Bravo/ Michael Lavine
Patrick Dunlea is just old enough to drink, but that didn't keep him from being picked to compete in the new season of Top Chef. In fact, the baby-faced Dunlea is still in school at the Culinary Institute of America.
Unfortunately, he was the second of the two cheftestants given the boot during last night's premiere episode of Bravo's hit reality show. His Chinese-inspired noodle dish left the judges limp. But at least he got to meet guest judge Jean-Georges Vongerichten, arguably one of the world's most celebrated fine-dining chefs.
I caught up with Dunlea this morning as he was rushing off to class.
You're only 21 and still in school. Your classmates must have been pretty jealous, yes?
They didn't know I was on it at first. We weren't allowed to tell anyone, so they didn't know it until I started popping up in commercials.
Where did you tell them you went when you were in New York City shooting the show?
I had already planned to take a semester off—I didn't know if I was going to be on Top Chef or not, and I didn't want to have to leave school at the last minute to do the show. I just told everyone I needed a break and that I went to Bermuda.
Was it a complete shock to see Jean-Georges as guest judge for the challenge where you had to prepare your now fatal Chinese dish? I mean, he's major.
Yeah! And he knows a lot about Asian food!
But now you can say you know Jean-Georges.
Not really, but I do tell everyone that I shook Jean-Georges' hand and he ate my salmon.
That's not all the Top Chef I have for ya today. Check back later for my chat with this season's very first eliminated contestant, Lauren Hope, who was sent home because she failed to impress the judges with the way she cut...apples?