Top Chef, in my opinion, is one of the best cooking and reality shows on TV. In fact its the only reality show I watch with any regularity (I haven’t missed an episode since about episode 3 of season 1). The frustrating thing is that as a viewer you never know what the food tastes like. You drool at things like Fabio Viviani’s pasta dishes or wonder what one of Richard Blais’ unique and creative riffs on a familiar dish (I hate to use the word molecular gastronomy) would taste like. Well now is your chance as Lake of the Torches Casino in northern Wisconsin (Lac Du Flambeau) is playing host to 3 Top Chef contestants (2 of them won) this month.
Unfortunately I kind of forgot to post this when I wanted to in July so you missed out on Season 1 Winner, Harold Deiterle who appeared last Thursday, August 4th. Fortunately two more are on their way; Season 5 and Season 8: Top Chef All Star participant (and fan favorite) Fabio Viviani and Season 4 runner-up and Season 8: Top Chef All Star winner, Richard Blais will be at the Lake of the Torches Casino later this month.
Fabio Viviani, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011
Even though he never was in contention to win the two season he participated in, Viviani made it pretty far in each of them. He is impossible to hate and won Fan Favorite in Season 5. He also has my favorite Top Chef quote of all time: “It’s Top Chef, not Top Pussy” He also had a similar quote “It’s Top Chef, not Top Scallop,” in response to Jamie Lauren’s use of the shellfish in every challenge. Viviani is making his 2nd appearance at Lake of the Torches.
Born and raised in Florence, Italy, Fabio is now the Executive Chef and owner of Café Firenze Italian Restaurant and Martini Bar in Moorpark, Calif., and Firneze Osteria Italian Restaurant and Bar in Toluca Lake, Calif. In addition, he wrote the cookbook’s “Café Firenze Cookbook, “Mangia e Bevi,” “Did I Really Make Breakfast” and “The Skinny Country.” He can be found at http://fabioviviani.com/ and at @fabioviviani on Twitter.
Richard Blais, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011
The last of the Top Chef contestants is “Top Chef All-Stars” winner Richard Blais. He is probably one of the most consistent performers on Top Chef and you’d often find him using unique techniques, like freezing things in Liquid Nitrogen to create his dishes. Yet his food always looked appetizing unlike some other molecular gastronomy chef creations which closer resemble science experiments than something you’d want to eat.
Blais has not only appeared on “Top Chef,” but also on season three of “Iron Chef America,” and on “Top Chef Masters” where he worked with renowned chef and “Top Chef Masters” winner Rick Bayless. Blais also hosted his own television series, “Blais Off,” on The Science Channel. As part of the show, he used scientific cooking techniques to reinvent classic foods and to take his experiments on the road to visit some of the most popular eateries in America. The best part of this is that the cost is only $35.95 and you get to meet the Chefs in person. For more information please visit http://www.lakeofthetorches.com/. He can be found at http://www.richardblais.net/ and @RichardBlais on Twitter