Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



Local 'Masterchef' talent on clothes, Creole roots
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

This article shared 11973 times since Tue Aug 4, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Local talent Tommy Walton is moving in a whole new direction these days.

After teaching at the Art Institute in Chicago for years and becoming a leader in fashion, there is something fresh on his plate. He is now on the hit reality series Masterchef on Fox, starring Gordon Ramsay, Graham Eliot and new judge Christina Tosi. On the show there are many challenges as contestants compete for $250,000, their own cookbook and a Masterchef trophy.

Walton sat down with Nunn to talk about longtime partner Roger Price, his Creole roots and cooking on Masterchef.

Windy City Times: Hi, Tommy. Are you originally from Chicago?

Tommy Walton: Chicago is my home but I was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. My family is from there and New Orleans. There are still many family members living in the South. When I was 12 years old, we moved to London. That is when I started my international life.

I have always considered Chicago as my home because we based our business here. I have been selling clothes in Chicago for the past 25 years. I was the first winner of the Marshall Field's Designer of Distinction Award. Recently I won the Fashion Next at the Chicago History Museum. I'm the only living designer in Chicago that was commissioned to do a collection for the Chicago History Museum. I am lifetime honorary member of the Costume Council. The last designer was Halston in 1968.

WCT: That's a huge honor!

TW: Isn't that cool? I have been waffling back and forth between fashion and food and TV—edu-tainment," as I like to call it!

WCT: Have you always liked cooking?

TW: I was always interested in cooking because I came from a family of Creole women who were always at the stove. My grandmother was a homemaker and a midwife. We had a gigantic garden so my mother was always busy canning and preserving things. I grew up making apple butter. That was one of my first memories. There was always an element of cooking and being connected to the farm. That was just part of me.

As a child I would watch Sesame Street and right after that was Julia Child. I just watched it by default because it was on TV. I learned all of this stuff subliminally. When I was eight years old I made stuffed cabbage. That was my first dinner I made for my family. I've always been cooking.

WCT: What is your background?

TW: My family is Creole. My family speaks French. Most people in Chicago think I am Puerto Rican. My students think I am Korean because I am always making Korean food. I'm a Heinz 57. I belong to everybody!

WCT: You are 53 years old?

TW: I am and I was born in 1962, when sex was dirty and the air was still clean!

WCT: Did you land on Masterchef after an open casting call?

TW: They do have an open casting call where people can go to a cattle call, but I was cast differently. My husband Roger—we have been together for 30 years so he is the one that actually gets to eat all of the cooking—filled out the form that was online. I had no idea that there was such a thing.

When Roger mentioned it, I thought I would never do it. I wouldn't leave my students at the Art Institute over something like that. My classes are booked two years in advance. Then I got home and had a telephone call from them [saying] they're coming to Chicago and [that I should] bring a dish. I gave it a shot. I made salmon three ways, with wild vegetables using fashionable colors. At the audition I was number 267 and, that day, I met the producers. They put me straight through. The next week I had a screen test. It was really fast for me.

WCT: How was the experience?

TW: It is truly a life-changing experience. Every day it can be a lot of work with social media. I could occupy myself about six hours a day just to keep up. I didn't have Twitter or Instagram before, and now it is an explosion of volcanic proportions! I have fans from all over the place. It is just a miracle.

WCT: Where do think this reality series will lead you now?

TW: I've always been interested in doing something artistic. I am multifaceted disco-ball kind of a person. Masterchef was my way of polishing that one side that I had already. I've been really successful in fashion and education. The Art Institute promotes interdisciplinary studies so it is a blending of things like sculpture, fashion and performance.

I want to do something that is not just a restaurant but I would like to be the host of a high-concept performance art/restaurant space, like a supper club or cabaret. I could be the master of ceremonies. It could evolve and change monthly; perhaps, one night there will be a guest chef like Graham Elliott or some of my Masterchef brothers and sisters. I just recently had some of the Masterchef Junior cast members come visit me, and they are unbelievable.

Children are really responding to me as fans so children's programming might be in the future. One of my little fans dresses like me and another uses my phrase, "I'm fierce, fabulous and 53!"

