Burning Questions

Kevin explains his comments about his sous-chef, Preeti.

Dec 9, 20090

Bravotv.com: Going into this final challenge, what were your assumptions about what the challenge or "twists" would be? How did you prepare for  them?
I assumed that there had to be some kind of twist, but it's hard to say. I hoped that it wouldn't make completing the dinner too difficult.

Bravotv.com: What went through your mind when you saw what the mystery box was?

I’m pretty much thinking that I don’t know what to do with matsutake mushrooms. I think that it's rockfish, but frankly it doesn’t look very fresh. The whole box seems like it could use some condensing.

Bravotv.com: What was your immediate reaction when your mom came out?
I am happy to see my mom, but also it is a little distracting.

Bravotv.com: Who did you want/not want as your sous-chefs? What was your reaction
when you drew knives?
I obviously would have wanted Jennifer or Eli, as they are the people that I am closest to in the competition. Any help is better than no help.

Bravotv.com: What was the inspiration for each dish?
The amuse was based on my childhood. I wanted to make a single bite of traditional southern supper. The first course was a bit confusing. I was a little out of my element trying to piece all of those foreign elements together in one dish. The main course was based on showing a different texture of pork belly than you often have. Mostly belly is braised (soft) or crispy and I wanted to accentuate its texture if roasted whole, similar to a pork rib. My dessert was meant to be fun and a playful. I have this pork stigma all season and so I just wanted to go out with one more round of it.

Bravotv.com: What was your reaction to seeing who would judge you?
It was a bit stressing. I just hope that they understood that we are not in our restaurants, or in our element even. I wanted them to understand the pressure that we each faced, and not be too critical.

Bravotv.com: How did your sous-chefs work out?
Fine — I certainly couldn’t have done it by myself.

59 comments
Joseph in NC I will be back!
Joseph in NC I will be back!

Kevin, I am not sure how this happened I guess they wanted the drama kid to win. maybe a pity vote. Comes down to one meal? Come on? And the desert was burned you know what I think that is why I will be back at the Top Chefs restaurant... All the way from NC!!!!

Philly grl
Philly grl

Kevin,

I have watched Top Chef from Episode 1 Season 1 and you were the best of all of them. I was hoping you would win and was shocked when Michael won. I did not like Bryan's attitude ever on the show and felt he was very cocky. Thank you for keeping it real, having a heart and being able to come in 2nd gracefully. You are a rising star and TV has not seen the last of you. I would not be at all surpirsed if BRAVO offered you your own show, especially with the type of food you do. I wish you all of the best and if I ever visit Atlanta, I'll be sure to come to your restaurant. Take care!!

Subhadeep
Subhadeep

I am not a big fan of bringing previous contestants to the final as sous-chefs. Two consecutive seasons two sous-chefs have caused problems. Casey and this year Preeti may not have been the cause for Kevin's loss BUT the other two got so much superior sous-chefs.

Instead, I feel that this is their final meal so BravoTV should maybe ask the contestants to bring their sous-chefs from their restaurant. This way it will be a true test of the team as well as get the sous-chefs some great exposure too.

But leaving it to drawing knives and having to cook a final meal with people who one is not comfortable with or too strong sous-chef to change your meal or too weak compared with other sous-chefs won't happen! After all its not Survivor ... its Top Chef and the final meal should provide the contestants with the best ingredients and the best sous-chefs to produce an incredible meal!

Subhadeep
Subhadeep

I knew watching the finals that something was off for Kevin. He was not his usual self. When finally we learned that a few days before the finale you split with your wife that explained a lot. I know you said that should not be taken as an excuse and that is what I expected you to say watching you through the season.

I did meet you in person the day after thanksgiving when I visited Atlanta and ate at your restaurant. So I can say 1st hand that the taste of your food is awesome.

Only small gripe I had eating at your place was please have the main course a bit more in size. I was fully on board with the 1st course and desert that were great but the main course taste wise was fantastic but my stomach still wanted a bit more to feel that I am satisfied. That surprised me since you always put up great portions, even in the veg Natalie Portman episode!

