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Interview with Top Chef Contestant Dale Talde

Come Holler at Top Chef's Dale Talde

A lot of you were disappointed with the outcome of last night's Top Chef. While you were thrilled to see restaurant wars return, you weren't all ready to say goodbye to Dale Talde. The frustrating interaction between Lisa and him may have ended on the screen, but that doesn't mean Dale likes the gal. I spoke with Dale yesterday and there's no love lost between them, there just was never any to begin with. To read what he had to say about his time on Top Chef, and what he's working on next, just


YumSugar: How'd you get involved with Top Chef?
Dale Talde:
An ex-girlfriend had been pleading for me to go, and my entire linestaff at Mormimoto pleaded for me to try out. And then one day, going to work I realized that the auditions were across the street. They were actually done with the open casting, and were packing up when I walked in unprepared without a resume. I just sat down and talked to them, and they ended up casting me.

YS: Was it what you expected?
Hell no! I mean, it was a great experience and wonderful, but what are you expecting with 16 people in one house? You're busting your hump everyday, working, and then drinking like a fish. It was hardcore. It's something I'll remember forever. It was an awesome experience.

YS: What was it like seeing yourself on TV?
It was surreal, and embarrassing at times. It's embarrassing seeing yourself out of shape. [laughs] You think maybe I should have worked out a little more. But I represented. You say dumb things once in a while, and I said them with a couple cocktails and beers in me, but that's life. I've done more embarrassing things.

YS: Okay, let's just get down to it. On the show you really don't seem to like Lisa. Is that all editing or...?
No, it was not editing. I do not get along with people who are that negative. I don't surround myself with negative people. My friends love to have a good time, and can get through hard times without having to vocalize. No, I don't like her. I don't like her as a person. Professionally I work with a lot of people I don't like, and I'm sure there are a lot of people who hate me and you just get through it. But it wasn't work, it was a competition. I really don't like Lisa. Personally she's someone I'd never hang out with. Is she a bad person? No, but she's negative.

YS: So do you think it would have been completely different had you won the quickfire challenge?
Are you kidding me? Of course it would have been. It would've been like Pippen, Lebron, and Rodman. It would've been me, Stephanie, and Richard, that would've been the squad. [Pauses] Like I've told people, you could have put Thomas Keller or Charlie Trotter on that team and they would have gone down. It was like a JV squad, there was no way, we had no chance of winning. I should have played the game better. I should have let Lisa be the executive chef. You live and learn.

YS: What was going through your mind when Antonia picked her team.
I was... [pause] I want to swear, but they're censoring me. I was screwed. I was done. I mean come on, you know the talent level at that point. There were three people who have been executive chefs on one team, and then us.

YS: Other than letting Lisa be executive chef, is there anything you'd have done differently?
Nah, I might have drank a little less, and got my gut down. I started getting a little fat. Listen, the experience is once in a lifetime. I mean that scallop dish was a failure, it wasn't good. I mean otherwise. Well wedding wars, maybe I'd have taken on less. I would've done less, executed things differently and better. But the experience was great. I'm not one to shy away from emotion. The fans can see who and what I am. I am who I am. I don't back down.

YS: So what are you working on now?
I'm still working at Buddakan, and I'm still in pursuit of the perfect dish. There are a lot of opportunities for people who get exposure like this. Actually, I have this restaurant movie in my head. You go out to eat, and things come up. I'm not leaving cooking, I'm a chef, that's the only thing I know how to do. But I'm trying to buckle down and write this screenplay that I've had in my head for the last five to six years. I want to travel and get together an itinerary, and push ideas for a TV show. Keep my face in the media. I think it could be fun.

YS: Quite a few of our readers were upset to hear you got booted off. Do you have any last words to say to them?
Thanks for the support. I've got a lot of people telling me that I shouldn't have gone home, and while that's great, it's just part of life. So thanks for the support, and they can always vote me as a fan favorite and show them that the wrong person was sent home. And you know, come to New York and holler at your boy.

