Bravotv.com: You checked in on the chefs before the elimination challenge. At this point the chefs have been in the competition for a number of weeks -- what do you think is the most difficult part of the competition for them?
Chef Emeril Lagasse: Until you have had an experience like this, you just don’t know how much pressure it is. You’re on the road and the stakes are high. You’re juggling a lot and it’s not easy.
Bravotv.com: What were some of your favorite dishes from the elimination challenge and why?
Chef Emeril Lagasse: I liked Kwame’s dish a lot. It was well executed and really delicious without being too safe. The jalapeno in Amar’s dish was spot on. He did a great job of pairing his dish with Padma’s beer. Another favorite was Karen. She used the Ras el Hanout spice well and had a very balanced and interesting dish that you just wanted to eat. Overall there were some really great dishes, but these chefs did the best job with this challenge.
Bravotv.com: You've worked with Isaac for many years. Were you surprised to see him in the bottom?
Chef Emeril Lagasse: I was surprised to see Isaac at the bottom. He is a really talented chef and I think that he just lost his way with this dish and was trying to do too many things. The flavor was there, but the overall dish was just off. It was difficult to see him struggle with this one, but at least now we have banannaise.
Bravotv.com: Did you think there was anything Wesley could have done to save his dish after he overcooked his lamb?
Chef Emeril Lagasse: Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do save an overcooked chop. Once it’s done, it’s done. And with these sorts of time constraints, he was in a really tough spot. You don’t have time to start over or rethink or dish at that point.
Bravotv.com: Jason's squid meatball dish was also in the bottom -- was it the texture, flavor or both that put this dish in the bottom?
Chef Emeril Lagasse: Jason’s dish was out there. I mean, really out there. It just didn’t work. You have to love how much thought and creativity he put into the dish, but in the end it just wasn’t very appetizing. The texture of the meatballs was not good and the squid was off. If I served that at one my restaurants, it would definitely get sent back.