Johnny Iuzzini

Johnny Iuzzini explains why it can be harder to create dishes inspired by familiar flavors.

on Oct 11, 2011

Bravotv.com: Which were your favorite and least favorite dishes? 
JI: Obviously I loved Matt's apple empanada turnover. The crust was pretty sick, flaky, and delicious. The filling was just right, The apple carpaccio added balance and acidity to the dish, all at the same time of reminding me of a carnival and fresh-baked apple pie. I also really liked Sally's corn dish. Again, lots of great textures, and I loved how Sally really brought the flavor of the corn throughout the dish in different textures and degrees of sweetness. I really didn't like Orlando's or Carlos' dishes, but for different reasons. I didn't like Orlando's because it really didn't feel like an elevated carnival dessert, due the addition of the chocolate in his candy apple-inspired dessert. Nothing about his entremet reminded me of a candy apple or a carnival. While Carlos' dessert was very playful and so much based on his on personal childhood memories. Carlos took on too much though. He had three components, which means he had three times the chance of failing, and that is exactly what happened. First, his bun didn't work out after some quick-thinking to replace the macaron, the fillings were kind of sloppy, and the textures difficult to eat. Then his churros didn't come out consistently  and hot for for the guests. The soda really didn't bring much to his dish other than the idea of it. In the end, Carlos really gave us his all. He tried to set himself apart and took some serious chances. I respect him for that, but unfortnately he fell short this time, and Gail had to ask him to pack his banana and leave. 

Bravotv.com: What did you think of Matthew’s pig rafflle?
JI: I think Matt was smart in creating a raffle. It ties perfectly into the theme of a carnival. Think about it: you walk around a carnival and eat, enjoy the rides, and try to win prizes. Most of the time, you spend the amount of money trying to win something you could have bought ten of in the store on the way home. That isn't the point, now is it? The point is that is is always more fun to win it and more importantly win it for someone else. The raffle also added an extra level of entertainment and an interactive aspect to Matt's presentation. He was able to start a dialogue with people, again transporting them back in time to their youth and the excitement of waiting to see if you have won something. It was quite magical to watch and very creative on his part. Plus, like he said, who doesn't love pigs? I was kinda disappointed that I didn't win one. I actually have a pig collection in my cabin, all types of old wood hand-carved pigs that my mom started for me as a housewarming gift. I love it and Matt reminded me of that and my mom, and it became quite an emotional experience for me deep down, but I would never admit that to him!