect Veloute.. And the way he threw Ashley under the bus and COMPLETELY denied that he had completely rejected her idea of an asparagus veloute in front of the judges...and his "I'm from France, escargot was like my whole life"... YUCK. I was shouting at the television tonight!

                                  Definitely one of my favorite TC episodes though! :)

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    Wow - Tom called Mattin out in his blog about lying re: the asparagus veloute! "I will note that I respect Ashley for not throwing Mattin under the bus when he lied about this at the Judge’s Table … and I think viewers will lose respect for Mattin for lying."

                                    And a note about Mike I. in Tom's blog - it was Mike Isabella's idea to deconstruct the bernaise; he just didn't know how to do it and Brian told him how. The judges seemed to *know* that it was a Brian dish in the end based on the style of cooking.

                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                      Ohh, thanks for quoting the blog and showing that Mattin's lie was noted by Tom. Watching the episode I wasn't quite sure if it really occurred like the editing made it out to be- ie that Mattin totally denied shooting down the asparagus idea. But it looks like that's exactly what happened. He's absolutely right- definitely lost respect for him.

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        I was totally floored when Mattin threw Ashley under the bus. Her stock went up a few points in my book for he way she handled it. IMO Mattin should have been the one to go.
                                        As much as I don't care for Mike this really was a collaborative effort.
                                        Jenn is losing ground for me. All of her plate presentations look very similar.

                                        1. re: Fritter

                                          Re: Mike I. and "collaborative effort" - while it might have been Mike's idea to deconstruct the bernaise, he couldn't figure it out - even during a test plating Mike I. commented that he didn't think it was going to work...whereas Brian was able to make it work. So I still see it more as Brian's dish.

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            Not to totally jump on the "I hate Mike I." bus but has anyone noticed whenever an opportunity to pair up has come up, Mike I. jumps to Brian? I know they've worked together in the past but Brian's kind of a doormat allowing Mike I. to continue piggy backing off him. Time for Brian to cut the umbilical cord and let Mike I. become a man......yup.....I said it!

                                            I've pegged Kevin and Jen as the top two from day one, with Kevin my favorite. Mike V. and Brian V. would round out the top four unless some dark horse comes along. I just don't think the other contestants are stronger than these four.

                                            1. re: Dee S

                                              I actually would have expected the Chateaubriand to be paired with the Bearnaise.

                                              I imagine Brian may not be shying away from working with Mike I because he's surely a better deal than some of the lesser chefs.

                                              1. re: ChefJune

                                                And perhaps he thinks Mike wouldn't be a threat.

                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                  in a sense i think you're both right. smarter and safer to pair with someone whose skills you trust than with some hack who could land you both at the losers' JT...*and* i think Bryan isn't concerned that Mike will outshine him because he's probably confident (and seemingly rightly so) that he's a better chef.

                                              2. re: Dee S

                                                You're actually confusing the brothers. Isabella worked w/ Michael V before, not Brian. He has also been trying to team up w/ Michael V as often as possible.

                                                Even if he is an asshat at times, he makes for interesting tv and can deliver quality dishes. Don't think he'll win but I would like to see him stick around. For entertainment and also food.

                                                1. re: Dee S

                                                  Mike I has tagged along with the Volt bros, it's not just Brian.

                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                              The Mattin/Ashley incident at Judge's Table is truly a case of da*!ed if you do and da*!ed if you don't.

                                              In real time, Ashley got hammered for not saying Mattin was a liar. Tom interpreted her silence as indifference and had negative feelings about Ashley based on that perception. What if her perceived indifference had been enough to send her home? Certainly, lack of passion has been a factor in sending Eve and Preeti home. Now, after watching the show and learning the truth about Mattin, Tom claims he admires admires Ashley's silence.

                                              Frankly, I'm think Tom failed to be a fair and responsible judge. Ashley's body language clearly communicated that she had something to say about Mattin's lie. Why didn't Tom follow up with a question to Ashley? Why did he automatically decide that contradicting someone is the same as throwing someone under the bus? He owes it to the cheftestants to clarify remarks and body language at Judge's Table. He might ignore the information he learns as mere throwing-someone-under-the-bus, but at least he has heard both sides of a story. (The usual remark about the editors not showing everything that gets said doesn't seem to apply here since Tom's blog indicates surprise.)

                                              1. re: Indy 67

                                                "The Mattin/Ashley incident at Judge's Table is truly a case of da*!ed if you do and da*!ed if you don't"

                                                In more ways than one. I would wager that they would have been criticizing aspargus in the veloute as well.

                                                1. re: Fritter

                                                  I think it depends on how well it was done. I think there's a good chance the judges would have appreciated the creativity if the team had pulled it off.

