(August 21, 2013) NEW YORK, NY- As the culinary world meets the tennis world for the 14th annual BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis on August 22 at the W Hotel there will be a special mini reunion. Among the more than 20 chefs participating in the event, some will be alumni from the Bravo network television show Top Chef.
The winner of the first season of Top Chef Harold Dieterle told Tennis Panorama that he is looking forward to the event: “None of my fellow chefs from Season 1 are participating, but I’m excited because I know that Top Chef has seen so many great chefs come through as contestants. Given that there are so many Top Chef alums cooking at Taste of Tennis, I know I’ll be in great company.”
“I enjoy participating in cooking events with other chefs,” noted Top Chef Masters season three veteran Floyd Cardoz. “Having chefs from Top Chef Masters and Top Chef is always fun as you all have gone through the wringer with the show. Being able to cook with these chefs is always fun as we don’t always get to hang out together.”
Taste of Tennis demonstrates the connection between tennis players/fans and “foodies.” Some of the Top Chefs spoke about it.
“There’s no doubt that the two worlds overlap a lot,” Chef Dieterle said. “I think it’s no surprise that you’d see many of the same people in the sidelines at a tennis match that you’d see at a table at some hot restaurant; both can certainly cater to glamorous crowd.”
Dale Talde from Top Chef season 4 agreed: “I think the tennis culture goes hand in hand with food. People in tennis seem to appreciate nice food.”
Some of the chefs we contacted talked about their funniest moments during their respective seasons.
Jonathan Waxman from the first season of Top Chef Masters said “making the world’s ugliest wedding cake which the bride just adored!”
“In one of the episodes we did not have much time to shop,” noted Chef Cardoz. “I went to the second level of the store and was trying to get to the down escalator. Unfortunately it was not the down escalator but the one coming up. I kept on trying to push the cart onto the escalator. After struggling to get on for 5 minutes, two young girls came up to me and explained to me that I was on the wrong escalator. I have never felt dumber in my life! Thank God it didn’t make the show!”
“The most memorable experience was having to learn to be open-minded and cook with all of these crazy ingredients they were throwing at us,” confessed Chef Dieterle. “Like Spam? I’d never cooked with Spam. But I had to drop all of my preconceived notions and get creative. It was definitely memorable—really teaches you to think on the fly.”
“You know, before going on Top Chef, I’d been living alone for almost 10 years. All of a sudden, I had to learn to live in a house with a bunch of other people. That brought with it many funny moments—you put a group of strangers in a house and make them spend all of their time together for weeks on end, and funny things happen. It’s safe to say I was one of the quietest people there, but I definitely saw a lot of silly times in that house.”
Chef Talde’s bed was misplaced in season. “One time after a 24 hour challenge, my bed accidentally got moved into another room. When I came back to the apartment, I just couldn’t find my bed.”
But for all of the chefs who participated in Top Chef, their appearance on the show changed their lives.
“It was a great springboard for exposure and to really get my name out there, which was invaluable when I opened Perilla in 2007,” said Chef Dieterle. “But I think so many people do Top Chef and then don’t go back into the kitchen—I was so excited to get back to the restaurant kitchen after the show.”
“I never realized how much I affected people until after the show,” explained Chef Cardoz. “I do get recognized a lot more. I was in Mexico this year and someone stopped me at the hotel I was staying at. I always make it a point to be nice to anyone who gets the courage to stop me.”
The BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis takes place on Thursday 22, 2013 at the W Hotel NY from 7pm-10pm and will be hosted by No. 1 player Serena Williams. The event benefits the James Beard Foundation. The event is produced by AYS Sports Marketing.
Follow Tennis Panorama’s live coverage from the event on twitter @TennisNewsTPN
Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News