Bravotv.com: Before the Quickfire, you could tell that you sensed the tension between you and the other chefs. What was it like in the house at that point?
Surviving the reality of living in the house in some ways was the greatest challenge! At this point forward everyone wants me gone. They are either ugly to my face (the majority) or the few that did play nice but clearly were part of the pack of Mike I. and his followers. I am not, nor ever will be a follower — a point I made clear by how I wore my red scarf that day.... Because I chose to express myself as an individual I was seen in a negative manner. I am not afraid to address conflict but unfortunately, conflict resolution was not in the cards for me here. As I see it, integrity is all we have at the end of the day.
Bravotv.com: You win the Quickfire, and it seems like the resentment only got worse. Did it take away from your win at all?
Au contraire, I was very satisfied that I could demonstrate the validity of still being there. Revolution is not my objective, however, there was an inner moment of glee that felt very vindicated in my win.
Bravotv.com: Can you talk a little more about the inspiration behind your dish? Why did you decide to go so simple?
I cook from the heart and this dish was inspired by a very emotional period in my life.
I am comfort food-driven, and during treatment I was re-examining how to embrace a healthier way of living in hopes to survive my diagnosis indefinitely! I cherish life and want to maximize every moment that I am here. I also believe balance is everything and some sacrifices are potentially more harmful. Denial is not the key, moderation is. My inspiration was the mental challenge of these two sides: raw food diet vs. allowing myself the pleasure and absolute comfort of eating an apple crisp, my all-time favorite dessert! I chose my ingredients both for their symbolism and medicinal properties, apples and ginger, and used them on both dishes. We all know what the apple represents, and I DO want all the knowledge I can gather in this life, so I did bite into that apple when the snake offered it to me. But others may not be aware of ginger and its profound medicinal healing qualities. It is a significant player in all over body health, and since my cancers are lymphomas, this is directly related to my circulatory and immune system. It is a stimulant and anti-inflammatory herb, and is probably best known as a digestive aid. Ginger inhibits the same blood-thickening enzyme as aspirin, but does this naturally without the side effect of aspirin. This “wonder drug” herb has an additional benefit to the circulatory system and is remarkable, even transcending the potential of many modern cardiovascular drugs. Environmental exposure is believed to be responsible for as many as 80% of all cancers. Ginger contains at least two other properties that could positively influence the outcome of the patient’s cancer: stimulation of immunity and inhibition of platelet aggregation. Studies in Montreal and Tokyo in 1955 and 1979 concluded that ginger does indeed enhance immunity (http://www.herballegacy.com/Whitney_Medicinal.html)
Bravotv.com: Eli makes a comment that you mentioned that you had cancer to win — what was your reaction to that?
As for Eli dismissing my win as pure pity from the judges, it was a whole bag of dysfunction coming out of his mouth. Eli was my biggest challenge in Vegas, not in the culinary competitions, but in the living realm! I wanted so bad to find peace with him, yet the more I tried to find resolution, the more he hated me. I found out early on that we shared the same birthday, which immediately made me feel a sense of camaraderie. Ironically, it had the opposite effect on him.
Good for you, Robin, for letting others' childishness roll off your back. Life is too precious and short to spend so much of it being negative regarding others. You are right, these chefs showed an ugly side of themselves this week. You go, girl!
How cool. I think the unstated subtext here is that all of the other remaining chefs appear to be in their 20s and 30s and are frankly ageist. I'm a cancer survivor myself and your explanation of the inspiration for your dish was fantastic and clearly more thought out than any of your competitors--anybody who hasn't had the disease has no idea what it's like, even if their "friends and family" have suffered. I applaud you keeping your good humor when being attacked by people like Ash (who himself has swum along the bottom most of the season). Keep your chin up and just keep on cooking!
After reading Eli's Burning Questions interview, and now getting to read yours, I can see that you have class, Robin. How disappointing to see that even trying to reconcile with Eli in the house, he chose not to be a kind enough person to do so.
You have character; he does not. And perhaps takes the prize this season for biggest jerkoff in the house (Mike Isabella and he are probably tied at this point).
First of all, Robin should not be thanking George Harrison for "Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da"; that song is McCartney's work. Better to thank George for "Here Comes the Sun," my all-time favorite.
Secondly, Bravo: please, please, please get a proofreader to screen stuff before you post it! It's downright painful to read some of the text on this site.