Photos courtesy of Bravo

gelo gelo 9 years
Hi. I'm a food writer based on the Philippines and I wish to contact fellow Filipino Dale Talde for a possible feature. You have any leads? Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys.
Melo-D Melo-D 9 years
Okay so I finally saw the Restaurant Wars episode. (I know. I know. LOL) Dale, I know you were executive chef, but have mercy Lisa jacked up majority of those dishes. And Spike... I'm upset at the fact that he stayed far away from the kitchen. OH and Lisa's comment back at you talking about "You're only as strong as your leader." LOL Spoken from the weakest link. Learn to cook rice and then come holla. LOL Too much to say... I'm about to blog. Lol. Oh this was classic. Dale, you can cater my wedding... in roughly 5 years. LOL.
Melo-D Melo-D 9 years
Dale, I was pulling for you man. I missed the last few episodes. Needless to say I'll be watching the marathon so I can see the madness as to why you were kicked off. ::sigh:: I'll forever think about wedding wars. I am NOT a fan of Spike. Ugh.
caramelqtee75 caramelqtee75 9 years
Lisa can't cook to save her life!! Everything she puts out has something wrong with it. Who can't cook rice?? They never should have let Dale go. the fact that Lisa and Antonia are still there shocks the he!! out of me.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I love you Dale!!
_richL _richL 9 years
Dale... You will be missed :( If it wasn't for Richard being on there still, I would've stopped watching after Dale got booted. My top three was: Dale, Richard, and Stephanie.
smileyface smileyface 9 years
Lelalela I completely agree with you! I'm still hurting over Tre being kicked off when he did! LOL. But yeah, I was really sad to see Dave go and I hate Lisa and Spike. I'm pulling for either Richard or Steph to win it all!
lelalela lelalela 9 years
Dale's leaving is just like when Tre left last season. They were both great chefs, but were kicked off because they took the lead as team leader. I really don't like Lisa and never had. Can't wait til she gets the boot. I agree that spoke is also obnoxious. My bet is that they are the next two to go, and my money is on Stephanie and Antonia for the final 2!
Isista Isista 9 years
I was so pissed when Dale got voted off. Yeah, as an executive chef, it was kind of obvious he would leave. But Lisa has put out tasteless dish after tasteless dish, which is unacceptable. Between that and her poor attitude, I'm surprised that she wasn't kicked off much earlier. I don't like Spike either though. I could not believe what he said to the judges a couple episodes ago, during the boxed lunch episode, when he asked the judges "what they didn't understand about salty and sweet" when they questioned his olive-grape combination. You should not be able to get away with that kind of lip to the judges.
tinastrong tinastrong 9 years
Dale, darlin'. Can't believe it, but just spent 10 minutes (I live in the boonies and have dial up)expending my Fan Favorite votes on you. If you win, it will be a marginal redemption for what transpired on last week's episode. Tony Bourdain disappointed me. He lacked the, um, testicular fortitude to slay Medusa. Who deserved it. Her dishes surely tasted worse than they looked. And they(and she) looked revolting. Mercy! She can't even cook rice properly. And the single challenge whe won? Her bacon dish was almost identical to a college years hors d'oeuvre we made back (in the mists of time) called pig candy. Bacon broiled with a brown sugar/soy glaze. And what this means is that Lisa or slimy Spike will make it into the final four, instead of you. That is obscene. Encouraging all of you who know Dale deserved to make the finals to take a few minutes to vote vote him fan favorite.
sfbutterfly24 sfbutterfly24 9 years
I loved Dale because he was him on the show and because it is a competition. I think people forget that they are trying to win a prize not friends. It is between him and Jen for fan favorite but I am still on the fence.
shoneyjoe shoneyjoe 9 years
I'll just add to the chorus of folks who wish that he were still on the show and Lisa were gone. I am, and remain, a big fan. But I will say this - if Thomas Keller or Charlie Trotter were on that team instead of Dale, you'd better believe that Spike and Lisa would have been more willing to defer to their expertise. The problem is that Dale didn't have their attention, so it became that much easier for Lisa and Spike to go in their own directions, and Dale's previous confrontations with those two had gotten in the way. I'm not saying he didn't have a hard time on the "JV" team, but I don't think Keller or Trotter would have lost had they been in his shoes.
anniekim anniekim 9 years
I am disappointed that dale is gone. He definitely should have been in the top 4 --along with Richard, Stephanie and Antonia. He put it perfectly when he spoke about playing the game. If he'd been smart enough to let Lisa act as Exec Chef he'd still be competing. Lisa needs to go--then Spike.
LaLa0428 LaLa0428 9 years
When is Lisa leaving? I cannot stand her either. I liked Dale, I thought his outbursts were funny. Dale seemed talented, I wish he had gone further in the contest.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
at least he's got his position on it all. i kind of felt that if dale had shown us that he can cook more than just one style of food, he could have gone farther. that was the challenge i think. we're used to seeing well rounded chefs..and that's kind of what keeps us interesting. like with marcel froma few seasons ago - it was way too much foam and nonsense that i lost interest. even elan started to do the same type of food - always spanish tapas style...
WineUnleashed WineUnleashed 9 years
Bases on talent and personality.... Dale should have stayed and Lisa should have packed her knives. Boy, does that girls need some therapy and self-awareness. She is painful to watch sometimes.
Happsmjc Happsmjc 9 years
I agree syako and courtney! after she made it through this week I was convinced the producers were insisting she stay because what else could their reasoning be?!?! she has never taken responsibility for anything---i hope she watches the show and is disgusted with her actions!!
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
Hahaha! He cracks me up. Go Dale! :cheer: Eff Lisa.
MindayH MindayH 9 years
I agree, I wish Dale stayed. Not a fan of Lisa. Or Spike's for that matter.
ann418 ann418 9 years
While Dale wasn't my favorite person, Lisa definitely caused more drama and bad dishes than him. If she doesn't go next week I'm boycotting.
Courtney82 Courtney82 9 years
arg i don't like watching the show with Lisa. I hope they are going on the whole apprentice philosophy to keep the bad seed on the show for a while to keep up the confrontation. she should have been sent home for the polish sausage mistake last time (humm funny she would talk about not following a challenge). dale should have stayed and lisa should have gone, dumb logic on him leaving the show but well i am sure he will do fine. the other team was much better. not sure who i want to be the top chef still up in the air but if Lisa makes it to the finals i will be shocked
syako syako 9 years
I don't like Lisa either. Clearly she comes from one of those families where the child is always right. I've never once heard her take responsibility for any of her problems. It's always point the blame to someone/something else.
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