SushiSamba's executive chef Herb Wilson makes his debut tomorrow night on Top Chef Masters, the Bravo show where world-renowned chefs compete in weekly challenges. Wilson's background includes working with Larry Forgione at An American Place, stops in France with Gerard Pangaud and Le Freres Troisgros and New York's Le Refuge. He opened Bambou, a Caribbean concept that let him showcase his Jamaican heritage. He ran Bull Run Restaurant in the Financial District in New York. As Top Chef Masters writes in his bio, "Herb Wilson may be the only chef to have received a prestigious two-star review from The New York Times on three separate occasions, by three different reviewers at three different restaurants." Here he talks about his experience on the show, how he plays a prominent role on the first episode and what he learned from the show.
What did you do to prepare to be on Top Chef Masters?
I won the Culinary Clash [at the Venetian], which was a preparation. It was a tremendous honor to be selected. I'm the only Vegas chef to be on the show other than Rick Moonen.
I will do season six or season seven. I'm happy to do it again.
Did you have any concerns about appearing on the show?
None whatsoever. I cook every day, unlike some of these chefs on the show. I cook every day so I wasn't concerned what they were going to throw at me. In the first show there is a minor technical glitch and I'm prominent on the first episode.
What made you decide to be on the show?
They asked me at the last minute to participate. It was probably one of the highlights of my career. I mean, how often do you get to be selected in a competition on a show called Master Chef?
Anything you can tease about being on the show? Something to watch for?
I'm actually going to New York the week before the premiere to see it. The first episode depends on how it's edited.
Did you second guess any of your dishes?
Yeah, I did and I would rather not say what I second guessed but I did. The bottom line is I was selected to do Top Chef Masters it was a not something that happened recently or today but the body of work. I made many pitches at them as well. It wasn't just that I made a great hamburger. It was a body of work. Top Chef Masters is like Top Chef for old guys.
What did you learn about yourself from the show?
Depend on yourself and only yourself.
Any other dreams of being on television?
No dreams. I'll possibly do the Today Show again in August. I'm on the CBS This Morning on Aug. 10 and I will be on Top Chef again. I've been on television millions of times.
Do you plan to have viewing parties?
I don't know. We haven't planned one. I do know Curtis Stone is coming to the restaurant on July 29 for a SushiSamba sake thing.
Moving forward again win, lose or draw, this was tremendous opportunity. They have a bus and subway campaign with my picture on it and my bio on the Website. Eight restaurants were selected to be on Top Chef Masters.
· All Coverage of Herb Wilson [~ELV~]