The Most Hated Risotto in America: John Tesar’s Losing Recipe

John Tesar’s umami risotto (via

I was traveling when John Tesar was booted off of Top Chef for his risotto. I learned of the tragedy in an airport in Nicaragua. I overheard two Nicaraguan women in the airport talking in the ladies room. “Oh, senor Tesar conseguido un trato malo!” cried one. “Es el peor momento jamás para un jefe de cocina en esta exposición,” said another. The two gals then started an intense conversation on the techniques of cooking risotto. I wondered how an accomplished chef, like Tesar, could get kicked off a nationally televised cooking show by blowing a risotto preparation. Hell, I can make risotto. I mean, I have made risotto and people ate it. Anyway, I dropped my leisure plans and went looking for answers.

What? Tony Bourdain changed cell phone numbers? Again? I texted the tight-lipped Tesar. He wouldn’t “say” a word. Mind you, each text costs me 50 cents! That buys a lot of risotto in Nicaragua.

So, I tricked him. I texted, “Hey, “chef,” I’m in Nicaragua for some meetings and I have some folks coming to my villa on the beach tomorrow and I’d like a great risotto recipe. Got any fresh ideas? He texted back. What a sucker!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the recipe (with a few comments from me) for the most hated risotto recipe in America determined by the judges (don’t get me started) of Top Chef.

You will have to jump off the risotto cliff: GO.

1 lb risotto
2 Tbs olive oil
One cup dry white wine (another for yourself)
Two small cloves of garlic chopped finely
One large Spanish onion diced
3 pints fresh carrot juice
One quart dashi
3 carrots diced
6 porcini mushrooms
6 Tbs salmon roe
One small burdock root (and some fresh horses for my men)
One cup goat milk yogurt
1 lb dark meat chicken
2 lb de-veined baby shrimp

In a large FLAT rondo add oil over medium heat then add diced onion and chopped garlic. Sweat (good idea) until translucent (0r Josh gets on your nerves), then add risotto. Toast risotto (only top, top chefs know what this means) without coloring, then deglaze with wine white on low heat and stir (like my brain), constantly adding carrot juice and dashi. It is important to develop crema. (Yikes, sounds contagious.) Continue to repeat this process until risotto is cooked but al dente. (Or gummy if you are on national TV!)

Stir in chicken and shrimp and continue to stir if necessary (obviously it was but you didn’t), and add more carrot juice until shrimp and chicken are cooked. Finish with yogurt salt (wow, he could use a comma there!) and pepper to taste and serve in a bowl.  Garnish with salmon roe and diced burdock root. (Easy peasy!)

There you have it. Padma, pack your thighs and go.