Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

Sweet Vindication

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

Gail Talks OvenGate

Dookie Chase Makes Everybody Cry

Sweet Vindication

Season 1 winner Harold Dieterle gives his take on Season 3.

First off, I thought it was cool that the chefs caught their own fish in the Quickfire. I like Alfred Portale -- I like what he's about. He's a great chef, and in a lot of ways, he has a similar style to Tom's -- he and Tom Collichio are old school American chefs. So he's a good chef to cook for early on and kind of get a feel for it.

The conch is just a pain in the ass to get out. It's one of those things where you have to be a little relentless. So, when you're running against the clock it's not something you really want to mess with. So I get why they avoided it. I think it's more of a time thing. If the chefs had steady hands and could've relaxed with the time, it wouldn't have been that big of a deal.

Brian works at a fish restaurant -- that's his thing. And I think that it's good to see someone jumping in there and doing what you're supposed to do. I thought the dishes overall were nice -- but nothing blew me away. I did like Howie's dish -- I'm a simple food type of guy and I think ceviche was appropriate. As for Hung and the crawfish incident, honestly I think a lot of stuff he does is more for shock value and trying to get under people's skin a little bit. I don't think he's as big of a badass as he thinks he is.

The Elimination Challenge was pretty tough. I think Howie and Dale did really nice jobs with it. I thought both their dishes were really smart. You know, there was a teeny outrage during our wedding challenge when we used wedding cake mix in Season 1, and the cakes were fine. There were no complaints about the cake. And now, again, other people used pre-made ingredients and it's like, "Oh, smart idea." I thought that was kind of funny. Vindicating a little.

Howie's pork chop dish was great. I thought he was one of the few people who didn't really take it literally and kind of did it and put a twist on it. I thought he did a great job. I was trying to figure Micah out, I was pulling for her. But then that meatloaf looked like a train wreck. I get it -- her head wasn't entirely in the game, she's got a kid, and I think that's where her focus was. If you can get past that first week, you're going to be in a good place. But that first week is hell. It's really about getting adjusted to your environment. After that first week, you're in it and realize that this is the game to be played. Some people play it better than others, is all. I'll catch you guys in two weeks. Happy fourth of July!