Top Chef Masters Exit Interview: Episode 1

As we say farewell to Top Chef All-Stars, we turn our attention to the newly revamped Masters. No longer will Kelly Choi grace our screens as she has been replaced by Aussie chef Curtis Stone. With him he brings the traditional format that we know and love in Top Chef — no more counting points, just plain and simple quickfire and elimination challenges — and we were in for a treat as the first episode was Restaurant Wars.

Keep reading to hear what the first eliminated chef had to say.


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Honky Tonk Princess

Fuck. So I’m back at work now. But at least I have these so-so photos from my iPhone to remember my looooong road trip from Atlanta to Hartsville to Nashville to Knoxville to Kingsport and back to DC. Let me walk you through my trip, via food, of course.

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Toured World of Coca-Cola. (Atlanta)

I learned a few things. Sex in different language sells. Coke’s secret formula has nothing to do with taste. Chile’s Lift is the best soft drink in South America. I paid $45 for 80P, 80P’s Mom and me to be brainwashed into drinking Coke for the rest of our lives. And it was worth it.


Met a top chef. (Atlanta)


Met another top chef. (Atlanta)


Ate Sonic for the first time. (Somewhere off the highway in Monteagle, Tennessee)

Don’t worry. I didn’t eat that enormous chili cheese dog pictured above (80 did!). I try to avoid meat and fast food. Shockingly, though, the mozzarella sticks were awesome. And the black and white shake, even better. Actually, get this.

We all know what a black and white shake is, right? So I wake up drunk on New Years Day, giggle my ass off for an hour, start to feel crappy, head to a diner and try to order a milkshake on my way out. And my fucking server looks at me like I’m insane. She took a triple take. And she goes, “Um, like put them on top of each other?”

What the fuck? What would that even mean? I clearly did not order a milkshake from that establishment.

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Tricks And Foams May Break My Bones

kevin from Top Chef

It’s cold here. Cold! When I booked my flight for Atlanta to see 80P and his parents (and cat, Sophie) I was not only excited about the fun food adventures, but the warm weather.

Yea, no. I assumed the South meant warm. I assumed wrong. It’s just as cold here as it was with my family in Jersey. But I’ll take it because while Jersey may produce Top Chefs it does not lay claim to Kevin Gillespie‘s ode to farm-to-table dining.

On my first night in Atlanta, 80’s parents (minus Sophie) took us to Kevin’s restaurant, Woodfire Grill. We were there not even a full 60 seconds and we saw Kevin! He was posing for pictures with diners, a celebration of celebrity that we would see many times that night.

After a few sips of pre-seating cocktails we were led into the long, narrow dining room—sophisticated, yet warm—and immediately upon entering we saw the tattooed, bearded fellow again. He preps out in the open, ensuring all diners can gawk at this almost-winner.

Maureen, our hysterical server, asked us if we watched Top Ch… and she couldn’t even finish her thought before we enthusiastically nodded.  Maureen explained the sustainability mantra and the close attention paid to sourcing of the ingredients. Except for the fish (which is flown in the night before serving, usually from the Pacific Northwest) all ingredients are sent to the restaurant the morning of and are prepped all day for dinner service. The menu changes daily, which leads to another form of celeb worshiping: When 80’s mom asked if we could keep the dated menu, Maureen whips back “And would you like Kevin to sign it? Most people frame their picture with Kevin and the signed menu. And be sure to check the ladies’ bathroom. It’s really cute in there”

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