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Tiffani Faison was the polarizing chef on Top Chef. I never interviewed her in the climate of post-finale-Haroldysteria, and wanted the dust to settle for her before our chat. It's settled, so I gave the chef a call yesterday....
HEY TIFFANI WHERE ARE YOU RIGHT NOW?
I'm in Nantucket right now -- cooking for the summer!
THE BOARDS ON BRAVOTV.COM ARE ALIVE WITH DEBATE AND CONVERSATION ABOUT YOU. HAVE YOU READ ANYTHING THEY HAVE TO SAY?
I think I stopped reading the boards after the boys and girls challenge. I saw where it was going -- I have my moments but I am not a masochist. There's intelligent conversation on the boards about food which is impressive. I try to steer clear of the bs talk though....
DO YOU FEEL THAT YOU WERE "PORTRAYED" ON THE SHOW AS YOU ARE?
I mean, in some ways yes and in some ways no. I am incredibly intense when I am working. I own that. My personality is aggressive. The words aggression and assertiveness are not always the best thing when associated with women. When I see myself, I think there are times I could've been softer. That's a life lesson. I try to be a better cook and better person every day. You can't put words in my mouth. I don't feel edited unfairly -- I said what I said. I also said a lot of great things about people's food which never came across. I think I was a role or a type on the show. I talk to Andrea still but that's pretty much it. I was shocked by how disliked I was by the other cast members. People like Cynthia felt strongly about me but didn't know me. People held on to things really tightly. I don't know where Dave's hatred of me comes from. I like Dave's food and I like him. I don't think that they got how much respect I had for them.
GOING BACK TO THE FINAL EPISODE... DID YOU TAKE MORE CREDIT FOR DAVE'S DESSERT THAN DESERVED?
I gave Dave credit for the dessert pretty flat out -- so, no.
PEOPLE ARE INFURIATED THAT YOU MADE IT TO FINAL TWO, WHICH IS A DISSERVICE TO YOUR COOKING. NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE SAID ABOUT YOUR PERSONALITY EVERYONE AGREED ABOUT YOUR SKILLS IN THE KITCHEN. ANY COMMENTS ABOUT THAT?
Before even that episode, I am happy to say that I think Lee Ann should have been top three and not Dave. I heard that people thought Dave was robbed of the title -- which in hindsight is ridiculous. His flavors are good -- when they're good they're good and when they're not they're not. He's inconsistent in his cooking and that's not me talking bad -- that came through. It shocked me that people were so surprised. I was surprised that he made it that far, to be honest. I have no issues with him besides how he treated me by the way -- I'm not trying to slam him.
ANY REGRETS FROM DOING THE SHOW?
No. I don't live my life with regret. I think it's a waste of time. I've used the show as a tool -- as a litmus test as a person and as a cook for sure. But I don't live that way with regrets. It's pointless to me and inhibits forward motion.
ANYTHING YOU WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY?
Interesting question. I think NO. The things I did that I am not as pleased with have allowed me to see where I can change and be a better person and a better cook. So I am happy to have seen them. Had all this stuff not shown up on national television, maybe I wouldn't have learned the lessons I did and for that I am glad.
HOW DO PEOPLE RESPOND TO YOU IN PUBLIC?
It totally varies, Andy. You're skinnier, nicer, the whole thing. They meet the unedited me and I think they're surprised. I am gonna shake your hand and smile and I am fascinated by how people react to the show. I think people are shocked that I am not Cruella deVille. A lot of people come up to me have been really kind and nice about my cooking. People who come up to me thought I was portrayed unfairly and one-dimensionally. I think people who don't like me don't wind up saying anything to me. I meet the great, supportive people.
DO YOU HAVE A BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND?
I am happily single right now. It's good. I am close with my ex right now, even though we're 3,000 miles apart. I am liking where I am at right now.
IF PEOPLE GO TO NANTUCKET THIS SUMMER, IS THERE ANYWHERE THEY CAN GO TO TASTE YOUR FOOD?
You can taste me executing someone else's food at the Straight Wharf Restaurant -- and it's great food!
ALL RIGHT MISS TIFFANI, HAVE A BLAST IN NANTUCKET..
Are you putting me on Celebrity Poker Showdown or what?
OH MAN, YOU PLAY? I'LL PUT YOU ON THE LIST. HAVE A GREAT SUMMER!