Food News

Top Chef Fan Favorite Tiffany Derry
Out of a Job

What's a Fan Favorite title from Top Chef worth? In Dallas, an unemployment check.

Teresa Gubbins yesterday reported that Go Fish Ocean Club, the North Dallas restaurant helmed by cheftestant Tiffany Derry, shut down after service Saturday night. Owners blamed the location for intolerably slow sales.

Derry wrote on her Facebook page: "The owners of Go Fish closed its doors and decided not to tell me nor the staff anything...Like a thief in the night they packed everything away and til this point has not called to explain anything to me. It won't hold me down because tomorrow is a new day and God is good all the time, vengeance is the Lord."

The closure comes less than two months after Derry's coronation, suggesting the prize didn't result in much of a pop for Go Fish. While the recession's been brutal for restaurants - especially eateries saddled with less-than-desirable locations -- the previous two Fan Favorite winners have been able to parlay their titles into increased customer traffic.

In Los Angeles, a no-star review from Los Angeles Times critic S. Irene Virbila couldn't deter crowds from Season 5 fan favorite Fabio Viviani's newest trattoria. Viviani earlier this year told YumSugar that after the review appeared, the restaurant "had a busier month...when everyone was closing down and hurting, I did almost 60 percent more business, just in my restaurant."

Kevin Gillespie, Season 6 fan favorite, experienced a similar boost in Atlanta. As Atlanta Journal-Constitution critic John Kessler wrote in a recent glowing review of Gillespie's Woodfire Grill, "Top Chef not only saved this once-failing restaurant, but it allowed Gillespie and his partners, Bernard Moussa and Nicholas Quiñones, to bump up into the big leagues of fine dining."

Derry's unlikely to become a recluse in the wake of her lay-off: She's a contestant on Top Chef All-Stars, premiering on Bravo next month.

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Hanna Raskin
Contact: Hanna Raskin