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Bravo's kitchen catfight.

Fans of reality TV contests that offer quantifiable results--like Project Runway and America's Next Top Model--will like the taste of Bravo's latest foray into the genre, Top Chef, airing Wednesdays. A hybrid of the Runway and Model formats, Top Chef pits 12 contestants of varying degrees of culinary proficiency against each other in a battle for $100,000, a spread in Food & Wine magazine, and the new television title "Top Chef."

Much like other TV contests, Top Chef has drafted participants reflecting a mix of ethnicities and sexualities, including gay caterer Dave Martin and bisexual chef Tiffani Faison. Neither contestant puts much stock in their sexuality in the context of the competition. "Being gay does not define me ... I'm just comfortable being who I am, which is Dave Martin, chef. It's not 'gay chef,'" says Martin.

Faison echoes his thoughts: "Sexuality [is] a part of the show in terms of who we [are], but there wasn't a gay camp we went to at night and talked about things. It's about cooking and about the work."

No gay camp, indeed. When asked if they had bonded over sexuality during the course of shooting, Martin quickly replies, "No, no, no, no! We're two very different people. I'm all about working with everyone and ... she is very aggressive. She's that old-style chef that yells and bitches at people and treats people like shit, That doesn't work for me. I'm sorry. I'm an adult."

The competitive Faison, who does come off as a bit of a taskmaster, sums up her persona behind the line: "1 think my focus was really high. And I tend to be a little tougher when I'm working."
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Title Annotation:BEHIND THE SCENES; cooking television programs
Author:Abley, Sean
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 28, 2006
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