Yesterday executive chef Tiffany Derry told Leslie Brenner her time at Private Social has “been great,” but she has “some goals and dreams [she] wants to pursue.”Derry goes on to say she “ doesn’t believe in being 20 different places; I like to do things well.”
Does anyone see a trend here? Our local chefs who appeared on Bravo’s Top Chef don’t seem to stay in a restaurant with their name on the marquee (sorry) too long. It makes me wonder what kind of stipulations and requirements the producers of Top Chef put on contestants. Tre Wilcox lasted a year at Marquee. Casey Thompson? Maybe that long at Brownstone. Now Tiffany.
Here’s my take. I think chefs who appear on Top Chef get a lot of endorsement offers from all kinds of companies. Like athletes who excel, chefs get offers to represent cookware, food vendors, and private chef events. And consulting gigs. Which pay a lot of money. Sharon Hage closed York St. and (probably) makes more money now on consulting gigs. Her name on the menu of a bowling alley heightens the image. And she doesn’t have to sling hot pans until midnight. And she wasn’t even on national TV.
I spoke with Wilcox after he stepped down from his high-profile gig at Marquee, and he didn’t confirm my theory, but it was easy to tell from listening to him: Working in a high-profile restaurant is hard work. Marquee was open breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. Tre can make more money in less time working out of his house. So can Tiffany. And lord knows Casey has worked herself into a comfy gig. (Last week she tweeted: “Just watching #TopChef anymore gives me an ulcer. Way to many fed lines and bickering. Sigh. I may be done.”
Bravo is tight lipped about how long a contestant must make appearances in the show’s name after they’ve shipped their knives home. After appearing on Next Food Network Star, Lisa Garza wasn’t “allowed” to pursue just any dream, for a certain time period, that dream had to be approved. Blythe Beck appeared on her own show on Oxygen and returned home to mark time at Central 214 until she could go. What is she doing? Private cheffing and consulting.
It’s just a thought. A new opportunity for chefs that wasn’t there for young chefs a few years ago. Your thoughts?