When cameras are trained on Seattle food, they're most typically iPhones wielded by enthusiastic Instagrammers. But in 2012 - a year which started with the


The Seattle Food Scene's Best Close-Ups of 2012

When cameras are trained on Seattle food, they're most typically iPhones wielded by enthusiastic Instagrammers. But in 2012 - a year which started with the much-anticipated airing of Bizarre Food's Seattle episode - the city's culinary scene had notable brushes with big-time production crews. Here, our picks for the best Hollywood moments of the last 12 months.

1. Thierry Rautureau returns to Top Chef Masters

After being sent home for botching a Moroccan-spiced pork shoulder in the second episode of Top Chef Masters' second season, Rautureau this year again threw his signature hat in the ring in hopes of earning $100,000 for Food Lifeline. He lasted through the fifth episode, picking up a pair of wins before getting the ax for a downsized croque madame served at Holly Madison's poolside brunch. But Rautureau, who recently announced plans to close Rover's, was apparently smitten by the reality cooking concept: This fall, he introduced "Kitchen Circus," a cooking competition for home cooks with dishes judged by dinner guests.

2. Restaurant: Impossible tries to save Whiskey Creek Steakhouse

The episode won't air until next month, but Robert Irvine this fall arrived in Kitsap County to straighten out a struggling steakhouse. The fixes included eliminating a geriatric jazz combo, shortening the menu and putting the kibosh on all-inclusive steak dinners. Not all the changes stuck: Owners Pat and Karen Ziarnik ditched the halibut cheeks and ratatouille soon after the production team departed. But one month later, Ziarnik reported publicity related to the filming had increased traffic so significantly that he had to hire three new cooks.

3. Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis dash through Pike Place Market

Thousands of fans lined the streets outside Local Color after learning Ferrell and Galifianakis would be handling barista duties as a means of promoting their film, The Campaign. But it turned out promoters never had any intention of allowing regular folks to order coffee from the stars: The pair made about a dozen drinks for reporters and friends of the cafe's owner before calling it a day. "We have some very angry people," owner Frank Albanese said. "I think there are some people who won't be seeing the movie." The Campaign ultimately grossed $86 million, the same amount earned eight years ago by Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.

4. Gordon Ramsey grumps through Greenwood

If his tweets can be trusted, the notoriously finicky British chef had a lovely meal at Walrus & Carpenter, but he presumably found plenty of problems at Kitchen Nightmares host Yanni's. The Greek restaurant received the Ramsey treatment just a few weeks ago, as did Prohibition Grille in Everett. Participating diners were reportedly asked to sign extremely stringent non-disclosure agreements, so it's unlikely much will be revealed about the proceedings until the show airs.

5. Top Chef: Seattle

What else is there to say? Seattle lured Top Chef to town, and fans spent most of July chasing the judges around town. But enthusiasm had waned considerably by the time the show aired, since the early episodes weren't as distinctively Seattle as the city's food boosters had hoped. With half a season still to go, it's not yet known whether the taping will be a win for Seattle - or if it belongs in the year's bottom three.

Follow Voracious on Facebook & Twitter. Follow me at @hannaraskin

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