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Top Cheffage: Watch For LA's Chefs Tonight

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After all the stalking and spoiling and general pre-season frivolousness, the day is finally here: Top Chef: New York premieres on Bravo tonight (10pm!). With three chefs from the area on the show as contenders---Alex Eusebio, Stefan Richter and Fabio Viviani---this is probably the most LA-centric season yet, so we're particularly giddy. Here's a quick primer so you know who to root for.

2008_11_tcalex.jpg Alex Eusebio
BIO: Born in Madrid, raised in the Dominican Republic and New York City, trained in French and Spanish cuisine; worked at Calle Ocho in New York, and then exec chef at Cuba Cuba in Denver.
LIKES: Marathons, paella, squabbling with Stefan.
WHERE YOU'LL FIND HIM: He opened Echo Park's Restaurant 15 but left in October when the restaurant changed hands; currently not in a restaurant.
REVIEWS: Hounds were mixed when 15 first opened---overall the food tended to be salty, the service not great, but the $15 deal rocked. Yelpers thought it was uneven at first, but most came around to liking it especially for the $15 deal. Miss Irene was non-critical of it, but, you guessed it, liked the $15 option.

2008_11_tcstefan.jpg Stefan Richter
BIO: Born in Finland but spent a lot of time in Germany; was an opening chef at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, worked at Villagio Inn & Spa in Napa, the Bacara Hotel & Spa in Santa Barbara, and opened Beverly Hills' Enoteca Drago with Celestino Drago.
LIKES: Fishing in Finland
WHERE YOU'LL FIND HIM: Weddings, corporate parties, private events: He owns Santa Monica-based Stefan's European Catering.
REVIEWS: When Enoteca Drago opened in 2004, Miss Irene gave the chef a brief mention alongside Drago---that their menu had "fancy preparations and dishes that are just smaller portions of fussy restaurant fare." If we remember correctly, Richter left the restaurant within a year. Can't find any reviews of the catering company, but if you know you've had Stefan's food lay it on us.

2008_11_tcfabio.jpg Fabio Viviani
BIO: Florence-born is trained in classic Italian and Mediterranean cuisine.
LIKES: Teaching kids, talking Italian with Padma.
WHERE YOU'LL FIND HIM: His restaurant Cafe Firenze opened in Moorpark earlier this year; William Shatner's kitchen.
REVIEWS: With Firenze, in true Yelp fashion, everything is either "mouthwatering" or "good" or they are "not that into it." The Ventura County Reporter thought the staff and crowd was pretentious, but the food (apps and pastas) authentic. The now retired Larry Lipson said the "restaurant-deli-entertainment lounge-coffee shop-juice bar is a definite asset" to the Simi Valley area.

This should get interesting...Top Chef 5 premieres tonight, 10pm, Bravo.
· All Top Chef: New York Coverage [Eater LA]

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