In the eight seasons of Top Chef, there has only been one female winner and only one winner from Chicago—and that person happens to be that same: Stephanie Izard. But with the kickoff of Top Chef Texas tonight on Bravo, not only does Chicago have three chances to send a lady chef all the way, but the city has six opportunities of bringing home another winner.
As previously reported, Top Chef Texas will begin with 29 "hopefuls" who will compete to fill the top 16 slots, meaning 13 chefs will get eliminated pretty quickly. We are pretty sure Sable Kitchen chef Heather Terhune goes pretty far and when we ran into Spiaggia chef Sarah Grueneberg a couple of weeks ago, she didn't give any indication one way or the other but her energy told another story.
Unlike seasons past where the show was stationed in one city, this season sees the cheftestants traveling between Dallas, Austin and San Antonio competing for judges Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons and new guy, Emeril Lagasse, who replaces Anthony Bourdain.
In addition to Grueneberg and Terhune, the other female chef representing Chicago is Beverly Kim, chef de cuisine at Aria in the Fairmont Hotel. She has worked at places as diverse as Charlie Trotter's and Red Light so her various cooking skills should come in handy.
The other three chefs are Chuy Valencia of Chilam Balam who, based on his drunken video interview, may come off as the wild card of the bunch; and two chefs from the West Loop's molecular gastronomy spot Moto: chef de cuisine Chris Jones and executive sous chef Richie Farina, who told the Sun-Times that he looks at Jones "more as a big brother" and that going up against him on the show was "more comforting than competitive."
Tune in tonight at 9 CST to catch the debut of Top Chef Texas.
· Top Chef Texas Begins Nov. 2 With Six Chicago Hopefuls [~EChi~]
· Is Heather Terhune Shooting Top Chef Texas [~EChi~]
· Interview: Chuy Valencia of Chilam Balam [TOC]
[Photo: Sarah Grueneberg and Heather Terhune]