Top Chef: The Tour Cincinnati - May 17, 2011 Top Chefs Richard Blais and Eli Kirshtein go pan-to-pan in a quick fire challenge on Sunday May 15, 2011. The stage. A large awning / tent rolls from the Top Chef tour’s 18 wheeler. Inside, local Midwest Culinary students prep the ingredients for the chef’s 15 minute, quick-fire challenge. The Top Chef’s cooking stations face off in the center atop a foot-high stage. The judges sit at the table in between. Chef Eli Kirshtein’s mise en place. Ready to go. Chef Eli Kirshtein’s saute pan and pea puree. Some of Eli Kirshtein’s mise. Ground Lamb for lamb sausage, pecorino romano, peas, and salt. Chef Richard Blais’s station. Mise for Top Chef Richard Blais. Pickled radishes, cilantro, turnip greens, honey, and his not-so-secret ingredient “gentleman’s relish” (chutney) will be part of his dish. A partial audience shot for one of the shows. Ticket demand was so high for Cincinnati, that the TC tour added an extra show to both the Hebron and Hyde Park locations for a total of eight over two days. Another partial audience shot. The tent seats approximately 100, with standing room only for another 100-plus around the perimeter. According to Fred, master of ceremonies (and marketing director for NBC Universal), Cincinnati’s audience numbers were the largest for the TC tour thus far. The All Star Top Chef, Richard Blais. Chef Eli Kirshtein in action. Kirshtein’s lamb sausage in the saute pan. Erin Swing Romanos – winner of two tickets given away by NBC / Bravo through Cincinnati Magazine – sits front and center. Chef Eli KIrshtein explains his dish to the audience. The multi-tasking Blais cooks and fields questions from the audience. Chef Jean-Robert de Cavel (Jean-Robert’s Table), Jean-Francois Flechet (Taste of Belgium), and Julie Niesen Gosdin (Wine Me Dine Me Cincinnati), get ready to judge the Top Chef’s quick fire challenge. MC Fred kept the pace snappy. Richard Blais cooks and dishes on other Top Chef’testants while Jean-Robert and Jean-Francoise look on. Richard Blais dishes it out to Eli KIrshtein. Lamb was the protein chosen by Cincinnati fans on the TC tour’s Facebook page. Chef Richard Blais chose a cross cut of lamb leg, “fast slow-cooked” it, and perched it atop a smooth turnip puree partnered with pickled radishes and turnip greens. Another first for the tour, no other city had chosen lamb as the protein (let’s see how they feel about goetta next time around). Chef Eli Kirshtein served lamb sausage with pea puree, spring onion, fennel, and pecorino romano, and finished it with a drizzle of white truffle oil. Richard Blais prepares goat cheese ice cream from a base of dry ice as a special treat for Chef Jean-Robert de Cavel. Dry ice takes a spin in the Kitchen-Aid mixer. The ice cream, ready to serve.