Susan Feniger, Rick Moonen, Mary Sue Milliken and Hugh Acheson threw a reunion of sorts at Border Grill on Wednesday night when the former Top Chef Masters competitors hosted a dine around. All four prepared dishes for the event that included cocktails from Tony Abou Ganim.
Here, 19 of the best tidbits from the panel discussion about the show.
1. Milliken would like to see future Top Chef Masters contestants cook with a butter knife over a campfire.
2. Acheson suggested a food stamp challenge where contestants have to cook a great meal on what lower income Americans are subsisting on.
3. Feniger wants a five-course vegan challenge, and Acheson chimed in “vegan, celiac, gluten-free.”
4. Acheson said the contestants would send their dry cleaning out and they lost Naomi Pomeroy’s $650 bra. “Who brings a $650 bra?” Milliken wondered. “And she’s not small breasted,” Acheson said.
5. Acheson also noted that Suvir Saran was a “genial human in a lot of ways but he’s also the biggest bitch.… That was funny watching his needs.”
6. John Currence is a fun guy to have a bourbon with, Acheson says.
7. Milliken said she almost cried when Currence was kicked off. “Whenever anyone got kicked off, it was always hard for me.”
8. Acheson said that at the two-thirds mark of filming, “You’re actually hoping you get kicked off.”
9. “I remember hugging Jonathan Waxman many times and saying, ‘God, I hope they kick me off,’” Feniger said.
10. Moonen said he was so tired that he hoped they would kick him off.
11. Acheson’s favorite episode was when he was paired with an MIT scientist.
12. Feniger wishes they would show the chefs after they cooked for 10 hours at a table with every spirit imaginable. “What we’re all talking about, talking shit about the judges. That would be such great TV, way better than the show.”
13. “The number of times they heard me pee is amazing,” Acheson said of being on a mic all the time.
14. Moonen said the shows are filmed back-to-back-to-back-to-back. The contestants were dropped off at 2 a.m. for a 5 a.m. call time. “You’re so tired. It’s very physically challenging.”
15. Jonathan Waxman, a favorite of all the contestants, would rub Moonen’s shoulders.
16. Feniger went to the hospital while filming after becoming dehydrated. “They didn’t show that. That would have been a good one.” It happened during the wedding episode, when they were picked up early in the morning, drove two hours to the location and it was hot outside. “They gave us some crappy Chinese food. We were walking down to the car and I thought I was having a heart attack.” She was back in the studio by 10 a.m.
17. Who would Feniger want to give her mouth to mouth? “Not that I don’t love Rick. We have mouth to mouth often.” She picked Govan Armstrong, who used to work at Border Grill. “He had a crush on me.”
18. Milliken cut the tip of her thumb off on the show.
19. Padma Lakshmi or Gail Simmons. Acheson picked Simmons, saying Lakshmi is “too high maintenance.”