Where are you living/working now?
Right now my wife, son and I live in Nampa, Idaho, just outside of Boise. I moved here to open a restaurant, which I subsequently left after opening, and is now closed. D'oh! Now I work at a bakery during the day running the hot side and teach cooking classes and catering private events at night. It's a much calmer, peaceful existence. Now that we have the boy, life has switched from career focused to family focused. Those of you out there with kids know what I’m talking about. Who wants to sweat it out on the hotline screaming at line cooks when you can be at home changing poopy diapers while the pooper screams at you?
What have you been up to since FNS?
After the show, I left the restaurant I was working at and started working at a private club and doing small event catering, private chef work and lots of cooking classes. I got the opportunity to move to Idaho and open a restaurant and I did.
What did you enjoy most (and least) about being on FNS?
The best thing about the show was meeting the gang. It was great to meet so many talented people and I was fortunate enough to develop some lasting friendships.
Do you still keep in touch with other finalists?
I do still keep in touch with a couple of cats from the show.
Any behind-the-scenes happenings from FNS you can tell us about?
Have I been released from my confidentiality contract? Just kidding! I can dish! Who wants Vivien's cell phone number?
How did being on FNS affect your culinary career?
That's hard to say. No one has told me that they hired me because I was on the show, but people do get a kick out of it. I think the biggest impact on my career was the course change I took after the show, leaving corporate chefdom and going out on my own. Perhaps I gained confidence to take the next step to go private.
What advice would you offer the next round of finalists?
I'm not one to be giving advice. I guess I'd advise to just try to have fun with it; it should be fun.
When you look back, would you have done anything differently?
First of all I don't have any regrets. I played the game the way I wanted to. Unfortunately, the way I played the game made me an easy choice for elimination. When the judges say it's a tough decision who to send home, know that it wasn't a tough one for them regarding me. I wanted to go home. They knew it and it worked out for everyone. That being said given the opportunity again, I would probably try a little harder to remain on the show longer. It was fun; it just wasn't what I expected. Now that I know what to expect, I would have tried to have a little more fun with the show.
Are you recognized from your time on FNS?
I was for awhile, but surprisingly, the first guy eliminated from the show 3 years ago isn't really recognized that often. But it has happened, even here in Nampa, Idaho!
What was the greatest lesson you learned from your time on FNS?
In my opinion, the best audience is one who can smell and taste the food, ask questions and enjoy the whole experience. TV has been fun. I have always enjoyed it, but it can easily taint a passion and take the fun out of something that one truly loves to do.