By the time last night's Top Chef episode aired, everyone pretty much already knew that chef Daisly Gordon was going to appear, since his restaurant Marché was the venue for the elimination challenge. Gordon also guest judged the preceding Quickfire. But when viewers got to meet the other guest judges accompanying Gordon—a group of market artisans whose products the contestants had to showcase in their dish du jour—locals sat up straight in their seats: "Isn't that Debra Music from Theo Chocolate? And Kurt Dammeier from Beecher's?" But it was during a Top Chef viewing party at Marché that a group of folks started making noise about Miles Thomas, a longtime Seattle bartender turned maker of Scrappy's Bitters; the guy whose cardamom bitters were used to make a curry cardamom broth with manila clams and seared white King salmon; the guy who was stealthily in attendance last night to watch himself on the small screen. His participation was a secret he'd been keeping from friends and family since July, and for anyone in the booze and bartending scene, that's no easy task.
Eater Seattle caught up with Thomas for a quick post-Top Chef Q&A.
How did you get this gig?
"They called me, like, two days before [filming]."
How did they find out about you?
"I guess they were scouring the market for local products. One of my distributors called me about it earlier in the day asking me if they could give my number away to somebody."
Do you think you'll see a bump in business?
"My operations manager has been texting me since the show. He's like, 'Oh, dude! I didn't know!' I told him he'd better get into work early [Thursday] just in case we get lots of emails."
Did you know the other vendors?
"No. It was funny because we were all really uptight when we started. They poured us a few glasses of wine, we loosened up, got a little more free with our speech, and made friends."
What did you really think of the food?
"We all didn't think it was very good. It wasn't bad. I would totally eat it. It just wasn't what you'd expect from Top Chef."
What was your least favorite dish?
"The popcorn grits were not good. Granted, what do you do with truffled popcorn when that's your ingredient?"
The dish that showcased your product. Honestly, how bad was it?
"I wanted more cardamom in it. I feel like they went really light on the cardamom. I felt like it just didn't feature my product. I think it's probably one of the easier flavors to cook with because the flavor is intense and versatile."
Are you going to put one of those big star graphics on your product label: 'As Seen On Top Chef?'