1 ingredient 3 ways: How 'Top Chef' stars Gail Simmons, Tom Colicchio and Kristen Kish cook with cheese doodles (2024)

As 15 rising star chefs and James Beard nominees from across the country get ready for the season 21 "Top Chef" premiere, the show's new host and two veteran judges joined "Good Morning America" to show off their own culinary chops.

This year, the Emmy Award-winning series, which challenges chefs to push their culinary skills and creativity to the limits in an array of competitions, is set in America's dairy land -- Wisconsin.

To celebrate one of the nation's largest dairy producers, season 10 winner-turned-host Kristen Kish, along with judges Gail Simmons and Tom Colicchio, each created a recipe to honor an iconic American snack: cheese doodles.

"Oh there will be cheese -- we did a cheese fest it was actually really cool," Colicchio hinted at what to expect this season.

Kish, who cooked the dessert course for "GMA" with a sweet and salty sundae, said being it's "so much better" being a host vs. a cheftestant this year. "I love sitting next to them and spending the days with Tom and Gail."

1 ingredient 3 ways: How 'Top Chef' stars Gail Simmons, Tom Colicchio and Kristen Kish cook with cheese doodles (1)

Check out their full recipes below that incorporate a serving of nostalgia with a cheesy crunch in a new dish that you can make at home.

Chili-Cheese Doodle Chicken Milanese

The judge, who created the entree course for "GMA," said Milanese "is a staple in my house -- I serve it with big crunchy salad." And thought, since "Milanese has Parmesan in it, I just used cheese doodles instead."

1 ingredient 3 ways: How 'Top Chef' stars Gail Simmons, Tom Colicchio and Kristen Kish cook with cheese doodles (2)

Serves 4



1/2 small red onion, sliced into thin half moons

1 medium head radicchio, halved lengthwise and roughly chopped

1 granny smith or crunchy, tart apple of choice, sliced into thin half moons

3 celery stalks, thinly sliced crosswise

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for serving

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup thin Parmesan cheese ribbons (using a vegetable peeler), for serving


One 8.5 ounce bag cheese doodles

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 large eggs

1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

2 teaspoons chili flakes

Freshly grated zest of 1/2 lemon

Four 1/4-inch-thick chicken cutlets (about 1 pound)

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

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To start the salad: In a large bowl, combine the red onion, radicchio, apple, celery and parsley. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the Milanese: Heat the oven to 200 F. Place an ovenproof platter or a baking sheet in the oven to warm.

In a food processor, pulse the cheese doodles until they resemble coarsely ground breadcrumbs. Do not over process. In a wide, shallow bowl, stir together the flour, 1 teaspoon salt and a generous pinch of pepper. Whisk together the eggs and a pinch of salt in another shallow bowl. Combine the cheese doodle crumbs, panko, chili flakes, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt in a third shallow bowl.

Using the flat side of a meat pounder or a rolling pin, gently pound each cutlet between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to 1/8-inch thickness. Pat the cutlets dry and season both sides lightly with salt and pepper. Dredge in the seasoned flour, shaking off excess. Dip in the eggs, letting excess drip off, then gently press into the cheese doodle mixture to completely coat. Transfer the cutlets to a large plate.

Heat the 1/2 cup oil in a 10- to 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Fry the cutlets in 2 batches, turning once, until cooked through and crispy, about 3 minutes per side. Drain each batch on paper towel-lined plates, season with salt, then transfer to the platter in the oven to keep warm.

To finish the salad, add the olive oil, lemon juice, and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper to the vegetable mixture.

Toss to combine. Serve the Milanese with the salad piled on top. Garnish with Parmesan ribbons.

Burrata with Roasted Tomatoes, Salsa Verde and Frico

"Off season tomatoes are not so good fresh, so we roast these -- for anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours really slow in the oven and you'll see as it starts to roast, it'll get really dried out," he shared of his tip for tomato dishes outside of summer. "I moved a little bit away from the puffs and made my own," he said of the grated Parmesan frico.

