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Stacy Cogswell Reflects on Top Chef, Episode 4

The Top Chef season marches on, and Boston competitor Stacy Cogswell is back with reflections on episode four. Spoilers ahead.

Stacy Cogswell
Stacy Cogswell

Going into watching last night’s episode, how did you feel?

Going into every episode is stressful, so it's always knots in my stomach. Every time I watch it, I relive it.

So, last night’s episode started with you talking about how you got kicked out of Cheers!

Oh yeah, that happened...

What was it like to cook at Cheers?

It was a pretty small kitchen, so it was interesting. It’s also in a really old building, so I think that it was a challenge for people who are used to cooking in nice, new kitchens.

In the menu writing challenge at Via Matta, it seemed that some contestants were a little nervous about how to write the menus. How did you feel going into this challenge?

I felt great going into the challenge. I really enjoyed working with Katie and Rebecca, and it was nice to have a team that works very well together.

How was the energy in the kitchen? It seemed last night, from a viewer's standpoint, that it was running a little high. How did you feel?

When I went into service, it was like going back to being a sous chef. All of that comes back to you. There’s always anxiety going into service, whether it’s on the show or in real life, but there weren’t any weird vibes or anything. It was actually really great.

Last night you were on the bottom and facing elimination. At any point did you feel like you were going to be on the bottom?

I definitely felt like I was going to be on the bottom. They chose our menu last, and I was starting run very low on my food. I just knew it; it was really tough.

Looking back, would you have done anything differently?

I still would have sliced the steak; that was one of the things that the judges were upset about. It was a rib eye, which is a really fatty cut, and I felt like leaving it in a big hunk would have been a bad choice. With the vegetable, I fucked up. I knew it too, and I was hoping that it wouldn’t be that bad. I tasted the vegetables before they went out, and they were heavily roasted. I liked that heavily, caramelized taste, and I thought it actually went pretty nice with the rib eye. I just had a bad cook day.

How long were you guys all waiting in that room before they called you in? What was going through your head?

That anxiety of being in that room was awful. Seconds feel like hours, and it gives me time to reflect and think about everything. It's just a lot of frustration when you knew you put out something that you know you can do better at.

How do you feel about the judges' choices?

I was very sad to see both of them go. It was a very hard elimination for all of us. They are both amazing chefs, so it was definitely hard.

This is the first time you were on the bottom; did it change anything in you in how you approached things moving forward?

It was definitely a wake-up call for me. I just wanted to be better and be on my game more and realize that I can't have bad cook days. I knew that going forward I needed to focus more.

Bull and Finch Pub (Cheers Beacon Hill)

84 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02108 (617) 227-9605 Visit Website