Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis capped an incredible month last night by winning the sixth season of Bravo’s reality show Top Chef, narrowly defeating his brother Bryan in the last elimination challenge of the hour-long season finale.
Coming less than three weeks after Kreis coached Real Salt Lake to a penalty-shootout win over the Los Angeles Galaxy in MLS Cup 2009, the victory seals a unique and apparently unprecedented double for the coach/chef. According to Seymour Siwoff, venerable head of the Elias Sports Bureau, there’s no record of such a coaching/culinary double in the annals of sport or haute cuisine. “I went all the way back to the 1905 Chicago Cubs of Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown, and found nothing comparable. Of course, Brown got his nickname from mishaps in the kitchen, so perhaps he wasn’t the best candidate.”
Kreis overcame the early loss of star midfielder Javier Morales in MLS Cup, replacing him with Clint Mathis, who filled in capably. Similarly, in the Top Chef finale, he prevailed despite a reconstituted-mushroom side dish that one judge called “gimmicky.”
Siwoff surveyed the entire history of U.S. and international soccer, including in France, and found nothing that ranks with Kreis’s achievement. He stated that U.S. baseball history comes closest to providing a similar accomplishment. “In addition to Brown’s ill-fated culinary career,” Siwoff says, “there was Chief Bender, Hall of Fame pitcher with the A’s, who, not surprisingly, was adept with a Bloody Mary and won several local mixology competitions. And the A’s Hall of Fame manager Connie Mack made a fine pancake, but nothing on the level of this national double.”
Kreis said he plans to put the $125,000 prize money toward replacing Real Salt Lake striker Yura Movsisyan, who departed for Danish club Randers after the title game.
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