I would like to have my own show, where I am the gay Creole Martha Stewart mixing food, art, fashion and travel. That is what I am all about.

See what's cooking with Tommy Walton on Masterchef Wednesdays on Fox. Visit Tommy Walton's Caviar Club on Facebook for more.

This article shared 11973 times since Tue Aug 4, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

ATTRACTIONS Pizza pop-up, WNDR, Wrightwood
—Rewired's pizza pop-up: Rewired Pizza Cafe & Bar, 1102 W. Thorndale Ave., is getting in on the Halloween fun by paying homage to classic restaurant chains and "dressing up" as owner Daniel Barat's favorite pizza chain: ...

Gay News

SAVOR Lure Fishbar
Recently, I had a biscuit sandwich in the Gold Coast. The item was very good—but I'm not sure it was worth the $11 price tag. This was the same feeling my dining companion and I had after dining at Lure Fishbar, ...

Gay News

SAVOR Brunch at Cobblestone
Recently, there have been a few restaurants I've visited multiple times—if for no other reason than to see if there is consistency in the quality (especially, if good) or some sort of improvement (if the food ...

Gay News

Kit Kat Lounge hosting Kamayan feast Oct. 24
Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club, 3700 N. Halsted St., in honor of Filipino American History Month, will host a special "diva-infused" Kamayan feast featuring Chef Jordan Andino on Sunday, Oct. 24. Andino is the creative ...

Gay News

SAVOR Adorn Bar & Restaurant, take two
The last time I stopped by Adorn Bar & Restaurant—in the Four Seasons Hotel, 120 E. Delaware St. (which was also the first time I went there)—I encountered one of the most innovative brunch menus ever, ...

Gay News

Latin Restaurant Weeks taking place in Chicago Oct. 4-18
National Hispanic Heritage Month takes place Sept. 15-Oct. 15, recognizing the many contributions of Hispanic Americans. As an effort to acknowledge the successful influences and cultures of Hispanic Americans, Latin Restaurant Weeks, LLC, will host its ...

Gay News

SAVOR Brunch at Wood
"Morning Wood" has returned. This provocative name was given to the brunch service at Boystown/Northalsted restaurant Wood, 3335 N. Halsted St., and it drew lots of people before the COVID pandemic changed the world. However, like ...

Gay News

SAVOR Funkenhausen
When it comes to fusion, West Town spot Funkenhausen, 1709 W. Chicago Ave., might be one of the more unusual restaurants. The cuisine here is a mixture of German ...

Gay News

NGLCC, Grubhub team to help LGBTQA-owned restaurants
The country's vulnerable LGBTQ+-owned restaurants and bars serving food will find help this fall, courtesy of a partnership formed by the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) and Grubhub. These small business owners have been among ...

Gay News

SAVOR Logan Square restaurant Lardon
As you might guess from its name, Lardon (2200 N. California Ave..; takes meat very seriously. Named after a small piece of pork fat or fatty bacon, the Logan Square spot is a carnivore's paradise, ...

Gay News

SAVOR Sunny Bowls
Looking for a comforting, healthful option for lunch? Then look no further than Sunny Bowls: Souper Food (theMart, #201.;, which specializes in various soups? Part of the food court at theMART (which some also call ...

Gay News

SAVOR The Press Room
At The Press Room (1134 W. Washington Blvd..;, a lot of patrons may encounter the unexpected. The West Loop restaurant—which is only open Wednesday through Sunday evenings—has undergone quite ...

Gay News

Andersonville Chamber of Commerce to present Andersonville Homecoming
--From a press release - CHICAGO (August 26, 2021) — The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce (ACC) is pleased to announce Andersonville Homecoming, a three-night, two-day outdoor festival featuring live entertainment, local artisans and merchants, food ...

Gay News

COVID FDA grants full approval to Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine
On Aug. 23, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people age 16 and older, media outlets reported. This is the first coronavirus vaccine approved by the ...

Gay News

SAVOR South Branch Tavern & Grille
Before taking a bite of anything at South Branch Tavern & Grille (100 S. Wacker Dr.;, patrons are likely to be impressed. The reason lies in the picturesque views surrounding the spot. Ensconced near some ...


Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.