Friday, July 31, 2009

TC News & Information

TC4's Ryan Scott won the Gilroy Garlic Showdown against fellow TC alum Jamie Lauren and others. Guess there was no chicken piccata involved....

Watch TCM contestant Michael Schlow grilling on Good Morning America.

On Tuesday, Tom Colicchio made a cookbook-promoting appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Robert Sietsema of the Village Voice asks, is Top Chef ruining restaurant dining in America?

The Voice is loving (or hating) Top Chef. In this blog post, Sarah DiGregorio of the Voice talks to TCM critic James Oseland.

Exit Interviews - TCM Episode Seven

Thursday, July 30, 2009

ATC Love to Chef Suzanne Tracht

Although Chef Suzanne Tracht smashed the competition in the qualifying round, she was bested by a fish in the championship round. Grouper is notoriously difficult to cook properly; plating a bit too early changed the texture and the temperature of Chef Tracht's fish, which made the critics unhappy.

It sure looked pretty though! Good enough to eat!

We wish Chef Tracht continued success with her restaurant, Jar, and with her upcoming endeavor, Suzpree.

Chef Tracht was playing for SOVA Community Food and Resource Program. If you'd like to learn more about her cause, or to make a donation, click here.

This post is only for positive words for Chef Tracht. If you have anything negative to say about her or another chef, please click here.

Congratulations, Chef Anita Lo!

Chef Anita Lo wowed the critics and tasters with her reinterpretation of Hubert Keller's lobster cappuccino dish. With the 5-star team win, she ended up just 1 star short of a perfect score.

She put a lot of thought into this dish, a "soup and sandwich" combo, imbuing something originally made with a French sensibility with her Asian flair.

So congrats to Chef Lo on a big win in the first round of the finals. We look forward to seeing the deliciousness she comes up with next.

This post is only for positive words for Chef Lo. If you have anything negative to say about her or another chef, please click here.

Reactions to Top Chef Masters Episode Seven

Last night we saw the first week of the Championship Round, and it felt a bit more competitive than prior episodes. The chefs were put into two teams of three for the mise en place relay race, a fun contest of oyster shucking, chicken butchering, onion dicing, and egg beating. Both teams were very close, but the one comprising Anita Lo, Hubert Keller, and Rick Bayless won by a hair and earned 5 stars each.

After that, the chefs were asked to create their signature dish, which would then be fed to the group. Why? Because for the elimination challenge, each chef would get to reinterpret another chef's dish. Chef Bayless called it "mean" but really, how "master" is a chef if he or she can't cook something different and perhaps out of their comfort zone once in a while?

While it looked like Chef Smith might be on his way out with his ill-conceived Scotch egg, it was Chef Tracht who was asked to pack her knives for her cold and overcooked grouper. On a more positive note, Chef Lo beat out Chef Bayless for most favorite dish and won this round of competition.

What are your opinions on this episode? Let us know in the comments.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Top Chef Masters Episode 7 Previews

Click here for more previews.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Recap Roundup: Top Chef Masters Episode 6

And round one is finished! This week, there was a whole lotta love and a side dish of name-dropping, but not a ton of drama overall. Is there a kitchen-specific term for "bromance"? Let's see what the bloggers have to say:

Cliffieland on the show's biggest problem (or virtue, depending on your perspective): "Nope, they’re all professionals and friends. So, if you were looking for drama, I suggest you switch over to I Love Money 3 on VH1; there’s nothing for you here."

David Dust on his looove for winner Art Smith: "Oh Em Gee – I think Art is my long-lost sister! Bitch is big and hysterical and makes a mean fried chicken. And you just KNOW Art is a riot after about 6 vodkas."

Jordan Baker on the other opinion of Art Smith (+ Gael's hat): "Then we have that fat load Big Gay Art. Gael Greene's Hat says everyone thinks of him as "Oprah's chef," and the face under the hat sneers appropriately at this. It's delicious. I love you, Gael Green's Hat!"

Meal Ticket on what the future holds: "I don’t see the show getting any more trashy. These last few episodes will probably feature a good amount of bro-hugging and cheek-pecking and helping-hand-ing as the sextet reaches for that $100K donation. Maybe I’m wrong — but if I’m not, at least it’ll make the Aug. 26 debut of the regular Top Chef seem that much trashier/glorious."

Chicagoist on Quickfire shopping: "At Whole Foods, Jonathan informs us that he does not open jars or cans or "deal with that kind of thing." Our eyes roll back in our head. Michael is in the pastry aisle and braves it well. Roy finds himself in an aisle with Italian food ingredients and goes that route. Then....we get to Art. He gets grains. And takes a moment to name drop again...ah, there's Oprah."

It Happened Last Night on what could've happened: "At first I thought the challenge would be like “Chopped” (the Food Network show) with more ingredients, but no one wound up having to make anything with avocado, tahini and bran flakes, or the like. Phew."

Onion AV Club on the week that everybody goes back to hating Kelly: "That meal the chefs made together looked like it might have been a lot of fun if somebody hadn't invited Kelly Choi."

Televicious with a question I have as well: "Chefs have to make the best dish possible using the ingredients from only one grocery store aisle, and their budget is… $20. They are shopping at Whole Foods, so that should get them, like, 1.5 items? Why is it that they always get so much more for their money than I would shopping there?"

Endless Simmer on what little drama there was: "Now I’m sure the producers helped craft this little drama leaving selective tidbits on the cutting room floor, but last night you had Old Pappa Bear Waxman strategically f*ck over his main competitor/protoge Cimarusti."

Serious Eats on the chef-love: "We ended up with another episode of brotherly love. “You all took care of each other!” said Gael One. “I’ve never seen this before!” gasped Gail Two. No evil ingredients, no death wishes, no trash-talking. These were chefs who clearly respected each other. (As well they should.)"

B-Side Blog on why I love Gael Greene: "Gael: 'I quite enjoyed Art's whimsical nod to Southern fried decadence. It was reminiscent of the late forties when a young Spirrow Agnew and I, intoxicated by fumes of opium and elderberries, stumbled into a Chick-Fil-A and demanded that the proprietor feed us nothing but breaded cutlets of his finest meats. We made love five times that night. Six, if you count the fan dance.'"

Culture Crumbs summing up the season so far: "We've met chefs who seem to deserve their deity-like praise (Hubert Keller and Rick Bayless), watched top names melt like spoiled %^!#! sorbet (Wylie Dufresne and Ludo Lefebvre) and figured out that most of us common folk have a leg up on these culinary superstars when it comes to shopping in a grocery store and using a microwave."

