Last night on Top Chef, a healthy-cooking challenge for Chicago cops produced some of the worst dishes ever seen on the show. Lisa’s stir-fry was anything but that, and Spike managed to scrape by in spite of a thoughtless chicken salad containing olives and grapes. Still, it was the ever-energetic Andrew who was sent home for his bewilderingly riceless sushi. Michael Alan Connelly spoke to him this morning about hanging out with Spike and culinary boners.
Was your biggest mistake leaving out the grain?
The amount of food I wanted to serve, I knew it wasn’t enough, but not to the point where I would be called out on the bottom for it being so small. To keep your metabolism at an optimum pace, you need small meals throughout the day. I was trying to show them that they couldn’t call me out for my dish being too small. Look, half the problem with these people in the first place is they eat huge meals, after which they sit in their cop cars and just get fat. So, I was trying to change their lifestyle. I shot a little too far from what they were expecting.
Do you follow that diet of five or six small meals a day?
I have my one shake in the morning, and then I pretty much taste all day. In a way, it works out for me, because I do eat a lot of duck confit and foie gras, but it doesn’t really show.
On last week’s episode, you said that cooking all night gave you a “culinary boner.” What other situations give you a similar feeling?
Wait, you mean like a boner?
“Culinary boner” is what you said.
Oh, oh, culinary boner. The reason I said that is I was really excited to be in a challenge where we had to cook for fourteen hours. I was really excited to show people that the energy that I have is pretty much nonstop. They didn’t show it too much, but there wasn’t any point in those fourteen hours where I wasn’t running around like an animal.
Are you planning to stay at Le Cirque for a while?
I’m definitely going to stick around Le Cirque and get that much-needed French culinary foundation, because that was the one thing I lacked going into the show.
Who are your culinary idols?
Marco Pierre White, Marcus Samuelsson, Alain Ducasse, Michel Richard, Thomas Keller. Also Fernand Point, who influenced Keller and had a restaurant called La Pyramide in France. His cookbook is one of the coolest cookbooks you’ve ever seen, because it’s not meant for anybody but a chef. The recipes are a paragraph: “Take this, cook it, do this, make that with it, and then turn it around.” If you’re not a chef, you have no idea what the hell he’s talking about.
Do you have a favorite restaurant in New York?
Definitely wd-50. That was the first fine-dining, molecular experience I ever had in my life, and it hit me in the face like a brick.
Do you and Spike hit the town together?
Not really. We both have similar aspects — we’re both wild and crazy guys — but we like to chill and relax and hang out, have a nice breakfast, maybe go out for some drinks. We’re not trying to do body shots and shit.