'Top Chef' winner Melissa King recalls being 'flooded with emotions' as she thought she might be asked to leave
The dramatic pause judge-host Padma Lakshmi took to announce the winner had Melissa feeling that she was about to be kicked off
'Top Chef' winner Melissa King was all kinds of nervous and knew that the competition could be any one's game. She was confident and proud of the food she had presented on the final plate but also knew Bryan Voltaggio and Stephanie Cmar were at par with their impeccable dishes. It came down to the tiniest details, she tells MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) and added that the dramatic pause judge-host Padma Lakshmi took between saying "and the winner is..." to announcing her name was a tough few seconds as she thought she was being kicked out.
"But when she announced I think I just got the flooded with emotions and I remember just crying and it was all kind of in shock, I don't even really remember much of what was happening," added Melissa revealing that she couldn't recollect it all until she watched the recently-aired finale episode. "I think so many emotions we're running through me because, you know, we just, we work so hard throughout the entire competition and so to get to that point, I just felt extremely proud of myself," Melissa expressed.
But it wasn't an easy journey to have been on. Melissa made conscious efforts to stay true to herself and the guiding beliefs and ideals that make her cooking style unique. However, it wasn't always a linear path for the winner. There were moments that came in the way of her being able to think straight. She admitted to letting the competition get the best of her at few weak moments but that was until she was able to successfully able to tear through that attitude and believe in what her insights told her.
Melissa won back-to-back challenges and as the race to the finals intensified and the crowd reduced, she became undefeatable. But, in her heart and mind, she was worried and keeping an eye out for her peers who were doing equally well. The competition from Bryan, Stephanie and Gregory Gourdet kept her on her toes and pushed her to do better.
"When I was younger back I think when he (Bryan) did the season with his brother and I remember cheering for him and so to be in a position where I had to actually compete against him. I remember being very nervous to be around Brian. So certainly keeping my eye on him and also Gregory I think was another person that I was really concerned about because I had competed against him in the past," Melissa shared and added that Stephanie turned out to be a surprise and gave her a run for her money.
The way Melissa worked the kitchen on 'Top Chef,' one could tell she is passionate about her craft and will stop at nothing to put together a scrumptious meal, which explains why she enjoyed visiting the farmer's market. She counts it among one of her favorite memories from the show: "The vegetarian challenge as well as Michael's challenge because both of those really honed in my skills and as a Californian and chef and my philosophy and ethos of sustainable cooking and sourcing locally, and so I felt very excited for those two, so like, it really helped to highlight my strength."
Over the weeks, she has created and reimagined some very delicious dishes that were laced with special ingredients but she's not always about the showstopping experience. Talking about drawing up a quarantine-special menu, Melissa said simple dishes will work best during this time. "A simple pasta or braised dish that has canned beans or canned chick peas," she shared and added that currently no one is in a position to be picky and therefore everyone needs to add whatever items are readily available to their plates.
Melissa hopes to take her success from the show to newer levels by working on her sauces project and is looking at cook book opportunities. "I mean, I think my priority has always been how can I help people could better and so, I'm really gonna reinvest that money into projects that I feel can, can achieve that goal," said Melissa rounding it up beautifully.