SPOILER ALERT: This question and reply contains spoilers from nan Season 20 finale of Bravo’s “Top Chef.”
Buddha Lo became nan first ever “Top Chef: World All-Stars” victor Thursday, beating retired his finale title Sara Bradley and Gabri Rodriguez successful nan Paris-set “Top Chef” Season 20 finale.
But Lo’s triumph was historical beyond that typical 20th day play achievement, arsenic he became nan first “Top Chef” contestant to ever triumph 2 seasons backmost to back, having claimed triumph successful Season 19, “Top Chef: Houston.”
Adding different furniture of prestige, Lo has nan grant of being nan last contestant to beryllium declared victor by Padma Lakshmi earlier she exits nan cooking title aft 19 seasons arsenic host.
Needless to say, Lo had overmuch to talk pursuing nan finale, and Variety caught up pinch him nan greeting aft nan finale to break down his large win, saying goodbye to Lakshmi and why he “definitely” couldn’t beryllium nan 1 to switch her astatine nan judges’ array alongside Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons, contempt his caller title.
First, what does it consciousness for illustration to person won not conscionable “World All-Stars,” but besides back-to-back seasons, first for Houston successful Season 19 and now for Season 20 successful London, which saw U.S. and world “Top Chef” winners and finalists compete for nan first time?
It’s conscionable everything benignant of molded into one. And I felt for illustration I was connected this 1 singular journey, not two. But to beryllium nan first world all-star was specified a privilege. I’m not judge if they’re gonna hold different 20 much seasons until they get different one, but they should decidedly do it again. It’s specified a typical season. And nan truth that “Top Chef” has truthful galore different iterations, it feels spectacular and it meant a batch to nan contestants and to group astir nan world to person that representation. For example, there’s not galore Middle Eastern chefs that travel connected to “Top Chef” U.S., and having their practice of their food, and Poland, arsenic well. It’s been really cool to beryllium a portion of it.
The finale situation is ever nan aforesaid connected “Top Chef”: Cook nan champion repast of your life. You did that conscionable past season, and won — truthful really did you attack doing it again this clip around?
That was nan toughest situation because past play I dug myself a small spot heavy because I’d said successful nan past play that I would I do a paper not conscionable for nan liking of doing a menu, I’d alternatively do a paper that intends thing to me. And location were each these ideas that I was getting, but it didn’t subordinate to anything. And it conscionable became a paper of, this is simply a really awesome dish, I could triumph pinch this crockery — but it perfectly has nary meaning. And nan paper that I did earlier was truthful great. And I was like, well, really do I apical this off? How do I support going? And during nan challenges, arsenic we’d go, I’d commencement to person dishes that I’d go, well, I’ve done it earlier and I’m not judge if I’m happy aliases consenting to bring it back.
For example, I really astatine 1 constituent wanted to do a “mentors” menu, group who’ve taught me. And 1 of them was going to beryllium Clare Smyth and Gordon Ramsay, and I was going to do this really cool Wellington astatine nan extremity — but past we’d done 3 Wellingtons 3 episodes ago. So I didn’t want to do that. Parts of your paper commencement to deteriorate, and past you person to bring it back. So nan finale paper took maine a agelong clip to deliberation astir earlier going to it. There were a mates sleepless nights earlier nan finale. But also, I was preparing myself astir Episode 12 for nan finale meal, conscionable successful case. We get briefed connected it, astir nan finale coming up, moreover if you don’t make it because there’s typical ingredients. For example, Gabri’s grasshoppers, we’re not gonna find that successful Paris. That’s not gonna happen. So you person to commencement reasoning astir it. If not, you’re going to beryllium successful trouble.
In nan finale, Padma, Tom, Gail and impermanent judge Hélène Darroze of “Top Chef France” really mulled complete nan four-course menus presented by yourself, Sara and Gabri, pinch a fewer compelling reasons to perchance person picked 1 of nan different two. It seemed nan main logic that Sara wasn’t yet considered connected par pinch you was she undercooked her liver, Padma moreover calling it “raw.” Do you deliberation if she had executed that portion decently nan result could person been different?
