Platelist: 'Top Chef' Harold Dieterle Exudes Confidence in the Kitchen

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During his tenure at The Harrison, Dieterle competed in and eventually won the first season of Bravo's "Top Chef" in 2006. It's an experience he said he was grateful for, but would not want to do again.

"When everyone saw it on TV they were like, 'Oh my God! Now we get it! This is what you've been doing!' So it's kind of cool," he said. "[But] I don't think I could go through that whole process again. It makes me too cranky."

Dietrele left The Harrison in January 2006, close to the end of filming "Top Chef," and went to work opening his own restaurants, something he said had always been his goal.

"The type of places I want to do are the type of places I want to dine out at," he said. "I kind of just like to roll into neighborhood places where you have the same staff there for a while...[and] just make, you know, unpretentious food that everyone enjoys."

While Dieterle is very content with running his own businesses, he said he had to work hard at toning down the arrogance and that learning how to be a good manager was a challenge.

Dieterle on Learning to Teach Others in the Kitchen

"It didn't come easy to me," he said. "I'm fairly certain that majority of the staff despised me just because I was aggressive and you know, I would kick people off of the line and just say 'watch me,' not really by example and being a teacher, but really throwing it back in people's faces."

"So it took a little while to learn how to talk to people," he added. "You know teaching, that's just kind of in my blood. My mom was instrumental in that. She's a teacher so you know just seeing how that goes down, and it made the path much easier."

Despite working 12- to 14-hour days with owning and managing two businesses, not to mention cooking for both, Dieterle said he lives for the camaraderie of the kitchen and always leaves work feeling like he has accomplished something.

"I love being a chef." he said. "It's just one of those things where it doesn't always feel like work when you're doing what you love."

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