When I was writing my column, I would almost always be recognized when I was in a restaurant, even if I was reviewing it and had booked under a fake name, so free stuff would start coming out of the kitchen on a conveyer belt, fantastic wines would be opened at my table. Now I can't even get a reservation on the pizza joint on the corner.
I really like the Observer. I think I'd love to have a column with a broad reach that would enable me to do some proper reporting, but keep it on sort of a humorous level. I've always had a very happy experience writing for them.
I was once hired to write a column for 'The Guardian' and then got fired before I'd submitted my first one. That was unusual. Most newspapers wait until I've written at least one piece for them before firing me.
My life's ambition is to play a James Bond villain. I have the cat and the eye-patch, so I'm just waiting for the call. For some reason, though, the phone hasn't rung.
'Top Chef' is a very smooth-running machine. All the people working there are incredibly professional and absolutely at the top of their game.
I've become a professional failure - in order to pay the mortgage I have to remain unemployed. Luckily, a disaster always seems to befall me at exactly the right moment.
I've never been to a shrink. But my parents were very psychologically literate - my father had undergone Freudian analysis - and we often talked about other people in psychological terms, so I picked up a lot of that.
You know when you tell a self-deprecating story at a dinner party, everyone's laughing along with you? But then when someone else repeats that same story at another dinner party you feel they're all laughing at you?
Oddly, I do have a problem with authority. I find it very difficult to knuckle down and follow rules. Which are the classic symptoms of someone who has a troubled relationship with their father. And yet, I never had a problem with my father.
In Britain, by contrast, we still think that class plays a part in determining a person's life chances, so we're less inclined to celebrate success and less inclined to condemn failure. The upshot is that it's much easier to be a failure in Britain than it is in America.
I think I've been wishing for celebrity for so long that I've got used to being someone who's petitioning the establishment for acceptance... my whole schtick, my whole identity, is so wrapped up in being a petitioner that I don't really know how to react now that petition has been granted.
I swear, I didn't really go in thinking, 'I'll be the Simon Cowell' of 'Top Chef.' I was just used to being a judge on British food shows where people are much more outspoken and rather rude. That's the culture over here.
It's very different doing a food show in America and doing one in Britain. I did a 20-part series for the BBC series called 'Eating With the Enemy.' The budget for all 20 episodes was probably the budget for a single episode of 'Top Chef.' It's the difference between making a home movie in your backyard and going to Hollywood.