Red Maple executive chef Jill Snyder got a roar of support Wednesday night at a Top Chef premiere party as about 100 viewers watched the first episode of season five. Jill is one of 17 cheftestants competing for the Bravo show’s top prize—$100,000 to start a restaurant. The good news is that she moves on to the second episode. For details of the show, check out my colleague Max Weiss’s excellent recap.
The en-masse viewing started off last night at Red Maple with hors d’oeuvres prepared by our cheftestant—including lovely little bites of lamb burgers and veggie spring rolls (which were scarfed up quickly by the hungry masses). The event, sponsored by the Baltimore Foodies, attracted a mix of urban hipsters and suburban adventurers of varying ages. The place was buzzing until an announcement was made at about 9:45 that the TV equipment wasn’t working and the party would move across the street to the upstairs lounge at Grand Central to view the 10 p.m. show.
With two free drink tickets in hand, party-ers rushed to pay their bar tabs, grab their coats, and climb the steps to the new location in time to watch Jill in action. There wasn’t a whole lot of focus on her last night (the judges did like her jerk scallops with plantain fritters in the elimination round), but every time, she appeared on the screen, the crowd chanted her last name, cheered, and whistled. Jill was in the mix, surrounded by friends and followers. She had to be pleased.