Bravotv.com: OK, first impressions: What was going through your mind during the first challenges/meeting the other contestants?
My first impression of the entire group of chefs was one of bewilderment. I was truly impressed with the caliber of many of my fellow competitors, and knew it was going to be a season of intense competition. I believe that it is only expected that the first challenges are going to be difficult to digest at first. The moment in time, itself, is completely frozen and seems a bit surreal at first.
Bravotv.com: Quickfire Challenge, what did you think of the mise-en-place relay race?
I thought, and still do think that the relay race is a great idea. I wish that we had actually listened to each other and made a better choice of who should have been given which item. We obviously were not very effective in the challenge and I believe that some of that is due to inexperience, but also to miscommunication.
Bravotv.com: Onto the Elimination, what was the inspiration behind your dish?
In choosing a vice I tried to think long and hard about what a vice is. I decided that as a point of reference the sin of sloth would be a vice that I could somehow embody, and for me it was in the form of procrastination. I often fall victim to misjudging my time and to waiting forever to do something that should have been done more urgently. I chose to do arctic char cooked very slowly to make light of my vice and pose a possible solution. By slowing down something urgent( the cooking time for fish) and by speeding up something that is normally made to be accomplished in due time( the cooking of turnips) I would hopefully find a natural balance for my own shortcomings.
Bravotv.com: What did you think of the judges’ comments?
I think that the judges tried to be as concise and fair in their comments on everyone’s food as possible. I know that not everyone will constantly create food that is considered to be of the caliber of a chef who has the capacity to win this season; however, it is even harder to perform your first time out of the gate. I do believe that they took that into consideration and expressed their feeling about our food in a very appropriate way. As the winner, I of course was happy with what they had to say about me, but even if I wasn’t I do believe that I would have been capable of appreciating any feedback, even if it was hard to absorb.
Bravotv.com: Did you taste anyone else’s food? What did you think?
I did not get a chance to taste anyone else’s food.
Bravotv.com: Were you surprised you won?
I was happy and gracious to have won. I hoped that my dish had what was needed to take first in the challenge, but I wouldn’t begin to presume to know if that is in fact true. I think that there were several great dishes, and that on that particular day mine was at least to some degree better.
Bravotv.com: After the first elimination, who do you think is your biggest competition?
I think that it is too early to really judge who the strongest competitor is. Very soon the victories for anyone will be very hard fought, and difficult to come by.