The Dessert Buddha Lo Swears He Prefers With Caviar - Exclusive

You might think anything fishy is in Buddha Lo's wheelhouse after he and fellow Season 20 "Top Chef" contestant Luciana stunned judges with their cod-based fisherman's pie in Episode 3 of the all-star season. (Spoiler alert: the two won that challenge.) Cooking with fish eggs, however, is Buddha Lo's veritable superpower.

The Season 19 "Top Chef" champion and current all-star contestant helms the Michelin-plated Huso. It's a small 12-seater restaurant, for which — Lo once told Bon Appetit — the waiting list numbers 500 each day. Everything on Huso's menu must work with caviar — no ifs, ands, or buts. So when Mashed had the chance to talk exclusively with Lo, we were compelled to ask for pointers. Lo's advice is to start slow. "First of all, it's tasting the caviar by itself [and] tasting an array of different caviars," he told us. "And then you start to venture out. That sounds so simple, but that's my way exactly of being a chef. I won't start to break down any dishes or flavor combinations unless I actually know how to make [each one]."

Start slow, but get creative when you can. "You do get to that point where you go, 'Would I rather [have] that dish or [have it] with the caviar?' Most of the time, I'd rather have it with the caviar," Lo remarked. He's not kidding. He told Mashed, "I've had flan by [it]self, and it's really good. But with the caviar, it's like, 'I need caviar on this from now on.' It's so much of a difference. ... Caviar brings out a level which you wouldn't get [otherwise]."

Buddha Lo swears caviar brings common foods to a whole new level

Buddha Lo is the first to admit that caviar pairs well with "a lot of expensive food a lot, like wagyu." Don't make the mistake of limiting yourself to caviar's more traditional culinary friends, though. "The more interesting ones [are when you pair caviar with] very, very common foods," Lo told Mashed. For example? Try Doritos with caviar. That's a combo one of Lo's colleagues invented and that Lo still thinks about.

Or, experiment with pairing caviar and low-key diner breakfast food. "The other day, my wife [and I] had breakfast for her birthday. I did a full spread, but I also got some hash browns delivered into our house, and we had hash browns and caviar and scrambled eggs," Lo told Mashed. "Those sort of things are so tasty." For those of you with a sweet tooth, the next time flan is on your mind, try it with fish eggs.