‘Top Chef’: Alex Sets The Record Straight On Pea Gate

by | August 23, 2010 at 10:03 AM | Interviews, Top Chef, TV News

Alex Reznik on Top Chef (Bravo)

Alex Reznik on Top Chef (Bravo)

Let’s be honest: the only thing on anyone’s mind after Alex Reznik’s ‘Top Chef’ elimination last week was simple – did he or didn’t he steal Ed’s pea puree? Hoping to put Pea Gate behind him, the LA-based chef declared in a recent interview that he cooked “every dish” on the show himself. You got that? “Every dish.” Do you believe him?

What exactly happened with the pea puree? Set the record straight!
We’ve had a lot of fun with this Pea Gate scandal. It’s brought a lot of controversy and fun. Drama and controversy are good for a show like this – viewers get more engaged. I cannot tell you what happened to Ed’s pea puree – but I can tell you this – EVERY dish I made on the show, from buying the products to cutting, mixing and cooking, I made my own dishes. I didn’t believe I needed to defend myself because it was unbelievable to me to think that anyone thought I would take and use someone else food! It was incredulous – I thought it was a joke all along – at my expense, [but] now I see. In any case, it has stirred up a lot of back and forth and hype and that’s good for the show so I guess it’s all okay at the end of the day.

Where do you think all of the antagonism in the house towards you stemmed from?
I can’t speak for why other people said what they did about me. I hold all the chefs in the highest regard. The friendships I developed with most of the chefs on the show I think will be for a lifetime. They’re amazing and talented chefs. I’ve since spoken with Angelo and there’s a lot of chefs that called and apologized. It’s a very stressful situation and sometimes people make bad mistakes. I always kept everything positive. We don’t have any animosity or hostility toward each other. I tried to have a good heart and keep everyone in a happy, healthy relationship.

Do you think you were accurately portrayed on TV?
The reason that I went on the show was to showcase my culinary abilities and prove you don’t have to be a chef for 20 years in order to be a good cook. I cooked a lot of good food on the show. As far as the negativity, I felt bad for my family. They know my integrity. I’m not a negative person. I would never say anything bad about other people. I’m a passionate chef and love to cook. Come to my restaurant. I hope the viewers understand I never cheated, lied or took a shortcut. Unfortunately this past week was my turn to go home.

What happened with your veal on Wednesday? Did you realize it was overcooked?
I lost focus in that episode. The whole day I was playing around and I knew that I wasn’t paying attention. I sous vide the veal and for some reason when I opened the package it looked raw to me, so I threw it in a hot pan and seared it and then threw it in the oven. I don’t know what I was thinking. I lost focus. I made a mistake. I had a great concept just horrible execution! It was a bad day for me. I’ve never done that before.

Who are you still in touch with from the show?
I keep in touch with everyone via Facebook. I talk to Steve, Jaclyn and Angelo almost once a week. Arnold has come out and visited. And of course I see Amanda all the time – she lives a few miles a way from me! We have developed many close friendships.

What’s your favorite memory, either on or off camera, from the show?
There are so many memories but I think the one that stands out was the first Quickfire when we were brought out on the rooftop overlooking the Capitol building. It was a crazy hot day. Meeting all the other chefs for the first time, then meeting Padma & Tom followed by our first Quickfire… that was a way cool day.