Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

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Top Chef 3.0

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

Fin, Found, Floundering

What Danny Meyer Taught Gail Simmons

'Top Chef' Goes to Hog Heaven

Gris Gris Boucherie Ya Ya

Brian and Travis' Dud Spuds

Top Chef 3.0

Carlos Fernandez congratulates Hung on his win!

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Step right up folks ...we have a penthouse in Miami, a New York challenge, an Aspen finale, and a live reveal in Chicago. But wait, there's more ... trips to Italy, the French Alps, and round-trip Continental Airline tickets to anywhere in the world! I have always been a Top Chef fan, but this season has been super-sized. Just take a good look around this Bravo Web site to get an idea ... blogs, recipes, and videos ... oh yeah, and Miami Spice featuring ...me! Ha! But I digress ... let me get on to the Season 3 finale.

Final Season 3 Challenge

Eleven thousand feet elevation. Oh ... my ... goodness. I wonder how many of the three remaining chefs did research on cooking in such an elevated climate and the effects it would have on moisture and boiling points? Our intrepid chefs have 35 minutes to put together a three-course menu of their lives. (They may say they have given it no thought, but every chef I know has their dream menu, and it is no secret that is what the chefs are always asked to for the finale of Top Chef.) That having been said, the surprise is always the ingredients they have to work with, and it is quite a challenge to put together a menu in such a short amount of time. I would like to have known the number of guest judges I would be cooking for at the onset as that is an important factor in determining what and how many dishes you will serve. Just in time alone, eight is easier than twenty. And can the chefs deviate from their menus? I would guess that they aren't supposed to as Tom is holding the menus in his hands like a prosecution lawyer!
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I loved Casey's choice of pork belly. Belly always gets my attention. Ha! And Dale has really proven himself the game king. His choice of Colorado lamb was spot on for its "seasonal and regional" appeal. Todd English really hit it on the head when he said this was the way to go. When I saw those celebrity sous-chefs, I found myself picking Rocco. (Don't forget my application to be your sidekick!) However I would have been thrilled to cook with any of these pros. The following day Tom announced the surprise addition of a fourth course, as well as ushering in the return of Howie, CJ, and Sara. Again, I would have chosen Sara for her technical skills as well as her work ethic. Hung really made out with both of his assistants.
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The judges really had it tough. They dissect everything, sometimes seeming merciless. Also the chefs have to stand there as their creations are disemboweled. (I know that sounds harsh, but when you are the one on the chopping block, that is what it feels like.) For example, the judges say they would have liked a little more acid in Hung's dish. All he really needed was more of the tomato vinaigrette and I bet that would have done the trick. The judges felt that Casey's addition of three small pieces of salmon roe ruined her dish. I know salmon roe is distinctive, but not overwhelming. And as far as Sake poached anything, you can count me in. I also believed that Dale's lobster dish had the potential to be phenomenal. He just needed to lighten up on the curry to a curry-scented broth, cook the lobster through and you have a home run. Hung's almond tuile with dessert was lovely as well. And I cannot wait to re-create his amazing looking duck next week during my cooking segment on "Cada Dia".

How lucky was Dale to have Todd English to French cut his lamb chops? Those puppies were gorgeous! Another home run for Dale in presentation and execution.

Congratulations to Hung. He worked hard and really 'hung" in there. And to all 15 chefs who put themselves on the line, go out into the world and show them what you've got. Make the most of this incredible opportunity. This whole experience continues to be more amazing than I can describe. I have had a blast with these blogs, the webisodes, the cooking segments on Telemundo and much more. Thanks to all of you who have and continue to join me on this amazing ride. And there is so much more to come. You can hear all about my future projects both here and at my web site www.chefcarlosfernandez.com. As always, stay well and ... Break an Egg!

Make Doug's Winning Mussels

Doug's mussels pleased the palates of the superfans -- and the judges. Try having them at home.

Chorizo-Marinated Mussels With Sweet Pepper and Cauliflower Relish

 

Ingredients 

5 lbs mussels

5 lbs pork chorizo

1 head cauliflower

3 sweet pickled peppers

EVOO

2 cups white wine

2 cloves garlic

2 Tbsp parsley (chopped)

2 Tbsp Chives (chopped)

 

Directions

1. Start a pan with chorizo. Render and carmelize lightly.

2. Add garlic, parlsey, chives, and mussels.

3. Add white wine and cover. Cook gently till the mussels have just opened.

4. Clean the mussels and strain the liquid over them. Cool.

5. Cut the cauliflower into small peices and roast hard until they have lots of color and are crispy.

6. To serve: Plate cauliflower, top with mussel and pickled pepper. Pour a little of the liquid over the mussel and garnish with pickled pepper and lemon preserve.

 

Lemon Preserve

Ingredients

5 lemons

Water

Salt, to taste

Sugar, to taste

 

Directions

1. Peel five lemons and thinly julienne the peel.

2. Blanch in boiling water five times till tender and not bitter.

3. Add juice from the lemons and season with sugar and salt to taste

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