Bravotv.com: First the Quickfire -- how excited were you to do the speed challenge -- a favorite from last season?
I was very excited to do the relay. I personally never saw that episode last season but the other contestants talked about it often, so when I realized what was going on I was excited.
Bravotv.com: Your win let you choose which person to cook for (bride or groom) -- what made you choose bride?
I just thought that it made sense. It's her day, and I also thought that the meat and potatoes theme left little to misinterpret.
Bravotv.com: You mentioned that wedding food is usually horrible, I'm sure people might be curious to know how the food was at your wedding?
We decided that for our wedding we wanted interactive stations that represented the foods we liked, so we had some local chefs help out and do sushi, NYC deli sandwiches, a tapas bar, etc. I think wedding food gets bad when it's a formal sit-down, or buffet. It should be reflective of the couple, and let's be honest, there is a lot of room for creativity in the catering world. By the way, I've already gotten a few requests to cater weddings since last Wednesday ....
Bravotv.com: It seems like you guys just took the bride's suggestions and ran with it, did you ever have any hesitation about her theme?
No hesitation. It just seemed fairly simple; it was all about the meat.
Bravotv.com: There was some concern about Andrew's chicken dish, did anyone actually say that he shouldn't make it though?
I don't think so. I think Andrew made that same dish the week prior and it was killer. We also had a kitchen near the buffet line, so that was the plan to cook more at the moment and bring fresh crispy orders to the line.
Bravotv.com: You look surprised that Andrew didn't like the spinach after you added something to it -- did he express that before Judges' Table? What did you add to give that "funny taste?" (or however the judges put it)
Tom liked the spinach. There was a guest who didn't care for it. I suggested star anise in the kitchen and we went with it. I put it in my spinach every day; it's great. I never added the star anise to the spinach, I suggested it ...
Bravotv.com: You gave your win to Stephanie -- a top chef first! -- why did you do that?
I took the win and gave Stephanie the prize. It was a team effort, and she provided an element that was crucial to the win, something that no one else on our team could have delivered.
Bravotv.com: Did you taste the other team's dishes? What did you think?
No -- there was so much going on that I never got a chance to taste their stuff.
Bravotv.com: You said you would never have made the cake -- have you ever had to make one for anything?
Not a wedding cake; no way. I do a red velvet "tartare," which is basically a crumbled cake with cream cheese sorbet. I usually joke that I do it as a tartare because I'm a bad baker!
Bravotv.com: You just opened your restaurant Home! Can you tell us about it yet?
HOME, is a restaurant in Buckhead Atlanta that I opened a few weeks ago. It is a Southern-inspired modern menu, focusing on farm to table. We try to do everything local, and of course also feature some neat toys in the kitchen.
People can make reservations on OpenTable.com and mention this blog when they reserve so I make sure to say "Hello!" This past Friday I had the pleasure to meet and cook for Harold from Season 1 which totally freaked out my dining room, as most of them were popping springs and circuits (does not compute!, does not compute!) when they realized two Top Chef[testant]s from different seasons were in the same space ...