Burning Questions

The winning chef interprets the word "illusion."

Jul 8, 2009

Bravotv.com: First, what was your initial reaction when seeing who you were competing against?
I knew I was up against some stiff competition. I’ve followed Douglas Rodriguez’s career since he was in Miami ages ago so I know how talented he is. John Besh also has a great reputation and has done well in other competitions. I knew the least about Mark Peel as I haven’t dined much in LA, but have certainly heard of Campanile.

Bravotv.com: The Quickfire: You did well, but how hard was it to cook with one hand tied behind your back?
Well, now I know I won’t starve if I lose a limb, but it certainly wasn’t easy ….

Bravotv.com: Do you agree that cooking an egg is the true sign of a chef’s ability?
There are so many other tests that are equally telling.

Bravotv.com: What was the inspiration for your egg dish?
It was Chinese-French, with Shiitakes, oyster sauce, and cream. I make soft scrambled eggs stuffed back into eggshells sometimes for special guests at annisa.

Bravotv.com: Onto Elimination, do you like magic?
Who doesn’t?

Bravotv.com: How did you interpret the card you pulled into the dish?
At face value illusion is something that appears to be something it isn’t.

Bravotv.com: Are you an NPH fan?
I live in a culinary cave. I don’t watch much TV, but I remember Doogie Howser.

Bravotv.com: What did you think of the judges’ reactions?
I was happy with my results

Bravotv.com: Did you get to taste your competitors’ food? What did you think? I only got to try John’s dish which was awesome. It's unfortunate he wasn’t able to finish it — I think he would have won that one.

Bravotv.com: What surprised you most about competing on the show?
That we didn’t have dishwashers?

Bravotv.com: Was the seascape edible? Did it make the sound you wanted it to? Most of the seascape was edible, or came from edible creatures—obviously the shells weren’t meant to be eaten, but the “sand” was perfectly edible, not that it was meant to be eaten on that plate. It didn’t make the sound I was hoping it would. I was hoping for that “snap, crackle, pop” that would imitate the sound of a wave receding on sand. Whole Foods rice crispies apparently don’t make that sound.