1 ingredient 3 ways: How 'Top Chef' stars Gail Simmons, Tom Colicchio and Kristen Kish cook with cheese doodles (6)

Burrata (one ball), placed atop roasted tomatoes

Roasted tomatoes and garlic:
12 ripe medium tomatoes, stems and cores removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large head garlic, divided into unpeeled cloves
4 thyme sprigs
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Salsa verde:
5 1/2 cups flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tablespoons diced shallot
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 tablespoon drained capers
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated


Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Cut tomatoes in half cross-wise (through equator) and place tomatoes, olive oil and garlic in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix gently.

Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place tomato halves cut-side down and pour over them any olive oil left in the bowl. Scatter garlic and thyme on top and bake until the tomato skins loosen, about 20 minutes.

Remove and discard tomato skins. Pour any juices that have accumulated into a bowl and reserve. Return tomatoes to oven and reduce temperature to 275 F.

Continue roasting, periodically pouring off and reserving the juices, until the tomatoes are slightly shrunken and appear cooked and concentrated but not yet dry, 1 to 1 1/2 hours more.

Remove tomatoes from oven and cool on baking sheets. Peel the garlic and discard the skins and thyme.

For the salsa verde: In a bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Add the mixture to a food processor and process until they are well incorporated but not too smooth. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Sauce should be tangy and salty.

For the frico: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Working in batches, scoop tablespoon mounds of finely-grated Parmesan onto prepared baking sheet. Evenly spread each mound about 3 inches wide and space at least 1 inch apart. Bake until light brown and melted, 5-6 minutes (check while baking to ensure not too brown). Remove from oven.

To assemble: Place the roasted tomatoes in a circle around the base of a shallow bowl, top with salsa verde and add the burrata in the middle, topped with frico.

Caramelized Cheese Doodle Sundae

Kristen Kish, season 10 "Top Chef" winner and this season's new host, concocted a sweet recipe using the same cheesy ingredient.

"The same way that you think of caramel corn and the cheddar popcorn in the same bag -- I thought, why don't we just do that in one bite?"

1 ingredient 3 ways: How 'Top Chef' stars Gail Simmons, Tom Colicchio and Kristen Kish cook with cheese doodles (7)


For the caramelized cheese doodles:
1 bag (8 ounces or 226.8 grams) cheese puffs
1 1/4 cup loosely packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 stick unsalted sweet cream butter, cut into pieces
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
1 tablespoon dark rum (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to remain alcohol free)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the garnish:
1 bar dark chocolate
1/2 dry roasted peanuts, chopped
Maldon sea salt

For the whipped cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons vanilla instant pudding mix


Preheat oven to 250 degrees. In a 10-by-15-inch stainless steel baking dish, spray with pan spray. Place cheese doodles in pan and place into oven as you prepare caramel.

In a medium sauce pan, add brown sugar, corn syrup, butter pieces and salt. Bring to boil, whisking to incorporate. High simmer/gentle boil for 4-5 minutes, or until mixture just begins to darken on the sides. Turn off heat, carefully add rum, incorporate. Add baking soda and whisk.

Remove doodles from oven and pour over. Using a spatula, carefully toss the caramel as best as possible with doodles, don’t worry about completely coating each doodle. This will happen in the next steps.

Place back into oven, bake for 10 minutes, remove and gently toss. Repeat this 3 times or until doodles are completely coated. Doodles will be crisp and the sugar coating will be hard after cooling.

Line a sheet tray with parchment, lightly spray with pan spray.

Remove doodles from oven, and spread doodles out on prepared sheet tray. Allow to cool completely at room temperature, 20 minutes ideally. Once cool, store in airtight container and enjoy.

Whip cream in mixing bowl to very soft peaks. Add in pudding powder, continue whisking to medium stiff peaks. Set aside.

For the sundae: Place a dollop of cream in the bottom of the bowl. Scoop vanilla ice-cream (or your favorite ice-cream flavor) on top, sprinkle toasted peanuts, and microplane dark chocolate over, finish with Maldon flaky sea salt. Add a pile of doodles on the side.

