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TV Dinners: Eat Like Padma, Shout Like Gordon

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Ariel Contreras, HK6 Contestant (Photo courtesy STK)

Ariel Contreras, HK6 Contestant (Photo courtesy STK)
In spite of the occasionally cringe-worthy dishes on Top Chef and the bumbling and blubbering of Hell's Kitchen, you know you're insanely jealous of those judges. Well, now you have the opportunity to eat like the judges--yes, even the actual recipes they picked apart like bits of carrion on the small screen.Every Wednesday, STK Todd Miller's reinvented steakhouse for the "young sexy market" will serve a "Chef’s Selection Special Dish inspired by the previous night’s episode of Hell’s Kitchen" in honor of Season 6 HK contestant and STK-LA Sous Chef Ariel Contreras. (If you want to eat like a Hell's Kitchen team challenge winner, do like the women's team did in last night's episode, and give Dining in the Dark at Opaque a the dark.)

Mark Peel, who will be guest judging on Top Chef tonight offered the plates he cooked for Top Chef Masters at a special dinner at Campanile Monday night. We have our fingers crossed it will not be the last time.

In addition to these special events, Top Chef contestants are popping up like Pinkberries all over LA. Season 2 winner Ilan Hall's newly-opened The Gorbals is receiving a lot of attention. Named after the Glasgow neighborhood where he grew up (which has the reputation amongst ex-pats as a kind of rough 'hood), The Gorbals features international cuisine, reflecting Hall's Scottish-Jewish upbringing, as well as influences from Italy and Napa. Haggis Burger or Manischewitz-braised Pork Belly Ribs, anyone?

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Top Chef season 5 contender, Stefan Richter, just revamped LA Farm with old friend Leo Bongaro. From online reviews of the California-French cuisine at Stefan's LA Farm it seems that he has the chops to back up that cocky "I am so European" 'tude. The small plates, which are teensy-tiny dishes for as low as 3 dollars each consist of amuse bouche-style bites such as a single oyster.


Michael Voltaggio in his last post at The Bazaar (Elise Thompson/LAist)
For the edgier foodie set, Michael Voltaggio, current "cheftestant" battling against his older brother Bryan for TC honors, is secure at the helm of The Dining Room, the Michelin-Star awarded restaurant inside the Langham Hotel. With the Dining Room's dining room due for a makeover in 2010, the menu has already been remade, and debuted this summer, showcasing Voltaggio's clever and playful food which has won him accolades on TC; last weekend while bro Bryan took the win, Michael took the $15k Quickfire Challenge poker chip. We'll have to see if Vegas proves to be "so money" for either of the Voltaggios. Still hungry for more TV dining? You'll find Michael Voltaggio's former co-worker, Marcel Vigneron of Top Chef's season 2, along with his much-maligned hair, busy in the kitchen of The Bazaar by Jose Andres where we are sure he is right at home making liquid olives. We'll have to hold on a bit longer to see where Top Chef Masters' ebullient frenchman, Ludovic Lefebvre, winds up after his much-lauded 3-month stint in the Breadbar popup LudoBites. If you need a Master-ful fix right now, though, head over to Providence; Michael Cimarusti didn't win the $100k prize for his charity (Chicago's Rick Bayless did), but his food wins praise from diners.

Additional reporting by Lindsay William-Ross.