Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

Aloha

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

Aloha

Executive Producer Shauna Minoprio gives you the insider scoop.

Let's talk about this week's show. Hawaii! An amazing and magical place. The lunch with Alan Wong in Waipio valley was a really fantastic experience for everyone - production and crew included. While the chefs got to fly in and out by helicopter the rest of us had to driving in down the steepest public road in the whole of the US, across two rivers and past wild horses.

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It was worth it! Some might question why we did all that for a 'food' show but I really wanted the chefs to have an experience of 'Hawaii' that would be unforgettable and inspirational. Honestly it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Doing so much shooting outside was extremely nerve-wracking because of the unpredictability of the weather. While we were shooting the finale, every other island in Hawaii was experiencing typhoon warnings and flash-floods. By some miracle, the area on the Big Island where we were was the only place not experiencing torrential rainfall. The day the production team arrived we had a traditional Hawaiian blessing for the whole enterprise with all of us there - it was a pretty cool moment - like the blessing the chefs got only with about 50 of us. It did rain the day before we actually started shooting - and the day after we finished. I'm not religious or even superstitious, but still.


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Honestly with the weather on our side it was a great place to shoot - and a great place to shoot a food show. The amazing ingredients they have there - the fish, the beef, the coffee, the fruit, the incredible variety of wonderful vegetables - it's like the garden of Eden. Also, I have to say all the Hawaiian people we met were just so lovely and charming and happy for us to be there. I honestly think that as a producer, it was the best shoot experience of my life. (Or maybe it just felt like that after the previous episode...?)
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I have no idea what Tom, Gail and Padma are writing on their blogs but from a production this judges table was a marathon. I think one camera operator might actually have fallen asleep while shooting because it went on so darn long. You know when judges sometime say 'it was a really difficult decision blah blah' - well this one was a doozy. I'm thinking there might be a bit more hate mail coming our way because of the decision they finally made... maybe I'll just head back to Hawaii for a while...

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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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