"Spring is when nature realizes it's [come] back [to life], and everything is sprouting and budding and sweeter flavors are coming in," explains Jeff Mahin of Stella Rossa, M Street Kitchen and Do-Rite Donuts, one of three contestants to depart ABC's The Taste this week. Mahin, who plans to open three more restaurants this year, adores pea tendrils for the season. He advises letting them speak for themselves in cuisine rather than manipulating them or overpowering them with other flavors. "You don't really want to change too much about vegetables and produce in the spring because it's so delicate," explains the chef. "You could put something with pea tendrils, but then you [wouldn't be able to] taste them."
Paul Caravelli, executive chef at 545 North Bar & Grill, similarly cannot wait for the new season. He looks forward to "lightening up the food" he makes and venturing away from plates of steak and potatoes that are so popular in the wintertime. Caravelli is thrilled to be "getting back to fresh vegetables rather than unripe tomatoes from a box," he explains. "Winter food is so boring; there is no color."
For the season, the chef loves to make seafood accompanied by a light, interesting salad "like an heirloom tomato salad or citrus salad," says Caravelli. "It livens up food, and it just pops off the plate."
Home cook Lauren Scott, who also left the show on Tuesday, looks forward to the fresh berries the spring offers. "I grew up in Fresno, California, and we always had fresh berries in the spring," she reminisces. She loves making pie crust from scratch and filling it with an abundance of fresh berries. As the last chef in Nigella Lawson's "Kitchen" on the show, Scott worked very closely with her and left the show full of the food personality's wise words and philosophies.
Check out the slideshow above to find out exactly what Scott learned from Lawson, why she recommends making octopus and for other cooking insights and tips from the contestants.