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'Top Chef' Eliminated Chef: 'All-Stars Broke Me in an Amazing Way'

by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 18th 2011 3:30PM
top_chef_bravo_logoAs the competition progresses and the stakes rise, the tension mounts for the contestants on 'Top Chef All Stars.' Last night's episode was a nail-biter, with just seven cheftestants vying for the final two spots in the championship.

Like the earlier museum challenge this season, the lion's share of the episode this week was about endurance and focus. The chefs were asked to stay up all night in an empty Target department store, where they had to create a cooking station, set up a catered presentation and prepare a dish for 100 employees to be served at 3AM when they arrived for work. It was a daunting task, and fatigue played a big part in the outcome.

Ironically, the chef who stumbled and was sent packing was an early choice to go all the way. For more about how this cook's heavy hand with the salt lead to a bittersweet exit, read on.

angelo_sosa_bravo_top_chef_all_stars_2011 Angelo Sosa, who was participating in back to back 'Top Chef' editions, will not be going to the finals. Angelo was done in by a baked potato soup with too much salt, too much heft and not enough flavor.

In 'Top Chef' season 7, Angelo Sosa made it all the way to the end ... and based on that success, he was immediately fast-tracked into 'All-Stars.'

Angelo was naturally disappointed to be sent home last night, but happy to be reunited with his son. He's also returning to his work as owner of Sosa Consulting Group.

In March, Angelo will be opening of a new restaurant in Manhattan called Social Eatz where the cuisine is Asian-inspired comfort food.

In his exit interview, Angelo shared his thoughts about the season and what he got out of the experience.

TV Squad: Are you disappointed that you didn't win?
Angelo Sosa: I believe things happen for a reason. I don't question that process. I gave it my all. I put my heart out there. I cooked with sincerity and I cooked with passion. I cooked with love. That was the bottom line

What was your strategy when you arrived at Target for the elimination challenge?
Mike Isabella and I, aside from starting a bromance on the show, formulated a combined strategy. I got the majority of his ingredients and he got all of my equipment. I got Mikey's stuff and he set up my station. Then we went from there. It worked better for him than it did for me.

Do you think Mike gave you bad advice about adding spice to your soup?
Mikey is an awesome guy, a great chef and a good friend of mine. As I tasted Mikey's dish, five or six times, he tasted mine just as much. At the end of the day, I put out the dish and I take responsibility for it. That was my inspiration and I conceived it. I'm wise enough to make my own decisions.

What are your thoughts about the ladies who remain?
I never doubted the judges' decisions, positive or negative. They're there to do a job. They're older and more experienced than I am. These people love food the way that I do. So if Carla and Antonia and Tiffany are still in the game, they should be in the game. The three girls deserve to be there, as do the men who are still there.

Why do you think so many chefs made soup in last night's episode?
My strategy was influenced by the fact that we only had two hours to cook. We also had to basically set up our own kitchen. Trying to understand the balance between the two, I wanted to cook something that I thought would be amazing. Also I had never been to a Target, so I didn't know what to expect. I tried to think of dishes that could come together quickly.

Did you think the Muppets were ridiculous or a welcome comic relief?
That's what it was, comic relief. That's part of who I am. In an extremely stressful situation, I like to crack jokes and lighten the mood. The timing was appropriate and it was awesome to see Elmo because my son loves Elmo. That was very cool.

How burned out were you after doing back-to-back seasons of 'Top Chef'?
If you do the math, I had done about 80 dishes in total in the competitions. 'Top Chef All-Stars' broke me, but in the most amazing way. It pushed me to my limits and it kept on pushing me. It made me see far beyond even what I knew were my limits. It has helped me to this day. It was an awesome experience.

After I was told to pack my knives, it was more of sense of accomplishment and a sense of gratitude that I felt. It was like, 'Wow, I got to compete with some amazing chefs and to be in that environment." What more could I ask for then to put my talent and my heart on that level?

You seemed more laid back in 'All-Stars' than in the previous season.
Let me put it to you this way: I think I was misunderstood in the previous season. Cooking on the 'All-Stars' was easier because everyone was on the same level. We were the elite of the elite. I felt like I formulated more of a kinship with everybody and people understood me better. We were all there because we love cooking. That's the reason why I was put on this earth.

Which of the chefs who remain are the ones you think we'll see in the finals?
My personal favorite and the one I have the highest regard for as a person and as a conceptualizer of food is Richard Blais. I've never cooked with anybody at his level. He inspired me, pushed me, and I have great respect for him. From a friendship and respect level, I like Mike Isabella. I love the guy. We totally get each other. They would be my two picks.

What was your favorite challenge in the competition?
I'm half-Dominican and half-Italian, and I have baseball in my blood. I love sports. So for me it was the U.S. Open. Just being on those tennis courts, feeling the energy of that place where professional athletes play, was pretty big for me.

What's it like being part of the 'Top Chef' family?
It was very emotional when I was watching last night and I saw everybody's reaction to my journey. I wrote something on Facebook just thanking 'Top Chef' and Bravo, and I really meant that because this opportunity was awesome. It's still very fresh for me. I'm still a rookie. I'm really looking forward to working with Bravo and 'Top Chef' and doing other things in a collaborative way. They treated me very well and I'm excited to see what the future holds.

Watch 'Top Chef All-Stars' on Wednesday at 10 PM ET on Bravo.

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I was never a fan of Angelo, but it still hurts to see him go. I wouldn’t mind if Antonia or Dale left next. They are not worthy of the title of Top Chef and frankly they’re getting annoying. I’d say Angelo had more skill, but wasn’t much better in the personality category. I’m sad to see his Bromance with Mike broken up though. http://foodiegossip.blogspot.com/2011/02/top-chef-all-stars-angelo-sosa-mike.html

February 19 2011 at 10:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

angelo was my fav from last season and of course this season! so sad to see him go :(

February 19 2011 at 12:36 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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February 18 2011 at 9:03 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Angelo...you are a class act.

February 18 2011 at 6:06 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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