Top Chef Masters Exit Interview: Episode 7

Between the extra-mushy engagement dinner setup and Gael Greene’s tableside tales of hooking up with Elvis, this was certainly the most romantic episode of Top Chef Masters yet, Or as Hugh Acheson put it, “I wanted to vomit in my mouth.”

Aside: speaking of axed chef-testants, Suvir Sarar recently posted an epic, 1,000-word comment to ES expanding on why he shouldn’t have been eliminated a few weeks back. Check it out if you’re up for a pretty intense read. This week’s departing master is not nearly as angry, but does have some thoughts for us, after the jump.

ES: What did you think the judges’ criticism of your dish — that it wasn’t inventive or cohesive enough?
Celina Tio: Well, it’s a matter of opinion. No hard feelings, but I definitely acheived my goals for this dish, which was to be part of somebody’s special, real-life moment. I think you saw from their reaction that it was exactly what the couple wanted.

So you weren’t as grossed out as some of us by the challenge?
I thought it was great. It wouldn’t be for me — proposing on national television — but it was nice to be a part of. That’s what food is all about, making something that creates a great experience for people.

Were you happy with your time on the show?
I had two goals — to have fun and to raise some money for my charity — and I achieved both. I wish I could have raised a little more, but I had a great time. Everyone was fun to work with and we all really helped each other out, which was great.

Yeah, getting alongĀ  doesn’t make for great reality TV though — what’s up with you all liking each other?
Ha. It’s a great group of chefs. It really made the whole experience a lot easier.

Any thoughts on who’s going to win it all?
Tough to say. Everyone who was there from the beginning was just so badass. Really, any of them could take it. Of course I’d like to see Mary Sue or Traci win.

What are you up to now?
I just launched my new website, Being on the show got me really into video and the production aspect of it, so I’ve put together a bunch of videos — how-tos, interviews, and footage from trips like my recent excursion to Iceland.

Can you tell us a little about your charity?
Harversters is a community food network in Kansas City. They do a lot of great things locally. The thing they do that really hits close to home is this program where they fill backpacks full of food for students each week. My daughter goes to a public school and several of her classmates have benefited from it.

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