The Top Chef contestant and model tells us about reality TV, tattoos and the allure of chicken fingers.
Born in Korea and adopted at four months by parents who raised her in Kentwood, Mich., Kristen Kish, 28, is a competitor on Season 10 of Bravo’s popular cooking competition Top Chef. She studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago before moving to Boston where she worked for renowned chef Guy Martin at Sensing, the now defunct restaurant at the Fairmont Battery Wharf. She is the chef de cuisine at Stir, the Barbara Lynch venture that hosts daily demonstration dinners. A lifelong model, she lives in Boston.
[Laughs.] No, she’s not, really. She might appear to be a really big badass, but in the nicest way possible. I can’t say enough good things about her.
When [Top Chef] asked me what my favorite thing to make was, I had to send along recipes. It was one of the recipes I already had written out, and it just seemed like the easiest thing to say. Although I do like to make them because they require complete perfection, and I’m a perfectionist. And I like to eat them.
Nothing. Well, actually, a Brita water pitcher, Sriracha and some form of alcohol.
Sherry vinegar, which I love. I use it just like salt, as a seasoning. It just adds this light tone of brightness.
I’m a sucker for Bravo. I don’t watch them regularly, but if there’s something on in the background, it’s probably going to be something like the Real Housewives. I love it.
I’m not really good at seduction, but I guess if you’re going to do it, you should cook naked.
I like to eat it, but I don’t cook it that often. And I’m not an authentic Korean because I really don’t know anything other than how to eat the food. So no. Not really.
One of my favorite chefs is, for sure, Daniel Boulud, so that’d be an amazing, amazing thing. But really, I just like cooking for people who enjoy whatever I make for them. I like to make people happy
I like to think I have a good side, and the problem with that is on my left side my hair looks better, on my right side my teeth look better. So every single time I see myself on TV I wish things matched up a little better.
I was myself, and I think it’s safe to say that everyone’s personalities are pretty accurately represented.
Oh, gosh. Not as of now. Nothing yet.
Yes. Hands down. The first time I saw her I was like, “Oh, my God.” It’s unbelievable.
Top Chef is the most respectable, in my opinion. As a chef, that’s the show I’d watch. It showcases people accurately and focuses on the food while still being entertaining. I think they throw challenges that are interesting, as opposed to the shows where people get screamed at.
No. It feels like a big bowl of stress. I’m sweating the whole time. One of my friends said, “It’s like Hunger Games,” and I was like, “Yup.”
Depends on how long it takes people to recognize what I’m doing. I’d like that to happen at some point. It’d be great if it was before I turned 40.
Chicken fingers. I love them. The s***tier they are, the more I love them. If they came out of the back of a truck, frozen, I will love them.
When I’m done working, the kind of food that I want is hot, fast and easy. I love Emilio’s Pizza in the South End.
I once made a meatloaf for my ex-boyfriend. He wouldn’t touch it. I wouldn’t touch it. It was repulsive.
Plenty. They’re there. One is in the shape of a horse shoe. It’s pretty cool. When I was doing some modeling there was a client who called my agent to ask if I was OK because they thought I was hurting myself.
No. I have six tattoos, and they’re all very well thought out, and they all carry a lot of meaning for me in my life.
There’s a spoon and a butter knife.
I can’t think of any off the top of my head, but the similarity between Top Chef and modeling is in being judged.
I really haven’t had one. I get to meet wonderful people and get to know them on a different level than most chefs and their patrons because I’m cooking a foot away from them, and we talk about food and family and life.
Probably some form of pasta. But like I said, it’s pretty slim pickings.