Bravotv.com: Let's start with the Quickfire: What was the key to being successful in the Quickfire challenge with the oats?
I think the key was to use the oats as an element of the dish, not as a major component. In other words, the most successful of the dishes were the ones where the oats acted as a flavoring agent in a subtle manner. In some of the other less successful dishes, the oats played too large a role, especially, if they were not used properly.
Bravotv.com: Which dishes stood out to you (for better or worse?)
That banana parfait was so well thought-out and delicious, but at the same time it was simple and thoughtful. I could have done without the rose though....
Bravotv.com: Do you watch <em>Top Chef</em> regularly? Who have been your favorite competitors?
Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time for television. But having met some of the more popular contestants during the shoot and seeing what they have to go through, I have a huge respect for anyone who puts themselves through that rigor.
Bravotv.com: As a NYC chef, what does it mean to have <em>Top Chef</em> in New York this season?
It's great for the city, and it always fun to see the NY shots. For those of us in NYC, I think we can be admittedly self-absorbed. That being said, its about time we got our "shout out."
For all of you who are upset with Scott Conant: give me a break. He was tough because he needed to be. Scott is one of the most talented chefs and restaurateurs in the country. And yes, he knows it. That's a good thing. He's confident. Fabio is not there yet, and he is capable of better cooking. Scott knows this and pushed Fabio for more. Plus, Conant is entertaining. That is also what makes for a great judge! So before you dis Scott too much, realize that he is talented and entertaining and has every right to be a tough critic in this domain.