Ilan Hall

Season 2 winner Ilan Hall shares his thoughts on Season 3.

on Jun 29, 2007

It seems like from the get-go Hung was running around like a maniac. He's very focused and he's very skilled, but he needs to be a little bit more respectful of his surroundings, his fellow competitors, and the food products. You don't just throw live animals on the ground and leave them there. No matter what, you're in a kitchen. As for the conch in the Quickfire, I've never worked with it either, but I've eaten it once or twice. It was actually pretty interesting watching them use that contraption to open it. Overall I was glad to see them using live ingredients -- it's the best way to go. There were some great Quickfire dishes. Brian had a really good approach.using different techniques. I was surprised to see that no one did anything grilled. Hung said how people stuck to white wine and steaming everything. Grilling and keep it raw are the best preparations of seafood -- simplest, cleanest. Both methods really just make the food speak for itself.

I did have a bit of a problem with the Elimination Challenge. It didn't seem like there were any true guidelines to it. When we did our health-food challenge in Season 2, each meal had to be under 500 calories, and it had to be calculated exactly. I'm assuming because there were issues with us and people were accused of cheating, they wanted to kind of blur the event, so that it can be judged on the food, which I can understand. I think next time, in a challenge like that, there should be some sort of stricter rules. I don't know if there's something off camera about the rules that we didn't see, but I don't think so. I just know ours were very strict.

I think one of the greater techniques to me as a cook is to hide fat. This basically means to incorporate fat to make things more delicious and have better textures. For example you can add lots of olive oil to yogurt and it won't seem like you've done that. You can literally take non-fat yogurt and whip olive oil into it.

I don't mean they should cheat, but if we had had that freedom last season I could have deemed what I thought was healthy and low calorie and incorporate those things without the stricter rules. Basically, even though it was a difficult challenge, they could've done it.