Top Chef Masters Exit Interview: Episode 2

Much like the original Top Chef, Masters is also drawing on celebrity friends for a ratings boost. To kick off the celebrity circuit they brought in Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks and her fellow actor husband, Geoffrey Arend. In true form, the chefs were required to modernize a 1960s inspired dish — fondue anyone? In other news, the show lost John Rivera Sedlar due to an emergency so last week’s losing chef, Hugh Acheson, returned. We talk to the chef who went home, after the jump.

ES: How did the chefs feel about Hugh Acheson returning?
Sue Zemanick: I felt great about Hugh returning. It was fair as someone had to leave. I think it’s great, I liked Hugh and I didn’t get to spend much time with him so it was great for him to come back.

You cooked for Kelis and Christina Hendricks on this episode. Who is the most famous person you’ve ever cooked for?
I would have to say my favorite most famous person I cooked for was Scarlett Johansson. She ate a lot; she had a healthy appetite. She had our duck confit dish and then I can’t remember what the fish special was that night but she also had that.

The judges seemed to be a little sympathetic with you not completing your dish. With that in mind do you think you lost due to concept or execution?
I just think that I had the losing dish [duck a l’orange] because I didn’t get my food to the plate, I didn’t get to feed the guests. I think I deserved to go home. if I had the opportunity to get my food out to all of the guests they would have enjoyed it.

You and Suvir both made comments about the size of the kitchen. Do you think you were given the opportunity to create the dish you wanted to?
I think that’s just part of the competition, they always throw these curve balls in there and that might have been the curve ball for the day. There wasn’t any other thing that they had, we were all thinking of some crazy things that were going to be the curve ball so maybe the kitchen was it.

Care to tell us a bit about your restaurant, Gautreau’s?
It’s a very small 60-seat restaurant in a residential neighborhood with no signage. It’s almost like a little private dining club. The owner works as the Maître’ d almost every night. There are a lot of people here that really care about the customers and the food, there’s a lot of love that goes into every dish.

You chose the Louisiana SPCA as your charity, why is that?
I’m a huge animal lover, I’ve been doing a lot of work with them to raise money over the past years. I’m just happy they got some money from this experience.

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