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What went through your mind when you saw who you’d be competing against?
Did I just throw myself under the culinary bus?
First the Quickfire: You were the only chef who really stuck with the “fried” aspect of the dish. What was the thought behind that?
Trying not to throw a 60 yard pass for a 20-yard receiver. In other words, make sure you pick something you know the judges will understand.
Do you watch Flipping Out? Were you prepared for how tough the cast would be?
I did and soon after it was MC flipping out. How do you prepare yourself for that?
So you were on the top going into the Quickfire, what was your plan of attack for cooking so many dishes in such a short period of time?
Spray them with big flavors ... but I would have to move my a-- to get it done.
What were the inspirations for your three dishes?
I was looking for three dishes that would not just taste great but stick in their memories as wildly clever but approachable … back to the 20-yard receiver. At Bottega my customers LOVE these combinations.
You ran into a bit of a problem with the ice cream maker — can you describe what Lachlan taught you?
Little problem … HA! If you mean the machine on the set wouldn’t freeze my anglaise? Yes that would be a problem!! Lach showed me how to use the crazy fancy new age Paco Jet and saved the day. He now has one large favor to be called in any time of my life (Italians hate owing someone so huge.)
Have you used basil in desserts before?
Yes…back in the 90’s it doesn’t come thru as basil … more camphor-like.
Do you think having the diners help you plate was “cheating?” :)
Its only cheating if you get caught!
What did you think of the judges’ comments?
I have learned over the years to listen with my mind not my pride and look for the truth in their statements.
Did you get to taste the other chefs’ dishes? What did you think?
Yes! At my funeral I want them all cooking for me
How are you feeling about the championship round at this point?
FREAKED … look at the talent, and my friends here have been cooking 70 hours a week for the last eight years so I am 29,120 hours of practice behind them. Bring it on!!
Anything else you’d like to add?
This show is fabulous, fun and crazy to do … and with the talent on Top Chef Masters, “on any given Wednesday, each of us is great enough to win!”
CONGRATES: This week’s episode of masters was by far my favorite. I could not pick anyone chef that I wanted to root for. All 4 of you had this great personality and skill that just awed me. I wanted all of you to make it to the finally. Great show and I’ll be rooting for you in the big cook off.
in the Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Asparagus Salad are the brussel sprouts and asparagus cooked at all?
Congatulations! I thought you did an awesome job. You made it appear as though you were having fun rather than working. I can't wait to see you in the finals.
Michael, you are one of the few shows that I watch on Food Network. You always have interesting dishes that are easily duplicated and you always have a warm smile on your face. I love your show with your friends at the end enjoying themselves. I hope you win. You are the BEST..
I knew you would win!! You are an articulate teacher on screen, engaging, entertaining and true to your roots. Your passion for cooking, farming, and making wine is inspiring. I watch "easy entertaining" as often as possible. I've prepared several dishes from your show, which made my family and friends very happy. I met you once at "La Cofradia " In Miami a few years back .I was the waitress that stopped you from leaving at the front door. I shook your hand, and continued to make a complete uttering fool of myself by telling you how much I love your show,(I mentioned your NAPA STYLE minute of ranting).You had brought your wonderful wine for the manager to taste and feature on the wine list. When he finally arrived, you, your companion, and the restaurant manager sat down for lunch. I don't know if you possibly remember, but the manager was so hung over, he tasted your wine , while doing shots of espresso....That's Miami for ya'.