“Top Chef: Boston” recap (12.10): Sweet “Child” of Mine


The chefs head back to the stew room, where Padma (aka a production assistant, probably) has left a little surprise for them. It’s a video of Julia Child & Jacques Pepin cooking duck! As soon as the clip ends, Jacquse Pepin (!) comes rolling in with Padma, some wine, and a bunch of charm. So rad. For the Elimination Challenge this week, the chefs will be creating a dish inspired by Julia Child.

The chefs have the amazing opportunity to throw back some wine and chat with Jacques Pepin about Julia Child, her cooking, and her legacy. Apparently, the lady hated grilled vegetables.


The chefs shop for ingredients, and the most important thing that happened there was that Mei corrected Doug’s pronunciation of Jacques Pepin and it was pretty great. They get back to the kitchen to start prep and Gregory does a spot on impression of Julia Child. George is braising veal, but using pressure cookers. Yawn. Melissa, meanwhile, is braising the traditional, O.G. way, like a boss. I’m concerned that her meat won’t cook in time, but I appreciate her technique.

Gregory is making coq au vin, and I hope he went out and found a very old rooster because I could totally see Tom being a dick about something like that. Gregory also apparently doesn’t usually cook with butter, but he’s doing it for Julia. Two things: 1) No butter. Excuse me. What? 2) Again, I appreciate the effort to be true to Julia’s style.

Mei is doing her version of duck a l’orange and incorporating five spice, which is obviously not traditional. If George had done this I would be livid, but Mei can do anything she wants, and I bet it’s going to be delicious, and she’s innovative and wonderful, the end. Doug is doing whole roasted loaves of foie gras. I don’t really know much about foie gras, to be honest, but apparently it’s a very ballsy move.

It’s the next day and the chefs have one hour to finish cooking before they serve the judges. Gregory goes first, and everyone loves it! Tom is, in fact, not a dick about the coq au vin being chicken instead of rooster. Just when I think I know you, Tom!

Mei talks a little bit about what an honor it is to be cooking a dish inspired by Julia Child, because Julia taught her the importance of cooking with love. This challenge is making me so happy, because that’s something that really resonates with me. I’m obviously not a chef by any means, but I fucking love to cook. Whether I’m making Thanksgiving dinner for 10 or a simple weeknight meal for my wife, I go 100% all in to make the most flavorful and wonderful food I possibly can. Julia Child had so much love and passion for cooking, it’s great to see her honored here. Anyway, moving on- sorry for the tangent.

Mei servers her version of duck a l’orange, which Tom likes because it’s modern, but still “in the spirit.” The duck is cooked well and everyone seems to really like the sauce. George brings out his veal. The judges agree that the flavors are all really great, but the meat could’ve been cooked a little longer. Go home, George!

Melissa, on the other hand, is having the opposite problem. She was nervous about her meat being undercooked, so she let it go too long and now it’s a bit dry (aka burned). Tom is picking up a bitterness in the sauce, and the general consensus is that the meat isn’t the best. No! You stop it right now!

photo7Don’t send her home over dry meat! Take George instead!

Doug serves his roasted foie gras and it is kind of a train wreck. Tom calls it over-seared, but undercooked. Yikes. It also didn’t rest enough, and that makes it “flabby,” which just… ew. Dougie has actually grown on me a lot, so I feel bad about how happy I am that Melissa isn’t the worst anymore. Sorry, dude.

At Judges’ Table, Mei and Gregory are on top! #AlphaDogs forever! Mei takes the win and feels some feelings about it and, damnit, I do too. Melissa, Doug, and George are all on the bottom due to their improper protein-cooking techniques. Dougie is eliminated, despite the ambitiousness of his dish, because the middle of his foie gras was basically raw. Aww, sad. Take George instead!

Next week on Top Chef: it’s almost the finale and my 3 favorite BBs are all still in it! I swear on Padma’s overalls, though, if George wins this thing I am going to lose my shit. Also next week, the chefs’ family member show up to help and I can’t wait to watch Mei sass the crap out of her brother.

 photo8Would definitely watch this sitcom


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