April 03, 2011 11:00 AM by Shayla Perry
Top Chef: All-Stars finalist Mike Isabella may have been all smiles and hugs when Richard Blais took home the elusive title of Top Chef during the season finale of the Bravo reality show, but in his Exit Interview, the D.C. chef revealed that he was a little more disappointed with his loss than he let on.
“I always think I should win, even when I lose,” said Isabella, noting that everyone he spoke with during the season finale of Top Chef: All-Stars – including Richard Blais – told him that he was definitely going to be the winner.
Hmmm. Perhaps a case of “tell ‘em what they wanna hear”?
But at the end of the day, Mike Isabella says that he wouldn’t have done anything differently if he had the chance to do it all again, expressing his pride in his entire team – from the sous chefs (including Jaime, whom Mike says did an exceptional job for him) to the dishwashers.
So what went wrong if everyone in the Bahamas thought that Mike Isabella was going to walk away with the win and the title of Top Chef?
Contrary to how close the judges made the contest seem during the season finale, the extended Judges’ Table reveals that it was a clear win for Richard Blais, whose restaurant, Tongue & Cheek, they felt had a better feel than Mike Isabella’s Iz. And though Mike made his pepperoni sauce specifically for judge Tom Colicchio, it was Gail Simmons that was singing its praises in the end, and overall more impressed with Mike’s dishes over Richard’s, whose food she felt they’ve seen before from the chef.
But hey, as Mike Isabella says, “The only difference between winning and losing is $200,000!”
And whether he’s Top Chef or not, Isabella is still proud of his accomplishments, the food he prepared throughout the show, and optimistic about the many doors that making it this far in the competition will open for him.
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