Hello, I’m Eric Ripert and welcome to my video blog for Top Chef. We are here at Le Bernardin. So I have been in I think almost every season at least once as a guest judge, and this time it's more like a permanent position, but I approach it exactly the same way. I still judge them on what I have in front of me, which is their food. Therefore, it is very easy for me to just make a decision on what is the best. Then, after watching the show, I realize that obviously they have different personalities. What surprised me a lot was actually the lack of, I would say, humbleness from Angelo, who seems to be very cocky, with reason since he won the episode obviously by far.
So I liked the first challenge because it was a good introduction to the other contestants. They had to cook something from where they come from, and obviously they come from various regions of the U.S. and so on. So it was good to see what is their food culture. Myself, I was born in Antibes in the south of France, and I think I would have done something like a bouillabaisse kind of dish to represent the French Riviera. I was very impressed with the dish from Angelo, and I thought it was by far the best dish that we had. First of all, the proportions were incredible. It was on the spoon, you just had a bite. The flavors were very harmonious, the smokiness was very nice, it was an original creation. I liked the char rolled like that, I think it was really the big winner that day.
So John, John was obviously not the winner obviously; he went home. The fact that he bought puff pastry didn’t help. We couldn’t taste the maple at all. I really disliked the dish. Also, the presentation was extremely sloppy. I thought he would go home, but when we discussed with Padma and Tom and Gail obviously we all agreed that he was the one who really really didn’t succeed that day.
So I was extremely happy with what I have seen in the first episode, I think we are going to see a great season. The talent is there, and the personalities as well. I can’t wait to be next week with you and comment about Episode No. 2!