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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Top Chef's Ash Fulk Got Kicked to the Curb. He's Not Bitter -- Except About Padma

Posted By on Thu, Oct 15, 2009 at 2:46 PM

click to enlarge Fulk: He won't be inviting Padma over for snacks.
  • Fulk: He won't be inviting Padma over for snacks.
In case you were glued to Glee last night, you missed Ash Fulk getting bounced from Top Chef. Fulk might be the nicest contestant ever. "I was outcooked," he said this morning by phone. And he wouldn't diss anybody on the show -- except for Padma. More on that later.

Born and bred in Pleasant Hill in the East Bay, Fulk worked as a prep cook at LMNO in Oakland (now defunct), did catering for the California Shakespeare Festival in Orinda, then crossed the continent to work as a chef on a farm in upstate New York for a summer. "Every chef wants to make it in New York," Fulk told SFoodie. He considers himself lucky to have landed at Trestle on Tenth, a Swiss-influenced New American restaurant in Chelsea.

The goateed chef, who never won a single challenge, thinks Top Chef's judging process is grueling. "It's very long and very nuanced. Even in a restaurant review, you don't get a dish broken down like that. Listening to people say 'you suck' 10 different ways." He even had something good to say about this season's bête noire, Robin. "Throw her some props, she's had a successful restaurant, which I haven't." But his courtliness vanished when it came to Padma: "I'm sure she's a lovely person, but I don't really want her at my dinner party."

And what's it like being a member of Team Homo on Top Chef? "Some guy came up who'd started the Gay Men's Opera and thanked me. He said that 20 years ago nobody could be out on television the way I was. That was nice. I didn't even know that I was doing that."

His prediction for who'll be in the final three: Kevin, Jen, and Michael. "They're amazing people, amazing chefs, with completely different ways of cooking. Right now I'm leaning towards Kevin, maybe because I'm hungry for barbecue, and he does great barbecue!"

Next for Fulk? He's back in the kitchen at Trestle on Tenth, but looking for "a restaurateur with an idea" who'd like to install him in a place of his own. And he enjoys working with the Ali Forney Center. "It's a home for gay youth who've been kicked out of their homes," Fulk said. Like we told you, he's nice.

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Meredith Brody

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