Breaking Bread with ...

Guest Judge Wilo Benet predicts the Top Chef winner.

Jun 5, 2008

Bravotv.com: For those unfamiliar with Puerto Rican cuisine, how important is the plantain? What are some other flavors and ingredients commonly used in traditional Puerto Rican cuisine?
The plantain is the equivalent of the potato for us because of its versatility and presence on our daily menus. Sweet and salty is probably the most authentic flavor combination in PR as ripe plantains are used in so many dishes in combination with savory elements, as well as a popular side dish we call "maduros," in fact so much that plantains in its "arañitas" are included in my offer at the Aspen Wine Classic next week.

Bravotv.com: Do you happen to have an easy fritter recipe you'd be willing to share?
Of course I do. "Almojabanas" or rice flour "Beigniets" which I love to watch fry since they turn themselves over in the fryer as they get golden brown on one side. (Recipe on Page 4).

Bravotv.com: Onto the Elimination -- which dishes impressed you/didn't impress you?
I loved the overall use of the pork by Richard, but especially I liked the belly with its crispy skin and the pickled vegetable as well as the Ham and Eggs was a beautiful and tasty rendering, but my absolute favorite was the ribs with the "malta" glaze which was not only clever but certainly original in using local elements in its recipes. Another element I loved was from Stephanie. I really liked the small "blini" like ripe plantain mini pancakes.