Friday April 22, 2011
The always camera-shy Arnold Myint, Nashville's own Top Chef Contestant (Season 7), emceed the event. By Charlie Harris, LocalEats Editor: Bravo’s Top Chef Tour rolled through Nashville yesterday, and we were on hand to snap a few pictures, sample a little pork, and, of course, gawk at them pretty people we seen on the picture tube at home. The tour, which hits over 20 locations nationwide, pits former contestants against each other in a Quickfire-style competition. The enormous Top Chef trailer and a tent with a makeshift kitchen were set up in front of the recently refurbished, always fantastic Nashville Farmer’s market. And the contestants of the day were: Season 5’s Richard Sweeney (chef/owner of R-Gang Eatery in San Diego) and Season 3 fan-favorite (also in Season 8) Casey Thompson, who is the head chef at Fort Worth’s Brownstone when she’s not busy being affable on TV.
Richard Sweeney triumphs over pork With 15 minutes to prepare their respective pork (as was chosen by fans via social media) dishes, the contestants answered a variety of questions from the audience. Questions ranged from “What’s the worst injury you’ve sustained in the kitchen?” — we’ll spare you the gruesome details — to “Is Mike [Isabella] as much of a [disagreeable fellow] as he appears to be on TV?” In response to the latter, Casey didn’t exactly contradict that assessment, but diplomatically mentioned that she recently ate some amazing food at his restaurant (Graffiato in Washington DC).
Casey, stealing our hearts with SrirachaAs for the results, Casey made panko-crusted pork cooked in bourbon (her secret ingredient) with succotash and a green pea puree. Richard cooked his pork with a Dr.Pepper (secret ingredient) glaze with cumin and cinnamon as well as a side of quinoa. Though only the three judges tried the dishes as were prepared by the contestants, some anonymous culinary students in the Top Chef trailer, God bless ‘em, prepared samples for the rest of the crowd. The crowd seemed split, but in the end, Richard’s Dr. Pepper pork won over the judges. This was just one of four demos on the day, however. By day’s end, the score was tied 2-2, with Casey having won the first two and Richard the final two.
For more info on the tour, visit http://www.bravotv.com/thetour. Recipes from the competition should be posted shortly.
Pails of fresh ingredients await the 'Top Chefs' in the Nashville Farmer's Market