Don't forget about native Baltimorean Melissa Harrison, who is still hanging on in episode seven of Bravo's "Top Chef," which airs at 10 p.m. tonight.
Melissa—who grew up in Sparks, graduated from Garrison Forest School in 1998, and went to Baltimore International College for her culinary education— moved to Colorado about five years ago because she loves to ski and fell in love with the city of Boulder. But the 28-year-old hasn’t cut her ties here: "I’m a very loyal Baltimorean," she said yesterday in a phone conversation from Colorado. "I go home as much as I can."
When she visits her family here—mom Sharon Lindstrom; "Nana," her 80-year-old grandmother; and various siblings and other relatives (her dad Thomas Harrison died in 1995)—she likes to go to Bluestone in Lutherville, where she worked as a line cook. One of her other favorite restaurants is Charleston in Harbor East.
She can’t talk about the outcome of "Top Chef" (or even if they’ve shot the finale), but she says, "It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done." She laughs about the many blogs dissecting each episode. She’s been called "the blond girl with bangs" (for the record, she’s not wearing bangs anymore) and the chef who flies below the judges’ radar in the challenges and elimination rounds. "It’s not on purpose," she counters cheerfully when asked about the comments. "It happens that way." By the way, she doesn’t look at the blogs: "It’s hard to read what people are saying when they don’t know you."
For now, Melissa is excited about being the sous chef at a new Boulder restaurant called Happy Noodle, scheduled to open in early February. Stay tuned for what happens to our Baltimore girl on "Top Chef."