Among the chefs who competed for Top Chef status in Seattle was John Tesar, a talented 54-year old who D Magazine last year named the "Most Hated Chef in Dallas." The story lead anecdote neatly conveyed the Mansion alum's legendary volatility: When a top Dallas restaurateur dropped by Tesar's new burger joint, the evening ended with Tesar shouting after him, "You're a fucking pussy, Nick. Fuck you"--and a manager calling 911. Sounds like great television. (As best as I can tell from public records, Tesar apparently avoided any run-ins with the law during filming.)
Tesar isn't the only Dallas chef on the contestant list: Two veterans of Stephen Pyles' kitchens also participated in the Seattle circus. Other chefs from the U.S. Southwest include Kuniko Yagi; Brooke Williamson; Carla Pellegrino and Micha Fields. Another three chefs hail from Colorado. The East Coast is also well-represented, with three chefs from Washington D.C.; two chefs from New York (including Gina Keatley, a dietician and founder of a nutrition advocacy organization); and two chefs from Boston.
But none of the 21 chefs have ties to the Pacific Northwest. Napa resident Lizzie Binder, a native South African who cooked at Chez Panisse and The French Laundry, comes closest to serving as a regional representative.
During Top Chef's last season, a trio of aspiring winners from Seattle were axed during the first episode. Bravo has not yet revealed whether the elimination process will follow the same format this season.