Top Chef Master: Judges Were Wrong, "Very Surprised" to be Sent Home

"I had really risen to the challenge," says last night's eliminated cheftestant. So what happened?

By Marc Malkin Jun 09, 2011 10:56 PMTags
TOP CHEF MASTERS, Floyd Cardoz, Mary Sue Milliken, Traci Des Jardins, Naomi PomeroyNicole Wilder/Bravo

Top Chef Masters has finally been dwindled down to the last three standing.

Who was sent home last night and what's the cheftestant saying about it today?

Read on to find out...

Oregon chef Naomi Pomeroy was sent packing after the judges found her shrimp—yikes!!—undercooked. Even so, Pomeroy didn't think she deserved to go.

In your exit interview you said you didn't expect to be going home in this week's elimination. Why is that?
I felt like I had done a good job, that I was creative and that the food tasted and looked great. Most of all, I felt like I had really risen to the challenge of cooking a Hawaiian-inspired meal for my veteran, which was what was really important to me. They were happy, so I was happy.

Nicole Wilder/Bravo

How surprised were you when you were eliminated? Was there anything you would have done differently?
I could tell it was heading that way. But I was honestly very surprised because I felt like all of my food was really good. As for the under-cooked shrimp situation, I just don't agree. I think people are used to eating curled up, dried out shrimp, and maybe that was the issue. I have a real thing against overcooked seafood. In the end- there could have been a couple shrimp that needed 10 more seconds in the pan. It's pretty wild trying to cook a four-course meal for 100 people in a couple hours by yourself.

Let's talk about the Quickfire. Did you feel bad at all that you were "barking" at your own dad? Sure, you didn't know it was him, but still...
Of course! I wouldn't want to "bark"' at anyone. Ever. I am not known as a loud person in my kitchen. But I have a staff that I completely trust and who need very little directing. You know though, sometimes I wonder if I was a man, would people talk so much about how direct I am? I was making the challenge happen. and I did it. My father and I had two identical dishes.

Do you want another chance at Top Chef Masters? Would you compete again?
I don't know. Sometimes I think I didn't win because winning isn't that important to me. I loved playing.

The other chefs, I think, were a bit jealous of you. You're young and you did so well on the show. You agree?
Not at all. The camaraderie behind the scenes was stellar, and I always felt like everyone worked together and just had tons of mutual respect. I feel honored to be in that group of chefs. While cooking certainly has a lot to do with practice over time, I don't really think it comes down to an age question.