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Sweet Vindication

Season 1 winner Harold Dieterle gives his take on Season 3.

First off, I thought it was cool that the chefs caught their own fish in the Quickfire. I like Alfred Portale -- I like what he's about. He's a great chef, and in a lot of ways, he has a similar style to Tom's -- he and Tom Collichio are old school American chefs. So he's a good chef to cook for early on and kind of get a feel for it.

How to Watch

Watch Top Chef Season 21 Wednesdays at 9/8c on Bravo and next day on Peacock.

The conch is just a pain in the ass to get out. It's one of those things where you have to be a little relentless. So, when you're running against the clock it's not something you really want to mess with. So I get why they avoided it. I think it's more of a time thing. If the chefs had steady hands and could've relaxed with the time, it wouldn't have been that big of a deal.

Brian works at a fish restaurant -- that's his thing. And I think that it's good to see someone jumping in there and doing what you're supposed to do. I thought the dishes overall were nice -- but nothing blew me away. I did like Howie's dish -- I'm a simple food type of guy and I think ceviche was appropriate. As for Hung and the crawfish incident, honestly I think a lot of stuff he does is more for shock value and trying to get under people's skin a little bit. I don't think he's as big of a badass as he thinks he is.

The Elimination Challenge was pretty tough. I think Howie and Dale did really nice jobs with it. I thought both their dishes were really smart. You know, there was a teeny outrage during our wedding challenge when we used wedding cake mix in Season 1, and the cakes were fine. There were no complaints about the cake. And now, again, other people used pre-made ingredients and it's like, "Oh, smart idea." I thought that was kind of funny. Vindicating a little.

Howie's pork chop dish was great. I thought he was one of the few people who didn't really take it literally and kind of did it and put a twist on it. I thought he did a great job. I was trying to figure Micah out, I was pulling for her. But then that meatloaf looked like a train wreck. I get it -- her head wasn't entirely in the game, she's got a kid, and I think that's where her focus was. If you can get past that first week, you're going to be in a good place. But that first week is hell. It's really about getting adjusted to your environment. After that first week, you're in it and realize that this is the game to be played. Some people play it better than others, is all. I'll catch you guys in two weeks. Happy fourth of July!

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