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Top Chef Season 7 Casting Call at Craft

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Yesterday morning and afternoon Top Chef's production company Magical Elves held its anticipated show casting and Eater was on hand for the festivities. Whether vying for a spot on Top Chef: Just Desserts or the upcoming Top Chef ("classic" or, as waiting room guests liked to say, "savory"): Season 7, the room was cool, quiet, and collected. Eater chatted with hopefuls chef Jason Johnston from The Roosevelt's Dakota Restaurant and chef Alex Reznik from Ivan Kane's Cafe W as, though the two were a bit shy and didn't want to be included in the actual interviews (something about their employers finding out). But anyway, just to whet appetites for the coming seasons (to air next summer), here's a rundown on the good, the bad, and everything in between:

Cheftestant: Connie Deady (pronounced "dee-dee")
Just Desserts or Top Chef Classic: Classic.
Backstory: I'm a... corporate chef in LA. Would rather not say where.
Why? Just rather not say. *blush* Eater then found this.
Why do you want to be on Top Chef? I think it would be a fun, creative challenge.
What type of "character" would you be on the show? Definitely the "mom-type".
Bet: She's really more Food Network than Bravo.

Cheftestant: Michael Martinez
Just Desserts or Top Chef Classic: Classic.
Backstory: I've owned my own catering business in LA for several years called Ame Cuisine, which means 'soul cooking' in French.
Why do you want to be on Top Chef? I want to get as much exposure as possible. I've seen the douchbags that get on the show and I know I can produce a quality product. I've been applying for other chef positions, but have been getting turned down because I don't have the star quality they are looking for.
What type of "character" would you be on the show? Not cocky... confident. The "big-brother" type.
Bet: Oh yeah, he wasn't cocky AT ALL. Fail.

Cheftestant: Jack Fisher
Just Desserts or Top Chef Classic: Just Desserts
Backstory: I'm a pastry chef at a restaurant in San Diego, Nine Ten, where I've been on and off again for 8 years.
Why do you want to be on Top Chef? That's a good question. *pause*
What type of "character" would you be on the show? The tiger who walks around lazily until you poke him.
And then what? He attacks.
Bet: Clueless.

Cheftestant: Jimmy Wang
Just Desserts or Top Chef Classic: Classic.
Backstory: I've owned and operated Hot Stuff Cafe in the City of San Gabriel for almost 4 years. It's a New American/Asian fusion bistro. Before that I was the executive chef at a hotel in Orange County.
Why do you want to be on Top Chef? I want to get to work with some of the guest judges and Top Chef crew, I think it would be a valuable experience.
What type of "character" would you be on the show? I'd be the quiet "dark-horse" at first, but then come episode 6, people will start to notice me.
Bet: Good spark in personality, but too nice. Could go either way.

Cheftestant: Nathaniel Reid
Just Desserts or Top Chef Classic: Just Desserts.
Backstory: (Had to drag it out of him) I'm a pastry chef at a hotel in Orange County.
From his friend: He works at the St. Regis, but hasn't told them he's trying out for Top Chef.
Why do you want to be on Top Chef? I love putting myself in challenging positions, it drives me.
What type of "character" would you be on the show? Guarded. Generally well-liked.
Bet: Shy, nice. Could be a easy target for the "bitch" types.

Cheftestant: Gennie Parker
Just Desserts or Top Chef Classic: Just Desserts.
Backstory: I work part-time in a pastry kitchen at a private club, the Pacific Club in Newport Beach , and I work part-time in an office. I want to open my own shop and my family is helping me scout locations now.
Why do you want to be on Top Chef? I think it would be fun to compete, different from working in a kitchen and following recipes.
What type of "character" would you be on the show? Not "super-chef", maybe "under-dog" because I don't have a whole lot of experience, I've never been to chef school.
Bet: She has just the edge (read: bitchiness) the casting directors need.

