…and zomg, there’s a brown girl among this season’s contestants! Squeee!
Yes, you read right, someone Desi is competing on one of the most addictive reality shows out there. Her name is Radhika Desai and I’m twitching with excitement, because as of last season, I love that show–despite the number of faux-hawks its contestants sport. Ms. Desai, thankfully, does not have a faux-hawk. Yet. (Stay strong, gf!)
Radhika, a 28-year old Execuitve Chef (at the Between Boutique CafÃ© & Lounge) from Chicago, loves the show as much as I do:
Known to friends as â€œRadâ€, Desai is the first Indian-American chef to compete on the show. Sheâ€™s a hardcore fan of â€œTCâ€: â€œIâ€™ve seen every episode at least three times, if not more,â€ Desai told Chicago Magazine in October. [metromix]
Bravo makes it easy to be that dedicated. They seem to have all of four shows on at a time, so each episode of that meager roster of programs gets trotted out repeatedly. Por ejemplo, if you miss tonight’s season premier, don’t fret, because it’s on again at 11:15pm…and 1:30am…2:45am…9pm on Thursday…etc. But back to why you should DVR one of those offerings:
Radhika currently works as the Executive Chef at Between Boutique CafÃ© & Lounge in Chicago. A first generation Indian American, Radhika was born in Ohio and raised in an eclectic Indian-tradition home. Trained in classic French and Indian cuisine, she has worked alongside notable chef Vikas Khanna and has staged at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. She has traveled the world over learning new techniques and flavor profiles and brings spice and bold flavors to the table combined with grace and restraint. Her favorite dish to prepare is spicy chicken and potato curry with cumin scented rice with clarified butter and mint. She describes her cooking style as globally eclectic with a huge spoonful of love. [BravoTV]
Born in Ohio? I’d call her second-generation, not first, but potato, urulai kizhangu. I’ve often muttered to myself about how a Desi contestant might respond to certain quick-fire challenges or TC assignments, since other chefs have drawn on their respective ethnic backgrounds to create dishes. I cannot WAIT to see if Radhika might get down with some brown. Judging from the menu at tonight’s viewing party at her restaurant, I think we’re in for an interesting season:
Between’s flown mostly under the radar until now; with chef Desai’s star on the rise, the unassuming neighborhood restaurant is sure to benefit from the Bravo bump. What better time to try out the globally inspired spot than at the “Top Chef” premiere viewing party on Nov. 12 from 9 p.m. until midnight? Desai created a special tasting menu for the occasion featuring some of her favorite dishes, including grilled vegetable terrine with Rad’s herbed goat cheese, curried lobster bisque, spice-rubbed butterfish with spinach and chorizo, braised duck samosa and ginger-chocolate mousse in a chocolate tart. Sure sounds like a winner to us. [NBC]
Before Between, Radhika worked as a sous chef at Chicago’s Vermilion. Here’s what her boss had to say about her skillz:
According to Vermilion executive chef Maneet Chauhan, Desai is quite the kitchen star. â€œShe is extremely dedicated,â€ says Chauhan. â€œIt was great to have her in the kitchen because she was really creative and had this amazing sense of dedication.â€ Quick Fire challenges wonâ€™t be a problem, says Chauhan, because Desai â€œthrives under pressure.â€ Chauhan adds, â€œKnowing Radhika, she probably carried herself with a lot of grace.â€ [metromix]
Aside for our Chicagoist-mutineers: have any of you been to either Between or Vermilion? Thoughts?
After a less-than-stellar brown showing on another, way suckier Bravo Reality show, and after reading some of your Facebook status messages, I know I’m not the only mutineer who’s got high hopes for Obama, I mean, Radhika. Sorry, it’s like a tic, every time I type “hope” I…
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go primp. I may not be able to celebrate Radhika’s big debut at her own restaurant, but I can do the next best thing; I’m going to try to go to Season 4 contestant Spike’s Good Stuff Eatery here in D.C., to watch the premier with him and his awesome parents (and a few hundred other rabid TC groupies, I’m sure). If I make it in, I’ll try and live-microblog it via our Twitter. Holla back at us, either there or below!