On Top Chef, Jeff seemed like a pretty strong competitor. However, I wasn't surprised to watch Padma ask the blond to pack his knives and go. I spoke with Jeff yesterday, and he's still incredibly disappointed by his dismissal from the show. He spoke candidly about his relationship with Fabio and openly expressed his opinion of Toby Young. To find out what the chef, who's currently working at the Ritz Carlton in South Beach, had to say,
On his elimination: Everyone is a little upset when they get kicked off. Watching it was just a reminder. It's definitely something I will remember for awhile.
I wouldn't change my cooking style, but I was pretty let down. I thought I would have at least made it to the finale. It was really hard. You're cooking, you're stressed out. You're away from home not using your own toothbrush. You're always on your feet. You're out of your element, then before you know it, you got kicked off before you were ready to go.
On Fabio's dish: I thought Fabio was going to go. I was surprised. The judges kept saying to him: You overcooked this. You over dressed that. Scott said something about cheddar cheese not working with the dish. There were four main points that they didn't like about Fabio's dish. They didn't really even critique my dish. They never said, "oh it had too much salt, or tasted to sweet." They said, "you gave me a watered down version of ceviche." I didn't even use water in the dish, so I didn't know how to take the response. I guess I thought I was going to scoot behind that one. There was a little feeling in the back of my throat that I might go home, but it was small.
On competing against the All-Stars from previous seasons: It was different. Nothing is too surprising on the show. They could tell you to run off into the forest and hunt a unicorn and cook it on a grill. And we would do it. It was good to work with them. It was fun to meet the people from the old show.
On the judges: I liked Toby Young. I thought he was very intelligent. I did some research on him after the show. He's a very smart guy. He pulled out the drama and had big character. He had some important, witty things to say. He's definitely quick. There was plenty of people who didn't like him. They were scared of him. He made a lot of harsh comments that those chefs will carry around for awhile. Tom and Gail give critiques: too much salt, did you taste this/not taste this? Toby is good TV. The things he said are funny — unless you are on the other end of it. Padma is very intelligent. She has a great palate. She serves her purpose. She always liked my food: the spices and different elements I brought to the table, the fact that I cook globally, that I do a lot of different cuisines.
On Fabio: Fabio is a good friend of mine. I just saw him recently. He's a good guy. He's hilarious. He just finished a book and so did I. He's been helping me with that, to get it to a publisher. He was a great roommate. Did you know he cuts his own hair?
On who should win: I think everyone has the potential to win. Hosea and I became good friends. Hosea is the underdog. He's lost his focus and I am pulling for him. I hope he gets his head back in the game. No one can be underestimated. Everyone is definitely talented.
On his future: I just bought a house. I'm cooking at the Ritz Carlton. Hopefully the book will do well. It's called The Natural Course. It comes out this June. It's about cooking with organics. Taking what the earth gives you to make food. There is a lot on savory sorbets. I plan on staying here and cooking. I'm not going to try and open my own restaurant right now. It's not the day. Today isn't the day. Miami just had a lot of new restaurants open. The economy isn't good. Maybe 4 to 5 years down the line. I definitely want to do TV again. I'm happy right now, but if something comes along, who knows?