Top Chef judge Hugh Acheson seemed a little sardonic when assessing Capitol Hill cheftestant Bart Vandaele's salad on the premiere episode of the show last week. The Hollywood Reporter caught up with Acheson for a Q&A and devotes a surprising amount of the article's real estate to talking about the dish, which had a lot going on (for Vandaele, that was the point. For Acheson, it was overwhelming).
Acheson: But so easily can they put 25 things on a plate and call it a day, like the Belgian knight [contestant Bart Vandaele].
THR: That was a very long, interesting salad.
Acheson: There were 50 million things on his plate.
THR: But he made it through.
Acheson: Well, there was way too many things on the plate but it was definitely a good salad in a lot of ways. If you had that salad for lunch -- well, it would arguably cost you $85 [as] it had half a lobster on it, asparagus, local egg and all these things. But technically it was a very sound dish. The guy can cook.
THR: Maybe that's just what the Belgian calvary considers a salad.
So to sum up, there was too much going on in Vandaele's dish, but it was pretty damn delicious regardless. Vandaele, for his point, seemed pretty impervious to Acheson's ribbing during the first episode. And clearly much is going to be made of Vandaele's status as a sort-of knight over in Belgium, should he make it further in the competition. The show airs tonight, where Vandaele will be joined by former Brixton chef Jeffrey Jew as the remaining DC contingent left standing.
· Top Chef: Seattle's' Hugh Acheson on Belgian Knights, Being a 'Jackass' and the Food Fad He Can't Stand (Q&A) [THR]
· All Previous Top Chef Coverage [-EDC-]
· All Previous Bart Vandaele Coverage [-EDC-]