Besides all the hoopla surrounding the Chicago Mag kerfuffle last week, Graham Elliot has been saturating the airwaves in advance of his new FOX TV show Masterchef. As you may remember, it airs tonight at 8 p.m., and Eater has a fascinating advance interview with Bowles. Our favorite part is why he feels the need to engage critics immediately: “You do what you do, put your heart on your sleeve, and of course you are going to be affected by what people say about it. And if you’re not maybe you don’t have enough heart in it.” He also goes on to say he might need to self-edit himself a little bit if the show becomes popular. Anyway, great stuff. We also have some great Bowles’ quotes from a phone conference we sat in on recently. Check them all out below.
On being compared to Paula Abdul as the positive judge:
I used to be a huge Paula Abdul fan back in the late ‘80s, so I think it’s great, but not musically. But I guess I think that that’s fine. People are going to make whatever comparisons they want and I think at the end of the day I don’t go into judging anybody or any competition or contestant with that in mind, like I’ve got to be the Paula, I’ve got to be overly nice or overly this. I think that that’s just for the most part who I am.
I think I’m a pretty nice guy. I want people to succeed. I try to inspire and be creative and whatever else it is. So I’m fine with anybody wanting to compare me to anyone and everyone. At the end of the day I live with myself and I’m cool with that.
On the inspiring aspects of the show:
I can say that it was amazing to see that cooking was alive and well in this country. Even if not as a career in I want to run a restaurant or I want to have a TV show and be a famous chef, just everyday people from 20-years old to 60 coming in and saying, “I do this day in and day out. I cook at home for my family. I cook as a hobby. It’s what I love to do. You guys are the pros. You tell me if you think I have what it takes to earn this title of MasterChef.” But being able to sit back and say, “… we’ve got people from everywhere in this country able to cook something,” and they do it, not because they’re paid to, but this is just what they love, that was great, that was awesome to see.
On the kind of cooking you’ll find on the show:
How many people really do relate to liquid nitrogen and cryovac machines and that kind of stuff; as opposed to somebody cooking catfish tacos from Mississippi or somebody doing some kind of bullion based inspired by seafood in New England. This is stuff that people cook at home and at the end of the day everybody eats.