In the fourth annual “Top Chef: The Tour,” the San Francisco restaurateur beat chef-testant Fabio Viviani 3-1, including a recent cook-off in Justin Herman Plaza.
Have you always had a competitive edge and a knack for cooking? I’ve always had a passion for cooking, ever since I was a little kid, and a desire to be in the kitchen as much as possible. At 9 years old, my Christmas list included a wok, food dehydrator and kitchen utensils. I would say that I’m most competitive with myself in regards to maximizing the diner’s satisfaction with a dish.
What satisfaction do you get from this? As a chef, I feel the most fulfilled when whoever I’m cooking for — whether it be a customer, my mom or my best friend — takes a bite of a dish and goes, “Wow. That is really good.” The more satisfaction and enjoyment I’m able to deliver to the customer, the more satisfaction and enjoyment I ultimately get as a chef. I’ve always strived for this, which has driven me to cook and learn from some of the best chefs in the world.
Tell us how you first became involved in “Top Chef: The Tour.” I’ve been doing the tour since the beginning. The audiences are always crazy fun and it’s always a great time. I love doing the tour because it not only gives me a chance to connect with my fans, but time to catch up with my friends that were all on “Top Chef.”