Friday, June 24, 2011

All Top Chef Interview with "Rocco's Dinner Party" Week 2 Winner, Joel Gargano

ATC: Hi Joel

JG: How are you?

ATC: Did you watch the episode last night?

JG: I did. I watched with my wife at home.

ATC: Did anything surprise you?

JG: I was surprised by how well I came off. When you are there, you are kind of nervous and you don’t know how you will be portrayed or edited. I was happy with the way the episode turned out.

ATC: Everyone else was pretty sweaty and you looked calm.

JG: I didn’t feel calm at all.

ATC: You teach culinary arts at a high school?

JG: Yes I teach at West Haven High School in Connecticut.

ATC: That’s pretty unusual isn’t it? Is this a public high school?

JG: Yes. We have a culinary program open to all students from Freshmen to Seniors.

ATC: How long have you been teaching?

JG: I just finished my third year.

ATC: How many students are enrolled in the program?

JG: I have five classes I day, so I guess about a hundred or so students.

ATC: Did you tell your students that you would be on the show?

JG: I didn’t really tell them until the last couple of days of school. They were pretty excited about it.

ATC: Have you heard from them this morning?

JG: Yes, I must have answered about 50 or 60 e-mails this morning.

ATC: Where did you learn to cook?

JG: I grew up in the industry. My parents own a bakery in Connecticut. When I turned 18 I decided to go to Johnson and Wales University in Providence.

I’ve been cooking professionally for about 9 years. In addition to working at the high school I also cook full time. I am working about 80 hours a week during the school year. I like to do both.

ATC: Do you work at a restaurant?

JG: I work at Bar Bouche in Madison. It’s a French Bistro.

ATC: Have you received your check yet?

JG: No. I’m sure it will be here soon.

ATC: Have you made the Dijon sausage before?

JG: Yes, I have. That’s a recipe that I developed a while ago. When I made it at home I thought it was pretty good but in the context of the dish, I had to agree with Rocco. It definitely needed more Dijon.

ATC: How did you learn about the opportunity to participate on the show?

JG: I applied for “Chopped” about a year and I half ago. Although I wasn’t cast in the show, I remained on the e-mail list and applied for this show.

ATC: Do you watch any other Bravo shows?

JG: Yes, “Top Chef.” I'm a big Top Chef fan. I've watched every season. I can’t really get into the Real Housewives.

ATC: Besides Padma, did you recognize any of the other dinner guests?

JG: Yes, definitely D.L. When I got home I googled everyone else!

ATC: Joel, we are almost out of time, is there anything else you would like to say to your fans?

JG: I have fans?

ATC: Of course, you are a Bravolebrity now.

JG: Yes, I’d like say thank you very much and hopefully in the future when I open my own restaurant, they will check it out.

ATC: Thank you Joel.

JG: Thank you.

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