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‘Top Chef’ visits area

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Above, from left, are Dudley Patteson, co-owner of the Hope and Glory Inn; Katie Grieco, vice president of operations and new business development; Chef Tom Colicchio; Peggy Patteson, co-owner of the Hope and Glory Inn; and the Pattesons’ “chef-in-training” grandson, Hunter Hollingsworth who served breakfast to the “Top Chef.”
The Northern Neck-Middle Peninsula area recently attracted the attention of one of the world’s best chefs and the host of the hit TV show on Bravo, “Top Chef.”

A five-time James Beard Award Winner and many times Restaurateur of the Year, American celebrity chef Tom Colicchio and two of his associates were guests at the Hope and Glory Inn in Irvington. Colicchio’s show was nominated this year for an Emmy for “Best Reality TV Show,” and competed with “The Great Race,” “Dancing with the Stars” and “American Idol.”

Colicchio was touring the East Coast visiting with vendors, friends and restaurateurs. His attraction to this area was Travis and Ryan Croxton, owners of Rappahannock River Oysters LLC, the recipients of the 2005  Food & Wine Magazine “Tastemaker’s Award.”

Rappahannock River Oysters has reintroduced a few of the famous oyster varieties (all native), from the sweet Rappahannock River oyster to the ocean-side “olde salt.” The oyster varieties are all native and all aquaculture grown.

Rappahannock River Oysters has growing stations at Topping, Ware Neck and Chincoteague.

The Croxtons supply Colicchio’s restaurants with their oysters, which are grown off the river bottom and positioned squarely in a water column where food quality and quantity are greatly improved. By this process, the oysters grow faster and they grow richer, plumper and rounder, according to the Croxtons.

The Croxtons monitor salt and temperature levels, guard against predators, cull out slow growers and misshapen shells—all to ensure that Colicchio provides a consistently healthy, attractive, and succulent oyster to his patrons from Los Angeles to New York.

The Hope and Glory Inn in Irvington is a Food & Wine Magazine Recommended Hotel.

posted 01.13.2010

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