                                                  I'd never heard of Mattin's stated rule about not doing green vegetables with veloute. Maybe one exists in classic French cooking (gotta go find my Larousse) -- goodness knows there are all sorts of rules in French and Italian cuisine that are lost on me.

                                                  1. re: dmd_kc

                                                    Oh, now that would be interesting if we found out it was Mattin's rule, not a standard French cuisine rule!

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      I think it's Mattin's rule, otherwise no "self-respecting" French chef would ever serve it! Asparagus Veloute is quite a traditional spring soup in Paris and elsewhere. ;-O

                                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                                        Ahhh, and it's actually called that? "Asparagus Veloute" vs. "Spring Asparagus Soup"?

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                          Being the humble home cook I am, I did the research I always did. A quick google on "Asparagus Veloute" got many many hits, including a blog that referred to the star of a dinner party, namely the Asparagus Veloute soup from Larousse Gastronomique.

                                                          1. re: momjamin

                                                            Ahhh, thanks. I was just Googling "veloute" and the daughters made from veloute, vs. looking for the actual soup made from veloute.

                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                            "Asparagus Veloute" vs. "Spring Asparagus Soup"?

                                                            IIR the classical proportions for making veloute into soup are 50% Veloute, 25% consume and 25% of the product that you are featuring. I guess I need to watch again but wasn't the challenge to use a classic sauce? I wonder how much artistic license Mr. Coq au Vin MUST be made with a Coq would have given the Chef's.

                                                            1. re: Fritter

                                                              That's how I understood the challenge to be as well, Fritter. But if Mike I. and Brian were able to deconstruct a bernaise and still have it be accepted because it tasted like a bernaise after it all went into the mouth, I would think that an asparagus veloute would also be acceptable. After all, Mattin added bacon (too much!) to his veloute sauce.

                                                              1. re: Fritter

                                                                But in France, the soup is called VELOUTE! not soup. doesn't take much thinning to make soup from veloute.

                                                                1. re: ChefJune

                                                                  Simply because Soup can be made from veloute it does not make all veloute soup. The challenge at hand was to make a dish with a classic sauce of veloute. AFAIK that excludes asparagus but certainly not all green vegetables in a veloute sauce.

                                                                  1. re: Fritter

                                                                    Well, it wasn't a strict commandment to do only the classic preparation -- don't forget the deconstructed sauce Bernaise helped create the winning dish. I'm sure they would have been open to it, had it been done well.

                                                                    All in all one of my favorite TC episodes, certainly of this season, if not all time.

                                                        2. re: dmd_kc

                                                          "I'd never heard of Mattin's stated rule about not doing green vegetables with veloute"

                                                          Neither had Escoffier when he made watercress veloute. I don't think the judges would have been thrilled either way with all the bacon Mattin had in the veloute.

                                                          1. re: Fritter

                                                            I checked out Joel Robuchon's menu and he has a lettuce veloute on his menu.

                                                      2. re: Indy 67

                                                        I'm not sure where you're seeing surprise from Tom at Mattin lying. He just expressed respect for Ashley for not tossing Mattin under the bus. And how do we know that Tom and the other judges didn't follow up with additional questions? JT is far longer than we'll ever see - often the questions, responses from the cheftestants, and deliberations by the judges goes on for hours.

                                                        Perhaps there were other questions asked that satisfied Tom and the other judges about Ashley. We see one teeny-tiny bit of JT, remember. Editing takes it down to the 60 minutes, more or less, of the actual viewed show. Unless we get to see a separate video of the entire JT, we have no idea what else is discussed or asked or the responses.

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                          Of course, you're right that there's plenty more that we don't see. We'll never know whether Tom said something to soften his criticism of Ashley for her seeming lack of passion.

                                                          I'm making the point that the editors did Tom a big disservice by their editing choices if they left out some mitigating remarks. They made the head judge look bad. They made the head judge seem less-than-completely interested in understanding the truth of the dish/team.

                                                          If the editors want to ramp up the drama over Mike I's villainy, the credibility of TOP CHEF itself certainly doesn't suffer. However, if the editors cast Tom as someone who doesn't get the best information, that's a counter-productive approach.

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            "And how do we know that Tom and the other judges didn't follow up with additional questions?"

                                                            When have the editors of a TV-reality show ever ever ever passed up the opportunity to add "drama" to a sequence? Of course, I haven't seen what's on the cutting-room floor but I'm sure "accentuate drama and product placement" is high on their list of job responsibilities.

                                                            1. re: jbw

                                                              I don't disagree with you re: the drama. But that doesn't answer the question about follow-up questions. Based on the fact that several judges have said JT can go on for hours, I'm going to believe that follow-up questions were asked, but just not shown. Drama over details, I guess.

                                                              1. re: jbw

                                                                Drama over details even when one of those details is the reputation of the head judge? Yikes!

