Euclid Hall's Jorel Pierce on being booted from Top Chef Seattle

What would you like people to know about your food, since we only got to see a snippet of how you cook on Top Chef?
There are some major differences between what I do at Euclid and what I was asked to do on the show. I like to do things the way that I think are appropriate -- and I cut chickens all the time at the restaurant, and I know what I'm doing. My food is unique, creative and innovative, and I do things with originality in mind. People expect that of me at the restaurant, and at the end of the day, it's all about what people perceive. Everyone loves the food here, and we're doing a good job. I cook from the heart and I cook to inspire thought and appreciation.

Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio scolded you for butchering the chicken incorrectly. What went wrong there? Was it miscommunication?
There was definitely a nervous aspect going on there. I'm confident at the restaurant, and I'm comfortable being the center of the attention, but this setting was completely different. A lot of it was nerves -- not because it was Tom -- just nervous to be out of my comfort zone, and I probably glazed over his instructions, not on purpose, but because I was nervous. But to be honest, his instructions weren't very explicit. Still, I knew at that point that I definitely had a strike against me, and I knew that wasn't good, but I've never been that competitive, which is one reason why I resisted applying to be on Top Chef for quite a while.

Your mustache is currently trending -- people are talking and writing about it -- what's up with that?
If my on-camera presence, or my resume, didn't set me apart, I knew my mustache would. I decided if they were going to typecast at all, I may as well separate myself from the pack. It was kind of wild watching it on TV, though, but I'm goofy like that.

After this experience, would you ever do reality TV again?
The results didn't really attack my confidence; I just needed the nerves to go by the wayside, and I think that would have happened. And, yes, I'd definitely do it again.

After being exposed to reality TV, what are the biggest differences between that environment and being in your own kitchen at Euclid?
There are so many differences. On Top Chef, I was a guy vying for an opportunity on a national stage, but what I found is that all the things I love about cooking were missing and out of balance. Here, I'm in an environment where I have familiarity and passion, and I have a connection with my crew and my guests. That wasn't there in the Top Chef kitchen -- there was no camaraderie. At Euclid, I don't cook for just one person -- I cook to make a lot of people think about food differently, and I didn't have that opportunity on the show.

There was no doubt a lot of pressure, knowing that your fate was in Tom Colicchio's hands. How did that affect you?
While the pressure was intense and intimidating, I know now that I learned a lot about myself and why I do what I do, and it's an experience that's helped me to recenter my purpose in cooking and my goals and motives in the kitchen -- to be progressive and thoughtful and playful and to inspire people both on my staff and the people who walk in the doors expecting something different. For me, it's about the thought-provoking aspect of cooking, and it was kind of frustrating for me that I couldn't be thoughtful or playful with the tasks that Tom gave me -- I couldn't create. Instead, he asked me to do a routine thing -- cutting a chicken -- that I do my way, and he does his way. That said, I don't know who died and made him the fucking be-all and end-all of butchering chickens.

Location Info

Euclid Hall Bar & Kitchen

1317 14th St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
8 comments
Jane
Jane

Jorel really got the short end of the stick having Tom and his stupid challenge.  I think had he been with any of the other chefs, he would have been through.  Emeril and Wolfgang had real challenges - the eggs and soup.  I thought Tom's was a crappy way to weed in the first place. 

Chowhound49
Chowhound49

One of the worst meals I've had was CraftSteak. The place had no atmosphere and the food and service were lacking. I've always had a great experince at Euclid. Keep up the good work Jorel

jp00
jp00

It won't stop us from coming to Euclid Hall to enjoy Jorel's wonderful food.

nope
nope

I wouldn't put too much stock in what Tom Colicchio thinks about your food, Jorel. He's so rich probably hasn't so much microwaved a burrito in five years.

Jeff
Jeff

The quality of the food and service at CraftSteak is so lackluster that I wouldn't spend too much time worrying about Colicchio's assessment of your skills.

monopod
monopod

 @Jeff I haven't been to CraftSteak, but Craft - the place in LA where Jorel had his reckoning - is absolutely incredible, one of the best restaurants in a city full of amazing restaurants.  Ripping on Colicchio's skills as a chef is ridiculous; he's well-established and extremely well-respected as an accomplished chef, and in any case it's totally irrelevant to his role on the show.  His job on the show is to be a cranky taskmaster that demands miracles from the contestants and then provides withering commentary when they don't quite measure up - and, occasionally, hard-won praise when they do - and he's very good at that.  

 

Jorel has the right attitude; he didn't ask the right question about how Tom wanted the chicken butchered (bone-in or boneless), and Tom rightly docked him for that.  Then he made a sauce that both Tom and one of the random sous chefs in the kitchen deemed too salty.  Both are minor mistakes that even the most talented chef can make, but both are more than enough to get you kicked off of TC.  This wasn't the Olympics, this was reality TV - you can't complain about it not being fair, since that's not really the point.

Jeff
Jeff

 @monopod Gramercy Tavern was certainly one of the best restaurants in the country when Colicchio was there.  I doubt he actually spends much time in any given restaurant in his vast empire these days though, and I think quality control has suffered greatly as a result.  My point was that while he can clearly cook himself (or used to), his ability to assess the value of other chefs' work appears to be lacking.

Lipster
Lipster

 @Jeff  @monopod  Oddly enough, I saw Tom Colicchio at the Chelsea Market, buying ingredients, when I was in NYC in May.  It made me want to follow him home to see what he was cooking.  I suspect he still knows his way around a kitchen. 

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...