Last night Tilth’s Maria Hines competed with four other renowned chefs for $100,000 for her charity, PCC Farmland Trust, and the title of “Top Chef Master.” For those who still want to watch, we won’t spoil the outcome for you. For those who don’t watch TV, don’t have cable, or just want the Hines-related info, read on.
Despite calling herself the “Organic Girl Scout,” Hines said she was still competitive, which she proved in two challenges. For the first challenge, the Quickfire, the chefs had to make a fruit plate. Hines made a three-course meal using fruit: apple soup, grilled figs, and fresh berries with berry mousse. The judges liked her dish but Jody Adams of Boston’s Rialto Restaurant won the challenge.
For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs were supposed to make modern comfort food for the cast and crew of comedy show “Modern Family.” Hines talked about her own modern family: her partner of 10 years and their two dogs. For her dish, she created a twist on trout almondine using salmon with an almond milk sauce, which she called a “slam dunk” and a “home run.”
Hines was first in the serving line for their 125 guests. Both the critics and and guests praised her dish, which she feared was overcooked. When she faced the judges, she said that salmon is a comfort food for a lot of people in the Northwest. The judges called her choice of almond milk smart and very modern, and the whole dish bold and bright and expression of place.
When it came to scoring, the top two were Hines and Toronto chef Susur Lee, who won the challenge with the highest score ever on “Top Chef Masters.” (Alas, Bravo ran an ad for next week’s episode that gave away the winner before he was announced.) In her exit interview, Hines said she’d like to “come back and try it again.” We’d love to see that!
The Bravo site features chef tours of their kitchens. Here’s Hines’ tour of Tilth: