Kid Two is a fairly savvy reality food competition watcher, but Top Chef Seattle left him with lots of questions. Not what you may think of 14-year old boy questions, but things like Mom, why are they cooking with pea stew? Don’t you call it pea soup?  So at his bequest, here are the Top 12 Top Chef vocabulary words from season 10. Yes, there’s a quiz at the end. Links on the vocabulary words will (mostly) take you to some delicious-sounding recipes:

  • Dashi is a Japanese soup stock, the base for miso, and usually made with a sea vegetable.
  • Nage is a light broth used to poach seafood, from the French nager, to swim.
  • Saboyan – a foamy egg sauce. It’s the French version of the Italian zabaglione. Très popular in Top Chef-land

Kristen Kish’s Episode 4 winning Quickfire Challenge dish:Top Sirloin Tartare with Mustard Sabayon & Carpaccio Salad


  • Yuzu – I knew this one. Yuzu is an East Asian citrus that, in Japan, is made into a flavorful paste. I keep it in the fridge to use in this easy rice, ham, and pea stir-fry.
  • Geoduck – this is not actually “gooey duck.” It’s a large clam that, as Top Chef Season 10 winner Kristen Kish famously pointed out, “looks like a penis. A really big one.” Here is a video of Top Chef Season 3 winner Hung Huynh demonstrating how to cook one:
  • Vadouvan – an Indian spice blend with French influences that include fenugreek, cardamom, tumeric, and red pepper flakes. I’ve never tasted it. I must.
  • Pistou – you may have heard “pea stew,” but it’s not. This is the French version of the Italian pesto.
  • Ponzu – this is a Japanese sauce, a citrus/soy mixture that’s similar to a vinaigrette.
  • Pavé – in French cooking, it’s a square-shaped piece of meat. Any deliberately square shape can be called a pave.
  • Oxtail – is, actually, the tail of a cow.
  • Squab – Urban Dictionary says it’s slang for fighting. In Two and A Half Men, it’s the punch line to a theme song. But in Top Chef-land, it’s a protein – a fledgling pigeon. If you can stand it for 7:35, here is the squab scene from Two and A Half Men:
  • Romanesco – Hugh Acheson said he’s a sucker for the stuff, earning Brooke Williamson her only Top Chef Seattle finale win. Romanesco is a brassica, a broccoli/cauliflower hybrid that – for the math geeks out there – most closely resembles a natural fractal. Fractals are cool; look them up

And just to make it a baker’s dozen:

  • Fattoush – a Middle Eastern salad made of toasted pita bread with fresh vegetables.

Pfew. What do you think – are you ready to take Bravo Top Chef’s Foodie Fanatic quiz?

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