Breaking Bread with ...

The renowned chef answers our questions about his guest judging appearance.

Nov 13, 2008 We know Lia Bardeen was on Top Chef before, but are you a Top Chef fan? Who has been your favorite contestant? (Besides Lia)
I watch every season, but I hate picking favorites! What was the key to being successful in capturing each area of New York for the chefs?
The chefs who really took the flavors of each neighborhood and made them stand out on the plate were the ones who were most successful. You could tell that if they were inspired by the smells and flavors, they were able to bring that out on the plate. What were the chefs' biggest mistakes that they made?
The biggest mistakes were technical. I can't stand undercooked grains -- the farro that Ariane prepared was completely crunchy. I think if it had been cooked better it would have accentuated the flavors of the other ingredients in her dish. Her lamb was perfectly cooked! Overall, who most impressed you and who were you least impressed by?
I have to say, I was very impressed by all the contestants. The food they put together was flavorful, really delicious. It may not seem like it from the show, but we had a hard time picking a loser. What sets New York cuisine apart from other types of cuisine?
New York just has the best of everything. There are so many different communities, ethnicities, greenmarkets, and products here. Then on top of that, New York has a big talent pool of people coming here to learn the trade. But it's not only in restaurants - theater, fashion, music; the best of the best can be found here. Inspiration is everywhere.