SoCo’s Pork Princess on the Next Iron Chef

Estes gets intense in the first round of the Food Network chef competition

Duskie, is that you?
Duskie, is that you?

UPDATE: Duskie made it through to next week. Stay tuned.
Despite the mega-watt grin, makeup and pigtails, Duskie Estes isn’t a chef to be messed with. Which is exactly what Alton Brown and her fellow contestants find out on the premiere of The Next Iron Chef (Food Network, Sunday @ 8pm). Oh, boy do they find out.
After screening the premiere (minus the elimination), let’s just say Duskie made a serious impression. There are some roller-coaster highs and lows for the SoCo chef, but I’m putting my money on Duskie making it through to the next round.
Her pigs will never forgive her if she doesn’t.
We can’t tell you everything, but we can say that a whole suckling pig, a large cleaver, homemade sausage and lots of sand were involved. There were also some tense moments with Mr. Brown and her fellow chefs.
“I’m very competitive” she said while cooking up a harvest luncheon yesterday at Michel-Schlumberger. Duskie’s keeping mum on the details (spilling anything has major legal ramifications) and Estes said that even her husband doesn’t know the outcome. The usually mellow Estes said she worried a bit about how she’d come off after having a pointed exchange with host Alton Brown, but hey, the camera adds few extra pounds of, uh, intensity to us all, right?
The real sourpuss of the show, however, is lemon-faced judge Donatella Arpaia. You just want to hate her for tirelessly kvetching about her “palate”, making all sorts of dramatic coughing and gagging, being “bored” with the food and generally having anything to do with the show. Can we vote her off?
Estes will be screening the show on Sunday at Zazu as a benefit for the Ceres project and no doubt telling a few pre-approved anecdotes about her time on-set for the show. Just don’t ask her about the pineapple.

Zazu restaurant + farm hosts dinner and a showing of the premiere of The Next Iron chef (featuring Duskie, natch) this Sunday at 5:30pm. All proceeds go to the Ceres Project. $97 for dinner, wine & viewing, $39 for wine, viewing and popcorn at 8pm. 3535 Guerneville Rd, Santa Rosa, 523-4814.