Floyd Cardoz is feeling pretty darn good today.
The NYC-based executive chef outcooked fellow cheftestants Mary Sue Milliken and Traci Des Jardins, taking the top spot on last night's Top Chef Masters finale.
So does Cardoz think he deserved to take home the $110,000 in prizes? And would he ever do it again? Read on for our exclusive interview...
Congratulations! So when you started Masters, did you ever think you would make it all the way?
No. You know, they were all very, very talented chefs. To go into a competition saying "I'm going to win no matter what" always takes you away from who you truly are, and that's something that I wasn't going to do.
Do you think you deserved to win?
I think I deserved to win because I stayed true to who I really am. I didn't change my personality or my cooking style. I think the food I executed every single time was spot on. And I was in the top more times than I was in the bottom.
With the rain, the L.A. traffic and the poorly filleted fish you bought, it seemed like things weren't going your way at the beginning of the episode.
There were a couple of things that weren't going right, yes, and I was a little worried, but the thing that helped me a lot and that drives me every single day was I was going to the inner of my soul to do what I love to do. I was cooking from my heart in that episode.
James Oseland even said he could feel the soul in the rendang you made for him.
Yeah, he said that, and that's what people always tell me about my food—they feel that. And I think for me, that's the most important thing.
Would you do it all again?
Yeah, I would. What I got the most out of this was the camaraderie I had with the other chefs. Like, I knew Mary Sue Milliken and I knew Traci, but I never really got to spend time with them...That was the best part of this whole competition.
You competed for the Young Scientist Cancer Research Fund, which you support in honor of your late father. What would he say to you today after winning?
He'd be so proud. I'm sure he is very, very proud of everything I've done.