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“Top Chef” becomes an international affair

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Restaurant and Foodservice

SmartBrief’s Doris Nhan wrote this blog post.

Arguably, being a great chef is more than just cooking tried and true dishes off a familiar restaurant’s menu. It’s about being able to adapt by using past experiences to create a new one. This week’s episode of “Top Chef D.C.” tested that ability to adjust by trotting around the globe and into the cuisine of other countries.

Quickfire Challenge: The bold flavors of Ethiopian cuisine, such as berbere spice and spicy wat (thick stew), inspired this week’s Quickfire. Those who succeeded used spices in moderation, not to mask the food’s natural taste, but to infuse it with flavor.

Elimination Challenge: Chefs were asked to create international dishes, inspired from places such as Brazil, China and Italy. Chefs needed to capture the flavors — and spirit — of the country’s cuisine they sought to re-create. The challenge was to use their expertise to create something new.

Heating up the competition: Chefs learned they could only reheat their food in chafing dishes while serving at the Meridian International Center. It was a twist that prompted some to change their game plan entirely or risk dry, mealy dishes that would plummet their chances of winning.

Lessons learned: Sometimes the simplest mistake is what sends a hopeful cheftestant home. The chefs who struggled oversold delicious food, and then didn’t deliver on that flavor. Ultimately, despite the international fare, staying true to their food was what kept them in the game.

What’s your favorite international cuisine? Leave a comment.

Image, yesfoto via iStock