Hope to eat at your restaurant(s) again ... adding the plural hoping you will have more open in different cities soon I hope.

mmc
mmc

Kevin, I was a Kevin fan from the beginning.I love you style of cooking.Good tasting food ,presented nicely, a good variety and you can tell what it is just by looking.I think they should judge chefs on their finale meal, but also by the sum total of all the challenges.You know that you are a winner. You, Jen, Michael ,and Bryan are really all tops and you all know that.Any one of you four could have won on any given day.Enjoy your $45,000 and all the other prizes you won.I would love to eat at your restaurant with you cooking my meal.I'll put that at the top of my wish list.

casey
casey

I thought Kevin should have won. They even said he would be a superstar chef. He had the most intergrity it seemed like he won many many times. It seems like his food was enjoyed and accepted the entire season/ I think the judges like the competition between the brothers. I think that made good tv. I think Kevin was high quality all season and really if you look at the entire season who was the top chef=no doubt Kevin.

Kauaiman
Kauaiman

I can definitely see that part of this had to be the creative aspect of the cooking to come to the result they did. Kevin is more a flavor person, Bryan is the focused, precise person, and Michael is the intense, creative one of the bunch. If you look at prior seasons it seems thats what they look for in their Top Chef selection.

I was personally disappointed Bryan didn't win, especially since they seemed so positive on 3 of his courses, but I'm not the one tasting the food and rendering any semblance of knowledgeable culinary judgement.

Great Season! Now to find out where I can get some of Kevin's food. His dishes caused a Pavlovian response in me. GRIN

caddywampuss
caddywampuss

Kevin,you are Top Chef!You beat the "brothers".I don't care what the judges say.You cook from your heart and soul,they cook to out do each other.I would rather have your cooking then theirs.Good luck in all you do.Remember you are still a winner.

Minim
Minim

Kevin, I was rooting for you -- your humility, genuineness, and soulful food totally won me over. Don't beat yourself up... Everyone has a bad day now and then. If I ever get to Atlanta, the first thing I want to do is book a table at your restaurant.

 valerie
valerie

Kevin is the real winner of Top Chef. I wonder if the V's were really as competitive, jealous, mean spirited and hateful as they appeared to be (especially Michael). They were both so insecure with Kevin there!! Keep up the good work Kevin. I hope you and Jen tie for fan favorite. I would love to spend the Christmas holiday with Kevin and his family. Ooops there may be fireworks and a little tension at the Voltaggios family gathering...

Ms K Marie
Ms K Marie

Kevin: As with all of your other dedicated fans, I was rooting for you from the first episode. I think as an overall chef you consistently proved yourself as the one to beat. I have no doubt that you have a nice monetary gift coming your way as this season's Fan Favorite. You couldn't be more deserving.

Elise Curran
Elise Curran

Kevin, you were my favorite chef out of all 6 seasons of the show. None of the others have done what you did--single-handedly raised the tone of the show. BRAVO needs to give you a big vote of thanks for that, as past seasons really had people disgusted.

Like many others, I felt your simple style and focus were the most impressive. No tricks necessary when you can really cook!

And everyone respected you (even the immature Michael, despite his comments), because you respected them first. Clearly you are a person with real values, and your mother should be proud! It's so important in the horrible wasteland of television that young people have someone they can look up to, and you are that person.

I cannot tell you how many times I was delighted with things you said and did, how supportive you were of your colleagues--I cried when you looked across the room and winked at the chef (Jen?) who was feeling really bad during the QF. How refreshing to see someone so truly nice, who doesn't need to tear people down, who is so confident in his formidable abilities that he freely builds everyone up. Even the judges were very clearly influenced by you, like I've never seen on the show before; that's quite an accomplishment.

[btw, your calm, confident demeanor and beard also remind me of someone who is very dear to me who lived in Atlanta for many years, so I admit to a little bias. ;-)]

Many people have already said this, but we all know who the real TOP CHEF is.....Padma never spoke more hollow words when she said you were 'not', and I'm sure there were HOWLS of disagreement going up all across America at that moment.

Bravo to you, Sir!

NinaG
NinaG

Congrats Kevin! Just like last season, the sou chefs did have impact (Casey last time) on the final meal. With so much at stake in the final challenge, every precaution should be taken to ensure it's truly fair across the board. It's completely unfair to leave to chance the choice of a person who may negatively influence (mentally, execution-wise, etc) your final shot at the title. They could've at least let you choose a celebrity chef - someone who only has the possibility of elevating the meal, not compromising it.

lovetoeat
lovetoeat

Kevin ~ You went out with class. You're a wise old soul at the young age of 26. I think its okay to blame the sous chef and I don't think the game was fair at that point. If the last competition had you being able to choose your favorite sous chefs, the outcome might have been different. Clearly Preeti was a huge disadvantage, completing only 2 out of 20 prep chores on the list. That sucked.

