I mean, where to begin -- dessert. You know you gotta do it; it's like going to the dentist. It just sucks. I don't enjoy it. You just need to have a whole different mindset and it's challenging because you can't just do pastry as a Quickfire because you need recipes. It's like you can memorize one recipe, but everybody's nervous, you're under the gun, you can see them trying, they clearly have a couple of recipes that they've memorized and they're going over in their head the different amounts and proportions and it's like "Shit, I wish I wasn't nervous right now, 'cause I'm trying to remember this." It's tough, pastry's a science -- its not just like cooking when you just shoot from the hip and you taste something and it's just seasoning; you need to have your proportions right on, so right there, right from the get-go it's challenging. And then nobody there is really a pastry chef. That's why you hire pastry chefs, to do that type of stuff, 'cause we don't want to do it.
A chef dessert is something that you focus less on technique and more on ingredients, something similar to what Richard did. Bananas are really sexy, and he sold them. Bananas and avocado sound a little weird. I've never really had the combination, but if the banana's good and the avocado's good, it probably was a smart idea. He didn't do anything that was mind-boggling technique -- he focused on the ingredients. He made guacamole, he cut out some bananas. There's not a whole lot of pastry technique there but he sold it, so good for him. Everybody's focusing on making tarts -- that's great Spike made a souffle, and that shows you've got balls, but if it's not a really standout souffle, and you're passing it off to a pastry chef, it's gonna be tough.
I like Johnny a lot, he's been in the restaurant. We've gone out and had cocktails together on numerous occasions. I think he's a great guy. He does cutting edge pastries at a four star restaurant in Manhattan. He's highly decorated -- let's put it that way.
I liked the fact that Mark tried doing something from Down Under -- he tried doing pavlova. I thought that was pretty cool, 'cause I've had some really bad pavlovas in my day and it's a dessert that I've tried to make before and I've totally f****ed it up. It's like cornstarch and egg whites and basically what you do is you dry it out and bake it off and it's supposed to get really really crispy and traditionally you serve it with some Down Under tropical fruits. It's almost like a baked meringue, so to speak. It gets a little more textured; it's supposed to get a little crispy. But not be hard either.
I thought Dale's was cool. I thought it was a chef dessert. I thought it was one of those things were he was saying, "This is what I know how to do," and just knocked it out. It's like, I have a basic custard recipe: It's two eggs for every cup of cream, and you can do anything you want with it -- you can make creme brulee with it, you can just make a total flan with it, or you can use it for a savory custard. When I was on the show we had to make a fig tart, that was the ratio I made for the filling, and Le Anne helped me out and she hooked me up with a great shell recipe. So you just have your little things you remember and when you gotta knock it out, you knock it out.
I saw the Elimination Challenge and I was just like "Wow, man." I was getting cranky watching that. I get cranky quite often. But I would get really cranky -- all these knuckleheads are making me make this food. I thought some of them did a really good job. I take a lot of pride in making a curry. I always have a curry on my menu here, so I thought that was pretty cool to watch them do that, and I thought the whole technique with marinating the curry inside the beef, that was brilliant. I thought Richard did a really nice job with that. Do I want to sit down and eat a big brick of tofu? Probably not, but from what the judges were saying, they liked it, and it's something that's got a good sauce, and tofu's very much like a blank canvas -- it absorbs flavors very quickly. I have a vegetarian here every once in awhile. I'll have folks come in here that want to have a tasting menu that are vegetarian and I'll do something similar and put it out with tofu and poached with black olive oil. And it worked out real well and for the vegetarian, it was an eye opening experience.
The proportions of Jennifer's entire dish were ridiculous. It was this massive piece of crispy melted cheese, and then the big piece of bread, and asparagus, and it was weird. I thought the dish was really weird. And I felt like Jen had more creatively invested into the dish than Stephanie did. I felt like Stephanie just kind of sat back and was like "Alright, let's do it." It just doesn't look like something Stephanie would conceive of, not that I know her that well, but just based on the type of food I've seen her cook, just doesn't seem like a lot of her creative input went into that dish.
I don't know why Antonia and Lisa were hating on the Eastern Europeans. I love Polish sausage. It's like pretty much a no-brainer. It's taking Polish sausage and heating it up in beer. I would have liked to see them do something a little bit more creative than that but you gotta keep the Polish sausage in there. They totally went away from the concept of the dish; the fish is the focal point of the dish, and you got a little bit of sausage, and I don't even remember, what did they make, some kind of tequila sauce? The easy way to look at that, especially Eastern European food, traditionally goes really well with rooted vegetables which is why they used the Peruvian potatoes, but I was surprised they didn't do something with beets. Just get that really sharp purple color, and I just didn't get where it all came into play. It was weird.
My favorites? Richard is really killing it. He's doing some really creative food; he's sharp. Dale's doing well too. I'm enjoying it.