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We're quite accustomed to hearing Padma Lakshmi tell cheftestants on Bravo's Top Chef to "please pack your knives and go." But have you ever thought about how Top Chef finalists travel with chef's knives?
Jet Set asked a few of Season 15's cheftestants to dish on their go-to sharp utensil transportation method. The consensus is that, when in doubt, you should always check them. But winner Joe Flamm has an extra-bizarre story about traveling with cleavers pretty much everyone needs to hear.
When we caught up with him ahead of the season finale, Flamm told us the tale: "When I was in Shanghai with my cousin," he started, "I bought a box of cleavers and the guy gave it to me in a ceiling fan box." As one does.
Flamm continued, "I had to go on the train with them, and on the train from Shanghai, you have to go through a metal detector. So I put a ceiling fan box through a metal detector."
Yes. This is happening.
"And this guy stops me — I don't speak Chinese, but luckily my cousin does." His cousin explained to the person looking at a box of sharp knives that he's a chef and that's why he has said box. Luckily, Flamm explained, "They let me get on the train with a ceiling fan box full of cleavers." It's, without a doubt, the very definition of #chefproblems.
As for Flamm's finale partner, Adrienne Cheatham, she pretty much avoids traveling on a plane with her knives. "If I'm packing a cooler ahead of time to do an event, I'll put my knives in the cooler and ship it ahead of time," she said. "Or, you just have to check your bag and pray for the best... I'm always so afraid that something's going to happen to them and then knives I've collected for 15 years are gone."
Season 15 final four cheftestant Chris Scott keeps it pretty simple. When we toured his Brooklyn restaurant, Butterfunk Kitchen, he gave us the quick-and-easy way to hop on a plane with chef's knives in tow: "Rather than having them separate, you just put them in your main suitcase with your clothes and everything, and just go."
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