Kitchen Daily had the opportunity to speak with Shawn Davis and Erika Monroe Williams, the two contestants sent packing on the last episode of ABC's latest culinary challenge, The Taste. The chefs were asked to make a dish (to be served in one single spoonful) that paired well with wine.
For Davis, who recently opened his Beverly Hills eatery, H.O.M.E. House of Music & Entertainment Restaurant, the biggest challenge of the competition was cooking simple food. "It is harder to cook simple food," says the professional chef. "I understand the competition [between] the home cook, the caterer and the professional. It really doesn't matter [which you are]." While he had professional experience, Davis received the boot from the show before many home cooks.
On the other hand, one of the home cooks, Monroe Williams, found it "really daunting [to cook] for people who had sophisticated palates" such as Nigella Lawson and Anthony Bourdain who have enjoyed a lot of international cuisine.
Still, both Davis and Monroe Williams agree that seasoning is one of the most significant elements of the competition and in cooking in general. "You can see some of the chefs get criticized on the show for under-seasoning," says Monroe Williams. "You always want to make sure you season meat before you put it on the grill and season pasta water so you don't have a bland pasta. Salt can just add that little bit your dish needs to bring it to the next level."
Davis himself has experienced praise for his simply seasoned dishes at his restaurant, proving that a little salt goes a long way. "Sometimes people come in my restaurant and ask what i put on [a dish] and I say, 'salt and pepper,'" explains Davis. "Flavor is key."
Check out the slideshow above to learn cooking secrets from Davis and Monroe Williams, and tune into ABC's The Taste tonight at 8/7c.