Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

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Take It From Sam

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

Take It From Sam

Sam Talbot has the Watch What Happens Reunion scoop.

Even though Marcel wasn't able to attend the Watch What Happens Special, he's still a topic of conversation. So I have something I'd like say about him: sam_306_07_320x240.jpg

Marcel's food that first night in Hawaii (Finale, Part 1) was damn good. It was the best food he put out all season, from flavors to plating. It was "spot on," as they say. He used his style of cooking to strengthen his dish. That poi, for instance--it was sick! He nailed it. I volunteered to work for him in the finale because I wanted to help him win and maybe learn a thing or two from him. It's too bad you guys didn't get to taste it. "Good" is an understatement.

Moving on to the show itself. What was the point of this show again? Oh, now I remember--it was to remind all of our friends that there are still plenty of things left that they can make fun of us about. sam_306_02_320x240.jpg

Speaking of jokes, Andy Cohen's opening comment beat Ilan's pants to the punchline. And while we're on the subject of "A Guide to Style"... Dear Tim Gunn, I'm a big fan. I love fashion and "Runway" and shopping, and if you see any extra wardrobe floating around set, I'm a 33'' long. Thanks, man.

Harold made a really good point that if you're going to be on Top Chef, it's probably a good idea to watch it. Take it from me. For whatever reason, I somehow missed an episode of Season 1. Which episode, you ask? This wont come as a shock: Restaurant Wars. Had I seen that, we may not have been LaLaLosers. Or a LaLaLaughingstock. (Or we may still have been, who knows--that's what makes TC fun.) So if you're going to be on Season 4, heres what you should have learned from this so-called reunion show: You will have no contact with the outside world at all--no cells, no newspapers, no iPod, no nothing. You will have nothing to distract you other than the people you're trapped with---I mean live with--and you will not be able to get away from them, even for a second.
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You will do crazy things in the house to blow off steam and make each other laugh, even if it involves skits which you would never do in normal life because you're not "that guy." The more times you say you're not something, the more it will seem like you are. (Take it from "that guy".) As if cooking isn't enough, the judges will also want you to do their job and tell them who they should send home. They'll make you stand there for hours, waiting for your answer. You'll have flashbacks to when you were in 3rd grade and the principal said, "No one is going anywhere until you tell me which one of you did this!" Except unlike your principal, they will mean it. They will try to break you. Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything. You will eat disgusting things that will make your toes curl. This may occur in the kitchen, but more likely while you're participating in a skit (see "skit"). Cliff, seriously, besides beer and an egg, what else was in that glass?
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No matter how funny your entry video is, it won't be as funny as CJ's. I crack up every time I see that first clip of him in his kitchen You will learn that you shouldn't grow your hair out on national TV. You will understand what Gayle meant by "two hours of film for two seconds of show," and realize it was an understatement.

There will be moments that hit you in the gut every time you see them--that clip of Emily leaving always gets to me.

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You will learn that what Clay said about the whole experience couldn't be more true than if you said it yourself.

Make Melissa's Mom's Egg Custard

Melissa entrusted her mom to remake one of her childhood favorites -- and came up with a win. Make your own version at home.

Egg Custard With Shitake Mushrooms, Clams, and Lobster Ingredients

Ingredients 

Clams
3 cups water
1 bag of bonito
1 small piece of dashi
10 shitake mushrooms (additional to dice for garnish)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Mirin
3 eggs
Scallions (for garnish)
Salmon roe (for garnish)
Lobster knuckle meat (for garnish)

Directions for Clams
1. Steam clams, remove meat, and chop.
2. Reserve residual liquid for broth.

Directions for Broth
1. Boil to a simmer for 1 hour.
2. Strain.
3. Adjust seasoning with soy sauce, salt, and mirin.
4. Cool liquid in ice broth.
5. Mix 2 cups of chilled broth with 3 eggs.
6. Whisk well.
7. Strain to create the egg custard.

To Garnish
1. Put knuckle meat, clams, and mushrooms into small bowls
2. Top with chilled egg custard (about 4 oz.)
3. Cover with plastic wrap and steam for 10 minutes.
4. Top with scallions, salmon roe.

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