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The Daily Dish Top Chef

Get the Winning Recipe from the RITZ Amuse-Bouche Quickfire Challenge

See exactly how to make the Quickfire-winning dish that Padma Lakshmi raved was “really different in flavor profile.”

Style Living Top Chef 2002 Ritz Quickfire Challenge

Get ready to put a sophisticated twist on a snack-time staple. On the March 16 episode of Bravo’s Top Chef: World All Stars, the cheftestants were faced with a Quickfire challenge to create “the perfect amuse-bouche.” However, there were a couple of important requirements: The chefs had to use three “unique and unexpected ingredients” from around the world (one ingredient of their choosing and two others picked by chefs they were unexpectedly grouped with) and, much to the delight of the group, the entire bite had to fit on a buttery and flaky RITZ Cracker.

How to Watch

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

“Doing an amuse-bouche on a RITZ Cracker, now you’re talking my language,” Amar Santana said. Sara Bradley added, “RITZ Crackers are such an important part of Southern cuisine. Not only did I grow up eating RITZ Crackers, but we serve them in my restaurant.”

As she explained the challenge, Padma Lakshmi asked, “Who here grew up with RITZ?” and quickly concluded, “Everybody.” The versatile crackers have an especially significant meaning to guest judge Santiago Lastra, who shared that one of his first cooking experiences was making a crab dip recipe he found on the back of a RITZ Crackers box at age 15. 

“Are you literally saying that if it wasn’t for that box of RITZ Crackers, you may not have your Michelin star?” Padma asked, to which Santiago quipped, “I would be, like, a banker or something, you know?”

As the chefs prepared to start the challenge, Padma advised, “We want you to transport us across the globe with just one bite.” While many dishes ultimately impressed Padma and Santiago, one in particular stood out among the rest: May Phattanant ThongThong’s amuse-bouche using yeast extract, kumquat, and hibiscus. 

“Yours was really different in flavor profile, and I also thought you understood the proportion of cracker to topping,” Padma said, later adding, “You utilized the three ingredients you had beautifully.”

Scroll down to get a step-by-step guide to making May’s recipe, which earned her a $10,000 cash prize:  

May Phattanant ThongThong’s RITZ Cracker Amuse-Bouche with Spicy Kumquat Hibiscus Jam and Sriracha Cream Cheese

Style Living Top Chef 2002 Ritz Quickfire Challenge 1

Yield: 20 pieces
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes

For kumquat jam:

  • 100g seeded kumquat
  • 50g seeded yellow chili
  • 3g Thai red chili pepper
  • 1 tbsp yeast extract
  • 3 tbsp honey 
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 200 ml water 
  • 30g dried Jamaican hibiscus flower
  • 1/2 tbsp lemon juice

For sriracha cream cheese:

  • 50g Sriracha chili sauce
  • 150g soft cream cheese
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice 

To finish:

  • Makrut lime leaves, chiffonade 
  • Kumquat zest
  • 20 RITZ Crackers

For jam:

  1. Bring water to a boil then add dried Jamaican hibiscus flowers and cook for 5 mins to extract the hibiscus juice. Strain and reserve, should yield about 50 ml.
  2. Cut kumquat in half then slice. Seed the yellow chilies then slice to the same size as the kumquat.
  3. In a bowl, mix the honey and yeast extract together then add the sliced kumquats and yellow chilis. Stir and let marinade for 5 minutes.
  4. In a saucepan, add strained hibiscus juice, marinated kumquat, yellow chilis, and sliced red chilis.
  5. Reduce for 10 minutes then add sugar and continue cooking until it has the consistency of a glaze then add lemon juice to cool down.

For cream cheese:

  1. Mix cream cheese, sriracha chili sauce, lemon juice and salt together then whisk until smooth.
  2. Put in piping bag.

To assemble:

  1. Pipe the cream cheese on RITZ Crackers then spoon jam over.
  2. Top with chiffonaded makrut lime leaves and kumquat zest.

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