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When we woke up from our Top Chef-induced food-TV coma last week, we realized that we forgot to save room for dessert!  Top Chef: Just Desserts has been on for three weeks now.  It’s hosted by Gail Simmons and it even features a local competitor, Hook’s Heather Chittum.  How could we ignore it?

If you’ve ever dreamt of walking away from your day job and getting into the restaurant business, Chittum should be an inspiration.  She came to Washington from New York to work on the Hill.  After four years she took a job with Share Our Strength, and then in 2001 her passion led her to L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg.  She has since built a reputation as one of the top pastry chefs in the Washington metropolitan area, winning the award for Pastry Chef of the Year from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington in 2008.

We caught up with Chef Chittum last Friday and talked about pastry chefs in the spotlight, the interplay between entrees and desserts, and – of course – whoopie pies.

SPOILER ALERT – if you haven’t watched last week’s episode, you may want to stop reading now.  But just until you have a chance to watch it.  Then come back.  We’ll be here. (more…)

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We missed you!

Sorry for the post silence lately – we promise we’re still keeping an eye on openings, eating around town and trying some delicious dishes at home.  We’re just a bit behind on letting you know about it.

So…how about that Top Chef DC?  Yeah, definite wasted opportunity.  It had its moments: Sam Kass and school lunches, for example.  But Washingtonians and viewers in general pretty much agree that this season was lackluster.

Oh well – they’re off to Thailand and we’re ready for the rumored-but-not-officially-confirmed Top Chef All Star season that may or may not be currently filming in New York (more on that later – some familiar faces from DC may be involved).  We’re also rooting for the home team on Top Chef: Just Desserts when it debuts this week, cheering on Hook’s Heather Chittum as she takes on a field of eleven other pastry chefs.

And we’re also looking back at some more enjoyable Top Chef memories, as well.  Top Chef Season 6 gave fans plenty of talent and competition – and gave DC fans a favorite to root for clear to the end in VOLT’s Bryan Voltaggio.  The first season of Top Chef Masters provided a fun twist on the format and a winner who’s just such a darn nice guy.  And then there was the Top Chef Quickfire Cookbook – everything you need (except years of training) to duplicate some of the most inventive dishes from the show’s first five seasons.

They’re all available for purchase now…or you can win them right here.  That’s right – we’re having another Top Chef Finale giveaway contest this week.  The winner gets a prize pack that includes Top Chef Season 6, Top Chef Masters Season 1, and the Quickfire Cookbook!

Want to win?  Leave a comment with three components (one for each prize):

1. A celebrity chef you’d like to see as a judge next season
2. The competitor you would MOST like to see in an “All Star” season, were there to be one
3. A challenge from a previous season you’d like to see brought back

We’ll announce a winner (selected at random from all eligible entries) on Thursday morning, just in case you don’t get your fill of Top Chef with Wednesday night’s back-to-back episodes.

And thanks for reading!