Last night's Top Chef Masters eliminee wasn't sent home because her Mad Men-inspired duck à l'orange didn't taste good. She was told to pack her knives because she ran out of time and served partially done dishes.
Sue Zemanick isn't exactly crying over her early departure. "To be completely honest with you, I'd rather go home because I didn't get my food on the plate rather than have the judges sitting there telling me they didn't like my food," she says. "It sucks to go home for that, but at least I didn't have to hear too much about how much they hated it."
Kelis and Christina Hendricks were guest judges last night. Do you think it's fair to be judged by them alongside people like Ruth Reichl and James Oseland?
I think it's very fair, because these are the people who eat the food. There are only so many food critics. It's all about making the customer happy, whether they're a movie star, a critic or a regular person.
Ruth criticized Alex Stratta's bread pudding, saying making bread pudding is cooking 101. If someone couldn't get cooking 101 right, should they still be there?
I think that Alex is a really amazing chef. There's a lot of pressure on you...There are a lot of things that factor into the final outcome of everyone's dish on that show, so I don't think that it was really a fair comment for her to make. I think Alex totally deserves to be there.
You said in your exit interview that you think that a woman is going to take it. Why?
I think all the women were really strong. And I'm trying to send some positive vibes that way because I think a woman deserves to win a Top Chef title.
Biggest thing you learned on the show?
I learned how to challenge myself and do something I normally wouldn't do—and I learned how to cook while being chased around by someone with a camera!
So you want your own show now, don't you?
[Laughs.] Not necessarily. If I can have something like Andy Cohen after hours, that would be great. Sitting around drinking martinis and talking to people? That wouldn't be so bad.