I am Eric Ripet, chef of Le Bernardin, commenting on Episode 16, which is the finale of Top Chef All-Star.
So in this challenge, they have the opportunity to create their own restaurants. It's the finale. It's prestigious. It's a very exciting challenge for sure.
So in between Richard and Mike of course is an exchange. "I'm going to win. You're going to lose, you're gonna. . ." Of course, it's expected. At the same time, I think they have a lot of respect to each other. They have been through that season, which was a very difficult one. They have, I believe, created a strong relationship, a friendship. And, yes of course, they're saying "I'm better, or he's weak. I'm this and I'm that." But it's good television.
So I like the panel of the judges. Lydia is an authority, and she's the queen of gastronomy in America. Alfred is a pioneer, and one of the kings of American chefs in America. You have also Hubert Keller from San Francisco, who's an amazing chef as well. Again, the usual suspects, Tom and Padma and Gail. I mean, it's really, it's really a good panel.
So I like the process of choosing the sous chef. It's basically a blind tasting, and then they pick whoever did the best dish. And they have some surprises. They see Jamie going with Mike, and I don't think he was too thrilled to have her on board. But, then, you know they work really well. She does a good job. They work as a team. She's a trooper. She's doing a great job. I like the process. I like the process of the blind tasting, and at the end that was a good team, both of them.
So we started with Mike’s restaurant.
Mike has, I think, a good strategy. His restaurant is a little bit rustic in a sense, compared to Richard’s restaurant. But he seems to be well organized. The food is coming out. It looks like the food is well executed. We hear some "wow" here and there. So he has some very strong dishes. He has also some weak dishes. I mean, the first appetizer, I think, that he's serving with the mozzarella, is a little bit weak compared to what Richard is doing.
But then he redeems himself with the fish, and then the meat. The problem is the dessert. It's basically a crème caramel, a flan. And it has been boiled in the oven, so therefore instead of having a silky texture, you have a texture, which is very different. It’s harder. It has some little bubbles. It's grainy. But, you know, except that, he's doing really, really well.