This Provençal Life

This Provençal Life

Eric Ripert reveals what he might have cooked for the Ellis Island challenge.

Full transcript after the jump

Hello I am Eric Ripert, chef of Le Bernardin commenting on Top Chef, Episode 12, New York, Season All-Star.

The challenge on the boat is definitely not easy. You don't know how long you have to go to Ellis Island. And on top of it, there's a lot this processed food on that boat, and I'm sure it's very challenging to cook with nachos and chips and junk food. However, they are very creative, and they come back with some good ideas. And I was impressed with how quick they react, and by the results as well.

So then judging a challenge like that, I was kind of laughing about it, because Dan has been a supporter of sustainability about farming, about great quality products coming from grovers and farmers and so on, and then he end up judging a Quickfire where they have hot dogs and nachos. And I thought it was funny.

Mike Isabella's bread soup looks really, really bad. It looks like someone has been sick on the boat. So I really feel bad. I mean, it could have been a great idea. At this point, you know, it's almost the end, they're going to the finale, and I really feel bad when I see something like that. At the same time, you know, it's good television, and it makes me laugh.

I really like the idea of Carla, although Richard thought she didn't work enough. Sometimes, and I think Dan Barber would agree with me, when you have great ingredients, beautiful ingredients, of something fresh you, don't have to do that much to make a great recipe. It doesn't have to be necessarily complicated. So Carla win, and I'm glad that she choose to make some so fresh and simple, using a fruit actually.

So when they arrive on the island, they have their relatives and parents, and it's very emotional, and, of course, it's for them very difficult, I'm sure, to deal with that. It's probably a great motivation, at the same time, it's emotionally challenging. And it's probably messing them up a little bit.

I find the idea of looking into their ancestors with their parents very interesting, and the fact that Antonia is a cousin of Mike, very funny too and surprising as well, I mean for them of course, but for us viewers.

So they are to cook something related to their family or their origin. If I would have had to cook something, I think I would have gone Provençal, because part of my family is Italian, part of my family is from Provence. And I would have probably done a stew, with Provençal influence, and that would have been my dish.

So Antonia wins, and she decided to make a stew with a risotto. And until now, on Top Chef it's kind of a curse on risottos. Whoever tried to make it lose, so she's very courageous. And she goes for it, and makes a delicious one. She's the winner. Congratulations Antonia.

So Mike hasn't cooked Italian food since his grandmother actually passed away. And he's very emotional about it, and I can understand that. He decides to make gnocchis . The dish becomes something fantastic and magnificent, and everybody agrees that he has done a great job. So his grandma would be very proud of him. So Tiffany has the courage also to do something that Tom doesn't necessarily like: okra. And she changed his mind, so she definitely did something really delicious and fantastic as well. And now Tom likes okra.

I would have loved to try Carla’s dish, the pork shoulder, and also with the cheddar biscuits. That sounds really good. Actually I would have loved to try all of those dishes and be there with them.

Well I love the idea that they all are going to the finale. I would have hated to see one of them going home, especially with their family on their side. And you know, they are only five, and we really get attached to them, they have done a fantastic season, they have seen up and downs, and they have conquered, and I was very happy to see them staying and going to the Bahamas.

So I'm very happy that they are all going to the Bahamas. Actually I may, I don't know, see them there. We'll see. That would be a kind of a vacation for me, I don't know if it will be the same for them.

I'm Eric Ripert, from Le Bernadin, commenting on Episode of 12 of Top Chef New York, Season All Star.

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