Another night, another couple of chefs cooking for the camera in Ilan Hall’s after hours kitchen thunderdome. This time it’s Justin Devillier, a Top Chef alum and owner of La Petite Grocery in New Orleans, competing against Michael Bryant, a chef who entered the Knife Fight Arena with shouts of, “El ayyy, baybee, el ayyy!” Naturally, I am rooting for Justin.
The three secret ingredients that must be incorporated into at least two dishes in under one hour are:
Caviar: Fish eggs, fish eggs, rolly polly fish eggs
1,000-Year-Old-Eggs: No, they’re not really that old, but does it matter how old a rotten egg is once you know that it’s rotten?
Emu Eggs: Like a chicken egg only massive and black.
Justin tries to balance out the rotten egg funk with some fish sauce, but that is going to have to be some magical fish sauce. He is also starting to prep some sort of bacon and egg risotto which is hitting all of the happy parts of my taste buds.
Michael is yapping about a lot of ingredients I’ve never heard of and he’s charring all of them before tossing the mess into a broth. He brings out the first plate and it’s charred onion broth with 1,000-year-old-egg. The judges find that it has an abrasive radish, a funk, and none of the egg. Sounds appropriately disgusting.
Justin destroyed his emu egg. Rather than separating it, he pretty much scrambled it in the shell. His second attempt was better, but not perfect. I’m thinking a switcheroo to a nice omelet might be a good idea. I mean, who doesn’t love an emu omelet for dinner?
The next plate out is from Justin and it’s a 1,000-year-old egg with a salad and the judges call it fresh which is probably the nicest thing you can say about a dish containing rotten eggs. Michael presents fig panna cotta with caviar and curried croutons. I did not know that curried croutons were a thing I wanted until now. It has a contrast of fishy and sweet. Thanks for that, judges. I would’ve never thought to call caviar “fishy” and panna cotta “sweet.”
Justin’s second dish is steak Romanov with caviar. It looks like a pile of raw meat. The judges deem it blah.
Okay, finally. Emu bacon and eggs. Thank you, Michael. He’s scrambling the eggs over a double boiler for a soft scramble that’s much softer than any scramble I’ve ever seen. I kind of don’t want to eat that mushy pile of salmonella. The judges love it so clearly I don’t know what I’m talking about here. He also makes a sabayon with raspberries as a last little dessert. It is “sexy” and “light.”
Then in walks Justin’s final dish, which is neither sexy nor light but is instead a risotto with bacon and mystery cheese. It’s missing pepper or yolk or something eggy and is deemed “not a proper risotto.”
Welp. I don’t see how Justin can possibly win this thing. Oh but wait! Michael’s final dish used a chicken egg instead of an emu egg! Because it didn’t contain any of the three secret ingredients, it cannot be judged. If you ask me he should be eliminated on the spot, but whatever.
And the winner is Michael. He let’s out a WHADDUP ELLAYY! and high-fives the crowd like a frat boy at a lacrosse game. Sigh.