Thursday, January 31, 2013

All Top Chef Interview with Stefan Richter, Continued

ATC: This is Laura Kluvo from All Top Chef and I am on the phone with Stefan Richter. Hi Stefan.

SR: What's happening?

ATC: Going in to the competition, did you feel that you had an advantage?

SR: I think it was a disadvantage to be honest. You kind of dread what is going to happen. The waiting and the stew room, it is really harsh. You see two minutes of it, but it is actually five hours. What do we do? We drink and we bicker. It's very difficult. I knew that going in.

ATC: Which was your favorite challenge?

SR: The Berry Farm. It reminded me of Finland!

ATC: Did you do anything in particular to prepare for the competition?

SR: There is really nothing you can do to prepare. I mean you would think that appearing on a previous season would be good preparation, but each season has different challenges and different competitors. It is impossible to prepare.

ATC: Have you remained in touch with the other chefs?

SR: Oh yes of course, all of them. Kristen, John, Brooke, Josh...

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

SR: No.

ATC: You stand by your dish.

SR: Absolutely. I have been a judge on Top Chef in Finland and I know that it is all just a matter of personal preference. I don't feel that any judge "didn't like me," it's just the way it goes.

ATC: Tell us about your restaurant.

SR: I have three steakhouses in Finland - plans to open three more in the next year.

Stefan's LA Farm is in Santa Monica. We have just renovated, I have a new entrance, patios, seven fire pits, come and visit!

ATC: I have a reader question from Kathy - Was your first time really on a ship? I thought it was a babysitter…



ATC: How is your mom?

SR: She is okay, I mean fifteen years with Parkinson's disease is no picnic but she is doing okay. I visit her about six times a year.

ATC: What are you working on now?

SR: Expanding in Finland, adding new menu items, I am very busy.

ATC: Are you working on any new television projects?

SR: Yes, actually…

ATC: Please keep us posted.

SR: I certainly will.

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

SR: I want to say thank you to everyone who is watching, blogging, tweeting and supporting me. Its not over, you can still vote to "save" me.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

All Top Chef Interview with Josie Smith-Malave, Continued

ATC:  This is Laura Kluvo from All Top Chef and I'm on the phone with Chef Josie Smith-Malave, Hi Chef Josie.

JSM:  Hi!

ATC:  Have you been watching the show every week?

JSM:  Yes, I sure have...

ATC:  Were you surprised by anything that you saw as you watched?

JSM:  Yes, I could say that.  Surprised would be an understatement.

ATC:  During the competition, did you feel that the other chefs respected you?

JSM:  Yes.  At the time I did.

ATC:  Did you feel that you had an advantage going in, because you had already competed in season 2?

JSM:  You know, I thought that there was a slight advantage.  I was familiar with how the process worked and I thought that if I sat back and let everyone else unravel, that I would have an advantage.  Sure.

ATC:  Did you recognize any of the other chefs when you arrived?

JSM:  Stefan and I have done events together.  CJ of course.  The rest I just met on set.

ATC:  Who is your best friend from the cast?

JSM:  Friend?  Hmmmm...  I would say Sheldon.

ATC:  Oh, he seems like a real sweetheart.

JSM:  What you see is what you get.  I have spent some time in Hawaii and he really embodies the Hawaiian spirit.  He's a pretty cool dude, I'm not gonna lie.

Lizzie also.  She is a stand-up lady.  There was nothing that she said that was unkind or uncalled for.  She is very respectful.

And Carla.  Love me some Carla!

ATC:   What have you been doing since we saw you in season 2?

JSM:  I've been building an empire.  Right now we have a pop-up location in San Francisco.  I have teamed up with a music venue called Thee Parkside.    It's called Global Soul Corner, we have just extended our lease.

I have also teamed up with some people to do a popsicle business.  We have some really inventive popsicle flavors.  We are working out the details to expand.

I'm also working on a couple of cooking shows.

I have been traveling the world...eating...learning about other cultures, not just food.  I have really had the chance to grow as a person and really to hone my future.

ATC:  What is the most intriguing flavor of popsicle that you have invented?

JSM:  I call it the dirty chocolate cake.  It's like a fudgsicle with a hint of chiles and of course, bacon...

ATC:  Are these available now?

JSM:  They are available at music events here in San Francisco and we are looking to expand our production and distribution.

ATC:  Which was your favorite challenge?

JSM:  I would have to say that was the Food & Wine Challenge where I was awarded immunity by Dana Cowin for my dumpling.

