We had the best time hosting the Top Chef contestants and judges at our home for last nights “Progressive Dinner Party” episode.  It was a once-in-a-lifetime evening!  Here is what Top Chef judge Gail Simmons had to say about it on her blog:

Gail Simmons

Hostess with the Mostest

Gail Simmons describes the chefs’ new environment in Dallas.

November 30, 2011

Bravotv.com: After a difficult Quickfire, we’re onto the Elimination! I’ve never heard of a progressive dinner party before. GS: It seemed like a fun idea. I had never attended one until that challenge though. I imagine you need a staff if you’re having one. If you’re at someone’s house having appetizers and yourhouse is where the main course is supposed to be, it’s hard for you to be eating in one place and cooking in another. Which is why we had the chefs do it for us!
I think the funniest moment in the whole episode was when I jokingly asked, “Oh did you have like 700 people at your wedding?” and one of the ladies said, “Actually 1,200.” And she wasn’t joking!
Bravotv.com: “Who knows 1,200 people?”GS: Right?!! I will say they were the sweetest people. We had a really nice day with them. Kim Whitman is the bomb. She was awesome. I loved her. She is smart as whip, and I really enjoyed talking with her.
Bravotv.com: So let’s start with the appetizer house, which actually had the winning dish which was Paul’s, and Sarah’s, which was in the top as well. GS: Yes, Paul’s was the winner because it had so much texture and he used ingredients that the diners didn’t know they liked, but when they tasted it they couldn’t help but fall in love with it. It was the right size for an appetizer. It was appropriate. What Paul said at the beginning I think was so right on: “Listen to the woman of the house.” You are catering an event for a dinner party, and especially a dinner party for a woman like Kim Whitman, who is very particular, entertains a lot, and is considered somewhat of an expert on the subject. Do what she says — not too little and not too much. The guys will go along with it. And he was right in this instance. He did something that the ladies enjoyed because it had great vegetables, it was light, but it had some depth. The grilled prosciutto was delicious. It was the right size. It was easy to eat. It was absolutely delicious.
I loved Sarah’s artichokes too, and I really liked Lindsay’s salad, but we thought Paul’s just embodied what we asked them to do the most and was done with the most… finesse.
So then we went to the main course house. And the main courses were mostly disappointing. Beverly’s was pretty good. Nyesha wasn’t bad either, but a lot of them were just way too big, way too bulky and clumsy. If there was just one main course or two that would have been one thing, but no one scaled his/her dish to be appropriate for the venue and the challenge. Not a single one of them scaled back the size of their portion or the scope of what they were doing to accommodate for the fact that we were eating four or five main courses. Of course you want it to feel like a main course, but, especially Ty-Lor’s and Chuy’s, were mammoth. I mean they were bigger than massive. Bigger than Texas-sized portions even. And because they were so big, they felt sloppy and disproportionate to everything else. That was our first issue. 

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