Graham Elliot reveals the two qualities every Master Chef needs to have

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The name Graham Elliot is pretty much synonymous with young, successful chef. You may know him from Master Chef and Master Chef Junior, but Elliot rose to fame at age 27 when he was the youngest four-star chef to be named in any major U.S. city.

Since then, Elliot has surely made a name for himself in the culinary world. His restaurant, Graham Elliot in Chicago, was awarded with two michelin stars, a success only achieved by 15 other restaurants in the U.S.

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From a young age, Elliot took inspiration from food. Raised in an army family, he traveled a lot as a kid and has visited all 50 states.

We got the chance to sit down with Elliot at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen to talk everything from his favorite food to the two things every Master Chef needs to know how to do.

See our interview with him below!

What's your favorite thing about the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen?
I think Aspen is like, the all star game. It's one where the chefs come here not to make a lot of money or hawk a lot of products — it's just chefs coming here to just hang out together and do what they do. I think the crowd that comes here isn't just snobby people, and it isn't a bunch of amateurs. It's people that really love food and wine. And then, how can you even begin to talk about the setting? It's just sick.

What is the best cooking related advice you've ever received?
That it's not black and white — it's all grey area. It's open to interpretation. You can make anything you want - a carrot can be turned into a carrot salad, carrot cake, carrot jus, and none of them are any better than the other. Once you start looking at things with more of an open mind as opposed to: here's a recipe, here's what I learned from my French chef, cooking school, whatever, you're really liberated to cook whatever you want.

If you could eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be?
Sashimi. I love raw fish. I really like salmon because it tastes like fish and has it's own flavor, but also a great mouth feel — it's nice and fatty. But, the idea of taking something alive out of the water on a tiny string and hook, and being able to filet it, and slice it, and respect it, and you don't really need to add anything to it.

What's your favorite dish you've ever made?
I don't really have a signature dish per se because I don't really like to be locked into something like that, but I really enjoy making soups because I really feel that they are heartwarming and soulful. And you can do fun things — like we'll be able to do a butternut squash bisque, but instead it's like clarified and clear, with a cinnamon marshmallow that you pour the soup on top of and it dissolves. So, fun things like that. I like to just have whimsy.

What's your favorite dish someone else has ever made for you?
Hmm. I don't know. One dish I loved, that was delicious and also, it was fun because there was only two in the whole restaurant was when I went to Per Se and Thomas Keller made this quail in a jar and it's basically humongous mason jar thats filled with jelly consume, and inside it is a huge torshawn of quail with foie gras in the middle. They brought it to the table with plates for everyone and ten different types of salt, brioche, and then they slice it in humongous slabs and put it in front of each person. It was incredible. It's a very giving kind of thing. You only have two of these, and for them to bring it to the table was pretty cool. I've never seen it anywhere else.

What do you think is a quality every Master Chef needs to have?
I would say the two biggest things are knowing how to season and knowing how to control heat, which a lot of people don't really get. They're focused on being creative, or being TV stars, or what books they want to do, they don't really want to understand the actual physics and fundamentals of cooking. All cooking is is taking something raw and putting fire and making it cook. How you make it tasty is the artistry and craft.

Being able to know that if you turn the pan high it will sear the outside but not cook it. If you turn the pan too low, it'll cook it over time but not give it any color on the outside, so it's important to learn how to balance that. On the show, we never tell people that their dishes are too salty, we're always telling people to add more. Look at salt like a magnifying glass, you put it on and it makes food taste more like itself.

See the gallery below for more photos of the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen:

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FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen

Culinary luminaries attend the Charleston Social on top of Aspen Mountain at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

The Grand Tasting Pavilion at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

The Grand Tasting Pavilion at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Chris Consentino demonstrates at the Cooking Tent at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Hugh Acheson and Gail Simmons demonstrate at the St. Regis at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Gail Simmons demonstrates at the St. Regis at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Tyler Florence and Nilou Motamed at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Marcus Samuellson, Claudine Pepin and Jacques Pepin at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Claudine Pepin, Marcus Samuellson and Jacques Pepin at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Jonathan Waxman and Chris Consentino at the Grand Tasting Pavilion at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Mark Oldman presenting at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Jose Garces attends the Wines From Spain Party of the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Jose Garces attends the Wines From Spain Party of the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Jamie Bissonnette, Ken Oringer, Anne Burrell, Lindsay Slaby and Jay Hajj attend the Wines From Spain Party at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Kris Yenbamroong, Jeremiah Stone and Fabian Von Hauske attend the Wines From Spain Party of the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Grayson Schmitz attends the Opening Reception of the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Sissy Biggers attends the Opening Reception of the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Richard Blais and Nilou Motamed attend the Opening Reception of the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Gail Simmons attends the Opening Reception of the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Anne Burrell attends the Opening Reception of the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Justin Chapple attends the Opening Reception of the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Jacques Pepin attends the Opening Reception of the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Hugh Acheson attends the Opening Reception of the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine)

Michel Nischan attends the Opening Reception of the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Christina Grdovic and Katrin Naelapaa attend the Opening Reception of the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Mike Lata attends the Charleston Social at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Gail Simmons and Andrew Zimmern attend the Charleston Social at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Jazmin Zepeda and Richard Blais attend the Charleston Social at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Anne Burrell attends the Charleston Social at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Scott Conant, Jay Hajj, Mike Lata, Ken Oringer, Jamie Bissonnette attend the Charleston Social at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Christina Tosi and Wylie Dufresne attend the Charleston Social at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Hugh Acheson, Gail Simmons and Andrew Zimmern attend the Charleston Social at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Billy Harris and Jamie Bissonnette attend the Charleston Social at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

The Charleston Social at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Chef Mike Lata attends the Charleston Social at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Jeremy Ford attends the Opening Reception of the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Chef Phillip Frankland Lee attends the Opening Reception of the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Andrew Zimmern and Gail Simmons host the Last Call Dim Sum After Dark presented by American Express at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

Andrew Zimmern hosts the Last Call Dim Sum After Dark presented by American Express at the 34th Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen.

Photo by Nick Tininenko/Getty Images for Food & Wine

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