ATC:  Will there be a reunion episode?

JSM:  I have no idea.

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

JSM:  Watch What Happens - it's not over yet!

Friday, January 18, 2013

All Top Chef Interview with Kristen Kish, Continued

ATC:  This is Laura Kluvo from All Top Chef, and I'm on the phone with Kristen Kish, Hi Kristen.

KK:  Hi Laura.

ATC:  Your elimination was completely shocking and disappointing.

KK:  Yes, it was heartbreaking to watch it and to re-live it as well, but all is good.

ATC:  So you watch ed the episode last night?

KK:  Yes,  of course, yes.

ATC:  The viewers certainly saw that Josie was slow and you had to make concessions for her lack of expertise, but the judges didn't see any of that.

KK:  Right, and that's okay.  I mean that is part of my job, to communicate and to get my point of view across.  I just didn't want to stand up there and fight.  It would have been a losing battle anyway.

ATC:  You showed a lot of integrity.

KK:  I hope so.

ATC:  Knowing that you beat CJ in Last Chance Kitchen gives us all hope that we will see you again in the finale.

KK:  Thank you, I hope so too.

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

KK:  There are a million things I would do differently.  Maybe a different menu.  Not as ambitious.

ATC:  Did you watch the previous seasons of the show?

KK:  Here and there, yes.

ATC:  So, going in, did you have a plan for Restaurant Wars?

KK:  No.  It was spontaneous.  I mean I hoped that I would make it to the Restaurant Wars Challenge, but I was just taking it week by week.

ATC:  You were almost always on the top and Josie was often on the bottom, so it was very surprising to see that the judges eliminated you.  Were you surprised as well?

KK:  A little, I mean I made mistakes as well, and as the leader of the losing team, I kind of expected it.

ATC:  Who is your best friend from the cast?

KK:  Brooke for sure.

ATC:  Which was your favorite challenge?

KK:  All the challenges where I won money.

ATC:  How much did  you win?

KK:  $45,000.

ATC:  Have you received your check yet?

KK:  No, and that is probably a good thing.  I wouldn't know what to do with it.

ATC:  Are you still at Stir?

KK:  Yes I am.

ATC:  Besides cooking, what do you enjoy in your spare time?

KK:  Being with friends, music, and the arts.  I studied piano and I love it.  Everything in music and art.

ATC:  What are your plans for the future?

KK:  I am very happy where I am.  I don't want to change anything right now.

ATC:  Are you recognized in the street?  Are fans asking for your photo and autograph?

KK:  Yes.  I am stopped in the street or at Starbucks and people are always waving at me.  We have several restaurants on the same street and as I walk into each one to get supplies or whatever, the patrons will greet me.  It's great.

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

KK:  Thank you so much for all of the support.  It has been incredible.  I'm very very happy and I couldn't be more proud of the support that I am getting.

ATC:  Thank you Chef Kristen.

KK:  Thank you!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

All Top Chef Interview with Micah Fields, Continued

ATC:  This is Laura Kluvo from All Top Chef and I'm on the phone with Top Chef Seattle contestant, Micah Fields.  Hi Micah!

MF:  Hello.

ATC:  Did you watch the episode last night?

MF:  Of course I did!

ATC:  Was there anything that surprised you?

MF:  Well the part about me being a "Beverly Hills Chef" was edited a little...funny.  I do not consider myself a "Beverly Hills Chef."  I was trying to make the point that there are all sorts of demographics that enjoy raw food - everyone from the Ladies from Beverly Hills, to sushi-lovers from Japan, there are a lot of ways to prepare and appreciate raw food.  The grocery store didn't have the products that I was hoping for and it wasn't exactly what I wish I could have made.

ATC:  Did you watch the previous seasons of the show?

MF:  I watched Top Chef Texas...Top Chef New York.  I have seen about three seasons..

ATC:  Did you do anything in particular to prepare for the show?

MF:  Yes I did.  As soon as I learned that we would be in Seattle, I practiced a lot of seafood preparations.  I also brushed up on my pastry skills, even though I didn't have the opportunity to do any pastry.  It was a lot of pressure having five HD cameras on you.  It's impossible to prepare for that.

ATC:  Are you still working at The Standard in Los Angeles?

MF:  Yes I am.

ATC:  I have been there!  Is it still yellow?

MF:  Yes it is.

ATC:  What is the most popular item on the menu?

