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The Daily Dish Top Chef Masters

The 'WWHL' Hangover With Kerry Heffernan (Exclusive)

The 'Top Chef Masters' runner-up dishes on his show experience.

By Mike Hess

Kerry Heffernan
Kerry Heffernan may have come up just a hair short on Top Chef Masters, but that doesn't mean he was feeling down on Watch What Happens Live. In fact, he loves being on the show, and in our latest installment of The WWHL Hangover, Kerry says that even though he didn't win, he at least got to feed people. Because when it all boils down, that's all a chef wants to do anyways, right?

We caught up with Kerry on the phone Thursday afternoon, and here's what he had to say about his favorite WWHL moments, and also the age-old art of trash talking among chefs:

So this was actually your second time on Watch What Happens Live -- you bartended once, but this was your first time as a guest. How'd you like being in the seat rather than bartending?
It's a total blast. It's certainly a little more intense being in the hot seat with Andy as opposed to when I was bartender. But even then When I was bartender, Andy went out of his way to make a kind point to notice that I brought a white eggplant crostata -- it was an homage to his St. Louis background where they make a toasted ravioli ... and then this time I brought some chowder made from clams that I harvested in my backyard -- whelks, actually. That was a lot of fun to share with all of the guys. It didn't make it to the broadcast part of it, but that was really fun. It's a fun, crazy place that I like to bring food to.

Was there anything said or asked that you felt like you were in a "hot seat" moment?
I think throughout the course of the show they created some moments where I was sort of the guy who didn't get along with partners. That is what it is, but I think as Tom pointed out, I'm one of the easiest going guys to work with. When you're put on the spot that way, it's a very quick format show, so you have to snap a response back.

Did anything happen off-camera last night that you thought was either funny or interesting?
There was a lot of stuff said, but between Chris, Tom, Andy and myself, it definitely was not camera ready. [Laughing] We had a lot of fun in the green room. We were watching the final episode because we hadn't actually seen it yet. It was kind of a blur, and it was a really nice moment between Chris and I when we recalled how hard it was, but also that was the most fun because there was a strange absence of tension that was in the rat-race you have at the beginning of the competition. It was he and I doing our best, not really competing against each other but competing against ourselves. The judges seemed to vote for provocative letter writing. [Laughing]

Say you could be asking the questions of anyone -- dead or alive -- in your own version of Plead the Fifth: Who would be in your hot seat?
Bill Clinton, I guess. He's just a bright guy that I'd like to learn more about and I'd love to hear where he'd plead the fifth.

Was there lots of friendly trash-talking during the competition, as chefs tend to do?
We busted balls constantly on everybody. Thierry, he was a clown, he made us uproariously laugh. And we'd always bustTakashi, but he'd always come back at us! The whole "pork berry" -- that became a thing, but it was hysterical. With the people we felt were the extraordinary cooks, the fun ones, we went at it. Patricia, Takashi, Thierry, Chris, myself -- it was non-stop on that.

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