Sunday, December 5, 2010

TC News and Information 12.05.10

Ratings may have been down for the All-Stars premiere, but there's still a whole lotta media hype going on. The New York Daily News review of the premiere likens it to "high school reunion turned upside down" and the LA Times opines that the caliber of chefs assembled for the All-Stars season is "either the show's greatest strength -- or its Achilles' heel." Yes, we're going to be saying good-bye to a two-time loser every week.

Some of the contestants are blogging All-Stars themselves, including Casey Thompson. Dale Talde blogged the premiere in three words. Yumsugar rounded up Season 4's Ryan Scott to live-blog the premiere (doesn't sound like he was asked to return this season). And if you'd like to join in the live-blogging chat thing yourself, there's a party going on all season at Gawker. To see what went down for Episode 1, click here.

For social media interaction of other sorts, you can find out more about how that Bravo-sponsored Top Chef Facebook game thingie works here.

In case you missed the twitterversy over Michael Voltaggio's comments surrounding the premiere, you can find a round-up here, although I'm inclined to take him at his word that he wasn't trying to diss anybody. I'm much more interested in the news that older brother Bryan is looking to open a second, more casual restaurant in Frederick, Maryland, despite an earlier blog report that may not have been entirely accurate. And if I lived near Frederick, I'd sure be interested in trying out Volt's 3-course "express lunch" for $14.

I mentioned on ATC's Facebook page before the premiere that Fabio Viviani would be live-tweeting the show. You can find a wrap-up of his tweet banter aimed at judge Anthony Bourdain in this item, which also Fabio will host "Wednesday-night viewing-and-posting parties at his restaurants as long as he remains on the show."

If you really care about the brouhaha that erupted over the question of whether TV Guide lightened Padma's skin tone, you can read about it here. Or, for rather more entertainment value, in my book, you can make up your own mind and watch video of the photo shoot with Tom Colicchio here. Best quote of the clip: "I think it's a great time to do [All-Stars.] I just wonder what we're going to do next."

The remaining All-Stars are getting plenty of press themselves.

Richard Blais's focus this time around: "My game plan is just to cook really great food and not get too wrapped up in any specific strategy or get wrapped up in the drama. I worry more about competing against myself," according to this piece, in which Colicchio points out: "He’s been doing the burger thing the past couple of years. He’s been out of the fine dining scene. That could be a bit of a handicap." Read on for more about Blais's Flip Burger and possible ATL gourmet hot-dog boutique spot.

Carla Hall identifies which contestant is the den mother and who sleeps on the couch here, and says Padma is much nicer since she had her baby here.

Angelos Sosa's pick for All-Stars class clown is Carla, and he describes Marcel as a "Wikipedia topic," according to this piece, where he also reveals that it was only 4 days after the S7 finale before the producers called him about All-Stars and a week and a half before he started filming. As to whether that was good or bad, he says, ""Honestly, it was a double-edged sword. . . . "I wish I had time to rest. Then, again, I had the momentum, too. So, I teeter-tot back and forth."

Dale Levitski tells 312DiningDiva (here's an easier link from HuffPo) that the All-Stars anticipated their previous losing dishes would come back to haunt them at some point during the game, and that he was "absolutely prepared" to re-make his butter-poached lobster with Chanterelle mushrooms, bacon and corn with chive dumplings and curry lobster reduction, a signature dish at his current restaurant, Sprout. Dale also says each Wednesday he'll feature a dish on Sprout's menu inspired by the previous week's challenge and is teaming up with next-door neighbor SmallBar Fullerton for weekly viewing parties.

Speaking of viewing parties, Tre Wilcox's Plano restaurant, Loft 601, which hosted a viewing party for the premiere, welcomes fellow Texan Tiffany Derry (whose restaurant, Go Fish, shuttered abruptly recently), who will cook $100 a plate dinners of "poached Maine lobster, roasted baby beets, braised Berkshire pork belly, and more" for the Episode 2 festivities.

Tiffani Faison's Boston restaurant, Rocco, continues to host viewing parties. Does Tiff F. really love Bud Lite Lime that much, or is there some kind of, er, product placement thing goin' on?

Season 7 winner Kevin Sbraga joined Jen Carroll at the 10 Arts premiere viewing party - photos and dish here, where Kevin talks about his plans for a new restaurant, while Jen, it appears, kept to the kitchen.

Our condolences go out to Chef Carroll on the loss of her grandmother this week. She wrote on Facebook: "Yesterday my Grammy passed away and if it wasn't for the the coleslaw and beef stew that she made i probably would be a professional gin rummy player or at least the scrabble queen but her food inspired me to be the chef that i am today."

And proving that you just never know what will show up in the ATC mailbox, I ran across this assessment of NFL teams' prospects during the rest of this season, which had this to say about my hometown Bengals: "Marvin Lewis, pack your knives and go. Yes, I have a gut feeling he will be on Top Chef. Maybe even Desserts. Regardless, his team is a mushy corn soufflé with a maple dressing that tastes like baby food which makes Tom Colicchio vomit on Carson Palmer’s head and Padma punch Terrell Owens in the face as he makes advances. If given the option between that and going through this season again, I think Bengals fans would choose the Top Chef scenario." While I'm not much of a sports buff, I was hoping the Bengals might pull it out against the Saints today - particularly for the free crawfish boil promised by one of my favorite Cincy food trucks, New Orleans To Go, in the event their beloved Saints were upset by the Bengals. Dang, I still want some of NOTG's crawfish, even if I have to pay for it myself :)

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