Tonight, like most Wednesdays, you'll find Executive Chef Debbie Gold running the line and visiting with diners at The American Restaurant. Next Wednesday, though, she'll be coming to your television set.
That's when Bravo airs the episode of Top Chef: Masters featuring Gold competing alongside four other chefs. Gold is vying for the show's ultimate prize of $100,000 to be donated to the charity of the winning chef's choice; Gold's charity is Children's TLC.
To celebrate, The American is planning a watch party on April 28 from 8 to 11 p.m., with passed appetizers and an open bar while the show's projected on a big screen set up in front of the massive bank of windows. Tickets are $50 -- available by phone (816-545-8001) or on the restaurant's Web site.
"When was the last time -- besides a wedding -- that you can enjoy an open bar at the American?" Gold asked when we sat down before service yesterday in the restaurant's dining room.
Being a contestant on the popular reality cooking show wasn't on her radar when Gold got a call from the production team. But she was intrigued enough to ask them to send a few DVDs so she could become more familiar with the show.
One Friday night she watched the show with her daughters, Misha, 13, and Sophie, 10. She didn't explain that she might be a competitor, but instead wanted to gauge their reaction.
"My girls asked how come you're not doing the show? And I said, it's funny you should mention that," said Gold.
After working out the logistics of leaving for a few weeks, Gold flew to Los Angeles to compete against Jody Adams of the Rialto Restaurant, Maria Hines of Tilth, Rick Tramonto of TRU and Susur Lee of Madeline's."Most chefs can cook in any kitchen. But a kitchen is really about a team and it's hardest not having your team with you," said Gold.