A Top Chef on the Magic of Lemon and Meals Behind-The-Scenes

A Top Chef on the Magic of Lemon and Meals Behind-The-Scenes
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A Top Chef on the Magic of Lemon and Meals Behind-The-Scenes

We spoke with Micah Fields, this week's eliminated chef from Season 10 of Top Chef. Check out his tips for the home chef and more!

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Season, Season, Season ... Then Try a Bite

According to Fields, the biggest mistake people make in the kitchen is not seasoning their food. "A lot of people don’t season food which is mind boggling to me," he explains. "They think salt is bad for them, [but] in small amounts, it's not really bad for you."

He also recommends tasting your cuisine along the way to make sure it is seasoned appropriately. "If you taste the food, the food will come out right in the end, or how you want it to come out."

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Think Outside the Box

"I read a lot more art magazines than I do cooking magazines," says Fields who reads Tattoo and Juxtapoz. When it comes to presentation, "think outside the box and try something that you haven’t done before," he advises. "If you don’t like it, take everything off, wash the plate and do it again."

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When Life Gives You Lemons, Cook with Them

"Lemon makes everything taste a little bit better," Fields admits. "Sprinkle a little on a salad, on fish, on a tartar, [or] on soup. It really brightens up the flavor of just about anything you can cook." Lemon zest can also make dishes "pop."

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Cook with Love (Most of the Time)

While Fields advises chefs to cook from the heart ("If you put love into food, you can taste that love. ... [Food] will taste better."), he admits that meals off-camera during his run on Top Chef weren't always passion projects.

Dependent on how long they were on set that day, the Top Chef contestants " would cook anything from big family dinners [of steak or roasted chicken] to junk food," he explains. "From really [horrible] quesadillas that had grapes inside of them to nachos with Velveeta, we like to eat normal junk food. It was a lot of 18- or 19-hour days, so when we came home, we didn't want to make dinner obviously. We just wanted to eat whatever was available and most of the time, that was junk food." The most unusual evening snack was Chef Stefan Richter's onion and mayonnaise sandwich.

Can't get enough Top Chef? For more on this season's chefs, view our interviews with Jeffrey Jew, Eliza Gavin, Kuniko Yagi, and Tyler Wiard and CJ Jacobsen and John Tesar.

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Chef Micah Fields said farewell to Bravo's Top Chef: Seattle this week, but he didn't leave empty handed. The Los Angeles-based chef said that he grew as a chef while filming the show. He had experiences and learned techniques that will likely shape his young career.

While filming, Fields struggled to be away from his two daughters at home but also found the competition's biggest challenge to be its grueling pace. " When it started to get towards the end of the competition, you were just really tired and strained," he explains. "It's a brutal competition; you are working long hours, and sometimes you don't eat [because] you are just pumped up on adrenaline. It starts to take a strain mentally and physically."

Still, Fields shined along the way, coming out especially strong when butchering a rabbit in a "quickfire" knife challenge as well as with an applauded oyster dish for one of Fields's culinary idols, Emeril Lagasse. "It was a huge order cooking for Emeril," he explains. "He is a chef that made me want to become a chef when I was 10 years old. Emeril is from Louisiana, he is the oyster king, so having him say I made his favorite dish of the day was definitely a highlight."

During the competition, "you definitely grow as a chef," Fields shares. "Living with [the other chefs] and cooking with them at home, you see things you don't normally see in your own kitchen," such as Chef Sheldon Simeon's techniques with Polynesian-style cuisine. "You live, breathe and talk food all day, so you are definitely going to grow as a chef."

Fields promises much to come this year including an upcoming project with fellow contestant CJ Jacobsen.

To learn what the Season 10 Top Chef "cheftestants" eat when they are off-camera and Fields's tips for your kitchen, view the slideshow above.

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