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Former "Top Chef" contestant and Chicago resident Radhika Desai may have packed her knives and left last season, but she's still in the local spotlight.
Starting next Wednesday, Desai will host viewing parties for the show's new Vegas-based season in the campy surrounds of Lakeview's Kit Kat Lounge. But the real focus of the Wednesday parties will be cocktail demos and Q&A sessions with Desai and special guest appearances by some of her "Top Chef" cohorts, such as season 5 MILF Ariane Duarte, Lauren Hope (a.k.a. the first one to "pack her knives and go") and Jill Snyder (a.k.a. the other cute girl).
Desai will be mixing up such creative concoctions as "The Slumdog" (with Goslings Rum, pineapple juice, fresh mint and candied ginger) and "Man-go Love" (a blend of prosecco, mango puree, saffron and whole lychees), which will be available for comped samplings before the show. Half-priced martinis and cocktails offered each week will also fuel the foodie fun.
Wednesday night entrees are also buy-one, get-one free, and exec chef Mark Kasper will also whip up a featured dish -- a duo of a lamb slider paired with a black cherry-pulled pork version accompanied by cinnamon and sea salt-dusted sweet potato fries ($15).
The event kicks off at 7:15 p.m. on Aug. 19 with Desai's cocktail demo, followed by the premiere of "Top Chef: Las Vegas," the finale of "Top Chef Masters" and the Q & A with Desai. (Each subsequent party will start at 8:15 p.m.)
That's a lot of heat in the kitchen.