Top Chef Canada, Season 3, Episode 12
Quickfire: The chefs must prepare two burgers: the first must be a take on the classic burger and the other must be their ultimate burger.
Jonathan's classic burger is a rib-eye steak burger with double-smoked bacon, pickled cucumber, onion and marinated tomato. Jon's ultimate burger is a rib-eye patty with truffled pecorino, yellow tomato jam and baby arugula.
Danny's classic is a double stacked hangar beef and pork patty with truffle, aioli dressing and confit tomato. His ultimate burger was a camel and pork patty with trout roe and tahini glaze with parsley, mint and tomatoes.
Dennis' classic is a ground beef with Kobe burger with ketchup, pickled onions and white cheddar. His ultimate is a spicy pork burger with spicy pepper purée, chicharron, Brie and watercress.
Matthew's classic burger is chuck and foie gras with red wine braised mushrooms and grainy mustard mayo. His ultimate burger is a lobster patty with tarragon mayo, crispy potato chips and oven-dried tomatoes.
The bottom: Danny and Matt.
The top: Dennis and Jon.
And the winner is Dennis and his prize is $5,000.
Elimination: The chefs must create a two-course meal for Air Canada's Executive First international service. They must cook in the kitchen and reheat the dishes on the plane. The food must fit into the plane's ovens. The prize is a trip for two to anywhere Air Canada flies. Guest judge is Charlie Palmer.
Chef McEwan comes around during prep and rattles everyone's cages.
Danny serves a prosciutto and pickled melon antipasto. For the entree he served a Dijon roasted veal with potatoes dauphinois and asparagus.
Dennis' appetizer is a roasted pork loin with fennel salad, ricotta, blueberries and pickled cucumber. His entree is grilled chicken breast with polenta and seasonal vegetables.
Matt's appetizer is roasted fennel and celery salad with roasted plums, shaved radish and lemon citrus vinaigrette. His entree is orecchiette pasta with sautéed mushrooms, corn, kale and leeks with lemon mascarpone cream.
Jon serves a grilled Ahi tuna with bean salad with cilantro soy vinaigrette for his appetizer. For his entree, he serves Arctic char with chanterelles, chickpeas and tomatoes with smoked paprika.
Charlie Palmer announces that Jonathan is the winner. Shereen announces that Danny has also earned a spot in the finale. Dennis and Matt are on the bottom and one of them is not going to the finale. Lisa announces that Matt is in and Dennis is out.
As Shereen said, why today? Not a good time to start screwing up. After making it through the season without being on the bottom, Matt certainly chose a bad time to lose his mojo. But I don't agree that Matt is overconfident. Unless he is a really good actor, he never seems like he was expecting to win. He always had an anxious look in his eye. And we never see him brag about his wins or behave in a cocky manner like Caity or Becky. So I think it was just a bad decision, not over-confidence.
Jonathan is on a roll. After hanging in the middle for most on the competition, he finally found his rhythm. Can he sustain it long enough to win?
I like Danny and I'm glad he's in but he seems very irratic these days. One day he has brilliant ideas and the next he blows it completely. He needs to pull it together, to take a bit more time to think through his ideas. I think he's a long shot for the win.
Did anyone else find the editing on the quickfire to be terrible? I felt that they cut the critique too short. Mark McEwan did not address both burgers for each chef. He just made a comment about one burger for each. With only 4 people left, couldn't they allow him enough time to discuss both burgers? Or what was the point of making them create two burgers?
And what was Danny thinking? With $5,000 on the line, it's not a good time to experiment with camel meat. And how can it be the main protein in your ultimate burger if you've never made it before? Though maybe he has eaten it before but never cooked it before?
One more quickfire next week and then on to the finale. And some familiar faces return.
I live 1.5-2 hours away from a region where camel meat is available in local butchers. I think it says something that a) despite camels being available throughout the area - the meat has strictly stayed in that region and b) locals do not recommend it to visitors (either those from neighboring regions or international visitors) and it's more a curiosity for tourists driving by butcher shops.
I wanted to believe that Danny had a solid plan for camel and I would have been fascinated had he achieved good results. But as soon as he said that he'd never had camel before - I knew he was doomed.
Camel is a bit like moose - dry and gamey beef. The pork was probably a good idea to add some fat, but the fish roe sauce - who thought that was a good idea?
Jonathan is growing on me. He has a wry sense of humour and more depth in cooking than you'd imagine from watching the brief clips of him in action
I too got the logic of adding the pork to add some fat - but there's also a muskiness to camel meat (unsure of moose having never had it) that makes it more assertive than venison or other very lean game meats. And getting that distinctiveness of camel to work for you wouldn't be something I'd gamble on getting just right the first go.
I was surprised when the 'resident judge' (I forget her name, and I have watched every episode of this show ever, that says something I think, but I digress....) said that pork was 'boring'. Not the specific pork dish, but pork itself. That struck me odd. Then again, perhaps I misunderstood and she was talking about one dish.
I thought it was late in the game to do a "cook on an airplane" challenge. Would have rather had constraints that had to do with food or style rather than equipment.
Also: Agreed on the camel. What was he thinking??