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Bravotv.com: Let's start with the Quickfire: What was the key to being successful in the Quickfire challenge with the oats?
I think the key was to use the oats as an element of the dish, not as a major component. In other words, the most successful of the dishes were the ones where the oats acted as a flavoring agent in a subtle manner. In some of the other less successful dishes, the oats played too large a role, especially, if they were not used properly.
Bravotv.com: Which dishes stood out to you (for better or worse?)
That banana parfait was so well thought-out and delicious, but at the same time it was simple and thoughtful. I could have done without the rose though....
Bravotv.com: Do you watch <em>Top Chef</em> regularly? Who have been your favorite competitors?
Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time for television. But having met some of the more popular contestants during the shoot and seeing what they have to go through, I have a huge respect for anyone who puts themselves through that rigor.
Bravotv.com: As a NYC chef, what does it mean to have <em>Top Chef</em> in New York this season?
It's great for the city, and it always fun to see the NY shots. For those of us in NYC, I think we can be admittedly self-absorbed. That being said, its about time we got our "shout out."Bravotv.com: Onto the Elimination: What were some important things to remember when creating a successful Super Bowl-style dish?
The key was finding a balance between what someone expects from a Super Bowl "dish" and also being able to showcase your particular style. Overall it was impressive and lots of fun.
Bravotv.com: Which dishes stood out to you for better or for worse?
The best dish of the day was definitely Carla's "gumbo." It was a dish that was unique in the way it was done considering the cooking time. Also, as for the less than positive dishes, I really think Fabio was capable of far more. And I still think that. That's why I was a little tough on him.
Bravotv.com: Why did the eliminated chef go home instead of the other two in the bottom?
Ultimately, it came down to the overall reaction from the judges and the audience. Jeff's dish had the most negative response from the most people.
Bravotv.com: How can people learn more about your food, etc?
I have two restaurants called Scarpetta, one in NYC and one in Miami Beach at the Fontainebleau, and I'm also working a few new projects. I have a couple cookbooks out called <em>New Italian</em> and <em>Bold Italian,</em> and two Web sites: <a href="http://www.scarpettanyc.com/">http://www.scarpettanyc.com/</a> and <a href="http://www.scottconant.com/">http://www.scottconant.com/ </a>