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Top Chef: Dale L. Calls his Elimination a “Compliment”

December 17, 2010 12:00 PM by Shayla Perry


When Dale L. and Stephen were both eliminated in Wednesday night’s episode of Top Chef: All-Stars on Bravo, they didn’t pull a “Jen Carroll” and angrily defend their losing dishes. In fact, in a recent interview with TVGuide.com, Dale said that his being eliminated in the show’s double elimination episode was actually a compliment to him and his work. Find out why, and see what words of wisdom Dale L. had to impart on the remaining Top Chef: All-Stars cheftestants.

TVGuide.com: What was the thought process behind taking such a risk with your sweet veal dish?
Dale L.:
Townhouse was so over-the-top and whimsical and funny and all those things. I think the rest of our team was really conservative. I went for peanuts and popcorn and I tried to go over-the-top and it didn’t work out. We try to cook in our own style and to be pulled out of that was, I think, my demise. I went in very confident, but a little reticent about what I was trying to accomplish. It was go big or go home, and I got the a– end of that deal.

TVGuide.com: What did you think of the judges’ decision?
Dale L.:
I think they’re doing want they can to be as fair and objective as possible. In seeing the episode, to me, it felt like they flipped a coin. I feel like if it was a single elimination instead of a double, I would have been there. My dish was too sweet. I agree with the judges. I used store-bought chicken stock, and I make everything from scratch, so when I reduced it, it became too bitter. The dish was supposed to be sweet and savory, so I dumped it out to make more stuff edible.

TVGuide.com: You said in your exit video that it was an honor to be eliminated. What did you mean?
Dale L.: When the challenge is to cook in another chef’s style, I take being eliminated as a compliment because I couldn’t. I cook in my style. When you have to switch out and not cook as yourself, the fact that I failed is a compliment because it means I’m so ingrained in what I do, and that’s what you have to do as a chef. It means my career is on the right track.

TVGuide.com: How would you compare your experience on All-Stars to your first go-around?
Dale L.: My first season was a blast. I had so much fun and made amazing friends. Sara Nguyen from Season 3 is my roommate, my sous chef and an amazing cook. So if it was not for Season 3, I would not have my best friend. On All-Stars, we all sort of knew each other and there was a lot of boys club s— going on, and it seemed like a lot of chefs’ self-worth seemed to be banking on their failure or success on that show. I’m just not that person. There’s no shame in being eliminated from Top Chef: All-Stars. Every one of us is there for a reason. So finish with dignity. I will say this to all my other fellow contestants: You’re all awesome, bow out with pride. It’s not the end of the world.

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Photo credit: BRAVO

Topics: Bravo Reality TV Shows, Top Chef |

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