If you haven't chosen a side yet for Bravo's big Top Chef finale tomorrow night at 10 p.m. ET, here's some intel to rev up #TeamNick. Philadelphian chef and finalist Nicholas Elmi, who specializes in classic French cooking with an avant-garde twist, took fans on a wild ride this season. He's been on the top, on the bottom and in more fights about pot placement and knife care than anyone else. But his talent and precision are undeniable. Here, he shares his secret-weapon cooking and plating techniques.
Remove the wishbone before roasting poultry. “When roasting chicken or any poultry, the first thing I do is cut out the wishbone so that when I carve it up, I get all the meat that’s always stuck underneath it that people miss out on,” he says. “After you whack the neck off, go under the skin there and use your fingers to pry it away and pluck the wishbone out.”
Don’t sous vide, slow roast. Elmi is anti-sous vide. Instead, he and the other chefs at Laurel, his Philadelphia restaurant, sear meat and then slow roast it in a 130-degree oven. “That way you have uniform temperature all the way through, but you’re not using a circulator so it doesn’t taste like boiled beef,” he says.