Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

Emeril Is Proud to Serve Shirley's Dish

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Gail: It Was Difficult to Let Go of Shirley

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And Don't Call Me Shirley

Emeril Is Proud to Serve Shirley's Dish

Emeril reflects on encouraging the chefs to cook from the heart and to leave a tangible mark on his beloved New Orleans.

Bravotv.com: What did you think of this week's Quickfire challenges? What do you look for in the perfect bite? What did you think of Carlos and Nick's work with the red peppers and eggplant?
Emeril Lagasse: I really enjoyed this week’s Quickfire challenge. It was nice to see the chefs competing in a different format, especially this close to the finale. For me, the perfect bite is all about balance. I think that both chefs did a nice job with this challenge, but it seems that Carlos was able to better highlight the produce by keeping it simple.

Bravotv.com: Tell us about why you decided to allow the chefs to leave their mark on your restaurant? What did you hope the chefs would come up with?
Emeril: I'm very proud of this group of chefs and I wanted to share their work with our customers by letting them taste the winning dish first hand. It's been an amazing journey for these cheftestants and they have truly embraced the cuisine and local ingredients of the city. It's really cool that they were able to compete for such a tangible prize that I think is pretty significant in leaving their mark.

Bravotv.com: What did you want the chefs to embrace and taste over dinner at your restaurant? Were you hoping to strike inspiration in them?
Emeril: By sharing my food and experiences with them, I was hoping to inspire the chefs to use what they have learned throughout this season and to cook from the heart in the Elimination Challenge.

Bravotv.com: Now to the dishes, what did you think of Nina's Speckled Trout with Baby Vegetables and Barbecue Sauce? Where you glad the ricotta didn't make it to the plate?
Emeril: I loved Nina's dish, and I think that it was a secret blessing that the ricotta didn't make it on the plate. The simplicity is what made it shine and I think that the ricotta may have jeopardized that.

Bravotv.com: And what did you think of Shirley's dish (Black Drum with Zhenjiang Vinegar Butter Sauce, Braised Celery and Mushrooms)? Why was it a winning dish for you?
Emeril: Shirley's dish was spot on. She really embraced the challenge and gave us a dish that represented her heritage as well as the cuisine and flavor of New Orleans. The dish really came together perfectly and represented what she has learned during this season. This was a winning dish and I am proud to have it on my menu.

Bravotv.com: What did you think of Nick's Charred Cobia, Roasted Bass, and Tuna Confit with Crispy Rice and Shrimp Consomme? What did you think it was lacking?
Emeril: I thought Nick's dish was beautifully done and had great flavor. The broth was really well seasoned, but in the end the fish needed more salt.

Bravotv.com: And lastly, what did you think of Carlos' tamal (Steamed Seafood Tamal with Saffron Cream Sauce and Pickled Okra)? Why did you think he deserved to be sent home for it?
Emeril: I thought Carlos' tamal represented the challenge well and had a nice flavor, but it could have been warmer and a bit more cohesive. It was a good dish, but Carlos didn't execute as well as Nick did in this challenge and that's really what sent him home.

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