Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

Bad News Bears

Gail: Mei's Menu Was Almost Flawless

Make Top Chef Mei Lin's Winning Dessert!

Richard: "Gregory Had the Better Ideas"

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Hugh: Mei's a Chef's Chef

Richard: "Winning Is Overrated"

Make Mei's Sushi Style Guac!

Gail: I Wasn't Surprised Doug Stayed on Top

Get Doug's Masterpiece Brisket Recipe

Gail on Innovation (and George's Failure to Push It)

Make Melissa's Seared Duck Breast Dish

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

Bad News Bears

Harold explains what he would have done in the cactus Quickfire and the camping challenge.

Let's dive right in. In the 5th episode the Quickfire ingredient was chosen by the audience and it was cactus. I definitely would have preferred to cook with cactus on that one. I would definitely not do snake. Snake is really hard, especially if you haven’t cooked it. I look at cooking rattlesnake the same way I look at cooking something like something like calamari. It’s tough and you have to cook it either really long or slice it really thin and cook it really quick.

I thought it was silly when we did something similar in the first season. I think we had to cook octopus and we were only given half an hour. I understand it’s challenging, but don’t set everybody up for failure!

I would have loved to do a cactus curry. That’s where I would have gone with it. Mike Isabella won this one with a cactus and tuna ceviche.  I wasn’t surprised people hadn’t worked with cactus before. The first time I think I worked with it was in 2000 when I was in Oaxaca, Mexico and I’ve never used it in my restaurant. I can imagine that if I hadn’t taken that trip I would have never used it before.

In the elimination challenge they went into the wilderness, which I thought was super-cool. I enjoyed watching it, but I would have been a cranky SOB doing that for sure. It was an unbelievable set-up for cooking though. Ceviche sends Mattin home and that dish is kind of a cop-out in my opinion. Plus, going outside changes everything. Don’t try to serve a cold fish outside like that. I don’t know the set-up was exactly, but if you’re going to serve a ceviche it has to be cold.

Tom spit out Robin’s grilled Caesar dish. I’ve had that dish done successfully at a beach restaurant in the Jersey Shore. It was a grilled Caesar Salad and I personally enjoyed it, but I had had a couple glasses of wine at that point… I probably would have eaten my hand. She served spoiled food and I don’t know if she had tasted it before it went out there. That’s bad news bears right there.

Brian won with a pork loin. Those flavors sounded really good. Mike went for it a little more with a dashi and black cod, which sounded better to me. At the same time, you need to know who you’re cooking food for. Cowboys, in my opinion, are going to really go for grilled pork as opposed to a dashi.

I also think more people should have cooked over the open flame. I don’t know they didn't because I totally would have. I consider myself kind of a meat cook and I would have been all over that. Get some rib-eye in there and forget about it!

That's it for this week!