Bravotv.com: You seemed pretty psyched to see Ming Tsai as guest judge. What's your experience with Asian food?
I like Ming Tsai's cuisine a lot, and I was excited because he was the first judge we had who really cooks my style of food.
Bravotv.com: Were you worried about the Quickfire Challenge at all?
I wasn't nervous about the challenge, but when you're in a room and you're blindfolded and everyone else around you isn't, it starts to get a little nerve-racking. The whole idea of being blindfolded made me a little bit shaky.
Bravotv.com: Can a palate be trained?
I think you're born with either a great palate or not.
Bravotv.com: So what happened with your team during the Elimination Challenge?
I was really frustrated in the Elimination Challenge because all these ideas were being bounced around, and the final concept my teammates decided on was one I didn't understand, and if I'm going to work with a team on a dish I want to understand what's going on. I had to basically trust both of their palates, they're both really good chefs, and as soon as we had a chance we'd be able to go through it and I'd be more comfortable with the dish. Bravotv.com: Stephanie seemed to calm the situation down -- what's your take on her as a leader?
I think Stephanie as a chef and a person is awesome. She has a way of dealing with things, and she knows my personality and appreciates it, so we get along really well. She also knows Dale's personality, so she was a good mediator in the middle of us.
Bravotv.com: How was your confidence level after your win?
I was really excited about my win. It was Ming Tsai, a chef I really enjoy watching on TV and whose recipes I love. It was a really nice win, and I got a pretty awesome prize.
Bravotv.com: Can you tell us a little about that technique you used to make the bacon?
The bacon technique was just a technique I've learned, and I knew those flavors would go really well together, so I just went with it. Everything tastes good with bacon. Bravotv.com: And the fight with you and Dale ...
Dale was creating a situation that had nothing to do with him and making it all about him, and I could see the frustration in other people's eyes at the extent to which he was going to express his feelings. I'm very quiet when it comes to sitting in that room because I don't know what's going through people's minds, and all I said was one little sentence to him along the lines of something like, "Dale, that's enough," and he basically went completely crazy on me. It went on forever, and I just sat there with my head down, waiting for him to stop. He just got more and more aggravated and frustrated with me, and that just shows his maturity level when we're on a team together and it's a team dish, and I didn't expect to win based on the components I did. I'm happy I did, but you should be happy when your team wins, and he just completely freaked out, and I showed a lot of restraint not cursing him out in retaliation, and his half-assed heartfelt apology the next day was a load of shit.