The new season of Top Chef premieres March 20 on Bravo.

1 ingredient 3 ways: How 'Top Chef' stars Gail Simmons, Tom Colicchio and Kristen Kish cook with cheese doodles (2024)


Who is Kristen Kish married to? ›

On September 29, 2019, Kish announced her engagement to Bianca Dusic, who is the VP of Food & Beverage for Standard Hotels, in an Instagram post. They married on April 18, 2021.

Who are the cheese makers on Top Chef Wisconsin? ›

At the "Top Chef" farm cheese festival this summer: From left, cheesemakers Andy Hatch and Pam Hodges, host Kristen Kish, celebrity judge Gail Simmons and local judge Dane Baldwin, chef-owner of the Diplomat in Milwaukee.

When preparing a dish from a recipe, what is the first step you should take? ›

Read the recipe before you start.

“Read the recipe a few times before you make it,” she says, “and make sure it is something you are comfortable doing.” Then, lay out every ingredient you'll need before you begin to cook.

How do chefs ensure consistency in their dishes through effective mise en place? ›

Mise en place is a French kitchen phrase that means “putting in place" or “gathering.” It refers to the discipline and organization a good chef exhibits in the kitchen. To practice mise en place, a chef should have all of their ingredients and supplies prepared and organized before they begin cooking.

Who is Kristen Kish' best friend? ›

Kish's friend Stephanie Izard, "Top Chef" Chicago Season 4 winner and fan favorite; and, Kish's best friend Stephanie Cmar from "Top Chef" Seattle Season 10, New Orleans Season 11 and "All-Stars" Season 17. Cmar is a culinary producer for the show.

Who is the female Top Chef? ›

The prestigious honor is voted for by 1,080 independent restaurant industry experts and gourmets from across the World. Chef Janaína Torres, the winner of Best Female Chef in the World for 2024, leads the kitchen at the famed A Casa do Porco in her home city of São Paulo.

What is the first thing you should do with every recipe? ›

The first step in following a recipe is to be sure to read through the ingredients needed as well as the instructions for what you will be doing before you ever begin mixing your batters or doughs. (This is one of the first steps in Mise En Place.)

What is the first thing you do when you enter the kitchen? ›

Hand washing should be the first thing you do when entering the kitchen and should be done after using the restroom, after touching your nose, hair, or face, after touching walk-in doors, after eating, after taking out the trash, or after any other activity that might contaminate your hands.

What is the first thing you should do before you start cooking? ›

Before you start cooking, here are some simple things you can do to ensure you have a smooth and efficient cook.
  1. 1) Give yourself space. ...
  2. 2) Get all of your equipment ready for the recipe you're cooking. ...
  3. 3) Gather all your ingredients ready on your workbench. ...
  4. 5) Secure your chopping board. ...
  5. 6) Keep a rubbish bowl nearby.

What are the 7 steps of mise en place? ›

Mise en place checklist
  • Ovens are turned on.
  • Work stations are set up.
  • Complete preparation list is ready.
  • All needed ingredients are gathered and stored properly.
  • All ingredients are pre-measured and prepared.
  • All tools and equipments are gathered and in place.
  • You are prepared for work.

What is the first step of mise en place? ›

Step 1: Read your recipe ahead of time.

This is step one of mise en place, Baldwin says. Whether it's days ahead or just before you're cooking, always read the recipe and ingredient list in full before you begin.

What does Bianca Dusic do for a living? ›

Who is Bianca Dusic? Kristen's wife, Bianca Dusic, is a certified hypnotherapist, breath work and EFT practitioner, past-life regression therapist, and holistic health coach, according to her Instagram bio.

Does Kristen Kish have a restaurant? ›

Arlo Grey by Kristen Kish Restaurant - Austin, TX | OpenTable.

What is Buddha Lo doing now? ›

Buddha Lo is a two-time Top Chef winner, executive chef at Hūso in New York City, and a Saratoga Spring Water brand ambassador.

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