The tenth season of Bravo's Top Chef starts tonight, with three Colorado chefs among the competitors: Eliza Gavin of Telluride's 221 South Oak; Jorel Pierce, the executive chef of Euclid Hall; and Tyler Wiard, exec chef at Elway's Cherry Creek and culinary director of the Elway's group (which currently includes three restaurants and will add a fourth at Denver International Airport next year). Wiard's role on the show could be particularly interesting, and not just because his boss, John Elway, knows all about what it takes to come out on top. See also: - Chef and Tell: Tyler Wiard talks about Elway's, lobster and why Denver needs a good diner - Tyler Wiard, Jorel Pierce will compete on next season of Top Chef - Sneak Peak: The first ten minutes of Top Chef Seattle showcase Jorell Pierce
More than three years ago, Wiard was one of the first people profiled in our Chef and Tell series. Asked to name his favorite celebrity chef, he chose Mario Batali: "He's serious about being a chef, but he doesn't take himself too seriously.... He's down-to-earth, humble and fun-loving, and I love his spirited, fun approach to food."
Wiard's words were not nearly as kind when he described the Celebrity Chef Who Should Shut Up: "He has such an elitist attitude. My wife and I went to Craftsteak in New York, and it was shit. We barely ate anything, and when we got the bill, I was just angry. The guy just has no humility."
And who is that guy? Tom Colicchio, one of the longtime judges on Top Chef, who's joined this season by regulars Padma Lakshmi, Hugh Acheson and Gail Simmons, as well as Emeril Lagasse and Wolfgang Puck. The chefs are under strict orders to keep their lips zipped about what happens on the show, but Bravo released video clips of the first ten minutes of tonight's episode, in which the competitors are divided into groups for evaluation by Colicchio and Lagasse.
Too bad Batali's not on hand.
Will Wiard survive Colicchio's scrutiny? Will all three Colorado chefs make it to episode two? And could a Coloradan go all the way, as Hosea Rosenberg did in season five? Tune in to Bravo at 8 p.m. tonight.