Bravo cooking shows and lesbian contestants go together like, well, name your food analogy: bacon and eggs, biscuits and gravy, peanut butter and jelly. OK, you get the picture, and might be a little hungry now. So it should come as no surprise that Bravo’s new Top Chef spin-off, Top Chef Masters, will at least two out lesbian contestants: Elizabeth Falkner and Anita Lo.
Elizabeth Falkner and Anita Lo
Falkner and Lo are among four female contestants on the new reality series. [Hat tip, AfterEllen.com reader K!] The show, which starts June 10, will pit 24 “world-renowned chefs against each other and see how well they fare in the tried and true format of Top Chef.”
The other two female contestants are Los Angeles chef Suzanne Tracht and Napa Valley chef Cindy Pawlcyn. Bravo could not confirm whether Tracht, the chef and owner of the steakhouse Jar in LA, was out, though a 2008 mention in BlackBook calls her a “lesbian chef.”
Suzanne Tracht and Cindy Pawlcyn
While it’s disappointing, but not surprising, to have such a small number of female competitors overall on the show, it’s exciting to see that at least half of them are chefbians. The representation also continues Bravo’s stellar track record of including gay and lesbian contestants on its reality shows.
Falkner started as a pastry chef at some of San Francisco’s most renowned restaurants including Masa’s, Elka and Rubicon which resulted in opening her own dessert restaurant. Cinematically inspired, Citizen Cake boasts “a cake for every citizen.” She is currently Executive Chef and Owner of both Citizen Cake and Orson restaurants in San Francisco.
Falkner has also appeared on Iron Chef America (she is the former sous chef for Iron Chef Cat Cora), Tyler’s Ultimate, $40 a Day, Sugar Rush, Best Of, Bay Cafe and others Food Network programs. And in 2006, Falkner was a guest judge on Bravo’s reality hit, Top Chef.
Lo is the chef and owner of the successful New York restaurant Annisa and serves as consulting chef for Rickshaw Dumpling Bar. Lo comes from a second generation Chinese-American family that fostered her passion for eating and cooking.
(Lo) travel the world with her partner, (Jennifer Scism, who also her business partner). The two spent the greater part of the year searching for the ultimate meal all over South East Asia and Mediterranean Europe, and planning for Annisa, a place of their own where Anita could have complete creative freedom under the far-reaching, Contemporary American concept.
Other contestants comprise a veritable who’s who of the culinary including Rick Bayless, Wylie Dufresne, Christopher Lee, John Besh, Michael Chiarello, Art Smith and Jonathan Waxman. The chefs will compete in groups of four for the first six episodes, with the winners of each group facing off for the final four episodes until one is crowned the Top Chef Master. The winning chef will receive $100,000 for the charity of their choice.
This year’s guest judges will include such famous guest stars as Neil Patrick Harris, Zooey Deschanel, Super Size Me documentarian Morgan Spurlock among others.
Hosting the show will be New York food journalist Kelly Choi. The former model and Columbia University graduate is the creator, producer and host of NYC TV’s weekly restaurant show, Eat Out NY.
I don’t know much more about Kelly, though I’d be curious to know if she can dismantle a hamburger like her Top Chef counterpart Padma Lakshmi.
So, are you excited to see so many chefbians on Top Chef Masters? Are you excited to see all the celebrity chefs pack their knives and go?