From Rumor to Top Chef Premier Night

Author’s note:  This is a continuation of a series of blogs about the experience of watching my daughter, Chef Dakota Weiss,  make her way through Bravo TV’s Top Chef Texas, currently airing on Wednesday nights.

Vote TEAM DAKOTA  for Fan Favorite:;JSESSIONID=2C11B2DC0D22A5FFA773.9555?site=tpchf&view=bio_Dakota

At June’s end, a mole leaked my daughter’s missing in action status to a foodie blog.

It read: Rumor alert! Top Chef Season 9 looks to be shooting right now in San Antonio. Any local chefs mysteriously missing for a six-week period? Eater National is asking for tips and any photos from the Texas city’s lone Whole Foods. In other news, a tipster sends an unverified report that Dakota Weiss, executive chef at NineThirty at the W Hotel in Westwood, is a cheftestapant on the next season. Weiss is confirmed to be traveling at the moment.

It wasn’t me. By then my tongue was so raw from my own tooth marks (preventing me from squawking, “My daughter’s a Top Chef contestant RIGHT NOW”), that I was reduced to consuming only bland yogurt and milk for a week. I didn’t even link the “rumor” to my Facebook page.

By July the internet foodie rumor mill had Dakota’s name in most every post. Questions came my way. “Is it true? Is Dakota really going to be on Top Chef?” My reply: They’re rumors. Nothing more. Her sous chef commandeered her kitchen for weeks now, so one rumor upon another bubbled. Gossip buzzed like drunken bees. Some “knew” Dakota ran off to Ireland to get married; another said she had a bad infection; and of course, some conjectured she took up temporary residence at a popular Malibu hotel, also known as rehab. I’m amazed my tongue remains attached.

It was a long, long summer, my friends.

The best day of summer came in August

A little family mug with a rib at farmer’s market.

when Dakota, sporting her San Antonio western hat, came home and we spent the evening at our local farmer’s market.

And it’s been a long fall waiting for last night’s Top Chef Season 9 premier.

“Mom,” Dakota began earlier in the week, “Can you make your famous chili and we’ll serve Frito Pies during the show?” So, yes, all day Tuesday my red chili, thick with red chili powder from Chimayo, New Mexico, filled the air with its stomach seduction smoky zest. We packed bags of Fritos, a gallon of apple juice and hauled the fare to Los Angeles.

Google announced  media releases from cities in Ohio, Washington, and Maryland,with Dakota’s name featured: “Watch for Dakota Weiss, 35, opinionated, and one of the two women chefs heavily inked.” I linked the “ink” stories to my Facebook page.  Incoming text messages read, “‘Opinionated???LOL.”

My oldest daughter left her Santa Fe law desk behind and flew into Los Angeles so that we could celebrate this special moment together as a family–and a cadre of Dakota’s friends and associates

Excited friends made their way into the viewing room set up for our private premier. They built their Frito Pies.  Over 20 “friend” requests came through Dakota’s iPhone. The music started with the Top Chef star judges featured on the screen.  We sat at the edge of our seats.  “I’ve got freaking goosebumps everywhere,” one person cried.

And there she was, the tallest of the women, in her black chef’s jacket burning right through the camera lens.  “OMG!!! Look at you.  You are so gonna kick a!” my oldest daughter squealed at her sister, who was, like the rest of us getting teary eyed.

Yes, Dakota made it through the first round.  We screamed so loud that we blasted out the urban noise below.

It’s after 9 a.m. right now and the day after. I’m wiped out. The party, however, continues…and I need coffee and food.  What a night!

Follow this link for BravoTV’s official bio on Dakota:

4 thoughts on “From Rumor to Top Chef Premier Night

  1. I had an idea how last night went for all of you, but as always, you put us there! So proud & excited for all of you!

  2. You celebrated with Frito pies? Ha ha. I first met this delicious, somewhat disgusting dish (bag?) while living in Redford, Texas, near Big Bend NP and working as the college counselor in Presidio, Texas. Few outside the SW know this “dish.”

  3. Char, I viewed the casting clip and her bio, but I was unable to find the episode. Do they stream the show anywhere on the net? If so, perhaps you could provide a URL for those of us who lack a television. I’m looking forward to seeing Kota cook!

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