This latest season of Top Chef, as many might already know, features two Portland chefs—Doug Adams and Gregory Gourdet. Doug is sous chef at Vitaly Paley's Imperial, which occupies the (massively rebuilt) former Typhoon space adjacent to the lobby of the Hotel Lucia. Gourdet is executive chef just around the corner at the upscale, Asian-inspired Departure on top the Nines Hotel.
I won't get into many details except that both Portland chefs are killing it. Doug exudes a straightforward, earnest charm, and his dishes are very emblematic of the dishes you'll be served at Imperial. On a recent episode, Dougie (as fellow contestants affectionately refer to him) served a somewhat-less-than-composed kale salad that seemed to underwhelm a couple judges, but the general consensus after all said and done was that this was a "delicious" salad. This was so "Portland".
Gregory Gourdet has been killing it on the show. I mentioned I don't care about spoilers, but I'll just say he's the clear front runner so far. He approaches each challenge with a clarity and focus, and efficiently attacks each challenge with a confidence that belies his humble personality. Solid dude. Both of them.
Both chefs in fact are both reserved yet firmly trust their own abilities. They have thus far eschewed the usual trappings of reality show drama queen bullshit that the producers often try to push upon the contestants. At one point I saw a sideways glance from Doug towards this season's huge douchebag (there's always at least one) that conveyed as much thinly disguised loathing as one can expect to extract from a 2 second gaze. Gregory himself seems to navigate the reality show waters smoothly, and his ingratiating manner impresses his fellow contestants (both chefs appear to be well regarded amongst their peers) while simultaneously staying above the fray. The judges are impressed, though it is still early.
“Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” — George Carlin