Booted Top Cheffer Wants a Spin-off

Last night on Top Chef All-Stars, the four remaining contestants were asked to cook a conch-centric dinner on a deserted island. The tough conditions got the best of Dallas-based contender Tiffany Derry, who took the fall for serving cold conch chowder to Bahamian yacht club members. In our morning-after chat, she reveals the real reason for appearing on the show, and shares details on her upcoming restaurant, Private Social.

Did appearing on Top Chef get you where you want to be?
It definitely opened doors. I didn't have a national name before, and now I do. I'm going to make the most of it.

How did your husband handle your absence while filming?
He's been good. He's very supportive. He definitely has his moments where he's like, 'I want you all to myself,' but that's very few and far between. Everything has been solid.

Semi-related: We couldn't help but notice some sexual tension between Mikey and Antonia, oddly enough, after they discovered they were "cousins" in that family tree episode. Are we off base?
(Laughs.) They didn't get along very well until they found out they were cousins. Then they were best friends.

Was there a moment captured on camera you're grateful didn't air?
I'm grateful they didn't show my hair after I got out of the water. I forgot about it when I started cooking, so I didn't realize until after some time that it was puffed up on top of my head.

Someone suggested via Twitter that you should get your own show. Would you be interested?
It's my dream—that was the convincing reason I decided to go on Top Chef. I never necessarily wanted to compete, but sometimes you have to take a different route to get where you want to be.

What would the show's premise be?
I have a couple things I want to do. One of them would be a live show. I want to get back to that old feel of really good food and really good entertainment. The other one would be a traveling show. I know we have a lot of international shows, so I want to go around the U.S. and show people where the good spots are here.

Not sure when you'd have time for that, what with your forthcoming Dallas restaurant, Private Social. [Her previous restaurant, Go Fish, unexpectedly shuttered during filming.] What's the status?
It will open in August. It's going to be pretty cool—small plates, a bar and a wrap-around patio. Then there's a chef's room that overlooks the kitchen with a classy, old Hollywood glamour feel. Fresh, in-season ingredients, and I'm going with new American this time. I love Asian cuisine, I've done Italian for a long time, and I grew up eating Southern soul food. It's going to be all of those things put together.

So no conch on the menu?
Probably not. I think my conch days might be over. For the record, I actually did shuck five of them the right way. They only showed me banging the crap out of it at the beginning, but I eventually got it right. I was the conch whisperer. [The Feast]

Related stories on The Feast:
All Exit Interviews With Cut Top Chef Contestants
Tiffany Derry Craves Goose Liver, Hates Repeating Herself
Tiffany Derry Shows Off Her BBQ Shrimp

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