Thursday, August 16, 2012

All Top Chef Interview with Clark Frasier, Continued

ATC:  This is Laura Kluvo from All Top Chef and I'm on the phone with Master Chef contestant, Clark Frasier.  Hi Clark.

CF:  How are you, Laura?

ATC:  I'm great, thank you!

I interviewed Mark last week and we have already talked about your restaurants and your history, so this week, let's talk about the competition.

Besides Mark did you know any of the other chefs when you arrived?

CF:  Yes, actually, we worked with Takashi a number of times and always enjoy him, and we had met Art, terrific guy, and we also met Patricia and been to her restaurant.  Yes, there were some familiar faces.

ATC:   Which was your favorite challenge?

CF:  I would say the seafood challenge was really fun.  We live right  here on the coast of Maine and we love  seafood, love oysters and so that was very natural for me.

Also, I am from California originally and so the salad bar challenge was also a fun one for me.  I love salad.

ATC:   When you arrived at The Grand Canyon, there was quite a selection of ingredients there for you.  Did you shop for those?  How did that work?

CF:  We knew ahead of time, what our "ingredient" was, in my case that was corn, and we were told that there would be "pantry items" but we didn't know exactly what would be available.

ATC:  Were you able to develop your recipe before you arrived, or did you have to improvise?

CF:  I knew I wanted to make a corn ragout. But, I mean I hoped that every ingredient I wanted would be there.

Actually I would say everything that I needed, within reason, was available.

ATC:  If you could go back, is there anything that you would do differently?

CF:  Well of course, I mean, if I did everything the same, then I would be eliminated again.  So I would change a few things.   This one didn't work, so I would like to go back with plan B.

Two things:  I tend to prep too much.  At the restaurant, we can never prep too much.  I mean if someone says prep for twenty I will prep for fifty.  That was something I didn't have to do.

The second thing is that although I believe that Kerry is a great guy and a great chef, it was obvious that we weren't clicking.

Actually originally, we were supposed to have salmon, but we discovered that the Hualapai do not eat fish, so we got tenderloin which I think is every chef's least favorite protein.  So, we had to punt which is what a Top Chef should be able to do.  I would have done something like a crisp corn cake to offset the softness of the tenderloin.

On Top Chef Masters, as you now, you only get one chance.  At our restaurant, if guests say, "You know, this seems mushy..." you can switch the recipe the next day.  You always have more than one chance.

ATC:   Was that your first helicopter ride?

CF:  Yes it was.  I loved it, it was so much fun.

ATC:   Did you travel back to Las Vegas in the helicopter?

CF:  No actually we spent four hours traveling back to Vegas in a panel van.

All of the chefs were great and very kind, but honestly, when something like this happens you don't really want to hang out with your buddies, you just want to go home and go to bed.

ATC:  After you were eliminated, were you able to join Mark for some fun in Vegas?

CF:  I had about eight hours of interviews the next day and then we just went home.  It was a very busy time of year, we had planned an event for the next week and had guest chefs coming in.  We had to get back.

ATC:    Did you know that you would be cooking outdoors?

CF:  Yes, I believe we did.  The rain was definitely a challenge.  Our grill was pretty much out.  It was definitely a challenge.

ATC:    How long total, were you at The Grand Canyon?

CF:  We got there, I would say, mid-morning and then we left about early evening.

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

CF:  We have had terrific support from everyone.  We had people in at the Raleigh-Durham airport and again in LA tell us, "We enjoy seeing you on TV," that was very exciting.  It has been terrific to feel everyone rooting for us.  Really very gratifying, very exciting.

Thank you to everyone.

ATC:  Thank you!

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