Cheftestant: Gabrielle Pantera
Just Desserts or Top Chef Classic: Classic.
Backstory: I'm a journalist too! Am coming out with my first book in Mid-December on vegetarian cooking. Title is undecided right now, so I can't say. I also own Gosh!TV in Beverly Hills.
Why do you want to be on Top Chef? I want to show audiences and Top Chef that vegetarian cooking can be just as challenging as focusing on meats and fish. So you want to only cook vegetarian on the show? Yes, I want to see if they will let me. I can also make some things vegan, which is a whole other animal (pun not intended).
What type of "character" would you be on the show? I'm serious, but I like having fun.
Bet: Tom Colicchio putting a vegetarian in the spotlight? Progressive. Doubtful.

Cheftestant: Hermes (Tito) Vargas
Just Desserts or Top Chef Classic: Classic
Backstory: I'm an Executive Sous Chef with the Larry H. Miller group of companies that owns the Utah Jazz. Been there 4 years. Based in Salt Lake City, but originally from Puerto Rico.
Why do you want to be on Top Chef? It's my chance. I owned restaurants in Puerto Rico, but family trouble led me to move to the US. Now that that's all settled, I'm ready to get my name out there.
What type of "character" would you be on the show? Like "Kevin," not pretentious, but I've got a big back bone. I can take the heat.
Bet: He's got chops. Could be a good "bully" character.

Cheftestant: Erica Land
Just Desserts or Top Chef Classic: Just Desserts.
Backstory: I work in San Francisco as the Pastry Chef at Compton Place, famous for being the place where Sherry Yard got here start. Six months ago I opened Westside Tavern with Warren Schwartz and developed their pastry menu.
Why do you want to be on Top Chef? Because I want to open my own business. I want to open a macaroon shop in San Francisco. It seems more popular down here (LA) than it is in San Francisco. What's your signature macaroon flavor? Right now it's a caramel apple type with two different kinds of filling in an apple-green macaroon cookie.
What type of "character" would you be on the show? The crazy one everyone underestimates. I talk to my food, I get excited about little things, I do little dances in front of the oven.
Bet: She's just crazy enough. Get this girl on TV.

Cheftestant: Joe Burns
Just Desserts or Top Chef Classic: Just Desserts.
Backstory: I'm the Pastry Chef at Suite and Tender in San Diego. Originally from the South and grew up in Boston.
Why do you want to be on Top Chef? I want to see how my talents compare to others. I want to be on TV.
What type of "character" would you be on the show? Someone who will get the job done. I would rock the quick-fire.
Bet: He's got the Southern charm going on. Would be great to see him crack under pressure. Green light!

Cheftestant: Marni Singer
Just Desserts or Top Chef Classic: Just Desserts.
Backstory: I'm unemployed. I just lost my business, my bakery. They just took the sign down last week. It's over.
Why do you want to be on Top Chef? I want a job. I want to be in a kitchen and feel like I'm working. I want something to light my fire again, give me back my self worth.
What type of "character" would you be on the show? I can be loud. I use humor to deflect.
Bet: Sob story.

Cheftestant: Cara Dimaggio
Just Desserts or Top Chef Classic: Just Desserts.
Backstory: I work part-time at Valerie Confections for the holidays. I have a certificate in Pastry from CSCA in Pasadena.
Where else do you work? I've worked in commercial refrigeration for 20 years.
Why do you want to be on Top Chef? I loved school, pastry became my passion. This is so I can take it to the next level. I think it would be a great challenge.
What type of "character" would you be on the show? Not typical. Level-headed. Reasonable.
Bet: No. Wait, actually... Uh, no.

Cheftestant: Alan McClean
Just Desserts or Top Chef Classic: Classic.
Backstory: I'm the Executive Chef at The Amara Resort & Spa in Sedona, AZ.
Why do you want to be on Top Chef? *laughs* I'm in it for the money.
What type of "character" would you be on the show? I'm a mix. I can handle the stress and hopefully cook a bit too.
Bet: Has the experience. But seriously, yawn.
—Compiled by Daniela Galarza

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