How well did the Top Chef production team familiarize itself with what makes Seattle Seattle? In this recurring column, we gauge how fairly the previous night's episode represented the city -- and correct misconceptions viewers elsewhere might form based on the show.
1. Even Bite of Seattle organizers might balk at calling the event "one of the city's premier restaurant showcases."
There are plenty of events on the Seattle food calendar that could arguably be classified as premier, but most of them revolve around oysters, berries, wine or beer. The annual tasting fair at Seattle Center wouldn't make any competent local eater's list of don't-miss extravaganzas, since - to put it in Restaurant War terms - the concepts represented by participating vendors include gyros, hot dogs and deep-fried candy bars.
Nor is the Bite of Seattle a restaurant showcase, although Tom Douglas has managed to corral restaurants including Din Tai Fung, Salty's and Local 360 into serving up tiny tastes to patrons who buy a $10 ticket benefiting Food Lifeline. Beyond "The Alley" though, recognizable restaurants are in short supply. Most of the concessionaires at Bite of Seattle are on the permanent festival circuit, slinging their pad thai and Philly cheese steaks at street fairs and music gatherings.
2. Bite of Seattle wasn't so sunny in 2012.
According to Voracious contributor Naomi Bishop, who attended the taping, the weather wasn't half as mild as it appeared on television. Storms drove the crew indoors, where they recreated the outdoor festival.
3. Kristen Kish probably didn't need the mascara.
Perpetual winner Kish - who was tapped to head one of next week's Restaurant Wars teams, based on the strength of her cheesy eggy concocotion - was shown applying makeup before heading out to one of the city's premier restaurant showcases.
Kish doesn't need to pretty up to impress (her close buddy Stefan, who last night picked Carla to sous because he likes her butt, might disagree), but cosmetics are especially unnecessary in Seattle. While the city isn't the nation's most natural - according to a meta-analysis of plastic surgery, tanning salon and at-home teeth whitener stats, that honor belongs to Des Moines, Iowa - but Washingtonians spend a mere $25 per person each year on beauty supplies and perfume. That figure pales alongside the $46 racked up in California.