Jonathan Waxman

The eliminated chef reveals why he didn't put seafood in Chef Cimarusti's box. What was your first reaction when you saw who your competitors were?
Happiness. Roy and I go back 30 years! I adore Art Smith and Michael is someone who is very well-respected. The Quickfire — were you happy with the aisle you got?
Not knowing what to expect or what the format was, I assumed some sort of "test" was involved. The hardest part was my eyesight; I could not read the labels! And yes, I thought it a fairly uninspired aisle. What was the inspiration for your dish?
I don't use inspiration. I kinda use an improvisational technique, which works most of the time. Now the Elimination: Did sabotage ever cross your mind? No.
Why did you decide not to give Chef Cimarusti seafood? Because the seafood was lackluster and I tried to think of protein(s) that would appeal to his Italian roots. And truth be told, it is what I would have chosen for myself! Were you worried at all that the judges/diners wouldn’t respond to your
throwback dish?
Not at all. I had a ball! What did you think of the judges’ comments? Fair, I believe. Judging food is the ultimate in pure subjectivity. Did you get to try the other dishes? You all seemed to form a real bond. Have you all kept in touch? We did have a fabulous time. The crew was ever so helpful; it made our job easy. And since we are so different, the synergy was really quite spontaneous and genuine. I think we have all been so busy, but Roy and I have been in touch because we work the same charity circuit.

What did they teach you?
Respect. Anything else you’d like to add?
Frankly, it was quite different than I expected. I now have a tremendous respect for the Top Chef contestants, both past and present. They have an extremely hard job, with crazy, intense
challenges. Lastly, I always enjoy change and I relish new challenges. This really was a valuable experience.

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