You are a star and always will be.

 LOVE
LOVE

kevin you are a star!!! micheal is okay but i don't think he deserved to win.. you are the better person and chef!the judges need to get real! i just graduated from culinary school but could not decide what kind of food i wanted to cook, you helped me embrace my style of food and see everything doesn't have to be so complicated, thank you so much, you are my inspiation.....

Leslye
Leslye

Kevin, you should have won this thing. You performed admirably and with grace and style all season long. I almost choked when Tom said that the Voltaggio brothers had been professional in the kitchen. We were obviously watching 2 different events happening....anyway, I digress. Kevin, you came out and cooked your food and it rocked. You are an amazing chef and I cannot wait to hit your restaurant, since I'm a fellow Atlantan. Good luck and hold your head high. You deserve it.

Univ of Fla Gator Alumni Bear
Univ of Fla Gator Alumni Bear

Kevin,

Unfortunately, I never got to "taste" your dishes during this season of Top Chef! However, I have had the pleasure of enjoying your cuisine in the fair city of ATL! Through the season of TC Vegas, you were consistently a true Southern Gentleman...you did not participate in being disrespectful to any other cast member, even when Michael V. would trash talk your food (overcompensating arrogance...).

I felt you stayed true to your self and your perspective!. I do not see how the judges were objective in their final TC selection, nor do I see how the "mystery box" was objective either!

You already have several shout outs from the gay community both on the comments & blogs around the www...but as a member of the bear community (gay subculture) you have LOTS of fans and admirers (as does your Mom...she was FABulous btw!) who will always be supportive of you!!! I am proud to say I will always keep my reservation at the Grill when I am in ATL for the Bear Run in July... :)

Best wishes Kevin...but there is absolutely NO DOUBT your Star will Shine BRIGHT and for a VERY LONG time! Just make sure you keep your fan base updated on where you are so we can support your business ventures!!!

Hawk114
Hawk114

Kevin- you have endeared yourself to so many of us with your positive attitude and winning smile. There is no doubt in my mind you are destined to become one of the super stars in the culinary world. I hope that one day I will have the pleasure of dining at your restaurant. All the best to you in the future. You are a winner!

Sunshine A
Sunshine A

I cried for you Kevin! I was disappointed that they picked that rude boy. His attitude was too aggressive. Your sweet and you melted my heart "like butta". You top chef in my book and I wish you nothing but luck Kevin. I applaud you for being so composed. Those brothers needed a lesson in manners badly. You were a perfect gentleman in the midst of the vultures. Congrats!Love Ya! Your cooking was tops!

Steven Burstein
Steven Burstein

Kevin... My whole family was rooting for you. Me, the wife, and three kids (ages 20 and 18). Last month while my wife had a conference in Atlanta we were lucky enough to eat at Woodfire. Your graciousness and food were a delight. My daughter has framed the menu you signed . I can honestly say if was the best meal i have ever eaten and I wish you continued success in the future.

jlew911
jlew911

Kevin, just want to say I'm a Southern girl at heart and your food had me SALIVATING all season long!

Not only that, your humbleness and down to earth attitude is very refreshing and endearing! Love it!

Please keep doing what you are doing. The world wants more of Kevin Gillespie! I can't wait to try your restaurant in Atlanta when I visit!

DebDoes
DebDoes

Kevin, Kevin, Kevin! You made Atlanta proud every step of the way on Top Chef, buddy, so hold your head up high! You were the winner in many of our eyes....based on the entire season/show, not one evening or one dish.

Hope to catch you at Woodfire Grill very very soon and hope you are as successful as you should be.

All the best and thanks for making Top Chef real this season!

Ken Riley
Ken Riley

Kevin,

You are the first contestant on Top Chef that has left me each week with the strong feeling that I must eat in your restaurant.

You are going to go very far, especially after you help the US bring home the bacon in the Bocuse d'Or!

JeanC
JeanC

I have been watching Top Chef since the first season, and think that there is a flaw in the choosing process. I think that the decision of who becomes "top chef" should not only be based on the final dish, with a variety of entities that they are given to make that happen, but instead, should be judged based on their performance throughout the season. I am extremely dissapointed in this season and my interest for the show has expired and I will not be watching the next season (if there even is one).

Wendy V.
Wendy V.

Kevin- I love that the food you make comes from your soul! Your passion for food made me keep tuning in every week. I was rooting you on the entire time, and I know that there is art in what you do. Your victory seems to me to be the legacy of wins you've had, and the fact that the people who have eaten your food have delighted in your simple and keen preparations. Best of luck to you in your future!

