The Top Chef reality cooking show is criss-crossing America to feed and educate the masses. Thursday, they set up shop, er, kitchen at the Gallivan Center.---
The so-called "cheftestants" on hand for the Top Chef Tour were Casey Thompson, who nearly won Season 3, and Rich Sweeney, who infamously got eliminated by the Foo Fighters for his s'mores effort in Season 5. Together, the duo knocked out a quickie cooking demonstration, took questions from the audience about the show, promoted the idea of buying and cooking locally grown produce and meats, and then served up some samples.
The dish for the noon slot I attended was Sweeney's watermelon/cucumber gazpacho, and it was pretty damn tasty. He added mint, feta cheese and a cabernet reduction to create a delicious, tomato-free gazpacho that seemed both easy to make and perfect for summertime grubbin'. (At the same time, thinking the Top Chef stop would serve as my lunch was a mistake. A half-bowl of chilled soup is no burger, that's for sure).
After the sampling and Q&A, Thompson and Sweeney stuck around to sign autographs and take pictures with the folks who packed the tent; Top Chef is clearly popular—Bravo claims it's the most popular cooking show on television—since people were being turned away at the door, er, flap as the noon session started.