3rd Place Entrée:
Farm-raised Rabbit wrapped in Applewood bacon over parmesan risotto, with caramelized fennel root infused in fennel oil.
Bacardi Rum Baba, with vanilla bean whipped cream and fresh, mint-infused syrup.
Curtis Bates started out in the industry at the age of fifteen, working at a Mexican restaurant called Garcia’s. “I think that really benefitted me because back then I really, really worked; I wanted to move on up, and I wanted to be better.” His mentor is Thomas Keller, who owns The French Laundry in Napa Valley; like Bates, Keller has no culinary degree. “He started out as a dishwasher, now he’s like one of the top chefs in the world.”
As for his work with other chefs in Top Chefs, as a previous winner Bates is a firm believer in encouraging the competition to be “as good as me, if not better.” He wants to push everyone to take it to another level.
Favorite Food to Eat: “Fresh avocado, rice, black beans—wrap it up like a burrito and there you go. It gives you energy. It’s freaking awesome.”
Favorite Food to Prepare: “It’s weird because I’ll be driving at 5:30 in the morning and something will pop into my head and I’ll say ‘let’s try that.’ Then I’ll go home and text my sous chef, Mikey, and say ‘hey, remind me about bananas tomorrow.’ That’s what I do.”