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Mike Isabella: off 'Top Chef,' taking your questions

Will the real Mike Isabella please stand up? Is he the brash, possibly misogynist character we've seen on "Top Chef: Las Vegas" this season? Or is he the "intense, straightforward and caring" man his now-wife, Stacy Nemeth, described to weddings writer Ellen McCarthy? Of course, the truth is probably somewhere in between: Not only do reality-TV producers edit the shows to play up particular characters, but any cheftestant who has watched previous seasons knows that to get screen time, you need to be a little outrageous.

When he got the "pack your knives and go" brush-off line from host Padma Lakshmi last night, it was for a vegetarian dish, something that Isabella should know how to cook given his work at Zaytinya. The Greek restaurant that's part of Jose Andres' empire is a vegetarian paradise; I've been there many times with a veggie friend because we can share dishes, and thanks to all the vibrant spices and textures I don't feel like I'm missing something just because there's not meat on the plate.

In his exit interview above, Isabella acknowledges that his dish wasn't the best, but he thinks Robin's was worse. Still, he says, "If you have one bad day, you're gonna go home, and I had a bad day."

Have more questions about Isabella, his food and his experiences on "Top Chef"? Now's your chance to put them directly to him. He'll be on line today at 1:15 to answer your questions.

-- Joe Yonan

By Joe Yonan  |  October 29, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Television  | Tags: Joe Yonan, Top Chef  
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