Slashfood on the outrageous extent of the love: "The competing foursome went to a place somewhere beyond mere camaraderie -- a place even further than the conciliatory, bromantic half-hug shared by final-round losers Roy Yamaguchi (Roy's Hawaiian Kitchen) and Michael Cimarusti (of LA's acclaimed Providence). What we witnessed last night was an emotional journey, a blubbering, four-hanky love-in"

Televisionary on the lesson for future cheftestants: "Cimarusti tempted the judges with a chocolate parfait with ginger syrup, Sauternes, and sesame crackers. This to me was the perfect dessert effort for a chef who doesn't focus on pastry. It was innovative, delicious, and beautifully presented and executed. Dessert doesn't need to be pastry or poached fruit; there's a number of alternatives that make sense and are easy to prepare."

Top Chef Examiner on the perfect storm of ingredients: "Roy seemingly created the picture perfect mystery box for Art allowing him to create something right in his comfort zone, fried chicken."

The Stew on Chicago hometown boy Art's attitude: "Art's strategy is to cook 'with love'-- which we hear enough throughout the show to want to gag-- delivering flavor, not chefy hijinks. Art jokes, "I'm gonna take the show" … at least we think he’s joking, as he’s giggling like a kid."

LA Times on the original aisle challenge: "I still fondly recall Hung's smurf village, which he made after landing in the cereal aisle. It was pretty. It won him squat"

TWOP on Jonathan Waxman's prior sins: "Jonathan Waxman from New York City. He's been a chef for nearly forty years and trained many other famous chefs, including Bobby Flay. He's responsible for Bobby Flay? Burn him!"

Saturday, July 25, 2009

TC News & Information

More news about Padma Lakshmi's upcoming sitcom. She tells TV Guide, "It’s an ensemble cast—I’m not starring in it. I will have a recurring role in it, but I have too much to do on Top Chef as well as my jewelry company. I started that all with my own personal finances, and I’m very committed to making that a success, so it becomes an issue of how to divide one’s time."

Here's Creative Loafing's latest TCM Podcast. rates the remaining Top Chef Masters contestants.

Top Chef Masters contestant Tim Love is opening Love Shack So7 in the swankiest of locations. Chef Love’s newest namesake will feature some twists on his usual menu, including a lobster roll, fish burger, and a variety of appetizers served on butcher paper. Love also will be doing a Sunday brunch. On Aug. 2, Love Shack So7 will be hosting a BBQ event to celebrate lamb. The event, called For the Love of Lamb, will feature a special dirty lamb burger, lamb cooking demos, and a celebrity chef cook-off with Richard Blais and Ilan Hall from Bravo’s Top Chef, among others. (From Ft Worth Weekly)

TCM finalist Chef Art Smith dishes a bit on his celebrity clientele.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Who's Gonna Take it All?

Which of the Masters is going to win the big money for his or her charity?

Exit Interviews - TCM Episode Six

See the three others here.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Congrats Chef Smith!

Chef Art Smith, probably best known for his work with Oprah, wowed the judges with his duo of chicken. Fried chicken is apparently his forte, and he's no slouch at cobbler, either. Top Chef fans in Washington, D.C. have to be pleased, because this Art & Soul chef is the closest they have to a homeboy in this competition.

Chef Smith's own charity, Common Threads, featured in an Elimination Challenge in Top Chef season 4, is now the recipient of $10,000 and in the running for lots more if Chef Smith wins the Championship Round. Tune in starting next week to see how it all plays out.

This post is only for positive words for Chef Smith. If you have anything negative to say about him or another chef, please click here.

Reactions to Top Chef Masters Episode Six

We finally know the identity of the sixth Master to battle for the big prize in the upcoming Championship Round - Art Smith. Surprised? I think he may have been underestimated because he's probably best known for being Oprah's personal chef (and doesn't she always look well-fed?)

The Quickfire Challenge was fun - always interesting to see what a chef will come up with when taken out of his element by a draw of the knife. And they were all so nice to each other with the mystery basket challenge! On non-Masters Top Chef, you know the cheftestants would be sabotaging each other right and left.

So what did you think about the episode? Let us know in the comments.

Poll Results - TCM Episode Six

Fifty percent of those who voted thought Chef Roy Yamaguchi would win. He didn't. And once again we ask - why was he the popular choice this week? Please let us know in the comments.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

TC News & Information

On tonight's episode of Top Chef Masters, Chef Michael Cimarusti will be playing for the charity the Grameen Foundation. Its mission is to enable the poor, especially the poorest, to create a world without poverty. With as little as $50 or $100, a poor woman can start a very small business and begin her family’s journey out of devastating poverty. Grameen Foundation is a leader in the fight against poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Arab World and the Americas, where building strong local institutions that reach even more people in the poorest communities is a cornerstone of their work.

To learn why Chef Cimarusti supports this organization,watch the video below.

And in other news...

Three former Top Cheftestants will be involved in an "Iron Chef-style" competition, the Grand Garlic Showdown, at the Gilroy Garlic Festival this weekend. Season 5's Jamie Lauren and Season 4's Ryan Scott will be doing battle, while Season 5's Fabio Viviani will be hosting. Read more about it here.

Television Without Pity has some amusing suggestions for Padma Lakshmi's upcoming NBC series.

When Reality Worlds Collide: TC4's Nikki Cascone is getting married, and Project Runway winner Christian Siriano is designing her dress. Read her wedding blog here.

Here's an interview with TCM Critic Jay Rayner about...what else? criticism.

Don't forget to visit and read the blogs! Here, season 1 champ Harold Dieterle gives his thoughts on the most recent episode of Top Chef Masters.

Here's an interview with TC 4s Richard Blais.

And finally...a rundown of last week's Eater panel discussion with Leah Cohen, Harold Dieterle, and Lee Ann Wong on life after Top Chef.

Top Chef Masters Episode 6 Previews

Click here to watch two more previews.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Top Chef Las Vegas Schedule Change

The premiere of Top Chef 6 has been moved from 8/26 to 8/19 - five weeks away! So mark your calendars accordingly....

TC News & Information

Is Padma leaving Top Chef for a sitcom of her own? It's looking like it....

TC5 chef Fabio Viviani's cookbook is coming out this week. Read about it here.

And here's some info on TC2 champ Ilan Hall's new Scottish/ Jewish/ Spanish/ American restaurant, Gorbals.

Recap Roundup: Top Chef Masters Episode 5

One more episode down and three more chefs tossed back to their home kitchens. No Gail on this episode, but still some boobie talk. Plus, the promise of meat on a stick. We know the bloggers like that...but what else do they think?

