As the only “Top Chef Masters” contestant to refuse jump out of an airplane in the very first episode – thereby losing an hour of prep time – chef Douglas Keane proved himself one of two things, and perhaps both: honestly fearful or fearlessly honest.
But it looks like the chef, who owned the Michelin-starred Cyrus restaurant in Healdsburg for seven years, has proven that you can keep your integrity and your competitive edge. Keane has made it all the way to the finals and will compete, at 10 p.m. tonight on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” with Colorado chef Jennifer Jasinski and Maryland chef Bryan Voltaggio, who was a finalist on “Top Chef” season 6 and is the first to compete on both “Top Chef ” and “Top Chef Masters.”
Local fans have been gathering at the Healdsburg Bar & Grill, which is managed by Keane, each Wednesday to watch the show, and I’m sure the chardonnay and pinot will be flowing tonight for the finale.
The challenge tonight for the chefs is to cook something old (an early, signature dish), something new (a dish that sums up where they are now), something borrowed (a dish from an important influence) and something sous (a dish that honors the sous chefs that have been cooking with them on the show.)
It will be interesting to see if Bryan Voltaggio pays homage to one of his main mentors, Charlie Palmer of the Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdburg. Jasinski seems to have a knack for making winning dishes and raising money for charity, so she can’t be counted out. And Keane has a survivor’s instinct for pulling out the right dish at the right moment.
Whoever wins, it’s been a good ride, and we know where we can find Keane in the future. He is working on opening a restaurant specializing in chicken at the new casino in Rohnert Park.
Here is a recipe from Keane for an easy tri-tip marinade for the grill:
Soy Ginger Marinade
Makes 1 1/2 cups
2 cups soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, minced well
1 teaspoon chili flakes
1 tablespoon honey
1 bunch mint, chopped
1 lime, juiced
Comebine all ingredients. PLace steaks in a shallow container wiht marinade. Turn every three hours or so. Marinate for 12 to 24 hours. Make sure to pick off pieces of mint and ginger before grilling.