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Kevin Gillespie: Second Time's a Charm

The winning chef talks mole, Eli, and others' resentment towards Robin. First the Quickfire, What was the inspiration behind your dish?
I believe that frankly, I didn’t understand the Quickfire as well as I would have wanted. I needed to make a dish that had contrasting elements or themes and unfortunately I jumbled that up in my head. I wanted to show a dynamic between the way elements work against something, but instead, my dish came across as a disconnected duo that didn’t really make sense to me.

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Watch Top Chef Season 21 Wednesdays at 9/8c on Bravo and next day on Peacock. People seemed pretty upset by Robin’s Quickfire win. What was your take on it?
I have had many family members struggle through the hardships of cancer, and many haven’t made it out on the other side. I understand the sense of triumph and joy one must have to be able to overcome such a crippling disease and feel as if they have been given a renewed opportunity at life. Considering all of these things, I feel as though many of my competitors felt that Robin used her story as leverage to win with a dish that wasn’t as imaginative or well executed as others. I hesitate to believe that simply a good story is enough to win, and feel that her dish must have brought something else to the table in order to arrive victorious. I don’t believe that we can ever tell what impact her personal situation has had on her longevity in the competition. It kinda seemed like everyone was just so against Robin at this point. What was it like in the house? Was everyone just against her? Or just resentful that she was still there and won immunity?
I believe that for whatever reason many people where resentful of her still being in the house. I feel that people had seen her struggle and narrowly avoid being sent home many times, only to somehow remain unscathed. I think that due to this, and the considerable other stresses of the show, people began to project their disdain on Robin as a means of coping with there own duress. I like to remember that this is a competition and its not just a matter of winning, often times it is a matter of not losing. In this Robin did quite well. Onto the Elimination, you got a second chance at the mole. How did you go about it differently this time?
I really didn’t approach it any differently. I was obviously asked to deconstruct the dish and thus it changed the overall product, but the methodology and techniques were much the same. Were you nervous that it could send you home if you couldn’t do it again?
I guess I felt like I did it correctly the first time, and it was simply a matter of not having the best dish. I wasn’t worried about going home, but I did feel like I had been given a second chance to refine a dish. My only concern was to prepare a dish that I could be proud of, and whatever the outcome of that may be, I would be happy. What Who do you think are your biggest competition at this point?
I think that the show has certainly defined some of the people who may be in the top, but I also feel like the contest is full of surprises and no one can count on victory just yet. What did you think of the other chefs’ dishes?
Like most challenges, I didn’t get to see my other competitor’s dishes, or taste them. I did taste Eli’s dish and thought it was tasty. You and Eli are a bit of a dynamic duo ... Does it help to have someone you know there with you?
I think that it is nice to have friends in the house. However, it is also inconvenient. Its hard to compete against friends and to see them go home.

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