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Top Chef's Jamie Lauren on NY vs. SF (Who's Better?)

One of the things I've noticed over the past seven years that I have been in San Francisco is the clear differences between foodie culture here versus New York City—my hometown. Since I’m just finishing up a visit (snowed-in as we speak), I thought I’d weigh the benefits of two cities dear to my heart.

Guest Blogger Jamie Lauren: Kitchen Tale #1

Introducing the first of our guest food blogger series. For six weeks, Tuesdays are your chance to get inside the mind of everyone from a Top Chef contestant (yes, like Jamie) to a food stylist to a dishwasher to a farmer. Get to know how they live, breathe and, most importantly, eat San Francisco.

Being a chef is not as glamorous as it might seem. Unless you’re Daniel Boulud or Eric Ripert with a full-on entourage, it’s early mornings and late nights spent in the kitchen trying to retain some semblance of control.

Absinthe's Chef Jamie Lauren: Top Chef Calls


God, it feels good to be right.

If you haven't already read our coverage of the Top Chef casting calls, which I wrote about in April, click here. Back then, I made the proclamation that SF's own Jamie Lauren—currently the executive chef at Absinthe—was definitely headed for fame.

And if you haven't already heard, I was right. Jaime is going to be on the next Top Chef, as what they call a "cheftestant."

Although Lauren is certainly headed for potential ridicule as well as fame (aren't all reality show contestants?), I've always thought of Top Chef as being ok, as reality shows go. But then, I watched one of the video clips on Bravo's site, where they ask TF's judges and host—Tom, Padma and Gail—what gives them a "culinary boner?" (Can you see me cringing? I'm cringing.)

Scala's Bistro: A bright spot

One of our fabulous informants snapped this picture and sent it our way—suffice to say, this particular diner clearly found Scala’s Bistro to be a little too dark, and decided to remedy the situation by turning her mag light—er,  flood light—on the menu. Funny stuff. My question: does this diner travel around with this massive flashlight in her handbag?

Top Chef Hearts SF

A while ago, a producer from Bravo called me to ask if 7x7 wanted to cover this new reality show on chefs because they were shooting the first season in SF. I asked for details, but they wouldn't reveal more—so I passed. My mistake.
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