Living up to the “Top Scallop” moniker has its drawbacks, as Tamesha Warren learned the hard way on last night’s ‘Top Chef.’ Despite having full confidence in her seared scallops with pickled rhubarb, the judges – and her fellow chef’testants – ultimately eighty-six’ed the D.C.-based chef. In an interview Thursday, the youngest cook in the competition dished on her relationship with Angelo, why she wanted to strangle Amanda, and who she thinks is in it to win it.
You didn’t have to travel too far from home for this season.
[Laughs] No, unfortunately. I was kind of hoping it was going to be somewhere fun and exciting, like Hawaii.
Was it weird being close to home, then having to share a bedroom with complete strangers?
Yeah. I live by myself, so it was kind of weird.
How did you feel watching your elimination play out on TV?
It was a bit difficult, and a little upsetting. But it is what it is. At the end of the day, I just came to the conclusion that there are sixteen losers and only one winner, so I put forth a good effort. I was on Twitter last night, and I got a lot of support. Everybody was like, ‘Oh, you should’ve made it to finals, you shouldn’t have been sent home,; things like that.
Both you, the youngest, and Lynne, the oldest, are gone. Do you think there’s an age bracket for success on the show?
Well, I proved to myself that age doesn’t mean anything. I could’ve been in my 30’s and got sent home. But I think with my age bracket, and because I was the youngest – everybody saw that I was very talented, and that’s what I wanted to show. I might be the youngest, but I can still contend with all you guys that have 10, 15 years of experience ahead of me. It did get to me in the beginning because I was like, ‘Wow. Everybody is older than me.’ Then I told myself, ‘I’m here for a reason and it doesn’t matter how young I am. I’m very talented and they’re going to see that by the time I’m done with the show.’
What do you think about Tiffany saying Angelo might have intentionally sabotaged your dish?
Well, Tiffany was next to me in the kitchen when Angelo tasted my sauce. The day before, when we were all talking about it, Angelo said he wanted to taste the sauce, and I said, ‘Yeah, sure, whatever.’ But Angelo did not influence my dish. So when she said that he tasted everything – he didn’t. He tasted the sauce. But I know where my seasoning was at, and I’m not gonna say that he did something to my dish, because he didn’t. What I did was all me. I’m just sorry the judges didn’t get it.
What did Angelo say when he did taste the sauce?
He said it needed more sugar and my response was, ‘I know.’
Why do you think everyone was suspicious of your relationship with Angelo?
I have no idea. Angelo and I were friends. It started and stopped right there. I didn’t feel like he had a crush on me or anything. They made it seem like we’d hooked up at the house or something, but that didn’t happen. Angelo and I are friends.
Were you surprised when he said he had a crush on you, though?
Yeah, I was. When he said that I called him and was like, ‘What the hell, dude?’ He was like ‘I said that, and then added that I was just joking.’ And I told him they were going to run with that. And they did.
Watch Amanda’s panic:
Why does everyone dislike him?
Because he’s very talented and I think people see him more as a threat. He’s there to play the game and he wants to come out on top.
Do you feel a bit betrayed by your fellow chefs?
I just think they did not get the concept of the dish. Unfortunately for them, you know. I ate one of my scallops and it tasted right to me. When I came back from the show, we had the same dish at the restaurant with crab and I was completely amazed because I was like, ‘Whoa! The same dish that I got sent home on, we have it on the menu?.’
I don’t feel that I was betrayed. Some of them, I should say, were trying to get me off because I was young and everybody knew I was close to Angelo – I don’t know. I hope they honestly did judge me based on my dish and they just didn’t get the concept I was trying to put forth.
Who do you think wanted to have you sent home?
Probably Amanda [laughs], honestly.
What was going on between the two of you? You said you could’ve strangled her last night. Why?
I sure could. She’s just very all over the place, and it’s like, at work – for me I’m mentally organized and that’s the way you work, because you’re organized, you know what you’re doing, and she’s just all over the place. I mean, even Ed said last night that they should send Amanda home.
The fact that she had gristle in her dish seemed like a pretty egregious offense to me.
For sure. You’re not paying attention to what you’re putting on the plate. You should’ve made sure that when you were butchering the meat, that there was no gristle in there. So that’s a technical mistake, rather than a constructional mistake. And every single person that had a piece of her terrine that night had gristle in it except two people.
It seems like she’s made a lot of mistakes like that. No uniformity with her carrots last week.
Yeah, and the Sherry in the school meal challenge, too. To me that just shows a level of inconsistency.
Who are you still close with?
Tiffany are actually very close friends. I just attended her wedding last weekend.
I guess that answers the Tiffany and Ed question, right? There was nothing going on between them?
Nothing at all! Tiffany and Ed were just friends. I’m amazed at how it’s being played out. Tiffany by no means had any kind of feelings for Ed at all. I don’t know if Ed had a crush on Tiffany, but there were no feelings from Tiffany for Ed other than friendship.
Who’s the strongest chef left?
I think it’s between Angelo and Tiff. Tiff is very strong.