Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

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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Richard: "Winning Is Overrated"

Richard Blais congratulates Doug Adams on his admirable run and knows (from experience) this is just the beginning for this talented chef.

Doug Adams is not Top Chef.

Doug Adams is, however, the poster chef for what this competition is all about. A jumping off point for unrecognized or yet truly discovered talent.

Mr. Adams, yes I'm saying Mister because it pays respect to the man, and also because that's how The New York Times goes about things, came on to this season touting his resume of being a working class sous chef from Portland.

Doug Adams is not Top Chef. Doug Adams is, however, the poster chef for what this competition is all about.

Richard Blais

Sous chefs are on the line everyday (sous chefs from Portland I imagine are also butchering whole animals and foraging for botanicals, buts that's for a different blog). They are hands-on, blue collar grinders and early on Doug uses this statement to separate himself from the contestants who maybe are clipboard surfing, or worse, not even really in a restaurant at this stage of their careers. And although this is a part of his strategy or drive, and a very honest personal understanding and awareness of self, I have news for you...

Doug Adams is no longer a sous chef.

Sure, he may actually, technically still carry the title tonight, I'm not certain to be honest, but by his performance this season on Top Chef, he is now ready for the next stage in his career, and this is what can happen and should happen after Top Chef.

I can't imagine someone not taking a chance with giving Doug the opportunity to run a small restaurant. I can't imagine that someone out there tonight, hearing about Doug's goal of operating a Montana restaurant, connected in some way to hunting and fishing won't contact him. I can't imagine it; because it happened to me... My restaurant Juniper & Ivy in San Diego is a direct connection from my performance on Top Chef, and my gut tells me it had very little to do with "winning."

The fact is, winning is overrated.

Winning is fun. It may get you some cash or secure your ego, yes, but really, six months after this thing runs out on television, we are all just "that guy or girl from Top Chef.

Throughout this season, Doug has demonstrated everything one looks for in a great business partner. He cooks delicious, relatable, soulful food. He does it with a smile on his face. He cooks with a sense of authorship and knowledge of place and time. And perhaps most importantly (no, not his epic beard), most importantly, he communicates with his colleagues professionally and with integrity. I'd guess every cheftestant likes him. I know every judge likes him. He takes risks, like roasting a whole lobe of Foie gras, or say, blending up an aioli of ant eggs. Which, by the way, are you kidding me? Maybe he takes these chances because it's part of the game, but I think more so because Doug is a curious cook, which is a sure tell sign of a chef ready to do their own thing.

Doug, it may seem like I never had anything positive to say about your food, and maybe indeed that's how it played out on television, but it's not the case, Chef.

Congrats on an amazing run, one for all future contestants to take note of. And when rooms become available at your resort in Montana, I'm booking...

Blais
@RichardBlais (Instagram & Twitter)

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