Season five Top Chef winner Hosea Rosenberg answers some questions about how he achieved rapid success as a chef and about his Jewish background. Top Chef, a reality TV show that airs on Bravo, pits chefs against each other as they compete to tackle a variety of culinary challenges.
Bravo Photo: Michael Lavine
Hosea Rosenberg, Season 5 Winner of Top Chef.
Q: Have you always known you wanted to be a chef? Was cooking always a hobby of yours growing up?
I've always loved cooking and the restaurant business. I didn't realize that I wanted to be a chef until after I graduated college with my engineering degree.
Q: You didn’t attend a culinary school, but rather learned by working with some very high-profile chefs. How do you think that helped you? If you could do it over again, would you go to culinary school?
I find it hard to say what I would do. I think everything I've done in my life has gotten me to this point. Sure, school is always a great thing as long as you're ready to learn. I got my culinary education on the job. It was intense but rewarding. I often wonder where I would be right now if I had gone to culinary school instead of an engineering college. I don't regret anything though.
Q: It really seems as though you’ve achieved success rather quickly in your culinary career. What do you think helped you the most?
I think I'm a fast learner. I have made goals for myself and tried to reach them as quickly as possible. Once I realized I wanted to be a chef, I put my head down and worked. I worked for about two years for 6 days a week, 12 hours a day. That was hand-on intense training.
Q: Where did you grow up?
I lived in Taos, New Mexico until I was 18.
Q: What is your Jewish background? Were you involved in any Jewish student organizations?
My father is Jewish, but my mother is not. My parents split up when I was seven. I lived with my mother after that point. I didn't have a very traditional Jewish upbringing.
Q: Do you like to cook any traditional Jewish recipes? How do you make them your own?
I wouldn't say that I cook Jewish recipes very often. There are definitely none at my restaurant. On special occasions, sure.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
I'm doing a lot of events, festivals, and charities right now. I'm traveling a lot and also trying to keep my restaurant in line. My future plans are to open my own place and continue to travel.