Jul 08, 2010

Chat with Arnold Myint and Lynne Gigliotti, the losing chefs from the fourth episode of Top Chef DC at 1:00 p.m. ET.



Follow Food editor Joe Yonan's live tweets during the show at @WaPoFoodLive.

Arnold: Hey guys, it's Arnold and Lynne here from Top Chef 7. Bring it on!

Lynne: Well spoken Arnold. Ask away!

You certainly ran the cooking gauntlet with that challenge. Do you think your last dish was your best dish, since you were cooking to stay in the competition? Or do you think the lunch or breakfast dishes were better?

Lynne: I think all three of them were really good. We're not sure why we were kicked off. My pasta faux pas didn't help.

Arnold: I agree. All three dishes were winning dishes. The idea was to do a fancy quiche for breakfast, and for lunch, a fancy tuna salad.

Lynne: We explained to them how easy it would be to put out that tuna and they still thought it was complicated.

Arnold: All it required was some knife skills from a chef. And of course we thought the dinner dish was delicious. We really did show our creativity in all our dishes. I loved the lunch dish.

Lynne: The breakfast dish was just beautiful. Arnold serves that at his restaurant. I was stunned we got past breakfast.

Lynne, based on the show it seems you were convinced the pasta was started too early and would be overcooked, but in the end it was undercooked. What happened?

Lynne: I made a serious error in judgment. That's what happened. I was so stressed out about overcooking it, that I ended up undercooking it. Could have smacked myself for that. Even us old veterans make mistakes. It was unfortunate that Arnold had to pay for my mistake, but he loves me anyway.

Arnold: Yes, and I'll smack her when I see her.

I was so sorry to see you go, especially for that dish. I thought you were really starting to shine, and you were fun to have on the show! What will you be doing next?

Arnold: Hopefully everybody will continue to feel that way and not make me a casket on the show. I'm not dead yet. There's still fan favorite out there. I love Bravo and I know this network was made for me and we're a great fit. Hopefully people want to see more of me.

Lynne: I'm voting for Arnold for fan favorite.

Arnold: Aww Lynne, you're awesome. I'm also really happy that my character wasn't exploited in a negative, cheesy way. I got to show that I really can cook. Everybody can on the show.

Lynne: That's true. It was a talented cast.

It's boiling in DC. Give us a Top Chef caliber summer time dinner dish we could make without using the oven!

Arnold: Lynne and I both love peas. My favorite edish to do is a chilled pea soup with spring peas and sauteed mushrooms with a little truffle oil and pan-seared Australian striped bass, topped with a pea shoot salad. It's available at one of my restuarants.

 

Lynne: I just did a garlic scape pesto with steamed clams. We did it all outside on top of the grill. Garlic scape pesto with steamed clams and fresh fava beans. We picked the farmer beans and had gotten the clams from the farmers market.

Ack! Arnold and Lynn, so sorry to see you go. Arnold, I've enjoyed watching your progress because you seemed to reveal more of your non-chef side--talking about donating prize money to the orphanage, and the like. Lynne, you seem very cool under pressure and, in a world where people flip each other off on TV, I admire that! What's next for you both?

Arnold: I love to flip people off! For me, I have businesses in Nashville and I'm very involved in the community. I want to start my own foundation that will give grants for education, food, children and the arts, the things I love the most. Hopefully with a strong support  team I'll be able to do that.

Lynne: I'm obviously happy to help Arnold with his foundation. I would like to open another restaurant and am looking for investors, meanwhile I'm happy teaching at the culinary. I'm applying for a position that's become available at a sustainable restaurant. We'll see if they hire me.

The dinner meal... Though the noodles were undercooked, the judges said they loved the flavor. Do you think you were truly sent home because it wasn't the most "wide audience friendly" meal, or was it more about keeping Kenny around (who the camera seems to capture and profile often)?

Lynne: I personally think they wanted to get rid of me and Arnold was collateral damage. I don't think I was dramatic enough and honestly all the footage that was captured of me, I looked pretty miserable. I didn't even want to watch myself. Since it was a team challenge, unfortunately, Arnold went with me.