David Dust on the Chiarello smarm: "Speaking of Michael, could he have been ANY GROSSER while hitting on every woman who stopped by the table? Even Lachlan remarks that Michael is the 'most comfortable showman'. Translation: 'Michael Chiarello will sleep with Gael Greene AND James Oseland if it will help him win this competition.'"

Cliffieland with a different take on the Chiarello: "The veteran back in the ring for another shot at greatness. From the Napa Valley. Hasn't been in a restaurant for some time. Oh, and he’s as hot as an oven. Yow. ... Jus’ sayin’. "

Jordan Baker on what I was thinking about Lachlan Patterson, too: "Lachlan Mackinnon Patterson enters hotly, hotly banters with the older chefs, then hotly tells us about his Beard award."

My Monkey Could Do That on everybody's Nils Noren/Jay Ray/Muppet confusion: "Jay Ray says he is very much the Swedish Chef, and I think he means the Muppet, but then he says he’s cool and precise, so that doesn’t make any sense."

Endless Simmer on the Quickfire dishes: "Swordfish meatballs by Chiarello as an interpretation of fish sticks. Nil had fried shrimp but didn’t fry the shrimp, Lachlan took the hot dog but didn’t cook the dog, and Rick took my favorite of the choices, corndogs, most likely out of spite so I would get angry at him for not plating anything. Well played Rick, well played."

Chicagoist sums up Rick Moonen: "We learn that Rick has ADD and cooks seafood."

Fans of Reality TV on the Flipping Out crew (with sentiments shared by many, many bloggers): "They’re going to be judged by some particularly douchey looking scenesters, who turn out to be stars of some other show on Bravo called Flipping Out. I don’t know, but apparently they’re junk food experts."

TV Fodder on the scope of the Elimination Challenge: "For the elimination challenge, the masters had to create a three course meal for 100 people all by themselves. Yikes. They did breathe a sigh of relief when they were told that the dishes were to be appetizers. "

Slashfood on the curse of the writer-turned-TV star: "Is it just us, or are the Top Chef Masters judges unduly fond of alliteration? Usually it's Saveur's James Oseland who rocks the tongue-twisting final-round zingers -- so good in print, yet so weird to hear on basic cable. Wednesday it was Gael Greene's turn, surprising us with an oh-so-delicately catty swipe at Swede Nils Norén's 'lapsang lapse' of a dessert"

Speakeasy (WSJ) on history repeating itself: "As in weeks before, several chefs were undone by their own ambition. (Don’t they watch the show?)"

Las Vegas Sun on what hometown boy Moonen's loss means for Sin City: "With Moonen out of contention, it means just one Las Vegas chef, Hubert Keller, will represent our city in the final rounds of competition."

Meal Ticket on possible behind-the-scenes Critics' Table drama?: "Britcrit Jay Rayner and Green seem to strongly dislike James Oseland from Saveur (look at Green mean-mugging!), which I find interesting. Who knew TV food judging could get so damn cliquey? Somebody throw Oseland an ally up in there to at least even up the first-world squabbling."

Onion AV Club because somebody had to make the "balls" joke: "Only Chiarello seemed to really grasp the spirit of the challenge and actually fried his take on fish sticks. And what do you know, the “white trash with money” panel liked his fish balls (tee hee, oh we’re so naughty!) best."

Starpulse on overused dishes (like ice cream): "This is the dish that has been getting out of control lately, and it's really starting to bother me. Michael Chiarello, Wednesday's winner, pushed the envelope by making a basil-flavored ice cream as part of his dessert. OK, we get it. You can make just about any flavor of ice cream if you have the proper machinery, but that doesn't make it right."

It Happened Last Night on Gael's knife aversion: "Gael is appalled that Michael's shrimp required cutlery. You don't bring a knife to a stand-up cocktail party! she sneers. No, Gael -- you don't bring a knife to a gunfight. A cocktail party? Maybe, depending on the crowd. But perhaps I hang out with a tougher group than you do."

Serious Eats on that panna cotta-boob thing: "Judge Jay Rayner, slightly inappropriate? 'A good panna cotta, if it's set right, is meant to wobble like a woman's breasts. I share this with you in the interest of general knowledge.'"

Yum Sugar on network-sanctioned sabotage?: "When the appliances don't work — like Chiarello's ice cream maker — I can't help but wonder if Bravo planted a faulty machine. Thoughts?"

Reality TV Magazine on Critics' Table non-drama: "Now it’s time for the critics to talk with the chefs about all the smokiness and intense flavors their palates experienced. It’s a riveting conversation that is best not repeated. Trust me."

Reality TV Calendar on Chiarello's underlying motivation: "Michael did step back for a while and became a television chef, as Jay says that Michael may feel he has a lot more to prove than the other chefs, since he was out of the restaurant world for so long."

Top Chef Examiner on cheffy aversions to junk food: "I guess high end chefs really cringe at the thought of junk food, and in Chiarello's case can't even seem to recognize a lot of the foods most of us grew up on. A little pretentious much? But I guess there's no such thing as fried food in Napa Valley."

Televicious on the jokes that David Dust likes to make: "Jeff from Bravo show Flipping Out is the judge. Cross-promotion! Lachlan is all about grinding up the pork sausage. He’s got some gorge blue eyes. Hmmm… insert dirty pork sausage here. I’m too food-illiterate to do it."

Premium Hollywood on all the jokes that were in the commercial: "The two funniest comments were from Gael Greene, who said she didn’t like lawn clippings in her ice cream, and from Rayner, who likened a good panna cotta and the way it jiggles to a woman’s breasts. Nice!"

Thursday Night Smackdown with the obligatory IKEA joke: "Nils is prepared and not scrambling like anyone else. Then he assembled a dresser made entirely of plywood with off-centered drill marks and wooden pegs in under 15 seconds."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

TC Masters Winning Recipe - Episode 5

TC News & Information

Yuck or yum? TCM's Ludo Lefebvre cooks up some foie gras cupcakes.

Top Chef has received six Emmy nominations!

Dine LA has a Q&A with Top Chef Master Michael Cimarusti.

TC5's Stefan Richter is jumping on the knork bandwagon. What the heck is a knork, you ask? Check it out here.

Here's the weekly Top Chef Masters podcast from Creative Loafing.

Elizabeth Falkner writes about her experience on Top Chef Masters.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Daddy Tom Colicchio

Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio and his lovely wife, writer/director Lori Silverbush, are expecting their first child, a boy, in early August. Congrats!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Poll Results - TCM Episode Five

Half of our voters thought Michael Chiarello was going to win this competition. I'm beginning to think people pick the most recognized name....

