Bravotv.com: Let's start with the Quickfire, were you intimidated at all when you saw that Daniel Boulud was the guest judge?
I think everyone was intimidated seeing one of the world's "top" chefs in our kitchen. It's always nerve-racking cooking for someone you have a deep respect for and you want them to be impressed by your food. How important is technique in the kitchen? At all levels? Technique in the kitchen is the most important. it's the foundation for creativity and excellence.
Bravotv.com: Onto the Elimination -- Did you have any reservations about being paired with Spike?
Spike wouldn't have been my first choice, but as things worked out, I felt the progression of the meal supported a fairly nice contrast of his style and my own.
Bravotv.com: Were you happy with the choice of Good Morning Vietnam? Were there any other movies that you would've chose?
The movie I suggested was Como Auga Para Chocolate, but the way that we fell in the progression of courses, I felt that Good Morning Vietnam and direction we took our six- course experience complemented the other groups course order much better. We didn't want the judges to get repeat items on any course. It was also a chance for me to work with something I was not familiar in, which is Vietnamese cuisine.
Bravotv.com: Were you concerned at all that it seemed like the film was an afterthought? That your team decided what kind of food they wanted to make first, rather than being inspired by a film?
That actually never crossed my mind, but in hindsight, it wouldn't really have been an issue as the judges gave us no constraints on how we chose our movie and what dishes were going with it -- bottom line, we as chefs do what we know and if it works out in the challenge then more power to us.