The One Ingredient A Top Chef Can't Live Without

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The One Ingredient A Top Chef Can't Live Without
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The One Ingredient A Top Chef Can't Live Without

What's the one ingredient you can't live without?

Butter--melted, clarified, browned, softened or ice cold. It has a million uses to enhance flavor, body and even appearance.

Image credit: David Moir, Bravo

What is one cooking tool you can't live without?

My prep kitchen at [my restaurant] 221. I love cooking alone and having the whole kitchen to myself in peace and quiet.

Image credit: David Moir, Bravo

What dish will you be making this holiday season?

Here in Telluride, we serve a Christmas Pheasant with Sausage Dressing, Haricots Vert and Lingoberry Sauce. It's very homey.

Image credit: David Moir, Bravo

What are some of your kitchen secrets?

I brine some tougher cuts of meat-shanks, short ribs and such. The overnight immersion in a spice and salt solution allows the cells to retain moisture and gives the meat more flavor.

Image credit: David Moir, Bravo

Looking for more Top Chef?

Check out our interviews with Tyler Wiard, CJ Jacobsen, Kuniko Yagi, and Jeffrey Chew!

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Kitchen Daily had a chance to talk to recently-eliminated Top Chef contestant Eliza Gavin today. Though her time on Bravo's Top Chef may have come to a close after last week's episode, we got her to dish on her best advice for everyday chefs, what she's cooking for the holiday season and the one ingredient she can't live without.

Kitchen Daily: How was your experience on Top Chef overall?

Eliza Gavin: I'm disappointed that I didn't go further. I felt that once I was around all of those talented chefs--I just blocked. My food at my restaurant, 221 in Telluride, is amazing rustic fare. I just felt the time limits didn't give me the latitude to replicate my dishes properly. In retrospect, I should have thought of that before I went on the show. I enjoyed meeting some of the country's most accomplished chefs and making some great friends.

KD: What was the biggest challenge of a being a contestant on Top Chef?

EG: [In addition to the time limits of the show,] another large challenge was being away from my husband and three-year-old son. My son is the light of my life, and I made being away from him bearable by writing him a letter every day.

KD: At Kitchen Daily, we're all about cooking advice and recipes for the everyday chef. What is your best advice to the everyday chef, and what is the most common mistake everyday chefs make?

EG: Under seasoning is a common mistake. Don't be afraid to use salt and when seasoning meat--use coarse kosher salt. Fine salt is a bit more salty in flavor, but coarse salt allows you a bit more control over the amount you're sprinkling. Also try to use less popular pieces of meat--the shank or short rib. They have a ton more flavor and need a bit more time.

When we asked Eliza what was next for her, she responded, "I hope to win #savechefeliza and get back on the show. I want to show what I can really do. I held back and buckled under pressure; I want to prove myself." We loved talking to Eliza and we wish her luck with getting a second chance on the show!

Check out the slideshow above to learn more of Eliza's expert tips!

Image credit: David Moir, Bravo

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