Michael Chiarello

Best of the Best

Francis Lam: What's on the Menu?

Curtis Stone's Lemon Creams with Poached Cherries

Bryan Voltaggio: "I Thought I Won. I Know I Won."

Jennifer Jasinski Was a "Great Miracle"

Lesley Suter's 'Ratatouille' Moment

What it Takes to Be Top Chef Master

The Finale Countdown

Doug and Sang: Bad Romance?

Sang is Back!

David Burke Has Titanium Balls

See Ya, Suckers!

Why Jennifer Jasinski Didn't Go Home

James Oseland's Teacher Tribute

Gail: "I Still Can't Believe Sang was Eliminated"

The Strangest Episode of 'Top Chef Masters' Yet?

Lesley Suter: On Tongue, Flautadillas, and Birthday Cake

What Has Curtis Stone "Spewing"?

A Series of Unfortunate Culinary Events Leaves Blood on the Mat

Gail: "We Couldn't Excuse Neal"

Lesley Suter: Hey, Chefs, Why So Raw?

Pull it Together, Sang!

Francis Lam: I liked Sang's Fish

Curtis Stone in Nacho Libre

Gail Simmons: "Neil Went for Our Bellies"

The Evolution of Sue Zemanick

Curtis Stone: Throwing Curveballs

Ruth Reichl: "I'd Rather Be Training a Nation of Food Warriors"

When Plex Met Toodee

'Top Chef Masters' ' Toughest Critics Yet

Gail Simmons: No "Chef" in Lynn's Dish

Restaurant Wars: 'Getting' Busy

Francis: A New Kind of Locavorism

What Being a Chef Really Means

Ruth Reichl's Perfect Los Angeles Restaurant

Restaurant Wars' Controlled Chaos

Franklin Just Did Too Much

Curtis and Lindsay: A Perfect Pairing

Curtis Stone: This Episode Sends Hearts Racing

Franklin, Can You Hear Me?

Michael Chiarello

The winning chef describes the inspiration behind his dishes and the problems he faced.

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!”