Euclid Hall's Jorel Pierce on being booted from Top Chef Seattle
Once you knew you were a contestant on Top Chef, what was your strategy? Were you going on to play the game, so to speak, or cook your heart out?
I was going there to prove something; I was the young guy who would kick ass and win with my technique. I definitely went on to win, as anyone would, because it's a time-suck if you don't get something out of it. And then I fucked up.
Do you regret the experience?
No, and I know a lot more about how I'd approach it at this point. I feel like I understand why the others were successful, and why I wasn't. The nerves -- they killed me. Even on my worst days here, I'm fine, but there, it's such a shakedown.
The chef from Dallas -- John Tesar -- whom D Magazine deemed the most-hated chef in Dallas: What were your impressions of him?
I thought he was a dick. He's cocky, demeaning and rudely outspoken, which he embraces. He's not a bad cook, but I couldn't go to the bar with him and have a beer. I had to deal with him on a few car rides, and he always found an opportunity to be irritating.
Who's the best chef left?
I like Micah Fields. I thought he was a real nice guy. He has something special going on, and he's innovative and passionate.
Who do you want to win?
I want my boy Tyler to win. For sure. A win for Denver would be awesome.
I've had your food -- and I love it -- but Colicchio called your beurre fondue too salty, which ultimately got you eliminated. Was Colicchio's assessment wrong?
When I added the first round of seasoning, it was super-light. And I asked Tom what the purpose of the beurre fondue was -- for pasta or to finish vegetables -- and he waved me off, like, whatever. Had its purpose been to coat vegetables, it would have been perfect, but I guess he wanted me to make it for universal use, in which case, yeah, it was probably a little too salty. And maybe I just didn't ask the right questions. I was pretty beat down by the time that task came around.
Everyone goes on Top Chef presumably thinking they can win -- but going in, what did you think were your biggest strengths? Weaknesses?
I think my biggest strengths were humility, my grasp of classic techniques and my level of comfort with a wide variety of ingredients; there aren't a lot of ingredients that I haven't played with at least once or twice. And my weakness was the ability to take direction. I'm kind of own boss now, although I take chef Jen's advice all the time, because she's proven that her advice is valid. But I had no idea how Tom rolled, and the first day of any job is always the shittiest...and all I got was that first day.