Gail Simmons

Gail shares how this Duel showed off her favorite part of Top Chef and how much she missed mike and Antonia.

on Aug 20 So this week we have family facing off with Mike and Antonia!
Gail Simmons: What a fun episode! I love these two!

I was really looking forward to this Duel in particular because I love how they both cook. They have this hilarious connection and familial bond. When they were on Top Chef All-Stars, they were constantly at each other's throats -- so it was a great surprise (but did make sense) when we found out they're related. And they have just gotten closer ever since! So they start with Antonia taking off by doing something that she loves and does all the time at her restaurant – rice balls.
GS: A pretty straightforward challenge I think. This seems to be a theme with Duels -- you either decide to do something you know very well OR something your know your opponent does poorly. She went for something that she knows she's really good at it. She definitely knows how to make arincini.

Hers was enormous. It was the size of a softball. I've never eaten such a big rice ball in my life. But it was really excellent, light with classic flavors -- basil, tomato, Locatelli cheese. It was highly seasoned -- almost to the point of being too salty. But when you ate everything together, it was just delicious, gooey in the center, and piping hot. That girl knows how to make a ball. There's not much more to say.

I was impressed that Michael stopped to think about how to do his differently. He plays with a lot of Eastern Mediterranean flavors, so he went the route of Kebe, which is a play on a rice and ground meat. Usually it's formed into a slightly different shape. He had great seasoning and sweetness with cinnamon and raisin. It was a really interesting twist. But it was a little under-seasoned and after first tasting Antonia's, we all agreed that her rice ball was slightly better. So she won her challenge.