Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

Hosea: The Meal of My Life

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

Hosea: The Meal of My Life

The Season 5 winner dishes on his menu, Stefan, and, of course, Leah.

Bravotv.com: OK, cook the meal of your life: What was the inspiration behind each dish?
Talk about pressure! I'm not sure any chef alive can cook the "meal of his/her life" in such a short amount of time, but I tried my best. I was inspired by the ingredients. I cooked a meal that I would want to eat. It was a combination of ingredients, cooking techniques, and flavor profiles that I love. It was the first time all season I felt like I was really cooking my own food. I was very happy with each dish.

Bravotv.com: Did you know before you came what you would cook?
No way! I learned from watching the show that you NEVER get to do exactly what you want.  Of course I have some signature dishes I was hoping to present, but I never had my heart [set] on any particular one. My mind was clear until I saw what food was there and how much time we had. 

Bravotv.com: Of course there was a twist (there always is), but did you think Stefan would have cooked the alligator so well?
I am not surprised at all that he rose to the challenge. Stefan is an amazing chef and we both know the only real advantage I have on him — my looks! That's for you buddy! Seriously, I respect him a lot. I know it looks like we can't stand each other, but I consider him a good friend and I look forward to hanging out with him soon. As long as we don't have to compete against each other, we will never have harsh words again.

Bravotv.com: Were you happy you got Richard to help you? How much influence did he have on the meal?
Richard was amazing. He is the real deal, one of the best chefs this show (or any) have seen.  Richard never tried to make the food his own, he just supported my vision. He had some useful advise when it came to plating and service, and I wouldn't have been able to do so many things if he hadn't been there.  His speed, professionalism, and his humility were exactly what I needed. THANK YOU RICHARD!Bravotv.com: What did you think of the other chefs’ menus?
When we told each other what we were doing, I really thought Carla was going to take it. Her menu sounded so delicious. It was what she had been building up to all season. If she hadn't run out of time plating, the results might not have been the same. Stefan's also sounded wonderful. We all know he can make fine desserts, but unfortunately that seems to have been the dish that helped me edge out the win. 

Bravotv.com: What was it like cooking for that table of esteemed chefs and others?
I can say it was one of the biggest honors of my life (right up there with the last dinner in NYC). I am glad I had already done most of the cooking before I had to say hello to them, as I might have been too stressed out to think and cook clearly. 

Bravotv.com: You and Stefan got into a bit of a scuffle over the foie gras, etc. What happened?
It's a competition.  There are limited ingredients.  Part of the strategy is to go in the walk-in and grab what you need.  There were many times during this season that I didn't get to use something because somebody else had already taken it and wouldn't share.  I was clear to him that I would share whatever I didn't plan on using.  I'm not going to feel bad about getting the foie gras first.

Bravotv.com: Do you actually like Stefan because sometimes you seem actually kind of playful.
Yes. As I said before, he is a friend. The show needs drama, so you see the fights and the insults. There are many hours worth of footage of Stefan and I having a great time together that are laying on a cutting room floor somewhere. In fact, I'd say 90% of the time we got along wonderfully.  Bravotv.com: Did you agree with the judges’ comments about your dishes?
I have tried to take everything the judges have said to me during this competition as constructive feedback. You never stop learning. I have learned so much because of this experience. I didn't always agree, but I never disagreed, if that makes sense.

Bravotv.com: Did you think you would win, or you were unsure until the end?
I was never sure I was going to win. What I was sure of was that it was probably my best performance of the entire competition. I was happy with my food and I enjoyed myself. It was such an honor just to be here. And to make it all the way … I feel extremely lucky.

Bravotv.com: What are you going to do with the money?!
I am trying to open a restaurant of my own. I also will be spending a lot of time with my parents over the next few months, helping them out. My dad is having a serious battle with cancer. He is getting worse. My mom lives alone and is also dealing with a number of illnesses. This money gives me the freedom to be with them and help them out for a while.

Bravotv.com: How would you describe your experience overall? Would you do it over again?
Hands down the hardest thing I've done as a chef. I don't wish that kind of stress on anyone.  I would do it again if the prize had a few more zeros on the end of it!!!!!!Bravotv.com: What was your best/worst moments from the season?
Best is easy: that last dinner. The worst: probably the couch

Bravotv.com: I would be remiss if I didn’t ask, at the end, Leah almost looks like she’s going in for a kiss, but it’s super-awkward, what was up with that?
Leah and I are great friends now. We really care about each other. We talk a lot.  But this is a cooking show … isn't it????

Make George's Cravable Breakfast Sausage

George decided the best way to satisfy New England Patriot tight end Rob Gronkowski  was with a hearty breakfast. Make it for yourself at home.

Pork and Veal Sausage Patty With Sunny-Side Up Egg and Potato Hash

 

Ingredients
3 lbs pork butt
1 lbs veal
4 garlic cloves
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp coriander
2 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 bunch chives
1 bunch parsley
1 Tbsp fennel seed
Pepper (to taste)

 

Directions
1. Grind prok and veal using medium dye, reserve and keep cold

2. Toast cumin, coriander, and fennel seed in a sauté pan until aroma is released. Grind in spice grinder, reserve

3. Chop parsley and chives fine, reserved

4. Chop garlic super fine, reserve

5. Mix meat with spices, smoked paprika, herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper

6. Test a small batch in fryer. Taste and adjust seasoning

7. Form into patties, place on grill, then finish in oven