Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

A Series Of Unfortunate Events

Gail: I Wasn't Surprised Doug Stayed on Top

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

A Series Of Unfortunate Events

Executive Producer Shauna Minoprio gives you the insider scoop.

Considering the nature of this week's episode, I'm going to try and anticipate some questions viewers might have...

1. We allowed the chefs to have a camera because one of them had asked for one because it was their last night and they wanted to mess around and have some fun. I think we all expected them to film themselves doing impressions of Tom and Padma and some of the producers (that's what usually happens and it makes for fun extra content for the Bravo website).

2. The chefs know that there is someone on the production team sleeping in a room nearby and that they can go to them at any time if they have a problem. Marcel could have done this but did not. We do not have producers sleeping actually in their rooms -- it has never been necessary to police grown adults and industry professionals like that.

3. The next morning, I got a call from a field producer who had arrived at the loft to find Elia and Ilan without any hair. I was furious with them as I felt it was kind of a juvenile prank to pull which undermined the dignity of the show (little did I know there was much worse to come).
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4. Marcel did not come to the production team at any point the next morning to make a complaint about what had happened so it took a little while for us to find out. He was in an interview and towards the end he mentioned it rather casually to the producer who was interviewing him. The producer then asked him for the full details and notified me.

5. Once we saw the tape, we had absolutely no choice but to ask Cliff to leave. I was very sorry to have to do so, as it was clear it was supposed to be a prank but it clearly went too far.

6. From the moment Tom told him he had to go, Cliff handled himself like a total gentleman. afpblog_tom211_320x240.jpg

7. I think Marcel was genuinely sorry that Cliff had to leave like that. (I think I would have been a lot less forgiving -- it must have been pretty unpleasant to be woken up to that). afpblog_cliffm211_320x240.jpg
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8. It was a little embarrassing in front of Chef Eric Ripert. We were so proud to have him on the show and he had been impressed by the meal in Santa Barbara. It was all going so well, dignified and all about great food. Then all of a sudden we were at judges table with one chef missing and two chefs missing their hair. It was like we had been hit by a crazy-bomb.

9. It was a strange irony that the judges felt that they most likely would have eliminated Cliff anyway. They could still have decided to eliminate another chef but chose not to. I think it was the right call, as it would have felt unfair to eliminate a chef for being the second worst in the challenge -- especially with the stakes being so high. I've been producing television for about 12 years now and nothing quite like this has happened to me before -- it was a strange and uncomfortable situation for everybody. Of course it does make for a very compelling episode and for a producer 'compelling' stories are the holy grail. But this is one story I would prefer not to be telling.
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In my next blog I am going to try and answer some of your questions -- I know I have been very bad at responding to these which must be very annoying. Although I won't be responding to questions like, "How did a talentless hack like you get this job?" Those questions will be answered in my forthcoming autobiography, "Sleeping your way to the top, my life in television." Until then...

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

Ingredients:

Duck breast
Salt
Pepper
1 cup Walnuts
1 Tbsp Red miso paste
1 Tsp Mirin
Rice vinegar
1 Tsp White soy sauce
Cheeries
Butter
Farro
Chicken Stock
Celery
Walnut Oil
Radishes
Yuzu
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

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