Burning Questions

Chef Chiarello explains what really happened with Dale Talde.

Aug 12, 20090

Bravotv.com: First the Quickfire: were you surprised how many ingredients you and your competitors didn’t know?
Quite surprised! I thought I lost for sure as I did not finish each ingredient. My strategy was to take my time and increase the percentage of success. You have to think back through your sensory/flavor memory and it takes a quiet mind. Without sight was the big surprise — I didn’t realize how much I rely on sight.

Bravotv.com: The Elimination process, what was your process around choosing your sous-chefs?
I have interviewed a lot in my career but in those cases I am looking for someone I can groom and grow over a couple of years. In this case I didn’t have time for them to develop and I only needed us to work great together for four hours. By asking them to cut and chop a specific cut of veg while I am asking them questions and pushing them along is exactly how I imagined the challenge would go. Thoughtful cooks that could take good direction is what I was looking for and is exactly what I got. Even Malarkey was thoughtful enough to know what his strengths were and knew he already contributed those when he volunteered himself off the show. (Big high-five to him.)

Bravotv.com: Why did you ask the chefs if they knew how you were? How to pronounce your name?
If you really want to work with someone you would know those two interviewing basics. If they knew who I was I felt they had a better chance of knowing my style of cooking … which would be a huge benefit.

Bravotv.com: What was the inspiration behind your menu? What is your thought behind your sous-chefs sharing their ideas and executing them?
I wanted a menu that represented how I cook and the bold flavors of microregional Italian cooking. At the same time they had to be able to be served room temp (if necessary) and still be wonderful. I also wanted items that could be cooked day or hours before and only get better. Plus a little showmanship of making risotto in front of the guests (the curveball of losing a sous-chef made this a little challenging). The older I get the more I am interested in collaborating. It gave me a great amount of pleasure to get there input.

I had a quick decision to make; Do I disrespect myself, my chef friends I am competing with, set a horrible example to the younger chefs and engage him or simply get cooking. Good news is Fabio wanted to get cooking …


Bravotv.com: You and Dale got into a bit of a tiff; what happened?
When the cameras started to roll we began to organize our food by recipe. When we opened my fridge it was filled with someone else’s product. I asked around to see whose it was. At that point Chef Dale put something in the fridge and I asked him about it. He did not respond. I didn’t recall his name (there were 12 of them running around) so I called to him using “Young Man.” He appeared to blow a fuse and come at me with all his venom. Growing up as a country bumpkin and wrestling all through school I had a quick decision to make; Do I disrespect myself, my chef friends I am competing with, set a horrible example to the younger chefs and engage him or simply get cooking. Good news is Fabio wanted to get cooking … end of story.

53 comments
Jennefer
Jennefer

we are very disappointed with you Dale Talde. Why you acted liked that? You should respect chef Michael. I am a fan of yours and i am also a filipino but after what you have done i don't like you anymore. Grow up! Don't be so arrogant.

Viewer
Viewer

I can see that most viewers agree with my opinion of Dale, so I will move on to say that my favorite moment was when you were asked if you cared more what Rick Bayless thought than the judges, and you said; "YES!" The entire top Chef Masters competition showed such comraderie and spirit.that's what it's all about; good food, good fun, good spirits. Thanks.

Dave
Dave

Michael,you could not have handled it better including the 'breakfast' remark. I hope Dale learns from it and I hope all the people who used the term 'condescending' to describe your behavior have the opportunity to watch all the shows. You just gave them instructions. Some of them got kicked off because they could not give instructions. I saw some old episodes of your first series and it just didn't grab me and so I was surprised when I saw you 'all growed up' on Top Chef Masters. The world is full of arrogant jerks but there are not many people who can pull off that combination of...ok...'arrogance' AND charm that leaves at least THIS viewer wanting to watch your shows and eat in your restaurants. Your sense of who you are just works.

Rubbina
Rubbina

I applaud Chef Michael for his self-control! The "ME" generation doesn't know the meaning of respect! Dale you need to grow up - "young man" is not a word to belittle you EGOTISTIC style! Good God, how do you treat your elders at home?

Sheltiemom
Sheltiemom

Managing people is an art; each Top Chef Master had his own style. Those with the weakest egos have the most difficulty with Alpha Chefs and perceived authority figures. I love and respect the final three immensely! You are all Top Chef Masters and Winners in my heart and kitchen!

