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Catching Up With 'Top Chef' Contestant Ron Duprat

Guest poster John-John Williams IV reports on a chance meeting with Top Chef: Las Vegas contestant Ron Duprat:

By the time I got to the private suite party in Tampa, all the food was gone. Folks were extremely jolly and looked like they were about to go into a food coma. Top Chef: Las Vegas contestant Ron Duprat looked on with pleasure.

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(The new season premieres tonight -- right now -- on Bravo.)

It becomes immediately apparent that Duprat is personable, experienced, and composed. (Maybe it was his training in the coming season of

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Top Chef: Las Vegas

where the contestants are required to make a meal without the use of a traditional kitchen. And before you ask, Duprat wouldn’t divulge any details.)

In the brief time that I was able to talk to Duprat, he told me although he is Haitian, he is trained in classical French cuisine.

Patrick Clark is Duprat’s most respected chef, he said.

The late African-American chef ran the famed Tavern on the Green. He was even rumored to have passed on the position of White House chef for then-President Bill Clinton.“If I can be a chef today, it’s because of Patrick Clark,” Duprat said.

When it came to talking about the show, Duprat was a little less chatty.

I got a firm no comment when asking Duprat how he did in the competition and how it felt to be double-teamed by Maryland brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio.

“That was silly,” he said of the decision allow the brothers to compete during the same season. “They are really good.”

The slew of folks I asked about Duprat's food gave rave reviews.

The menu is still making my mouth water: gigantic shrimp cocktail with a grilled pineapple cocktail sauce; fresh tomatillo salsa, and assorted miniature finger sandwiches (I heard the salmon mousse was particularly delish.)

With any luck, we’ll be able to get Duprat to come to

Reality Check

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for a live chat. He already agreed to one once the show is over…

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