Who Failed This Week’s Top Chef Test? Chef Ed Cotton Walks Us Through the Ep

Dear Padma. We get it. You're hot. You can stop trying so hard now. Signed, Management.

With just two eps left, Top Chef is getting more and more contentious. Chef Ed Cotton of  Manhattan’s Plein Sud reflects on this week’s challenges and eliminations and looks ahead to what’s in store for the competitors.

When someone exits, how hard is that for their co-competitors, emotionally and missing their presence in the apt? How long is it between challenges?

I never found it that hard on me or got emotional at all when people were sent home. Sure, you miss people, but you can’t forget that it’s a competition, and you’re not there to make friends. Challenges happen every single day; it is very demanding and long hours.

The QFC asks competitors to replicate a dish. Can you talk about how this might be tough if you haven’t actually tested something? And, at Plein Sud, can I assume your new dishes are tested and re-executed for just this very purpose?

The ability to replicate a dish is extremely important. At my restaurant, it is all about consistency and that is exactly what Richard said. You want a person to come back to your restaurant because they love the Cassoulet, Steak Tartare or whatever dish might be their favorite.  Yes, all our new dishes are tested for consistency and flavors and I am currently in the process of doing that for our spring menu. For breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner, our guests dine at Plein Sud because the food is consistent.

Regarding the QFC, is a cold dish a cop out?

I didn’t think a cold dish is a cop out – anything is fair game. It was not specified whether the dish should be hot or cold; it just needed to be consistent. Tiffany and Antonia made consistent-tasting dishes that the judges praised.

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