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Monday, December 14, 2009

"Top Chef" Winner Michael: "I’ve pretty much been a screwup my whole life.”

So I wouldn’t comment on Bryan’s assertion that his brother Michael, this year’s “Top Chef” winner, was my favorite cheftestant. But when I had the chance to talk to Michael I couldn’t resist…

I told him that I might have lost my voice a little screaming for him (which wasn’t completely true). When he responded, “I really appreciate that.” I told him that for the first time in “Top Chef” history, my favorite chef had won so I was pretty excited. To which he responded, “Aw. I really appreciate that. Thanks.”

Look out, Blais. You’ve got competition, buddy…

My question for Michael is whether or not he knew that Padma was going to say his name as the winner. His response was very interesting…

“I was really confused. Padma messed up our names a lot during the season. I really thought Bryan won. I would’ve bet my money from the M Resort. I was overwhelmed and honestly shocked…Padma looked at me and said my name at the same time.”

Here’s a sample of what else Michael had to say. It looks like if “Chef” didn’t accomplish anything else this season, it brought two brothers back together…

On whose idea it was for the brothers to compete together this year: “It was more my idea.” Season two’s Marcel was Michael’s sous chef and season three winner Hung was also a cook with him. “The three of us were hanging out and they were like, ‘why don’t you go do it?’”

On his future: “I need to have a job. I’m not independently wealthy yet. Bryan and I are working on some things together. Maybe a book together.”

On his comment that Kevin’s food is what he cooked on his day off: “We only can judge each other by the way it looks so naturally I think I work more than he does [because of the complexity of his dishes]. But Kevin’s food is some of the tastiest I’ve ever had.”

On the experience: “When I showed up I thought it was just going to be easy. You can point out from the very beginning who’s going to win.” Michael said he realized very quickly that it was going to be different this season. “I realized I’m gonna have to do something to sort of stand out from the pack.”

On his mother being there for the first course: “I think I was more worried about her at that point. I was hoping that she didn’t jump across the table at someone that said something she didn’t like.”

On his tattoos: “I have a knife and fork on my hand to remind myself that people are about to eat this. Naturally I had to get a spoon too [on his arm].”

On whether he’ll get a “Top Chef” tattoo: “I’m not really that guy.” He added, “I’m probably going to get a tattoo of a poker chip.”

On whether the $125,000 is enough to turn “culinary dreams into reality”: “It’s not enough but it’s enough to give you some time.” Michael said it takes about a million to open a restaurant. Bryan spent $1.25 million opening his restaurant, VOLT.

On where he’ll go next: “For now I’m content where I’m at. I could see Bryan and I collaborating on a project together. LA would be where I’d want to do it.”

On his relationship with his brother: “It’s brought us closer. We’re on the phone with each other every day now. We spent 24 hours a day together for a month. We were either going to kill each other or get to know each other better.”

On his mother being there for the end: “It was awesome to let her be proud of us for something…I was bad as a kid. It was really really cool to see her be proud of us. I’ve pretty much been a screwup my whole life.”

You can see more of Michael’s comments on the “Top Chef: Las Vegas Reunion” Wednesday December 16th at 9 p.m. on Bravo…

Photo Credit: Virginia Sherwood/Bravo