Friday, April 16, 2010

Top Chef's Eli Kirshtein is in town today

Posted By on Fri, Apr 16, 2010 at 9:00 AM

click to enlarge Chef Eli Kirshtein will be in town today for Top Chef: The Tour 3 at the Power & Light.
  • Chef Eli Kirshtein will be in town today for Top Chef: The Tour 3 at the Power & Light.

Kansas City is today's stop on the 21-city, promotional tour for Top Chef: The Tour 3, which features cooking demonstrations from former contestants on Bravo's reality cooking competition.

The main attraction of the tour -- Chefs Eli Kirshtein (season six) and Nikki Cascone (season four) -- put on live cooking demonstrations from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., 12 to 1 p.m. and 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at the Power & Light District. Also, fans will have the opportunity to meet the chefs and compete in a variety of Top-Chef themed games. 

Kirshtein is the guest chef at New York City's Solo, where he designs a daily tasting menu. He is also looking for a space to start his own restaurant, with the Bowery being one potential neighborhood. Fat City caught up with him by phone after he arrived in town yesterday afternoon.

What's the goal or what are you trying to get across with the cooking demonstrations?

The main idea is approachability. We want the average person who watches the show to feel like they can cook. I don't want them to feel alienated in the kitchen. 

Can you give us a teaser or insight into what you and Nikki will be cooking?

We play off each other. Nikki will be making a salmon dish and talking about cooking fish. I'll be making a garlic sausage meatball. I want to demystify sausage at home. From a food ethics standpoint, there are so many people making great sausage on an artisanal level that people need to know about.

click to enlarge Chef Kirshtein and fellow Top Chef contestant Nikki Cascone kicked off the tour in St. Louis on Wednesday.
  • Chef Kirshtein and fellow Top Chef contestant Nikki Cascone kicked off the tour in St. Louis on Wednesday.

Is is bizarre to have people know you from a show as a chef when they likely have never tasted your food?

It's more bizarre that people think they know me but they really don't.

So how would I get to know Eli?

Hang out with me. You only get personalities in small doses on television. I've never really judged someone on a three-second meeting.

How's the tour going? Have you ever been to Kansas City?

This has been a different experience. I'll be able to travel and meet fans. It's

one day and it's been great -- I'm looking forward to the hospitality

in Kansas City. I've been here once before, but this is the first time

I'll have spent any real time here.

How do you go about eating in a new city?

I call it my culinary punch list. I ask people what's famous food-wise in the city. In New York, you have hot dogs and pizza. In Chicago, it's deep dish. So what's indicative of Kansas City? In St. Louis, we had toasted ravioli and frozen custard. I know there's barbecue, but I'm excited to talk to some locals and find out what's the big thing to do in Kansas City.

Images courtesy of Bravo
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