Ok, we know that tonight is Top Chef night, and it's a biggie with Rocco DiSpirito as guest judge, but we're still reeling from the fact that our gal Bonnie Muirhead is in the final two on Hell's Kitchen. (Just wait until CJ breaks out of the TC3 pack!) Let's assume she had a bit of a hangover celebrating with her friends on Monday night, when everyone found out she actually made it through again, so we couldn't reach her until today. That, or she actually has a life, which is getting busier now that she's a reality TV star with some staying power. Whatever the reason, we couldn't wait to ask the nanny about the last few weeks on HK3: Why she never had beans and franks, why she can beat Rock, and what all those haters can do with all that "passion."
Did you really not know what franks and beans were? What did you eat as a child?
NO! Is that weird? I remember having both, but I never had them together. I was so mad, when Jen and Rock got cool things. My mom came up and said, "I know you did the spaghetti," which was wrong. She voted for the chicken.
When you yelled at Ramsay, did you use your actress training?
I did. My mom said that was the best audition I've ever given. I think my acting has helped me everywhere in life. It was easier for me to be the bitch because I'm not self conscious. The yelling, I can yell. I never had to use that before, but I have it in me.
When you hugged your dad, you said something about not being a teacher.
He used to be a teacher, and it's been an ongoing battle because, you know, my parents want me to be secure, with 401k, benefits. I made a pact with them that I would study for the test to become a teacher during the show. So it was kind of a dig at my dad, I was finally solidifying it in my mind that I'm doing something that I love, I'm in the final two, and that's it.
Did you ever think you'd make it this far?
No never. I didn't get on the show to win. All I wanted to do is learn. I wasn't really focused on winning, but I think that really helped in the end. People just dismissed me as just there and not really a threat. As it got closer and closer, and when we combined teams, I don't know what happened, I just decided that I did want to win it.
What was it about combining with the others that did it?
During the individual challenges I didn't win, but I impressed chef Ramsay, and I think that was as important as winning. So I always thought that I did better. By that time, I made it my goal to master the meat station, and figured out a system that worked. I had all these thermometers sticking out of me. Chef said I looked like the unibomber.
When it finally turned into a competition for you, how did you change?
I didn't change how I treated anyone. I treated everyone with respect. I never wanted to do anything that I would regret later on. People thought I should've nominated Jen instead of Julia because she would be easier to beat. I didn't want to sabotage anyone who deserved to be there. When it was time, all I could hear was Ramsay, and all I could do is cook. I was centered. I was? Zen.
You really rallied in that high school episode.
And I was bummed because they didn't show as much as I would've liked. Rock still talks about it. I think Ramsay was convinced that I was throwing the Wellingtons out, and he kept coming up and looking in the waste basket, and then cutting into them and seeing that they were perfect. Even he didn't know where it came from. I needed that boost of confidence.
Where was your mind when you found out you were in the final two?
It was 3am, I was exhausted, it was emotional. That wall dropped, and I thought it was an earthquake. And it's just the beginning of the rollercoaster actually. There's anxiety, but also a sense of Yeah, I'm here. I made it. Like climbing a mountain, and saying, wow, did I really do that?
What are Rock's weaknesses?
I look at Rock and myself as the tortoise and the hare. I was a little slow in the beginning, but kept learning. I think Rock came into the competition a little cocky, and maybe wasn't paying attention. I felt there was more of a flame under me to do well. When you get overconfident, sometimes that can backfire.
The idea of going to Vegas ?.
In the beginning, I asked myself, do I really want to uproot my life? It's a huge step. But when Rock and I went to Green Valley Ranch, it's absolutely beautiful. And I thought, I could live here. I could stay here. I really fell in love with it. I could live in Vegas, it's not that far. That trip was an eye opener, it made me want it more. They were teasing us, and it worked.
Before you went on to the show did you ever think you'd own/have to create a restaurant?
I always liked eating when I was young, and I did always want my own restaurant. I wanted to call it Nibblers because I wanted everything to be small so I can taste it. I get bored easily, so I love tasting menus.
Is it surprising how fans of the show react to you?
I have my own favorite reality shows, and I get it. It's fun to read the boards, but it's not pleasant to read mean things about yourself. People just jump on these bandwagons. If people hate you, they'll find any reason to hate you. They really despise me for some reason. All I want to say, if you're going to get so passionate about something, go protest the war or cure cancer. Get over it.
How on earth do you keep the results from your friends and family?
My parents got to participate in this past episode, so they knew more or less the outcome. They signed a confidentiality agreement. My friends, they try to get things out of me. But I tell them that you don't want to know, you want to watch. It's for your own good? my own good too.
· Hell's Kitchen: Bonnie Makes the Final Two [~ELA~]
· Hell's Kitchen News: Bonnie's Still in the Running [~ELA~]