JimC
JimC

Its great to see masters at work for a change instead of the young guns who think they are chefs because the have been in the buisness a few years. As for Dale he wishs he was where you are now with the respect and experiance that takes years to obtain.

Dee
Dee

Dale acted very immature. He was arrogant on Top Chef and insulted Chef Chariello on Top Chef Masters. Dale should have been asked to leave. The producers of the show should have punished Dale by asking him to pack his knives and leave when he became disruptive. I was appalled by Dales inappropriate behavior and the fact that he was allowed to finish the night as if nothing transpired between him and Chef Chariello. What a disgraceful, disrespectful man who evidently thinks he is better than everyone else on the show. As for Spike,he needs to ditch the hat and get a cleaner look. He looks dirty.

jmc
jmc

Michael, that was a terrific display. Being a real man requires control over yourself and your own strength. That's what makes a strong person. Congrats.

Viewer
Viewer

I have enjoyed watching Top Chef Masters, to my surprise, even more then last seasons Top Chef.

Top Chef Masters shows the pros, minus childish tantrums, and stupid fights that occur with increasing frequency on Top Chef.

Chef Micheal, I liked the fact that you did not further engage Dale, a young impulsive hothead.

But, I did lose a bit of my previous respect for you, when you added the remark, that you ate 3 Dales for breakfast.

I blame Bravo for lately wanting tacky drama in EVERY reality show they produce, it gets worse each season.

Leave this out of Top Chef Masters, for once you had some class act mature professional chefs, don't spoil it!

Eileen
Eileen

Chef, I am glad you listened to your wife's little voice in your head, and didn't succumb to the temptation of knocking Dale's block off. With that restraint, you demonstrated the difference between a Master Chef and a cook. Well done, sir. Congratulations on making it to the finals. I will be spending a lot of time in the Bay Area this autumn and very much looking forward to dining at Bottega.

John C
John C

Hubert and Rick have been judges on Top Chef multiple times and clearly follow the show and were familiar with the past contestants. Anita and Michael had not been judges and it seems apparent that they were unfamiliar with their choices and hence did not trust and show the same amount of respect toward them as much as Hubert and Rick. Michael's behavior is certainly not untypical of an established chef in the industry, but since it was directed at former Top Chef contestants/celebrities with egos of their own on camera, it was perceived as excessively disrespectful to viewers that were probably more familiar with the past contestants than Chiarello himself. I have to believe that those with negative comments directed at Michael have little experience working in kitchens of highly respected restaurants as his behavior was actually restrained, and certainly Dale would not have been tolerated enough to remain. I'm sure Dale knows that as well as anyone. The former contestants are accomplished in their own right, but they don't come any where near the career achievements of any of the TC Masters.

Carolyn
Carolyn

Athough I think you handled the situation with Dale like a gentleman, I still think you were very condescending to the sous chefs that came to help. I watch your show daily and now I believe that you probably orchestrate what they say, what they wear, how they chew, etc. If you check your "my way or the highway" at the door, you would be more endearing. You're good at what you do, but you're not the best. Be humble.

Viewer
Viewer

I love this series, but the last episode was certainly not one the best. The kitchen problems were due to an old chef with an attitude of superiority and a young chef with a chip on his shoulder. Both of you should leave your manhood issues out of the kitchen. I have seen from the poll that everyone seems to disagree with me however if you had not made the comment that “you chewed 3 Dales up before breakfast”, you may have walked away with a little more class.

Sheri
Sheri

I was always a fan of your FN show and love your recipes. I wish you were still filming new shows. That said you better kick it up next week. Keller and Bayless were amazing. I know you're in it to win it.

mmc
mmc

Hello Chef Michael, I'm so glad you showed self control with Dale as he acted like a real hot head.You have proven in every way why you are on Top Chef Masters.I have watched you so often on your T.V. show that I feel I know you and enjoy watching you.The last three of you are all great chefs and good guys. As far as I'm concerned you are all winners!Good luck....

bernadette t silva
bernadette t silva

oh-my-god dale: i have been there and done what you did but not on camera for millions of people to see and thank heavens because when this happened to me (a confrontation with an older more experienced chef, i stress) i was completely embarrassed and i know now that whether right or wrong you will never come out on the positive end of this. in a kitchen you know very well your "strong personality" comes second to the head chef and you are young and no matter what experience you should have answered micheal and explained without the aggression, one just cannot get along in a well-functioning kitchen without knowing when and where this behavior might be appropiate and that was not it. sr. chiarello: bravo for the example. i have met too many primadonnas in the kitchen that did not deserve a titled position and thank you for you cool head, many commented you were too much no, i understand, so again thank you bravis e ciao!~

Kathy W.
Kathy W.

