Finally. Top Chef D.C. has a contestant eliminated for something other than a dessert. Executive Sous Chef Mo Assi from Lawry’s, The Prime Rib in Addison has a few tips on how to make this week’s losing recipe from Tracey Bloom a winner.
The challenge: Create a picnic for interns of Capitol Hill. The picnic must include one main entrée, and two side dishes to be prepared on Weber grills and served at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens.
Food budget: $400
Eliminated dish by Bloom: Italian sausage slider with tomato-red onion salad and Vidalia onion-green pepper relish
I was very excited to see a grilling challenge simply because the logistics of it all would prevent someone from making a dessert. Let’s have something savory!! Seeing as this was a picnic challenge, I was surprised none of the cheftestants chose to make potato salad, pasta salad or BBQ chicken. Rather, the creativity of the chefs produced for us Israeli cous cous, lentil hummus (I’ve yet to tell my auntie about this) and bacon wrapped Chilean sea bass (why you would wrap this wonderful fish in bacon and mask the flavor is beyond me).
The losing dish wasn’t much of a “slider” as it was a patty thrown between a piece of white French bread. From the beginning, the dish lacked inspiration and was incomplete and the presentation was sloppy and looked unappetizing.
If I had to execute this exact dish, I would season the meat and incorporate some bold flavors. A comment I heard from the judges is that the meat had a strong fennel seed flavor, so I would omit this spice and wouldn’t use it when making a burger anyway. When making this at home, I recommend foregoing the slider route and make this a burger - just as I would in my own backyard – and include grilled onions, tomatoes and a nice piece of Swiss on artisan bread (check out Market Street or Central Market for freshly baked bread). For sides, go for a flavorful potato salad and chili-rubbed corn on the cob.
If you missed tonight’s episode, Johnny Iuzzini, Head Pastry Chef at Jean Georges restaurant in New York City, was introduced as the head judge for Top Chef: Just Desserts, along with Gale Simmons from Food and Wine Magazine as the host. Exciting!
One thing is for sure … Dallas’ own Chef Tiffany Derry of Go Fish make a Dallas Food Examiner favorite with her peach cobbler. I wonder if she’ll make us some if we visit her soon??