7908 Supper Club caps off season with a ‘Top Chef’ reunion
Contestants-turned-friends to collaborate on multi-course meal paired with Goslings Rum
For the final supper club of the season at 7908 Aspen in two weeks, a “Top Chef” reunion is afoot.
Byron Gomez, who helms the restaurant’s kitchen and who competed on the most recent Portland-based season of the cooking competition show, will be joined by three of his fellow contestants for the prix fixe dinner on Sept. 23.
Chefs Jamie Tran, Chris Viaud and Nelson German plan to bring their flavors and styles to Aspen for a course of the meal. Each course will be paired with a beverage that incorporates Goslings Rum.
In German’s book, there’s no such thing as too many cooks in the kitchen when it comes to collaborating with his fellow “Top Chef” contestants, said the chef at alaMar in Oakland, California.
“We all really came in tune together,” German said. “We’re all so diverse, with different cultures together, that it’s exciting to each other because we get to learn from each other, too.”
“The whole term, ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ — it’s always bad when everyone knows exactly the same thing … but when you’re so diverse and different in your techniques and your food, it’s more exciting, because you’re learning from each other, and that’s what excites us as chefs when we can learn something new and get inspired,” he added.
Reservations are required for each of the two seatings, scheduled for 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sept. 23. The $425 price per guest includes tax and gratuity. Anyone who attends is welcome to stay at 7908 after the dinner has wrapped; doors will open to the public around 9 p.m. for regular service.
To make a reservation, go to http://www.sevenrooms.com/reservations/7908aspen.
Viaud agrees. Collaboration is part of his philosophy as the owner and executive chef of Greenleaf and Culture Bread in Milford, New Hampshire, as is the use of local ingredients — also a component of the experience at 7908, where Gomez regularly works with local growers.
“Part of what we do here is we work within the seasons, so we constantly visit the local farms and see what’s in season and what’s going to be coming into the season next, so that way, we can plan accordingly and be able to communicate with what our thought process is moving forward with what dishes we want to create,” Viaud said. “I feel very comfortable with jumping into a kitchen with a bunch of other chefs and collaborating with a progressive menu that will kind of highlight some of the techniques or skills that we all possess.”
The reunion is one all three of the visiting chefs are looking forward to, they said.
“We really became a family on ‘Top Chef,'” German said. “We fell in love with each other, so it will be good just to hang out and cook together again.”
There’s a special connection that comes from the experience of a cooking competition show like “Top Chef,” said Tran, who is the chef and owner of The Black Sheep in Las Vegas.
“I just felt this bond, like us being together, … in 20 years, I can forget somebody else that I met, but for them, I would never forget them — they’ll be part of my life forever,” Tran said.
Viaud, German and Tran have all participated in other “Top Chef” reunions like the one slated for September in other locations around the country. So far, none of them are tired of the hype from the series — though Tran said it’s taken a bit of adjustment to encounter fans so excited to talk to her that they start to tear up.
But it’s the reconnection with friends that they’re really looking forward to, Viaud said.
“The guests’ reception has been awesome,” Viaud said. “And mostly, we just do it just to have fun and reconnect and really be able to rekindle that friendship that we were developing over the course of filming that we really never had the chance to really dive into. … Now we’re really getting to know each other on a personal level.”