Many of you were bummed to see Eugene go, and while I liked him as well, I knew he wouldn't be the next Top Chef.
His creativity couldn't cut it with the judges, but Eugene, who I spoke to yesterday on the phone with fellow booted contestant, Melissa, was optimistic about the experience.
Eugene is a unique guy: He worked his way up from dishwasher to executive chef with no classic culinary training, making him a role model for young chefs everywhere. To see what the inspiring chef had to say about the judges and daikon radishes,
On the tomato, basil, and daikon combination: Well, first off, about the dish, I have to tell you: I agree with the judges as far as the fish went. It was overcooked. As for the daikon, a lot of people haven't been exposed to eating the daikon warm. Many Asian cuisines use it in soups and stews — I've eaten it warm. I just don't think they were used to eating it warm because the majority of the public has been exposed to only cold daikon. It's an acquired taste to eat it warm. Actually if you really work with it, there is no taste to it. I rinsed it well to get rid of the smell. Then you add seasoning to it to give it flavor.
On Toby Young: He adds another dimension to the show. People like to see controversy between the chefs and now it will be good to see controversy between the judges. As chefs we have to take criticism, but this time it was really different. He's very critical. Very, very critical. I was surprised he wanted me to stick around! So I guess he is all right.
On watching his peers critique his dish: For me it was kind of nerve-racking. I thought the other chefs were going to talk down and use it to their ability. It's a competition after all. I didn't know if they were going to be honest. Who knows if they were.
On thinking the competition is rigged: Well you know things were different in the beginning of the season. After watching someone spit out your food you know you got to go. It is what it is. We got voted off by the judges. But all I'm saying is if someone spits out your food, you should be sent home. No use in crying over spilled milk.
On Bravo's portrayal of his personality: I have no complaints. As long as they didn't make me look like an asshole, I'm fine. Everyone knew going into it, it was a cooking competition as well as a television show. I am fine with how they portrayed me because someone else took the asshole role.
On what's next: Well I've consulted and developed a menu concept for this restaurant here in Vegas. If things go well, I should be running a kitchen in March at a high-end resort here. I will be the executive chef at a tapas-style restaurant, I can't reveal anything else, but things look good.