Knife Fight: Beef Forequarter

knife fight season two esquire tv

“I’m chef Ilan Hall, and The Gorbals is my restaurant.” After the doors close, Ilan forces chefs to battle it out for nothing but bragging rights, Mad Max-style. I suppose everybody has to do something after winning Top Chef.

Our first two contestants couldn’t be more different. There’s Adam Sappington from The Country Cat in Portland, Oregon. He works with “whole animals,” so…yum? Adam will go up against Michael Smith from Kansas City who has been known to paint with ingredients. Cooking is his sport because he sucks at actual sports.

The chefs have one hour to complete at least two dishes using three secret ingredients. The ingredients are:

  • Semolina flour. Boring.
  • A saw. That’s not actually an ingredient.
  • A beef forequarter. That’s most of a cow, if a cow were half the size.

The judges begin by poking around in the cow’s innards, judging their fat like a supermodel on a go-see. For some reason, the chefs are working together rather than competing to the death. While Adam breaks down the beef, Michael prepares the pasta. I guess that makes sense, the Midwestern Kansas man knows nothing about butchering beef while the hippie dippie Portlander is carving up a cow.

Well, it’s still a contest. Adam took the best cut of beef and is prepping a tomahawk steak which is the most tender and racist cut of beef. That leaves Michael with whatever he can hack off of the cow and ends up with a skirt steak and a rib eye. At least he’s not a vegetarian?

Michael bails on the pasta because he has zero patience left after basking elbow-deep in beef thighs. So he’s making skate wing, which…what? I don’t even know what that means. Adam is busy making a carpaccio salad with juniper and black pepper salted beef carpaccio with a citrus and vegetable salad. The judges pretty much hate it, which is funny because carpaccio on a cooking show is a cop out. Might as well call it cop-out-io. Yeah, I said it.

Fritters! Michael’s making them…with his hands? Isn’t that, like, boiling oil? I guess they grow ‘em tough in Kansas. He hates his own fritters which is a special kind of self-loathing. He goes all sorts of Mediterranean with a spiced fish fritter. Meanwhile, Adam is making semolina cakes. Snore!

Michael presents his semolina fritters with an arugula salad, because we would expect nothing less from Kansas City than an arugula salad. The judges are confused, but hungry. Adam plates his semolina cakes that he stewed with tomatoes and olives. Ooh! An olive pit, and it cut the inside of a judge’s mouth. Not good. Can I just tell you how good those tomahawk steaks look? Until Adam does the unfathomable—he debones the steak. Why? Why would you do that? Let the judges eat it Flintstone’s style. Michael’s rib eye and skirt steak is served with a carrot puree as a hat tip to the elderly. The judges are not feeling the flavors.

The winner of the knife fight is Portland’s Adam Sappington because meat wins every time.

Reprinted from

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedinmailby feather

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>