Bravotv.com: What did you think of this challenge?
There were no big twists or turns in this challenge, which is what I liked about it. I also noticed that it seemed for the first time this season that the producers chose to highlight a lot of the chef’testants personal issues in the house. I thought that was sort of interesting. It also showed both sides of those issues. It showed that clearly Robin is driving a lot of people crazy and I feel badly about that. In a way they’re sort of using her as a scapegoat. It seems they’re blowing off steam and looking for someone to blame. They're stressed out and tired and all that. This is the point in the competition where that always happens. They’re just starting to get burnt out and there’s a lot of pressure. That being said, she’s talking too much and she’s not conscious of it. She needs to adapt a bit more to her surroundings if she does not want to upset people.
Bravotv.com: Ash gets eliminated. In the last episode he made the whole speech about Michael at Judges’ Table.
Yes, that was a little crazy. The whole working together thing as artists… He gave Michael so much leeway but at the same time it begs the question, are you just saying that as a cop-out so you don’t have to take the lead and are less responsible for the end result?
Bravotv.com: One of the reasons Ash goes home is because he said he didn’t get to make what he wanted to. Charlie Palmer questioned this.
I think that’s why it was his time. It’s a very stressful competition and we hear what Ash said a lot. Every chef on every season has said they aren’t cooking their own style of their food at some point. They say that we haven’t seen what they can do yet as we have not given them a true chance to show all of what they are capable. While that may be true, in a real kitchen you’re not given that chance of 15 hours and an unlimited budget to do what you want either. If you make a mistake during service one night on the line you cannot use that excuse. We’re not looking for you to cook for us under the most perfect circumstances. The point is to see how you work under pressure, how you think on your feet, and how you react to stressful challenge (that is afgter all why they are called “challenges”). We want to see if you instinctively know and understand flavors. We’re never going to put you in a situation where you’re entirely comfortable. Even in the finale where we let the chefs cook what they want we always make sure that there’s something that keeps them on their toes. While I understand what Ash is saying, that’s not an explanation for a poor dish. Everyone’s on a level playing field. Everyone’s under the same constraints. You’re all in the same boat and some people do much better than others.
Bravotv.com: Anything else?
Just that next week is Restaurant Wars, which is always really intense. It will be interesting to see what happens next!