'Top Chef Seattle': 8 Questions with Joshua Valentine
The new dad has shed 35 pounds and is working as a pastry chef in Dallas.
It's Valentine's Day, but, sadly, it's not Joshua Valentine's day. The earnest Oklahoman who "walks like a chef," as guest judge Curtis Stone once observed, went home on last night's episode of Top Chef Seattle after he presented the judges with a plate of foie gras served three-ways -- torchon, pan-seared and profiterol.
Unfortunately, his torchon did not set properly, a fatal mistake. Brooke Williamson and Sheldon Simeon therefore advance to the finals. The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Valentine on Thursday about his new baby (now six months old), his job as a pastry chef and the 35 pounds he's dropped since the cameras stopped rolling.
The Hollywood Reporter: How’s your baby?
Joshua Valentine: Georgia is awesome. She’s about six months old now, so she’s keeping me pretty busy.
THR: Do you think the judges made the right call last night?
Valentine: Obviously, I’m biased on my behalf, but it was a difficult call. I fell short on technique; Sheldon fell short on seasoning. His technique in cooking his proteins was spot-on. So you’ve got these two similar things, and at that point, it’s just up to them and what they want to see in the finale as far as food. My downfall was that throughout the season, I was cooking simple and straightforward foods. And Sheldon had been a little more exotic in his approach.
THR: You seem like a quiet, introspective guy. How did you adjust to a life lived in front of the camera?
Valentine: You know, it’s definitely different. And it wasn’t just one camera, it was like 10 cameras all around. Since seeing myself on the show, I’ve lost 35 pounds. I had to ask my wife, “Am I really that fat?” She was like, “Yeah, you probably should lose a little weight.”
THR: Last night, Tom Colicchio tweeted during the show that he looked liked he’d gained 20 pounds this season.
Valentine: [Laughs] Maybe I handed it off to him.
THR: How did you lose it?
Valentine: I stopped drinking so much after work. And not eating late at night. Usually I don’t get off until 11:00 or midnight. I’d put back three bourbons and eat dinner.
THR: Has life changed much for you?
Valentine: It’s gotten a little crazy. Not too much. When I go to the grocery store, people will stop me and want to get my picture. When I go out to eat, I’ll get some head-turns and looks. It's stuff I’m not used to -- people wanting my autograph. I don’t feel like I’m a celebrity. I’m just an average guy who got lucky on a television show. It’s very flattering and a lot of fun. I try to be a good sport about it.
THR: Remember when Curtis Stone said that you "walk like a chef?"
Valentine: I have no idea what that means. I’m from Del City, Oklahoma. It’s a huge wrestling community. I went to high school with a guy that won two Olympic gold medals. So I’ve always thought I walk like a wrestler. I’m a little bow-legged and flat-footed and kind of have a bad back, so I walk a little unique, but that’s the first time I ever heard "walks like a chef.” I don’t know what that meant.
THR: I'm guessing you're siding with your homeboy Sheldon in the finale?
Valentine: Sheldon is my boy, but the three of us went through this entire journey together. Brooke’s like a little sister to me. But Sheldon’s my boy. Probably for me, inside I’m rooting for him a little more.
THR: What happens next?
Valentine: Right now, I’m a pastry chef in Dallas at a restaurant called FT33. It's a friend of mine's restaurant, and I called him and asked if I could come back to work with him. He said, “The only thing I have is a pastry position.” I said, “OK, I can make pastries.” I’m probably the only pastry chef that can also break down a hog when we get them in to make charcuterie out of. But it just makes me a more well-rounded chef, which is hopefully the goal.