Top Chef Tour Hits the Road!

Top Chef Tour Hits the Road!

The Top Chef Tour manager dishes on their first stop - Kansas City.


"I went to Kansas City on a Friday, by Saturday I learned a thing or two." There is much truth in that song from the musical Oklahoma as the Top Chef Tour rolled into Kansas City, Missouri on a Friday on the second stop of our 21 – City tour. I learned a thing or two in Kansas City, namely that I really don't like Veggie burgers, Kansas City has some of the greatest BBQ in the country and it has some of the best Top Chef fans in the country.

When our St. Louis Eatfest concluded, Nikki and I swore to do better in Kansas City. When we arrived in beautiful Kansas City, it was time for lunch and so began our quest to change our eating habits. Nikki and I decided on a chain restaurant, which will remain unnamed, that she claimed has the best veggie burger in the country. For the first time in my life, I decided to order a veggie burger and substituted the French fries that I really wanted for cous cous. Nikki substituted her fries for coleslaw. I can honestly say that was the first and last veggie burger I will ever order. I guess I don’t like my burgers made out of molasses, black beans, brown rice, oat bran, and beets, not to mention the fact that you have to eat it with a fork because it falls apart when you pick it up. Nonetheless, we were back on track with our eating habits. Next was dinner at 801 Chophouse, which I highly recommend if you are ever in KC. It had one the best fillets I have ever eaten and the biggest and most flavorful asparagus I have eaten. Friday morning we woke up ready to do four shows and began our morning with bananas, cereal and yogurt (a far cry from the Egg McMuffins we consumed in St. Louis). Like I said, back on track ... well, kind of! Nikki and Eli once again put on a great day of demos for the amazing Top Chef fans, some of whom drove five hours from Oklahoma just to see them. Eli repeated his meatball dish from St. Louis and Nikki made a very tasty Chick Pea, Cress and Pickled Red Onion Salad with Pancetta and Goat Cheese. I picked up a couple cooking tips from Nikki and Eli in Kansas that you may find useful. Nikki says to always sauté with canola oil as it has a higher burning point and never Olive Oil. Eli says that avocados are a close botanical relative to bay leaves, so if you can’t find bay leaves, use avocado leaves instead.

Now, we can’t leave Kansas City without having BBQ. Bravo’s Sarah Conrad drove to Oklahoma Joe's BBQ, which happens to be inside a gas station, and came back with the most delicious BBQ'd chicken, pulled pork and brisket I have had in a long time. So now, "Everything’s up to date in Kansas City." Next stop...Atlanta, where chefs Richard Blais, Hector Santiago and Kevin Gillespie will join the tour!

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