Top Chef Exit Interview: Episode 8


Padma’s ridiculous hat wasn’t the only loser on this week’s Top Chef: Las Vegas. One chef-testant had to go, and we speak with them, after the jump.


Yep, Padma’s hat was quickly tossed aside, and so was nice guy Ash. As you might suspect, he’s not too bitter.

From what we saw, it seemed you never really came into your own on the show and made your best food. Is that accurate?
I think it is. I think I almost made my best food, but never quite got there. There were several times when if I could have finished I would have made a great dish, but I just didn’t get there in time.

Do you think you were hindered by not having a classical culinary education?
No. Michael Voltaggio, for example, doesn’t have a classic culinary education either. I’ve studied a lot on my own and I think I’ve educated myself quite well. I think I suffered because I wasn’t used to cooking in those conditions, under that kind of time constraint. Of course, everyone else was cooking in the same conditions, they just handled it better than I did.

So do you feel you are as good a chef as those who are still in?
Yes, definitely. If I didn’t think that, I wouldn’t have gone on the show.

Why did you let Mike Isabella talk you out of making the dish you wanted to make?
In that conversation with Mike, I was looking for advice. I was very worried about overcooking the meat, and having it dry out en route. I got the most delicate cut of meat on the pig, and I knew it wouldn’t travel well, so I was worried about how to cook it. Mike’s suggestion of a chilled dish was very smart. I just didn’t execute it very well. It was 100 percent my fault.

Dana Corwin called Laurine’s dish cat food, but you still went home instead. Surprising?
To tell you the truth, I didn’t hear that comment until I watched the show and I was very surprised to hear that, because Lauriee does amazing stuff; I think she said she learned how to do rillettes from Judi Rogers or someone amazing like that, so I was surprised to hear that. But I wasn’t surprised she didn’t get kicked off, because she hadn’t been up there (on the chopping block) very much, and I had.

You didn’t hate on Robyn as much as everyone else. Does she deserve to still be there?
Look, the reality is that other peoples’ dishes had worse problems. So does she deserve to be there? Absolutely. Frankly, no eliminated chef would say that the dish they made was great, so they can’t complain about going home. Mine certainly wasn’t great, so I’m OK with getting kicked off for that.

Who are you rooting for?
The more I think about it, the more I’d like to see Jen win. As far as I’m concerned, it’s between Jen, Kevin and Mike Voltaggio. All three of them are amazing and all three of them deserve to win.

At the very end of this week’s episode, you said you were going to invite all the judges over to your restaurant, except for Padma. What’s that about?
Oh, Padma’s such a lovely lady, but I don’t think she ever liked any of the food I served her. Throughout the show you can see her making these faces that are just confused, even angry, that I made her eat that. I’m sure she’s a lovely person, but I don’t want her at my dinner party.

Bonus! Check out our full, recorded interview with Ash over at I’m Not Here to Make Friends.

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  • Summer October 16, 2009  

    He’s very gracious about it, but his elimination really surprised me. I couldn’t believe they kicked off “not enough flavor” and let “cat food” stay!

  • gansie October 16, 2009  

    padma’s hat is pure fashion!

  • Liza October 16, 2009  

    Thank you for acknowledging the ridiculousness of Padma’s hat BS. Gansie, I hear where you are coming from, but she is the definition of ridic.

  • Allie October 16, 2009  

    He seems like a nice dude. I couldn’t get over it last week when he was going on and on about one of the Voltaggis (can’t remember which one) and how it was an honor to be partnered with him. Hilarious…too bad he never did anything that stood out.

    Kevin FTW!

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