After being accused of pea puree theft and not pulling his own weight during Restaurant Wars, Top Chef's Alex Reznik was ultimately sent packing because of a poorly executed veal parmesan (in disguise) dish.
So what did the 33-year-old cheftestant have to say about the pea puree drama? TVGuide.com caught up with Reznik to get his side of story, as well as his take on the Restaurant Wars challenge. Plus: Find out what it was like watching some of the other cheftestants trash-talk him behind his back.
TVguide.com: Do you think you deserved to go home?
Alex Reznik: I think the judges made the right choice. I had a bad day and lost focus. I couldn't taste the other cheftestants' dishes, but I knew mine wasn't up to my personal standards. The judges always are spot-on. They know what they're talking about. So whenever any says, "The judges were this or that," all I'll say is when it comes to what's in front of them, they know. You can't fool them.
TVguide.com: Why do you think so many cheftestants had a problem with you?
Alex: The situation is stressful, and as the days and weeks progress, it becomes more stressful. There are certain bonds developed in the house. I developed close bonds with Stephen and Tim. Most of my bonds kept getting cut off as they weeded them out, which made other bonds stronger and caused resentment. I only have great things to say about the other chefestants, and I call them friends.
TVguide.com: So how did feel watching some of them speak so poorly of you during the interviews?
Alex: I was hurt because I consider them friends. I really felt bad for my mom and dad. They take it to heart. Me, I understood it was a TV show and know the stress they could have been under at the time. For my family to see that and say, "Why weren't you defending yourself?" Well, I didn't know that was going on. After the taping, some of them have called and apologized and we're really good friends.
TVguide.com: OK, let's hear your side of the pea puree mishap.
Alex: It brought a lot of fun and drama. It's good for the show because viewers get engaged. With that being said, all I can honestly say is I cooked all my food. I went on the show to showcase my talent and culinary skills. Maybe the show skewed that. At no time during the show did I know the pea puree was an issue and that people were accusing me of stealing something. It's not in my inherent nature [to steal]. So at no point did I ever try to defend myself.
TVguide.com: Well, did anyone see you make it?
Alex: Yes, in fact, certain things will come to light — I hope. Amanda saw me make it. The day before, Kelly tasted my peas. The people on the show know I didn't take it. I can't really say what happened to [Ed's pea puree]. All I know is when I got to the challenge, the first thing I did was puree peas. They can't show everything. The reality was I won that challenge and it was masked by the pea puree.
TVguide.com: How about the Restaurant Wars drama where other cheftestants said you didn't pull your weight?
Alex: The comments were made by people on the losing team. There's always going to be sour grapes. Kenny is a tremendously talented chef, and sometimes it's difficult to take negative remarks. All I can say is, for the record, I was at the top of three challenges and bottom for two. If you look at some of the others, they were in the bottom a lot more. And they were the ones talking the most.
TVguide.com: So how did you go from videographer to chef?
Alex: I really loved food and my driving force was eating. So I gave up my career and willy-nilly and pursued what my heart needed.