Part 1 of the Top Chef Season 7 finale took the final four cheftestants all the way to Singapore for its first international finale. But Kelly Liken's stay was short-lived after she got the boot for her Asian-inspired cucumber-yogurt soup and red coconut curry prawns.
See why the 33-year-old chef says she still doesn't know why she was sent home, how slicing her finger and working with bloody gloves could have hindered her dish, and how she prepared for her trip. Plus: Find out what she thought of Ed's secret plan to do an additional course.
TVGuide.com: How did you prepare for the finale in Singapore?
Kelly: Just by researching Singapore, like Google search and buying books, but then I got really into this idea of the way people in Southeast Asia blend spices. It's not that I don't use spices in my cooking, but these are a whole new variety of spices. I started practicing different spice mixes and I did find a new interest in a way different way of cooking.
TVGuide.com: Padma slammed Kevin for not practicing with a wok. Did you practice with one?
Kelly: I didn't practice too much only because the wok I have used is one any home cook would have at home and [one you would] just put on your stove. The woks they use in those restaurants are these huge bowls on giant burners. I really concentrated on honing my skills to show Kelly in a Singaporean sensibility.
TVGuide.com: Why do you think you were sent home?
Kelly: I've had a few weeks to think about it, and I'm honesty not exactly sure why. I know for sure why Kevin and Ed were not — they both nailed it. Angelo and I both made great food, but we knew it was between the two of us. I feel we both got feedback on the positive and negative side, but there was definitely a point where it sounded to both of us that maybe Angelo had a little more negative comments than I did. But at the end of the day, we're not there, the judges are behind closed doors, and I think they do their job diligently.
TVGuide.com: Do you think slicing your finger while cooking affected the outcome of your dish?
Kelly: I think it just contributed to the fact that it slowed me down, and it gets in your head. Whether or not I made quick decisions and didn't double-check things — in hindsight that could have affected me. We only had an hour to cook so I was adamant on not stopping, and you have to be careful with the safety of the food, so I put a couple of gloves on. It was tough because I cut myself pretty early on and I was almost one-handed.
TVGuide.com: What did you think of Ed's comment to Tom about how he had planned for two dishes the whole time?
Kelly: We all had a second dish in our heads because we were nervous one wasn't enough, but when he blurted it out to Tom, we were like, "What are you doing?" We all talked about how if we had time we would, but he was all, "I was going to do it all along." We were surprised.