Before we get to Round Two of voting for New York's Hottest Chef, a few quick notes. Since we witnessed a good deal of ballot box stuffing in Round 1 (heats 1 - 9 can be reviewed here), we've adding some extra precautions and plan to monitor voting extra carefully. Don't think we won't disqualify your candidate people.
But, before voting begins, we'd like you to meet the final contenders. Five of them will be going head to head this afternoon, five will compete tomorrow, and this guide will help you before casting that pivotal ballot.
1) Patrick Connolly, Bobo, Winner Heat 2
Honestly the impetus for this entire ordeal is New York City newcomer, Patrick Connolly. Don't let the loose chef's coat fool you: catch this guy in a tight shirt and you'll know why we seeded him in the number two spot. Plus, he's got that Irish thing going on in a completely non-Bobby Flay way.
2) Alain Allegretti, Allegretti, Winner Heat 5
Look at those doe eyes, and tell us you're not voting for this guy. In addition to the looks, Allegretti also has the benefit of earning critical acclaim for his cooking. Word on the street is he doesn't want to promote his physical features (wouldn't want to overshadow his cooking of course), but the number of headshots online says otherwise.
3) Lon Symensma, Buddakan, Winner Heat 9
Lon is the blond haired, blue eyed, boy next door, wholesome, high school quarterback-looking type. Though his co-hort Dale seems to get most of the attention when it comes to Buddakan chefs (due to his Top Chef experience), Sysmensa runs the show. He also managed to beat out Frenchie Eric Ripert in a tight heat.
4) Scott Conant, Scarpetta, Winner Heat 8
Sure, Scott Conant looks like the sort of guy who could sell you a reasonably-priced suit or coach your kid's little league team, but instead he's taken that cocky mug and fiery passion into the kitchen at Scarpetta. Scott's not shy when it comes to making spaghetti or being handsome: take a look at the way the reflection of his pocket square bounces oh-so-softly off the luster of his gelled curls. Make no mistake, this is a man that says, "I may have buttons all the way up to my neck, but I am under absolutely no obligation to use them all." Hubba hubba!
5) Harold Dieterle, Perilla, Winner Heat 7
Harold has been a fan favorite, and a favorite with the ladies, since he won season 1 of Top Chef by being the talented chef and decent human being. He's low key, he's easy-going, and you can't imagine him berating his line cooks. Also, check out those baby blues.
6) Daniel Angerer, Klee Brasserie, Winner Heat 6
Klee Brasserie's Daniel Angerer may not have Alain Allegretti's pretty boy face, Patrick Connolly's hot don't-try-to-change-me-girl-because-I-will drive-my-motorcycle-off-a-cliff-I-swear-to-God vibe, or Scott Conant's curls, but he does have something all the rest of the competitors don't: this sweet leather jacket. And that smile keeps you guessing-is it a smile? Is it a leer? Is it the crazy leering non-smile of a mad man? Don't underestimate this guy: Daniel likes to keep his hair cropped and his arms crossed, just how the ladies like it.
7) Kevin Pemoulie, Momofuku Noodle Bar, Winner of Heat 4
Chef and partner at David Chang's Momofuku Noodle bar, Pemoulie is by far the hottest total jack ass in the top 10, if our classification of him as a chef is secondary. When we tried to take a photo of the dude, to make him look good, better than the hung-over, just out of bed look he was sporting in his first round photo, he said no, that he didn't have the time (when pushed, by his boss, he later acquiesced and sent us a decent photo). The Manny Ramirez fans in the crowd will appreciate this: "...don't really want to make time for it. I thought it was funny at first that I was even entered and even funnier that I was the only "chef" w/o a headshot. And then funny to crash the polls with a fury. It was a funny day and now its over...If YOU guys really care, roll with the sweet sweet Polaroid that was sent originally. Or, try to catch me scampering panty-less out of my Escalade at one of the many trendy clubs I go to in the Meat packing district. That's how the paparazzi usually gets me." Indeed, witness Pemoulie just being Pemoulie.
8) John Fraser, Dovetail, Winner Heat 3
Those eyes, that come hither look. Gaze deep and try to resist. The chef-proprietor of Dovetail isn't exactly known for his looks, but he took in an astounding 758 votes in his heat, signaling the triumph of that unassuming "who, me?" look. Fraser has cooked at the French Laundry and Snack Taverna, and now he and his impish grin are hidden away on the Upper West Side, frying up lamb's tongue and pork belly for the uptown set. Come for the eyes, stay for the tongue.
9) Martin Brock, Grayz, Winner Heat 1
What Grayz chef Martin Brock lacks in looks he more than makes up for in sheer force of will (and a well-oiled PR machine). If you root for the underdog, Brock is your man.
10) Akhtar Nawab, Elettaria, Wild Card Winner
Elettaria chef Akhtar Nawab cracks the top 10 by way of the wild card slot, but in the finals he should be. Look how pretty he is. For those of you enjoy long walks in the park and pretty picnics of white asparagus with foie gras, do cast your vote for Akhtar. Hailing from Louisville, KY, his pretty facial hair tends to clock-in at four-days worth and his pretty haircut is, surely, pretty expensive. We know what your next question is, and the answer is, Absolutely: He does those pretty chef coat sleeve cuffs himself, everyday. Never takes longer than an hour. Swoon.
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