September 27, 2023 1:18 am
Top Chef Season 20 Winner Buddha Lo on World All-Stars, Padma Lakshmi – Variety


Fred Jagueneau/Bravo

SPOILER ALERT: This interview includes spoilers from the Season 20 finale of Bravo’s “Top Chef.”

Buddha Lo became the very first ever “Top Chef: Globe All-Stars” winner Thursday, beating out his finale competitors Sara Bradley and Gabri Rodriguez in the Paris-set “Top Chef” Season 20 finale.

But Lo’s win was historic beyond that specific 20th anniversary season achievement, as he became the very first “Top Chef” contestant to ever win two seasons back to back, possessing claimed victory in Season 19, “Top Chef: Houston.”

Adding a further layer of prestige, Lo has the honor of becoming the final contestant to be declared winner by Padma Lakshmi prior to she exits the cooking competitors right after 19 seasons as host.

Needless to say, Lo had substantially to talk about following the finale, and Selection caught up with him the morning right after the finale to break down his major win, saying goodbye to Lakshmi and why he “definitely” couldn’t be the a single to replace her at the judges’ table alongside Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons, regardless of his new title.

Initially, what does it really feel like to have won not just “World All-Stars,” but also back-to-back seasons, very first for Houston in Season 19 and now for Season 20 in London, which saw U.S. and international “Top Chef” winners and finalists compete for the very first time?

It is just almost everything sort of molded into a single. And I felt like I was on this a single singular journey, not two. But to be the very first globe all-star was such a privilege. I’m not positive if they’re gonna wait a further 20 far more seasons till they get a further a single, but they need to certainly do it once again. It is such a specific season. And the truth that “Top Chef” has so lots of various iterations, it feels spectacular and it meant a lot to the contestants and to men and women about the globe to have that representation. For instance, there’s not lots of Middle Eastern chefs that come on to “Top Chef” U.S., and possessing their representation of their meals, and Poland, as effectively. It is been truly cool to be a aspect of it.

Fred Jagueneau/Bravo

Fred Jagueneau/Bravo

The finale challenge is generally the similar on “Top Chef”: Cook the greatest meal of your life. You did that just final season, and won — so how did you method undertaking it once again this time about?

That was the toughest challenge due to the fact final season I dug myself a small bit deep due to the fact I’d mentioned in the final season that I would I do a menu not just for the sake of undertaking a menu, I’d rather do a menu that implies some thing to me. And there had been all these suggestions that I was receiving, but it didn’t relate to something. And it just became a menu of, this is a truly wonderful dish, I could win with this dish — but it totally has no which means. And the menu that I did prior to was so wonderful. And I was like, effectively, how do I prime this off? How do I preserve going? And in the course of the challenges, as we’d go, I’d begin to have dishes that I’d go, effectively, I’ve accomplished it prior to and I’m not positive if I’m satisfied or prepared to bring it back.

For instance, I really at a single point wanted to do a “mentors” menu, men and women who’ve taught me. And a single of them was going to be Clare Smyth and Gordon Ramsay, and I was going to do this truly cool Wellington at the finish — but then we’d accomplished 3 Wellingtons 3 episodes ago. So I didn’t want to do that. Components of your menu begin to deteriorate, and then you have to bring it back. So the finale menu took me a lengthy time to assume about prior to going to it. There had been a couple sleepless nights prior to the finale. But also, I was preparing myself about Episode 12 for the finale meal, just in case. We get briefed on it, about the finale coming up, even if you do not make it due to the fact there’s specific components. For instance, Gabri’s grasshoppers, we’re not gonna uncover that in Paris. That is not gonna come about. So you have to begin considering about it. If not, you are going to be in difficulty.

