Montero was on his way to his in-laws when we caught up with him. At first, the conversation was innocent enough. He told Short Order that he was very excited about the competition, "I've got my chef's coat and I'm washing my (signature red) beret." Montero's entire family was involved in the preparation, "My mom is a big fan of Chopped, so she's constantly texting me little snippets of information like, 'remember to balance out textures like smooth and crunchy'. I tell her that I'm cool. That's I've got this one."
Montero also admitted he studied Almodovar's performance on Hell's Kitchen. "She's very talented. One of her specialties is seafood. I'm hoping that there's no seafood in the mystery basket. Then again, I'll beat the living daylights out of her when it comes to sauces and meat."
We asked Montero if there was any last minute game plan. "Maybe I'll dress up like Gordon Ramsay. That would intimidate her. She'd be frozen with fear....yeah...that's what I'll do..."
So how does he feel about battling his friend? "We're friends. But at the end of the day, she's going down. I'm going to win this thing. Unless she wants to pay me a thousand dollars. Then I'll throw in the towel -- which, by the way, is the only shot she's got of beating me."
Robyn Almodovar was cool as a cucumber when we chatted. "I am bringing my bag of tricks. Two bags, in fact -- just in case," she told Short Order, though she wouldn't share her strategy. "I'm not going to tell you -- though I might have some molecular gastronomy equipment with me."
We asked her if being a contestant on Hell's Kitchen gives her an advantage. "Absolutely. I've worked with timers and roadblocks, so I'm good at preparing things in the moment." We then told Almodovar about Montero's plans to dress like Ramsay. "Ha! That's great," she said. "That could only make my performance better." We couldn't help ourselves, so we asked her to share any secrets about Ramsay, "He wears tight pants, has huge feet and smells really good."
We then leaked information regarding Montero's seafood comment. Almodovar said that she always goes for seafood "because it's hard to fuck up. Plus, you can do so many things with it. You can, for instance, make a scallop mousse. What can you do with steak -- make "steak air"? Besides, Montero always goes for meats. He loves using cows and pigs. I love to play with all the fishies in the ocean."
Almodovar, too, feels like victory is in her grasp tonight. "Alfredo's an amazing competitor. I love him and wouldn't want to face anyone else, but I'm going to fucking win. It's just going to be sad that his mom will be there to watch her son go down. I like his mom. That's why I'm bringing tissues."
It all goes down tonight when the doors open at 7 p.m (6 p.m. for VIP ticket holders) and Grand Central turns into a food-lovers paradise for one night only.
Advance tickets for Iron Fork 2012 are $40 general admission and $70 for VIP (which gets you into the event at 6 p.m. for an extra hour of eating and drinking). Click here to buy your tickets now. Tickets will be sold at the door, based on availability, for $50 general admission, $80 for VIP.
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