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Interview With Manuel From Bravo's Top Chef 4

Posted on 04/04/2008 by RealityWanted in Top Chef and Cast Interviews

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Q. Mark, RealityWanted.com: What got you started cooking?

A. Manuel, Top Chef 4: I grew up in a Mexican American household and food was very important. My mother is a phenomenal cook but stuck with the same 8 – 10 basic dishes. One day I asked her to try and make something new so she said, “Ok smart ass cook it yourself”, so I started cooking at age seven.

Q. Mark, RealityWanted.com: Were you someone who knew about Top Chef and wanted to be on the show or were you approached by someone in casting?

A. Manuel, Top Chef 4: I was actually courted for season one but it didn’t pan out. I watched all of season one, part of season two and a bit of season three. I love watching Top Chef, it’s a great show and very exciting. When season four started casting my assistant convinced me to apply and here I am.

Q. Mark, RealityWanted.com: I was going to save this for one of my last questions but what are your thoughts regarding your elimination, it didn’t seem right.

A. Manuel, Top Chef 4:  It definitely wasn’t time for me to go and I am still scratching my head trying figure out what happened. I wasn’t criticized on my food or flavor, it just seemed very nit picky when the panel came to their decision on booting me.
During past seasons the guy with the bad idea usually goes home, which in this case would have been Spike. When Spike and I were standing in front of the judges table I think they were just looking at us to point fingers at one another and we wouldn’t.

Q. Mark, RealityWanted.com: It’s not like I would have wanted to see Spike go home but you have wonder if it was his crazy style or
personality that kept him on the show vs. you.

A. Manuel, Top Chef 4:  I thought the same thing as well, maybe I wasn’t as interesting as Spike since he was more
the quirky good looking guy.

Q. Mark, RealityWanted.com: I rarely cook and when I watch the show I wondered just how stressful those quick fire challenges are. Are they as stressful as they look or is it played up a bit for the sake of the show?

A. Manuel, Top Chef 4: It is just as you see it and it is stressful every single time we did one. When you’re cooking at work you have
your knives, salt, pepper, cutting board and so on ready to use. When we were on Top Chef we had to run and grab all the supplies we needed and if someone beat you to an item that was in limited supply you didn’t get to use it. You may have seen me using a mixer on the floor on a prior episode since no outlets worked on the walls and I had to use the one near the floor. It got chaotic at

Q. Mark, RealityWanted.com: What was your hardest quick fire challenge?

A. Manuel, Top Chef 4: I think the quick fire challenge you saw on last nights show was the hardest. Our instructions were a bit unclear as to whether it was a challenge to show technique or cooking skills. At the end of the challenge Daniel said I wish you would have all taken 5 minutes to think about what you were going to cook, that was crazy to say since we never even had enough time to complete a quick fire challenge let alone take a five minute break to think it over.

Q. Mark, RealityWanted.com: When you watched the past few episodes I am sure you saw some things you didn’t know happened or heard things you didn’t know were said right?

A. Manuel, Top Chef 4: I did see Liza fall on a tomatillo I had dropped on the floor. I sent her an email after I saw it since I never knew it happened. It was also surprising to see the cockiness and arrogance from the other team during last weeks block party challenge. Lastly, I kind of assumed I was going to be sent home but it was interesting to watch the judges deliberate.

Q. Mark, RealityWanted.com: Do you think the judges were too hard on you and Spike?

A. Manuel, Top Chef 4: I do think they were a bit too hard on us since many of the other dishes didn’t match the movie themes. I don’t think they placed set criteria when they put that challenge together.

Q. Mark, RealityWanted.com: What was the best thing you took home with you after participating in Top Chef?

A. Manuel, Top Chef 4: I came home having 15 new friends with the same passion in life.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us and please keep us informed on your next cooking spot so we can tell fans where they can come try your dishes.

Find additional Top Chef Links on sirlinksalot.net 


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