Over the past couple of weeks I grew to love Ariane on Top Chef, so when Padma asked her to "pack her knives and go," I was disappointed. The restaurant owner and mother got off to a rocky start in the first couple of episodes, but she hit her stride and took home several wins. I spoke with Ariane this morning and found out what she thought of the experience and what she's up to now,


On going home: I worked hard and rose to the challenge. Maybe I relied too much on my teammates. I felt like Leah should have went home. I can say that now because I watched the show.

When it came to the lamb, I wanted to do it a certain way. I wanted to grill it. But they wanted to do all this stuff to it and I believed my teammates. It's hard when you are in a challenge. The time, the moment, the pressure, being the third wheel. I had such a good run. It was such a high. I had so many wins.

On Toby Young saying she can't cook: I was a little surprised by that. He's a little angry Englishman. Hearing what Padma said, on the other hand, was really really great. Maybe if Gail had been there it would have been different. Gail's tough, but she's not as verbal as Toby.

On working with Hosea and Leah: It was tough, being the third wheel. When there's three people on a team and two of them are in a relationship it's hard. One would say yes and the other would say yes. I had no say in any matter.

On watching herself: It was really tough to watch the first two episodes. I couldn't sleep. It was more sad than difficult. I wasn't ready to leave, but I have the love and support of my family. I stay true to myself. You really saw who I am. In the beginning it was hard because you get caught up. Your mind plays tricks on you. Time flies during the challenges; it's really like having an out of body experience. I just kept telling my family, "watch what happens!"

On who should win: I'm rooting for Jamie. I'm rooting for Carla. Those are my girls.

On what's next: We're extremely busy. I own a restaurant with my husband and we are looking to expand. It's here in Montclair. Maybe I'll write a cookbook. I have two daughters — one's 11 and the other is 13 — so I'm pretty busy.