Dismissed Cheftestant Was in It for the Money

Mark Simmons

"A bit of pizza with Marmite for you, then?"Photo courtesy of Bravo

Last night on Top Chef, the judges victim on the chopping block was none other than New Zealand native Mark Simmons, who was sent home for his dubious decision to serve up vegetable curry to children. Our very own Michael Alan Connelly spoke earlier today with Simmons, who has since returned to his sous chef post at Public, about why he thinks Tom Colicchio doesnt like him and whats wrong with Uncle Bens rice.

Do you really think Tom Colicchio doesnt like you?
Every time I was up at the judges table, there was a certain amount of banter between me and Tom. And that was just a joke, absolutely.

Are you proud of how far you made it? Or is it close enough to the end to be a big disappointment?

Of course I was disappointed. I wanted their hundred grand, you know? Everyone wanted their hundred grand; thats why I was there. But I guess Im back, chained to the stove and Im just going to have to do it the hard way: without their hundred grand.

What kind of establishment would you like to open?
I guess in the style of antipodean cuisine carefully introducing New York to more of where Im from, and the food that we cook. I definitely think theres room in New York for that. I dont see many New Zealand restaurants around town at the moment, you know?

What elements would make it successful with New Yorkers?
The produce and the protein that we have over there. Its from the purest, most pristine waters, and the greenest pastures.

What about some of the more American-centric challenges things like a tailgate party, or a block party did you have trouble with the concept of that?
A lot of these challenges were brand new to me like a street party: we dont have street parties. And the tailgate it was a first experience for me, but I had a great time on it. It was pretty awesome.

What was the worst challenge?
I dont think I would ever use instant rice in a restaurant where I worked, and Ive very rarely ever worked in a restaurant that has a microwave. Ive never actually owned a microwave.

Did you taste the rice? Was it was even edible?
You know, its definitely not my cup of tea. I think Uncle Ben should just look at doing something else. Uncle Ben should just retire to do what he really does.

How was working with a younger assistant?
Its so hard to be working in a brand new kitchen on a one-off assignment, let alone working with someone you never met before that is ten years old.

Do you agree with the judges decision to send you home?
I dont disagree. I just, was a little surprised, and I feel even watching the chopping block it could have been any one of us.

So you dont feel like you were wronged in any way.
No, I dont think I was wronged at all there. The only thing I feel wronged is Tom said he was going to buy me a beer after the chopping block. Im still waiting for my invite.