Top Chef

Stefan Richter on His Memoir, His New Restaurant, and, of Course, the Ladies

Photo: Courtesy of Bravo

Jada Yuan caught up with Stefan Richter at another Le Tourment tasting, and in addition to discovering that he likes his absinthe with Diet Coke, she confirmed what we suspected — that he hasn’t made much progress on his memoir. Instead he’s been eating burgers and pig ears at the Spotted Pig (“best burgers ever!” “best pig ears I’ve had in twenty years!”), having dinner with Ariane at Minetta Tavern, hanging with Leah at Centro Vinoteca, and crossing the country with his fellow Top Chefs. So are they traveling to learn the cuisines of the world? “No, they’re traveling for publicity,” he tells us. “What we all do.” Here’s more from the interview, including news of a new restaurant, his thoughts on Pino Luongo’s suspicions of thievery, and, as hoped for, his techniques for winning over a lesbian. It’s all about charm, folks.

What’s going on with your memoir?
I’m working on it. See, I’m so busy. And I’m the worst frickin’ speller.

Don’t you have spell-check?
I have spell-check, but I’m OCD. So I can’t type anything in small and little captions. So I have to type everything in big captions.

You mean big type?
Yeah, but spell-check doesn’t work in big type. Well, not for me. But mostly I need to write it and have somebody go over it and rewrite it. And I’m opening a restaurant. And all this stuff about the memoir came out and people called me. It’s a bit of a naughty book. A lot of people are like, oh God!

What’s your new restaurant going to be like?
It’s opening August 1 in Santa Monica. It’s going to be [called] Stefan’s plus the name that it used to be.

What’s the old name?
I can’t say it. The lease we sign on Wednesday. I’m not gonna jinx it. The place has been there for a long, long time.

Okay, so what’s the memoir about?
Shit-talking. What people want to say, but they don’t say. What the restaurant business is all about.

You mean, sex talk?
No, I’ve been in the restaurant [industry] since I was 13. My parents were in restaurants. Stuff about drugs. I don’t do them. I smoked pot once, seven years ago. I thought, “I’m gonna die!” I was bawling like a little girl for six hours. I’ve never done drugs. I don’t wanna do drugs. I booze a little bit. I have my Scotch or my absinthe. It’s fine. A couple beers, a glass of wine. But in the restaurant biz, a lot of drugs are going on all the time. Which we ought to change, because we should not be doing that. It kills your taste buds. And you end up being a druggie. I’ve seen a lot of good chefs going down on drugs. Also, as a rule, I don’t drink before seven o’clock at night.

So is it a memoir or a tell-all about the biz?
It’s mine. My stuff. What I’ve gone through. My parents. My stories. My funny stories about my move to America.

I thought there was a lawsuit about the name?
[Ed: No lawsuit was ever filed] Dirty Dishes? There’s no lawsuit! Oh, Pablo? Paulo?

Pino Luongo was [thinking about] suing you.
Oh, who gives a shit? Fucking go on Google and look up “Dirty Dishes.” There’s 25 titles out there called Dirty Dishes. Fucking sue me, dude. I’ll call it Stefan’s Dirty Dish. Then what the fuck are you going to do?

Did your charms ever work on Jamie?
Ask Jamie. Wouldn’t be the first one. No, you know, we all truly believe that as lesbians, they’re lesbians. I have friends that are gay. They’re gay. Lesbians are lesbians. But I truly believe that there’s a lot of men that are really piggish in America and I could truly understand why a woman would want to be with a woman instead of a man. I 100% get it. Because I’ve seen it with my friends. I’m like, “Dude, come on! Don’t be a pig!” Of course there’s something intriguing about lesbians. If you can’t get it, you want to have it.

And is there a technique that works?
It’s all about being charming. You can’t be a dick. You’ve got to be very loving. You’ve got to be sensitive to your feminine side. Then you’re going to work it out. That’s why I get mani-pedis every week.

How has that worked out for you? Do you have many lesbian lady loves?
I have lots of lesbian lady loves. Cat Cora, if you ever change your mind, call me.

Stefan Richter on His Memoir, His New Restaurant, and, of Course, the Ladies