Thursday, July 30, 2009

Brewpub Chef survives Hells Kitchen (so far)

A chef at a northern Virginia brewpub has survived celebrity chef Gordon Ramsey's histrionics ... at least for one week.

Chef Tennille Middleton has been the chef for the past 4 years at the Sweetwater Tavern —a brewpub— in Falls Church, Virginia,

She also happens to be a contestant on the Fox Network's over-the-top television program known as Hell's Kitchen. Contestants compete to demonstrate their culinary proficiency while suffering verbal abuse from Ramsay, the host. After several more episodes, the survivor of this season's show will receive the top position at a restaurant in British Columbia, Canada.

Chef Tennille Middleton, courtesy Fox TV
Her hometown paper (at least at present), the Falls Church News Press, took a few clues from the first episode and successfully sleuthed her out. Kudos for investigative journalism.

In an exclusive interview with the News Press at the Sweetwater Tavern last week, Tennille (as she is known on the show, no last names are used) was not allowed to say when the series was actually taped in Hollywood, or, of course, what the outcome was. <..>

She sounded surprised when the News-Press found her and called for an interview, but she was readily willing to talk.

If Chef Middleton is victorious, my mother will miss her ... or at least her crabcakes. My mother refers to Sweetwater Tavern —despite its house-brewed beer— as the crabcake restaurant.

Hmmm. Time to check Craigslist for chef wanted ads.

UPDATE 2009.09.01: Chef Middleton advances into 9th episode.
UPDATE 2009.09.22: Chef Middleton is one of 5 finalists on the program.
UPDATE 2009.10.07: Chef Middleton makes it to final four, loses.

The Falls Church, Virginia, Sweetwater Tavern is one of three brewpubs in northern Virginia. None are affiliated with the Sweetwater Brewing Company of Atlanta, Georgia.

In fact, the brewpub recently lost a lawsuit by the Georgia brewery which forbids the Virginia group from using the name outside of the physical brewpubs. When Sweetwater Tavern takes its beers to outside events, the beer is called Great American Restaurant Beer, after the name of the parent company.

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