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A Difference of Opinion

Eric Ripert makes the case for sending a different chef home.

By Eric Ripert

How to Watch

Watch Top Chef Season 21 Wednesdays at 9/8c on Bravo and next day on Peacock.

Full transcript after the jump

Hello I am Eric Ripert chef of Le Bernardin commenting on Episode 9 of Top Chef in New York City, the Season of All – Stars.

So the Quickfire we have to make the fondue, which is actually reminding me a lot of ski vacations, a little bit like Fabio when he was going in Northern Italy. In France we have two types of fondue, or in Switzerland as well. One is called "the cheese fondue," made with cheese, obviously, and you dip your bread in it. So then one is "the fondue bourguignon," where you have a pot of very hot oil, and you cook your meat in it, and you have different sauce.

So I grew up with those types of fondues. And this seems to be less psychedelic than the '70s in America in terms of spirit. However, fondues are fun to entertain, and I think it's a good Quickfire for them to have. And the fact that they're judging themselves, I find that also very constructive and interesting to watch.

So Dale went with the idea of the Pho, which is actually kind of a cousin of the bourguignon version, the French version. Instead of using oil, he's using the broth, and obviously he has garnish in it and so on. It's going to taste good, we know that, and not surprisingly, he wins the challenge.

Maybe he over-thought a little bit the fondue concept. But I like the idea, and I thought it was fun to watch, and it looked like it's pretty good actually. So it may have been one of the contenders as well.

Richard is believing the conspiracy theory and he thinks that maybe some of the contestants are sabotaging each other to make sure they eliminate the strong one, and so I don't think with that group it's happening. I think, you know, it's the All-Star season, they are aware of that, and they focus on their craft. They are actually becoming friends through the show it looks like, and they seem to have a lot of respect to each other, to last so long in that season, despite the difficulty of the challenges. So I wouldn't believe in that theory of conspiracy, no.

Well I like the surprise of going to the 'Jimmy Fallon' show. And they have no idea where they are going, they hear some noise, they think they're going on top of the Rockefeller Center. It's actually in the studio where Jimmy Fallon has his show. And they have this kind of fun challenge, to try to catch an image with their cell phone, and that dictates the dish they will create for Jimmy. I mean, it's a lot of fun to go on his show. I have been lucky once to go there, and they seem to be so excited, I mean Carla is going crazy. They're really like they're supposed to have, a lot of fun in that beginning of the challenge.

So for Jimmy's birthday, they have to cook some food that seems to be pretty much home-food. That he grew up with. I mean a burger, a chicken pot pie. Tongue, I was surprised a little bit that he likes tongue. However most of the challenge is basic home food, homey food. I think it's easy to win that challenge if you stick with the tradition, and don't try to become too creative. And when Fabio decides to reinvent the burger that was not the right idea for that moment. It's not about reinventing anything; I think it's about bringing back memories to Jimmy and also making something delicious for the family and for the celebration as well.

It's always sad to see someone going home really. That moment when, you know like the last seconds before Padma says "please ___ pack your knives and go." It's really difficult for everyone, I think. And Jimmy's actually having a hard time with that as well. And I think he's genuinely having a hard time with it. So Fabio goes home. As a viewer, it's a little bit difficult to accept the fact that Fabio goes home because he has a dry burger. To me, I would have loved to actually be with the judges and taste the food, because as a viewer I think it's more important to send home someone who creates a dish that is way over-salty, and that is not edible. The burger didn't seem to be edible, so I would have maybe argued with the judges that it's more important to send someone with over-salted view. I don't know. I'm just a viewer I couldn't taste the food, obviously, but I was convinced that Dale was going home that day. And I wouldn't have been surprised to see him going home of course.

So Carla wins, and thank God she wins because she was so excited about making that chicken pot pie. She was obsessed during the week about chicken pot pie. She wanted to have the opportunity to shine. Good Carla you won. It's the third time, it's actually a big accomplishment. You are right to be excited about the challenge, and about winning of course.

Angelo has been very creative on that challenge, with the pulled pork and mixing coffee and dill and it's a very strange combination, and I think you have to have a lot of talent to make it happen, and to make the dish a success. So I congratulate obviously Carla and Angelo for creating that very uncommon combination.

Antonia had a very challenge ingredient to cook for Jimmy. The tongue is not something that is very common. It takes a long time to cook. Richard actually helps Antonia a little bit by putting the beef tongue in the pressure cooker, it definitely speeds up the process. And so and she ended up with a good dish. So I'd like to congratulate Antonia for making a good dish with something that is not so easy to cook.

So Carla's going to be on 'Jimmy Fallon'. And first of all, Carla, you're 'going to have a lot of fun being on the show. Jimmy's a fun guy, full of energy. You may have to try to contain him a little bit, or may not, because why bother? But for sure, it's going to be very interactive. It's going to be a lot of surprises for you Carla. Being next to him, you’re going to have really a blast. I'm confident of that.

I'm Eric Ripert commenting on Episode 9 of Top Chef in New York, the All-Star season.

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