Top Chef Tour – San Francisco

Utensils down, hands up! – It’s no surprise to any of my friends that Top Chef is one of my all time favorite TV shows. Combining my obsession with reality TV and cooking… genius!

The Top Chef tour truck rolled into Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco, CA on June 11th as part of their 21 city tour. My girlfriend surprised me with tickets! She happened to have a friend with a connection to the tour manager, so we got VIP seating for the event. Best birthday surprise ever!

That’s me standing on the back side of the semi – the seating was under tents in front.

This is the other side of the truck. We sat at the front two seats to the right of the stage.

One of the people in line took a picture of us hugging the Top Chef Tour sign.

We got called to sit down first – VIP treatment definitely had its advantages. The tour manager chatted with us for a bit and then introduced the two chefs.

Jamie Lauren – Top Chef, Season 5 – New York City. She currently lives in San Francisco and is the Executive Chef at Absinthe Brasserie & Bar with an upcoming  planned move to Los Angeles to start something new.

Ryan Scott – Top Chef, Season 4 – Chicago. He too currently lives and works in San Francisco. He has a catering business, teaches cooking classes and is about to launch a meal delivery service with lots of other exciting plans – he mentioned a S.F. store, but was pretty secretive about the details. You can check out his website – Ryan Scott 2 Go.

Both chefs said the best place to follow them is on Twitter and Facebook.

The recipes that they make on tour will eventually be posted to Bravo’s Top Chef website, but they aren’t there yet. I tried to take notes on my iPhone, but didn’t get measurements, etc. and guessed at the names of things.

Ingredients for Marinated Anchovy Bruschetta

White Marinated Spanish Anchovies
Baguette – from ACME Bread Co. in the Ferry Building Marketplace in SF.
Maldon Sea Salt
Beets – Fresh/Boiled
Micro Basil
Burrata – Fresh Italian Cheese
Argumato Extra Virgin Olive Oil Pressed with Lemons (This is one of the items Jamie brought with her to the Top Chef show)
Apple Cider Vinegar

That’s all I got… Ryan toasted the baguette pieces while Jamie made a beet puree by adding olive oil and apple cider vinegar to the beets.  She used a Vita-Mix blender (another one of her favorite kitchen items) – here’s where I got side-tracked – they were joking around back and forth. There was banter about getting a red/rubber spatula, a few calls to Stefan Richter (Top Chef – Season 5) and I didn’t really pay attention to the order of things, I was laughing too hard.

I think it was baguette with olive oil brushed on before toasting, fresh garlic rubbed on the toasted pieces – beet puree, anchovy, burrata cheese, sea salt (on the cheese only), Argumato Extra Virgin Olive Oil with pressed lemon drizzled on top of that and then the micro basil.

This photo was the phone call to Stefan. Ryan had a rough time getting his speaker phone to work.  Jamie claims that the crush between Stefan and her during the show was genuine. There were jokes back and forth about cute straight guys falling for hot lesbians – hah!

Ryan then unbuttoned his chef coat to unveil his T-shirt – the crowd cheered and went wild.

We then got to taste samples of the bruschetta – which BTW, is on the menu at Absinthe.

I didn’t care that I had the stomach issues, I was determined to taste what they made, anchovy and all.

It was delicious! I am going on a local hunt for the Argumato – the pressed lemon oil was out of this world!

They also did a question and answer session where the audience could ask anything – it was hysterical. Both Ryan and Jamie were super sarcastic and kept the audience engaged and laughing the entire time. Someone asked what they had in their fridges at home – basically condiments and vodka – both eat at their jobs or are satisfied with the tasting they do throughout the day at their jobs. Ryan did give some shout-outs to a local taqueria and pizza place.

They signed autographs and posed for photos after the show.

I purchased a Top Chef Quickfire Challenge Cookbook and they both signed it.

I got to tell Jamie about the blog and she said that she loves all the foodies in San Francisco and the surrounding areas.

Foo Diddy yo!

Jamie is TINY in person. They had to build a platform for her to see above the cooking counter during the event. I felt like a giant next to her.

Ryan also signed my Quickfire Challenge cookbook.

My girlfriend has the photo of Ryan and I on her camera – he was really sweet and chatted with everyone.

We posed with cardboard cut-outs of Padma Lakshmi and Tom Colicchio – judges from the show – too bad they weren’t there too. We also played a spice guessing game – we guessed all 3 correctly… garlic powder, cloves and oregano – easy ones. We got pizza cutters for playing the game.

It was a gorgeous day, clear skies and in the 70’s. We crossed the street from the plaza and strolled through the Ferry Building Marketplace – foodie heaven for sure. We bought some bread at Acme, snapped the above photo on the outdoor patio and then we headed home.

Awesome time, awesome show – set your Tivos – The new Top Chef Season 7 – Washington D.C. starts Wed., June 16th on Bravo.

Happy cooking and watching indeed!

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    • Aim on June 15, 2010 at 6:30 am

    What an awesome birthday gift! There’s nothing super fun like that around here in Michigan 🙁

    1. Yes, super fun! They were actually in Grand Rapids on the 4th of May. They only have 3 stops left on the tour – Los Angeles and Irvine, CA and Phoenix, AZ.

  1. I second Aim on that one…

    Besides Hollywood Market cooking classes… we have a serious lack of fun cultural stuff!

    Although..Eastern Market in Detroit could do something like that!

    We do have beer festivals sprinkled through out… shame I’m not a beer drinker!

    1. A cooking class is my next birthday gift to enjoy! Come visit Rebecca and we’ll hit Napa and SF, how fun would that be?

    • Lora on June 15, 2010 at 8:36 am

    You’ve probably already found it but you can get the Agrumato lemon oil at Amazon…I’ve already added it to my basket!

    1. Yah, I link to it in the ingredients…wanted to see about finding it local, but struck out. Amazon for me too, I know you’ll love it!

    • Sizzle on June 15, 2010 at 9:29 am

    How fun! I always like Jamie. She’s pretty bad ass.

    1. She was bad ass…and super cute, is that possible? 🙂

    • kristen on June 15, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Despite your stomach issues, we have managed to squeeze in some super fun 40th BD adventures. We enjoyed a beautiful drive up to Tahoe and were amazed to still find snow on the mountains. We had a yummy Mexican dinner, enjoyed some shopping at the home decor place and relaxing pedicures. Yes, we had to head back home early, but that just means that we get to go back for spa treatments.

    I loved decorating your cubicle in the Sweet 16 (with the 16 covered with a 40) theme instead of “over the hill” with the “KATH” confetti (“FOO” wasn’t available! 🙁

    Yeah, the Top Chef tix were quite the score (Ryan was hot!) and I can’t wait for our cooking class…

    1. Ryan was hot! I’m excited for my cooking classes and thanks so much for making my birthday fun! – even though I felt crappy… awesome times were still shared.

  2. Looks hella fun! Glad you were able to go in spite of what’s happening with your stomach. BTW, you have gorgeous skin! Feel better!

    1. Thanks for the skin compliment, yay! 40 isn’t so bad after all. 😉

    • Hilly on June 16, 2010 at 6:17 am

    How totally fun! I love love love that they made out all of the autographs to your “Foo-Diddy” name!

    1. Yay! Your nickname for me has stuck!

    • Lysa on June 16, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    You are sooo lucky, what a great way to celebrate!!!!

    • Paul on June 23, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    How cool …what a great gift and an obvious great time! Can’t wait to hear more about it.

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