Top Chef Winner Jeremy Ford: My Daughter ‘Wishes I Would Have Come in Second Place’

04/19/2016 at 03:40 PM ET

Top Chef Winner Jeremy Ford
Andrew Eccles/Bravo

Many things have changed for Jeremy Ford since he won season 13 of Bravo’s Top Chef last month.

“A year ago, no one in Miami knew who I was,” Ford tells PEOPLE during a party honoring his win at the Miami Beach EDITION hotel.

“Now I am invited all over the world, and at least 30 to 40 people a day come to see me while I am working,” says the chef de cuisine at Matador Room. “They are from places like New York and Canada and interrupt their bachelorette parties to introduce themselves. It is amazing that people are excited to meet me.”

RELATED: Top Chef Champ Jeremy Ford Dishes on His Win: ‘It’s the Most Rewarding Feeling You’d Ever Imagine’

Ford, who won three quick fires and three elimination challenges early in the Top Chef competition, says nothing in his life really changed until after several episodes had aired. Then the simmer reached a boil.

“Once I had won multiple challenges I noticed the change,” he tells PEOPLE. “It went from no one giving a sh— to, all of a sudden, the bigger players came out.”

RELATED: Tom Colicchio Says This Is the One Thing You Must Do to Be a Better Cook

Things have been so hectic in the weeks since Ford was crowned the winner that his daughter Madelynn, 9, has expressed displeasure seeing her dad leave town for events, dinners and other celebrity chef obligations.

“Now that I have to travel, I don’t get to spend as much time with Madelynn as I would like,” says the single father. “I can’t say no to things, and she doesn’t like it. She said she wishes I would have come in second place.”

Even though Ford must balance the requirements of fatherhood and being a professional chef, he admits that winning “has enriched his life” in many ways.

RELATED: Padma Lakshmi Shares the One Recipe That Helped Mend Her Broken Heart

“I now have the opportunity to learn something new every day. The show gave me some fire, and I have more to get done. I am learning as I go, and I love it,” he says.

Although he is excited to build his brand, form a company for events, cook dinners and introduce more new people to his cooking (especially with his fish dishes),  he likes to come home to Miami.

“I’m definitely in demand right now,” he says of his busy schedule. “And it does gets tiring. Some days after I take my daughter to school, I just want to go home and sleep until noon to catch up. But there isn’t time.”

RELATED: Padma Lakshmi on Losing the Top Chef Weight: ‘I’m Working Out Every Single Day’

The chef is excited about an upcoming summer vacation to London he has planned with his daughter. “While I’m thinking of all the great things we can do, Madelynn puts it all in perspective when she makes it clear that we had better visit a water park!”

—Linda Marx

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms
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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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