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Stephen Starr

While this season of Top Chef All Stars had brought us some surprising eliminations (Fabio, Angelo anyone?), the elimination of Dale Talde however seemed to be the most surprising yet as he had performed solidly all season, and won a number of competitions.

In a new interview with TV Guide, the Season 4 alum talks the potato dish that got him eliminated, whether Angelo Sosa was really of help to him, his newer calmer self, plus his opinion on Chicken Oyster-gate.

Excerpts from Dale’s interview below -

Did you think you were getting cut after Judges’ Table?
Dale:
I wasn’t confident about my dish. When you don’t feel good about your dish, you feel like you have a chance to go home. … I should’ve asked the judges to wait [for service]. If I literally had five more minutes, [the potatoes] would’ve been cooked through.

So what happened? You put in a new batch of potatoes?
Dale:
I did. We were going to cook à la minute with them, and they came on us a little faster than we thought. I ended up kind of freaking out and serving. … I never thought [about not serving the potatoes]. It was part of the dish. And the croutons were just too mustard-y. Paula Deen is a mayonnaise girl. If you watch her show, she just puts mayonnaise on everything.

How much did Angelo help? It didn’t seem to be an advantage to get him since he was just eliminated and is coming off back-to-back seasons.
Dale:
He helped me a lot, but I mean, put yourself in his position. Fifty-two straight challenges for that guy. That’s crazy. Crazy! I mean, really, it’s masochistic. It’s like, why put yourself through that again? But he did. Sometimes you have no more gas in tank. … He did [try to talk me up]. He saw me with my head down and he was like, “Dude, you’ve got to get your head up. Keep your head up, man.” He’s a buddy of mine. He’s my merman. He’s helped here at [Buddakan]. He opened the restaurant.

You’ve been open about taking anger-management classes after Season 4. How important was it for you to come back and show everyone you’ve changed?
Dale:
I came back to compete! [Laughs] One, I love to cook, and two, I love competition. I’m one of those failed athletes by genetics. I’m not an athlete because I’m 5-foot-5 and I’m flat-footed and my ankles are terrible. If I could’ve been an athlete, I would’ve tried to, but I love to compete. A lot of it was trying to show people I’m a lot more mature this time around. I didn’t like who I was. I didn’t like seeing myself like that. You really see yourself in a different light when you’re put in front of millions of people. Some people dig it and some are like, “You’re kind of a jerk.” When your mom is embarrassed of your behavior, it says something. I don’t ever want to put my parents in a position where they’re embarrassed to see me. … The [fan reaction] has been unbelievable. [The show] really showed me in a great light and I appreciate that.

What’s your take on Chicken Oyster-gate?
Dale:
You can’t patent food, but you also can’t straight-up tell people that you ripped this dude’s dish off and you won $5,000 and shove it in his face. That sucks. Mike should’ve told [Richard], “You gave me some inspiration.” To be honest, we all [get inspired]. That’s why we go out to eat. That’s our job. I have to. My owner says, “Dale, you have to eat out twice a week and tell me where you’re eating, and it has to be food that’s relevant to New York City.” I have to take inspiration from that.

Dale also adds that he is currently looking for investors regarding two of his concepts — a Thai/seafood restaurant and a Bodega. As of the moment, he just took a position with a company with Stephen Starr, the culinary director of Buddakan.

Moving on to tonight’s all new episode, the five remaining chefs will create food fare on the open water. Later, they will take a journey to Ellis Island to whip up dishes based on their family tree. The new super-sized episode airs on Bravo at 10/9c. A preview clip is below -

TELL – THOUGHTS ON DALE’S INTERVIEW & TONIGHT’S EPISODE OF TOP CHEF?

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