– Lots of French chefs I didn’t recognize, but the chefs sure seemed excited. I didn’t even bother to take notes during the table service judging, because I couldn’t keep any of them straight.
– It was fun to see the old cheftestants return, even if a few of them only got a few seconds of screen time. It might have been better to assign difficult people to each of them, since that would have been good TV and really shown who was Top Chef. Or to offer minor prize money to the souz chefs of the winner, since they did so much of the work.
– My heart almost stopped when they were moving the showpieces!
– Those entremets looked so incredible, I wanted to eat my TV screen. Where can I get an entremet for lunch today?! I’ve never wanted cake so badly in my life.
– I would have loved to see what Sally meant to achieve with her plated dessert. I bet it would have been gorgeous!
– Hubert’s judgements are getting so much more creative. I feel like when the show started, he would just nod adorably and say something generic, but last night we really got to hear some great comments from him.
– Way to go, Bravo, for Orlando’s character development! Whether it was just fantastic editing or what, he really grew up during the course of the show. He became one of my favorites at the end there, and seemed so humbled by the experience.
– It was really close, but Chris really deserved his Top Chef title. His Brioche with Bacon Maple Butter looked incredible, even if it jumped ship from his beautiful “industrial” showpiece. Now it’s too bad he doesn’t work at a restaurant that we can go visit! Chris runs a school of pastry design in Las Vegas. Oh well, I’ll visit Carlos at Holsteins at The Cosmopolitan if I end up in Vegas! Here’s some other contestant restaurants I think would be worth a stalk, ahem, visit:
Balena, in Chicago (Amanda is about to open this one)
New York Central inside the Grand Hyatt at Grand Central in New York City (Katzie gets creative here)
CityZen and Sou’Wester at the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, D.C. (Matthew, we may just see you in June!)
Orlando’s Chocolate Treasures (a chocolate shop in Pittsburgh, sadly for me, not Florida.)
WP24 Restaurant & Lounge by Wolfgang Puck at The Ritz Carlton, Los Angeles (Sally’s favorite thing to make is ice cream. Sign me up!)
Stephan Pyles Restaurant in Dallas (ok, so Lina got kicked off in the first episode. But I’m willing to give her another shot when we travel to Dallas in January!)
Fluff Bake Bar in Houston (Rebecca is apparently known as the “Sugar Hooker” of Houston, and has won all kinds of awards for this place.)
Better make our reservations now! I’m sure all these chefs are going to see lots of success from their appearance on the show.
On to the recipe…
Since the “word of the day” was SPECULOOS, we decided to make cookie spread, just like Matthew. I think Matthew said his version contained Chocolate Chip Cookies (without the chocolate). That sounds great, but if you are a purist, you should try the original recipe made with actual Speculoos cookies (sold in the US as the brand Biscoff. You might also recognize them as the cookies served on Delta Airlines!) I didn’t even have to add coconut oil to this one, it was already in there. The recipe would probably also be fabulous with Oreos, gingersnaps, Nutter Butter cookies, or your favorite kind.
For homemade Speculoos spread, you will need:
Biscoff Cookies (about 25 cookies, or 5 packs)
1 Tbsp vanilla sugar (or regular sugar + 1/2 tsp good quality vanilla extract)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp canola oil
Grind the cookies into a fine meal, using your food processor or rolling pin. For a crunchier spread, don’t grind so much (duh!)
Melt the coconut oil until just barely melted, luke warm. Mix all ingredients and adjust cookie/oil ratio as desired.
This spread will harden when stored in the fridge, so take it out at least 30 minutes before serving.
It is great on Toast, muffins, other cookies, or straight out of the jar. Or you could get all fancy and put it in a bon bon!