Master of the Kitchen: Douglas Keane

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Master of the Kitchen: Douglas Keane
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Master of the Kitchen: Douglas Keane

Chef Douglas Keane may think he has a big ego, but we think he has good reason! Check out some of his fantastic tips and tricks for fall cooking!

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Grab the greens.

Keane recommends embracing fall's hearty greens. For kale, spinach and chard, "if you cook them long enough, they take on this amazing sweetness and earthiness."

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Stay calm.

"Dont panic if something isn't perfect," advises Keane. "See if you can salvage it, and if not, start over. It's not the end of the world."

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Don't forget the salt.

Salt amplifies flavors so much, we can understand why Chef Keane thinks that this ingredient "makes the world of difference."

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Surprise with fall vegetables.

Brussels sprouts and cauliflower may not be the most popular veggies but Keane knows how to make them family favorites. "Bacon and shallot-roasted Brussels sprouts are probably my favorite fall item," says the chef. "I also love to work with cauliflower--I like to come up with different uses for it [and] when you cook it the right way, you can actually bring out a ton of flavor that is pleasing to everyone."

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Look for freshness.

"There is a look to freshness," shares Keane. "It is bright colors." Produce like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and pumpkins should be bright green, white and orange, respectively.

"If things look like they've been sitting around, they probably have."

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Don't buy wilted produce.

Foods like lettuce spoil very quickly. When they are fresh, they should stand straight up. Keane advises, "If food is wilted, there is no reason to buy it, unless it is discounted."

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Utilize your slow cooker.

"Slow cooking brings out incredible flavor and texture in meats," says Keane. When cooked too quickly, foods like ribs can become chewy and unenjoyable whereas when they are slow cooked, they often fall off the bone.

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Take your time.

Because fall ingredients are heartier than summer ingredients, make sure not to rush when you are preparing them. "The greens, the squashes, the Brussels sprouts actually take a little bit longer to cook" in order to get the most out of their texture and flavor, explains the chef. Also, make sure you are working with an appropriate level of heat. "If your heat is too high, you are going to burn them. If your heat is low, you don't have to worry about overcooking them."

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Try matsutake mushrooms.

"My favorite fall vegetable that no one uses is by far the matsutake mushroom," shares the chef. "They are so incredible and so fragrant; to me, they are better than truffles."

Keane also love them for their simplicity. To prepare them, he recommends slicing them, heating them and drizzling a bit of citrus over them.

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Chef Douglas Keane will be opening a fresh concept restaurant in a new casino in California's Sonoma County this November. He'll be serving fried chicken, fries and pickles. "It has been something I've wanted to do for a while," he explains. "I used to do a lot of things perfectly or as perfectly as I could at Cyrus and made 80 people happy a night; well, I'm hoping to make 500 people happy a day."

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Acclaimed chef of recently closed, two Michelin Star restaurant, Cyrus, Douglas Keane is not shy about having an ego. Because of it, Keane, who became a cheftestant on this season's Top Chef Masters, struggled with the idea of joining the show. "I [was reluctant to join] because of ego," explains Keane. "I only had things to lose. I had a lot of [restaurant] stars and that meant a lot to me at that time. You have someone like that, with my stars and reputation, and I can always look bad if I don't do well. When I closed [my restaurant,] Cyrus, [I thought] I don't have any stars anymore; I've got no one expecting something."

In the end, Keane, a dog lover, felt compelled to join the cast as a means of spreading the word about his charity of choice, Green Dog Rescue, and ended up having a pretty good time, too. "Once I got over myself I started to have a lot of fun! It was a great group of chefs; a lot of fun people."

While Keane became closest with fellow cheftestant Sang Yoon on the show, he also had much to say about another castmember: David Burke. "He might be one of the funniest human beings on this earth," remarks Keane. "[He is] constantly entertaining. I always wanted to work for him and then [all of the sudden,] I was competing against him, so it was a little intimidating. [Still] it was a delight to hang out with him."

And hang out the cheftestants did--off-screen at a 24-hour burger joint. "I wish they had a camera on us at the bars where we were hanging out at one in the morning," he offers. "You take a bunch of people who are used to working their [butts] off and then having a few drinks and add the stress [of the show] and when you unwind, you are just a little looser and a little more sarcastic. Chefs have some pretty biting humor already, but add that extra stress [and it is amplified]."

With all the chefs on the show, Keane was most impressed by their intensity. "What was impressive to watch was everyone's focus and the different ways everyone would focus," he explains. "Some people would talk a lot and others would just be very zen-like." Through it all, Keane had just one mantra: "I just didn't want to go home first."

Now that you know a bit about the celebrity chef, Check out the slideshow above for some of his best tips for cooking this fall.

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