Joey, Latest ‘Top Chef’ Non-Winner, on Why Rocco Is a Douche Bag

Uh oh…Photo courtesy Bravo


Top Chef contestant Joey Paulino may have been a victim of casting last night when he was eliminated instead of Howie or Hung, who both made bigger mistakes but also seem to be the show’s emerging villains. Still, the native Long Islander and executive chef of Café des Artistes saved his ire for guest judge Rocco DiSpirito. He talked to us about why his fellow Long Islander is a “douche bag”.

You shed a few tears when you were eliminated. Did your emotional response surprise you?
It pretty much surprised me. It’s a competition, and I know I screwed up cooking the pasta. It was a big downfall. I’m not going to blame Hung. I dropped the ball during the challenge. I became emotional because I was going to miss a lot of people.

Did you think your elimination had more to do with keeping Howie and Hung on for entertainment value?
No comment.

Judge Tom Colicchio said it wasn’t your lucky day. How did you interpret that?
At any time, anyone can go home. I’m not going to blame anyone except myself. It stinks that it happened.

Hung swore he knew the secret to winning the challenge and asked you to help him execute it but that you didn’t listen to him. You said you didn’t hear him. Which one was it?
I think Hung has his own agenda. He likes to sous-vide things, and that’s all he’s done throughout the competition. He wanted to impress [guest judge] Rocco DiSpirito with how he could sous-vide, but it takes more of a mature chef to try other things. My 13-year-old cousin could sous-vide beef or chicken.

In your exit interview online, you hinted that Rocco may have been responsible for your elimination. You called him a guido, a sellout, and a douche bag. In the beginning of the episode, you seemed excited that Rocco was there. What happened?
I was excited because Rocco comes from New Hyde Park and I don’t think a lot of people know that. I’m from Franklin Square so we’re neighbors. It was nice to see a Long Islander make it big in this industry. My emotions took over and I said some things, but I still think he is a sellout with the show that he had. If he was all about the food, he wouldn’t have been in the dining room.

How come all the New York chefs have left so early in the competition? You were the third to go in as many weeks.
No comment.

Who are you betting on to win?
Whoever’s the last man or woman standing deserves to win. The competition is tremendous.

Did any of the guys try flirting with Padma?
Everybody did, including me. We tried to get her to laugh but she’s stone-cold. She’s great, but she’s a hard judge to please.
—Rebecca Ruiz

Related: ‘Top Chef’ Non-Winner Lia on What Went Wrong
Adam Platt Finds the Moral in Last Night’s ‘Top Chef’