Bravotv.com: What did you think of the Quickfire? Did the hot dog inspire you?
Well, the Quickfire Challenge was to create a "gourmet hot dog"; I tried to think of a way to take something that is not gourmet and make it such. I think that the dim sum version of a chili and soy seasoned hot dog is more gourmet than a sausage in a store-bought bun.
Bravotv.com: Moving on to the Elimination, what was it like cooking in Tom's kitchen and having him expedite?
Tom has an inspiring kitchen. After figuring out where everything was, I was a little more comfortable. Being around the judges always made me nervous, but Tom is very professional with expediting, so that part went well...
Bravotv.com: What was the inspiration for your dish? Did you consider doing either of the other two courses?
I had originally wanted to make a dessert. Making pastries is one of my stronger points, but after the Quickfire, I thought that making an entree would show more initiative. The "inspiration" was the actual ostrich egg. I (wrongly) thought that taking a bold, interesting ingredient would score a few points.
Bravotv.com: What did you think of the other dishes? Were you surprised how poorly everyone did overall?
I was very disappointed with the dessert team; I know I would have done well if I were in that group.
Bravotv.com: Did you think using the ostrich egg would put you over the top?
I saw that my plates came back to the kitchen empty from the diners, so I thought everyone liked the dish. The rice for the crust came out perfectly, the quiche set up nice in its water bath; mushrooms, asparagus, cheese, and egg work well together ... with the addition of a bold ostrich egg ... yes, well, I thought it was a creative idea ...