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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Our Handicap for 'Top Chef' Season 6: Will S.F. Root for the East Bay's Little Bear?

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 1:40 PM

Ash Fulk/Facebook
Ash Fulk: Will the Bay Area native prove a local fave?

In case you've turned to reading and misanthropy lately, allow us to break the news that Season 6 of Top Chef begins on Bravo tonight (9 p.m., channel 48 on Comcast). It's based in Sin City this time around, so expect plenty of guest-judge star chefs with namesake Vegas eateries flogging Quick Fire prizes that include, oh, autographed books and signature cookware. (Could this be the moment the rather scary Bradley Ogden stages a comeback?). 

The field of contestants spans the usual Top Chef range: a jumble of the earnestly self-taught, stubby-fingered sous chefs from B restaurants, and guys seeping Euro swagger, with the odd wispy hottie to sex things up.

What about locals? There's 29-year-old Mattin Noblia of Iluna Basque (701 Union at Powell) -- we expect him to roll playerish, with a suave game we'll love to hate. Earlier today he composed a startingly existential tweet: A few hours before reallity [sic] starts. Watch me tonight on Bravo at 9 PM. Then there's earthy Cali-Med caterer Laurine Wickett, 38, of Left Coast Catering (2152 Third St. at 18th St.) in Dogpatch. And 33-year-old Preeti Mistry, exec chef at Google via Bon Appetit Management Company.

But we're all set to cheer on 29-year-old Ash Fulk, who -- despite having one of those names whose quirkiness ensures it'll roll around your brain long after you Just. Want. It. To. Stop., and a goateed superciliousness that's convincingly NYC (he cooks at Trestle on Tenth in Manhattan) -- is just a 'burban boy from Pleasant Hill in the Contra Costa. Plus he's one of three members of Team Gay (Mistry's another) and, well, apparently kind of a bear in the making. We're counting on you to represent, Ash! Grrr.

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