We Love DC Does Top Chef DC: Episode 1

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘YoAmes’

We are halfway through the Trifecta.

Reality TV’s love affair with Washington, DC started with The Real World DC (a show I happen to know a lot about) and now Top Chef DC is here to keep us entertained before The Real Housewives of DC crashes the party.

I am excited to bring my experience covering DC’s reality shows over to We Love DC- and by cover I mean sit down on the couch while exchanging remarks with Kirk and Rebecca during our Cover It Live.

Anyways let’s cut to the chase.

In our first episode 17 contestants arrived to The District in a flurry of B-Roll shots of places you’ve been or places you’ve been meaning to visit. The sequence culminated into one of the best touristy vantage points in the city: The Terrace at the Newseum.

I’ll fully disclose right now that this was my first time taking in the long running Bravo staple, most of my food show watching consists of Iron Chef late at night (the original dubbed Japanese version- not the American take) and falling in love with Giada De Laurentiis during her stint as a correspondent on the Today show. I had no idea what would be a typical “challenge” on the program.

Contestants Get Schooled When It Comes To Chopping Vegetables

Quickfire Challenge: The four contestants that could peel potatoes, brunoise onions, and break down chickens the fastest get a shot at a 30-minute dish and the winner gets $20,000.

How was this not a closer race? Kenny, Angelo, Timothy, and Kevin advanced to the final round but these chefs walked onto the show touting all these honors yet clearly some of them couldn’t peel to save their lives, and were left complaining while award dropping at the same time. I don’t know who James Beard is but he must be a big deal.

Of course when I saw Amanda cut her hand while peeling I also remembered that sometimes you be careful when playing with knives- maybe “Mise En Place” isn’t a race after all.

Chefs Show Us Where They Came From At Cherry Blossom Festival Event

Typical to most design/creation show, the first Elimination challenge tasks the contestants to create a dish that represents where they came from. Tom and Padma make reference to DC being a really diverse city, blah, blah, blah.

It is too early in the series for us to develop true rooting interests, hell besides local contestant Tim Dean, I have resorted to assigned nicknames.

Among some of the dishes created were Stone Ground Grits with Maple Cheddar and Port Royal Rock Shrimp by Tiffany’s doppleganger; Kaffir Citrus Basil Cake with Palm Sugar Anglaise & “Myint” Julep by The Scarf; and Maple Mousse Napoleon with Crisp Macadamia Nut and Vanilla Sauce by The Hair.

The dishes were served at a Cherry Blossom Festival event with DC Media notables as Luke Russert, Karen Finney, Karl Frisch, and David Chalian in attendance. However the one person that got a cameo appearance? Former Bachelor contestant Andy Baldwin.

Was it fleet week in DC? What a great way to paint the DC Elite- we are just full of reality TV stars.

The winner of the challenge was Angelo, one of the few names I quickly picked up as he raced to become the most annoying and arrogant contestant on the show: “I want to be the first contestant to win every single challenge.”

Really Angelo? I hope you cry when you aren’t the winner next week. I wouldn’t be surprised if we all groaned when he was crowned the winner.

Who had to pack up their knives? The Hair- I mean John Somerville. Again I believe we all breathed a collective sigh knowing we won’t be subjected to the eventual dreadlock that would accidentally end up in a dish. Where did Bravo find this guy? Detroit? Oh ok now I get it.

I Know That Place

Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium: Lots of people were asking where was the Elimination event held. This event hall is located on 1301 Constitution Ave and is available to rent for a cool $12,000/day.

Washington Hilton: The newly renovated hotel is home to the posh kitchens where the chefs will be brewing up a storm. Hilton is already cashing in on the score with their own mini-site.

Water Cooler Reaction

“On another note, Padma is really working those baby weight curves. Proudly.”

-My co-worker/Top Chef fan Maggie Pitts

She is quite the looker. Of course I know that some of you are in love with Tom Colicchio but who has love for Frenchman/DC Restaurateur Eric Ripert?

Patrick has been blogging since before it was called blogging. At We Love DC Patrick covers local Theatre, and whatever catches his eye. Patrick’s blog stories, rants, and opinions have been featured in The Washington City Paper, Washington Post Express, CNN, Newschannel 8 Washington, and NBC Washington. See why Patrick loves DC.

You can e-mail him at ppho [at] welovedc.com

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20 thoughts on “We Love DC Does Top Chef DC: Episode 1

  1. In love with Tom Colicchio? I have also heard of this, but can’t imagine. He’s bald, and he seems short. Don’t get me wrong, he seems like a nice guy, and he’s obviously a very gifted chef. Not hot.

  2. I love Padma! Not sure how I feel about Eric Ripert yet though. So glad the guy with the crazy hair is gone already haha.

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  4. Delilah: I didn’t really want to deal with Hair guy and his journal writing. Also what Chef goes to the frozen food aisle for his ingredients???

    Tiffany: Check out the Cover It Live- wasn’t entirely my idea.

  5. @Tiffany That is an extremely unflattering picture of Tracey on the Bravo site. Her head shots on last night’s show were much more flattering.

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  7. @Rebecca I’ts not her relative attractiveness, it’s that I just don’t see any resemblance beyond the fact that we’re both short fat chicks.

  8. Out of all the “Top Chef” enthusiasts and fans in this city and region, you couldn’t find one who could blog about the show? Instead, someone who’s never seen it–who’s not even familiar with the James Beard Awards–is the person whom I’m supposed to follow during the season? No, thank you. I’m sure I can get better perspective and insight from other outlets written by people who know the show just as well as our city.

  9. Join us next week, Angel, when Patrick will present an exhaustively researched dissertation on the cultural history of Top Chef, including full chapters on the historical influence of culinary master James Beard on the evolution of kitchen tools and techniques.

    It’s can’t miss.

    But seriously? Lighten up. It’s reality television.

  10. @Angel,

    I need to apologize for my colleagues journalistic failings. He really is a good writer! You should check out his philosophical dissertations on “Days of Our Lives.” Soaps are really his strong point, but I do look forward to him applying his formidable knowledge of Freud to Top Chef. That should satiate your desire for perspective. Just give him a little time.

  11. Wow, are you guys this snarky to all commenters who happen to have a negative opinion? That definitely doesn’t make me want to join the conversation here.

    And for what it’s worth, I do agree with Angel — a basic knowledge of food (at least Google James Beard before doing your recap) makes a big difference in recapping a show like this.

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  13. Alena, it’s not that we’re snarky to people who have a negative opinion. It’s that we’re impatient with people who basically miss the point that our only collective interest in Top Chef this season is the fact that it takes place in DC, and who then compounds it by berating a writer. Leaving bitchy comments in public invites a response in kind- the difference is, we respond with humor.

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  15. Personally I can’t stand Padma. While she is somewhat beautiful at times I am irritated that she is still on the show. She is not a professional in the cooking world and acts like she is. I can’t stand the way she talks and the way the camera continually goes to her. I would rather see the looks on the faces of the professional foodie judges, not a former model. I’m a big time fan but she irritates the shit outa me sometimes.