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Top Chef Masters Talk About Their Vegas Faves

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Top Chef Masters judges James Oseland, host Curtis Stone, Krista Simmons and Francis Lam.
Top Chef Masters judges James Oseland, host Curtis Stone, Krista Simmons and Francis Lam.
[Photos: Susan Stapleton]

Top Chef Masters made its season 4 debut last night with a bevy of chefs on hand to walk the red carpet at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. The entire season was filmed here at the Cosmo, and the Boulevard Pool and the resort’s 65-foot marquee made the perfect setting to watch the show.

Eater Vegas talked to some of the judges and contestants about what they discovered about Las Vegas while they spent two months filming here.

“I was so surprised about how good all the restaurants are,” says chef’testant Mark Gaier of Arrows. “But seeing Vegas versions of New York restaurants that I knew were as good as and in some cases really pushing the limits. I loved being able to go out and do things like the zipline, and see Red Rock Canyon and things outside of the city to understand the environment.”

“They could lose the tapes tomorrow, they could burn and I would have had the best time,” says chef’testant Patricia Yeo of Om Restaurant & Lounge and Moksa Pan Asian Izakaya. “In fact I wish it was so. I just don’t want to see myself.”

Clark Frasier of Arrows went to Twist the night before the event. “The food has been amazing,” he says. “It’s such a great food scene here in the city. It’s a very unlike any other city. We travel all over — London, Istanbul, Bangkok — and this is such a unique place.”

“We used to think of it as cheap nasty meals on the Strip,” says host Curtis Stone. “Now the best places in the country are here.” He ate at Twist, é Bar at José Andrés, Milos and Lotus of Siam while filming here.

James Oseland shot photos of the other chefs while he was on the red carpet. “I am not one of those Vegas naysayers,” he says, calling himself a Spring Mountain junkie. “I love, love, love the Asian food here in Vegas,” he says.

New judge Krista Simmons says she spent some time off-Strip while filming. “The Amber Unicorn is by far the coolest place I’ve ever been,” Simmons says of the bookstore known for its collection of cookbooks. “Ruth [Reichl] and I spent an afternoon out there just pillaging cookbooks. The collection they have is absolutely incredible and the integrity with which they keep their books just blows my mind.”

Chef’testant Art Smith of LYFE Kitchen and Southern Art Restaurants says his favorite thing about Vegas was “Leaving.”

“Even though it was a competition, everybody’s personality was different but we were cohesive,” Smith says of the experience. “We really bonded and we were pretty bummed when someone got (makes sign for cutting his throat).”
· All Coverage of Top Chef Masters [~ELV~]

Estiatorio Milos

3355 South Las Vegas Boulevard, , NV 89109 (702) 414-1270 Visit Website

Lotus of Siam

620 East Flamingo Road, , NV 89119 (702) 735-3033 Visit Website

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