So why did you think he was going to take the prize?

Congrats Chef Chiarello!

Kudos to Chef Chiarello for opening a new restaurant and getting back into a kitchen. Sometimes it's easy to forget that he's not just a television personality but a bonafide, CIA-educated, chef. And his win this week was a big reminder of that fact. Congratulations on a job well done!

Chef Chiarello's "pissed-off" shrimp and shaved Brussels sprouts wowed the judges, but I think they were probably most impressed by the basil gelato. And let's not forget the early lead he got from his Quickfire fish balls.

He's going to be battling tough competition in the Championship Round, but this chef certainly deserves to be there.

This post is only for positive words for Chef Chiarello. If you have anything negative to say about him or another chef, please click here.

Reactions to Top Chef Masters Episode Five

Is it me, or do episodes of Top Chef Masters seem to run less than an hour? More commercials? Or is it less drama? Anyway....

I'm pretty sure that if Rick Moonen had finished and served his seafood corn dogs, he would have gotten enough points to win this episode. I'm rather fond of the guy, ever since seeing him appear on Cooking Live Prime Time (especially the episodes in which Bobby Flay subbed for Sarah Moulton and everyone drank a little too much). He's smart and funny and I got the impression that he was a fab cook. Love ya RM!

Enough gushing. Michael Chiarello. Well...color me surprised. I think of him as a TV cooking show host, not a chef. Oh the taint of the Food Network! But gimme some of that basil gelato....

What did youse guys think? The miniature food/appetizers for 100 challenge was pretty fun, no? Give us your opinion in the comments. Pretty please. :)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

TC News & Information

TC2's Sam Talbot was on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon the other night, sharing a recipe from his upcoming gig as chef at the Mondrian Hotel in NYC. View the episode here. Sam's segment starts at the 37.41 mark, or choose chapter 6 from the guide.

The Popcorn Trick is already handicapping Top Chef 6!

Here's an article on one of tonight's TCM competitors, Laclan Mackinnon Patterson.

Did James Oseland really piss off Douglas Rodriguez?

Toby Young is back for more!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

TC News & Information

Curious about what TC4 champ Stephanie Izard eats during her busy week? Well now you know.

TC6 Brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio are featured in this Washington City Paper article.

Michael V. is a busy chef!

Atlanta's Top Cheftestants have "innovative tastes."

Danny DeVito participated in a cooking demo, called "Chef and the Fat Man," with TCM's John Besh during the Tales of the Cocktail festival in New Orleans.

TCM's Laclan Mackinnon Patterson offers his twist on a classic Julia Child recipe, from Vanity Fair.

Attention serious foodies: TC5s Carla Hall will be participating in a "Hip & Hungry Getaway" in September along with José Andres, Eric Ziebold, and Bon Appetit's Andrew Knowlton. More info can be found here.

Top Chef Masters Episode 5 Previews

See two other previews here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

TC Masters Winning Recipe - Episode 4

Watch Chef Fabio prepare Anita Lo's braised daikon with steak tartare.

Recap Roundup: Top Chef Masters Episode 4

Finally, a new episode and this week, another win from the sort-of-quiet female chef. Plus: magic. Lots and lots of magic. Also: Doogie! The appearance of NPH alone should be good for some bloggie love, right? Let's find out:

David Dust on the long-awaited return of Gail and her "friends": "Happy days are here again!! Oh how I’ve missed my Gail and her fabulous culinary chi-chis."

Cliffieland on the "drama": "And Chef Anita is the proposed target of a salt shaker-wielding saboteur Chef Mark. (It's that East Coast/West Coast, Cribs/Bloods thing again, you know.)"

Jordan Baker on the surprisingly entertaining Critics' Table: "Critics Table. The Chefs enter. K Choi says they had a 'magical evening.' Wah-wah. To the episode's credit, though, this is the only true clunker of the session--they really come alive this time through. I credit the presence of Gail/absence of Jay for this."

My Monkey Could Do That on the Elimination Challenge: "That’s it? I thought they’d have to make food that looked like other food. Like when NPH was on “Dinner: Impossible” and they made ice cream hot dogs and meatloaf cake. Mmmm, meatloaf cake with mashed potato frosting and tomato syrup."

TWOP on what we all really wanted to see: "the biggest problem with this episode? Not enough Neil Patrick Harris."

Time Out NY on the highlights: "We had special guest and magic enthusiast Neil Patrick Harris (better known as Doogie Howser, M.D., or that guy who snorted coke off a stripper’s ass in Harold & Kumar), plus an appearance by magician and NPH’s best friend, Ed Alonzo, a.k.a. Max of the Max from Saved by the Bell (milk shake, two straws—anyone?). Oh, and John Besh tried to make tableside horseradish and crème fraîche sorbet."

Top Chef Examiner on the Besh-bacle (Besh-saster? Besh-mare? Anyone?): "Besh who quickly became the clown of the group,making a good run at Wylie for 'Top meltdown.' Hey, when you fail, fail hard."

LA Times on James Oseland's post-game blog take: "Little did viewers know that Peel had guessed right: As he waited that extra minute to serve the fish, it overcooked in its wrapping. That didn't seem to bother Greene or guest judge Gail Simmons -- but Oseland discerned that it was not as perfect as producers would have led us to believe. Tricky. "

Meal Ticket on the all-too-brief and, dare I say it, magical appearance of Mr. Colicchio: "Tom C. checks in with the chefs in the kitchen of the Magic Castle (”It feels like Hogwarts,” says Lo), where they’re serving the guests and judges. He leaves too soon. See you in August, Tom C."

It Happened Last Night on Mark Peel's saving grace: "Sake is the bacon of booze -- it makes EVERYTHING better!"

Premium Hollywood on what's next: "Only two more initial rounds and then the real fun begins. I think Anita is going to be a really tough competitor for the other five in the finals, but we’ll see."

Onion AV Club on Lo's winning attitude: "Anita Lo didn’t need the edge of a perfect rating in the Quickfire; all things being equal, she’d have still survived a solid challenge from Peel in the Elimination. And she did it with the quiet, unassuming confidence (i.e. non-reality-show-contestant-y) of Suzanne Tracht in Episode Two. They should help make for a dignified and competitive Champion’s Round, if not a melodramatic one."

Reality TV Calendar on Anita's prescience, for lack of a better term: "Douglas works to create a spectacle by smearing “canned heat” on his coconuts in order to make them flame. Anita is nervous by this prospect."

