Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

Respect The Chef

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

Respect The Chef

Harold Dieterle questions Spike's choices.

Forty-five minutes is a long time to make a salad. Spike won the Quickfire with a very traditional Vietnamese-style salad. It had mint in it, and it looked good. It looked like something I'd want to eat. I was little surprised that Stephanie didn't get the dish done. I think she definitely is a lot stronger, clearly, in the Elimination Challenges, because maybe she's the kind of person who needs a little more time to conceive what she wants to make. And if you have 45 minutes to make a salad? I thought that was quite a bit of time. And then Sam picked Antonia as the winner. When an egg is poached properly ... that's a big thing for me. I love a nice poached egg -- it's runny, and it's just good stuff.

It was pretty funny watching Spike choose his items for the Elimination Challenge. I was laughing while he picked chicken. I mean, if you're going to use those ingredients, that's cool, but I didn't think he represented them very well. I think he chose strategically, and if I were to do the same, I think I would've chose similar items. I probably would have done a veggie burger or something like that. That's what I was thinking. I serve edamame falafel here at the restaurant and they're a big hit among the vegetarians. I think I would've done a falafel/gyro combination.


I thought it was a pretty boring episode, actually. It just wasn't very exciting. What I can't get over, and what I have issues with, is the aggressive comments toward the judges. Show some respect, man. Show some respect! You're going to piss Tom off? That's a smart move? If you want to be on television, and you want to stand up for your food, that's fine, but be respectful about it. I'd never speak to the judges like that. It's ridiculous.

Spike had a game plan. If his plan is putting half a slice of bread and a slice of tomato, and that's how he wants to utilize his ingredients to make a chicken salad, that's his decision. I think it was weak, but I did like the idea of putting grapes and olives together. I think that was a great Mediterranean idea. I would've enjoyed that. Tom didn't, but I liked that idea. I just don't think much of the secondary ingredients that he picked out to knock everybody else down.


And about Lisa calling out Andrew: I think that being put on the chopping block brings out things in people. It makes people more outspoken than I think they would've been otherwise. Neither one of them necessarily wanted to go home, and she definitely didn't want to go home. And sometimes you throw people under the bus, and that's the way it went down. I'm sure Lisa will look at this in hindsight and say, "I wish I hadn't said that." She should've just let the judges sort it out on their own.

It's hard to say if the sushi was a good idea or not. I think if you do, it's got to be done really, really well. I don't think of sushi as being hearty, either. And that was, to me, one of the most important elements of the challenge. And sushi just isn't hearty. When I eat sushi, I spend way too much money because I have to eat so much of it to feel full. I probably don't think it was the best idea.

I don't think it's a bad thing that Dale keeps making Asian dishes, but at a certain point, you have to show some diversity. You can only cook X, Y, and Z food for so long, especially with the talent pool being the way it is, but eventually you have to show off what you can do. Everybody has a style, and everyone on the show is not yet a chef, so they're still developing their style. You get put into a situation where you're nervous or not feeling that comfortable, you're going to go back to your comfort zone. And for him, it's Asian food. So, if he's winning, who cares? He's making it well, so it doesn't matter. At this point, everyone's looking for an angle to get ahead, so...

I still like Richard. I still like Stephanie a lot. I think Lisa is very talented. I think Dale is talented. I think, at this point, everyone's really strong. And next week looks like a war zone. You can't not have Restaurant Wars. I'm more interested in watching Rstaurant Wars than in watching the finale, to be honest. I think it puts a lot of things into perspective about opening a restaurant.


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


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.

Read more about: