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Interview With Top Chef's Carla

Carla: "I Do Not Consider My Loss Casey's Fault"

In an upsetting turn of events, Carla lost her cool during the final challenge of Top Chef. Like many people, I was totally disappointed! It was tough to see the normally cheery chef get teary-eyed during judges' table, but you'll be happy to know that when I spoke with her yesterday, "Hootie" was back to her fabulously spirited self. The passionate chef had a lot to say about her experience, and to find out her thoughts on Casey and the competition,


On her "cooking with love" style: I don't know if I was the first contestant who ever cooked with love. Other chefs may not describe it the way the way that I describe it, but it's just the way I am. I'm very passionate about what I do. In any discipline — art or music — if you love what you do, you do good work because you care so much about it.

I know Gail definitely got it, and Toby mentioned it in the finale. A chef isn't just about throwing out a dish that's technically sound. When there are people busting their butts to get you a good meal, you have to understand that there is a piece of me in every dish I make. That's what cooking with love is about.

On Bravo's portrayal of her: Well I think I'm weirder than they made me seem! My friends were like, are you sure you want to show people that side of you? Sometimes I'm really quirky, sometimes I'm introspective, sometimes I'm speaking on a soapbox, but I think they pretty much captured the essence of myself. I wasn't a one-dimensional character. I think they did a good job portraying who I really am.

On Casey being her sous chef: When I was there and afterward I really enjoyed working with Casey. I wanted to work with her. I thought we would connect personality-wise. I do not consider my loss Casey's fault. During the competition you give so much. It's emotionally exhausting trying to think of things. Going into the finale after winning was great, but it was the next day. All of a sudden you have help and you have help from someone who has already been through this. I made the mistake of giving too much power away to Casey. I am prepared to take full responsibility. When you are exhausted, you make a different decisions. I hadn't sold myself on the soufflé dish or changed my idea of the tart. Really it wouldn't have worked anyway because I was still in my head creating it. I know the blogs are blowing up, saying "Casey did her in," but no she did not. I haven't spoken to her and I would love to give her a call. I would love to get her number. If I could get on a loud speaker and say "please do not blame Casey." I just hope she's not getting beat up for that.

On Stefan comforting her at the final judge's table: I think it was really sweet. We had been standing in front of the judges for hours, so it wasn't until the end that I started to break down. After three hours of being badgered, you could tell that I was trying to hold it in and my voice started to quiver. I was really touched because you are so into what you're doing, Stefan and Hosea didn't realize I was falling apart during the service.

They didn't know what happened until judges' table. I really like Stefan. I know he's portrayed as a villain, but he's not a villain. He does not want to win by screwing someone up, he wants to win by doing a good job. I applaud his technique. He was awesome with the alligator! I like the guy.

On Hosea's win: I think he made the best meal. I am so happy for him. He's a really good guy and I am very happy for him. Everyone worked really hard. Should it be cumulative? I'm going to say no because if it was, Hosea would not have been there to win. It's like real life. You get to mess up and if you are still there you get to have a fresh start and you can win the next day. I think that's a really good message in life.

On what's next: I will continue to cater. I don't know what's coming down the pipes. I don't know what will happen. In my own little world, I will continue to cater. I really want to start a sweet and savory petite cooking line and have a chef's table where people can taste my food. I'm teaching a couple of classes in DC. I would love to do more TV. I look at myself and am amazed that I'm able to be myself in front of the camera. My personality seems to have radiated with people. The biggest joy I can get is to inspire people by being myself, so yes I would love to do more television.


Join The Conversation
Trappy Trappy 8 years
I thought Carla came a long way from the begining of the show! I know if she did'nt listen to Casey' she probably would have won. I happened to run into Carla yesterday in New York City and stopped her to tell her I thought she should have won. She was very gracious and humble just as I knew she would be! Good Luck Girl!
caramelqtee75 caramelqtee75 8 years
Luv Carla!!
GirlPaint GirlPaint 8 years
Classy dame, that Carla. I'm still bummed that Hosea won.
Emi263 Emi263 8 years
carlas was the bestttt
sprock sprock 8 years
Carla was a fantastic competitor on top chef, a real class act to watch. I was upset that she did not win, however I am glad I was able to watch her the whole season through.
sunlandseagirl sunlandseagirl 8 years
I love Carla! It was really refreshing to see someone so positive about life. She was passionate, considerate,funny and goofy and yet we always knew she took the job at hand seriously and put her all into it. Bravo I wish her nothing but the best :)
plus_2_kid plus_2_kid 8 years
I started off rooting for her simply because she drove my husband crazy (He called her "Mars Attacks!" which is pretty damn funny) but the further she got the more I liked her, and I definitely agree that she had the momentum towards the end. The minute I heard her say "Well I've never Sous vied before" during the finale I knew it was over but it killed me anyway. Way to hold your head high Carla!!! And I had forgotten about the car she won (AND Super Bowl tickets earlier, right?) so I don't feel quite so bad anymore.
mstrauss mstrauss 8 years
I love Carla and I thought she was amazing throughout the competition. She made incredible food and she did it with love. It is hard when all of the top 3 were so great the whole time to say that one deserved it more than the rest, but I did want Carla to win. It is so sad that she listened to Casey, who didn't win her season, and that was her downfall. Would you change your menu and listen to someone who didn't win?
levimom levimom 8 years
I wanted Carla to win so much and was heartbroken to see she didn't do as well as she planned. Carla you are still a winner in every way. Keep cooking with love -- it's the best way.
soul-bypass soul-bypass 8 years
lilxmissxmolly lilxmissxmolly 8 years
she was my favorite. it's really too bad that her last meal went in the direction it did...i feel like maybe if her souffle had worked, the whole thing would've gone down differently.
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 8 years
She seems adorable and amazingly NICE. I hope good things happen for her.
kefoster kefoster 8 years
Thank you for the interview. Carla you rocked the last half of the season with your food! I am sorry the final went the way it did. You were wonderful on the show and I really love your attitude and spirit!! Keep it up!
zacatecanita zacatecanita 8 years
I was rooting for her! She seems like such a sweet person.
partysugar partysugar 8 years
I think she is an amazing role model. It was a pleasure to chat with her.
sandy82 sandy82 8 years
This interview totally made me like her more. She is so personable and sweet. Whatever she thinks of Casey, she's taken the high road by not blaming her. I had no idea they were standing infront of the judges for 3 hrs. That's insane.
Chaoticfury Chaoticfury 8 years
I would love to see Carla on television. She's fantastic.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
I loved Carla, by far my fav!
wren1 wren1 8 years
Carla rocks. She was my favorite and I wished she would have won. Too bad Casey had bitchy things to say about her :irk:
mswender mswender 8 years
I love Carla! I would join her fan club! She is such an amazing person, I am going to look into going to DC to take a class from her!
cddlykoala cddlykoala 8 years
What a fantastic lady! She couldn't have given a better impression of herself in this interview.
doogirl doogirl 8 years
Carla is an amazing person! She just seems like a girl that knows who she is. I admire that!!! I'd love to see more of her on TV!
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
well i love her perspective on things, and this interview really does carry over from what i thought of her from the show. it's nice to hear about how she feels she did and how people responded to her throughout the show and i hope that it's not the last that we'll hear of her.
Y3KPhenom Y3KPhenom 8 years
I was so heartbroken to see Carla falter in her last challenge like that, especially after doing so well. Still, she did win a car and several hearts while showing a new way to "compete with love". It's good to see such a gracious, kind, thoughtful, and intellegent person on TV once in while. I'm glad she took the high road on this instead of the low road that someone else took.
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