After trash-talking and sous vide–ing his way through the season, Top Chef contestant Hung Huynh finally prevailed over his competitors in last night’s finale. Serving up dishes with a “touch of love,” Huynh seemed to answer his critics’ charges that his cooking lacked soul. He talked to us today about his change of heart and why he doesn’t feel like Brad Pitt.
What did you do last night to celebrate?
The cast and judges all went out. Everyone got pretty wasted. I didn’t because I had to get up so early. I was a good boy.
How does it feel to know that this was a huge audience upset?
People that sit at home and hate on me don’t really understand what I’m going through. It’s a lot of pressure. Let’s put them in a kitchen to cook a meal in twenty minutes and see how they react. They say, "Oh he’s a bad guy." They’re not thinking correctly. I hope they change their mind when they see last night’s episode.
You seemed so humble last night. What was with all of the trash-talking?
[Casey and Dale] were there because they’re good. After watching the show, I saw that everyone did really well. I kind of had a change a heart.
You went to school with season-two runner-up Marcel Vigneron. Did he give you any tips?
He basically told me to be true to yourself; don’t go there trying to be friends. I’m going to take advice [on what to do next] from Bravo and my family. There are a lot of plans for me from Bravo and offers in Vegas and New York. I don’t want to reveal anything yet.
How do you feel now as the winner of a reality-TV show?
The reality is I feel the same. I’m just another person, a chef that won a cooking competition, not the king of the world or Brad Pitt. I walk down the street like a normal person, not shaking my ass.
How was it to hug Padma?
It was great. I’m sure half the men in America were jealous. I deserved it, no?