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October 23, 2014 at 12:42pm

Aaron's Behavior: Following former Dirty Oscar's chef Aaron Grissom on "Top Chef"

Aaron Grissom bio: "Aaron works as the Chef of Bow & Truss in North Hollywood. He grew up in Tacoma, Washington and arrived in Los Angeles just over a year ago. He believes that cooking is something that all people share."

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Aaron Grissom, of Bravo TV's competition reality show Top Chef, reigns from a little town that spells itself with a big-ass T: Tacoma, Wash. People from T-town love their gritty roots, and every one of them can be listed under three qualifying labels: "Foodie," "Beer/Wine Snob" or "Coffee Connoisseur." Those who fall under the Foodie label knew and loved Chef Aaron's creations at Dirty Oscar's Annex (D.O.A.) located on Sixth Avenue in Tacoma. He left Dirty Oscar's and is now executive chef at Latin small plates centric Bow & Truss in North Hollywood, California.

Aaron, although not classically trained, is something akin to an idiot savant of culinary skills. Yes, he's a social idiot, but DAMN he's a fucking brilliant chef. 

Having created the amazing menu D.O.A. serves to this day, Aaron nurtured his creative genius in Tacoma by hosting small beer dinners that would sell out in minutes, sometimes with fans begging to add on more dates ... that would then again sell out in minutes.

Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Chef Aaron's career was propelled into outer space (known to us humans as "Los Angeles") and he quickly packed his bags, ready to move on to L.A., which is known for their bigger and better restaurants / fake breasts.

He's great; everyone loves his food, blah, blah, blah ... but let's not forget that one thing I mentioned earlier: He's a social idiot.

Ok, I'm exaggerating on the social idiot part. Buy him a Bloody Mary, make it strong, and he's your best friend. Fun, happy, hilarious, etc. ... he's king of the world!  Now, get him behind the line, working the back of the house and he can really demonstrate arrogance in only the most chef-like way possible. Read: He's great; he knows it, so back off before you get caught in the crossfire.

Anyone who has worked with Aaron knows his moments - his good days and his bad days. They've seen him at his most inappropriate, when he's trying really hard to not blow shit up, and when he's just simply had it with whatever server/line cook/manager is in his face. These tell-all personality traits are interesting to watch on an obviously well edited reality television program.

This new column, my friends, will be a gentle recap on Bravo TV's Top Chef and the direct reflections of Aaron's Behavior.

>>> Aaron Grissom, second from left, as seen on Top Chef, Episode 1. Photo courtesy of Bravo TV

Top Chef, Season 12, Episode 1

Let me just quickly recap the first episode. Aaron was only briefly highlighted at the beginning and the end with his nonchalant attitude and how he was completely un-impressed with Mei Lin's list of culinary awards. I don't blame him. She proved she's a good chef by winning the elimination competition, but as you will see in episode two, she is a bossy pants who looks down on her competitors. This looks more to be an ego of a snobby nature, more so than the typical chef's creative ego.

Near the end, Chef Aaron was an idiot for serving Padma a fatty piece of pork belly.  Padma promptly spit out her food into a napkin and chastised Aaron for having a messy workstation.  That moment right there is when I saw Aaron restrain himself. It was his best "eat shit" grin, a classic.  In any other world, he would've gone off the handle at the situation.  Good job, Aaron.

It was at this moment that a new drinking game was invented called the Grissom Gulp.  One sip for every profanity word uttered out of Aaron's mouth, two shots for that "eat shit" grin, and thus the invention of this column, Aaron's Behavior.

Score of Aaron's Behavior, Episode 1: A+

>>> Aaron Grissom, right, as seen on Top Chef, Episode 2. Photo courtesy of Bravo TV

Top Chef, Season 12, Episode 2

When Bravo TV spent all week highlighting the upcoming rift between Chef Aaron and that eternally PMS-ridden Chef Keriann Von Raesfeld, I knew this column idea was a winner. We were going to see the asshole Aaron has always been, and possibly also see his demise on national television.

Opening scene of episode two highlighted Aaron's foul mouth (drink!) and bloated ego when he called Chef Keriann out on her lack of gastro molecular talent. Tensions rose, but more on Keriann's side, wheras Aaron was cool and confident about his opinion.  She was going to hold a grudge - this much was obvious.

Being paired amongst a threesome of competitors to create a dish suited for Boston's firefighters and police officers, Aaron and his teammates (Keriann being one of them) were burdened with being the last to see their basket of ingredients, and only two hours before meal service. 

The evening before the anticipated challenge, Aaron tried to calmly speculate with Keriann about the next day's ingredients, but Keriann was showing a great lack of interest in getting along with Aaron. I must say, I am super proud of Aaron for staying so calm in the face of a defensive woman. 

Many parts of all conversations between Keriann and Aaron were obviously heated only due to the fact that Keriann was acting like a bratty child who wanted to argue just for the sake of arguing. I imagined her being one of those women who would berate someone until they finally defended themselves, and then go around telling everyone what a victim she was in the incident. When Keriann says Aaron is acting like an asshole, and he says, "Trust me, you'll know when I'm being an asshole." ... He's right.  He was being nice.

Aaron, GOOD JOB. You stayed calm, you used your words like a big boy, and you used your brain. Note: By now participants in the Grissom Gulp should've had four drinks for profanity and six for the "eat shit" grin. Although, participants would probably want to barf up their shots with all the times Keriann tipped her hat to the fact that her father was a firefighter.

Later in the episode, Keriann continues to argue with Aaron just for the sake of arguing, with no intension of creating anything cohesive or working as a team. She talks down to Aaron, bosses him around, and is a selfish baby. Poor Stacy Cogswell, third team member and right in the middle of it all. Again, congrats to Aaron for dealing with Keriann. Yes, Aaron, I agree. She is such ... a bitch. 

Score of Aaron's Behavior, Episode 2: A+ (I am sincerely amazed at how well he's behaving. Weird.)

Sidenote: Next week's episode highlights some tension between Aaron and Katsuji Tanabe, who I really like, so this should be good. Aaron, you better behave yourself and make nice with Katsuji because I want him to make me tacos.


Weekly Volcano feature story on Chef Aaron Grissom at Dirty Oscar's, 2011

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Served, a blog by the Weekly Volcano, is the region’s feedbag of fresh chow daily, local restaurant news, New Beer Column, bar and restaurant openings and closings, breaking culinary news and breaking culinary ground - all brought to the table with a dollop of Internet frivolity on top.

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