Top Chef All-Stars Exit Interview: Episode 4
A trip to the US Open emphasized gamesmanship on this week’s Top Chef All-Stars. But it was game, set, match for one disappointed chef’testant. We find out what went wrong, after the jump.
Yep, it’s long-time ES fav Spike Mendelsohn, who, as only Anthony Bourdain could put it, was met with “one of the more epic, nay — Shakespearean — moments in the history of Top Chef: The moment where Spike was defeated by himself, where the dark prince and conniver fell victim to his own web of deceit, the puppetmaster overwhelmed by his presumed puppets.” Wow. Let’s hear what Spike has to say for himself.
ES: So — did you overplay your strategy this time?
Spike: Actually I think the strategy was really, really appropriate. They were giving the opportunity for a couple people not to serve their food if the other team got all four points. So the idea was that if someone made a really bad dish, they should go first. I don’t think that someone who didn’t cook well or had a bad day should just get a free pass to the next round. Also, I felt we were starting in a tough place because Tre had immunity. Even Tom Colicchio said Tre shouldn’t have served his dish. That made no sense for the rest of us to have him serving his dish and making it harder for us to stay. But it was like I was playing with a bunch of first-timers out there. They didn’t get the strategy.
Do you think Jamie got a free ride to the next round, considering she didn’t serve anything?
Yeah! I mean, hello. We’re on a nationally recognized, Emmy-award winning show called Top Chef, where people come on and cook things. I don’t know what show she thinks she’s on.
Did Angelo sabotage you?
Yes. Well, sabotage is a strong word. I just had a huge brain fart and was overly excited. But yeah, he put something in there that didn’t belong there. Would he want that done to his own dish? I don’t think so. I think Angelo saw me building some momentum and saw that I was a threat, so maybe he saw this as an opportunity.
Were you surprised when Padma called your name?
Every single chef there thought Casey was going home, but I knew right after the game was over that I was going home because I was the only person who lost all four points when the judges voted. Casey came up to me right after the competition and said ‘If you don’t want to go home, I will.’ If I was the old Top Chef Spike, at judges’ table I would have said, “Some people want to be here and some people want to go home,” and looked right at Casey. But that’s not the person I want to be now. She didn’t pull the trigger and I wasn’t going to push her arm.
Who are the strongest chefs left?
I think every single fan, judge and chef-testant knows that Blais is one of the oldest chef-testants and one of the most experienced. He’s also super creative and works really hard. He really, really wants to take home this title and I hope that he does. The other person is Carla. People refer to her as an underdog, but I don’t think she is. She does things really quietly and really soulfully — she’s a very strong contender.