Bravotv.com: What did you think of the Jacques Pepin Quickfire challenge? Were you surprised to see the chefs struggle so much in recreating his dish?
Emeril Lagasse: I thought that this was a great challenge. I was classically trained in France and I have a great appreciation for technique and skill because of that. Jacques Pepin is an excellent chef and pretty intimidating when it comes to French cooking. I'm not surprised that the chefs had a tough time with this challenge. It's all about precision and technique and you can't make it up. Everything has to be perfect.
Bravotv.com: What did you think of the French versus Spanish cuisine challenge? Do you have a preference between the two types of cuisine?
EL: Being classically trained in France, I have a great appreciation for French cooking and technique, however more recently I have really gotten into Spanish food through recent travels there. I have embraced the food and culture and started cooking a lot more Spanish food at home. Currently, my kids' favorite is my paella, which I make for them often. French cooking is all about technique, Spanish cooking is more simple and laid-back.
Bravotv.com: Dominque really pushed her team to more modern French cuisine, were you happy to see the chefs stretch that way?
EL: I think you have to keep pushing the envelope and try new things especially on Top Chef. You have to go for it, but at the same time realize that it’s a risk. I would rather go home for taking a risk than just stay in the middle and play it safe. I think that’s part of what makes a great chef.
Bravotv.com: Meanwhile Julian wanted to keep things more simple. What did you think of his direction?
EL: I liked this direction. Often the thing that kills a dish is that last ingredient. Keep it simple and let the ingredients speak for themselves. If you go simple though, it needs to be spot on. There is no excuse and no room for error.
Bravotv.com: The Spanish team really knocked it out of the park by focusing on execution. What did you think of the dishes they created? Which was your favorite?
EL: They did a really amazing job. Nina's dish Ensaladilla Rusa with Green Olives, Gulf Shrimp, and Potatoes was so simple but every ingredient was perfectly cooked. I also enjoyed her Ajo Blaco with Almonds, Crabs, and Cherries. Both dishes were elegant, classic and well-executed. Carlos' chicken dish was also well done. The wedge of lemon was a really nice touch.
Bravotv.com: The French team on the other hand had issues with following through on some of their high concepts. Which dish did you think was the worst? Which dish did you like best?
EL: The best dish from the French team and of the night was the Chicken Liver Mouse with Roasted Chicken Bouillon. It was spectacular and the mousse was perfect. Shirley and Stephanie nailed this dish. I agreed with my colleagues that the Cornish Game Hen and Spiced Chocolate with Corn Silk Nest was the worst dish of the night. It was very one note dish and the chocolate overpowered the entire dish.
Bravotv.com: What did you think of Nick's decision not to forfeit his immunity? Did you think it was fair to his teammates?
EL: It’s was a really tough call. It’s a group effort but at the same time, this is a competition. Nick had the worst dish of the night, but he won immunity so who's to say what’s fair? It's easy to say that if you were in Nick's position that you would take the fall, but in the end he did what he thought was right and someone with a great dish went home. It’s all part of the game.