Chef Ariane Duarte was one of our favorite contestants in Top Chef: Season 5. Prominent personalites were abundant as Fabio and Stefan represented “Team Euro” and Carla was hooty-hooing left and right. Chef Ariane seemed to grow from a humble contestant into the New Jersey diva that won several challenges, and stole our foodie hearts.
Today Chef Duarte is living with her family in her native New Jersey and working as Executive Chef/Owner of CulinAriane in Montclaire, NJ. She took a little time out of her busy to day to answer a few of our burning questions.
1. What is it like working alongside your husband at your restaurant CulinAriane?
Michael and I have worked side by side for many years. Im not going to say that we havent stepped on each others toes a few times, or that we havent had an “F U” fight once in awhile, but we both know our strenghts and we do compliment each other when it comes to running the business.
2. Do you keep in touch with any of your competitors from your season of Top Chef?
I do. I just had dinner with Carla and Ryan. I still talk with Leah and Jamie. Hosea called me for my birthday which was a really nice surprise.
3. Your menu from CulinAriane is really amazing! What would you say is the inspiration for the food you create?
Simple and seasonal. I get bored quickly and enjoy experimenting.
4. What is your favorite protein to work with?
I love lamb and pork and venison is a favorite at the moment.
5. If you could eat one meal 3 times a day, what would it be – breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
I would eat lunch.
6. What is a restaurant you want to eat at on your day off?
On my day off I tend to stay home with the family. Our girls enjoy family dinners at home.
7. What is the one kitchen item/gadget you cannot live without?
Gosh. I would say my knives. I take care of a majority of the butchering so a good knife is important!
8. The best thing you ever ate?
9. Have you ever considered writing your own cookbook?
I am considering it now. I think it is time.
10. How has Top Chef impacted your life? Would you do it again?
Top Chef has had a wonderful impact on my life and business and it has helped me grow as a chef. Not 100 percent sure if i would do it agian, but I would consider it.