A city-full of Top Chef fans cringed last week when they watched Colin Patterson of Sutra become the first contestant eliminated by the show's judging panel, but Patterson wasn't among them. The chef still hasn't seen the show.
"I was busy working," Patterson says. "I didn't need to see it; I knew what happened."
Patterson doesn't own a television, but asked a friend to tape the premiere episode. He hasn't yet made plans to watch it.
The judges refused to sample Patterson's food after he spilled cauliflower soup all over his short rib zucchini cakes. While Patterson's screen time was too short for most viewers to form an opinion of him, he was praised in the blogosphere for not throwing a temper tantrum when his Top Chef career ended before the first episode's halfway point. (He was also roundly mocked by food writers elsewhere for embodying Seattle stereotypes. "Oh Colin, you work at a vegan restaurant? In Seattle?," Creative Loafing Atlanta's Top Chef correspondent wrote. The Houston Pressnicknamed him Nut Cheese, after one of his restaurant's homemade items.)
"Everybody said I acted with a whole lot of grace, that I held up the way I am," Patterson said.
Patterson called upon his yoga training to stay calm throughout the hour-long challenge, but felt his cool slip in the final 10 minutes.
"I was balanced for most of the time, but, for some reason, it went from 10 to two minutes in a blink of an eye," he recalled. "I tried to do too much in those 10 minutes."
In non-competitive settings, there's almost always time to wipe a plate clean, he said.
"Obviously, when the bell rings and your hands go up, that's that," he said. "It's kind of funny in a way."
While Patterson was prepared for shoving and sabotaging in the kitchen, he was pleasantly surprised by his fellow cheftestants' attitudes.
"Nobody was scrapping for themselves," he said. "People were looking out for each other. That made me feel really good. The chefs care about food: They don't want someone else's onions to burn."