Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Top Chef Canada Episode 8: Todd gets lobbed back to the Rock

More Top Chef Canada! Before we share our thoughts on last night's episode and the competition we are pleased to report that the Food Network officially announced their casting call for Top Chef Canada, season 2. 
Are you a Montreal Chef and thinking about auditioning for season 2? Experienced, professional help is available from Montreal’s Top Chef Canada competitor, Derek Bocking. Chef Bocking posted on Twitter and Facebook that local Chefs can send him a message for tips and advice with their application. Chef Bocking also posted a new recipe, spring vegetable risotto, on his blog. For information on Top Chef Canada 2 please click here. Now, on with the show...
The mighty really are starting to fall in Top Chef. With the number of competitors dwindling there is a chance to focus on the remaining Chefs and their dishes. This far in the competition we are able to appreciate how talented the Chefs are. In this respect enough cannot be said about this week's ousted Chef, Newfoundland’s, Todd Perrin.
These days all we seem to hear from Chefs is “seasonal” and “local ingredients.” Chef Perrin does not just say it, he lives it. The other Chefs display classic styles of cuisine and cooking. Perrin's dishes are Newfoundland on a plate. Perrin has been the exception and the only Chef displaying true-north, strong and free, Canadian style with his dishes. It almost makes sense that Perrin with his rustic style of cooking was eliminated during the Restaurant Wars challenge where fine dining seemed to be the focus. So far in the series the most rustic dishes demanded by the judges was last week’s challenge at Milestones. We think season 2 should focus more on Canadiana in the overall production. 
"It isn't April in St. John's without flipper pie,"1 we know the show was filmed last summer but Perrin started the series showing his Newfoundland colours by serving the judges seal flipper. None of the judges have ever tasted this food item before and we think this is notable. The winning dish that week, Chef Rob Rossi's, halibut (it was from B.C.) with butter poached lobster, crème fraîche and tarragon foam. Todd’s dishes seem to ooze with local culinary traditions and Rossi, foam. Perrin also used salted fish (including cod) in two of the Quick Fire Challenges landing him in the the top and bottom. But who will ever forget Todd's Moose Poutine? Just the sound of this dish makes us hungry. Eat your foie gras out Martin Picard.
As mentioned earlier, this far in the competition we are now more familiar with the Chefs and their cooking. At this point it feels like the playoffs are about to begin so here are our predictions. We are sticking with our call that Dale MacKay will be Canada’s Next Top Chef. MacKay’s could lose it all with  a major meltdown in kitchen. The only reason we say this is because the T-shirt folding, perfectionist Chef seems wound a little tight. Connie DeSousa, is our pick for number 2 in the series. Todd Perrin calls DeSousa "the bacon ninja." and in episode 1, Chris Kanka (who has a Yakuza back tattoo) compared her to a samurai. So far, DeSousa has been living up to her reputation as a kitchen assassin. This week Andrea Nicholson was picked last for the team challenge because the other Chefs do not see her as a team player. Keep in mind that early on in the series Nicholson said something to the extent of, "it's not Top Team Chef." Chef Nicholson is a fierce competitor and an obvious force to be reckoned with so we are certain she will make it to the final four.
The final spot in the top four seems to be up for grabs. François Gagnon has proven his place in the kitchen but has struggled a bit in the Quick Fire challenges and finishing on time. As Chef Gagnon pointed out during Monday's (May 30, 2011) live blogging session he is the "dark-horse" in the competition. Rob Rossi keeps landing spots in the top proving he ready for a tough fight. Dustin Gallagher has been the comeback kid pf the series by surprising everybody with his strong performance after a rocky start. Darryl Crumb's simple no nonsense cooking style has been getting him accolades but might not be enough to earn him a place at the top.  

Who will be next to pack their knives?

Fat-Back & Molasses: A collection of Favourite Old Recipes from Newfoundland & Labrador, 4th ed., 1974, Jesperson Press, St. John’s: Newfoundland. 

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