Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

Getting Recognized

Get Doug's Masterpiece Brisket Recipe

Make Melissa's Seared Duck Breast Dish

Gail on Innovation (and George's Failure to Push It)

Make Melissa's Mom's Egg Custard

Hugh Worries About Scurvy and Foie Gras

Make Mei's Inspired Duck a l'Orange

Gail Has No Problem With Blood

Make George's Cravable Breakfast Sausage

Gail Simmons Won't Be Pushed Around

Make Doug's Winning Mussels

Tom Colicchio Answers Your Restaurant Wars Qs

Gail: It Wasn't Keriann's Day

Make Doug's Winning Braised Pork!

Gail: We Had a Tough Job This Week

Make Katsuji's Authentically Delicious Stuffing

Hugh: The Demise of Cornwallis and Aaron

Make Gregory's Winning Dumplings

Richard: Chefs Please Follow Instructions

Richard Tries Money Ball Soup

Make a Home Run-Worthy Popcorn Crème Brule

Hugh: Where There's a Will There's a Fenway

Gail: Keriann and Aaron Were Being ---holes

Make the Winning Surf and Turf

Gail: We're Taking No Prisoners

Richard Goes From Player to Announcer

Tom Talks Boston

Gail: There Was No Season 11 Underdog

Hugh Wants Nick to Be Kind to Himself

Gail: It Was Difficult to Let Go of Shirley

Big Easy to Ocean Breezy

Gail: The Final Four Are Like Our Children

Emeril Is Proud to Serve Shirley's Dish

Hugh: Enough With the Mexican Food Hate

Gail on Favreau, Choi, and Finding Yourself

Hugh on Poor Boys, Swingers and Food Trucks

Emeril: Nick's Choice Is Part of the Game

Nick's License to Immune

Hugh's Sitting on the Dock of the Bay

Hugh Decides Eight Is Enough

Gail Talks OvenGate

Getting Recognized

Eric Ripert talks about the NYC reaction to his new role and has a message for Angelo.


Full transcript after the jump!

Welcome back to my video blog. We are at Le Bernardin, and I am commenting on the second episode of Top Chef.

So since I have been on the first episode of Top Chef, I have had people stopping me in the street. Today, a bus driver with tourists in New York was honking and waved at me, so I guess a made a good impression on the show so far!

I loved the challenge of the sandwiches, and I thought everybody was tricked. And it was interesting because they thought they had a half hour to make an interesting sandwich, and really, in a half hour you can do a lot. But then it was a very clever idea to have that apron that, kind of, linked them together, and one could only use his right hand, and the other one, the left hand. That was a funny challenge, and very entertaining, of course. If I was a contestant, I would have definitely chosen Angelo because he has a sandwich shop and I think he’s probably the most knowledgeable about creating sandwiches, even in challenging times. Actually, the result is that Angelo won the challenge. So I would have definitely been on his team.

So I thought the sandwich from Angelo was very interesting. It was a surprise to see the fact that he used seafood in the sandwich with some Asian ingredients, with some fish sauce and sriracha for the spice. It looks delicious, really.

I loved the challenge of feeding kids in the school because its very important to have nutritional meals for our children and obviously schools have budges. We saw that they have two dollars and a few cents to spend per child to create a well-balanced meal. It was definitely something I wanted to watch and see who would be the most creative and the most connected to the kids, in terms of nutrition and also flavors.

The winning team had some actually good food, exciting food, and Kelly took charge. Sometimes, its not very easy to take charge when you work with a team. She became the leader of that team and she was not really appreciated by the rest of her team. I think Arnold was the most vocal, but not with her. I was a little surprised by the lack of solidarity by the teammates, and I was pleasantly surprised by the leadership skills that Kelly showed.

Well the kids were definitely adventurous, and it looked like they tried a lot of the food. But some of the combinations from the chefs really didn’t match their taste. I mean, I don’t think pickled vegetables are exciting for a kid, and Amanda’s dish, with some alcohol in it, doesn’t really resonate in the mind of a kid. I don’t think its really a good idea.

So I think Jacqueline made a big mistake to be maybe too nice, I don’t know, but she had the idea of using chocolate and bananas to make a nice dessert. And because of budget restriction she ended up with basically bananas, milk, and sugar. And she put a lot of sugar, I think she used maybe two pounds of sugar, which is enormous, obviously, and I think she should have been more proactive.

I was surprised by the team of Angelo, and I was surprised by Angelo. It looks like he may have sabotaged the team to get rid of the contenders, so that is a little bit disturbing, and I hope its not the case because if you have talent, you don’t really have to be acting like that. If you have talent, you don’t have to brag about yourself, and you don’t have to put other people down or try to maneuver around them to bring them down. You just can shine by your own talent.

So those comments were about episode two, and if someone has any questions, I will be very happy to answer them in the next comment about Top Chef.

Make Melissa's Seared Duck Breast Dish

Get the recipe for Melissa King's winning new culinary creation: seared duck breast with farro, walnut miso, and pickled cherries.

Duck Breast, Walnut Miso, Pickled Cherries, Farro


Duck breast
1 cup Walnuts
1 Tbsp Red miso paste
1 Tsp Mirin
Rice vinegar
1 Tsp White soy sauce
Chicken Stock
Walnut Oil
Chocolate Mint (to preference)

Directions for Duck
1. Season duck breast with salt/pepper
2. Sear on med-low on cast iron skin side down to render fat
3. Remove and let cool until medium rare
Directions for Walnut Miso
1. Blanch 1 cup walnuts in hot boiling water
2. Blend in blender w/ 1 Tbsp red miso paste, 1 Tsp mirin, 1 Tsp rice vinegar, 1 Tsp white soy sauce.
3. Blend until very smooth and then pass through chinois

Directions for Pickled Cherries
Cherries (slice/pit)
2 part Rice vinegar
1 part butter
To taste Sugar
Pinch of Salt

1.Boil and pour over cherries
2. Strain and reserve liquid. Mound pickling liquid with butter on the pick up to make cherry sauce

Directions for Farro
1. Boil farro in chicken stock for 1 hour until soft and bloomed
2. Strain farro
3. Mound farro with butter and chicken stock until it looks creamy
4. Season with salt

Directions for Shave Carrots
1. Shave celery (compress with walnut oil)
2. Shave radishes (compress with yuzu)
3. Chocolate mint (chopped)
4. Toss all with walnut oil, salt

Read more about: