Top Chef Just Desserts Season 2, Episode 6: You gotta fight for your right to pastry!

The cheftestants tried their very best to avoid the wrath of Kahn.

This week, your faithful CDO is somewhere in Lake County, California, at a casino (Don’t ask!), but in my stead to cover Top Chef Just Desserts, we have talented writer and foodie Megan Murphy, who blogs about what’s on her plate at This Girl Can Eat. You can peep her full bio after the Q+A. She’s grilling our resident expert, Le Bernardin Executive Pastry Chef Michael Laiskonis, about all the beastly happenings this week. Take it away, Megan!

Episode guest Jordan Kahn honed his craft in some of the country’s most esteemed restaurants (including The French Laundry and Per Se) and has gained quite the reputation in the pastry world. How do you feel about his sweet and savory approach?

Indeed, Jordan is a great guy and one of the most creative pastry chefs around, not only blurring the sweet-savory divide, but also in his presentation style, inspired by nature and visual artists of all kinds. As important as the classics are, it’s also important to refine and redefine what dessert can be. I have yet to check out Jordan’s restaurant, Red Medicine in LA, but I can’t wait to sample his take on southeast Asian cuisine.

The contestants talk about sampling — when you take a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and make it your own. Do you recall a situation where your pantry wasn’t stocked with what you needed and you had to improvise to get the job done?

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Late Night Favorites: Chef Jordan Kahn Talks Red Medicine’s Beef Tartare

Red Medicine's beef tartare is definitely a late-night sight for sore eyes.

We’re celebrating the release of the 2011 Diners’ Choice Awards for best late night restaurants by looking at a few of the dishes that diners find extra delish after hours. First up, is Chef Jordan Kahn’s Beef Tartare at Red Medicine in Beverly Hills. He shares a few tidbits about his creation, including an explanation for why it’s so popular.

The dish: Beef tartare / water lettuce, water chestnut, nuoc leo, chlorophyll

The inspiration: “This dish represents the philosophy of our cuisine: French-Vietnamese influence, local ingredients, and a modern aesthetic.”

The explanation: “Steak tartare can be difficult to find on menus in Los Angeles; it offers a dish that everyone is familiar with, but in a new form and with a new flavor profile.  It’s particularly attractive to chefs and people in the restaurant industry:  high quality beef, peanuts, chili, herbs — what’s not to like?”

Curious diners take note: This particular version is only served at the bar — the bar menu is available every night, from 6pm until 2am.

Reserve a table at Red Medicine to try this dish.