I have to say, last night's Top Chef was probably my favorite of the season. Watching the remaining four diving for conch shells in the Bahamas was too much fun. Think Top Chef meets Survivor. (Although, to be honest, didn't really need to see Mike Isabella without a shirt.)
Their elimination challenge dishes had to incorporate conch, a Bahamian staple. Antonia Lofaso did conch tartare over grouper, while Tiffany Derry prepared a clam and conch chowder. Mike had the most elaborate, successfully braising pineapple from sweet to savory. And Rich Blais was the most clever, using thin ribbons of sweet potato in place of pasta.
So who was told to pack up their knives and go? Read on to find out in my exclusive chat with this week's eliminated cheftestant...
Tiffany was given the culinary boot because she wasn't hot enough—literally. The judges scolded her because her chowder was too cold. The Dallas-based chef tells me she's had enough of Top Chef. OK, maybe not forever, but...
Would you do Top Chef again?
I would do it, but no time soon. I need a break. I just want to get back to normal. Normal isn't want it used to be, but I don't want to be cooped away right now. I want to enjoy all of this. My other season, I didn't even get to see it air because I was taping [All-Stars] during that time.
You said in your exit interview that you think the remaining chefs had to make it to this point more than you did. You really OK with not winning?
I really feel there were other people who need to go further [than me] for their well-being. I didn't have to win. Tiffany will be fine no matter what she does, no matter where life takes her. I'm OK. I thought I did a good job. I went home on a dish that I am proud of...Rich made a comment that he told me that losing Top Chef was the worst moment in his life. I was like, Really?
He's so insecure. It works against him.
I'm like, Dude get a grip! I told him one day, "Stop talking to yourself like this. You're killing me. You make me nervous."
You also talked about how the other contestants have worked with some of the best chefs in the world, but you haven't. You're more self-taught. Do you ever want to just get up, leave Dallas and head to somewhere like New York City and work those chefs?
Years ago I had that feeling I wanted to, but now honestly I'm finding my own. I don't think that's necessary. You don't have to take that route. I don't think that will necessarily make you the best chef. It's about you cooking your own food and being true to yourself and having food that tastes good and not cooking someone else's and calling it yours.
So, what is next for you?
I want my own TV show! I am having meetings and there's talk...but talk is cheap, so let's get the ball rolling. It has to be the right fit for me.