|Photo courtesy of Barney Taxel, Taxel Image Group|
BR: The show producers came to me. The first thing I did was call my mother. Then I called [Jonathon] Sawyer and he told me to go for it — he's been totally supportive — but I never expected to win. By the time the final episode aired in August, I was already gone. The whole thing was pretty surreal.
LT: Was a job at the restaurant guaranteed?
BR: No. Owners don't necessarily have to hire you. In fact, I was the only one who actually got a job in season three. After we finished filming, the owner and I sat down three hours before I was scheduled to fly home and came to an agreement.
LT: What kind of food are you cooking?
BR: I'm doing mostly rustic Italian with some more Asian-influenced dishes added. It's kind of a combination of classic Italian and new, creative American. This isn't a foodie-centric area like Cleveland, so we have to go slowly. I just got my first review in New Haven Living. The writer loved our food. Gave us four and half stars.
LT: Think you'll ever bring your talents home?
BR: I've left Cleveland three times, and I always come back. Things are going really well for me here right now, but who knows what's ahead.