It gets hot in Texas, and it was hotter during the finals of Fort Worth, Texas Magazine’s annual Top Chef competition. An excited sold out crowd was on hand to cheer on their favorite chef, well some were on hand to eat the wonderful food. I can say this with all honesty Chef Tom Colicchio better watch out, Chef Jon Bonnell and the cast of Fort Worth’s Top Chef are coming for you.
The cocktail hour before the main event had the excitement of a professional prize-fight with patrons discussing why their favorite chef was going to win. There was talk of the restaurants where each of the participating chefs worked, and talk of trying all of them in the future.
Hal Brown, who is the founder and publisher of the Fort Worth, Texas Magazine and veteran sportscaster Scott Murray started the main event off with excitement. All that was missing was “let’s get ready to rumble”. There was an introduction of each of the chefs that would have made any professional athlete envious.
Head judge, Chef Jon Bonnell led the chefs in a quick fire challenge, a blind taste test and then on to the main event. The main event had 2 secret ingredients–beef and langostinos. For an added challenge Chef Bonnell had each contestant to cut their own steak to showcase their butchering skills.
While the chefs cooked with their sous chef, there was conversation, food, drink and an auction to be able to eat each of the chefs final plates. The big auction allowed attendees a chance to have each of the celebrity chefs to personally come to the winning bidders home to prepare dinner for a private party of 8. The chef would furnish the food. As an extra incentive, Hal Brown announced that a bartender and spirits had been added to each dinner. The bidding was so fast and furious that each chef agreed to do the dinner twice, so there were two winners for each chef. The money raised from the auctions went to charities selected by each chef.
As the judges came back to the stage, Chef Bonnell announced the winner–Chef Stefon Rishel of Max’s Wine Dive. Chef Rishel had been the favorite of the student chefs from O. D. Wyatt High School who were sitting on the table with me (he is their mentor). They were as excited as he was.
The contestants in the Top Chef final were: Jerrett Joslin of The Wild Mushroom, Charles Youts of The Classic Café, Kalen Morgenstern of Tillman’s Roadhouse (she survived Gordon Ramsey in Hell’s Kitchen which makes her a shero of mine), and of course the winner Stefon Rishel of Max’s Wine Dive. I know all 4 of the restaurants will see a jump in their reservations.
It is said everything is bigger and better in Texas, and on this hot night in Fort Worth, Texas it was. Fort Worth, Texas Magazine’s Top Chef is ready for its closeup.