I’m not going to lie, it would person been tight if she’d person executed it — who knows what consequence would person happened. But that’s nan measurement that nan show goes. You could dwell on, could have, should have, whatever. In my opinion, she should person sliced nan liver a batch earlier to check. You would astir apt announcement successful nan Wellington situation that I sliced my Beef Wellington astir apt astir 10 minutes earlier we served it. So it’s difficult to effort and dive backmost into it because, astatine nan extremity of nan day, macromolecule cookery is nan number 1 point if you’re going to beryllium calling thing liver and onions. And if you liver isn’t spectacular, past there’s thing to judge on. And if your liver is raw, past that’s conscionable a cooking technicality connected your end, whether Amar cooked it aliases sliced it, each azygous point that I did, I made judge that I checked earlier I sent it out.
So it’s benignant of difficult to go, oh, if she did that she would person won. Well, you can’t really judge connected that. It’s “Cook nan repast of your life,” and if you’re not checking 1 retired of your 4 proteins, really it’s cooked, past that’s what you’re judged disconnected and not really what could person happened. That’s what we did connected nan day. I stuffed up atom connected nan Thali challenge, I could person went home. And it’s like, oh, if I’d put connected a 2nd cookware aliases checked it, I would person kept it. That’s nan measurement nan title goes.
Would you ever travel backmost to compete connected different play of “Top Chef” — and what would nan taxable request to beryllium to return?
To beryllium honest, I would 100% do it again — I conscionable don’t deliberation they’ll fto maine travel back. And it’s not because nan money aliases nan fame it’s conscionable I really, really thoroughly bask doing nan competition, whether I triumph aliases lose. It’s conscionable ace fun. But for these stars to align, to travel backmost to back, to beryllium a finalist and travel backmost into nan show, it’s unheard of. And it’s astir apt going to beryllium unheard of for nan chance of personification coming and winning backmost to back. I said to my family, if you picked up 20 balls, each numbered 1 to 20, what are nan chances that you’re going to person 19 and 20, and past person to spell done 28 challenges and not worldly up, and win, to get this. And you person to get 19 and 20, successful that order. It’s very hard.
I want them to person much seasons of “Top Chef: World All-Stars,” conscionable truthful location tin beryllium much World All-Stars to compete in, “Top Chef: World All-Stars: All-Stars.”
I’ve tried pushing Tom for “Top Chef 30: Galaxy,” wherever I correspond Earth.
Padma Lakshmi is leaving “Top Chef” aft this season. What did it consciousness for illustration to beryllium nan victor of her last play arsenic host?
I’ve been truthful fortunate to beryllium capable to do 2 seasons backmost to backmost and nan last section for Padma, arsenic well. I deliberation a batch of group would dream to person her opportunity your sanction arsenic nan victor for nan very past time. I’m judge there’s going to beryllium personification other that she’s going to beryllium passing nan baton connected to, and it’s gonna consciousness conscionable arsenic special. But nan truth that she’s been location for 19 seasons, it’s going to beryllium difficult to watch it without her, but I’m besides excited astatine nan aforesaid time, because I cognize that she’s going disconnected and she’s going to do each these astonishing things, she’s not going to stop. And also, it’s going to beryllium astonishing for “Top Chef,” arsenic well. It’s turning a page wherever this is simply a caller era. And hopefully we person much chefs that are successful there, do immoderate studying and really elevating what “Top Chef” means. Because it has a marque and “Top Chef” is specified a prestigious name. And I dream that it keeps up pinch nan format wherever it pushes chefs to scope beyond, to go really creative, divers and navigator a batch of different things that they love.
Do you person suggestions for who should beryllium nan adjacent host?
To beryllium honest, there’s excessively many. I don’t cognize really that will go. But I can’t sanction immoderate of them astatine nan moment. I’m judge everyone’s sewage that 1 personification that they’re like, oh, they’d bee great. But pinch me, it’s for illustration each 5 minutes, oh, that personification would beryllium great. It’s decidedly not me. But I don’t cognize astatine this point.