Bravotv.com: First, Are you a Top Chef fan? What were your expectations for Restaurant Wars?
Oh yeah! I was very happy to judge Restaurant Wars because it is one of the most popular contests, and all the contestants very much look forward to it.
Bravotv.com: What did you think about the names of both restaurants (Warehouse Kitchen, Mai Buddha)?
Knowing how difficult it is to name a restaurant -- that sometimes it takes many months -- I was very impressed that one morning they came up with them all! Naming is sometimes the hardest challenge ...
Bravotv.com: And the decor?
For the money and the time they had, they did fairly well for what it is. I think the Buddhas are beyond religion -- peace, calm, integrity -- probably the reason why they set their expectations way too high.
Bravotv.com: What is the biggest challenge in opening up a restaurant?
Making it ALIVE the day you open!
Bravotv.com: Were you surprised at how well they did in 5 hrs?!
Well, they probably overcomplicated their lives for the little time they had.
Bravotv.com: You seemed fairly shocked at Judges' Table at the attitude of Team Mai Buddha, can you expand on it?
Viewers only saw half of the tensions! Their teamwork was zero. Actually the smarter guy was the waiter, who saw it was such a chaos, he got out of it! But really all of them showed a lack of respect for teamwork.
Bravotv.com: Do you have a prediction as to who will be crowned Top Chef?
Well, I just found out that Antonia works for my partners SBE, who I am opening the SLS hotels with in LA! So I hope it will be her!
Bravotv.com: In your opinion, which is worse: having an insubordinate sous-chef or an ineffective Executive Chef?
Ineffective Executive Chef is the worse one, because they have to provide the leadership! Although, I have to say ideally in that kind of situation I would fire them both for their complete lack of teamwork. If it was not a cooking show, where you have to make these rush decisions, I would work on them. As Hollis Silverman, my director of restaurants would say, I would "develop" them. These three though: I can tell you that I think none of the three of them will win.
Bravotv.com: Anything else you'd like to add? How can people learn more about you/your restaurants?
Watch my show, Made in Spain, on PBS, and visit www.josemadeinspain.com! You can also see me on MSN as a Spanish cuisine expert.And for my restaurants: www.cafeatlantico.com/miniBar/miniBar.htm; www.zaytinya.com; www.oyamel.com; www.jaleo.com; and www.cafeatlantico.com.