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My Five Cents: Tiffany Derry Resigns From Private Social to Make More Money

Tiffany Derry packs her scallops.(Photography by Kevin Marple)

Yesterday executive chef Tiffany Derry told Leslie Brenner her time at Private Social has “been great,” but she has “some goals and dreams [she] wants to pursue.”Derry goes on to say she “ doesn’t believe in being 20 different places; I like to do things well.”

Does anyone see a trend here? Our local chefs who appeared on Bravo’s Top Chef don’t seem to stay in a restaurant with their name on the marquee (sorry) too long. It makes me wonder what kind of stipulations and requirements the producers of Top Chef put on contestants. Tre Wilcox lasted a year at Marquee. Casey Thompson? Maybe that long at Brownstone. Now Tiffany.

Here’s my take. I think chefs who appear on Top Chef get a lot of endorsement offers from all kinds of companies. Like athletes who excel, chefs get offers to represent cookware, food vendors, and private chef events. And consulting gigs. Which pay a lot of money. Sharon Hage closed York St. and (probably) makes more money now on consulting gigs. Her name on the menu of a bowling alley heightens the image. And she doesn’t have to sling hot pans until midnight. And she wasn’t even on national TV.

I spoke with Wilcox after he stepped down from his high-profile gig at Marquee, and he didn’t confirm my theory, but it was easy to tell from listening to him: Working in a high-profile restaurant is hard work. Marquee was open breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. Tre can make more money in less time working out of his house. So can Tiffany. And lord knows Casey has worked herself into a comfy gig. (Last week she tweeted: “Just watching #TopChef anymore gives me an ulcer. Way to many fed lines and bickering. Sigh. I may be done.”

Bravo is tight lipped about how long a contestant must make appearances in the show’s name after they’ve shipped their knives home. After appearing on Next Food Network Star, Lisa Garza wasn’t “allowed” to pursue just any dream, for a certain time period, that dream had to be approved. Blythe Beck appeared on her own show on Oxygen and returned home to mark time at Central 214 until she could go. What is she doing? Private cheffing and consulting.

It’s just a thought. A new opportunity for chefs that wasn’t there for young chefs a few years ago. Your thoughts?

15 comments on “My Five Cents: Tiffany Derry Resigns From Private Social to Make More Money

  1. I am not sure, but it is likely that their compensation is structured similar to that of other Bravo shows. I recall reading that one of the Real Housewives sold her liquor company and Bravo was entitled to roughly 10% of her income. it went on to say that the contract read that ANY income was garnished 10% for 5 years from the last AIRING of a show they appeared on.

    So when Bravo reruns the old shows – typically in the weeks leading up to the new season – they essentially reset that 5 year ‘clock’.

    My guess is these chefs HAVE to go make more money consulting in order to not be penalized by the “Bravo Tax”.

  2. Dutch, I have heard the same however nobody will confirm it because they are penalized if they reveal any of the business dealings…

  3. I wonder if Food Network & Cooking Chanel have similarly structured comps. That would explain the never ending old reruns. Sure seems like a whole lot of money, I guess it could be considered advertising. Wonder if there is a time frame for when the reruns no longer count for any of these shows.

    I think “Trouble” is on to something.

    Shame no one can get the inside scoop, I’m quite nosey and would love to know the dirt :-)

  4. I have never experienced Tiffany Derry as an arrogant, money hungry person. I have noticed other Top Chefs do have that tendancy, however. I think PS is a GREAT restaurant and whenever I’ve been there, Tiffany has been in the kitchen and the place has been very busy. The last few years the restaurant scene has EXPLODED in Dallas, it doesn’t make sense that they will all have enough business to keep them busy and making money. I hope Tiffany Derry opens another restaurant. I really love her cooking and her personality. I hope she and Tre do NOT go into business together, though, as has been suggested elsewhere. Bad idea.

  5. I received a contract from Top Chef and flew there 3 times in 2011.. Let me just say they have rights of refusal on many htings for 3 years as I recall in my 37 page contract…. If you are offered anything they get a cut and can nix it if they pay you a sum of money… These shows and contracts are great if you would like to make a go at tv and other things but they have a hand in the pot….. I did not go on the show just saying but did sign a contract…

  6. I think chefs just get tired of doing the same thing and want to try something new. I have a charming restaurant in trendy Preston center that I would like to have visting chefs come in for a week, month- maybe between jobs, just
    to have fun and create some excitment. Let me know your thoughts!

  7. I think chefs get tired of doing the same thing and want a change. I have a charming restaurant in trendy Preston center that I would love to have visiting Chefs, for a week, month- maybe between jobs, just to come and have fun and create some excitement. Let me know your thoughts!

  8. I’m not sure why you had to rope Sharon Hage into this post. She was never on TV or ever had anyone help her start her business. She worked every night for 10+ years making a name for herself and never cared about getting a TV contract. She only cared about her guests. What she does now is her own business because she earned it. Don’t let the actions of a few speak for the the true dedicated professionals of this industry..

  9. I included Sharon in this post because she has been successful as a consultant after working in the restaurant business. The opportunity for chefs to get an endorsement and/or consulting gigs has increased since TV shows has added value to the profession. I think it’s great that chefs have more options now.

  10. When I spoke with Chef Tiffany she was not interested in any reality show. She just turned 30 and much smarter than most folks her age. I know she’s not money hungry and i think Nancy has it all wrong. I can’t wait till she announces everything. If any of u knew her u would know she is not a stranger to hard work and wants to do this for life. She was in Private Social almost every night so I doubt it’s because she can’t tough it!!!

  11. With all of the assumptions about Tiffany and her departure from P/S, has anyone ever stopped to think that she is leaving to pursue her dreams and not the idea of others. It comes a time in your life when you have to be true to yourself. Surely Tiffany has figured it out. Bottom line you can’t worry about pleasing other you have to live your own life. Kudos to Tiffany for that!!!!! God Bless you Tiffany!!!!

  12. Valerie – Give those chefs three solid reasons why they should come to your place. Here. Now. Sell it.

    Nothing wishy-washy, like it’s a nice thing to do for your restaurant.

  13. This is most certainly Tiffany’s own reply… The one below is from her sister Brandy. The gramatical errors and syntax give it all away. That being said, they’re both wonderful and talented ladies, and are wished all the best.

  14. I’m kinda killed myself with the headline but it was merely a jumping off point to discuss the doors that open to chefs who appear on TV. And the four of so from Dallas who have done so have not stayed at their post long. I’m sure Tiffany was dedicated. No doubt about it. But when a high profile chef like Tiffany leaves a job like that it is usually because they see something about the business they don’t like or they have too many offers that allow them to follow their dreams.