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October 24, 2014

Kevin Gillespie and Bryan Voltaggio Talk 'Top Chef: Las Vegas' Finale

by Michael D. Ayers, posted Dec 11th 2009 12:05PM
Although they didn't win 'Top Chef: Las Vegas,' finalists Bryan Voltaggio and Kevin Gillespie impressed the judges week after week -- not to mention the viewers at home.

Bryan and Kevin spoke with reporters yesterday about the final episode and what all went down, including how Kevin felt about being the first person eliminated on Wednesday.

Kevin Gillespie:

On his Facebook group celebrating his beard:
It's been really funny and positive. Obviously, I'm happy to be the people's champion. I had this underdog thing going on, just visually. So I think it's great. If people are in love with my beard, so be it. That gives me a really great reason never to shave again.

More questions and answers after the jump.Although they didn't win 'Top Chef: Las Vegas,' finalists Bryan Voltaggio and Kevin Gillespie impressed the judges week after week -- not to mention the viewers at home.

Bryan and Kevin spoke with reporters yesterday about the final episode and what all went down, including how Kevin felt about being the first person eliminated on Wednesday.

Kevin Gillespie:

On his Facebook group celebrating his beard:
It's been really funny and positive. Obviously, I'm happy to be the people's champion. I had this underdog thing going on, just visually. So I think it's great. If people are in love with my beard, so be it. That gives me a really great reason never to shave again.

On whether Bryan and Michael were his biggest competition this season:
Actually from the very first day, I did feel that would be the case. When we did the roundabout, where everyone talks about where they worked, I thought these guys would be pretty tough. Once I found out that they were brothers -- which I didn't realize immediately -- then I was pretty much sure that would be the case.

On "mailing in" the finale:

There was a lot going on in my life at the time. I don't think I showed up 100 percent in the game -- but not to make excuses. That doesn't mean a lot at the end of the day. I was actually happy with the meal I produced. Was it my best meal ever? No. But I think more than anything, I was being hard on myself.

On being eliminated first during the finale:

It was a little strange and, frankly, it was upsetting. I think one of the privileges of making it to the final is that it's the only time that nobody gets set home. Someone wins and the other two people don't win. And it's okay. To get sent out of the room -- yeah, it hurt my pride. It was not a high point in the season.

On whether overall performance should be factored into the final judging:
My personal opinion is I wish the competition [was like that], because I think it gives a better example of what the chef is capable of. But short of creating a point system, there really is no option. Often times in life, you're judged on the last thing you gave somebody.


Bryan Voltaggio:

On seeing the eliminated contestants come back and having to draw sous chefs:
I wasn't worried. Everybody that was there was very talented. You have some ideas [of] what you're going to do for the last challenge and each person has a niche that they're really good at. You just have to plan it out using their strengths and weaknesses.

On landing in the final with his brother, Michael:
It wasn't something we were prepared for, but we were definitely striving for it. When we first set out, we knew we'd do everything to get to the end.

On judging the overall competition's body of work:
I think there were a few times when they referred back to people's dishes. But everything I saw and we heard, it seemed like they were really focused on that last meal. But I'm sure in the back of their minds, they thought through it. But I'm not sure.

On how he was portrayed versus Michael:

I look at it this way: he will take more risks and play with textures. I try to pick familiar flavors that people will recognize. I want to go out there and have people understand what my food is about. I don't want to go out there and actually convince them of something.

Read the interview with 'Top Chef' winner Michael Voltaggio

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