Harold Dieterle

'Top Chef's' Season 1 winner doesn't hold back in his critiques.

on Jul 17, 2009

First, the quickfire challenge. I won this in Season One, re-imagining junk food. Michael was the only one who had a real representation of the dish. I don't know what Rick was doing. He was obviously doing something, but he didn't make it to the plate. When you can't get something to the plate that's kind of embarrassing.

I think Michael really had a great happy medium here. He took fish sticks and made meatballs out of them. Those are all fried foods. People have been making things like that for centuries and people still do. All the chefs were saying stuff about it, but I eat fried food and I'm sure they eat french fries all the time. So, what's the problem here? If you're gonna make a fried dish, fry it. They had a nice selection.

What would I have chosen if I was competing now? I didn't really see what was up there, but I was pretty happy with the route I went. I took popcorn and I don't think popcorn is that much of a junk food. I did that and I've served that at Perilla as a canope and people always freak out about buttery microwave popcorn on ceviche. I'm taking the popcorn now and cooking it in duck fat and serving it on my duck dish. It's really good.

So Jeff Lewis and Jenni Pulos from Flipping Out tried the quickfires. Jeff's been in Perilla for dinner with Jenni. They came in and they were pretty cool to hang out with. I've seen the show and he's a wild man. I didn't get any of that from him.