Top Chef

Scouting Report: Our Local Top Chef Hopefuls

Mattin Noblia
Mattin Noblia Photo: Courtesy of Bravo

Mattin Noblia frequented Las Vegas well before his role as a contestant on Top Chef, we learned in an interview last week. His friend and business partner, Cyril Bassan, says he joins Noblia frequently at clubs like Roe and Harlot. “He has a large collection of women,” Bassan told us. “He’s not a player, but it’s very hard to keep an American woman.” (Recall that Noblia dabbled in modeling prior to being a chef — be sure to check out the photo spread.) He’s popular on Facebook, too, with some 870 friends. On Twitter, Noblia revealed earlier this month that he was “going to Santa Cruz, to look at a new potential business.” He might also be in the market for a new boat: “I’m with Sonny looking where we are gonna park our yatch. St francis or Sausalito yatch club?” Be sure to check out Iluna Basque’s Facebook page, which has almost as many photos of Nobila (19) as his food (21).

Laurine WickettCourtesy of BravoTo those who know her, Laurine Wickett’s decision to go on Top Chef came as a surprise. “She’s never struck me as the type of chef who would want to be on top chef. She’s not ego-driven,” said Craig Stoll, who worked with Wickett a decade ago at Palio d’Asti, the now-shuttered Frog and the Peach, and then Delfina. But she is quick, which could come in handy in the show’s condensed format. “Some people when they’re in the kitchen there’s a lot of movement, a lot of extraneous flailing about,” Stoll told us. “She sets to work on something and you turn around and it’s done.” We checked out Wickett’s Facebook page (it’s private) and didn’t see any notable Bay area chefs on her friend list. Her blog was only recently established, likely as a good jumping-off point for the notoriety that comes with an appearance on Top Chef. (Same with her company’s Twitter, which has but one update.) For a chef, Wickett seems somewhat media savvy, but not flamboyant. Stoll agrees: “She was always the straight man. There would be a bunch of us getting drunk or mouthing off, and she was typically the… I wouldn’t say designated driver but that would be her role if there was one.”

Preeti MistryCourtesy of BravoThough Preeti Mistry no longer works in a traditional restaurant, she still knows from busy service in the kitchen at Google’s Mountain View headquarters, where she’s “working her arse off” to serve some 2,500 people a day. A recent menu she sent to Grub Street includes quinoa toybox squash salad, braised pork belly with soy sauce egg, or curried pattypan squash bisque. Though she worked previously at Acme Chophouse, Thom Fox, the chef there, declined to be interviewed about her performance. Per her Twitter she enjoys boxing, and a source told Grub Street New York that Mistry is “the life of the party” and “always the most popular kid.” Per her private Facebook page, Mistry enjoys gruyere cheese, Veuve Clicquot, and Iluna Basque — the restaurant her co-cheftestant, Mattin Nobila, owns.

Scouting Report: What to Expect From Top Chef [Grub Street NY]

Mattin Noblia On Modeling, Vegas, and a New Restaurant
[Grub Street SF]
Preeti Mistry on Google and Faux-Hawks [Grub Street SF]
Laurine Wickett on the New East Coast-West Coast Beef [Grub Street San Francisco]

Scouting Report: Our Local Top Chef Hopefuls