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Bravotv.com: Sooo... Francois Payard. Tell us about what he means to the pastry world.
Johnny Iuzzini: Francois is an icon in the industry on top of being one of my own personal mentors. I worked for him from the age of 19-23. He was a tyrant in the kitchen. Led his team through fear, quite often yelling and screaming in French and Franglish. He knew what he wanted and it was his way or the highway. He was raised this way and worked in many great places before coming to the US and becoming a pastry force to be reckoned with. I remember starting my day every day nauseous and nervous, wondering what I would be yelled at for that day. My greatest lesson with him was that you better not make the same mistake twice. All that said, once you got to know him, he is a big teddy bear. He is sweet and gentle and caring and would do almost anything for his friends. He still looks after me; he gives me shit too, but I know it's out of love and respect.
Bravotv.com: The other chefs criticize Carlos’ use of liquid nitrogen. What’s your take on it?
JI: You know, some chefs become very dependent on certain ingredients, techniques, or equipment. Unfortunately, Carlos made a lot of macarons and used a lot of liquid nitrogen. Sometimes it was warranted and sometimes not. In this case, I think he was smart to use the LN to set his pie filling. Had he not, I am sure Francois would not have liked his pie due to its liquid consistency. I use liquid nitrogen a lot in my home kitchen. In fact, I have an automatic delivery plan in place that brings me 160 Liters every Friday morning. The benefit of liquid nitrogen is that it is -195c, which means not only does it freeze/chill things very quickly, but it also allows you to freeze things that normally can't be frozen like alcohol, or items with a very high sugar content. This gives us the ability to work against nature in a way and allows us to be very creative in our techniques. Although, I am against using techniques and tools just for the sake of using them. You should always use the tool and technique that yields the highest quality product. Otherwise it borders on gimmick.
Johnny, I am sure I am not the only viewer that would say I definitely never want to punch you, I look forward to your arrival and your comments, and sometimes I want to punch some of the cheftestants (Orlando) (not really, I am non-violent). I love the show and someday I am sure I will have an opportunity to taste your desserts. I've been to some of the restaurants in which you worked, but I'm not sure if I've had the pleasure to actually have one of your dishes.
I was soooo sorry that Carlos's dish did not work out. It was such a clever concept and came out looking great. Plus he seemed like a good sort and a hard worker. Hopefully this show has given his talent visibility and will lead to more success for him.
The rest of the cheftestants are fairly likable with the exception of Orlando but I think his attitude is because he has issues. I look forward to seeing who wins.
All the best!