Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

Did You Taste It?

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

Did You Taste It?

Harold explains why the "did you taste your dish?" question should be banned from the show.

This week Charlie Palmer was the guest judge. I haven't worked with him but I've eaten at Aureole. He's a badass and he's really legit. I thought the whole thing with the Voltaggios and Charlie was pretty funny. It's like the family triangle. I think Charlie set the pace early with them. If I had someone I worked with before judging me I think I would have been more comfortable than nervous.

For the elimination they had to work for Charlie's "Pigs and Pinot" which I thought was a great event. I've never been. I love pork and I love Burgandy. I probably would have done some kind of pork belly with a vanilla gastrique paired with a Burgandy if I could.

I think people who had a braising item had an advantage because they had something that you can cook and keep it warm. If you have something like a tenderloin or a chop you have to cook that a la minute. You have to cook those to a proper temperature. If you have a braising item you just have to make sure you don't overcook it and dry it out.

Bryan was concerned about time but 4 hours is plenty of time to do ribs. If you're gonna do it old school and smoke it you might not have enough time, but if you drop it in 275 or 300 degree braising liquid for 4 hours and then let it sit in the hot liquid it should be fine. It's sitting in there and it's going to keep cooking.

Kevin did a pate and I thought that was a really good idea. He's using very simple ingredients and he's doing it right. He can cook.

On the bottom, first we had Laurine. She didn't have a clue what rillettes are. I can't believe she didn't get sent home. She's a sweetheart but why are you making rillettes if you don't know how to make them? She braised it. Rillette is a confit preparation and you shred it and emulsify. Robin's porkchop... Well, I just don't know about coffee and Pinot Noir...

Ash went home which I was bummed about. I wasn't too excited about his dish. It seems like one of those things where styles are evolving, and he's in one of those stages in his cooking career and he's not really sure where he wants to go. He sees new things and he sees what people are doing and I think he's influenced by that and maybe he's not executing it correctly. He got the "did you taste this?" question. Every time one of the judges ask that, it's like, give me a break! Don't ask me that question. If you did taste they're going to say your palate sucks and if you didn't they'll ask you why you didn't. Just stop it. As far as I'm concerned the judges should just stop asking that question. I'm tired of hearing it. Did you taste it? Why ask that question? You're screwed either way.