During the show, which is in its 21st season, he said: “I have been cooking for 40 years. If I can beat Bobby, it would prove I’m still at the top of my game. I seem like a soft-spoken Brit but my food speaks volumes.”
Winslade chose to make a dish Flay knew virtually nothing about, which placed the British native at an immediate advantage: Fisherman’s Pie, a staple from his childhood growing up in England.
"I worked with a producer of the show to decide what dish would work best and that's what we ended up with," said Winslade, executive chef at the Buckhead restaurant Mission + Market, which he described on the show as contemporary with a "West Coast flair."
>>RELATED: A positive 2018 AJC review of Mission + Market
>>RELATED: A look at Winslade’s red snapper dish in detail
Although Shepherd’s Pie has crossed over stateside as a standard at British pubs, Fisherman’s Pie isn’t as well known but it is in many ways a seafood version. “Unless you grew up in England, you probably wouldn’t know it,” Winslade said.
Flay did his best improvising, using salmon and shrimp along with Shepherd’s pie ingredients such as English peas and potatoes.
But Winslade used his experience and plenty of preparation to his advantage, incorporating smoked haddock, Atlantic cod and shrimp. “I made it like 15 times to ensure I got it right,” he said.
Winslade said it normally takes 90 minutes to do the pie properly so he had to take some shortcuts. Instead of making a roux from scratch, for instance, he used a modified tapioca starch to quickly thicken his sauce.
Flay tried to create his roux from scratch and it ended up, as one of the judges noted, ‘breaking.” That meant the fat globules separated from the sauce. (He also overcooked the shrimp.)
Judge Mike Solomonov, chef and cookbook author, said Winslade's Fisherman's pie had "fantastic" flavor and found it "wonderful and comforting" but didn't like the "gooey" potato and stew mix.
Adrienne Cheatham, a Chicago chef and judge, liked the fish texture and "briny ocean flavor."
Winslade won the vote of two out of three judges, enough for a victory and bragging rights.
Earlier, in the opening round against a South Carolina hot sauce specialist, Winslade was given an ingredient he worked with all the time: Asian pear.
He highlighted the pear in a salad using ingredients that he uses regularly in dishes at Mission + Market: Fresno chili, yuzu and ginger: “I made sure that the Asian pear was the star of the meal.”
Celebrity judge Valerie Bertinelli was impressed: "Beautifully layered flavors. The ginger is what brings the heat instead of the Fresno chili. The Asian pears are the stars of the dish but I wonder if it could use a little more acid?
If Winslade had had more than 20 minutes to prep, he said he would have added a spritz of lime to give it that acidic balance.
Winslade has worked in Atlanta for many years, heading at least eight different restaurants including Paces & Vine, Bluepointe, Opus and Le Bernadin. From 2011 to 2018, he was executive chef at Murphy’s in Virginia-Highland, which has been around since 1992.
The challenge for him was to modernize the menu without changing it so much that the regulars would rebel. It was more evolution than revolution.
“I added more modern techniques and brought in a solid fuel stove,” he said. “I tried to make it more interesting, more current.”
But starting his own restaurant with Mission + Market has been far more satisfying from a creative standpoint.
“I got a chance to basically start with a clean slate,” he said. “I’ve created a fish-based restaurant, which is part of my passion. We get a fantastic lunch business and we have a very healthy menu.”
IF YOU GO
Mission + Market
Three Alliance Center
3550 Lenox Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30326