Dining Out

As Bravo's Top Chef kicks off another season, meet the latest serving of gay gourmands -- just don't expect another Team Rainbow.




All three chefs have excelled in the field, but do they face homophobia in the macho-dominated world of cooking?

"I've never experienced outright discrimination, but there have been moments -- I know every Spanish word for 'gay,'" says Fulk. "But I try not to take things too personally."

Mistry believes talent ultimately wins out. "The wall hasn't come down yet, but the kitchen is a meritocracy," she says. "It's about what you bring to the table that determines how you're treated."

The "cheftestants" got along well enough, but viewers shouldn't expect another Team Rainbow.

"We're all professionals and there was camaraderie among everyone on the show," says Fulk. "I became close with Ashley, but not because we were both gay."

Mistry jokes that the bond between Merriman and Fulk was even stronger than Fulk admits. "Ash and Ashley are in love even though they're both gay," she says with a laugh. "I didn't want to get in the middle of their love affair."

Was Mistry surprised that there was a sizeable gay presence this season? "Not really," she says. "I was more surprised they took two girls that look like boys."

Is the show's growing queer contingent just coincidence or is Bravo intentionally giving its hottest franchise a queer eye? Fulk doesn't think there was an ulterior motive. "I can't speak for what producers were thinking, but all the chefs brought their A game," he says. "They were chosen for their talent."

Bravo veep Andy Cohen concurs. "While I am always amazed at the seemingly high ratio of lesbians in the kitchen," he says, "we judged the chefs on their merits and abilities, not by their sexuality."

Tags: television