If you are a fan of Top Chef you’ve no doubt seen the season opener where LA’s own Amanda Baumgarten, Sous Chef of Water Grill in Downtown Los Angeles, is one of the staring contestants. Baumgarten’s resume is impressive. After training at Le Cordon Bleu in London, she has worked at several restaurants in LA including Melisse, Patina, and Ford’s Filling Station before arriving at Water Grill. Dig Lounge attended a screening last week of the season opener, and all lips were mum on whether the local chef came out on top. But what did speak for themselves, were the dishes for the night.
The dinner consisting of 3 courses with dessert (not to mention an unlimited supply of chilled Malaspina Oysters with green apple mignonette) was a combined effort by Amanda and Executive Chef David LeFevre. Amanda’s first dish, similar to the one she created for the elimination round, was a Tai Snapper Sashimi with Green Tea and Blood Orange.
Her second dish was a Maryland Soft-Shell Crab with Grilled Sweet Corn and Bacon Tomato Vinaigrette. The crispy crab, sweet corn spiced with cumin and rich and smokey bacon tomato vinaigrette was a perfect balance of texture and flavor, worthy of any Top Chef competition. Maybe this dish will make the show too, only time will tell.
Not to be outdone, Exec Chef LeFevre created a sort of deconstructed salmon Egg Benedict. With in season Columbia River King Salmon with Poached Jidori Egg (served over a Sautéed White Corn Grit Cake), Asparagus, and Mustard Dill Sauce.
They’re gonna be doing special Top Chef events all season long. Watch this blog or our twitter feed for updates.