Parting Shot: ‘Just Desserts’ Chef Malika Ameen Talks Cake, Control, and Cookies

Malika Ameen's voluntary exit from Top Chef was a surprise to viewers.

On last week’s episode of Top Chef Just Desserts, Malika Ameen gracefully bowed out of the competition, leaving viewers’ mouths agape and leaving some of her fellow cheftestants counting their lucky stars. She shared some thoughts on her decision to leave and the experience as a whole.

Malika, many viewers, such as I, are sad you left. Can you talk a bit more about your choice to exit?

My choice to exit was a decision that took some time as I worked through challenges — and one that I really felt very good about once I knew that it was the right decision for me. It was difficult to actually do it at the judges’ table, but that was the exact moment where I felt it was the right timing with the circumstances around the challenge. It was never preconceived, so I must admit I was really nervous, but I just said what I truly felt and believed strongly in.

The competition ate away immediately at a lot of people, in a way we’ve not even seen on the savory Top Chef competition. Why do you think so many people wigged out or wanted to walk out? What aren’t we seeing?

I don’t feel that people wanted to walk out in the competition as much as the media has stressed it. Pastry chefs are wired very differently from savory chefs. We are used to very controlled environments, working with our recipes, and managing our time by working our desserts in stages. I think we also tend to be more emotional by nature, but that doesn’t mean we are not tough! I think we are just more comfortable with expressing ourselves on an emotional level because our egos are not as big as savory chefs!!!

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