Thursday, February 28, 2013

ATC Interview with Brooke Williamson, Continued

ATC:  This is Laura Kluvo from All Top Chef and I'm on the phone with Top Chef Seattle Finalist, Brooke Williamson.  Hi Brooke.

BW:  Hi.

ATC:  Congratulations on making it all the way to the finale?

BW:  Thank you very much.

ATC:  Do you think it was harder to fight your way through all of the challenges, or to fight back in Last Chance Kitchen?

BW:  That's a good questions.  They are both hard.  Last Chance Kitchen is more predictable.  You know it is 30 minutes.  You know Tom is your judge and you know you have to beat one chef.  It's do or die.

ATC:  We didn't see how you chose your sous chefs.

BW:  We flipped a coin and chose after the Craft Challenge.

ATC:  Who was your first choice?

BW:  CJ.

ATC:  How many challenges did you win?  And how much money?

BW:  I won eight challenges, three quickfires, five eliminations.  No money, but I did win a car, a cruise, and a trip to Costa Rica.

ATC:  Have you received the car?

BW:  Not yet.

ATC:  Who was your best friend from the cast?

BW:  I would say Kristen.

ATC:  Which was your favorite challenge?

BW:  The Berry Farm Challenge.  It was a lovely setting and a lot of fun.  I also liked the salmon challenge.

ATC:  It was fun to meet your family.  They must be very proud of you.

BW:  Yes, they are a very proud bunch.

ATC:  Did you son see himself on TV?

BW:  I think he did watch the show, but I haven't seen his reaction yet.

ATC:  Did you do anything to prepare for the finale?

BW:  I chose my dishes, but not until about a week before the finale.  I didn't have a whole lot of time to practice anything.  I didn't really do much to prepare the first time either.  I just back got into the swing of things at work.

ATC:  It must have been hard to prepare 150 plates for each course.  How long were you in there?

BW:  It was a very long day.  Very long.  The day from start to finish was very long.  The prep, the service, the interviews afterward.  It was long.

ATC:  I was very surprised that you didn't go all the way to the dessert round.  Were you also surprised?

BW:  I was surprised.  I was very disappointed that I didn't get to make my dessert.  I felt that it was a really great dessert and I wanted to present it.

ATC:  What are you working on now?  Are you still at Hudson House?

BW:  Yes, Hudson House and The Tripel.  We are looking for a location for a new spot.  We will stay in the area, Redondo Beach and Playa del Rey.

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

BW:  Thank you for all of the support.  It has been incredible.  I have been back in touch with people I haven't seen in years. and it has been really great.

ATC:  Thank you Brooke.

BW:  Thank you.

ATC Interview with Kristen Kish - Continued

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

KK:  Hi Laura.

ATC:  Congratulations on your win!

KK:  Thank you.

ATC:  Last night's episode went by very quickly.  Did you watch?

KK:  Yes.  I felt like there were a lot of details that were not shown on the program, like how we chose our sous chefs and how we developed our recipes...all of the work that comes before the cooking - but it is only an hour show...

ATC:  Yes, that is one of my questions, were ALL of the season 11 chefs brought back for you to choose from?

KK:  No, I think there were maybe eight or ten...  after the last challenge at Craft, we chose our sous chefs.

ATC:  Playground style?

KK:  We flipped a coin and I chose Lizzie and Sheldon and later we found out we could choose one more, and that's when I picked Josh.

ATC:  Were you surprised to learn that you had to cook for 150 people?

KK:  Not completely.  We had to send in a food order ahead of time, so we had an idea...

ATC:  During the time that you spent waiting for your return to the finale, did you do anything to prepare?  Were you working on specific recipes?

KK:  I thought about a couple of sauces that I knew would take a lot of time to develop flavors. The shellfish nage takes a while.  I practiced several times to see if I could make it more quickly.  Other than that, my preparation was just working.  I really didn't have time for much more than that.

ATC:  I was very surprised when you were declared the winner after four rounds, were you surprised as well?

KK:  A little, but it is a head-to-head competition, and there is a winner declared after each round.  Each judge had to go on record and state his or her favorite.

ATC:  So there is no one behind the scenes asking the judges to stretch things out just for the sake of drama...that's nice to know.

ATC:  Have you received your prize money yet?

KK:  No, not yet.  It's probably a good thing because if I had it now I would probably be spending frivolously.

ATC:  What are you working on now?

KK:  I'm still at Stir, with Barbara.  I have a lot to learn from her and I intend to stay with her.  She has a few more ideas for me.  I am really looking forward to seeing what comes my way.

ATC:  How tall are you?

KK:  5'9"

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

KK:  Yes, thank you to all of my fans, it has been wonderful to feel all of the support.  The Boston Restaurant community is totally behind me and it has been great.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

ATC Interview with Chef Sheldon Simeon, Continued

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

SS:  How's it going?

ATC:  Did you watch the episode last night?

SS:  Yes I did.  I got to relive the moment.

ATC:  Your family is adorable, tell us a little more about your girls.

SS:  That's what I was most proud of.  We got to showcase Maui and my family.  In the end that is what I am all about.  I have three girls, Chloe, 6, Peyton, 3, and Quinn, 18 months.

ATC:  And your wife is beautiful!

SS:  Yes, I am very fortunate to have the most beautiful and supportive wife I could ever ask for.

