Burning Questions

The eliminated cheftestant explains his choice of creating creme brulee for a two-minute on-air demo.

Dec 2, 2008

Bravotv.com: What was your inspiration for your amuse bouche?
When I heard the amuse bouche had to be breakfast inspired, my initial thought process was to give the US audience a taste of typical Latin American food but with fine dining elements. So how can I make Eggs Benedict 1) Latin and 2) tiny? So, I axed the Hollandaise sauce and placed the guava creme fraiche. Instead of a regular egg I used a quail egg and instead of poaching (on this one, I simply just ran out of time ... ) I fried it). Instead of brioche, I made an Arepa, which is often used in South America. I really wanted to show a little finesse with Latin ingredients. I wasn't too crazy about the outcome, but i knew it was good enough to get me by. I've been in a funk for a few days and nothing I made satisfied me. Sometimes I go through stages like that and it's really hard getting out of it.

Bravotv.com: Were you excited to see Rocco DiSpirito as guest judge?
Nothing against Rocco, I'm sure he's a really nice guy. But, no. I was a little disappointed in seeing Rocco. I have a hard time accepting him as a chef. I mean, seriously? Chefs don't look like that! It seems every he does is for the camera (to be fair, I don't blame him). I just can't see him sweating behind a hot line with a head band on (even in his younger days). As a TV personality I give him a lot of credit for what he does. I had my two minutes ... and i screwed it up. Ha!

Bravotv.com: What is your experience with doing demos? Ever done TV?

Funny. I'm definitely not comfortable in front of the camera. Even when I had my restaurant, I was never too crazy about going out on the dining room and talking to customers. I know my place, even in my own restaurant and it's in front of the stove. Since the show, I've gotten better though. Things about demos and things along those lines, are ... you have to be organized and have to have a game plan. I've never been able to think and follow a boring "game plan." Even with cooking, I can't just follow a recipe. I make things up as I go. At my restaurant every dish was different. Key menu words like "seasonal vegetables" and "vegetable puree" gave me enough freedom to play with different ingredients.