Jul 15, 2010

Chat with Timothy Dean, the losing chef from the fifth episode of Top Chef DC at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Follow Food editor Joe Yonan's live tweets during the show at @WaPoFoodLive.

Tim, I was surprised by your lackluster performance on Top Chef. Did you feel that the other contestants, challenge parameters, and/or environment threw you off your game? Also, you always seemed surprised by the judges' criticism. Were you?

I don't think it was lackluster. I think given the circumstances I gave it my all. The other contestants were all great chefs and we all had our good and bad days. Some days you're on top and then the next day on the bottom.

As for the judges, I was somewhat surprised. I thought they were a little harsh from time to time, but they're the judges. At times I thought the food was pretty solid, but they differed. They're the judges.

Which was your favorite challenge? Which was your least favorite?

I think one of my favorite challenges was the first quickfire. It was me, Angelo, Timmy and Kevin. We had to do the relay cooking quickfire.

My least favorite would have to be last night's elimination challenge. I was surpirsed by the ingredients, there wasn't a lot to select from out there, even though it was springtime. A lot of produce was missing. I would have liked to have seen other starches out there besides turnips and beets. It was very scarce. I tried to make the best with what I had.

Chef Dean, How do you feel about the widespread criticisms of this season's cast - particularly with regard to the talent level, compared to last season?

I think we got a pretty solid cast, I know it. I think the show is really just getting going right now so it's hard to judge season to season this early in the show. There are still a lot of chefs on there. I think it's premature to say last season had a better cast this early in to it.

I asked Arnold and Lynn last week if contestants thought this season was meaner, and they of couse, said they didn't know why I'd say that. Here's why: someone asked to borrow a foamer and both people on the other team said "NO!, ha ha ha." On past seasons, people would help each other and lend each other food and equipment. This season, contestants said "NO!" It's sad to see; I'm not enjoying this season much because of that nasty tone.

To a certain extent I agree. I don't think epople are mean. It's a competition. I helped people light grills on the grill challenge. I think a lot of it is editing because we really had a good group of people. I know I still talk to everyone that was on there. I don't think it was mean. It's a competition. A lot of it is editing.

Mr.Dean , I'm just waiting to try out one of those old "Trojan Meals" I'm proud of you and especially the way you handled yourself. charles robinson "mr.rob"

I look forward to serving you in the near future! Thank you!

Is there a particular dish or dishes of which you are most proud? If so, what are they?

From the show the rockfish dish. Eric kind of scolded me about leaving the skin on, but that's how we do it in Maryland.

As far as in real life, I think people need to try the 20 ounce bone-in cowboy steak. We do steak, seafood and chops, certified angus beef. Comes with a side for $30. Some people think 20 ounces is too much meat, but it melts in your mouth. I have a special rub. The majority of people don't take it home. They sit there looking at the bone saying 'I can't believe I finished this thing.'

Chef Dean, How do you respond to allegations that your restaurant in Baltimore is a direct rip-off of Ray's the Steaks?

I would say Michael Landrum didn't train with Jean-Louis and didn't go on Top Chef. He has a great product. Raise the Steaks is only in Virginia and I'm in Baltimore. And Michael ALSO doesn't have the rub.

What would you do differently if you had the opportunity for a 'redo' on the blue crab quickfire?

Nothing. I think it was great and I represented the Chesapeake well. The crabs were beautiful. They were fresh and steamed with beer. I wouldn't add any Asian spices to it. I wanted the crabs to speak for themselves and they did. The judges were looking for something different.

Were you surprised you were eliminated? It seemed like the judges hated Amanda and Stephen's dishes more in the critique.

Even Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder could have seen the same thing, so I agree.

What are your plans post Top Chef? How do you think being on the show has influenced your cooking career, if at all?

It has sparked new life into my culinary career at the age of 40. When my wife passed I didn't cook for two years. To get on the show and go as far as I did has definitely sparked fire back into my life. Top Chef has given me a reason to cook again and keep cooking.

Who do you think is going to win this season?

Timothy Dean! They're gonna bring me back! They have to!

I would like to say thanks for tuning in and to ask you to continue to tune in. I think there will be a lot of twists and turns. It's gonna be the best season ever. God bless America and god bless Top Chef!

In This Chat
Timothy Dean
In Top Chef DC, 17 cheftestants compete in weekly cooking challenges to determine who is "Top Chef." The winning chef will receive $125,000, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, a showcase at the Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and will earn the title of "Top Chef."
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