Stefan: What Challenge?

Stefan answers our burning questions about the Le Bernardin challenge.

Bravo.com: First, the Quickfire Challenge: What were you thinking when you saw that Eric Ripert was guest judge?
Everybody knows the Master of Fish. He is one of the best french chefs in America and of course it made me happy to see him. And to his person, what a sweet and nice chef. I would work for him at anytime.

Bravotv.com: Were you worried at all about the fileting? Which did you think was the hardest?
See again we go back to apples. It is the basics like I said prior. You can’t fillet a fish, you should not be in the kitchen, or at least learn and keep your eyes open and watch and go to a fish market on your day off and work for free. Again, eel I love and it is probably the easiest. We used to catch them in horses' heads in the river in Germany and Switzerland. You rope the head of the horse and throw it in the river or stream, wait a few days and pull it out and here you have beautiful eel.

I know Hosea wants to beat me. That’s OK. He knows who is the better chef. Do I feel the same way? Not really.

Bravotv.com: Hosea really seems to want to beat you specifically. Do you feel the same sense of competition with him?
I know Hosea wants to beat me. That’s OK. He knows who is the better chef. Do I feel the same way? Not really. I have cooked in so many different countries and continents there is always somebody jealous and wants to beat you, comes with fame, fortune, and good looks. Ha! Hosea that one is for you. My hair looks so much better then yours.

Bravotv.com: Onto the Elimination: You seemed surprised that a challenge was announced at lunch. Were you?

Not really. I was counting the peeps on the table and six courses, six chefs. Do the math. And why would Tom and Eric sit with us for lunch and check us out?Bravotv.com: Why did you choose the lobster dish? Did you think it would be the easiest as Hosea suggests?
Whole Foods isn’t selling lobster so I thought, Why not?" And it was my favorite dish. I could have picked any of them; that’s the food I have cooked all my life and to Hosea’s remark, It is the easiest one. He almost did not make it with his dish. And when you cook lobster 30 seconds too long it is like rubber. So that is my answer to the question. But if Hosea thinks it is easier then I'm happy to take any of his dishes in his restaurant and re-do them, especially when I kick his ass in Bolder when we go skiing together. Hosea, I’m the guy waiting for you at the lift and waving and waiting for you.

Bravotv.com: What did you find to be the biggest challenge in recreating the dish?
Challenge? Again it was the basics. We are chefs here and not in school. RIGHT?? And execution was the key to the dish. That’s why I made one dish for Eric to try and he said it was great. Then I was sure I was fine.

Bravotv.com: Did you get to try your fellow chefs' dishes? What did you think?
Fabio’s was good, Hosea’s was OK as well, Carla was pretty close I have to say. And Jamie's? Ohhhhh Jamie. Sooooo salty, sorry.

Bravotv.com: Were you surprised Jamie was sent home? Did you think someone else deserved to go?
See, now I have to be honest. When I tasted Jamie’s food after she put it out I knew it was too salty. The fish seem to be OK, but the celery was sooooo salty and I knew when I ate it, she was going home. Someone else nope; it was Jamie.

Bravotv.com: You seemed to really like Jamie — how upset were you that she went home?
I knew that question is going to come. I really love Jamie, as a chef, as a person and how she is. She is a straight shooter like me. Lots of people think, that we comes across as arrogant or pompous. Trust me, it is just love and passion for the kitchen. She is by far one of the most creative chefs I have met. She was my biggest competitor on the show. She is fun, and has the sweetest smile and laugh on the face of the earth. And yes, Jamie is that chef I want to cook against in the finale. Boring without her.

 

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