Televisionary on the nightmare of a Quickfire: "The challenge, which recalls both Georges Auguste Escoffier and the more humbling aspects of this culinary competition series, really did put these chefs through their paces. I was surprised to see just how many of them really did underestimate the challenge at hand and didn't really consider timing or plating in advance."

Fans of Reality TV on NPH's much-discussed resume: "I also have to note that she introduces him as Neil Patrick Harris, star of How I Met Your Mother, but Douglas Rodriguez is immediately thrilled to be cooking for Doogie Howser, M.D. Poor NPH. I myself like to think of him as Lance the white intern from Undercover Brother. I think he’d appreciate that."

Thursday Night Smackdown on illusion...and banana scallops: "Lo is trying to create the “illusion of a scallop.” Just don’t make it out of bananas, because I won’t be able to take it. I’m going to start using this for everything: 'I know it looks like a grilled cheese sandwich, but I’m creating the illusion of fondue.'"

Who Will Win TC Masters Episode 5?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

TC News & Information

Here's a short interview with recent TC Masters winner Anita Lo.

Here's an audio clip of TCM critic James Oseland on what makes Top Chef Masters different from other cooking shows.

How about an article on TCM's Rick Moonen?

Check out this week's edition of Creative Loafing's TCM Podcast.

Season 4's Spike Mendelsohn continues his quest for the perfect pizza.

Join Eater and 92YTribeca on 7/16 for a Life After Top Chef event with Harold Dieterle and Leah Cohen.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Top Chef 6 Bio - Ash Fulk

AGE: 29
HOMETOWN: Pleasant Hill, Calif. – currently resides in New York City
PROFESSION: Sous Chef at Trestle on Tenth
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Grilled Corn on the Cob with Mayonnaise – with a sweet tea to wash it down.

Ash currently serves as the Sous Chef at Trestle on Tenth in New York City. He began his cooking career in Oakland, California and quickly realized he was a natural in the kitchen. He enjoys working with foods that are regional and seasonal and follows the motto "if it grows together, it goes together." Ash loves cooking with leeks and making custards, and some of his favorite chefs include Dan Barber and Claudia Fleming.

Top Chef 6 Bio - Ashley Merriman

AGE: 32
HOMETOWN: Center Sandwich, N.H. – currently resides in Seattle, Wash.
PROFESSION: Chef at Branzino in Seattle, Wash.
CULINARY EDUCATION: Institute of Culinary Education, New York, N.Y.
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Pan-Fried Soft Shell Crabs with Ramps and Morels

Hailing from Center Sandwich, New Hampshire, she attended the Institute of Culinary Education after graduating from Hamilton College in New York. She has spent the majority of her professional career in New York City working at Butter and Seattle at Tilth, and now Branzino. She always has good quality extra virgin olive oil, champagne vinegar, lemons and thyme on hand in her kitchen.

Top Chef 6 Bio - Bryan Voltaggio

AGE: 33
HOMETOWN: Frederick, Md.—currently resides in Urbana, Md.
PROFESSION: Chef/Partner, VOLT Restaurant
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Marinated Grilled Hanger Steak, Silver Queen Corn and Fava Bean Succotash, Cherokee Purple Heriloom Tomatoes, Rick’s Arugula

Bryan is chef and partner at VOLT, a three-star fine dining establishment in his native Frederick, Maryland. He was classically trained at the Culinary Institute of America and was a protégé of celebrated chef Charlie Palmer. Bryan first fostered his passion for cooking during childhood, when his meals included produce harvested in the family garden. He has since become a strong advocate for meats, seafood, and produce that are local, sustainable and organic. Bryan says “through our choice of ingredients we become engaged in more than creating a great dining experience, but in supporting local agriculture.”

Top Chef 6 Bio - Eli Kirshtein

AGE: 25
HOMETOWN: Atlanta, Ga.
PROFESSION: Executive Chef, Eno Restaurant and Wine Bar
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Salad of Summer Fruits and Vegetables with various textures of raw and cooked, with some purees and sauces

Eli is Executive Chef at one of Atlanta’s most recognizable and elegant eateries – Eno Restaurant and Wine Bar. He was born in Atlanta and trained in classic French and modern American cuisines. He follows a simple cooking philosophy of using the best ingredients in the most fitting techniques. While previously training and working in several restaurants with varying styles, Eli has cultivated his own unique cooking technique. He says his favorite thing to make is “anything with good friends and some heart put into it.”

Top Chef 6 Bio - Eve Aronoff

AGE: 40
HOMETOWN: Ann Arbor, Mich.
PROFESSION: Chef-Owner, Eve
CULINARY EDUCATION: Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Salad of Ripe Tomatoes, Avocado, Red Onion and Fresh Lime – with Mozzarella di Bufala and some good bread

Eve is the chef/owner of Eve, an intimate, independent restaurant in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She has a distinctive style of cooking based on French Philosophy with influences including North African, West African Cuban and Vietnamese. Her style expresses her love for bold, complex and exotic flavors paired with cool, clean contrasts and textures. Author of her own cookbook, Eve: Contemporary Cuisine, Methode Traditionelle, she recently received the honor of being invited to travel to The James Beard Foundation in New York to create a multi-course dinner to showcase her style of cooking. She also served as a delegate to Terra Madre, the bi-annual international slow food meeting in Torino, Italy on behalf of the Slow Food Movement, which was founded to help facilitate working closely with local farmers and artisans.

Top Chef 6 Bio - Hector Santiago

AGE: 41
HOMETOWN: San Juan, Puerto Rico – currently resides in Atlanta, Ga.
PROFESSION: Chef-Owner, Pura Vida ~ Latino Tapas Restaurant & Bar
CULINARY EDUCATION: AOS Culinary Arts, Culinary Institute of America
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Charcoal Grilled Skirt steak with a Vegetable Ceviche (celery, radishes, tomatoes and whatever else is available from local farmers)

Hector was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he started his cooking career working under chef Gioanna Huyke at the El San Juan Hotel & Casino. His cuisine combines classic and avante garde cooking techniques with Latin American ingredients and inspirations. Since opening his own restaurant, Pura Vida, in Atlanta, he has received many awards, including "Best Tapas or Small Plates" by numerous publications, being named a "Rising Star Chef" for Atlanta by in 2007, and making it onto the "Long List" as a James Beard nominee for "Best Chef, Southeast” for the last two years (2008 & 2009). A constant student, Hector has done stages with chefs Jose Andres, Wylie Dufresne and Andoni L. Aduriz. His goal is to bring to light Latin American products, culture and cuisine. He is currently working on a project on hot peppers, and their new and different culinary uses like "taming the heat.”

