Eddie Konrad Learned to Trust His Instincts on 'Top Chef'
The Philadelphia-based chef was knocked out by a fight-focused challenge honoring Muhammad Ali.
Eddie Konrad, the talented cheftestant from Philadelphia's Laurel, entered Top Chef's Kentucky season and immediately stood out from the competition partly because of his cooking skills and partly because of the constant (seemingly) panicked and worried face he wore in front of the judges. Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio frequently commented on his anxious expressions at judge’s table, even as they announced that Eddie won challenges.
Eddie’s technical prowess in the kitchen made him a frontrunner for the title and he sailed through the competition for several weeks but slipped up when challenges required him to add a personal touch to his dishes, exploring memories and storylines that spoke to the emotion of cooking. The final blow was a challenge focusing on the greatest boxer of all time and a Louisville, Kentucky native, Muhammad Ali and a chicken dish that lacked a punch.
We caught up with Eddie post-elimination to find out how he feels about his time on Top Chef Kentucky and his strategy heading into Last Chance Kitchen.
Food & Wine: What inspired you to compete on Top Chef?
Eddie Konrad: My wife Keri was my biggest inspiration. She told me if I got the offer I had to do it or I would regret it. She wanted me to get out there let go and put myself out there for better or worse.
FW: What did you think when you first met your competitors and saw them in action?
EK: I was excited to get to know them, honestly. I could tell everyone was very talented and passionate.
FW: If you had to do the Muhammad Ali challenge again would you pick a different dish?
EK: Ha! I would have loved to do the original dish I had planned.
FW: Do you feel like someone else should have gone home instead of you?
EK: At the end of the day, I stand behind my dish and the judges felt it was me who had to go. End of story.
FW: Who do you think is going to be Top Chef? And who are you rooting for?
EK: The last one standing. But seriously, I’m going to be happy for whoever takes home the title because it’s quite an accomplishment.
FW: What was your favorite challenge?
EK: The beef challenge. Meeting Dario and Nancy was incredible.
FW: Do you have any specific dishes or techniques that you wish you had gotten the opportunity to show the judges?
EK: Specifically no, I just wish I had the opportunity to continue to cook for them.
FW: What's your strategy going into Last Chance Kitchen?
EK: Try my best to cook a perfect dish.
FW: What did you think when you saw who you would be competing against in Last Chance Kitchen?
EK: I was excited! Michelle is such an amazing person and a great chef.
FW: What was the biggest lesson during your time on Top Chef? Did you learn something new about yourself or your cooking that you'll take with you?
EK: Having never really done any sort of cooking competition it was nice to see what you can do under different types of pressure. Obviously, Top Chef isn’t the kind of cooking I do on a daily basis so being thrown in these high-pressure situations you truly learn to trust your instinct no matter what and to really dig deep.