Many of them have accomplished a lot before they ever get to 'Top Chef' although they're not well known. The show just provides them with a platform. There's just one winner and on some seasons you can get numerous chefs that are really good. Even if they don't win, they're all talented.
Asian food is very easy to like because it hits your mouth very differently than European food does. In European food, there may be two things to hit - maybe sweet and salty, maybe salty-savory, but Asian kind of works around, plus you have that distinct flavor that's usually working in Asian food.
When I was 26, 27 years old I was running a kitchen in New York, and I was a raving lunatic. The older you get, you figure out you don't need to do that. You realize at a certain point, there's a certain gravity to what you say and what you do. If that's not enough, all the yelling in the world is not going to matter.
A couple of months ago, I was down in Florida for the Food and Wine Festival. And this journalist grabbed me and said, 'How does it feel to be a TV guy? You're no longer in the restaurant business.' And I laughed. I asked him, 'How long do you think it takes me to do a season?' He said, 'Well, 200 days.' And I was like, '200 days? Try 20!'
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We're adults. We're the ones who should teach the kids what's good to eat. I don't think the government should ever regulate what we eat at home, but we're feeding them in school with tax dollars. Quite frankly, if my tax dollars are being spent to feed kids, I'd rather feed them better food.
Im not a fan of grilling meat, since that tends to dry it out, and I find grill marks leave a bitter taste. A good steak house will offer different options for preparation, and I would ask them to broil or pan-roast the steak and finish it with butter. It ends up a dark chocolate color and stays very juicy.
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This is what people don't understand: obesity is a symptom of poverty. It's not a lifestyle choice where people are just eating and not exercising. It's because kids - and this is the problem with school lunch right now - are getting sugar, fat, empty calories - lots of calories - but no nutrition.
It's funny how I use social media because I don't use it to promote my restaurants that much. I use it for social issues and I think that's what it's for. I do a few things - I mess around with music a lot because that's a passion of mine. If something strikes me and I want to share it, I do.
I remember at The Quilted Giraffe, when I was when working there to try out for the sous-chef position. I really wanted it, and the woman working the line next to me kept messing up and making me look bad. The last day of my kitchen trail, I just said to her very quietly, 'Do me a favor and get out of my way, because I want this job.'
Sometimes these challenges naturally select more chefs that can think on their feet very quickly. There are chefs I know who won't put things on the menu unless they've tried it four or five times. So you just naturally select a certain kind of chef, people who maybe don't win a bunch of challenges but they hang around.
You hit a certain age and - especially because of TV - the young cooks coming up say, 'You're a sellout, because you're doing something other than what you should be doing.' 'Top Chef' is a double-edged sword for me: There's a whole group of people who will not come to the restaurants because they assume I'm not in them anymore, all I do is TV.