Top Chef 6 Bio - Jennifer Carroll

AGE: 33
HOMETOWN: Philadelphia, Pa.
PROFESSION: Chef de Cuisine 10 Arts by Eric Ripert
CULINARY EDUCATION: The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College, Philadelphia
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Compressed Watermelon, Chesapeake Bay Jumbo Lump Crab, Fennel Pollen and Wild Boar Prosciutto Chips

Jennifer started as a Law major at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. But the kitchen wooed her and she went on to culinary school and quickly became a sous chef at both Julia and Café Kati in San Francisco. After returning to her hometown to work in the kitchens of Sonoma and Arroyo Grill, popular eateries in Philadelphia, she then went on to become sous chef at Eric Ripert’s revered Le Bernardin in Manhattan. She was recently personally selected by Chef Ripert to lead his kitchen at the Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia as Chef de Cuisine of 10 Arts. Her favorite thing to make is a really good sandwich, especially late at night after work. And she is sure to keep fine sea salt, espellate citron vinegar, black peppercorns, high fat unsalted butter and setia extra virgin olive oil on her at all times.

Top Chef 6 Bio - Jennifer Zavala

AGE: 31
HOMETOWN: Cromwell, Conn. – currently resides in Philadelphia, Pa.
PROFESSION: Executive Chef, El Camino Real
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Fiddle Head Ferns Sauteed in Butter Garlic Wine and Crushed Red Pepper.

Jennifer is the Executive Chef at El Camino Real in Philadelphia where she brings "border food" to a new light, focusing on Norteña and Tejas cuisines. Born into a Mexican and Italian family, she grew up with mostly Mexican cuisine and takes great pride in her ability to cook Latino food with great knowledge and skill. She uses fresh, local ingredients in her homemade style of cooking and hopes to learn more about the ever-changing culinary scene. If she could have her last meal with anyone, it would be with Julia Child, and Jennifer says, “hopefully, she’d cook.”

Top Chef 6 Bio - Jesse Sandlin

AGE: 30
HOMETOWN: Baltimore, Md.
PROFESSION: Executive Chef, Abacrombie Fine Foods
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Julienned Summer Squash Tossed with Lemon, Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes, Basil, Salt, Cracked Black Pepper, and a Little Bit of Butter

A Baltimore native, Jesse has spent 14 years working in professional kitchens from Maryland to Australia. She initially developed her passion for food while working for Paragary’s Restaurant Group in California under chefs Andrew Tescher and Kurt Spataro. Since her return to Baltimore, Jesse has been an integral leader in several top kitchens in the city. Her unique cuisine highlights local and seasonal ingredients while bringing an innovative twist to European flavors and techniques. Bacon, butter, duck fat, cumin and trash bags are the five items she keeps on hand at all times.

Top Chef 6 Bio - Kevin Gillespie

AGE: 26
HOMETOWN: Atlanta, Ga.
PROFESSION: Executive Chef & Partner, Woodfire Grill
CULINARY EDUCATION: Art Institute of Atlanta
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Creamed silver queen corn with a warm salad of small tomatoes and pole beans.

Determined to become a successful chef, Kevin worked part-time at various restaurants while carrying a full course load in school at the Art Institute of Atlanta. After graduating with honors, he went on to hold positions at several well-known Atlanta restaurants including Atlanta Grill at The Ritz-Carlton, Two Urban Licks and Woodfire Grill. In 2006, he and his wife Callie moved out west to Portland, Oregon, where he worked as the Executive Sous Chef at Fife Restaurant. Missing friends and family, they returned to Atlanta last year and Kevin became the Executive Chef at Woodfire Grill, where he is also a partner. Hot wings are his favorite junk food, and the five ingredients he keeps on hand at all times are banyuls vinegar, smoked pork, espelette pepper, lemon oil and lard.

Top Chef 6 Bio - Laurine Wickett

AGE: 38
HOMETOWN: Rochester, N.Y. – currently resides in San Francisco, Calif.
PROFESSION: Chef / Owner Left Coast Catering
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Grilled corn salad with summer beans and chanterelles

Laurine is the chef and owner of Left Coast Catering. From the tender young age of 12, she knew she wanted to become a chef. Laurine's catering career began with preparing elegant dinners in the homes of leading Silicon Valley executives. Her clients required no menu– Laurine would prepare the dinner from the freshest ingredients she could find each morning. Her cuisine is based on incorporating the many cultures that make up the Bay Area.

Top Chef 6 Bio - Mattin Noblia

AGE: 29
HOMETOWN: Biarritz, France – currently resides in San Francisco, Calif.
PROFESSION: Owner, Iluna Basque
CULINARY EDUCATION: C.A.P. de cuisine in southern France, the Basque Region
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Grilled Sardines and Fresh Tomato Sauce, or Boudin Noire with Caramelized Apples, or Stuffed Calamari in Ink Sauce over Rice

Mattin is the chef and owner of Iluna Basque, one of the most unique and prominent restaurants in San Francisco. Born in a small village in Basque Country, located in southwestern France, he became enamored with cooking as a small boy while watching his mother cultivate “piment d’ espelette” –Basque chile. Mattin has studied under noted chef Dominique Jolie, and incorporates a fusion of French and Spanish flavors into his cuisine. He admires French chefs such as Hubert Keller and Rolland Passot –but if Mattin could have his last meal with anyone, he would cook a candle-lit dinner for two for himself and Jessica Alba.

Top Chef 6 Bio - Michael Isabella

AGE: 34
HOMETOWN: North Jersey – currently resides in Washington, D.C.
PROFESSION: Executive Chef, Zaytinya

Michael is the Executive Chef at Jose Andres’ nationally-renowned Greek-Mediterranean restaurant, Zaytinya, in Washington, D.C. He honed his culinary skills along the East Coast – first working at a number of fine dining establishments in New York City, then at Alma de Cuba, Washington Square and a host of Stephen Starr restaurants in Philadelphia before landing at Kyma, a top-notch Greek restaurant in Atlanta. There he learned the slight flavors and nuances of Greek cuisine and went on to travel through Greece and parts of the Middle East where he picked up more tricks of the trade. Octopus is his favorite dish to prepare, and the five ingredients he always has on hand are olive oil, sea salt, lemon, dill and chives.

