From Grub Street Chicago: Spoiler alert: if you don't already know who won Top Chef Masters [Aug. 19], we are amazed by your ability to evade information. Because basically everyone within 20 miles of the intersection of Clark and Illinois streets is being psyched (or recovering from being psyched) about Rick Bayless's epic victory on last night's season finale. And boy is he ever reaping the benefits: as of this morning, the next available reservation at Topolobampo is September 20, odds are good the lines at Frontera will be out the door for a good while yet. But even more lucky is the yet-to-open Xoco, Bayless's casual churros-and-tortas concept that's scheduled for a September 1 open, which will surely prosper from this mountain of publicity. We can't help but note an interesting coincidence: Xoco was announced with an anticipated opening date of April '09. As for Top Chef Masters, the show wrapped filming back in March, so Bayless has been sitting on the secret of his victory all this time. It'd be a simple matter to delay Xoco's opening to coincide with the inevitable media blitz his victory would gain - and he's already admitted that everything's been in place for the opening for a while now - so we're going to chalk this up to some brilliant synergistic strategy. Or conspiracy theory. Or whatever you'd like to call it. Either way, congratulations, Mr. Bayless.
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