MF:  We actually just changed the dinner menu...we have a lamb rib...our ravioli changes on a daily basis...We also have a "burger of the week" that is very popular.  I have been there for about two years, so that is a hundred different burgers.  It's been popular and also very fun.

ATC:  Which was your favorite challenge?

MF:  Definitely the foil challenge.  When you don't know what you are going to cook with and you only have 30 minutes to cook it. That's a real task.

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

MF:  I would take more risks, move out of my comfort zone.  I would have pushed my limits.   I would do more seafood...

ATC:  Tell us a little bit about your daughters.

MF:  They are twins - five years old- their names are Sage and Saffron.

ATC:  Who are you best friends from the cast?

MF:  Kristen and I definitely had a connection.  Sheldon as well...Stefan... Obviously I am closest with the LA-based chefs.  I hang out with C.J. a lot.   I saw Brooke the other night.  The only one from L.A. that I haven't met up with is Kuniko.  She is busy opening a new restaurant.  Of course I will visit as soon as I can.

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

MF:  Yes, please vote to "Save Chef Micah."

ATC:  Thank you!

MF:  Thank you!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

All Top Chef Interview with John Tesar, continued

ATC:  This is Laura Kluvo with All Top Chef and I'm on the phone with John Tesar.  Hi John.

JT:  Hi Laura, how are you?

ATC:  Have you watched the previous seasons of Top Chef?

JT:  Yes, I believe I have watched every episode of every season for the past ten seasons.

ATC:  So you knew about the curse of the risotto...

JT:  Yes, of course, it was just the luck of the draw, I could have gotten anything, but I got the risotto.  Howie's dish was very complicated and included frog's legs and all sorts of things.  It was a challenge to make it healthy.  It was complicated and let's not forget that he sweat in the dish!

ATC:  Did you watch last night's episode?

JT:  I did.  I have been watching every week.  I have a brand new restaurant and when I get home late on Wednesday nights, I say goodnight to my wife and go and watch the show at like 1:00 in the morning.   I have truly enjoyed this season.  The editing is great - I mean there is a lot that you don't see, but Bravo has been great.

I think that there is a demographic that I represent.  I have tons of experience, I have operated many successful restaurants.  I am proud of what I did on the show.

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

JT:  Yes, I would have gotten a little more rest, and I would have made a vegetarian dish in the risotto challenge.

Also, knowing that Josh was coming back to Dallas, I would have been more honest and brutal with him.  I let hime get to me a little and now we are in the same town.  Like a lot of us, he has issues that he should deal with.  Real anger issues.

I was horrified on Thanksgiving when Josh and CJ really attacked me.  They were attacking me all day.  It really started to wear me down.

I would like to come back and do an All-Star season.  That's the advantage that CJ and Stefan and Josie had.  They know about the psychological drama and the toll that this takes.

I mean, just being selected for Top Chef, makes me feel like a winner.  I had tried out for the show before.

Honestly I could have held on to the pickles.  There was only one jar of pickles and I shared them.  That is who I am.  That is the real John Tesar.

ATC:  Who is your best friend from the cast?

JT:  I'm very fond of Brooke.  We are not exactly close, but she is very talented.  Kristen also is very talented.  She will be a great chef.  Stefan of course, is just the ultimate entertainer.  I enjoyed him a lot.  He would say, "Cook.  Just forget about the rest and cook."  Sheldon too.  He is a great guy.

ATC:  What was your favorite challenge?

JT:  The last challenge was my favorite because I learned so much from it.  On the show we really have to cook off the cuff.  There is no way to prepare for it.  I really did have trouble with the cookware.  Also, I had consumed so much MSG that I had numbed my palate.  I loved last night's edit and the ending and everything.  I mean it was bittersweet for me to move on, but I was laughing as I watched.

ATC:  Tell us about your restaurant, Spoon Bar and Kitchen.

JT:  I grew up on the east end of Long Island, and I am bringing the taste of the ocean to Dallas.

The Dallas Morning News just named us one of the best new restaurants of the year.  They used the word "important" when they described us.  

Although I am in a land-locked city, I decided that I wanted to do seafood.  Actually while I was in Seattle, I made a few contacts - geoduck and oysters from Seattle are both on the menu.

 I have a lot of support from the local community, from Dallas, and from my friends.  It's been great.

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

JT:  Please vote to save me.  I'd love to take Josh down!  It was a privilege to be on Top Chef.

ATC:  Thank you!

JT:  Thank you!