Nobody knows what it's like to compete on Bravo's Top Chef better than Dale Talde. He has appeared as a cheftetant twice in the culinary competition in Seasons 4 and 8, coming in sixth place both times, as well as on Top Chef Duels.
Now Dale is back on Top Chef once again as one of the alums on the rotating panel of guest judges in the current Season 18. However, Dale admitted that seeing the new crop of cheftestants still ignites that fire inside of him to compete. "Going from being a competitor to being now a judge is definitely a lot less nerve-racking, but I still have that competitive juice in me," Dale told BravoTV.com in the above video. "I see these challenges, and they're so fun! I want to get into them."
But Dale said he isn't feeling quite as spry as when he first competed on Top Chef. "I feel like I'm on my retirement tour, like I'm on the back half of my career when it comes to these competition shows [laughs]," he shared. "I could only do like one or two, and then my back would go out, or I'd throw my knee out or something like that."
Dale has learned that sitting alongside Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, and Gail Simmons at Judges' Table in Season 18 still has its challenges. "Being a judge, you get a real respect for what Tom, Padma, Gail do. It's not easy," he explained. "The job is hard, especially when it's undecided and there's not a clear-cut winner. It's really hard to send someone [home] who you know misstepped by just a little bit."
Since first appearing on Top Chef, Dale has written a cookbook called Asian-American and has opened and consulted on several different culinary projects, in addition to writing screenplays, developing show treatments, building creative content for social media, and more, according to his bio on BravoTV.com. Next, he will be working on opening Talde Noodle and Dumpling in LaGuardia Airport's newly renovated Terminal B Headhouse.
Of course, getting the chance to catch up with the Top Chef alums on Season 18's judging panel has been a blast for Dale — but not too much fun. "Listen, I think in your mind's eye, you would think you would get seven chefs together, and we would just be running amok, but we are a little older," Dale said of his fellow single-digit season alums. "I'll let the double digit guys in the teens [seasons] rage. Let the old guys kind of just chill out [laughs]."
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