In the finale, Padma, Tom, Gail and guest judge Hélène Darroze of “Top Chef France” truly mulled more than the 4-course menus presented by your self, Sara and Gabri, with a couple of compelling motives to potentially have picked a single of the other two. It seemed the major cause that Sara wasn’t eventually regarded on par with you was she undercooked her liver, Padma even calling it “raw.” Do you assume if she had executed that aspect correctly the outcome could have been various?

I’m not going to lie, it would have been tight if she’d have executed it — who knows what outcome would have occurred. But that is the way that the show goes. You could dwell on, could have, need to have, what ever. In my opinion, she need to have sliced the liver a lot earlier to verify. You would most likely notice in the Wellington challenge that I sliced my Beef Wellington most likely about ten minutes prior to we served it. So it is really hard to attempt and dive back into it due to the fact, at the finish of the day, protein cookery is the quantity a single issue if you are going to be calling some thing liver and onions. And if you liver is not spectacular, then there’s absolutely nothing to judge on. And if your liver is raw, then that is just a cooking technicality on your finish, whether or not Amar cooked it or sliced it, just about every single issue that I did, I produced positive that I checked prior to I sent it out.

So it is sort of really hard to go, oh, if she did that she would have won. Properly, you cannot truly judge on that. It is “Cook the meal of your life,” and if you are not checking a single out of your 4 proteins, how it is cooked, then that is what you are judged off and not truly what could have occurred. That is what we did on the day. I stuffed up rice on the Thali challenge, I could have went residence. And it is like, oh, if I’d place on a second pot or checked it, I would have kept it. That is the way the competitors goes.

Would you ever come back to compete on a further season of “Top Chef” — and what would the theme require to be to return?

To be truthful, I would one hundred% do it once again — I just do not assume they’ll let me come back. And it is not due to the fact the revenue or the fame it is just I truly, truly completely delight in undertaking the competitors, whether or not I win or shed. It is just super enjoyable. But for these stars to align, to come back to back, to be a finalist and come back into the show, it is unheard of. And it is most likely going to be unheard of for the likelihood of somebody coming and winning back to back. I mentioned to my loved ones, if you picked up 20 balls, all numbered a single to 20, what are the possibilities that you are going to have 19 and 20, and then have to go by means of 28 challenges and not stuff up, and win, to get this. And you have to get 19 and 20, in that order. It is quite really hard.

I want them to have far more seasons of “Top Chef: Globe All-Stars,” just so there can be far more Globe All-Stars to compete in, “Top Chef: Globe All-Stars: All-Stars.”

I’ve attempted pushing Tom for “Top Chef 30: Galaxy,” exactly where I represent Earth.

Fred Jagueneau/Bravo

Padma Lakshmi is leaving “Top Chef” right after this season. What did it really feel like to be the winner of her final season as host?

I’ve been so fortunate to be in a position to do two seasons back to back and the final episode for Padma, as effectively. I assume a lot of men and women would dream to have her say your name as the winner for the quite final time. I’m positive there’s going to be somebody else that she’s going to be passing the baton on to, and it is gonna really feel just as specific. But the truth that she’s been there for 19 seasons, it is going to be really hard to watch it without the need of her, but I’m also excited at the similar time, due to the fact I know that she’s going off and she’s going to do all these incredible factors, she’s not going to quit. And also, it is going to be incredible for “Top Chef,” as effectively. It is turning a web page exactly where this is a new era. And hopefully we have far more chefs that are in there, do some studying and truly elevating what “Top Chef” implies. Due to the fact it has a brand and “Top Chef” is such a prestigious name. And I hope that it keeps up with the format exactly where it pushes chefs to attain beyond, to grow to be truly inventive, diverse and cook a lot of various factors that they adore.

Do you have ideas for who need to be the subsequent host?

To be truthful, there’s also lots of. I do not know how that will go. But I cannot name any of them at the moment. I’m positive everyone’s got that a single particular person that they’re like, oh, they’d bee wonderful. But with me, it is like just about every 5 minutes, oh, that particular person would be wonderful. It is certainly not me. But I do not know at this point.

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