Two iconic TV characters met over the weekend, following a sold-out performance of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” at Midtown’s Center for Puppetry Arts. One is famous for licking a pick ax in a futile search for silver and gold. The other got licked on “Top Chef” but has turned his restaurant, Woodfire Grill, into a gold mine following the national exposure on the hit Bravo reality show.
We’re told the two red bearded guys got along famously during their private post-show meeting (although observers whispered to us that Mr. Cornelius, at times, acted as if he had a hand up his posterior). Reps for Gillespie deny, meanwhile, that the celebrity chef snuck Cornelius a venison stew recipe for those cold winter nights at the North Pole.
Earlier this year at a party thrown for his beard at the W Midtown’s Living Room, Gillespie told us he never really noticed the resemblance until “Top Chef” fans began mentioning it in blogs last year. Then diners started showing up at Woodfire Grill with Yukon Cornelius dolls. “It was a little weird,” Gillespie recalled with a laugh.
The chef was so good natured about Saturday’s introduction to his doppelganger, he wore a matching knit cap to the meeting. What’s more, Woodfire Grill diners can now try The Yukon Cornelius, a brand-new cocktail concoction inspired by Gillespie’s gold digging puppet pal. We’re told it’s made with High West Silver whiskey, maple bitters, allpsice dram, zirbenz liqueur, an egg and half and half.
Currently, the alcoholic Yukon Cornelius might be easier to score than the puppet version. We’re told every single performance of the Center’s hit “Rudolph” is now sold out through December 25. Some tickets remain for other performances through January 2.