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Former contestants come to Soulard Market for 'Top Chef' tour
[April 16, 2011]

Former contestants come to Soulard Market for 'Top Chef' tour

Apr 15, 2011 (St. Louis Post-Dispatch - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Bravo's "Top Chef" tour rolls into Soulard Market on Friday, with former cheftestants Nikki Cascone and Hector Santiago along for the ride.

They'll demonstrate their cooking and share samples. In addition, fans will be able to line up for autographs and photos with the chefs, and try their luck at a putting green (the hole is shaped like a knife).

Tour spokeswoman Jennifer Vessio says that "a good number" of free tickets will be handed out for the first three shows and that standing room is available for fans without tickets.

Unlike the cooking demos featured in previous years, chefs in this year's 21-city tour will compete head-to-head in a contest modeled after the show's Quickfire challenges. The cast of chefs varies from city to city.

Santiago, who appeared on the sixth season of "Top Chef," owns two restaurants in Atlanta. He cooked in three cities on last year's tour.

"It's a lot of fun," Santiago says. "People really want to see it, to talk to us, to ask a lot of questions. This year, definitely, we're going to sweat -- it's for real this time." Cascone competed on the show's fourth season. She and her husband, Brad Grossman, opened a restaurant, Octavia's Porch, four months ago on New York's Lower East Side. A month after opening the restaurant, they had a baby.

"I don't advise anyone doing it, ever," Cascone says.

The competition on the tour will be true to what fans see on the television show, she says. Kicking off the tour has become a tradition for her.

"I always look forward to this time of year," Cascone says. "Every year when spring comes, baseball season starts, and the 'Top Chef' tour starts. It's my favorite." ------ "Top Chef: The Tour" When Cooking competitions at 10:30 a.m., noon, and 1:30 and 3 p.m. Friday. Related events (autograph signings, photographs, etc.) throughout the day. -- Where Soulard Market, 730 Carroll Street -- How much Free. Some tickets for the seating area will be distributed at the door, and ample standing room will be available. -- More info To see more of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to Copyright (c) 2011, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For more information about the content services offered by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services (MCT), visit

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