It’s hard to know if it was the dalliance with Hosea Rosenberg, her apparent loss of steam towards the end, or just the whims of the Top Chef 5 audience, but it appears that not a lot of viewers were heartbroken last night when Leah Cohen was told to pack her knives and go, being denied a spot in the final four.

It appears that she might not have been entirely heartbroken herself by the ouster, and she talked to us today about her time on the show and how she was feeling by the end of it.

Leah admits that she was stressed out and did not want to be there any longer by the end of the competition. She feels like the process is set up to wear you down and admits that she “just couldn’t handle it” by the end. She said it was also challenging to be in New York City and only a few blocks away from her home. She now regrets not giving it 100% during those last few challenges. Her cooking style involves more thought and re-working of dishes, and therefore it was tough to adjust to the conceptualize-on-the-fly style of Top Chef 5.

That said, looking back on the final challenge, if she could, she wouldn’t have swapped out her dish for another in the Elimination Challenge. If she did do anything differently, it would just be not second-guessing herself with thinning out the sauce. She stands by the texture of her egg, saying she feels that is the correct consistency for a slow-poached egg.

She doesn’t feel like that episode was actually her time to go home, not feeling that she performed the worst. She does, however, admit that she deserved to go home for her performance in Restaurant Wars, so is philosophical about things evening out in the end. Although the episode where Ariane Duarte went home seems to be the one where many viewers felt most strongly that she should go, she says she thinks in that episode, it was Radhika Desai who deserved to go, not her or Ariane.

So what about all the controversy with Hosea? She says the kiss was all there was, and that it was not as big of a deal as it was made out to be. She also thinks she was edited to appear to be more of the instigator and a “clingy girl” and doesn’t find that to accurately reflect the real dynamics of the situation. She understands, though, that that was the story line and her role to play in it. She said she is no longer with her boyfriend but did not elaborate on the specifics.

With regard to the other competitors, she says she was surprised at the level of friendship she had with Jamie Lauren, and that Stefan is nowhere near as annoying as viewers seem to find him, calling him a “nice guy.” She thinks Hosea and Stefan are the strongest, and thinks Stefan could take the competition.

As to the judges, she respects Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons, thinks Toby Young was brought on to be the wit but isn’t that witty and finds Padma Lakshmi to be a bit remote and unconcerned about the contestants, although she concedes this isn’t her job.

Leah talked in interview about going to Hong Kong after Top Chef 5, but she says that she doesn’t actually have any immediate plans, just thinks that travel is the best way to broaden one’s culinary horizons. For now, she’s sticking it out in New York and will continue to cook in the Big Apple.

– Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist.  See what I’m cooking this week on!

(Image courtesy of BravoTV)


Staff Columnist, BuddyTV