Top Chef 6 Bio - Michael Voltaggio

AGE: 30
HOMETOWN: Frederick, Md. – currently resides in Los Angeles, Calif.
PROFESSION: Chef de Cuisine at The Dining Room, Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa
CULINARY EDUCATION: The Greenbrier Hotel Culinary Apprenticeship Program
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Soft Poached Egg with Morel Mushrooms, Fava Beans, Jamon Iberico Consommé

Born in Maryland, Michael began working in restaurants at the age of 15 and hasn't worked outside the industry since. He has studied under several celebrity chefs and the majority of his training has been in European fine dining kitchens with an emphasis on modern technique, flavor and presentation. He has been the recipient of several awards including the "AAA 5 Diamond" and "Mobil Award" while serving as Chef de Cuisine at the Dining Room at The Ritz Carlton in Naples, Florida as well as a Michelin Star while serving as Chef de Cuisine of Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen in California. In 2009, he was a finalist for the James Beard "Best New Restaurant" award. Michael serves as Chef de Cuisine at Bazaar by Jose Andres and describes his cooking style as sophisticated American Cuisine utilizing modern technology and classic disciplines of cooking.

Top Chef 6 Bio - Preeti Mistry

AGE: 33
HOMETOWN: San Francisco, Calif.
PROFESSION: Executive Chef, Google, Bon Appetit Management Company
CULINARY EDUCATION: Le Cordon Bleu, London
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Fennel Crust Marin Sun Farms’ Rack of Lamb, Saffron Parsnip Puree, Heirloom Carrot and English Pea Ragout with Pinot Noir Reduction

Preeti works as an Executive Chef for Bon Appetit Management Company at Google’s headquarters south of San Francisco and previously the de Young Museum in San Francisco. Born in London and raised in the US, Preeti’s Indian culture, extensive international travel, classic French culinary training and access to the best local California ingredients inspire her cooking. She enjoys building intense flavors, and truly shines when working with sauces, soups and vinaigrettes. Preeti’s commitment to seasonality, and her relationship with small local farmers are at the core of her cuisine. If she were a food, she says, “I would be a green zebra tomato – extremely distinctive from all the others, a little hard on the outside, but pure love at the center.”

Top Chef 6 Bio - Robin Leventhal

AGE: 43
HOMETOWN: Sun Valley, Idaho – currently resides in Seattle, Wash.
PROFESSION: Chef, Artist and Teacher
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Grilled Corn and Avocado Salad with a great piece of fish or meat.

Before becoming a chef, Robin was an artist. While pursuing a Masters in Fine Arts at the University of Michigan, she took a job in the catering department. This was only intended to be a summer job, but it quickly became clear she had a passion for food. Robin’s Pacific Northwest roots are the foundation of her cooking, which is accented by the flavors of her world travels. Robin formerly owned and operated Crave, a popular Seattle bistro, and currently uses her cooking and culinary connections to help raise money for Lymphoma research and is closely involved with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Top Chef 6 Bio - Ron Duprat

AGE: 40
HOMETOWN: Mare Rouge, Haiti—currently resides in Hollywood, Fla. and Naples, Fla.
PROFESSION: Executive Chef
CULINARY EDUCATION: College Aimee Cesaire and La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine
FAVORITE SIMPLE SUMMER RECIPE: Jumbo Scallop, Sweet Chili Tahini Sauce, Watermelon and Avocado Slaw.

Ron is a well-seasoned executive Chef, having cooked for varying establishments such as the Pelican Bay Foundation and the Montauk Yacht Club. He has cemented himself as an expert in exotic flavors—often incorporating his own Haitian Creole influences with French-Asian Fusion cuisine. Ron always likes to keep vanilla bean, saffron, truffles, Spanish olive oil and chocolate on hand, and his favorite thing to make is his signature flourless chocolate cake.

Friday, July 10, 2009

TC Video du Jour

NPH talks smack about TCM?

Exit Interviews - TCM Episode Four

Find the exit interviews for John Besh, Douglas Rodriguez, and Mark Peel here.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Reactions to Top Chef Masters Episode Four

After waiting an extra week to see this episode of Top Chef Masters, I can say it was worth the wait. The one-arm-behind-your-back egg cookery Quickfire showed how ambitious these Masters can be - Mark Peel made pasta! A shame he forgot to put olive oil on it before serving. On the other hand, I was somewhat surprised at how un-ambitious John Besh was with his simple - and raw - baked egg dish.

The Elimination Challenge was interesting - cook something that can be described by the words "mystery," "surprise," "spectacle," and "illusion." Chef Peel's fish en papillote did have an air of mystery and Chef Lo's scallop/daikon fit "illusion" (anyone think she was going to use bananas when she started talking about scallops? a la Richard Blais? no, me neither.) but Chef Rodriguez' flaming coconuts weren't quite the spectacle he intended and Chef Besh's surprises fell a little flat.

It was nice to see Gail Simmons on the judging panel - did anyone else notice her "take charge" manner during the Critic's Table chat about the meal? And who knew Neil Patrick Harris was a foodie?

So what did you think about the episode? Please tell us in the comments.

Congratulations, Chef Lo!

Congrats to Chef Anita Lo for beating out three tough competitors and making it to the Championship Round!

Not only was her Quickfire egg dish tasty, but it also looked pretty. And what a master of illusion she turned out to be when she faked a scallop by using braised daikon, filled with a very un-scallop-like beef tartare, and bolstering the illusion with a mini "sea-scape" under the plates.

Last week, Chef Lo's restaurant, Annisa, suffered damage in a fire and is currently closed indefinitely. However, she does plan to re-build and re-open. Best of luck to her with that daunting project. And good luck in the Championship Round!

Poll Results - TCM Episode Four

A whopping 73% of those of you who voted in our poll thought John Besh would win. And you were all...wrong! Things didn't go well for Chef Besh from the start, and he came in last.

So why did you think he was going to take the prize?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

TC News & Information

Isn't this cute?

Top Chef can't be this much of a time suck, can it?

TC5 champ Hosea Rosenberg will be appearing at the Telluride Festival of the Arts on Saturday, August 15th. His 3pm presentation is titled "Colorado Peach Sensations."

Get Ready for - TOP CHEF VEGAS!


17 New Chefs Rack It Up Along With Guest Judges And Stars
Natalie Portman, Wolfgang Puck, Daniel Boulud, Tyler Florence,
Penn & Teller And Nigella Lawson

NEW YORK – July 8, 2009 – What happens in Vegas won't stay in Vegas. The sixth season of the No. 1 food show on cable, Bravo's Emmy and James Beard Award-winning series returns with "Top Chef: Las Vegas," premiering Wednesday, August 26 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The 17 new chef'testants take on Sin City this season to see if they have what it takes to become Top Chef. And for the first time ever – the series has a set of brothers competing against each other.

