Posted by Lee Abbott on Mar 7, 2016 in Tips & Tricks


And the “behind the scenes” scoop continues…

So when am I going to learn my lesson to not pick things to cook that have such a tight window of “perfect” to “blown”.  I mean if that Filet was not perfectly medium rare – that would have sent me home.  Filo pastry 30 seconds too long, or 30 seconds too short – would have sent me home.  Roasted Tomato 30 seconds too long…….HAPPENED.

Now the flavors on the plate were vibrant and amazing with all that Roasted Pepper and Shallots, with a Red Pepper Juice and Mustard Vinaigrette topped with Lemon Zested Panko crumbs and a whole lot of other yummies – but the vessel – the roasted tomato was falling apart.  It TASTED  amazing and if you were at my dinner party you would have LOVED it – but this is All Star Academy.  This has to look like a restaurant chef made it – not a plop of veggie on a plate.

And this is a Team Challenge.  If I blow it – we all go to the elimination challenge.

Now…what was really really awesome was how generous of a team we all were working together.  Dain Lee was doing something SO cool with his Red Pepper Granita, and Lisa going all delicious comfort food with that ground beef stuffed red pepper with the yellow pepper coulis – you KNOW that tasted delicious.  But truly – we all danced together.  We all helped with each others dishes.  Our appetizer trio – had all 3 of us in all 3 dishes.  LOVE Dain and Lisa.  And I also gotta say Curtis Stone was so freakin’ cool to work with too.  Alex of course….I mean come on….she’s just so damn amazing and generous.  Luv Her.  So Much.

But when I watch the show…I’ll admit that I spent a heck of a lot of time in food prep and helping the team – and didn’t really “go for it” with my own dish.  In the end it was a great team strategy – but in retrospect it feels like I took the safe route.  When the Team dish was conceived…. its funny Lisa LOVES Vegetarian, and I’m totally the Ranch guy…so it could be said that I should have done her dish and she should’ve done mine.  Perhaps.  But as simplistic as my dish was, there was an elegance and sophistication about it that was challenging as hell… and I wanted to take it on.  As Alex has said, I like to take risks in the kitchen.  But I was the guy who almost blew it for my team.  Almost…

TA DA!  Dain Lee with the amazing winning dish!  Woo Hoo!  Now what you can’t see on TV (because it melted) is how gorgeous and cool his snow-flakey Granita was before the TV Set Lights got to it.  Hat tip to Dain and Curtis – y’all are why we won that round.  Beautiful dish and you know damn well I’m gonna borrow (steal) so much of what you put on that plate!  Natasha, Jermaine and Zoe – I sincerely hope you managed to get a taste of that.

Dain Lee on a plate.  Beautiful.  And because of THAT dish – our Trio won the round.  We were safe from elimination.

And so…halfway through the season…yours truly has yet to go to the elimination round!  (Natasha was so pissed at me :) hee hee hee!)

But…this is a competition.  And by the end of Episode #4…we lost a really talented young buck and incredible soul…Jermaine was going home.  I’m telling you – keep an eye on him.  You will see him again.

But now…Lisa and I are the ONLY full intact team!  Team Alex has a full squad!  Boom!  Robert Irvine is down to Natasha.  Andrew Zimmern is down to Zoe.  Curtis is down to Dain.  We’ve got a target on us next week.

Or…Lisa and I don’t just send home one of our competitors…but an All Star Mentor….on All Star Academy.