Hosea Hosea

Top Chef's Hosea Rosenberg's final venison dish has earned him a win, and the blogosphere is all abuzz over it — though not always in a good way. TVGuide.com caught up with the Colorado chef, who spoke candidly about all the haters out there, what the deal was between him and Stefan and if there's any future for him with make-out buddy Leah now that they're both swingin' singles.

TVGuide.com: Congratulations. How does it feel to be the new Top Chef?
Hosea Rosenberg: It's pretty surreal; the whole thing is kind of like a dream. I was home watching with a bunch of people at a viewing party. I hadn't told a single person up until Padma announced me as the winner. I was proud and happy about what I had done, but it was unimaginable.

TVGuide.com: What do you think about Carla listening to Casey's dish suggestions?
Hosea: I can't really say what was happening during the cooking part of it, because I was so busy with my own food. Carla told me right before we went to Judges' Table that not everything made it to her plate, and that she was pretty worried about it. I know Carla took a few suggestions that Casey made that affected her dish. I don't know whose fault that is or why the food came out how it did. Ultimately, it was Carla's meal. It was unfortunate, and I felt terrible standing up there with her.

TVGuide.com: A lot of people are saying that past performances should have been taken into account. What do you think?
Hosea: This competition is about the really wacky challenges, surviving through them and it ultimately comes down to what you serve last. It's the way the show has always been set up. Really good chefs got knocked out along the way because they put out one bad meal. I was fortunate because I did stumble a few times. I understand some people feeling that Stefan had already earned the win or that Carla had come back so strong they were sure she was going to take it, but it comes down to the last meal. When it counted, I put my best foot forward. I'm not going to apologize because I beat them. You think that people like to root for the underdog. But in this case, I do sense a little animosity toward me, and I just don't understand why people are so upset about this.

TVGuide.com: What about at home in Colorado?
Hosea: In Colorado, I have a huge fan base, a lot of friends and a lot of support in the professional arena there. Every chef in the state was calling me up wishing me good luck and rooting for me. It means a lot more to me that the professional chefs out there are wishing me well rather than the ones who are upset. There was no hatred or haters out there. Everyone in that state was just so cool about it.

TVGuide.com: Speaking of hating, what was with all the bitterness toward Stefan?
Hosea: Stefan and I are friends. We are cool and never hated each other. It was a fun rivalry. He and I are competitive people, and we were pushing each other's buttons, but we weren't doing it maliciously. More than anything, it just brought out that competitive spirit in us both. The whole point was to win and it just kept us both more hungry for it.

TVGuide.com: If you could go up against anyone from the season, Iron Chef-style, who would it be?
Hosea: I'd probably say Fabio because it'd be the most fun with the banter. But I'd be happy to go up against anybody again. I'd love to be able to prove to all the naysayers out there that I can go up against Stefan head-to-head and be confident again. I'm not saying I'm a better chef than him, or that he would beat me. I'd just love to go against him or Carla one more time, to prove to anyone who is doubting the results and thinks I don't deserve it.

TVGuide.com: What are your plans now that everything is done?
Hosea: Next weekend is my father's 70th birthday, and his cancer has gotten worse since filming the show, so I'm going to spend some time with him. And after that, I'm going to spend some time with my mom, who is also ill, so the next few weeks will be a lot of family time before the crazy new-business stuff starts. I'm trying to open up my own place. I've been talking to people for quite a while in Boulder about getting a business together, and it's really starting to come together.

TVGuide.com: Any plans that involve Leah?
Hosea: She and I both ended our relationships after the show, and we talk a lot. We both like each other and we definitely have a connection. But I live in Colorado and she lives in New York City, so as far the future goes, it's hard to say anything definitive. All I can say is I do care about her and we're good friends.

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