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Interview with Top Chef's Ryan Scott

Is Ryan Scott Ready for Some Football?


Some of you are lamenting the fact that San Francisco's Ryan Scott had to leave the competition already, while others are glad to see him gone. I was actually bummed to see him leave already, I think he's a really fun guy, and besides, it was tough to see another San Franciscan say farewell. Yet, no matter what you think of the guy, he's quite charming and is a lot of fun. We had a chance to speak with him yesterday afternoon. He chatted about football, future plans and putting himself up for auction. To find out what he had to say, read more.

YumSugar: Hi Ryan, thanks for talking to us again.
Ryan Scott:
Of course, this the sixth interview I've done, it's good to end with someone from San Francisco.

YS: Okay, so tell us, what was it like seeing yourself on TV?
RS:
It's been interesting. The response has been overwhelming and great. I can't, I'm not... what's it been like? Kinda funny really. It's been a pleasure. The editing was as good as it could get, it wasn't bad and the response has been great.

YS: So do you want to do more TV?
RS:
In a heartbeat.

YS: What would it be about?
RS:
Tailgating. Totally based on tailgating and chicken piccata. [Laughs] No, it'd be a simple show based around helping people. Just quick, fast, easy, simple healthy meals. I'd have friends come over, I'd want to have an SF based show since we don't really have one. It's my turn to do one, and it would be great to bring in chefs like Gary Danko and find out what they eat on their day off. I think it would be great.

Whatever it is, it won't be reality based. We've pitched around a few ideas. I just want something that's a good experience. We've got a UK based company that's interested. So we'll see.

YS: Alright, let's talk about last night's episode. Really? Poached pears at a tailgate party?
RS:
Do I look like a guy that goes to a freaking football game? It's just not me. I wanted to give the whole experience, with an entree and dessert. And the weird part is Padma liked the pear, she thought I should have served it in a dixie cup. So I brought some California flair to a tailgate and they didn't like it.

YS: You should have put it on a stick.
RS:
Padma said that too.

YS: So what was going through your mind during judge's panel?
RS:
I was blown away. The people [at the tailgate] were so responsive, maybe it was the schmoozing factor. At least I didn't ask fans what Spike did, when the Bears last won the Super Bowl, thank god. You know, I don't even know who was at last year's Super Bowl.

But at judge's panel, I just couldn't believe it. I really felt any of us three could have gone home. I think they knocked Mark too much. They knocked him and his chowder. Top Chef is about your own interpretation. I did mine of a tailgate and he did his. I went home, so what are you gonna do?

YS: Did you cry?
RS:
[Laughs] No, but you know, you're wound up and then suddenly they ask if I missed my family or my then girlfriend. And then you think oh god you're going to get a tear out of me. It's really an emotional roller coaster. And you get close to people. How can you not? It's only five weeks, but you're cooking nonstop.

YS: So who are you rooting for?
RS:
I'm rooting for a couple of people. I'm a fan of Rich and think he has a good chance, and I'm a huge fan of Steph and Antonia. I ate at her place in LA. But I think Steph is just really hitting the mark. Her flavor profile is really what people want right now.

YS: Going back to judge's panel for a minute, what were you thinking during it all?
RS:
Well here's the play-by-play. I'm looking at Paul Kahan, who I respect. I'm looking at Tom and I'm listening to what they're saying, and they're going to town and they're brutal. And really all I'm thinking is that I'm really going home because of tailgate. And then I thought of all my friends who watch sports and they're going to rip me apart. I've been invited to more football games this morning then I have in my entire life.


YS: At the end of the episode you said the experience wasn't going to change you, but it would change the way you cook. What did you mean?
RS:
Well it broadened my horizon to new techniques. I mean you put a bell pepper in front of 16 people and everyone's going to do something different. What I got from this is how to look at things differently. I mean I cook stupid simple, and it opened my eyes to new techniques.

YS: So now that you're not at Myth, do you have much free time?
RS:
I really thought I would, but I've been busier than I have ever been. I've been able to get my business license together, and I'm working actively with my business partners. We've been together 18 months and we put two offers yesterday on two different restaurants. It just doesn't happen that easily. Any restauranteur knows you can't just do that. We want longevity. I want the next move to be a really good move and we'll hold out until we can be the next Nopa or Zuni Cafe. I want to be open forever, the kind of restaurant where you can come back to all the time.

YS: Sounds good, we can't wait to hear more about this. But now we have just one last question, have you been reading the blogs?
RS:
No. Why what do you want to know? Is there something one of them says?

YS: Oh nothing in particular, we were just wondering if you've been reading what people have to say about you.
RS:
No, Sam recommended that I don't read them, so I haven't been. Why is there something negative I should know about?

YS: Oh no, just some people hate you and are glad to see you leave, and others thought you were kicked out too early. I was just wondering how you felt about it.
RS:
Well people need to understand that we're people and we have lives and you can come on down and see me at my restaurant. And there's always going to be positive and negative. I guess that just comes down to their opinion. I mean I can't even go to Whole Foods without people taking photos. It's such an honor and it's so cool. I'll just say that San Francisco really seems to be into the show. The fact that I can't go anywhere without people blogging about it. For example, I was at Safeway buying instant coffee for a tiramisu — I don't have an espresso machine at home — and this woman stopped me and asked me what the challenge was. It's been great. You just have to take the positive and the negative.

Also note that Ryan is going to be part of an upcoming Bachelor Auction for Charity. He said he did it last year and agreed to do it again this year. He says if his celebrity can help raise more money for a charity he believes in, then it's all been worth it.

Photos courtesy of Bravo

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