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Bravo's 'Top Chef 2' winner prematurely revealed by 'Food & Wine?'


By Christopher Rocchio, 01/30/2007 

Has Food & Wine magazine, one of Top Chef's sponsors, inadvertently revealed the reality show's second season winner by posting an interview with one of the culinary competition's two remaining finalists on its website on Monday afternoon -- two days before Top Chef 2's conclusion is scheduled to air on Bravo?

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(SPOILER ALERT: If you don't want to know the identity of the possible winner of Top Chef 2, please stop reading this article immediately.)

Yesterday afternoon, Eater LA, a blog that covers the Los Angeles restaurant, bar and nightlife scene, reported that a "reader" had discovered a  Food & Wine website feature that the culinary magazine claimed was "a full-on interview with the Top Chef winner."  The only problem is that Bravo hasn't revealed Top Chef's second season winner yet.  One of the competition's two remaining contestants, Ilan Hall and Marcel Vigneron, will be crowned Top Chef 2's champion when Bravo airs the final part of the show's pre-taped two-part finale on Wednesday, January 31 at 10PM ET/PT.

According to Eater LA, Food & Wine posted the "full-on interview" with Hall yesterday afternoon sometime between 3PM and 3:15PM before it "was quickly taken down."  The article, which was titled "Bravo's New Top Chef Tells All," opened by saying, "How did Ilan Hall... beat out the 14 other contestants to become Top Chef on the Bravo reality show?  And what's he planning on doing with the $100,000 he won?"

While the article seemed to make it pretty clear that somebody at Food & Wine had dropped the ball and released the interview a couple of days too soon, the culinary magazine says that's not the case.  

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On Tuesday, Food & Wine released a statement about the article on its Top Chef website. "Yesterday, an intrepid reality tv fan found a Top Chef story on Food & Wine's server. Food & Wine prepared profiles of both Top Chef finalists in advance of the last episode so that we had a story on the winner ready to publish immediately after the season finale." It then went on to offer links to profiles on both Hall and Vigneron.

Food & Wine might be trying to cover its tracks, but Hall doesn't appear to be doing the same. 

According to Eater LA, Hall's myspace.com site has featured "Money in the Bank," a Scrappy song that begins with Dave Chappelle's "I'm rich bitch!" quote, playing on the site for the last few weeks.  Last week, Snack, a New York-focused restaurant blog,  reported that Hall had left Casa Mono, the New York City restaurant that had employed him as a line cook, on Tuesday -- the day before Top Chef 2 aired the first part of its two-part finale on Wednesday night.

In addition to a feature in Food & Wine and an appearance at the Food & Wine Magazine Classic show in Aspen, Colorado, Top Chef 2's winner will receive a $100,000 cash prize intended to help seed their culinary career and a Kenmore PRO Kitchen provided by Sears.



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