Earlier this month, Top Chef Season 1 winner Harold Dieterle announced that he would be closing his two NYC eateries, Kin Shop and Perilla, by year's end. The news may have saddened Big Apple foodies, but Harold's emotions are on the other end of the spectrum.
"I feel fantastic, like I have a thousand pounds off my shoulders," he told The Daily Dish. "I haven't really been enjoying it for a bit, and [I was] kind of going through the motions to keep the staff employed. And it's time for me to have a baby in February, and to be a good dad I need to take a little break, clear my head for a little bit, and figure out what's next."
At the time of the announcement, Harold cited the climbing cost of operating restaurants in New York as part of the reason he was looking to step away from the hustle of the restaurant world. Still, there will be some things he'll miss once he closes his doors. "I still love the team camaraderie of being in the kitchen, cooking really nice food, and when you have a passionate, passionate team that is really into it, you're really into it. It's kind of magical." Despite the notable challenges, running multiple restaurants simultaneously has taught Harold one important lesson. "Expect the unexpected," he said. "It's very, very difficult — especially here in New York. It's a lot of highs, a lot of lows. I'm really proud of what we created and there were times where I was having so much fun."
For now, Harold is focused on his family life and impending fatherhood, which has him more than a little bit rattled. "I'm totally freaked out about being a dad," he explained. "I want to take care of my wife leading up to the birth of our boy. We're gonna take a vacation, do some time in the Caribbean, and just relax and take the time to figure out what I'm going to do next."
And that may include some consulting work. "I definitely still want to be involved in food and stuff, and I may want to get back into the restaurant business at some point, I just don't know right now," he said, before sharing his dream food-related TV pitch. "A dream would be if I could figure out how to get paid to fish and cook for people on a daily basis. Take them fishing and then maybe do a cooking class or TV show based around that idea around fishing and cooking because that's really my two lifelong passions."
Season 13 of Top Chef kicks off December 2. Catch a preview below.
The Feast is Bravo’s digital destination serving culinary inspiration and essential food news. Like us on Facebook and visit daily for diet and wellness trends, kitchen hacks and tools — and the buzziest celebrity, chef, and restaurant happenings you need to know about right now.