Michael, you were so awesome the other night. The way you handled Dale was great. The way you handled everything in the kitchen was great. You have been a Chef for along time and have owned Restaurants. You know what needs to be done. Your Chefs listened and were ready to cook. I think it was great the way you handled everything. Good luck on Wednesday night. I'll definately be watching and I wish you the best luck ever. I hope you win the Top Masters Chef. You are all great, but I really hope that you win.

Viewer
Viewer

Dale confrontation aside, I think Michael Chiarello was condescending in his interaction with the Sous Chefs. Granted they are not as experienced or renowned as he is, but they are quite skilled in their own right. His compulsion to micro-manage cost him the enthusiasm of his Sous Chefs, and resulted in a less than stellar offering. Also interesting that he feels the need to blame "inferior products" and a Sous Chef who didn't follow his cake cutting directions for the failures.

Terry
Terry

Absolutely love TCM and await the new TC Vegas. I love all three of you: Hubert, Rick and Michael! Whomever wins deserves it as do all three of you! Thanks for the wonderful episodes! You all have behaved well under pressure and I commend you all!

Bravo fan
Bravo fan

Dale wanted to bring attention to himself, which he did, for all the wrong reasons. He wasn't pleasant to watch on Top Chef and was an embarrasmant on Masters.

Viewer
Viewer

Dale's inappropriate and rude behavior (as well as some of the other younger chefs comments) are indicative of the me generation's general disregard for authority or protocol. It doesn't matter if you "ran your own kitchen," if you signed up to be a sous chef for one of the Masters Finalists, as a chef you should have expected to defer to that chef. Yes, Hubert and Rick took a more "teaching kitchen" approach, but they would not have tolerated the rude behavior exhibited towards Michael in their kitchen either. Leave the "drama" for the prep and execution of the menus and if you can't get with the spirit of the competition, get out of the damn kitchen.

Viewer
Viewer

Congratulations Chef Chiarello!

You truly deserve to be in the finalists’ round. I’m a big fan of yours; especially from your Easy Entertainment shows on the Food Network, Napa Valley Style, and now in Top Chef Masters. It is quite an honor to see you compete for such a good cause. Best of luck to you!

Dale on the other hand should have known better. His comport was amateur night, at best. You handled yourself like the true professional and Master Chef that you are. Bravo!

Viewer
Viewer

Mr. Chiarello, Top Chef Masters is all about cooking and winning for charity. Throughout the whole series, every master chef has demonstrated that you all are true professionals.

The behavior of DALE was immature. He again acted like a bully and a hot head. I was thrilled to see him loose on top chef. He does not deserve the title of Chef.

Viewer
Viewer

I love all of the top chefs who are still in the running--Hubert, Rick, and Michael. Since the beginning of this series I have liked Hubert and Rick especially. Top Chef and Top Chef Masters are among my very favorite programs, and I eagerly await each episode. And yes, I believe Michael acted correctly toward Dale. I was afraid he'd blow his stack, but he kept his cool.

Brenda
Brenda

Great Going CHEF !!!!!! The way Dale acted was like a little kid caught doing something wrong. The way you responded was just like a professional does. Richard and Betty have lost my respect as well. They are so immature to have put you down like they did. I live near Atlanta and was planning on going to one of Richards restarunts, but since he acted that way forget it. They have to remember people are watching and going to treat them the same way. Best of luck in the finals.

Theresa
Theresa

I think this was the best episode of TCM, loved seeing past Top Chefs.

CSC
CSC

Chef Chiarello-

You are a true culinary master who is also a gentleman. Thank you for taking the high road when approached by a common street thug.

