Chef Paul Chen says he’s “never been more happy in my life” than he was watching the final episodes of Top Chef, and the show’s season finale is just the tip of the iceberg for him.
In a new interview with BuzzFeed News, the restaurateur said that after he spent five years as host, he had “never felt more satisfied and at peace” with himself.
“I’m grateful for every single day,” he said.
“I’ve always been a big fan of cooking.
I think I’ve been an incredibly loyal person for a long time.”
Chen also revealed that he’s watched the finale for the first time in 20 years, and said that “if there’s a scene I want to go back to again, it’s definitely that.”
“I’d like to go to the episode where my dad’s not in the house, and we go through a couple of dishes that are very similar,” he continued.
“He’s the one who takes the dish and it just gets better and better and he’s like, ‘I don’t care what you’re saying, I’m going to eat it.'”
He then adds, “And then the next day, I go, ‘Oh, I love this, I don’t even care anymore.'”
Chen’s comments echo the sentiment of the Top Chef cast, who have said that the finale was a “huge disappointment.”
“I had no idea what was going to happen, I had no clue who was going out of the house,” said contestant Stephanie Zvanis, in the Season 12 finale.
“It was a very confusing and chaotic and stressful moment.”
In the same interview, contestant Katie Hagerty said she wished she could “go back to that day and say, ‘Yes, it was very, very exciting and wonderful.'”
“That was the only way to experience it,” Hagerity continued.
Chen also admitted that he was “a little bit disappointed” with his experience on the show, but didn’t go into detail about why.
“If I’d been honest with myself, I would’ve had the same answer to all of the questions I asked myself,” he admitted.
“But the truth is I don.
Chen’s Top Chef experience was not the only experience he experienced while hosting the show.
In an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Chen shared a similar story about working on the Bravo reality show’s final season, which he said was a life-changing experience.
Chen said that he worked on a couple seasons of the show before he was hired as host of the network’s reality series.
“There was this time I was in a position where I was going through this really dark time,” he told THR.
“So I went in, I was kind of like, I guess, a little bit of a weirdo, because I’m sort of not a fan of this type of environment.
I wanted to work on the reality series, so I did.
And then it just kind of happened, and I ended up working on Season 2.
It was such a transformative time in my career.”
Chen shared that he didn’t know what he was doing on the series at the time, but that he “went from kind of a normal person to the most humble person in the world.”
“There are a lot of stories and characters that are really important to me,” he added.
“Like I said, I just kind was on a journey.
I felt like I had so much to contribute to this world, and it was kind, like, an incredible time.
And that was all I could do.”
Chen, however, says he “didn’t know anything about reality.”
“At the time I didn’t even know how to say no to a job offer,” he explained.
“And I just thought, ‘Wow, I really want to be a part-time host.
I’m totally in it for the long haul.'”
Chen said he had a “really bad relationship” with the network, and that he felt like he was treated like “a piece of meat” on the production side of things.
“We were so used to working on TV,” he recalled.
“You’d go into a job and it’d be, like…
‘Hey, let’s do this.’
And then you’d be like, oh, we’re not doing this.
We’re not producing this, and this is just this kind of, you know, part-timer type of show.
And we’d get to this point where, like in the case of the TV show, it seemed like we were just kind being thrown on the side.”
Chen said it was a time when he felt “like my career was just over,” and that “the real world was getting to me.”
Chen has since moved on to other ventures, including serving as the host of a reality series called The Cooking Channel,