Who DIDN'T fall in love with natural Andrea Beaman on Top Chef? Well, Stephen, for one -- but that's OK. Andrea spread her message about eating healthily with good cheer and was a great inspiration to her fellow chefs and viewers at home.
HEY ANDREA! HOW ARE YOU!
Hey, guess what? I was walking down First Avenue the other day and I saw your Red Cross ad on a phone booth!
RIGHT ON! YOU RECOGNIZED ME ... AND ARE YOU GETTING RECOGNIZED A LOT SINCE TOP CHEF BEGAN AIRING?
As a matter of fact, I was walking down Broadway the other day and this girl starts pointing at me saying: "Oh my god! You're the girl from Survivor!" So I actually do get recognized about once a day, in odd places, and I'm getting emails from across the country from people who are inspired to change their diets. It's so great and makes me so happy. I think, "That's great: Mission accomplished!"
THE FACT THAT YOU MADE IT THIS FAR IS AMAZING! WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN YOU WERE INITIALLY SENT PACKING IN EPISODE 2 FOR YOUR PEANUT BUTTER BALLS AND CRUNCHY NUTS?
I was so shocked, because I tasted the other desserts. I couldn't believe I was at the loser's table because mine tasted so good. People came back for seconds. I thought my dish maybe wasn't sexy, but my idea of sexy is fun and playful and I think they liked more vulgar ideas of sexy. I was so upset that I didn't want to come back when they asked!
WELL TELL ME ABOUT THAT -- WHAT HAPPENED WHEN CYNTHIA LEFT THE COMPETITION AND YOU RE-JOINED. YOU DIDN'T WANT TO?
I initially didn't want to come back. I didn't understand why I was eliminated. I knew my presentation was awful, so I was clearly lacking. But the taste skills of the other contestants I definitely question. You can have beautiful food but it can taste like crap! Tiffani's dessert was literally like a dog biscuit. I remember tasting a dog biscuit when I was growing up just to see what it tasted like. Lee Ann and I had dinner at the Harrison to eat Harold's food after we were done shooting and he came out of the kitchen and offered us dessert and I said, "Not if you're cooking it!"
YOU THEN FLOURISHED ON THE SHOW IN SEVERAL OTHER CHALLENGES. HOW DID THAT MAKE YOU FEEL?
When I was at the microwave challenge, I was in my element, teaching people about food. I got to talk to the women about affecting the quality of their health through the quality of their food. So that's when my heart is at it's fullest. When I'm teaching and people are getting it, I want to raise people's consciousness about food -- I don't just want to just feed them. If there were more challenges like the microwave one I would've wanted to stay longer.
THE MESSAGE BOARDS ARE FULL OF COMMENTS ABOUT STEPHEN ... AND HE DIDN'T SEEM ESPECIALLY FOND OF YOU. WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO HIM?
He was like his food: very externally oriented with zero depth internally. He was a presentation of a human being without the depth of one. I didn't mind him at all, I know that he hated me though and I think it's because we were total opposites. My presentation is not great, but it has depth with information. His fruit dessert in the cups was crap. You tell me how strawberries and tarragon taste together and you'll tell me how good a chef he is. Infusion of this seared to the third power is great, but it was all faux flavor. I actually feel bad for the guy -- especially how he's been shown on the show. How does he come back from that?
DID YOU FEEL LIKE MIGUEL SOLD YOU OUT LAST WEEK IN THE PUSHCART FUSION CHALLENGE?
I don't think he sold me out, but I do think in hindsight that he could've contributed a lot. When we were in the Spanish store, I was trying to think of a way to wrap the burritos up and they only had saran wrap. I suggested serving it on a plate because I couldn't find wrappers. He could've come up with something from that store. That was an error on both our parts. Had it been wrapped the way I wanted it, we wouldn't have been at that table. He was nervous because this means a lot to him.
FILL US IN ON THE EPISODE WHERE YOU'RE ELIMINATED...
From the time that Ted Allen did the tasting in the Quickfire Challenge, I wanted to go home. He proclaimed Stephen the winner and I tasted his dish and thought it was disgusting. But the presentation was beautiful, and I think that says a lot about how people can be fooled by what they see. When I tasted his little oyster or whatever, I had to spit it out.
MAN YOU TALK ABOUT BOWEL MOVEMENTS A LOT ON THE SHOW. WHAT IS THE BEST FOOD TO MAKE ONE REGULAR?
I actually talk about a lot more than that, but they take the stuff that's the most dramatic and put it on TV -- so every episode I am talking about bowel movements. Whole grains, fiber rich foods like beans, veggies, a lot of the food lacking on most plates are good. I see clients all day long and 50% have problems with their bowels because they're eating foods that are deficient in fiber and food that bulks the colon. When people are on Atkins and haven't been to the bathroom in five days, that's toxic. When people are eating protein-rich food without balancing it with fiber -- whole grains and stuff to soften the stool -- then it will give you the beginning stage of disease, when your waste products don't leave your body for a long time.
WHAT HEALTHY SNACKS WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?
A burrito that's wrapped! Haha! Hummus and whole wheat pita bread, fruits and veggies as snacks, apples, berries, nuts, seeds -- real food substances are great snacks. Have half your lunch and eat the remaining portion as a snack. Snacks are often nutrient-deficient and loaded up with chemicals. Get rid of the chemicals and things that are highly sweetened.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN BEING ON TOP CHEF?
That presentation means a lot in the food industry. That there are some really great chefs out there. That I am on the right path. And, not to talk about bowel movements on TV.
AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW?
Same stuff: counseling people about their diets, teaching cooking classes out of my home and at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I published my second book in March, called The Whole Truth Eating and Recipe Guide. And I'm doing The View next week!