Obviously the young man isn't going to have a future in obtaining the respect you have earned. He was merely a finalist in a game show who has serious emotional issues.

Terry
Terry

As so many others have, I'd like to compliment Chef Chiarello for his professionalism and maturity in handling Dale.

Bravo, take note. While I cheered Dale on Top Chef, I cringed when I saw his behavior on this week's episode.

Please do the viewers a favor and keep this person off Bravo. He has proved that he does not understand or deserve the honor of being associated with Top Chef or Bravo. In the end, he only embarrasses himself. Don't let him do the same to your show or your network.

H. Kenneth Kucharski
H. Kenneth Kucharski

I think it is very simple. Dale has no place in any episode of Top Chef going forward. He disgraced himself.

Nikki B
Nikki B

Chef Chirello, as a Filipino I used to root for Dale. But after his street thug-like behavior, I'm ashamed and shocked. I'm very impressed by your professionalism and all your body of work. I've always been a fan of you Mr. Chiarello, and now I'm even more so.

GiGi
GiGi

Chef Chiarello, I have always admired your cooking skills and watched your program learning each episode. I feel that you handled Dale quite admirably and also remembering his "histrionics" from the Top Chef season he was on, felt that you did your very best with a crude person. You are applauded for making it to the finale. Best wishes!

Elayne De
Elayne De

In response with Marsha comment - it appears she is from that "younger and undiscipline" group. Micheal was giving Dale respect by calling him "young man". Michael assumed he was a "man". As Dales conduct showed he is a boy, just a male, yet to mature to being a man. I had forgotten him from his time on Top Chef but in reading the blogs remembered the little trud for his stupid temper tantrum (don't remember what set him off, though). And his excuse was so very immature. Micheal, I am so glad you are still in the running. The best of the best are left. Also, I agree with Kathy. It will be hard to watch Top Chef after this episode is over. And one more point - in the kitchen it shows great character to help each other even in a competition. Sincerely, Elayne De

Cindy
Cindy

Congrats, Chef Chiarello. Your cooking looks scrumptious. I thought you were high-hand and arrogant with the sous-chefs. You wasted valuable time having them run around looking for items to chop. Just interview them, like the others did. You didn't treat them with respect and you got some attitude back. Dale's behavior was poor and immature. Can't imagine who would want him around in their kitchen. He reminds me of my former junior high schools boys. Ready to fight and get into it with anyone. Grow-up.

Well done
Well done

Congratulations Michael, you deserve to be in the final, and I think it is evident that you are a class act. Too bad Wild Oats doesn't have a "maturity" and "class" section for Dale. At this point I feel a little sorry for him but maybe he will learn something from this. We are pulling for you to win this - go Michael!!

Rosanna
Rosanna

In his blog, Dale said that he would have shown more respect to other chefs--why not Michael Chiarello? Michael Chiarello has earned that respect as well, he din't make it to the semi-final of TCM for nothing! Dale just didn't like being reminded of his position as an underling in the kitchen. Kudos for keeping your cool Master Chef Chiarello!

reggie210
reggie210

Michael, it is sad anyone had to go home, but with that said I am so glad you made it to the finale. I loved that Fabio was on your team and was enjoying watching you and figured you were Italian. I had to recheck your profile to see if you were from NY City (suprised you are from laid-back California). I am from NY state and figured you were acting like a NYer, straight forward, to the point and focused on a simple plan to judge one chef against the other. Others could applaud Rick's touchy-feely approach but I think yours was fair since it allowed you to clearly equally compare the candidate sous-chefs. I especially have to applaud you for picking Fabio and Brian, both are gentelmen and realized they are there for someone else. Sorry CJ, if you also acted that way I appologize but did not see it in the interviews. Being older myself (nearer to 50 than 30) I totally understand not remembering someone's name especially with the stress and pressure you were under. You hadled yourself in a very manly professional manor. Shame on you Dale for my guess is knowingly putting your stuff in someone elses fridge. Shakespare quote comes to mind, "One thinks thoust does protest too much". (For those who do not know that quote, those who protest the loudest tend to be the most guilty.

Dennis
Dennis

First of all, Chef Charielo, congratulations on being a Top Chef Master. Secondly, your behavior toward Chef Dale was entirely appropriate and correct, in my opinion. Confronting you, as he did, on a TV Show was rude, impertinent, and demeaning. I like your style and professionalism. Chef Dale's antics were decidedly unprofessional. He will have to mature much before he is seen as a Master in this craft.

