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Top Chef -- Round 3: Hot in the Kitchen

by Editorial Staff--South Jersey Magazine

As we enter the third round of this installment of our Top Chef contest, only seven chefs remain in the competition. This month, we tasked the cooks with creating a dish that was perfect for these dog days of summer—in other words, one that packs plenty of heat. Check out the plates they came up with and don’t forget to find some time to head out to their restaurants to sample the cuisine. Then head to to cast a vote for your favorite; you’ll also find all the recipes in case you want to try and replicate the meals at home.

Chef: Chris Horn
Restaurant: High Street Grill
Dish: Stuffed Pepper Trio
Horn uses a cherry pepper, an Anaheim pepper and a red bell pepper in this medley of a dish. He stuffs the cherry pepper with pepper jack cheese and a slice of prosciutto. The Anaheim pepper is roasted before being stuffed with a mixture of sweet potato, quinoa and goat cheese. Finally, the red pepper is roasted before Andouille sausage, shrimp pieces, cheddar cheese and vegetables are mixed and then rolled like a cigar inside. It is then dredged in flour and beer and fried golden brown.

Chef: Markese Beverly
Restaurant: The ChopHouse
Dish: Mango-Habanero Barbecued Ribs
Beverly uses baby back ribs that are seasoned and then put in a pan with red wine, honey, celery and onions and baked in the oven for two hours. He then creates his own barbecue sauce that features brown sugar, diced mango, lime juice and a spicy habanero pepper.

Chef: Robin Winzinger
Restaurant: Robin’s Nest
Dish: Fire Roasted Corn Salsa
Winzinger grills jalapenos and corn and then slices the corn off the cob and cuts down the peppers. She then adds chopped red pepper, onion and cilantro as well as beans, olive oil, salt, pepper, sriracha sauce and lime juice. After stirring the mixture she suggests serving alongside chicken or crab cakes.

Chef: Kenneth Sze
Restaurant: Yokohama
Dish: Spicy Lobster and Avacado Tempura
Lobster and avocado slices are fried in a tempura batter that includes Japanese chili pepper seasoning, and then coated in a salt and jalapeno blend. Once plated, it is served alongside a spicy aioli that gets a flavor boost from eel sauce, sriracha and ginger.

Chef: Prem Nath
Restaurant: Monsoon Fine Indian Cuisine
Dish: Chicken Vindaloo
This classic Indian dish is known for having quite a spicy kick. As with most Indian food, the layers are complex and ingredients include turmeric, cardamom, coriander, cinnamon and, of course, chili powder. After all the spices used have been blended and added to the chicken, the protein is balanced with the addition of onions and potatoes.

Chef: Tim Eliason
Restaurant: Braddock’s
Dish: Blackened Salmon
This popular fish is given some heat after being coated in blackening spices before being sautéed in a hot pan, then finished in the oven. Eliason serves it with a homemade cornbread as well as a strawberry-jalapeno jam.

Chef: Randy Wagner
Restaurant: Telford Inn
Dish: Pulled Pork-Stuffed Poblano Peppers
Wagner mixes red pepper flakes, salt, garlic and olive oil before rubbing all over a pork shoulder and then baking in the oven for six hours. After pulling away the meat, he hollows out poblano peppers and stuffs them with the pork. After roasting in the oven for 30 minutes, he places the peppers atop a creamy jalapeno mascarpone polenta and then finishes with a drizzle of a habanero coulis.

Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 5 (August, 2012).
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