Chef Kevin Gillespie, fan favorite of Top Chef: Season 6, took some time out of his busy day to answer some our burning culinary questions. Chef Gillespie is the Executive Chef/Co-Owner at the Woodfire Grill in Atlanta, and his Southern boy hospitality allowed us a peek into the future of this TopScallop’s favorite.
(Eric Rankin, Interviewer) Do you keep in touch with Eli Kirshtein or any of the other Top Chef alumni?
(Chef Kevin Gillespie) Yes, I talk to Eli frequently and I keep in touch with Michael and Bryan Voltaggio and Jennifer Carroll.
(ER) Is there one person who inspired you to be a chef?
(KG) Well, there are a couple of different avenues that inspired me. First, I learned to cook from my Granny. Professionally, it happened when I read the French Laundry cookbook. That solidified in my mind that I wanted to cook professionally and that serving food was my passion.
(ER) What is your overall favorite part of the pig?
(KG) It’s really hard to say. I guess if I had to pick, I’d say the trotters. This isn’t the most used or versatile, but it has awesome flavor.
(ER) How would you compare your experiences cooking on the West Coast as opposed to the East Coast? (Fife Restaurant in Portland, OR and Woodfire Grill in Atlanta, GA)
(KG) The west coast is more cognizant of the quality of raw ingredients. They really want to know that it was purchased from someone local. But they are also less welcoming to food traditions from other places, like the food I grew up with.
(ER) Do you use any unconventional tools in the kitchen that you can’t live without?
(KG) We rely on a woodfired grill and oven. It’s not really unconventional but others don’t use this. We create dishes that require them.
(ER) Would you do another reality show?
(KG) It’s unlikely unless it was for a particular reason or cause.
(ER) Is there any special music you rock out to while you cook?
(KG) We have a rotating playlist in our kitchen – everyone gets a say-so in it. I will say that we have our favorites. Whenever Hall & Oates is on, no one complains.
(ER) Did the Top Chef producers ask you to rub your beard in the Top Chef: Season 6 Intro or did you improvise that?
(KG) Yes, they asked me to do that.
(ER) If given the choice, what would your final meal be before you die?
(ER) Executive Chef/Owner of your own successful restaurant, Finalist in Top Chef, and one of TopScallops.com’s favorite chefs ever – all by the age of 29. What is there left to do?
(KG) My first cookbook, Fire in My Belly, is coming out in Fall 2012 and then I’m doing another one after that. I’d love to do more TV and open more restaurants. I’d pretty much like to model my life after Richard Branson.
… and with that we look forward to the release of his upcoming book, and one day making the journey to Atlanta to feast upon the delicious work of Chef Gillespie.