A late-night endurance challenge at Target was not what the doctor ordered for Top Chef: All-Stars' Angelo Sosa. Exhausted and suffering from "palate fatigue," the New York-based chef — who was sick in last season's finale and joined All-Stars two weeks later — got the boot this week for over-salting his baked potato soup.
Find out why the Season 7 runner-up added salt and bacon to his dish, if he too made a weepy speech at Judges' Table, and why he is not a saboteur.
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The judges said your soup was inedible, which is the kiss of death. Were you aware that it was so over-salted?
No, to be honest, cooking at Target at 2 or 3 in the morning, having tasted it so many times, I got palate fatigue — my palate just got so desensitized. I really did not know I was up there for that specific reason. I just thought maybe it was out of whack. I trusted the judges. They're all highly talented and have acute palates, and they made a decision and I respect that. ... Let me put it this way: If I had known it was over-salted earlier, I wouldn't have served it. So going through Judges' Table, I didn't know that was what they were going to say.
But you did taste it? It was insinuated that you didn't.
I mean, I think that's my biggest mantra: taste everything. Just because something looks right and I've done it a thousand times — I always taste it.
Mike said that it was missing something, but did he make suggestions of what to add?
No. It was just missing a flavor enhancer and that was what I was looking for — maybe something umami-esque. So I did bacon and salt, and maybe it got a little too concentrated. ... You can't go wrong with bacon unless you're a vegetarian! [Laughs] So that was my angle — give them more bacon love. And the salt — I'm just a compulsive taster so I think I tasted it over 20 times and I couldn't distinguish what the flavors were and over-salted it. As much as I wanted to compete, I made a mistake.
Tiffany made a tearful speech at Judges' Table. Did you say anything?
Yeah, I said I was from a little town in Connecticut called Durham. [Laughs] Her tear bucket was fuller than mine. No, I'm joking. When I gave my little thing in the end, I was very moved. I felt a means of accomplishment. I competed in back-to-back seasons. I got sick in Singapore. I never realized when I started All-Stars how much Singapore really affected me. It was really tough. Two and a half weeks [after Singapore], I go to All-Stars. I gave it my all. I pushed harder than ever. My new favorite line is "I broke myself." The other competitors really broke me in a good way. They let me see my limits, reach my limits and go past my limits, so that was really amazing. It was just more of a sense of being honored to be there even though it was the end of my road.