Jul 22, 2010

Chat with Tamesha Warren, the losing chef from the sixth episode of Top Chef DC at 2:00 p.m. ET.



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

Hi, my name is Tamesha and I am looking forward to your questions, seeing that last night was pretty interseting. I guess it was a shock to everybody to see me go.

Do you have a dish or dishes of which you are most proud? How do you create them?

A couple dishes are: we have jerked foie gras. Basically the spices that would go into a traidtional jerk and we let the foie sit for a couple of days in the marinade, then portion and saute it. It's very aromatic, has heat, but is not overpowering. The butteriness of the foie gras compliments it very well. That goes with a ginger gelee. I try to take classical dishes, or a component of a dish, and try to rework it to fit the style of cooking that I do. It could come from seeing something on the street.

Do you think trusting Angelo was your undoing as some of the other chefs suggested? Did you make most of the choices about your final dish, or did he?

I made all the choices about my final dish and talking to him the day prior, he asked me if he could taste the sauce. He did say it needed more sugar and my response to that was "I know." My dish was all me. I can't sit here and say Angelo sabotaged me. It was all me 100%.

Do you think you would ever open a restaurant in Barbados?

Oh wow! I definitely would. I was talking about that earlier. My idea is to fuse what we do in Barbados, our cuisine and spice profile, and fuse it with Asian, because I love Asian food and ingredients. I think it would be great in unison. It's a dream. I've talked about it with family members and we think it's a great idea. I'm not ready to do it next year, it's going to be a couple of years down the road, but it's an idea I have in the back of my head.

Do you think that your team's choice of Kenny as the other "loser" hurt your chances of staying? I mean, he was one of the front-runners, and the dish he served, while not that great, wasn't "send home" bad, especially given his record to date -- so didn't your team figure out that by voting Kenny the "loser", they were pretty much sentencing whoever got chosen the loser from your group as a sacrificial lamb?

No, we weren't biased at all on personality. We judged 100% based on what was presented in front of us. If it was blind and we didn't know who cooked the dishes, that dish would still be up for elimination.

If you have another chance, would you participate in another chef contest TV series?

Yeah, I would. I have a more or less basic idea of what they're looking for, though that changes from show to show. I would deifnitely do it again. Regardless of what happens good or bad, I'm still a winner in my eyes and it would be an amazing experience.

I know you were trying to save face on camera and say that you stood 100% behind your dish, but realistically that dish was a train wreck and you got played by Angelo. That said though, you've got loads of talent andI would like to try your food someday. Hopefully Ashok Bajaj will let you lead one of his kitchens, maybe 701 since Longworth had to leave or maybe Ardeo, since that is getting remodeled. Best of Luck, The OC

My dish was not a trainwreck. I'm sorry that they didn't get the concept of my dish, the way that I plated it. Unfortunate for them.

Ashok would potentially run one of his kitchens one day. Wait and see. I can't say, but just keep your eyes open for me. This is just the beginning of Tamesha.

How do you think your age influenced your chances?

I think I proved to myself and everybody else that age is jsut a number. If you're focused on what you're doing, your age has nothing to do with it. I proved to myself that I can cook with people that are 10, 15 years older than I am. In the beginning it was a little intimidating, but then I was like, "No, I'm here for a reason. It's because I'm talented." It was no hinderance.

Why the Amanda-hate? Sure, she's kinda' annoying, but was there stuff going on that we didn't see?

Oh yeah! Yeah, there was maybe one or two things that happened at the cast house, but it was just personality conflicts. I knew she wasn't someone I'd  get along with from the first time I met her. I tried to stay clear, but whenever she crossed my path she was in for trouble.

Has been on the show altered your career trajectory in any way? Have your future plans changed because of it?

Before the show I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to own a restaurant, but being on the show made the vision clear -- what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go -- to open a restaurant in Barbados.

Hi! After watching the shows on TV, do you think that Angelo has been as conniving as other chefs on the show have been complaining about? Or is creative editing that makes him appear that way??

No, I don't think so. I don't know. In my eyes he wasn't. He didn't seem conniving at all, at least not toward me.

How long have you been at the Oval Room? Can you tell us about the kinds of dishes you cook there?

I've been at the Oval Room since October 2006 and we do a lot of modern American cuisine, wiht Asian and French influences. A couple dishes we have on the menu right now: pastrami-cured kanpachi with tomato gems and hot mustard ice cream -- it's not really hot, it's a nice mustard flavor. And then for an entree, one of my favorites is butter poached lobster with rum, butter puree and pickled rhubarb and then a spiced vanilla sauce and basil. And that has a caramelized endive on it as well.

I thought the elimination challege was pretty interesting. What was it like to judge your peers food and have your peers judge your food?

It was pretty interesting to judge everybody else's food. You see them cook all the time, but actually to be in the judges position and see how hard it is to make a decision, it was actually quite interesting.

It made me nervous to have them judge my food. I was hoping that people would judge the dish and not pull personal conflicts into it. I have no conflicts with anybody in the house except for chicky (Amanda).

Thanks for having me and I enjoyed your questions. I hope that you guys still support me, root for me, vote for me as fan favorite, because this is just the beginning.

In This Chat
Tamesha Warren
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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