Sam is one of eight former Top Chef contestants who will be teaching a one-off cooking at the New York City's The Culinary Institute of America. He and his fellow chefs will each be preparing one of their signature dishes from the competition along with two complementary courses and a specialty cocktail. Sam's class will be taking place on July 21, 2008.
Sam is the second former Top Chef contestant to return as a Guest Judge on the show. He was a natural in judging the fourth season episode "Serve and Protect", since the challenge was aimed at serving healthy food (he's a diabetic) to police cadets (he comes from a family of police officers).
Sam has a blog on the show Top Chef at the Bravo website.
Sam knew he wanted a career in the culinary world when he read a copy of the famous cooking sourcebook, Larousse Gastronomique.
When asked which of his fellow season two Top Chef contestants he learned the most from, he chose Mikey. He says that Michael Midgley is one of the most upfront, stand up guys he's ever met, and one of the most "comfortable in his own shoes".
Sam says the first most often asked question he gets from his fans is, "Will you marry me?" The second most asked question is, "Would you like to meet my daughter?"
When fellow Top Chef contestant and season two winner Ilan Hall was asked who was the better cook, himself or Sam, Ilan said of him, "Sam could be a better cook. He's better at making snap decisions." But Ilan goes on to say that with plenty of time, they are on a more even playing field.
Sam won $10,000 for being picked as the fan favorite on the second season of Top Chef.
In the semi-finals of the second season of Top Chef, it was down to Sam and Ilan for the last place in the finals. Host/Judge Padma Lakshmi wanted Sam to be a finalist, but was overruled. But Sam did have a place in the finals as one of Marcel's sous chefs.
Sam's signature cooking technique is pickling.
Sam has been entered in a charity competition by Glad SimplyCooking Microwave Steaming Bags. If he's voted the "steamiest" chef, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation will get $30,000.
Sam has been diabetic since he was a teenager, and wears an insulin pump attached to his leg. He never talked about it before appearing in the second season of Top Chef, but now he is very pubic about it and promotes charities that help those fighting the disease.
Sam: (on being interviewed for "Top Chef") Before every episode I would literally have a panic attack, because even though you were there, you can't remember everything you said. You know, you've just slept for two hours or you haven't eaten for fifteen hours and they're asking you questions.
Sam: (Sam's philosophy on cooking) I cook for the moment. I try not to think to far ahead, I let life unfold. I do the same with my cooking I let the seasons provide, and let the ingredients in their natural state inspire me. Then I let my cooking unfold.
Sam: You can go to school to learn the basics of cooking and the fundamentals of baking, but you cant be taught passion and soul. Those you are born with, those are gifts. Its your search to find them that clarifies who you are and what you naturally adhere to. I belong in the kitchen.