Top Chef ,Ashley Merriman

Trae Patton / Bravo

Top Chef contestant Ashley Merriman is not against cooking at straight weddings.

So what was her beef with this season's wedding challenge?

It was all about timing. "My objection was more about the decision to have this challenge at the height of Proposition 8," Merriman tells me.

"It was not about the bachelor and bachelorette. I don't have any problems with them. When somebody comes and wants to propose in my restaurant I'm the first person putting the ring in the chocolate cake."

Fortunately, it wasn't her politics that got her eliminated on last night's show. Read on for the first of my weekly Top Chef exit interviews with the season's 10 remaining cheftestants.

Did you deserve to go home last night?
I think I could have stayed longer and competed well. But at this point in the competition, there really is no room for error.

You were eliminated, in part, because your prawns were undercooked. Is there anything now that you would have done differently?
I did not want to serve well-done prawns…My intention was to really just gently cook them. I think if I had been more clear about my intent, the judges might not have liked them but at least they would have known what I was actually wanting to do.

Now that Padma has announced she's pregnant, I think everyone is watching the show looking for signs. I noticed during last night's dinner party she wasn't drinking the wine but looked like she was sticking with water.
None of us knew she was pregnant. But also, we were filming that in May so I don't know even if she was then.

You worked at New York's Butter restaurant, which is known for being a hot spot. So do you have any crazy celeb stories you can share?
Back in the day when I was there, one of the owners was dating one of the Olsen twins. They came into the restaurant a lot. We had a cookie plate on the menu and that's all they really ate, were the cookies. Tons and tons of cookies.

So how many numbers have you been getting from female admirers now that you've been on television?
I'm not accepting numbers at this time [laughs]. I have only one number that I need.


What was last night's craziest Top Chef reveal? Take our Watch With Kristin poll.

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