Thursday, August 20, 2009

Top Chef – Las Vegas!

The latest season of Top Chef started last night and this year they are in Las Vegas, so you know they are going to have some crazy challenges that involve gambling and show girls! I love the show and I would watch it anyway, but this season there are three local chefs competing so I am even more interested in the culinary competition. The three chefs from Atlanta are Hector Santiago from Pura Vida, Kevin Gillespie from Woodfire Grill, and Eli Kirshtein from Eno. There is a fourth chef with an Atlanta connection, and that would be one Michael Isabella, who is currently the executive chef at Zaytinya in Washington, D.C., but who used to be the sous chef at Kyma here in Atlanta.

I have been to all of the represented restaurants in Atlanta except for Pura Vida, which is on our list of places to try soon. All of those restaurants were excellent. The rest of the cast for this season looks really strong and I am anticipating some good competition. I will say one thing, I think this cast by far has the previous cast beat by a mile on the amount of tattoos! Actually you could probably take all of the previous casts and combine their number of tattoos and they still wouldn’t touch the current cast. I wasn’t sure if I was watching Top Chef or Miami Ink when the show started!

Anyway, in last night’s elimination competition, Kevin Gillespie who is executive Chef and part owner of Woodfire Grill won immunity. The winning dish was arctic char with salsa verde and it looked wonderful. I found something in the early part of the show where the chefs were telling the audience how they arrived on the show and Kevin said he turned down a full scholarship to M.I.T. to go to cooking school. That is not something you hear coming from a lot of chefs. I am sure that was not an easy decision for his parents to swallow!

It is going to be an interesting season and I can’t wait to see how the show unfolds. There seem to be a lot of interesting characters, which just makes the show even more intriguing. Be sure to tune in on Wednesday nights at 9 pm EST to follow every dish!

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