After whipping up a chilled pork tenderloin and pairing it with a pinot noir for Charlie Palmer's famous Pigs and Pinot event, Top Chef's Ash Fulk was eliminated for what the judges felt was a flavorless dish. TVGuide.com caught up with the New York City chef get his take on the judge's decision, Robin's "intense" personality and why he won't be inviting Padma to any of his dinner parties.
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TVGuide.com: Do you think you deserved to go after the Pigs and Pinot challenge?
Ash Fulk: Well, of course part of me wanted to stay for Restaurant Wars, but my dish wasn't the best dish I could produce, and I know I wasn't happy with it. What the other chefs [in the bottom] did, to me, doesn't really matter. It's what I produced, and I produced something less than perfect. So I got sent home.
TVGuide.com: You didn't seem too keen on Padma's critiques.
Ash: I'm pretty sure Padma didn't like a single piece of food I made the entire time, which is fine. Other people were like, "Oh this is good, but it's not better than ..." So yeah, I think she was pretty negative towards everything I cooked. She was yelling at me about flavor and things, so her and I don't see eye-to-eye culinarily. She may have controlled my world for five weeks, but you know what, she's not coming to my dinner party. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Why do you think so many of the cheftestants seemed to band against Robin?
Ash: Not everyone did, but I know Mike Isabella and Eli really had some conflicts with her. I really thought Robin was a very intense person, and I could only take her in really small doses. At the house you just want to relax after a long day, and usually it's a day where you feel like you've just gotten beat up. You just want to sit around, have a good time and not worry about things. And she was pretty intense and on our case about cleaning up and stuff. I think she took the role of a mother and some of us really didn't need to be mothered.
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TVGuide.com: What would you have done differently during your experience?
Ash: Honestly, I would have done more preparation before I left. I know some people thought about dishes they do that work and are easy to execute in 20 minutes. I know people memorized a bread recipe or pasta recipe, and I didn't think about doing that because I wanted to base everything off the challenge. Obviously, I have tons of recipes memorized, but I just didn't think in specifics of what can be done in 20 minutes. Most of the stuff I make takes awhile!
TVGuide.com: What's next for you?
Ash: I'm currently at the restaurant Trestle on Tenth in New York City and I'm really happy there, but the chef and I are working to see where I'm going to go next. I'm sort of looking for a place where I can get involved from the ground up and to do it with someone who has a clear idea of what they want to do, because I really don't. I think I still have some things to learn, but I sort of think I'm ready to run my own thing. I also had an opportunity to do an event for the Ali Forney Center, which is a nonprofit that supports homeless gay youth. I'm hoping to get involved with them more.