Photo: Kelsey McNeal / Bravo
We have to admit: It's more than a little hard to keep all the renowned chefs of America and their various TV appearances straight. It's getting to the point where, if you're lucky enough to be able to dine in a big city, you're liable to be greeted by the same person who you saw whipping up calamari with Kathie Lee & Hoda
in the morning, getting eliminated from a rerun of The Next Iron Chef
in the afternoon, and cruelly critiquing young upstarts on Top Chef D.C.
in the evening.
Such is the case with Maria Hines
of Seattle's renowned Tilth. Okay, so we didn't get to dine at Tilth Sunday night, and it's been a while since she graced the airwaves on Top Chef Masters
. But we've missed her bold, distinctly northwestern (not to mention organic and local) flavor profiles, unpretentious plating, and utterly cool, laid-back demeanor. In just a couple short episodes, she became our number-one summer chef crush.
So while we were eagerly awaiting her face-off with Chef Morimoto on Iron Chef America
this weekend, we did so with a lump in our throats: Really, does anyone other than the reigning Iron Chef win? Sure, there are a few token wins to reassure us that the whole thing isn't rigged, but surely, pairing up Hines with seafood whiz Morimoto was a "better luck next time" kind of move on the part of the producers.