Yes, Eli's comment was definitely sour grapes and inappropriate in many respects--from the rudeness to Robin's dish, which looked good, to the questioning of the guest judge's integrity. As a Top Chef fan, I think a lot of Robin's food looks interesting, though as she acknowledges, the competition in this season is tough. I would check out her restaurant if I was in the area, where she has more time to focus on putting out good dishes. As we saw in Masters, even very experienced chefs can struggle in the competition, including one of my favorites, Roy Yamaguchi. Robin definitely does not deserve the grade school treatment the other chefs are giving her.
Until this interview, I wasn't sure about you. Your cooking skills seemed not as pronounced or exhalted as the top 4 you mention here. However, your spirit was always positive. It's such a pity that you were the brunt of kindergarten mentality with some of the other chefs. Eli and Mike I are classless and immature. Mike I is one to call you "mouth" since he never seemed to shut up! The vitriol and chauvinistic comments poured out of him like verbal diarhea. I can't wait for his knives to be packed. Stay strong and best of luck and health to you!!
Good attitude Robin! As a cancer patient who is using food as my regimen, I immediately and totally got what you were doing...I go through that same dilemma daily. : ) Hanging on to the toxic emotions of others doesn't serve you, another great lesson that cancer teaches us. What goes around comes around...they are their own revenge.
Good food isn't necessarily complicated food. Healing food is always good food!!
Maybe it is the age factor, but it sure seems like the bulk of the chef's are acting very childish, even worse, cruel. It reminds me of the playground behavior one sees little children do. That in of itself is disappointing as indeed there is a great deal of talent in this crew of chefs. But to be a top chef means to have alot more than talent, it is character. You have it. And these chefs need to remember that it is icing on the cake that they are in this show. There are alot of people out there in this country and in the world who are really struggling with real problems, much as you had to struggle through the cancer and the other trials in your life. Sad to say that life has a way of teaching us all; and no doubt many of these young chefs may find that out for themselves one way or the other. Stay Strong Robin. God Bless.
Robin- You know I am always and forever your number one fan and I have had the distinct pleasure of eating your amazing meals. I still brag about the day we spent cooking pumpkin bread, muffins, pies, etc... all because I LOVE pumpkin!
In my heart, you will always be TOP chef....
Eli, Have you ever had a family member or someone close to you with cancer? It's a horrible fear , and it's so much stress and sorrow on family members caring for and loosing loved ones. I don't think the quick fire was won on sympathy. You're not going to last long. One of the two brother's or Jennifer is taking the title.
LOVE YOU Robin! Don't let the bastards get you down. EVER. You have shown yourself to be a fine and decent human being while others, like Eli and Mike I, have shown they are not. In my book, that makes you the winner.
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da was definitely Paul McCartney's song...not George Harrison's. Harrison could never get his voice to sound that peppy.
Great interview Robin. I applaud your attitude and determination to take the high road when dealing with the other chefs. It really speaks to their character the way they chose to talk to you and treat you. They are showing their true colors and not in a good way. Best of luck to you on the show and in continued good health.
Hi Robin, I really was disgusted with some of the other chefs and their attitude towards you.I'm glad that you won the quick fire.You deserved it and for anybody to think it had anything to do with you talking about your cancer is an immature and nasty person.My husband had cancer and from time to time he refers to it in some way.It makes him feel relieved that he can refer to it and then just go on with other things. I wish you good luck and hope there won't be anymore desert challenges as food prepared under those circumstances is a culinary accident waiting to happen!
Yes you have class but I don't think you will win the Top Chef. You were in the bottom three so many times and were just lucky to be paired with much better chef when in group competition. I don't really see you be in the game for too long. Sorry!
Robin, it's a cooking competition. You fare well or not. Don't be disturbed by people being jerks. Nobody is going to want to eat their food if they can't behave themselves. The people who criticize are going to be sent packing their knives anyway.
As a food critic I secretly enjoy watching chefs with big egos make excuses when they lose a competition. If the judges say Robin won the competition, it is because her dish fit the requirements and to dismiss her win as "pity" from the judges is just sour grapes on the part of the chefs who made the comments.
If it were a "talking competition" then Eli and Mike I. would win, but it's about the food they produce, not how good they think they are. The reality is that big egos rarely win. My money is on Kevin, possibly Bryan, but Kevin is who I would like to see win.
