On Bravo’s Top Chef, we’re down to the final four contestants.  Dale Levitski, Casey Thompson, Hung Huynh, and Brian Malarkey now head to Aspen, Colorado to compete for the title of Top Chef.  On the last episode, the five remaining chefs were given three simple ingredients to prepared for several members of the French culinary institute.  Hung, who has been on top throughout the competition, ended up winning, while Dale and Sara were left in bottom two.  It was a tossup between the one who failed in execution and the one who failed in concept.  In the end, Padma, Tom, and the other judges chose to eliminate Sara.  Now, Dale moves on to the final four and sat down with BuddyTV to dish on Top Chef.

Below, you will find the complete transcript and mp3 of the interview.

Hey everybody, this is Gina from BuddyTV and I’m talking to one of the final four contestants from Bravo’s Top Chef, Dale. How ya doing?

Good, how are you?

I’m good, thanks. Thanks for making the time to talk with me today, I really appreciate it.

Oh, no problem.

Well, can you tell me a little bit about your cooking background and if this was something you were always interested in?

I have a very long cooking story.  I’ve been cooking for, I guess, close to 13 years now. I was flipping burgers in Iowa City, Iowa for like five years through college. I got addicted to the line, addicted to the rush of the line. I moved to Chicago thinking that I would make a little money then go to school, but I got stuck, so I’ve just been cooking my way through the trenches here in Chicago and have really made my best of it.

There’s a lot of cooking shows that are competition based out there. What really drew you to Top Chef?

I was watching a Top Chef marathon on Bravo, I wasn’t working at the time, this was in January. And I’d never seen the show, because I would say I was a little bit of a prima donna, like “Oh, I’d never watch that, blah blah blah.” And then I found myself six episodes later yelling at the television and thinking ‘I can do this.’ Then a few weeks later, my boyfriend dumped me so I asked my mom for a plane ticket to L.A. and I auditioned for Top Chef and I got on the show.

Well, it ended up working out for the best.

Hell, yeah.

Have you gotten any feedback, or has perhaps Sandee gotten any feedback, from the gay community since you’ve appeared on the show?

The overall feedback, including the gay community, is, I think, especially for me, has been overwhelmingly so supportive and positive. It’s been crazy, it’s humbling. Especially the city of Chicago is just full of the greatest, most loyal fans in the world no matter what.

The group of chefs that were chosen this time around seem like a much nicer group than in the past. It seems like you guys all had genuine friendship.

Oh, it was amazing, We had so much fun together and I think it probably pissed production off because we got along so well.

Yeah, there really wasn’t that much fighting once Howie and Joey were out of there.

Well, the thing about Howie and Joey is their rivalry and fights on television … that’s all it was. I mean, they’re both totally nice guys and sweethearts at home and everything. They’re both very, very low-key and really great guys. I think we all have kitchen personalities compared to how we are in everyday life. I’m generally pretty shy outside of the kitchen, but in the kitchen, I’m definitely more assertive.

This season has been really surprising with some of the eliminations, was there one in particular that really shocked you?

I think all the eliminations have been valid. I was sorry to see Sandee go so early. She is very talented and I think she really went out on a tough technicality and that was rough. We all really believed in her and she was a great girl. Unfortunately, Clay went in the first round, but I think he might have been in over his head. There’s the whole Howie argument, he should’ve gone so many times, but Howie stuck in there and you gotta give it to him. It was tough to see C.J. go because he’s a very good friend.

I told him, I said “You never got to have that New York pizza.”

They better have given him some before he left.

I hope so, I hope they got him some. Now the finals this year take place in Aspen, had you ever been there before going for the show?

No, I’ve never been to Aspen. I’d never been to New York.


Yes, that was my first trip to New York ever.

And you’re up against Brian, Casey, and Hung. How did you feel, when you were named the final four, you stacked up against them?

When we were in like the final six, Brian and I were sitting in the hot tub kind of making our predictions, and we kind of figured that would be the final four. Nothing against either C.J. or Sara, but that’s kind of just the way things were going, and I think if anything, of this entire season, I think I’ve stuck in there as the underdog. Up until this point, I’ve maybe been cooking at fifty percent of my ability. I had not cooked in a really long time before I did the show, so I was frustrated every day because it was like running in quicksand. I could see a dish or see something that I wanted to do, and I just rarely ever lived up to what I knew my abilities were. So getting to the final four, it’s amazing, it’s a redemption for a lot of the mishaps that I had throughout the season.

Well, we’ll be watching to see how it all plays out.

But if I don’t win the whole thing, at least hopefully I can win the fan favorite, that would be great, pay my rent.

That would be nice, hopefully something good comes out of it. I just wanted to thank you for your time, Dale, and good luck.

Oh, thank you so much.

– Gina Scarpa, BuddyTV Staff Writer

(Image courtesy of Bravo)

Gina Scarpa

Staff Writer, BuddyTV