'Top Chef's' Melissa Perfit on Her Episode 1 Elimination and 'Last Chance Kitchen' Strategy
It's not easy being the first chef eliminated, but Melissa Perfit isn't taking 'Last Chance Kitchen' lightly.
Melissa Perfit was the first cheftestant on season 15 of Top Chef to pack her knives but that doesn’t mean you should sleep on her cooking. Perfit has been the Executive Chef at Bar Crudo in San Francisco since 2014. Before taking the helm at Bar Crudo, however, she trained under some of the most recognizable names in the Bay Area: Hog Island Oyster Co, Farina and Rn74 for Michael Mina, Bar Tartine for Chris Kronner and Nick Balla, and at Hard Water for Charles Phan. An expert at cooking with seafood, Perfit didn’t have the opportunity to show the judges (and the fans) the kind of work she does every day in her restaurant on the show, but it doesn’t discourage her from coming into Last Chance Kitchen with the fire to win her way back into the competition.
F&W: What inspired you to compete on Top Chef?
Melissa Perfit: I was inspired to compete on Top Chef because I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and be inspired to become a better chef.
F&W: What did you think when you first met your competitors?
MP: I noticed right away that all my competitors were very confident and experienced.
F&W: Do you feel like you deserved to be sent home? If not, who did?
MP: I don't feel like I made the best dish. I could've, but I didn’t showcase what I do best as a chef. I felt that Carrie got more criticism than me on her dish, but I didn’t taste hers so I can't say that she should've gone home instead.
F&W: What do you wish you had done differently in the elimination challenge?
MP: I wish I had grabbed one of the pressure cookers first so that my pork would've been braised properly in two hours. During the challenge, I wish I hadn't gotten into my own head and second guessed myself.
F&W: Do you have any tricks up your sleeve that you wish you had gotten the opportunity to show the judges?
MP: I just wish I had gotten an opportunity to cook something that showed my skill as a chef.
F&W: What is your strategy going into Last Chance Kitchen?
MP: To try my hardest and not get in my head. Once I saw three killer vets and a pile of potatoes...all of that went out the window.
F&W: Would you ever consider coming back on a future season? What would you do differently?
MP: I would consider coming back, but I would make sure that I came back more confident and not change what I do every day.