This season captures Sin City's high stakes and high rollers in addition to exploring what Vegas has to offer beyond the Strip. Some of the top names in food, movies and entertainment including Wolfgang Puck, Todd English, Natalie Portman, Daniel Boulud, Penn & Teller, Hubert Keller, Laurent Tourondel, Tim Love, Michelle Bernstein, Tyler Florence, Charlie Palmer, Paul Bartolotta, Nigella Lawson and Jerome Bocuse will be featured this season on "Top Chef: Las Vegas."

Once again returning to the kitchen, cookbook author, actress and host Padma Lakshmi presides over the judge's table alongside head judge Tom Colicchio, renowned culinary figure and chef/owner Craft Restaurants, and judges Gail Simmons, of Food & Wine magazine and Toby Young, food critic and best-selling author of the book How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.

"Las Vegas has become a culinary destination – some of the world's best chefs and restaurants are here – so it's only fitting that our newest season was the best yet," said Colicchio. "You'll be surprised by the quality of chef'testants we discovered this season. They really raised the bar."

The Emmy-nominated Magical Elves return to produce "Top Chef: Las Vegas." Dan Cutforth, Jane Lipsitz ("Top Chef Masters," "Project Runway," "Top Design"), Liz Cook and Casey Kriley serve as executive producers. Nan Strait serves as co-executive producer.

The 17 "Top Chef: Las Vegas" chef'testants will be whittled down week by week as they compete to outshine their competition. The winning chef will receive $100,000 furnished by the makers of the Glad family of products, $100,000 of merchandise provided by Macy's, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, a showcase at the Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and will earn the title of "Top Chef." The M Resort Spa & Casino served as the production location for "Top Chef: Las Vegas."

To meet the cast of Season Six, see photo galleries and video, visit Photography and bios are available at Following are the 17 new "Top Chef: Las Vegas" chef'testants:

 Ash Fulk, 29 – Hometown: Pleasant Hill, Calif.; Resides in New York City
 Ashley Merriman, 32 – Center Sandwich, N.H.; Resides in Seattle, Wash.
 Bryan Voltaggio, 33 – Hometown: Frederick, Md.; Resides in Urbana, Md.
 Eli Kirshtein, 25 – Hometown/Resides in: Atlanta, Ga.
 Eve Aronoff, 40 – Hometown/Resides in: Ann Arbor, Mich.
 Hector Santiago, 41 – Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico; Resides in Atlanta, Ga.
 Jennifer Carroll, 33 – Hometown/Resides in: Philadelphia, Pa.
 Jennifer Zavala, 31 – Hometown: Cromwell, Conn.; Resides in Philadelphia, Pa.
 Jesse Sandlin, 30 – Hometown/Resides in: Baltimore, Md.
 Kevin Gillespie, 26 – Hometown/Resides in: Atlanta, Ga.
 Laurine Wickett, 38 – Hometown: Rochester, N.Y.; Resides in San Francisco, Calif.
 Mattin Noblia, 29 – Hometown: Biarritz, France; Resides in San Francisco, Calif.
 Michael Isabella, 34 – Hometown: Little Ferry, N.J.; Resides in Washington, D.C.
 Michael Voltaggio, 30 – Hometown: Frederick, Md.; Resides in Los Angeles, Calif.
 Preeti Mistry, 33 – Hometown/Resides in: San Francisco, Calif.
 Robin Leventhal, 43 – Hometown: Sun Valley, Idaho; Resides in Seattle, Wash.
 Ron Duprat, 40 – Hometown: Mare Rouge, Haiti; Resides in Hollywood, Fla. and Naples, Fla.

Bravo's "Top Chef" offers a fascinating window into the competitive, pressure-filled environment of world-class cookery and the restaurant business at the highest level. The series features seventeen aspiring chefs who compete for their shot at culinary stardom and the chance to earn the prestigious title of "Top Chef." Each episode holds two challenges for the chefs. The first is a quickfire test of their basic abilities and the second is a more involved elimination challenge designed to test the versatility and inventiveness of the chefs as they take on unique culinary trials such as working with unusual and exotic foods or catering for a range of demanding clients. The challenges not only test their skills in the kitchen, but also uncover if they have the customer service, management and teamwork abilities required of a Top Chef. The competing chefs live and breathe the high-pressure lifestyle that comes with being a master chef and each week someone is asked to "pack up their knives" and go home.

This season, is taking a page from one of "Top Chef''s" most beloved challenges and is reinventing the classics. Fans will find the "Top Chef Fantasy Game," "Memory Match," "Rate the Plate," and blogs from judges and contestants old and new. But this season, is also bringing some changes – "Top Chef: New York's" Italian Stallion Fabio Viviani will be host to this season's "Top Recipe," where viewers learn to cook each episode's winning recipe. Two new webisode series will also debut – "Guest Judges: Strip'd" where fans can get more intimate with guest judges, learning about their personal styles and backgrounds; and a new series with the chefs out on the town in Las Vegas, where viewers get a peek into the chefs' lives outside the kitchen.

"Chef" fans can also visit from their web-enabled phone for exclusive content including contestant and judge Q&A's, photo diaries, foodie faves, video clips, wallpapers and ringtones. Fans who text CHEF to 27286 can join the Top Chef mobile fan club and receive behind-the-scenes dish and exclusive interactive content from the chef'testants, hosts and judges. A new exclusive mobile video series hosted by Toby Young pits the Las Vegas contestants against each other to win the "Slice & Dice Showdown." Contestants are grouped into two teams and led by brothers Bryan and Michael to compete in foodie challenges and earn points culminating in the ultimate dessert bake-off.

Top Chef Masters Tonight!

Last week was miserable, wasn't it, without a new episode of Top Chef Masters? Once I get into a show, I want to see it every week! And this week it's back. Whew. With...guest judge Neil Patrick Harris!

So who do you think is going to win it tonight - John Besh? Anita Lo? Douglas Rodriguez? Mark Peel?

Monday, July 6, 2009

TC News & Information

TC5 winner Hosea Rosenberg will be on BlogTalkRadio on July 9th at noon ET.

Here's a video from earlier in the year featuring TC2 champ Ilan Hall.

The Culinary Institute of America's "Insight from the Inside" new podcast features former Top Chef judge, Scott Conant. Past CIA podcasts featured TC champs Ilan Hall and Hung Huynh, upcoming TC Masters competitor John Besh, and former TC guest judges Johnny Iuzzini, and Grant Achatz.

Here's an interview in Asiance Magazine with Top Chef Masters' Anita Lo...

...and one with TCM hostess Kelly Choi.