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Top Chef Top 10: Mike Isabella

Fast-talking, deeply talented and sometimes abrasive, Mike Isabella was a tough competitor on Top Chef All-Stars. The DC chef tells F&W’s Kate Krader about 10 of his obsessions.

1. Greek Islands

“The most beautiful place I’ve ever been. A lot of the hotels and houses are built right into the cliffs. I got to see the best sunsets in the world.”

2. Will Ferrell

“He’s the funniest comedian today. He always plays a grown man acting like a big kid. I can relate; I still sometimes think of myself as a kid at a carnival.”

3. Whole-Wheat Fettuccine

“If you make whole-wheat pasta right, it has the same silky texture as regular pasta. I serve it with arugula pesto to give it a spring flavor.”

4. Black Swan

“That movie gave me goose bumps. Natalie Portman was one of the judges who sent me home on Top Chef Season 6, so I’m not really a fan, but her Black Swan performance was unreal.”

5. Swimming

“I’m a pool kind of guy. I grew up going to the Jersey Shore, but I didn’t go in the ocean there; the water’s not appealing.”

6. Losing Weight

“Between Season 6 and All-Stars I gained about 40 pounds. So far, I’ve lost 25 of them.”

7. Bucatini

“I like thick noodles; bucatini is my favorite. Growing up we’d buy it, but now I make it really fast with my Kitchen Aid mixer’s pasta attachment.”

8. His Next DC Restaurant

“At Bandolero, I’ll serve Mexican small plates. I cooked at a Mexican place early in my career; this is my take on that.”

Mike Isabella: Frankie Flood Pizza Cutters
© Frankie Flood

9. Pizza Cutter

“Frankie Flood pizza cutters [like the Pizza for Life, above] look like motorcycles. One of my tattoos is based on their Easy Rider cutter.”

10. Washington Capitals

“My restaurant Graffiato is across the street from where they play. I hope Alex Ovechkin becomes my best customer.”

Video Top Chef Moments

Published March 2012
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