‘Top Chef' Runner-Up's Resto Gets Saucy

Last night on Top Chef: All-Stars, we watched an epic showdown between buddies Richard Blais and Mike Isabella. For the elimination challenge, both chefs created 'restaurants' that wowed the judges, but in the end, Blais went home with $200,000 and the Top Chef title. In our morning-after post-mortem, Isabella is all about tying up loose ends. He's done with Top Chef for good, has no more beef with fellow competitor Antonia Lofaso, and is excited about opening up a new restaurant in D.C.—this time, for real.

Now that everything's said and done, do you think the right man won?
Me and Richard are very close. He was the most consistent and dominant throughout, and he deserved it.

Do you think he'll follow through with that promise to invest in your next eatery?
I don’t know, I mean, we’ll see what happens. I'm not concerned about that. I think eventually we’ll do a project together. He loves my food, and I love his creativity in food.

Will anything we saw in your elimination meal show up on the menu at [your forthcoming D.C. restaurant] Graffiato?
You will see the pepperoni sauce at Graffiato! I used all Italian flavor profiles that I grew up with, and that's what's going to be at Graffiato. [For the sauce recipe, click here.]

You also told us that you thought Antonia Lofaso was the real villain of the season, but we've noticed a lot of Twitter love between the two of you.
During the season we really didn’t get along, until we found out we were cousins. All in all now, I think a lot of things have changed in our relationship.

You seemed a little loose [read: drunk] at the live finale special. Were you drinking?
Yeah [laughs], I might have had a cocktail. I mean, it's whatever! It's Andy Cohen—there are always cocktails on all his shows!

Do you think you'd ever return to Top Chef?
Right now, I've accomplished all I want to accomplish with Top Chef. I don’t think I'd come back again. Now I'm opening up Graffiato in D.C., and maybe in other locations. Hopefully getting a book deal one day!

Check out Mike Isabella's favorite local haunts on our Feast List: Mikey Does D.C.

Related stories on The Feast:
Top Cheffer Mike Isabella Did Not Plagiarize
Video: Top Cheffer Mike Isabella's New Eatery Aims for Late Spring Opening
Q&A: All Exit Interviews with Top Chef All Stars
Gallery: Does Starring on Top Chef Guarantee a Hit?

Contact Us