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'Top Chef' Tweeting: Natalie and the veggie game

Anybody who pays attention to food news knows that actress Natalie Portman is vegan. She wrote a buzzy piece for the Huffington Post on this very topic recently, saying that it was Jonathan Safran Foer's new book, "Eating Animals," that pushed her from "shy" vegetarian to "vegan activist." The question for "Top Chef: Las Vegas" fans in advance of her appearance on tonight's show is: How far along on this conversion was she when this episode's elimination challenge was filmed? Will dairy be off-limits as well as meat?

As you can see from the preview video above, the challenge starts at Tom Colicchio's Craftsteak in a blatant effort to throw the cheftestants off track, to get them worked up about Kobe beef, not seitan, before hearing Portman's restrictions. For anyone who watched "Top Chef Masters," it's a Zooey Deschanel flashback.

We'll see. We'll also see whether the conventional wisdom, that Robin (my nickname for her: Old Bay) is the next to pack her knives and go, holds true; whether Bryan and Michael Voltaggio (nicknames: BroVo East and BroVo West, collectively just BroVo) keep up their Cain-and-Abel routine; whether Kevin (Friar Scruffy) effectively recovers from his not-so-great lamb last week; and whether Jen (Saucy) puts the breaks on her mini-meltdown.

As always, I'll provide commentary on Twitter. Follow me at wapofoodlive or here in the space after the jump, or, of course, catch up afterward.

-- Joe Yonan

Ooh, it's Izzy Jersey. The DB quotient on the show just went down by 100 points. #topchef9:58 PM

The next time someone asks me why I live-Tweet #topchef, I'll know the answer: It's to stay awake.9:56 PM

The next quickfire: Make a grassy knoll. RT @TheStew: If this episode was any slower, Abraham Zapruder would be the director. #topchef9:54 PM

Oh, man, this is painfully slow. #topchef9:53 PM

Gail: Izzy "exuded a little bit of arrogance" tonight. Yathink? #topchef9:52 PM

Izzy Jersey: "It is what it is." Right, and what it is is crap, in this case. #topchef9:51 PM

Agreed -- can we cut to the finale now? RT @TheStew: I see Kevin and the Voltaggio bros in the finals. Let's just do this thing! #topchef9:50 PM

Ooh, Old Bay won't shut up. That's knife-packing behavior, baby. #topchef9:49 PM

BroVo West slings the sour grapes. "I could've made it in 20 minutes." But you didn't, Blanche, you didn't. #topchef9:48 PM

Scruffy says, "Oh, okay" when told he'd win -- GE appliances. #topchef9:47 PM

Scruffy does it again. BroVo West makes a little pouty-pout face. #topchef9:46 PM

Ooh, BroVo West, Friar Scruffy and Squiggy are in the top. #topchef9:44 PM

RT @TheStew: You know, every time a Prius ad airs, a politically correct angel gets its wings. #topchef9:42 PM

Friar Scruffy is not one to turn down food. Obviously, you hairy pasty butterball, you. #topchef9:41 PM

(hand up) Last week was an anomaly? RT @culinarypirate: Who is already bored by this episode? ::raises hand:: #topchef9:40 PM

Watch and Tweet, I guess ... RT @culinarypirate: No new episode of #topchef next week? The reunion looks cool (<3 Fabio <3) though.9:39 PM

Her sauce is broken, permanently. RT @TheStew: Hello and welcome to Jen's Non-Existent Self Esteem Theater. #topchef9:38 PM

Izzy Jersey? "Not as worse"? Language FAIL.9:36 PM

Friar Scruffy's is the first that looks like a real entree. #topchef9:36 PM

The prick jokes are just too easy. #topchef9:35 PM

Oh, Padma, I can't even repeat that. #topchef9:34 PM

Leek served with an onion Jew? Oy. #topchef9:33 PM

Saucy decides to ... sauce. My nickname rocks, OK? #tophef9:32 PM

BroVo West = Picasso. There goes his (tanned) head, bigger by the second. #topchef9:31 PM

Such sophisticated food analysis by the crowd: "Isn't that good?" "Really good." #topchef9:30 PM

These are seriously small portions. My bouche would barely be amused. #topchef9:29 PM

Uh-oh -- Tom is one who missed the garbanzo beans. Problem. And too salty. Old Bay, look out. #topchef9:28 PM

Ooh, Jersey ain't looking so good, is he? The flopsweat starts. #tophef9:23 PM

Saucy knows how to slap that lemongrass. Ouch. #topchef9:22 PM

It's true with Izzy Jersey sez: Zaytinya, Greek resto in DC where he cooks, is a vegetarian's paradise. #topchef9:19 PM

Now that she's reading Jonathan Safran Foer's book, will Natalie go ballistic on the walk-in at Craftsteak? #topchef9:16 PM

Producers are milking this yippee-it's-meat windup, to set them up for more of a shock when Natalie makes her announcement. #tophef9:15 PM

RT "jumped the sharkfin soup." @TheStew says what I try to say, only funnier and better. Dare I love him anyway? #topchef9:11 PM

Top Chef frozen foods? Do I smell a shark jumping, or what? #topchef9:10 PM

Bartolotta says, "I hate to pick on the girls." Ouch. Izzy Mike has a competitor in the Misogynist Wars! #topchef9:09 PM

I don't get BroVo West's dish as Cheers-ful, either. Hmm. #topchef9:08 PM

Jersey Izzy hasn't seen Seinfeld? Welcome to 0.5% of the world. #topchef9:07 PM

Saucy's dinner says Flintstones like not at all in any way. #topchef9:06 PM

Sopranos is the easiest one, right? Meatballs, duh. #topchef9:05 PM

Obviously, if you get Gilligan's Island, you do something with lots of ... ginger. Ba-dum-dum. #topchef9:05 PM

Saucy has a crush on Bam-Bam: That explains her fascination with BroVo West. #topchef9:04 PM

Old Bay is going to make a chicken cookie. #topchef9:03 PM

Oh, Padma has over-pronunciation disease. #topchef9:02 PM

BroVo West totally mucking up that knife sharpening. Not back AND forth, man. Swipe one direction, right? #topchef9:01 PM

I'll take that bet. RT @fullcitycafe: @WaPoFoodLive Wishing for Robon but think its Mr. Iamsoperfect Mike V #topchef9:00 PM

Thank God @TheStew is back. #topchef9:00 PM

My early money remains on Old Bay (Robin) to go home tonight. I've been wrong before, but it's been a long time. ;-) #topchef8:59 PM

I'll say! We need you around these parts. RT @lillyj: Last few in HKG. Heading to home 4.0 - too bad I'm missing #topchef!8:57 PM

T minus 5 and counting. Let's warm up, Tweeps: Who's your before-the-show-starts guess for knife-packer? #topchef8:56 PM

Top Chef' Tweeting starts in under 4 hours. What will Natalie Portman's veggie game be? http://ow.ly/xbG4 5:17 PM Oct 28th

By Joe Yonan  |  October 28, 2009; 4:40 PM ET
Categories:  Television  | Tags: Joe Yonan, Top Chef, Twitter  
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