After spending 22 years hidden in restaurant kitchens and the last eight as a professor at the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Phil Crispo showed off his cooking Tuesday night to all Food Network viewers. YNN's John Wagner has more.
HYDE PARK, N.Y. -- "There is an expression: Those that can't do, teach. And I'm here today to prove that saying wrong," said Phil Crispo.
Thanks to three imaginative dishes, Chef Phil Crispo got more than 15 minutes of fame. As a contestant on the fast paced cooking competition show "Chopped," the Beacon born chef stays off the chopping block. Still, watching his 14 hour day compressed into 42 minutes wasn't easy.
"They say you add ten pounds. I think they added twenty," joked Crispo. "I think it brought back all the stresses again. I really felt like I was doing it in the moment again, but there was a sense of relief because I kinda knew the end."
Crispo's crab cakes with glazed turnips and Moroccan spiced city chicken zipped him through to the final round. The show forces chefs to combine bizarre food items under strict time limits to create a three course meal.
"I was under immense pressure here," said Crispo, in his eight year as a professor at the C.I.A. "There's how many faculty members that are going to be looking at you, representing the Culinary Institute of America."
Besides his colleagues, more than a million viewers around the country. Crispo himself has schooled thousands of students, but dealt a hand of crab meat, ice cream cones and fruit punch, his concoctions schooled all of his opponents.
"For a chef, though, it's about the function of ingredients," explained Crispo. "You reduce things down to its minimum. So if it's something sweet you pair it with something maybe bitter or something sour."
Chef Crispo grew up in the Hudson Valley, but spent most of his life in Scotland. He plans to use his $10,000 prize from winning to pay for plane tickets to have his two girls visit from overseas.
"The lessons I learned today was to dig deep into all the experiences I had through my life and put them on the plate," said Crispo.
The droll chef has a thing or two left to teach.
"I'm 49-years-old. I'm not dead yet," said Crispo.
But he jokes that his younger challengers also taught him something.
"I learned that, I think there's no correlation between age and creativity," said Crispo.
Spoken like a "Chopped" champion.
If you missed the airing of "Chopped" featuring Chef Crispo, you can catch it on Food Network as a re-run on 12/28 at 4 p.m., 1/1 at 9 p.m. or 1/6 at noon.