Four Reasons I Deserved To Be Sent Home:
1. My dish had issues. I overthought it, tacked on the cheese, and should've come up with something more feasible for a cocktail party. When I wrote down the recipe for the producers, it had a billion ingredients and super-complicated method, and I thought to myself "no wonder this got me sent home"
2. I would have had to drop out of the competition anyways. My restaurant was in the process of closing, and when I got home my managers told me with tears in their eyes how glad they were to have me back. My head was only half in the game. There's no way I could have held out another 4 weeks.
3. I didn't defend myself enough at the judge's table. My approach to dealing with criticism is to listen, try to find the truth in the other party's complaints then make improvements. I could have argued with the judges, but that's not my style.
4. The game got to me. I totally abandoned my style for this dish. After making two cheese and fruit based dishes for the first and second challenges, and getting no recognition for them, I felt like it was time for some meat and savoury flavours. The challenge was to cook with someone else's style, but I should have stuck to my guns and focused on the cheese.
Four Reasons It Was Bullshit:
1. My item was tasty and the meat was delicious. I was worried about the dish (see above), but when I took the lid off the pressure cooker before heading out to the party and smelled the heady scent of savoury goodness and tasted the delicious jelly, I figured I'd be okay.
2. Jamie's dish really did suck.
3. I sold the hell out of that dish. A big part of being a professional is being able to talk a good game and smooth over the rough edges that may crop up on a job. I knew my dish wasn't perfect, but I shmoozed it to the point that the guests were all happy, a skill (yes, a skill) that every good caterer should have.
4. Some of the comments were asinine. Anyone who tells someone that they don't know how to cook savoury food after tasting ONE BITE of their cooking hasn't put much thought into what they're saying. It's ignorant to tell a sommelier that they don't understand flavour. Seriously, critique the dish, but don't try to tell me I lack a palate.
For the record, I could have won. Take a look at the rest of the chefs in the competition; I can do everything they can (except cook seal flipper, I'm still waiting for Todd's recipe), then frost a cake, pair the wine and balance the books. The thing that needles me the most is that I was planning on being the first person in the history of Top Chef to make a proper panna cotta. I guess the prize is still up for grabs!