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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,


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.
Alright, let's go.

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

YS: Was it what you expected?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
[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?
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?
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

tundrababe tundrababe 9 years
I loved him, he was a riot! I wish he'd had gone all the way. The show is getting duller without him.
misslauren misslauren 9 years
He stressed me out. A little too hyper for my tastes...
fashion4ward fashion4ward 9 years
He was my favorite... Loved that "culinary boner" line!
eyelet eyelet 9 years
Aw, I love Richard Blais. I think his sound-bytes are entertaining, not to mention the ridiculous hair and the pink crocs. Plus, he's a brilliant chef.
maddielove maddielove 9 years
I was actually kind of sad to see him left the show. Lisa made herself looked really bad at the judging table.
eshellmoyer eshellmoyer 9 years
Now that he and Mark are gone, there is very little reason to watch the show. If Spike goes, forget about it. I guess Richard is cool, but his soundbytes are boring. I don't want to watch a bunch of whiners whine while sort-of kind-of cooking okay food.
MuggleCrazed MuggleCrazed 9 years
I liked Andrew, but I have to say my favorite this year so far has been Antonia. Other than that though, no one has really stood out yet to me.
laurelm laurelm 9 years
I liked Andrew and I did not think he would go all the way, but I thought he would be in final four, so I am disappointed. I want to try that sushi roll he made.
xtigressx xtigressx 9 years
As the season went on, I really warmed up to Andrew. His enthusiasm made the show more enjoyable and I would have liked to see him continue further with the competition. I, too, have thrown around the "culinary boner" phrase, as I did with Project Runway's "hot tranny mess!" Good luck Andrew!
foxie foxie 9 years
He's right, this season IS Suckfest 08 now. NO ONE else is entertaining or cool to watch or interesting. The rest of the chefs are either insanely boring or super annoying.
Chaoticfury Chaoticfury 9 years
Andrew was definitely a joy to watch. This was a great interview and I hope he has great success in the future.
ayanaphil ayanaphil 9 years
I love him!
Rabbit88 Rabbit88 9 years
best interview yet! he was great. the show will definitely be not as interesting now.
doogirl doogirl 9 years
I was upset to see Andrew go home. He wasn't my favorite, but he was always entertaining to watch! Lisa and Dale both definitely have to go, they are downer people! I'm impressed with Andrew and how upbeat and positive he sounded in this interview.
shmuffin123 shmuffin123 9 years
"Culinary Boner" is my new favorite phrase! I liked Andrew, and he went home far too soon, I think his background story is inspiring and well if they keep Lisa on much longer they are going to meet their "bleep" quota...seriously can she say one sentence without dropping the F-bomb?
ameliajc ameliajc 9 years
Totally agree with him on the erratic judging. I wouldn't say he should have won, but I think Andrew was cut far too soon
Stacey-Cakes Stacey-Cakes 9 years
He seems like a lot of fun...i'm kinda sad that he's gone and Lisa's still there (she's so negative and grumpy)
nancita nancita 9 years
He seemed like kind of a spaz on the show, but this interview makes him sound very funny and fun to hang out with.
anniekim anniekim 9 years
I think it was his time to go, but I 'll miss his entertaining presence.
shoneyjoe shoneyjoe 9 years
Andrew was always a lot of fun to watch, and I thought he showed a lot of talent. Very sorry he's gone.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I liked him a lot.
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