‘Top Chef Duels’ finale crowded with Chicago contenders

SHARE ‘Top Chef Duels’ finale crowded with Chicago contenders

While TV audiences tune in Wednesday to see Takashi Yagihashi take on 10 competitors in the “Top Chef Duels” finale, Takashi plans to watch along with them during viewing parties at his two Chicago restaurants.

River North’s Slurping Turtle and the Michelin-starred Takashi in Bucktown both are offering special prix fixe menus Wednesday to coincide with the Bravo cooking competition’s finale, where roughly a third of the finalists have ties to Chicago.

Airing at 9 p.m., the episode will be shown at both of the Japan-born chef’s eateries, where Takashi intends to divide his time Wednesday evening but spend the bulk of it at his namesake restaurant, a Slurping Turtle manager said.

Reservations are sold out for the $50, five-course menu at Slurping Turtle and the $80, 7-course meal at Takashi, but late-comers can call and add their name to a waiting list in case of cancelations. (The waiting list at Slurping Turtle as of Monday only had a few names on it, but don’t expect a lot of no shows: Credit cards were required to reserve a table.)

Hosted by Curtis Stone, “Top Chef Duels” is the latest spinoff of the popular culinary competition franchise. Notables from previous seasons of “Top Chef” and “Top Chef Masters” went mano a mano in each episode, with the winner advancing to the finals for a shot at $100,000.

Girl and the Goat’s Stephanie Izard also made it to the last round. A manager at that Randolph Row restaurant said nothing “Top Chef Duels”-related is planned there or at Little Goat on Wednesday.

Chicago-born Dale Talde, who now cooks in Brooklyn, will by vying for the title, too, along with Richard Blais (a judge on the upcoming season of “Top Chef”), Shirley Chung, Antonia Lofaso, CJ Jacobson, Jen Carroll, Kevin Gillespie and the winner of the show’s online-only “Knockout” competition — a chef whose identity will be revealed in the finale.

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