Top Chef: All Stars just gave Angelo Sosa [the chef that numerous cast members have labeled a saboteur], the boot. Now, Sosa is opening up about his last challenge, the elimination, and if he ever did indeed taint his fellow chefs’ courses.
A late-night endurance challenge at Target would be enough to push any chef to his/her limits. Complaining of sleep deprivation and lagging their legs, fellow contestants all scrambled to pushed their minds to remember what was needed for their courses on this week’s episode. Exhausted and suffering all the same, Sosa’s departure was due to his simple mistake of over-salting his baked potato soup, which he blames on “palate fatigue”.
Judge’s referred to Sosa’s soup as inedible, but did Angelo feel the same? And was he aware that it was highly over-salted? “No, to be honest, cooking at Target at 2 or 3 in the morning, having tasted it so many times, I got palate fatigue — my palate just got so desensitized. I really did not know I was up there for that specific reason. I just thought maybe it was out of whack. I trusted the judges. They’re all highly talented and have acute palates, and they made a decision and I respect that. … Let me put it this way: If I had known it was over-salted earlier, I wouldn’t have served it. So going through Judges’ Table, I didn’t know that was what they were going to say.”
Fellow chef Mike admitted to Sosa that “something” was missing…but did Mike ever suggest to Angelo what that was off-camera? “No. It was just missing a flavor enhancer and that was what I was looking for — maybe something umami-esque. So I did bacon and salt, and maybe it got a little too concentrated. … You can’t go wrong with bacon unless you’re a vegetarian! [Laughs] So that was my angle — give them more bacon love. And the salt — I’m just a compulsive taster so I think I tasted it over 20 times and I couldn’t distinguish what the flavors were and over-salted it. As much as I wanted to compete, I made a mistake.”
We all saw Tiffany make a tearful speech at Judges’ Table, but we never saw that from Sosa? Did it happen and it just didn’t make it on air? “Yeah, I said I was from a little town in Connecticut called Durham. [Laughs] Her tear bucket was fuller than mine. No, I’m joking. When I gave my little thing in the end, I was very moved. I felt a means of accomplishment. I competed in back-to-back seasons. I got sick in Singapore. I never realized when I started All-Stars how much Singapore really affected me. It was really tough. Two and a half weeks [after Singapore], I go to All-Stars. I gave it my all. I pushed harder than ever. My new favorite line is ‘I broke myself.’ The other competitors really broke me in a good way. They let me see my limits, reach my limits and go past my limits, so that was really amazing. It was just more of a sense of being honored to be there even though it was the end of my road.”
Fellow chefs have deemed Sosa a saboteur, and to be fair, we’ve all saw his ‘quick-fixes’ and ‘additions’ to co-chef’s courses; does he deserve the title? “Of course I don’t. It’s not even in my DNA. I was put on this earth to cook from my heart. I’m a sincere person who loves to cook, who loves to extract greatness from individuals. I love collaboration and to be able to work with others, help them, learn from them to make something amazing. [Sabotage’s] just not part of my existence.”
And…about those knee-high socks he was wearing… “Those were for my varicose veins. They were my grandmother’s and I wanted to wear those in memory. I’m just kidding! I think you have to bring a little flair to the show. I knew there would be a lot of running. When we got there, I just booked it. I was, like, 15 steps in front of everyone else. I used to play sports and it reminded me of playing football — roll my socks up.”
As some fans may not know, Angelo is about to open a new restaurant called Social Eatz. What’s that place going to be like? “It’s opening the week of March 1 [in New York City]. … This whole menu was inspired by Top Chef: All-Stars. The concept is American comfort food mingling with Asian flavors. I’m making things like a bibimbap burger. It’s this vintage beef served with Korean pickles and a beautifully slow-poached egg. It’s literally verbatim of a bibimbap.”
And there you have it Top Chef fans! I personally was sad to see Angelo go, but who knows? Maybe aTop Chef spin-off all the chef’s and their old and new restaurants could happen! I’m sure if Tom and Padma visits Social Eatz, the correct amount of salt will be applied this go-round!