Latest Adventures

All Things Top Chef


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We recently hosted a Top Chef potluck challenge where the rules were simple: recreate a recipe seen on any season of Top Chef or Top Chef Masters. There were six of us, which meant that we all got to enjoy a six-course meal. Obviously, we all had to make some type of modification to each recipe due to lack of fresh ingredients and white plates, but each dish was stellar, considering that we're not restaurant chefs. Here are the results:

First Course: Cliff's Holiday Baileytini and Steak Tapas
This was a recipe from Top Chef: The Quickfire Cookbook. We all agreed that the Baileytini was on the strong side, but the meat was cooked well and the créme fraiche fondue was a pleasantly surprising complement.

This is something I'm going to have to make on my own. I loved the steak, eggs and the sauce. Instead of using scallions, we used chives, which achieved the onion requirement on a milder scale.

I believe the original recipe called for equal parts of ground beef and ground lamb. But this, my friends, was an all beef recipe, and I'm not complaining. I really liked the nutmeg and the tumeric combination, it was a nice, spicy surprise. The recipe also asks for the potatoes to be put through a ricer for a fluffier texture, but I thought that using a regular masher still achieves the desired effect.

Fourth Course: Chef Rick Bayless's Quick Fried Shrimp with Sweet Toasty Garlic
As Joey Tribbiani would say, bread, good. Shrimp, good. Garlic oil, GOOD! There is a reason why Chef Bayless was crowned the winner of Top Chef Masters, folks, and this recipe contributes to that reason. The only modification to this recipe was the omission of figs, because fresh figs are out of season.

Fifth Course: Elia's Roasted Chicken with Vegetables
So this was the dish I chose to prepare, frankly because it was the easiest. I also decided to serve it straight from the roasting pan, family style, instead of carving the chicken myself.

This recipe calls for fresh ginger juice, which we did not have, save for a few drops. The basil, tarragon and cilantro, along with the tart lime juice were surprisingly nice complements to the decadent, homemade chocolate ice cream and the caramelized bananas. This dessert left one lasting impression upon me: we now have an official ice cream chef.

A great meal with great friends, now who can ask for anything more?


I thought course #1 was the best.


My stomach hated me after all that.