Bravotv.com: Were you a Top Chef fan before you appeared? What is it about the show that has you tuning in? I've been a fan of Bravo since the early days and loved there programing. Project Runway, has always been a favorite and when Top Chef came to be, I sold, "hooked, line, and sinker."
Top Chef clearly demonstrates not only what chefs do but what things they deal with personally and emotionally. I have always said food without a story is just not that interesting. These young chefs all have great stories. Food is very personal and being close to the creator is very important. The show also inspires people to cook!
Bravotv.com: Let's start with the Quickfire -- the chefs had to create the rice dish and Antonia's "rice salad" won -- had you ever seen this before? What do you think the key to winning this challenge was?
Rice, growing up in the South rice is a very important staple. My mother cooked it for me as a child. She would make me delicious rice and scrambled eggs and our version of paella, chicken and rice.
Today there are many great types of rice. I recently added Jambalaya to Table 5's. menu and it's been a HUGE hit. America loves rice.
A little cooked rice is a wonderful starter to a delicious simple meal.
I loved the winner's rice salad. Delicious, clean, colorful, and great texture. Everything that families love. We should eat more rice, whether long grain, brown, wild etc. Great meals start with kitchen food basics and rice is a wonderful start to a complete dish.