Exclusive Interview: Manuel Trevino of 'Top Chef 4'
Exclusive Interview: Manuel Trevino of 'Top Chef 4'
In Padma Lakshmi's Top Chef 4 video blog last week, she ominously noted that Mexican cooking expert Manuel Trevino's performance in the “upscale taco” challenge with Rick Bayless didn't bode well for his chances in the competition. I wondered at the time if this was a hint or some misdirection.

Turns out Padma might have accidentally shown a little too much in that comment, because this week on Top Chef, it was Manuel Trevino's time to pack up his knives and go. His collaboration with Spike Mendelsohn – summer rolls “inspired” by the film Good Morning Vietnam – was considered the weakest dish in this “dinner and a movie” challenge, and his perceived passive attitude towards the challenge seemed to contribute to the judges' decision to send him home.

He might have been eliminated, but most of the blogs written by the Top Chef folks note what a really sweet guy “Memo,” as he's called, is, and he kindly took some time to talk with us about his time on Top Chef 4.

Read on for the highlights and the full mp3 of the interview.


Here are some highlights from the audio interview.

Manuel talks about that Rick Bayless Quickfire Challenge, and the key logistical and conceptual errors he made that he thinks contributed to his not coming in the top spot in the challenge in his main cuisine.

He admits he probably could have taken a stronger role in at least one part of the dish he made with Spike – although I have to admit, based on the feedback from the judges that we saw, I am not sure if this would have really helped.

He says he thinks that Richard Blais is the most obviously-strong chef, but my girl Stephanie Izard is a “sleeper” cheftestants with some serious skills. This might surprise some, but he also says that Zoi Antonitsas has a great palate and could actually go far.

He also gives us a peek into his personal locker and the stash of ingredients he brought on the show.

- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist

(Image courtesy of Bravo)