                                                                Perhaps our community dissects the shows more the average viewer. (Perhaps? Nah! Definitely!) Perhaps the average viewer does want drama over details. I'm just reluctant to think Andy Cohen really wants to emphasize drama over protecting his franchise and that means protecting Tom's reputation on the show.

                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                            Not to stand up for Mike I. because I don't care much, but he trains and works under the same chef as Mike V. so I can see why they would want to work together, as he has said they have in the past- known is so much easier than unknown.

                                                            And since Brian works in the same geographical area and has gotten a lot of accolades for his restaurant in the DC area he probably earned a lot of respect from Mike I., also they are very guys guys so it works.

                                                          3. re: LindaWhit

                                                            I distinctly remember the conversation they had in the produce section at WF when Ashley brought up the suggestion and Matin said "No, you don't want anything green in the veloute". I thought that he was referring to the clash of flavors, but there they were on the plate.

                                                            1. re: araknd

                                                              Yes, I recall that as well. But did Mattin mean "in the veloute" or "with the veloute"? If it's with the veloute, then the asparagus shouldn't have been part of the dish in any way shape or form, right?

                                                              You wrote "you don't want anything green in the veloute". Based on everything I've quickly looked up about veloute and its daughter sauces, it does look like asparagus would not have been a standard....however, IIRC we did hear that an asparagus-based veloute would have been acceptable to the judges (I'm sure provided it was well made).

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                I'm not sure what the context of Mattin's comment was. Like others on this thread, I was surprised when I saw it on the plate, but it was not the asparagus that killed it, but his overuse of bacon. Was it about the veloute that Colicchio said that everything tastes better with bacon . . . except this sauce or something to that effect?

                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                  "we did hear that an asparagus-based veloute would have been acceptable to the judges (I'm sure provided it was well made)."

                                                                  In the end this excludes Mattin either way as he over used bacon. Ultimately there should not be any bacon in an asparagus Veloute unless you used a tiny bit of bacon fat for just a hint of smoke. That would still not be a classic sauce.
                                                                  BTW I don't believe we heard that asparagus Veloute would have been acceptable.
                                                                  Tom simply asked Mattin why he didn't incorporate the aspargus into the sauce if he was going to use it.

                                                                  1. re: Fritter

                                                                    I don't recall the words exactly, although I could have sworn later at JT it was said that an asparagus veloute would have been acceptable - I'd have to see the episode again.

                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                      yes I thought that I heard that too. But what's interesting is that it's not "traditional"and I heard more than once, Joel R for one, and possibly another chef, make comments about some of the others sauces not being a true sauce. The sauce Americaine was one they discussed. I wonder now that if even if they'd used asparagus how the French chefs would reacted. When Tom C said that about the asparagus, I did wonder what the French chefs were thinking. Perhaps there was discussion we didn't see.

                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                Mattin is not my favorite cheftestant, but I don't think he understood Tom's statement about shooting down Ashley's idea.

                                                                Maybe I am being naive, but he doesn't speak English that well, and he responds that this was their first shot. So he used the word "shot" in a different way than Tom did. Tom used "shot down" as in killing an idea, and Mattin used it as "first attempt".

                                                                I dunno.

                                                                1. re: tobycat

                                                                  I'm willing to give Mattin a pass as well. He seems like a friendly guy and I'd like to see him get more interview time as his days seem numbered.

                                                                  1. re: tobycat

                                                                    Me too, he looked like a scared littke kid pulled into the pricipals office.
                                                                    But he did take control of the dish.... but then Ashley let him. tsk tsk.

                                                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    I believe there was some back and forth. Deconstruction was Mike I's idea but it was Brian who kind of told him how to best accomplish it.

                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                        I replied before I read all of the posts.

                                                                        1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                          Should have realized that, as I've done it before. My apologies.

                                                                  3. I cannot believe that there are this many replies without someone mentioning that bacon jam that Kevin made. Oh my god, that sounded amazing, and I hope that there is a recipe for it soon.

                                                                    I'm liking Jen more and more. She just seems focused and together and a good cook. Both of the top teams worked really well together, and it showed in their dishes.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: JasmineG

                                                                      Oh yes, I was surprised no one else (IIRC) used bacon w/their snails, and I definitely want a look at that bacon jam recipe. Wow. And Tom agrees -- from his blog, "Kevin’s bacon jam was so good that while I have never before used any of the dishes that have come out of these challenges, I went home after shooting the season and immediately began working on a bacon jam."

                                                                      Great line from Eli about thinking Joel Robuchon was a myth, that he didn't really exist, like a unicorn. ;-)

                                                                      1. re: momjamin

                                                                        i, too, was surprised that no one else used bacon. when they announced that snails were the challenge, i said "Bacon for the win. no question." my friend who was watching with me looked at me like i was nuts...but i'm not sounding so crazy now, am i? ;)

                                                                        and yes, i loved that unicorn line from Eli!