On the morning of March 9, local cooks showed up at Hotel 1000 in downtown Seattle to try out for Bravo’s Top Chef (season 9) and spin-off show Top Chef: Just Desserts, which has only aired for one season so far.

Auditions began at 10am. Among the chefs who auditioned: Diane LaVonne of Diane’s Market Kitchen and Colin Patterson of Sutra.

Neither seemed nervous.

“I’m totally fine,” explained LaVonne. “I bring life experience to the kitchen. I have a maturity that is key to centering oneself. And I’m good on TV,” she added with a smile. Teaching cooking classes for a crowd every week also can’t hurt.

Patterson told us he was feeling “good. Underslept, but good.” That comes with the territory when you’re balancing a restaurant, a yoga studio, and a three-year-old. “I didn’t put my video component together until last night. I wouldn’t even say it’s amateur,” he joked. “It’s preschool style. But I figure they’re more interested in us than our video-editing skills.”

Since cooking wasn’t part of today’s agenda, Bravo requires everyone auditioning to create a video of themselves in the kitchen. “I didn’t realize that there wouldn’t be any cooking, so I brought my entire knife set and recipes,” Roy Buck told us. He’s a South Seattle Community College student and huge Top Chef enthusiast—he even set out for the auditions at 4am. “I wanted to make sure I got in.”

Before auditions were underway, casting director Lisa Bay Adams sat down with Seattle Met to shed some light on the whole ordeal.

When watching at home, most of us don’t know much about the casting process. Can you tell us what you’re looking for in possible contestants?

Passion—culinary passion. Whether the person is classically trained or self-taught, passion is really what we’re looking for. We also need to see that they can express themselves. Talent is incredibly important, but they also need confidence, charisma, playfulness, and a strong sense of themselves. Can they think on their feet? Can they work alongside others? That’s why we’ll be asking quick response questions.

Can you give an example of a question you’ll be asking?

If you were to be on the next season of Top Chef, what would you be remembered for? They have to be able to answer that. We need to see who they are.

What is the strangest thing you can recall from an audition?

We ask everyone who auditions to describe an embarrassing moment they’ve had in the kitchen and I remember one pastry chef who told us that while accepting a prestigious award, she tripped and dropped her whole plate of desserts. That’s not particularly strange, but it’s memorable.

Seattle was number seven in the nine-city casting call. Click on the slideshow to meet some of the contestants who auditioned this morning.

All photos by Lucas Anderson.

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