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Interview with Top Chef Contestant Andrew D'Ambrosi

Waking Up With Top Chef's Andrew D'Ambrosi


Yesterday morning, I got up pretty early to chat with outgoing Top Chef contestant Andrew D'Ambrosi. Just like the last time I chatted with him, he was delightful, fun, and full of energy. I wasn't fully awake yet, but talking to Andrew was like getting a shot of adrenaline. I went from nearly asleep to wide awake as I tried to keep up with everything he was saying.

I know a lot of your were rooting for him — he's got words for those of you who were! — and those that weren't, you have to admit he was enjoyable to watch right? To find out what we chatted about, read more.

YumSugar: Hey thanks for talking to us this morning.
Andrew D'Ambrosi:
Yeah, I've finally got a coffee in my hand and am ready to start answering some questions.

YS: Oh good, I'm on the West Coast so it's pretty early. I'll try to keep up.
AD:
Alright, let's go.

YS: So how was the whole Top Chef experience for you?
AD:
It was one of the weirdest, strangest, coolest experiences of my life.

YS: Was it what you expected?
AD:
I couldn't have ever imagined all the production that goes on behind the scenes. There's a lot of stuff that you don't get to see on TV.

YS: Were you happy with how you were portrayed?
AD:
I was portrayed as me. So well, sure. The editing, they did a great job cutting out weird one liners. But the one thing I had a problem with is that anytime I was in the top three and anyone complimented me, they showed me making a funny face instead of saying something intelligent. I definitely said things up there, but they showed a funny face instead. I guess that goes with the culinary boner quotes.

YS: Are you okay with being the "culinary boner" guy in our pop culture world?
AD:
It's bigger than life. Ha ha get it? [laughs] I don't know, I thought it was something that I said that was really fun, but then in my mind, I say some really funny sh*t. When they aired it at the end of that one episode, it definitely caught me off guard then.

YS: In one of last night's exit clips, you said you were never going to talk to any of the other contestants again. Did you mean that?
AD:
No, no. I still talk to these contestants, but I work a lot and I don't even talk to my family much. I have nothing against these people they're really talented chefs. This is just an experience we've all had together. I mean, when we're 60 I'll call up Blaise and say [goes in to an old man voice], "remember when we were on that show together?" [laughs]

YS: So despite your heated time at judge's panel, I thought you bowed out pretty gracefully. What was going through your mind during all of that?
AD:
I was really drunk [laughs], no don't put that. Okay you can put that. No, what was going on through my head. I was feeling, well I'm one of the most enjoyable people on the show, now it's going to be called SuckFest 2008. [laughs] I displayed my enthusiasm, and I was not angry at the decision. I was upset that I was leaving and at the situation, but I wasn't angry.

YS: Did you think you were going to be sent home?
AD:
The judging is kind of erratic. It's not like I can say this person didn't follow the rules and they're going home, because this person did. A few episodes before, if I recall correctly, someone didn't use polish sausage and used fish instead. And that seemed like a rule and yet no one got thrown off. It was really hypocritical and totally erratic.


YS: Well speaking of that someone, do you think it was hypocritical that she called you out for not following the rules?
AD:
I feel she didn't need to go there at all. One, I forgot the rules, and two, it apparently didn't taste good, because they don't eat raw foods. [pause] Oh sh*t, what was the question? [I repeat the question.] Oh no, it wasn't necessary, and kind of apparent, so she didn't need to bring it up. It actually just makes her look bad.

YS: What was it like to watch yourself on TV?
AD:
Hold on a sec, I have to change my shirt. Okay, it was interesting. Hey there I am. I didn't think it was too weird, I kept trying to see what was my good side, and if the camera really added 10 pounds.

YS: Did it add 10 pounds?
AD:
No, I think I look pretty manly, but as long as Sam Talbot keeps wearing those shoulder pads, I have no choice. [laughs]

YS: So what are you taking away from this experience?
AD:
[Faux sales voice] I'm going to start selling my T-shirts online. [laughs] Just kidding. Now I have a face with a name. People who saw the show or who know Top Chef, they know I'm whatever. I'm young in my career, but I think they saw my passion, enthusiasm, and energy.

YS: So what's next for you?
AD:
I think I said the same thing last time. I'm just going to continue to focus and continue to develop my craft and be the best I can be.

YS: Sounds great, one last question. A lot of our readers have been rooting for you. Do you have anything to say to them?
AD:
Wow, thank you so much for enjoying me. And um, god I don't know. I'm super appreciative of anyone who saw the show. And if I got someone to think I was a douchebag, I'm appreciative of that too.

Photos courtesy of Bravo

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