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Adams Morgan Played Host to Bravo’s “Top Chef” Stars

By Brandy Lee*

[Note: Photographs accompanying this news story in the print edition can be viewed in the full PDF copy in the Current & Back Issues Archive.]

Adams Morgan was the site of the Bravo channel’s “Top Chef” cooking demonstration on Saturday, May 9th. Brought to DC by AdamsMorgan MainStreet to highlight the neighborhood as a culinary destination, four seatings of 60 each were held. “I was so thrilled to get a seat and taste the food,” said Sylvain Corneveaux, “this made a great pre-wedding surprise for my fiancé, who is a big fan!”

“Top Chef” Season Five’s Carla Hall (a DC chef and catering company owner) and Season Four’s Spike Mendelsohn (chef/owner of Good Stuff Eatery on Capitol Hill) “hammed it up” for Adams Morgan participants and gave cooking tips and tastings to the audience. Two of the favorites were the lamb and soft shell crab. “It was fabulous to be able to ask them questions and see they are just as great unrehearsed and in person as they were on the television series,” enthused Ralph Lee, whose dream is to be a restaurant entrepreneur.

The Top Chef traveling stage set up at the Marie Reed School included a state-of-the-art kitchen. The truck expanded outwards revealing the kitchen, stage, demonstration area and 60 seats, all under an enclosed canopy, which was needed due to the pleasant, but warm weather.

“We’re so pleased to bring this national event right here on 18th Street which helps highlight Adams Morgan as a restaurant destination,” said AdamsMorgan MainStreet President Lisa Duperier. “The ‘green’ portion was a nice touch, with stationary bikes that used ‘person power’ to run the blender to make a ‘smoothie’ of choice,” she said.

AdamsMorgan MainStreet auctioned front row seats at Duplex Diner and at the Grill from Ipanema. Alcy M. de Souza, Jr. owner of the family-owned Brazilian restaurant named for the famous Rio beach, said he was happy to be a small part of this positive event for the image of Adams Morgan, and was pleased to welcome dining patrons who brought along their autographed pictures from the star chefs.

Said local chef, Ari Gedjenson, who aspires to open his own restaurant, “This was so encouraging, and I’m so glad for Adams Morgan “which is such a great place to walk around and eat, with many good restaurants of all types, not to mention cool gift items for friends.”

The free public event also included trivia games, giveaways and merchandise sales from Bravo Channel, Quaker Oats, and TOP CHEF. Additional guests viewed the demos by standing outside of the seating area or from a small plasma television in the activity area. Comcast was a local sponsor, and according to Bravo Channel, all the free on-line tickets were gone within the first 15 minutes of availability. Any “no show” seats were then given away, first come-first serve, to anybody in line. (For more information, visit

*Brandy Lee, a third generation DC native, spends time in Adams Morgan, and owns B-2 Movement for Change, a dance and yoga holistic wellness company.

Copyright (c) 2009 InTowner Publishing Corp. & Adams Morgan MainStreets. All rights reserved.