BRAVO Top Chef Duels Premiere Tasting

Today we welcome a very special guest blogger….my sister Cheryl! She is going to tell us about her recent experience at the Top Chef Duels Premiere Tasting. Enjoy!

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Well it’s that time of year again! Time for the Top Chef Premiere Tasting. I was lucky enough to be invited to attend last year and this year was just as fun!

My mom and I headed over to the Altman Building for this years Top Chef Duels Premiere Tasting. The premise of the show this year is that some of the best chefs from Top Chef and Top Chef Masters battle head to head in 3 rounds. The first two rounds each chef picks a mini-duel based on the other’s weakness. The final challenge they both have to cook for a panel of judges and the winner of the final round will move on in the competition.

As press we were able to arrive and enter the event earlier than the public and look around at the setup.

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The event was presented by Chase Sapphire Preferred and the ticket proceeds went to City Harvest in New York.

When we walked in there were 3 “dueling” stations. Each station had 2 past Top Chef alums. Station 1 was Richard Blais (winner of Top Chef All Stars) against Marcel Vigneron (Season 2’s runner-up). Their protein was… Lobster! Who doesn’t love a battle of lobster rolls.

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Richard had more of a traditional lobster roll which was a heaping portion of lobster. Marcel on the other hand created an open faced lobster slider. The winner of this duel (for me at least) was Marcel! It was a little lacking on the lobster (since Richard’s had so much) but the taste was incredible. The flavors of his lobster roll were amazing. My mom and I each had 2 of those.

Next up we had Art Smith (Top Chef Masters Season 1) and Kevin Gillespie (Top Chef Season 6) and their protein was… Fried Chicken! Mmmm Mmmm good.

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Art created a chicken drumstick with maple syrup drizzled on top. Although a little hard to eat, this drumstick was amazing. Kevin created a fried chicken sandwich. Oh man! This was the definite winner in my book. Everything about this slider was perfect right down to the pickle. I’m guilty of having 3 (or maybe 4) of these little guys throughout the night.

Last but not least we had Tiffani Faison (Season 1 runner-up) and Dale Talde (Season 4) and their protein was… Ribs!

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Tiffani cooked up a spicy thai rib. This was the largest portion of the night as you had an entire rib each (which was delicious). I loved watching them cooking them right in front of you. Dale created a Korean Short Rib lettuce wrap. The winner for this was Tiffani. The main reason she won was because the short rib I got from Dale was all bone. My mom had a boneless piece but having a full bone in mine turned me off trying another.

After we ate—and ate and ate—we were treated to a preview of the first episode. Curtis Stone and Gail Simmons came up onto the stage to announce the new season. I have watched the show so many times but seeing all these famous faces in person is still so much fun! (Also Curtis has an amazing accent).

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This was another great year at the Top Chef Premiere Tasting. The food was delicious and the contestants were so fun to talk to. After tasting all 6 dishes the final winner was: Kevin! His chicken sandwich is something I still think about. I’m going to try and re-make it from the ingredients list but I have a feeling I will never make it like he did. MVP goes to Marcel. He was so animated and fun all night. He wanted to talk to everyone and was the sweetest person!

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Thanks for another great year BRAVO!

Cheryl is the Senior Online Producer for Self Magazine. She was invited to this event as press, but all opinions are her own.

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