Burning Questions

The winning chef answers our burning questions ... and doesn't hold back about Wylie Dufresne's criticism.

Feb 11, 2009

Bravotv.com: What was it like cooking for such culinary legends?
It was a true pleasure to see that such culinary legends are asking for down-to-heart food, no foo-foo, no complex things, no high-end presentation. Top Chef is about somebody that can be consistently good over the years and it is too bad that people are being judged over a single dish. And I don't care about what people think of how simple or safe is the food that I do. In the last 6 months of 2008 my restaurant did over a 38% more in profit respect to the last 6 months of 2007, and this means that with this bad economy, when all the other restaurants are losing money and closing down with their fancy food and fancy chefs, my restaurant is getting stronger than ever … how about that??? I am opening three more restaurants in 2009 while all the fancy restaurants that are doing fancy food are closing down. You have no idea how many "fancy" chefs from Los Angeles restaurants are applying for jobs at my restaurant. That is a good problem to have. Simple delicious food is what i do for a living and in my place I give you a fine experience for a fraction of the price. Now you can say anything you want about my food — it is too simple, boring, not refined — I dont care. You can keep your opinion and good luck with that!!!

Bravotv.com: Were you surprised about who went home? Do you think the right person went home?
I think that Leah was over the show. She is a very talented chef but she has no passion for being in TV or this kind of pressure/ She is a great chef and she belongs to a kitchen. She loves what she does and I will work with her anytime, anyday, but for what concerned the competition she was over. She just let things happen and that's it. I wish her the best. She is really talented and i love her.