Being a Top Chef contestant can be grueling and exhausting and crazy fun. When we're all wiped out from nonstop competition, we do what we do best: eat good food. Some of my most memorable meals with those talented chefs involved banh mi, traditional Vietnamese sandwiches that layer cured meats, sausages, and pickled vegetables in small, soft versions of French baguettes. I love anything with pickles and fresh cilantro! I've put those flavors in a burger patty here and sandwiched them in my favorite French roll: buttery brioche. The rich bread makes all the difference, as does high-quality pork.
Many well-known chefs work with food scientist Harold McGee, author of Keys to Good Cooking: A Guide to Making the Best of Foods and Recipes. McGee explains why thawing small cuts of meat in 100-degree water is perfectly safe.
Chef, writer and television host Amy Thielen knows her way around an eggplant. “Properly cooked eggplant is as plush as a pillow, as soft as custard,” says Thielen, who didn’t like eggplant until her 20s.