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.
Raw Brussels sprouts and kale leaves may sound like an odd combination for a salad, but these two cabbage-like vegetables are perfect together; since the uncooked leaves hold up well for hours, they're ideal for picnics and making ahead
When this roll comes together, it's almost like a stained glass window. You can see the shrimp, mango, and herbs through the thin rice paper wrapper.
This is a specialty from Surat in northwestern India. I am always drawn to the scent of a green papaya enhanced by nutty mustard seed popped in hot oil.
Cabeza--or beef cheek--tacos are some of the best things this planet has to offer as food.