It's amazing who you can meet at the grocery store. My fiance and I were at the Marina Safeway in San Francisco yesterday when I saw a woman who looked familiar. I'm really bad at remembering names, but I never forget a face. I also don't have a problem bothering celebrities in public.
It took me a few minutes to figure out who she was, but then I realized it was one of the contestants from one of my favorite reality shows, Top Chef. Her name is Marisa Churchill and she lives in the Fillmore District. I walked up to her and immediately struck up a conversation.
In the Top Chef II series, they made Marisa look like a real shrew. She was eliminated about midway through the competition and came off as bitchy. But, when we met her yesterday, we were surprised to find out that she is actually really nice. We talked to her about Top Chef and her culinary career for about ten minutes and she was just great.
Marisa did say one thing I hear quite often from people whoâ€™ve been on reality shows â€“ that the producers really manipulate the storylines to come out the way they want to. She explained some scenes that were completely changed or other things that were left out to make her look really mean and super cutthroat.
Marisa gave me her card and I'm going to be interviewing for a full-blown article soon.
For what I've read in her bio, she seems like quite an amazing chef. Here is what Marisa says about herself on her Web site, www.marisachurchill.com:
â€œMarisa's love of cooking began early in life. As a young girl she cooked in the kitchen with her Greek grandmother. By her grandmother's side Marisa learned how to cure her own olives, make homemade breads and pastas, and how to make a wide variety of authentic Greek dishes.
In 1999 Marisa decided to turn her life-long passion for cooking into a career. She graduated from the California Culinary Academy specializing in baking and pastry, and later continued her education in both savory cooking and advanced pastry skills at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone.
Marisa has worked at such notable restaurants as Rubicon, and The Slanted Door. In 2003 she became the executive pastry chef at restaurant LuLu, where food critic Michael Bauer named her desserts "clearly some of the best desserts around." In 2005 she became the executive pastry chef at Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani's new restaurant Ame.
Marisa's desserts have been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, and have received positive mention in both Food Arts and Bon Appetit magazine. Marisa was the head chef for Showtime's "2002 Tales of the City," and has appeared on KRON, NBC11, Tokyo TV and on Bravo's Top Chef!
She recently completed her first cookbook "Chocolate Soup."
When Marisa isn't in the kitchen she can usually be found at the pool. Marisa strongly believes in the importance of physical fitness and is herself a competitive swimmer. Her favorite events are the 100 breaststroke, 50 and 200 freestyle, and 50 fly.