ATC:  It looks like you have become a celebrity in Hawaii.  How does that feel?

SS:  Everyone has been so nice.  It is definitely weird to be recognized in the street and to be posing for photographs.  But I was the same way.  I mean I have been a fan of the show and I was giddy whenever I saw any of the chefs. I enjoy meeting new people and it has really been fun.

ATC:  Were you surprised to see Kristen as the winner of Last Chance Kitchen?

SS:  No.  Not at all.  Everyone knew that she was a frontrunner.  It was a surprise when she was eliminated.  I had a feeling she would be back.

ATC:  What new opportunities have been presented to you as a result of your appearance on Top Chef?

SS:  Well first of course Star Noodle has been extremely busy.  It has really taken off.  There have been opportunities to open a restaurant on my own.  I am not sure where it will be.  I am carefully considering my options.  Of course I will make the best decision for my family.  Hopefully you will soon see a new restaurant a la Sheldon.

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

SS:  That's a tough one.  After listening to the critique, maybe I should have done more of what I had been doing all season, but honestly in that moment, that was what my heart felt.  I have no regrets...maybe I would have executed each dish a little better.

ATC:  Have any of the other chefs been out to Hawaii to visit you and to eat at your restaurant?

SS:  Yes, Carla has been out to Maui!  She came out and hung out at the restaurant.  It was cool because everyone here got to see what a sweetheart she is.

ATC:  Who is your best friend from the cast?

SS:  I think everyone saw my friendship with Josh.  I talk to him about every week.  He is like family.  We have talked about him coming out to Maui and maybe cooking together.  I also keep in touch with Chrissy and just about everyone.

ATC:  Tell us about Star Noodle.

SS:  Star Noodle is a small little 58-seat restaurant in Lahaina, Maui.  It is a Ramen Shop.  We have tons of small shared plates. It is kind of the best of all Asian foods, Korean, Chinese, Japanese and a lot of Hawaiian influence.

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

SS:  Definitely our Pad Thai Noodle.  It is different from the traditional Pad Thai, the bold flavor, and the different texture.  It's really good.

ATC:  It is amazing to note that a chef from a noodle shop in Hawaii made it all the way to the finals on Top Chef.  What advice can you offer to future contestants on the show?

SS:  If you go out for the show, just be yourself.  Be who you are.  Don't try to cook for the judges, just cook from your heart and live it up.  Enjoy every moment.

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

SS:  Everyone has been no nice.  Please continue to keep up with me #chefwonder on instagram and Facebook.  There are a lot of things coming up.

ATC:  Thank you Chef Sheldon.

SS:  Aloha!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

ATC Interview with Joshua Valentine, Continued

ATC:  This is Laura Kluvo from All Top Chef and I'm on the phone with Joshua Valentine.  Hi Josh.

JV:  How are you?

ATC:  Did you watch the episode last night?

JV:  I did.

ATC:  With your wife?

JV:  Yes, of course she cried.  She tried not to, but she did.

ATC:  How did she feel about seeing and hearing herself on the show?

JV:  Well, obviously she just had a baby so she wasn't totally happy with how she looked, but besides that she loved it.

ATC:  How old is Georgia now?

JV: Six months.  She is starting to crawl and to get into trouble.

ATC:  Do you have other children?

JV:  Yes, I have two from a previous marriage.  They are six and four.  Isabella and Lola.

ATC:  If you could go back, what would you do differently in the final challenge?

JV:  I might not have been so ambitious or adventurous in trying to do three composed dishes.  I think I might have bit off a little more than I could chew.

ATC:  Who is your best friend from the cast?

JV:  That's hard!  Sheldon and I are probably the closest.  Also Stefan, Brooke, Kristen.  We are all pretty tight.

ATC:  Which was your favorite challenge?

JV:  The most fun challenge was actually the Reynolds Wrap Challenge.  It was such a blind thing and opening up the foil and seeing what you had was just such a surprise.

Obviously I also liked the fried chicken challenge.  I was very comfortable with it.  It just kind of came naturally.

ATC:  Is that where you won the wine?

JV:  Yes.

ATC:  Have you received the wine yet?

JV:  Not yet!

ATC:  What was the best thing about competing on Top Chef?

JV:  For me it is the amazing friends, the camaraderie.  That's what I take away from it.  It was a lot of fun.  I mean it's a competition, but you are also doing what you love so it's really fun.

ATC:  Tell us about FT33.

JV:  Right now I am the pastry chef.  We have been open for about 5 months.  We were just named the "Best New Restaurant of 2012" in Dallas.

ATC:  What does "FT33" mean?

JV:  It's kind of a restaurant term - "Fire Table 33."  We are an open-kitchen restaurant. Thirty-three is kind of the chef's table.  It is elevated and the diners can see into the kitchen and watch as everything is plated.

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

JV:  The menu changes regularly because we are very seasonal.  Right now we have a peanut butter panna cotta dessert - that one is very popular.  Everyone likes chocolate and peanut butter.

Probably one of the more interesting desserts right now is the Olive Oil Financier with Juniper Ganache and Apple Celery Sorbet and Compressed Celery with Gin.

ATC:  Yum.

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

JV:  Yes, I want to thank everyone for supporting me.  For your messages especially about Georgia.  It was a lot of fun and I appreciate the fans.

ATC;  Thank you Josh.

JV:  Thank you.