"I didn't like cooking against others."

on Oct 27, 2010 - The Dish

Competition ain't for everyone. In a surprising move, pastry chef Malika Ameen eliminated herself from the pressure cooker that is Top Chef Just Desserts last week, leaving us scratching our heads. Well, Malika surfaced this week, talking to the Chicago Tribune about why she decided to pack her pastries and go.

"I started to feel very much that what I didn't like about cooking competitively was cooking against others," Ameen told the Tribune's food blog, The Stew. "That was something that I have to say really bothered me inside. It didn't make me feel good about cooking. To me cooking represents love and joy and bringing people together and competitive cooking does not do that."

Yes, it was a short run, but says she took a lot away from her brief time in the kitchen. "For me, my experience on Top Chef was a very big personal victory. I feel wonderful about myself and I feel good about leaving the show the time that I did," she told the Trib.

Malika sang the same song shortly after leaving the show in our Exit Interview. "There are two things that drive me in my life -- the first is my children and the second is cooking. I don't enjoy cooking in a competitive environment, and that's what I really learned coming here," Malika told us. "I really learned on Top Chef Just Desserts how much I love working with others, how much I excel in team situations. I'm a real team player -- that I didn't know about myself."

What do you think - should Malika have stuck around?