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Top Chef Masters: "I Was Totally Psychotic"

Top Chef Masters Justin Stephens/Bravo

If you're competing on Top Chef Masters, it's all about pushing taking chances.

One of the last things your want to do is play it safe, because there's a very good chance it will get you booted. And that's exactly what happened last night. The losing dish may have been yummy, but it was way too simple.

So what went down in the kitchen? Read on for my exclusive chat with this week's eliminated cheftestant. Plus, was judge James Oseland actually crying when said chef was sent packing?

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Mississippi-based John Currence's risotto dish didn't cut it. It may not be the easiest dish to prepare, but even Currence admits he should have done more.

First, I have to say: I'm not a chef or cook by any means, but I became obsessed with cooking about two years ago. One of my favorite dishes to make is risotto. I make it with rosemary-infused oil and orange zest.
I knew you were a man of impeccable taste as soon as you got on the phone [Laughs]. Rosemary and citrus work really well together.

But I also have to say, I kind of understand why the judges said it was too safe. You are, after all, one of the Masters.
I think I understand their reasoning in that if you're going to compete with 12 of the best folks they can round up to compete and if risotto with some wilted spinach is the best that you can do, then it may be a little too fundamental. But risotto is about the technique and they're not very many people that do it well. I've done it for years…But I think if you're going to do Top Chef Masters, stay away from Italian rice [Laughs]. And you know, I think I told them it was a good call, too.

James looked like was crying or about to start when you were told to leave.
Somebody else sort of noticed that too and my wife said she almost got a little teary and just wanted to hug James because he was so nice. I didn't notice. My brain was so scrambled even when watching it again. I was totally psychotic by the time the thing was all over. I didn't really know what was going on. There was a deafening ring in my ears. I couldn't hear anything. But James is wonderful. I love him. I've written for him before and he has an incredibly vast knowledge of food.

I see you're a contributing editor at Garden and Gun magazine. I'll admit I didn't know what that was, but I looked on the website. It looks pretty cool.
It's sort of a lifestyle slash outdoor slash literary magazine. I love it because it puts a face on the South that we're all not barefoot and sucking on a hay straw. There's some great intellectual currency going on down here.

But what about the guns part?
Do I hunt? Absolutely. I've hunted my whole life. I now hunt primarily birds and really not much else. I love to duck hunt.

Do you eat what you hunt?
Absolutely. My wife hates to see the freezer fill up with ducks, but they don't stay around too long.

John Currence, Top Chef Nicole Wilder/Bravo

VIDEO: In other reality TV news, who duct taped AI's Steven Tyler?!

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