I don't want to continue to castigate anyone for the undercooked pasta, but at least the way the show was edited, it appeared as though Lynn was blaming Arnold for the error, both before the judges as well as in the solo camera confessions. In this chat, Lynn seems to be taking responsibility for it. Who was responsible for the undercooked pasta, and was Arnold unfairly blamed or was it just the editing?

Lynne: I didn't blame Arnold. I said I did it on the show. I took responsibility for it.

who do you think will win this season?

Arnold: I can say who I'd like to see win. I would love to see Tiffany win because she's amazing and she's gonna be a superstar and it will help catapult her TV stardom. She's such a wonderful, talented person and so real and approaches the kitchen like I do, with fun, and she's beautiful.

Lynne: I would love to see Tiffany or Andrea win. Andrea is super woman, but she's already got her own gig going. There are so many people I'd love to see win.

The judges were dubious of the black on black in your final dish. Do you regret using black pasta?

Arnold: No, because the black on black is beautiful. If you look at all the dishes that Lynne and I produced, our dishes were so beautiful. Aesthetics are a big deal. Was I supposed to get nail polish and paint the shells of the mussels? As a TV show that all of America eats with their eyes, we gave them the more visual stimulation.

Lynne: I think that was a stupid comment made by the judges. I agree with Arnold. We gave them visual flavor.

Sorry y'all got eliminated - if it's any consolation, I think they liked your dishes and I suspect you got eliminated only because short ribs is so en vogue whereas the curry was too interesting! I happen to love SE Asian flavors and grow two kinds of thai basil and lemongrass, plus I have a kaffir lime plant and keep a glass jar of thai chilis marinating in fish sauce in my fridge at all times - so any chance you'd share that curry recipe?

Arnold: Oh my gosh, do you live in my kitchen? Is that my mother writing in? The recipe belongs to bravotv.com and it may be on the website, but I can say this: Approach it like a regular Italian red sauce, there's ginger and lemon grass and it's blended with roasted pineapple and finished with coconut milk.

Lynne: And it's delicious and you can eat it at Arnold's house.

Arnold: Come on down!

Was it just me, or was that cooking marathon the most confusing elimination challenge you've seen on Top Chef?

And what's up with the losers being the winners? If you did badly in the first two rounds, but won the third round, you were rewarded with vacations?

Arnold: After cooking that many dishes we all deserved a vacation. Yes, it was a cooking marathon and the judges told us they were taking into consideration each dish for each stage, but I wish they'd taken all the dishes into consideration for the final stage. Yes, it was confusing.

Lynne: I was confused just thinking about it and I was there.

This season is the meanest of all! I'm sure you 've watched other seasons, so you know that a few selfish ones notwithstanding, the tone has mostly been a healthy competiiton wiht help for other chefs. Were your surprised by how cutthrough and unhelpful this group is? I find it sad.

Lynne: I think we all get along really well. I don't understand where that's coming from.

Arnold: I think the production team is very talented in being able to do what they did for the show. They hired a really good editing team.

Lynne: I think for the most part everybody really likes each other.

What are the judges like in real life? Is it the same as the way they come off on the show or are they a lot different (nicer) in person?

Lynne: We didn't have an opportunity to talk to them off the set, so I have no idea.

I have questions for both chefs. Do you have signature dishes or particular things you make of which you are most proud? If so, what are they and where may I go to try some?

Arnold: I have a rolodex full of things that I'm proud of. I do the concept. I design the restaurant, menu, pick the wine. It's all me. You can experience that in Nashville at three of my restaurants or go to my website if you want to know more: arnoldmyint.com.

Lynne: I don't have a restaurant. I used to have lots of signature dishes but they're no longer available. I love my venison wine with the foie gras french toast and apple cabernet compote.

Arnold: Thank you everyone and see you soon! Remember to keep me in the mix.

Lynne: Thanks everybody for all your support and good wishes. It's been a blast!

In This Chat
Arnold Myint and Lynne Gigliotti
In Top Chef DC, 17 cheftestants compete in weekly cooking challenges to determine who is "Top Chef." The winning chef will receive $125,000, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, a showcase at the Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and will earn the title of "Top Chef."
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