Could rattlesnake be the next hot item at Whist at the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica?
The answer might be ‘yes’ after the restaurant’s Chef de Cuisine Chris Crary recently created a rattlesnake inspired dish on Bravo’s “Top Chef Texas,” on which he is a contestant.
The show pits chefs from across the country against each other in the Lone Star state for the coat of “Top Chef.”
In a recent episode, Crary said cooking with rattlesnake was one of the challenges.
“I’m not sure how many people have cooked rattlesnake before, but that was an interesting task,” Crary told The Mirror. “I took a different path than other people. I cooked the snake whole and then removed the meat off the bone. Some people tried to filet the rattle snake while some people served it with the bones. I liked the way that my dish turned out.”
He suggested adding a rattlesnake dish to Whist’s menu could be a hit.
“It’ll be a process to source rattlesnake in Santa Monica as local and green as we are,” he joked.
Growing up in Bucyrus, Ohio, Crary became fascinated with the infinite variety of ways to prepare food and the endless possibilities of combining fresh ingredients to create a multitude of innovative dishes and exciting new flavors.
He decided to turn his passion for cooking into a career and attended culinary school at Johnson and Wales University, where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree.
After graduation, Crary was hired by a large hotel in Key West, Florida, then made his way to San Diego, landing a job as Executive Chef at Jack’s La Jolla – Viaggio Dining Room.
In late 2009, Crary moved to Los Angeles and came on board at Whist Restaurant at Viceroy Santa Monica.
The 30-year-old said he always looked for ways to challenge himself and that’s why he auditioned for “Top Chef Texas.”
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do to challenge myself, to push myself and know if you are kind of good enough to compete in a competition like that,” he said.
Crary described the show like the “Super Bowl” for chefs with only the best going onto the next round and only one ultimate winner. The show is filmed in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio with all the cooking challenges inspired by the state’s unique cuisine’s.
Some of the challenges include a red hot chili cook-off and creating a feast to cater for a Quinciñera party.
“Being a chef you’re a very passionate person, you’re very driven, and a leader,” he said. “To give up that kind of control and being told what you can do, and what you can’t do, what ingredients you can use, and what you can’t use, it’s kind of challenging to give up control in that aspect.”
He said “Top Chef Texas” was his first time on television.
“There’s a lot of nerves, shaking, and sweating,” he said. “I’ve been getting amazing support with so many fans it’s overwhelming. If you go to bravotv.com, I’m a fan favorite online with nearly a million points. The fan favorite is something that runs throughout the course of the season with votes from friends, family, and fans.”
“Top Chef Texas” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. with the current ninth season running into early next year.