Everyone’s buzzing about Tre Wilcox.
We sat down for a revealing Q&A with Wilcox yesterday, on the eve of his official restaurant comeback. He talked celebrity clients and set the record straight on a thing or two:
Q: What have you been up to since leaving Abacus in 2008?
A: I stepped out. I took advantage of the opportunities that came my way with Top Chef. Life as a private chef was very good to me…I was able to experience something different every time I took on an event.
Q: Who were some of your favorite clients?
A: Russell Simmons was one of my favorites. He came back for more. He’s vegan, so it was a challenge for me.
Q: Are you nervous about your first day as Executive Chef at Loft 610?
A: A little. I think it would be a little odd if I wasn’t nervous, but it’s a good feeling.
Q: Your elimination has been described as one of the “most shocking” in Top Chef history. Do you still think about it?
A: Not so much.…every good chef has a bad day. You learn from those things and move on.
Q: You’re known for being very fit. How does this tie in to your life as a chef?
A: Working out for me is [about] nourishing my body so it’s geared to take on what the restaurant puts you through. I’m 33 years old. I’m not getting older, I’m getting more refined. I’ve got a young crew, but they know they’re not fixin’ to out-cook me!
Q: Tell us about your family.
A: Alexis is eight and Paige is 18. She’s in college. She just sent me a text that she scored an 'A' on her first English exam.
Q: Do you miss Paige since she left for school?
A: No. That part hasn’t kicked in yet. (Laughs.) My wife and I are still enjoying it – we’re swinging from the chandeliers and doing whatever we want in any room. It’s still pretty awesome right now…we’ll wait and see what happens in November.
Q: What three words would you use to describe yourself?
A: I think I’m a pretty driven person. I’m self-driven. I’m passionate about what I do, and I give a damn. I don’t do this just for me; I give a damn about the people who are helping me do what I do. A lot of people who work here with me know that. Maybe that’s not three.
Q: Finally, can you clarify the plan for the upcoming new restaurant?
A: Stepping back into the scene is like stepping under a magnifying glass. First and foremost I’ve gotta kill it at Loft 610 before I do anything.