"Top Chef" Who? Her? Really? You're Kidding.
By Karl Klockars in Food on Oct 6, 2008 8:00PM
Since the Sun-Times won't say it, we will: We call bullshit, Dan Schmitt. Schmitt is the producer who's responsible for putting Top Chef Stephanie Izard's face on a logo for a public access show from Tony Peraica's campaign called, "What's COOKing With The Republicans?" Not only is it the weakest and most drawn out use of a pun for political purposes in recent memory, but it's just not possible that you would create a "cooking" show and use Izard's visage - and then claim you had no idea who she was. Especially when you took her likeness from a Top Chef promo photo.
The Bright One (whose story fails to give the proper capitalization to the "COOK" in "cooking" upon which the unfortunate county-centric pun is based) says Schmitt claims that he just thought she looked like an ex-girlfriend. "That really is the girl who won?" Schmitt said, laughing. "I'll make her famous." Wow. He also said she "looked generic," which brings to mind the old adage: when you're in a hole, quit digging.
In addition to being Top Chef, Izard is a registered Democrat and didn't allow her likeness to be used in any political advertising for the Tony Peraica campaign. Now, we know what you're saying. It's a public access TV show. Who is ever going to see it? This is probably what Dan Schmitt was thinking, but when the campaign sends out DVDs of the show as well as t-shirts with the logo to media outlets around the market, it's probably a safe bet that someone is going to ask some questions.
Also, you may be asking, who cares if he uses her face on one little logo? Well, this isn't the first time the campaign has made a mistake like this. You'll recall that Peraica was using famed prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's visage in campaign materials. Fitzgerald's office sent a letter to the Peraica campaign requesting that they stop using his likeness, saying it implies an endorsement. That's two likeness strikes for the Peraica campaign. We've got a shiny nickel on Bozo the Clown being the third; the late Larry Harmon was a vulture when it came to his intellectual property.
Updated to add: If you haven't checked the comments below, Prescott nailed it in one - The figure on the left side of the logo appears to be Top Chef Chicago contestant Nimma. If you don't remember, she was bounced in the first episode for her lack of skill with deep dish pizza. Still no idea on who the guy in the center is, but if you can figure it out, a gold star for you.