At the beginning of every Top Chef episode, Padma Lakshmi reminds viewers that the winner will make a special appearance at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, so it's no surprise that much of the events at the festival are devoted to all things Top Chef. Take Gail Simmons and Tom Colicchio's demonstration, entitled "In the Kitchen with Top Chef," for example. The two culinary minds created dishes (her: a strawberry lychee cocktail and shrimp pea pasta; him a lobster pea ravioli), provided tips on how to cook more like a top chef, and best of all, revealed details from the upcoming season that recently finished filming in Las Vegas. To find out what Gail and Tom had to say,
On cooking more like a top chef:
- "Always use fresh lemon juice!" Gail said when mixing her cocktail, "never that gross stuff that comes in a plastic lemon."
- Like Michael Symon said at his seminar, Tom recommends not using extra virgin olive oil for sautéing. "It's a waste of money," explaining that one should use regular olive oil for most things and extra-virgin for dressings and garnishes.
- Be creative! Tom likes to take the same three ingredients — like tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella cheese — and see how many distinct dishes he can create with those simple items.
On Top Chef Vegas:
- "I've never eaten better on and off the show." Gail openly praised the Las Vegas culinary scene and the next crop of cheftestants.
- Tom agreed: "The chefs are more talented, more efficient cooks. Every season there's a surprise, especially Carla comes to mind, but this time there's lots of surprises."
- Both Tom and Gail stood by the show's "only as good as your last dish" mantra. Gail explained, "That's the reason we have guest judges because they don't know the contestants like Tom and I do." Then Tom added his two cents, "Look at the Giants vs. the Patriots. Yes the Patriots were a better team, they went into the Super Bowl never loosing a game, but the Giants won fair and square. No one said, 'oh the Patriots win because they played a better season.' The show is the same way."
- While Gail takes no part in the final cheftestant selection, Tom looks at the last 20 resumes to make sure none of the prospects previously worked in his kitchen.
- The last thing Gail said was, "Season 6 is really amazing," and in an homage to Bravo, "You'll just have to watch what happens."
Hearing all of this are you excited for TC Vegas?