Robin~ not even sure if you'll ever read this, but it's always worth it to put a little positive energy out there-- from your interview here and what little we get to see of you (though edited) on television, I feel you are the most real person on the show. You have obviously faced true challenges, and your very presence on Top Chef is a testament to how you live to the fullest despite them. It is very rare that a person on a reality show becomes (at least, to me) a paragon of respectability, integrity, and humanity at its most candid- yet here you are. No pun intended, but Bravo, Robin. You inspire me. Live, cook, and rock on! :)
Good for you, Robin. I hope you last a while longer. Kevin is my favorite, too. He seems to have a strong "Top Chef" air about him and (sorry) odds on favorite to win in my opinion. And when Eli and Isabella leave (and they will) there will be a loud "NANER NANER NANER" from this household and the rest of your fan club on this side of the TV screen.
What was Robin's dish during the Cactus quick fire. The episode totally skipped over her during the tasting. Did she not have a dish!? What happened!!??
Glad to see you had a win and to see you can let personal attacks from Eli roll off of you! I think most people saw that for what it was.
Robin, I have been to your restaurant in Seattle for breakfast and loved it after a cold morning walk! My finace lives a few blocks from where it was and I believe washed some dishes for you on occassion (Greg). We saw the show with the terrible comment and I have loved reading your blogs since. You are a true survivor and your heart is truly in a good place!!! So inspiring to see you come back not only to health but to a competition such as this!!! YOU ROCK!!! Kick some bahookie! Mel
I think people forget these shows are REALITY SHOWS... they want conflict, they want sob stories, sexuality, etc.
Not to take away from culinary achievements/ abilities of the cheftestants, but it is obvious why certain people were chosen. If you hate Mike I. and Eli, then job well done by the producers.
I have gone through A LOT in my life, but I rarely talk about it because people either don't care or they pity me. Pity is a powerful thing! Pity sex, anyone? If one of the best things in life can be had from pity, then it's not out of the question here.
Pity affects people consciously and subconsciously, so if the guest judge was affected by the sob story, her integrity may have nothing to do with it. Personally, I'd leave out the sob story and let my food do the talking. Sob story to get on the show is ok, but judges don't need to know anything except for the food.
I feel for you, Robin. I was also on a reality show this past summer. It is very difficult being forced to live in a house with people who don't like you. It ruins what should be a wonderful, life-changing experience. It's very sad, and you should feel sorry for them. They are the shallow people who can't accept you for who you are and what you have to give. Their loss.
Good win in the quickfire Robin. Hang in there. Too bad others have sour grapes, couldn't be you just out cooked them??
Robin, Top Chef is not just about cooking skills, it is also about being a team player and having a good attitude and being a LEADER: Loyalty, Enthusiasm, Attitude, Determination, Empathy, Respect! No one will get it without that. Keep your goal in site! Unbelievable that there is such a pack mentality! It makes me think less of these people. If I had a problem I would have approached you in private and worked it out. What a bunch of babies the 6th season are!!!!!
If talking to one self is a problem for the other Chefs on trial here too, then they have a bigger problem that needs to be addressed. That's the concentration and completetion of a good meal. period without being "hooked on" Robin. It is a good meal that will make them move on to being "Top Chef" not their conceited egos and their poor public behavior to others. Those in the past, and those who now remaining that still constantly pick on Robin are poorly trained "human beings" lacking in decency and thus, also as they can not focus on their goal here, they are indeed poorly trained chefs, too.
Good for you, there was no need for Eli to have made the comments he made, that was personal. I agree that Mike Isabella is all "mouth" & the small amount of talent he might have is lost because of his "mouth" both Eli and Mike need to grow up & stop thinking they are the GREATEST.. They are no match to Jen, Kevin or the brothers V.. For heaven's sake Mike I did not even know what eggs florentine were? What was that? Really, is Mike I not a chef?
also, all TC house drama aside, i think it's pretty naive to think michelle bernstein would say food is a good b/c a story "tugged at her heartstrings". obviously robin's dish was solid, or it wouldn't have won.
I enjoy your blogs and the explanations that you gave regarding the healing properties of certain foods. It is educational and you are a classy woman. Try to stay above the childish behavior of some of the lower elements in the house. You may not be the best "chef" but you are far and away the best person there