Mudsill
Mudsill

Foodie101: This Northerner was rooting for Kevin. While Kevin is from the South, and certainly cooks Southern home style food, In my opinion, he was also cooking for all of us "flyover country".

eileen b
eileen b

Kevin, I think you got robbed. I thought you were the strongest throughout the whole competition. You were always a gracious winner. You rock. I think you are an amazing chef, good luck to you in the future. I also think you have so much class. If I ever get down to Atlanta I will definitely check out your restaurant. Again, good luck to you in all you do.

Christy E.
Christy E.

America loves you, Kevin. We've seen all season that you're an incredibly talented chef, we admire your philosophy and integrity, and you seem like you'd be a really awesome guy to know personally. Even if you didn't win, the work you've done this season was amazing, and I'm among the many, many people who's going to be dropping by your restaurant the next time I'm in Atlanta.

Long Island Viewer
Long Island Viewer

Kevin, I was rooting for you to win all along because I think you have the best package: you seem to be a great person and a great chef. Most of your dishes looked like something I would eat. I travel to Georgia frequently and hope to eat at your restaurant. Best of luck to you!

Gayle and Bubba
Gayle and Bubba

Kevin, you are OUR TOP CHEF! We were totally disappointed that you didn't win, and to make matters worse, that Michael did win. He might be a talented chef, but he loses points for his negative attitude towards others. You were a gentleman always, treated others with respect, and you make the kind of food that normal people want to eat. Normal, regular people. Who eats foam and other such nonsense? When we make it out to Atlanta, yours is a restaurant that we will definitely make a point to go to -- well, and Paula Deen's in Savannah ... my husband is in love with her. :-)

Good luck to you and your family. You are already a success. You have a family who loves you. Now get ready to set the culinary world on fire too!

Fan from FL
Fan from FL

Kevin --

I was so disappointed when they didn't announce you as Top Chef during the finale. I feel that out of all the contenders, you were the one that always stayed true to yourself and produced delicious food despite all these other chefs that have a more "refined" style of cooking. Even though you didn't win, I feel like you've still proved that amazing chefs don't have to have all the frou-frou-ha-ha seen in many fine dining dishes... soul and taste are the things that matter most. I definitely would love to come to your restaurant in the future and you're still Top Chef in my book!

Vesuviana
Vesuviana

Kevin-Maybe it's a Southern thing but you have a gracious spirit that the newest Top Chef does not. That is just one reason I was totally pulling for you to win;you also put out amazing thoughtful food. You are the Top Chef in my book. Good luck in all future endeavors !

midwest cook
midwest cook

Kevin I hope you see this... competition is competition... like you said, any of you guys could have won on any random day. Great job on a the best season of the show to date (by far).

On a personal level I'd like to extend my thanks to you and all the great chefs this year. Im a culinary student in the midwest and this show has been truly inspirational and has really helped me branch out into other areas of cuisine that I would have nver thoguht of trying before. In the short time the show was on Ive completely changed the way I look at food. Your approach to food is so "inviting" that im trying things now that even 6 months ago I wouldnt have thought of approaching. I cant thank you enough.

Rick from IL

Kendal Parker
Kendal Parker

Kevin, my husband and I are huge fans of yours! We really thought you had it in the bag. Out of all of the cheftestants this season, your food is what we still think about. My husband's birthday's coming up and we always fly somewhere to try a new restaurant that excite us. This last month we toured Basque Country and this last summer we flew down to Fort worth to eat at Lonesome Dove Bistro, I'm thinking he would love to come to Atlanta and try your restauraunt. We're very excited!

Kathy  Katsarelis
Kathy Katsarelis

Kevin, I could not agree more with those who believe you should be Top Chef. Throughout the competition you demonstrated cooking excellence. You demonstrated class and graciousness throughout the competition. You treated everyone with respect. You are truly a southern gentleman. May you continue to have great success in all your endeavors. I will continue to follow your career. I hope someday to travel to Atlanta to experience your cuisine. I cannot wait until you publish a cookbook. May God bless you and your family.

R Young
R Young

Kevin, I've been rooting for you all season. Your respectful attitude, humility, and tasty food (by word of the judges comments)set you apart from everyone else... not only from this season but EVERY past season.

If I didn't keep Kosher, I'd head down to your restaurant ASAP.

You may not have the official title of Top Chef but you'll always be remembered for how you presented yourself. You should be exceedingly proud and best of luck to you!

