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After being eliminated in Season 10, Kristen fought her way back into the competition by winning Last Chance Kitchen. She then went on to win the whole competition and was crowned the Seattle season's Top Chef.
As much as Kristen loved competing on Top Chef the first time around, getting the call to be a part of Season 18's rotating panel of alumni guest judges was even more of a dream come true. "You know, when Top Chef asked me to come back and be part of this all-star judging panel, I mean, what an opportunity!" Kristen told BravoTV.com in the above video. "I don't have to compete, but I get to go play Top Chef again? Sure, why not? It was great."
But having previously been in the shoes of the current crop of cheftestants, Kristen said that it was still stressful to have their fate in her hands as a guest judge this season. "When Padma [Lakshmi] looks at you in your eyeballs and says, 'Please pack your knives and go,' like that hurts your soul, and you don't want anyone to feel that, because you know what it feels like. You feel like you've disappointed your restaurant. You feel like you've disappointed your family. You feel like you've disappointed everyone," Kristen shared. "And so, because we know what it actually feels like to be eliminated or to win, there is a lot of pressure to make sure that it is the right decision, that it's completely fair, that you really give it the time and thought that they deserve."
"No pressure," Kristen added. "I'm already sweating thinking about it."
Winning the culinary competition hasn't changed Kristen at all as a chef or a person — except for maybe in one way. "From 2012 to now, the core of me and the core of my life is still exactly the same. Still insecure, still get really anxious and really nervous," Kristen said. "I just might wear better shoes now."
However, we kind of think Kristen is just being modest. Following her Top Chef win, Kristen went on to host TV shows, write a cookbook, and open her own restaurant.
Kristen also recently went through one major life change. She married her girlfriend, Bianca, in an intimate ceremony on April 18. "Threw on some nice clothes (my favorite blazer), headed to our backyard with our own written vows in hand, had our family with us (virtually), got all sappy, and WE DID THE DAMN THING," Kristen shared on Instagram in a post featuring photos from the big day, along with "#happilymarried" and "#mywife."
Want more Top Chef? New episodes air every Thursday at 8/7c or catch up on the Bravo app.
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