Good Luck

rosie
rosie

Way togo Michael..you are a gentleman...Dale's behavior was boorish..he should have been cslled out. Good lucknext week.

Viewer
Viewer

I am so glad to see that most of the blogs are for Michael....as they should be. It is a supposed to be a competition for charity for goodness sake, not a rumble. To Dale...who??? We can all see now for which reasons you are will always be a NOBODY!! I remember you from Top Chef, and at that point where you punched a oven or fridge...just because you lost an quick fire challenge...you should have been escorted off the show!! maybe someday you will grow up. For now, go back to Fast Food.

Mama C
Mama C

Congratulations, Chef Chiarello, for rising above the drama with Dale, who by the way, I don't remember from Top Chef and I've watched EVERY season...'nuff said.

I was appalled at his behavior and really thought you were too steamed to let go...but there you were, proving me wrong. I totally agree with you about name pronunciation and status establishment. I'm a stickler about getting a person's name correct; AND establishing rank, establishes chain of command. You set yourself up as the "fall guy" which I feel is the correct method. Your kitchen, your rules...sounds right to me. I hope you win, but Hubert and Rick are serious competition. Good luck.

Angie B
Angie B

I really love Top Chef and Top Chef Masters. I feel that Dale needs to learn to control himself because a lot of future customers are watching him. I think Michael handled himself very well. Can't wait to see the finale.

Viewer
Viewer

My wife and I both agree that Michael Chiarello's process of choosing his sous chefs was wise. He wanted to see if they could take his direction and think on their feet. This simple "show me don't tell me" method seemed to bring out the arrogance of a few. I couldn't tell whether TCM's editors were trying to show the previous contestants disdain for Chiarello as legitament or that some were just jerks. I happen to think the latter is true. I don't think Mr. Chiarello would be where he is today if he had a "personnel management" problem.

grawu
grawu

I agree. Now the "young man" make sense. But I thought Michael could use a different approach (see the difference w/ Hubert and Rick). I find that I have been enjoying Top Chef Master very much because of the fact that these people are professionals and behave in a mature, camaraderie manner. The younger generations are more hot-headed, speak and act impulsively and should really learn from these masters. I am a little ashamed and surprised with Dale's behavior - in-your-face, acting like a street thug. Best of luck to all three Master Chefs. I look forward to the finale.

Marsha
Marsha

Mr. Chiarell, I would take some lessons from your fellow master chefs and treat your underlings with respect. You will get more from those you treat well than those you treat as mere employees.

I was very impressed with the way that Chef Bayless and Chef Keller interviewed their assistants. Pay attention.

Viewer
Viewer

Mr. Chiarello's reaction to Dale showed maturity and integrity. Dale's reaction was just the opposite which is why Dale is not and probably will never be a Master Chef. I applaud Mr. Chiarello's restraint and focus.

Viewer
Viewer

I am a big fan of Top Chef and absolutely love Top Chef Masters! It has been a real pleasure watching all the "Masters" work the challenges. Last night's episode clearly points out what happens when you let riff-raff into the kitchen - lack of respect and drama.

Viewer
Viewer

I believe Dale acted very immaturely and for that matter, as much as I love Richard, I didn't like his comments either. He said Michael was running around "you're on Top Chef", all the while clips of him running around are being displayed. Give credit where credit is due. These are Top Chef Masters. Have respect. I love you Michael!

Abby
Abby

Hey Chef, I'm going to take some of my comments back that I made from Dale's blog. Your explanation of calling him "young man" now makes sense. What makes TCM so enjoyable is the diverse personalities.

One question, would you do this again?

Susan
Susan

Mr. Chiarello, Thank you for acting like a true gentleman. Whereas that "young man" to use the term loosely behaved like a thug. During your time on Top Chef Masters you have shown what a team player you are. Assisting other chefs so they can finish their dishes, displaying a lighthearted attitude, and showing what a Master chef truly is. Unlike Dale, who during his time on Top Chef was a bully and a hot head. Bravo to you Mr. Chiarello!

Lilli
Lilli

Love you Michael! Hope you win!