Top Chef Exit Interview: Episode 3

Our interview with the latest chef’testant asked to pack their knives and leave…safely after the jump for all you tivo-heads…


Awww, it’s poor Richard, the affable gay guy, who is just as nice and friendly in person as on TV, and he didn’t even cry one bit…

So did those freaking Foo Fighters know anything about food?
They actually know a lot more than you would probably guess. They picked up on a lot off different components of different dishes. Obviously my team lost, so I wasn’t so happy with them, but I think they did know a lot about the food and paid close attention.

But obviously you want to spit on Dave Grohl, right?
The initial comment that Dave Grohl made about the s’mores having spit on them sounded really bad, but it was done in a joking way. I actually first heard that when Gail told us at the judge’s table that Dave Grohl said it looked like spit and I kind of freaked out. But when I saw it on TV, I realized that the vanilla cream sauce kind of fell, and that’s what he was talking about.

No one talked about how the s’more actually tasted. Was it that bad?
I tasted it myself and I liked the way it worked. I’m a big fluffernutter and banana guy myself, so I was trying to transfer that over in making a banana s’more. I guess it could have had more chocolate, but I didn’t really mean for it replace the chocolate s’more.

Have you tried making s’mores again since then?
I’ve actually been playing around with it in my kitchen, trying to make a banana s’more dish that I can serve in the restaurant, but I haven’t quite figured it out yet, primarily because every time I get too close to a banana smore I start to tear up.

If you got a second take, what would you change?
Dessert is usually the kiss of death on Top Chef, and I had just skated by with one, so it was probably a bad move to do another. I also paid too much attention to the rider – I was really trying to cook for the Foo Fighters, to please the clients, without considering that in the end it would be the judges who decide.

How the hell did Danny beat you?
I definitely think he should have gone. I didn’t think I was totally safe, but I had one good dish and two bad ones, Danny had two bad dishes, and Jeff had three bad dishes, so I thought I would probably be OK. I knew I would be in the bottom three but I didn’t think I would be the one to go. I know I made mistakes, but I knew my one dish was a really solid dish, and Danny served undercooked potatoes when we already had a starch. He also had another dish that didn’t work well, and there was a whole lot of drama about that one too, but it ended up not making it to the show.

Woah, woah, woah. There are secret dishes we don’t know about?
All of the dishes were evaluated at judge’s table, but they don’t all make it through the editing process onto the show.

How long were you in the stew room?
This one was really long, probably a good 7, 8 hours. Although I’m not really sure because the rest of the night was kind of a blur after I got eliminated. I went off on a production person who was just trying to offer me a bottle of water.

Dish: Tom and Padma.
It’s really hard to get to know them well. It’s not like we’re hanging out having beers all day. After the show, the judges go one way and we go the other. Tom’s a very quiet guy – he only chitchats a little bit, but he’s very professional. Padma is just as beautiful in person as she is on TV, and they’re both really cool people. After Padma spit out Ariane’s dish, she went up to her and said I’m sorry that happened, made sure she was OK – so it’s nice to get to see that kind of human aspect.

What’s it like in the sequester house?
There’s a lot of drinking. If you think we drink a lot on the show, you should see the sequester house. I think I came up with about 30 sangria recipes. I was on the show for about a week and a half, then in the sequester house for two weeks. You have cable, so that’s nice, but no phone or Internet. It’s actually in Jersey City, so we were able to go out for dinner a few times because no one expected the Top Chef contestants to be there.

Who’s taking it all home?
I said from the beginning that Stefan is someone to watch. He’s the most traveled, has the most experience of everyone. Fabio has made a couple of missteps, but he’s also done well. And then there are a couple of people who haven’t gotten a lot of face time. Ariane bounced back after being on the bottom, which is really hard to do. Throughout the whole turkey thing, all of us were constantly checking up on her, asking about the turkey, but she really stepped it up and showed she’s definitely someone who can hold her own.

Don’t forget to tune in Wednesday at 10pm EST for Top Chef live blogging.

(Photos: Bravo)

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