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January 22, 2018

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‘Top Chef’ cheftestant Carla Pellegrino lights up social media with her antics


David Moir/Bravo

Carla Pellegrino, right, on Season 10 of Bravo’s “Top Chef.”

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Carla Pellegrino and her bandaged hand on Bravo's "Top Chef" on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012.

Bratalian's First Anniversary With Chef Carla Pellegrino

Bratalian's first anniversary with chef Carla Pellegrino in Henderson on Monday, June 18, 2012. Launch slideshow »

Television’s newest reality star is our fiery chef Carla Pellegrino, and she lit up Twitter and other social media Wednesday night with her antics on the second episode of Season 10 of “Top Chef” in Seattle on Bravo.

She won kudos for her quips about wanting to be “a James Beard star chef with the best ass.” She won a legion of fans for her “you wanna kill me” line with subtitles for her Brazilian accent. She won tweets galore for the kitchen drama when she cut her hand packing her knives, dramatically proclaiming she “narrowly avoided nerve damage.”

The scriptwriters couldn’t have given her better lines than her own that exploded from her mouth. Fans and foes loved and hated her, describing her as “one part diva and one part Real Housewife on collagen injections and two parts nutcase.”

She brought the chefs to a halt staring at her in bewilderment as she raced around the kitchen uttering Portuguese slang. Whatever the critics and admirers say, she’s making the show sizzle and turning it into a ratings smash. That makes her a bona-fide TV star!

Carla has become the standout, and it’s only 2 weeks into the show. She overpowered all the chefs’ jokes over the phallic shape and size of the Geoduck clam. The teams were given just 20 minutes to prepare the local delicacy. The other challenge was with a local Seattle salmon dish where Carla and her team won the praise.

There’s no spoiler here because Carla wasn’t sent home with her knives. She’s keeping those at the ready for at least another week, be it to use them on her kitchen competitors or the next challenges.

“Top Chef” judge Hugh Acheson blogged after the show: “I think this season will surprise us all. Please remember that though Carla is a woman, she also likes to look good while cooking food, and this involves a lot of flammable makeup. She wants to be James Beard with a nice ass.

“This woman is so awesome. Her team is not communicating in any language anyone has ever actually spoken, more like a hybrid language that one would see used in a Moroccan car rental place in Marrakech.” Confusion ensues when two communicators really don’t speak the same language. Carla yells that “she can’t be running around like a stupid …!”

Chief judge Tom Colicchio blogged: “I thought the chefs were off to a good start. Will the new chefs pick up their game? Will Carla lower her decibel level in the kitchen before someone clocks her? None of that is important; stay tuned to see what the chefs cook next, which is what matters.”

Chef Jeffrey Jew, who graduated first in his class at the Culinary Institute, was sent packing Wednesday night as Carla bandaged her sliced hand. Next week, Carla is picked for Tom’s team in a challenge against Emeril Lagasse’s team, and everyone enjoys a spicy Mexican Thanksgiving. We’ll be back next week with a preview of Episode 3.

My bet is that after last night’s show, you won’t get in the door at her two restaurants here -- Bratalian in Henderson and Meatball Spot in Town Square -- unless you line up early. She has a magnetic personality, and if and when she is sent home, she will have already won the game.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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