We recently got the chance to chat with the very sweet and very funny Ash Fulk from Season 6! Though he didn’t emerge victorious in Vegas, he has a great, honest attitude about his loss during the Pigs & Pinot challenge (“I dropped the ball on my dish”). Right now, he’s busy consulting at a restaurant on Fire Island, but took some time to answer our questions!
TopChefShow.com: Did you watch the premiere?
Ash Fulk: I was actually on the road when it premiered. It’s Tivo’d for me in New York. I heard it was good though! Some tough competition. A friend told me, “This season’s gonna be rough.” I said, “Awesome.”
TCS: If you were to sum up your own experience on the show using 5 words, what would they be?
AF: How about, “Gosh, I wish I’d won.” (laughs)
TCS: Did you suspect Michael Voltaggio might win the whole thing?
AF: We all kind of thought that. The first or second QuickFire he made something, and we were like, “What the fuck?” (laughs). But I thought Jen and Kevin would give him a run for his money. And Bryan… even Eli, too!
TCS: Who was your favorite judge?
AF: I think my favorite consistent judge was Tom, only because he was an actual constructive judge…He was able to give us advice, while also making us feel like crap (laughs). But you would go home and think, “He’s right, that dish did need acid.” In terms of a guest judge, I kind of have to say Mark Peel, only because he’s the only one who liked anything I cooked.
TCS: What has life been like since?
AF: It’s funny. Eli was at a cooking demonstration and someone asked, “What’s Ash doing?” And Eli said, “He’s just gone off to write the Great American Novel.” (Laughs) I’m just a chef in the city… It’s been pretty much the same except you get recognized. You’ll be walking down the street picking your nose, and people are like, “Hey, that’s Ash from Top Chef!” I’m a chef in a restaurant. I started the show as a chef, and I ended the show as a chef.
TCS: Why do you think people watch Top Chef?
AF: I think in this day and age in this culture, we sort of fetishize the food professional, and this gives them a pretty good glance into their thought processes… I think that’s what people want to see. They’re tired of the polished cooking show. You kind of get to see the inner workings of a chef’s head. And we’re a bunch of alpha male, catty bitches.
TCS: Tell us what you love most about cooking and food, and what led you to this career.
AF: Very simply, I think cooking is philosophically one of the most amazing things you could do, because one thing every single person in this world needs is food. And I have been given the skills to cook food. My favorite thing is to cook for people. It sounds so cliché, but it’s true. In my restaurants, I like when there is an open kitchen so I can see people eating the food.
TCS: It’s 2 a.m., and you’re at a diner. What do you order?
AF: Disco fries. With the cheese and gravy on top.
TCS: You’re asked to participate in an eating contest and are allowed to pick your food of choice. What do you choose?
AF: Chips and salsa, because I’m from California, and that’s not real food. That’s just air. I could eat that until I die.
TCS: If you could have anyone from the Top Chef franchise over for dinner, who would it be?
AF: I would want the dinner party to be fun, so I wouldn’t invite the judges (laughs). But I actually would like the chance to redeem myself… so I would say I would invite Tom over, so I could show him I’m not such a hack.