Top Chef Exit Interview: Episode 7

The Palm

Our man Brit was live at The Palm DC last night, where one sniveling, pea-stealing Top Chef-testant had their portrait unveiled on the walls of the restaurant. But of course, one other chef had to pack up some knives and leave. We hear from them, after the jump.


ES: Obviously, we have to get your take on the great pea puree debacle.
Andrea: You know, it’s almost good that that happened, because it took the focus off of just how much the judges hated my dish. I didn’t see Alex take the puree, so I can’t say for sure. But I did see Ed buy peas, and I didn’t see Alex buy peas, and, well, innocent until proven guilty I guess, but….it was a little stinky, the whole situation.

As someone who is already a pretty established chef, with your own restaurant that has been highly praised in Food and Wine and The New York Times, did you have any trepidation about whether going on Top Chef was the right move?
Absolutely. There was much trepidation. Especially with having three businesses and a family, I didn’t want to leave anything. The reason why I did it was I needed a little boost. I was kind of in the spotlight at one point and I stepped back a bit to raise my family. The economy has hit my career hard and I guess it’s just that being a good chef and working hard isn’t enough anymore. You need to get your mug out there.

Gotta ask about Michelle Bernstein. Is there really that much of a rivalry between you two, or was it played up for TV?
I don’t know that it was played up on my part. There certainly is a little bit of a rivalry and I didn’t think it was quite fair. All those faces that you saw me make on TV were certainly real. We’re in the same town, and I absolutely do not think she’s more qualified than me to be a judge, so I wasn’t really happy.

How about the other judges? Did you find their criticisms fair?
Um….you know….I don’t want to be rude. But as I said when I exited last night, I don’t need four people behind a table to tell me I’m a good chef; I know I’m a good chef. Of course it’s their job to critique. Some of their critiques I respect more than others. Some of the judges kind of liked the same things over and over. I really did enjoy Eric Ripert, how’s that? I felt he was fair and honest in a way that he didn’t have to make you feel like an idiot.

Is Angelo really as conniving as he comes across on TV?
It may be played up a bit, but Angelo wasn’t the most popular cat on the show. I don’t think he was there to make friends. He was there to try to play the game. I saw that from the beginning and I distanced myself from him because of that, so I didn’t really get to know him. But I would like to get know Angelo outside of the show to see if he’s a different person.

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  • Beth Mahoney July 29, 2010  

    That rivalry with Bernstein is definitely played up for TV.

  • FrenchTwistDC July 29, 2010  

    Am I the only one who loves Angelo?

  • Maids July 29, 2010  

    I have to say, I’m rooting against alex. I think he’s a sneak

  • Maids July 29, 2010  

    @Frenchtwist – probably. I think he’s okay. I wouldn’t use the word love however.

  • BS July 29, 2010  

    I see Angelo as somewhat akin to Spike a few seasons back. He’s being a jerk partially just to craft a memorable personae…Although in this case, he also seems to be the best chef on the show.

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