Proud Atlantan
Proud Atlantan

Kevin got hosed. He was consistently the best chef throughout the season. The good guy could have and should have won this season. Judges messed up on this one.

MisstereeViewer
MisstereeViewer

Kevin, I am VERY baffled about your not winning. I don't get the judging at all. You were my favorite from day one. Your humility and warmth is amazing -- many a chef can use a HUGE dose of both. Now that I think about it, most of the times, the person who comes in 2nd or 3rd in these contests usually fair much better...(I feel much better now!!!). Besides, you are going to the olympics of the chef world (please don't make me try to spell that word)! Go USA!!! Go Kevin!!!

Cris23609
Cris23609

Kevin - You did EXCELLENT on this show and have a lot to show for it. I think you are an amazing chef. I will be flying to Atlanta this year and I WILL be going to your restaurant and I cannot wait to do so! You may not have won this challenge but you are a winner. Hats off to you to maintaining your integrity to yourself and your style of cooking. My respect for you grew every single week. Hold your head high, you did an amazing job!!

Me
Me

Kevin:

I think you are very humble, grounded and low key - all personality traits I have a high regard for (especially in the world of fine dining where most chefs can come off as condesending, arrogant and rude). I hope that your staff at your restaurant appreciates having you as their "boss". Your food looked delicious and I wish I lived in Atlanta so I could taste your food in person. I agree with the other posts that you have NOTHING to be ashamed of - you were consistenly on the top and you showed that Southern food could be considered "fine dining" (a real eye opener for me as a "Yankee" and I am sure for most America who perceives Southern Food as greasy & fattening). And that the food could be simple, rustic and still be praised by the world's most renowned chefs. All the best to you and your family!

MsHotsy411, Philadelphia, Pa
MsHotsy411, Philadelphia, Pa

Kevin, don't fret, but rejoice! Get ready and 'kick-ass' at the competitions that you will have coming up. I truly enjoyed watching you cook this entire season. I even told my family when I visit Agusta, Ga this summer, I'm gonna find your restaurant and visit so that my husband & I can taste your food! You got what it takes. Take it All the way. And Preti wasn't **it!

MP
MP

Kevin, thank you for a wonderful season! I would choose your food any day of the week. But even more than your talented cooking, I love the fact that you are a true Southern gentleman. Class, humility, and skill in the kitchen -- anyone who works with or for you will be very blessed indeed. I know your family must be so proud of you.

Best of luck to you in the Bocuse d'Or competition! I wish you all the best as you continue in your career to attain even greater success than you already have -- I know you will be a true Top Chef.

TX Viewer
TX Viewer

Kevin, you know you are the fan favorite - by a large margin. I hope that provides some inspiration for you to keep doing what you do so well!

Samantha from Maine
Samantha from Maine

Kevin, You are the winner in my book, hands down. I am so disappointed that the judges did not give you the win...you earned throughout the season...no doubt about it. YOU ROCK! :)

PP
PP

Kevin,

I was terribly dissapointed on your loss! YOu are Top Chef in so many hearts! I believe that your amazing personality and cooking skills will get you further than any money you could have won. Keep doing what you are doing and I hope to taste some of your amazing dishes one day in ATL :)

KSM
KSM

Kevin, Very disappointed that you did not win but I am glad that I did not have to judge the group. How can you pick one outstanding among the finalist(including Jen)?

Thank you for a great season. Your class came through by not throwing Preeti under the bus although all viewers think you should.

You are a winner to us!!! Good luck in the future and we look forward to seeing you on Top Chef Masters in a few years!

Linda Street
Linda Street

I am so sorry that you did not win. I was pulling for you all the way. It not only takes talent to be a chef knowing foods and spices but it also takes a certain amount of humility and being gracious to your fellow workers. Michael doesn't seem to have these qualities. I know your faith has a great deal to do with your everyday life and in your profession. I just have to believe that God has something bigger and better ahead for you and your family. You did a wonderful job and keep up the good work and do not be dissappointed in yourself, you gave it your all. Bless you and your family. Linda

EmilyG
EmilyG

Kevin, You are the winner in my family's eyes. We were cheering for you from the first episode. I know it's not as good as winning $125k, but at least you know that people were pulling for you and admire your heart, soul and the CLASSINESS you displayed throughout the competition. Former and future TC contestants could all learn a lot from you in the class category. Your food was beautiful and I hope to taste some of it next time I'm in ATL. You ROCK.