Bravotv.com: What did you think of the Quickfire Challenge this week?
I thought this was really difficult and clever. I think it proved the point that to build up to Restaurant Wars you have to understand the importance of relying on your team and trusting the people you work with. Ultimately, as much as this competition is about one specific chef, running a restaurant is about a team. If you don't have a team you can rely on, you're lost. The challenge was a really fascinating way to prove that point in the extreme. I think it really woke up the chefs. It forced them to understand how vital that really is. At first I thought it was ridiculous, but in the end I thought it was a smart exercise.
Bravotv.com: Jen's team wins and they have the choice to keep the money.
I'm sure they regret their choice but I'm glad they did it because it's a game and what's the point in playing it safe? You gotta be in it to win it!
Bravotv.com: What did you think about Rick Moonen as a guest judge?
Rick has been cooking in this country for a long time and he's a champion of sustainable seafood. He's a seafood guy first and foremost. He was the chef at Oceana for years and really brought that restaurant it's fame and glory. Now he's in Las Vegas with RM Seafood and he's been an advocate for sustainable seafood in America. It's easy to find out what fish is the best choice locally and aren't on the brink of extinction due the human hand, and make those choices accordingly so we can eat and live better. You want to choose fish and seafood that's good for you as much as good for the earth. I thought he was a good judge for this challenge and I thought it was great that they highlighted that.
Bravotv.com: Let's talk Restaurant Wars. This year they didn't have to be in charge of the décor or building the restaurant itself.
That was something that needed to happen. They just get too stretched to the maximum when they have to concentrate on building the actual restaurant. If we could give them a week it would make sense, but every year that becomes the issue that takes too many cooks out of the kitchen. The point is to have them work on the line with a concept and to build a menu together and serve it to a room of staggered service. That's way more important. Having it take place in an established restaurant with all the facilities had the same effect because you still had to direct service, manage reservations, seating, and everything in the front. You did not have to deal with building the physical space, which has nothing to do with the real competition.
Bravotv.com: Let's start with Revolt. First of all, what did you think of the name?
The name was horrible. I understand that it signified a revolt or a revolution but everyone else was just thinking of the word revolting. Revolt is revolting. You're not judged on your naming abilities though.
Bravotv.com: First course was Michael's Chicken and Calamari Pasta and Smoked Arctic Char.
They loved the chicken dish. It sounded delicious! People get down on chicken but it's making a comeback. In the time where people are looking for simplicity, chicken is a satisfying choice and it's a versatile meat. Don't be hatin' on the chicken! They did a great job. The char seemed a little bland. Yes, that was Eli's dish, but he didn't plate it and that's the complicated part about being in that role. This is exactly where their Quickfire came into play. The same thing may happen when you are on the line in the heat of service. There are going to be moments where you need to relinquish control a bit and let someone on your team finish your dish even though it may not come out exactly how you would have liked. You have to trust the people you are working with and communicate so you are all on the same page for the end result.