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Category: Top Chef (1-10 of 84)

Gail Simmons blogs 'Top Chef:' Guns, gondolas and ice picks...let the games begin!

As told to Nuzhat Naoreen.

[Shooting in the cold weather] changes the way you cook, especially when you actually have to cook outside, which we made the cooks do, for better or for worse. It also just allowed us to do so many different things for the challenges that we’ve never done before. [We were able to] have [the contestants] face a complete extreme opposite situation than they faced in Texas. We went from 116 degrees everyday to 20 degrees, which was a bit of a shock for all of us.

[In terms of the gondola challenge], altitude affects the rate at which things cook, it affects the rate at which water boils, and if you’re not used to it and don’t account for it, it really will change a cook time. So, when you only have 22 seconds and you need to get water boiling, you need to make a sauce, you need to sear your meat, you really need to pay close attention or the results will not be what you expect. READ FULL STORY

Gail Simmons blogs 'Top Chef:' [Spoiler!] makes a triumphant return

As told to Nuzhat Naoreen.

[SPOILER ALERT: Keep reading only if you’ve watched Wednesday night’s episode of Top Chef! Or if you don’t care to be spoiled…]

Beverly is back. I mean come on, it’s amazing and we didn’t even script that. I think the [chefs] were rightly a little shocked. It was [probably] hard for them to digest that someone was coming back to begin with no matter who it was. Here they were thinking they were the final four, and now they have to take a step backwards and fight even harder. That was a huge blow. [On top of that], it was Beverly, who I think that they don’t believe is as good as they are and who I think they have some personal issues with. I think it was a hard pill to swallow — especially for Sarah and Lindsay. But the truth is, Bev clawed her way to the top, and not by acting mean and not by hitting below the belt, but by cooking her heart out on Last Kitchen. She deserves to be there as much as anyone else. READ FULL STORY

'Top Chef' Last Chance Kitchen: Who will return? Beverly or Grayson?

Say what you will about this season of Top Chef — sure, the challenges haven’t been too inspiring, and there haven’t been that many standout contestants — but Last Chance Kitchen is where it’s all going down! Like Top Chef‘s version of Redemption Island, Last Chance Kitchen is the series of webisodes that has eliminated contestants face off head-to-head for a chance to return to the competition. Nyesha, prematurely eliminated in a group challenge for a mistake that wasn’t her fault, went on a five-challenge winning streak until the embattled Beverly — who’s been bullied pretty much nonstop by mean girls Heather, Sarah, and Lindsay — unseated her. She then went on to beat Chris Jones, and last week, she faced Grayson, who’s been her strongest ally all season. That match-up ended with a cliffhanger, and we’ll see who will return to the competition in tonight’s episode. READ FULL STORY

Gail Simmons blogs 'Top Chef': Redeeming the Alamo for Pee-wee Herman

As told to Nuzhat Naoreen.
I love Pee-Wee Herman. I watched Pee-Wee’s Playhouse every Saturday morning growing up. My brother and I used to do impressions and joke about him all day long, so I was really excited to have him on the show. I have to say, he is a really great actor. The most amazing part about meeting Pee-Wee Herman was also meeting Paul Reubens. We get so used to this persona, this stage personality that he’s created, that we forget that that’s not Paul Reubens at all. He turns off [the persona] and opens a beer and sits down and wants to talk about music and food. [He] told us some really amazing stories about his life over the years and [about] how the character Pee-Wee Herman came about. We had so much fun with him. We were with him for two days and it was really exciting. He was really one of my favorite guest judges ever. He just brought so much joy and nostalgia and fun to the set. READ FULL STORY

Emeril Lagasse blogs 'Top Chef:' Friends turned foes

As told to Nuzhat Naoreen.

The thing about the show is that it’s so real and so awesome that it’s really hard, especially as time goes on, to eliminate [contestants] because they’re all pouring out their heart and soul. I hate to see them go home because they have so much talent.

[These contestants] have really worked hard at getting where they are right now. Now that the [pool is] getting smaller, we were at six, now it’s five, it’s like right to the point of being on the fence, where you don’t want to see anyone go home, but somebody’s got to go home. READ FULL STORY

Padma Lakshmi blogs 'Top Chef': Charlize Theron inspires some wicked dishes

As told to Nuzhat Naoreen.

I was [looking forward to this challenge], because I think out of all of the challenges, this one really allowed the chefs’ own personal creativity and identity to shine through, and I was very happy about that. I thought that they took the challenge and ran with it. This was a glorious dinner, it was so much fun to eat and to be there. All of the food was striking, not only for how it tasted and felt on the palate and the textures and different temperatures, but also the way it looked. They really did a great job visually of creating something that told a narrative, that told a story about each of these chefs. Their stories and backgrounds are so different that it made for a glorious meal. This was one of the best dinners we’ve ever had at work, in any season. I mean, it was one of the best dinners I’ve ever sat down to on Top Chef. READ FULL STORY

Padma Lakshmi blogs 'Top Chef:' It's restaurant wars!

As told to Nuzhat Naoreen.

Oddly enough, even though most people haven’t run a restaurant, this is the challenge that is most relatable [to them]. Even though they [may not be able to] make all the meals, they understand what makes a good restaurant experience. In a way, they’re armchair judging this one even more. READ FULL STORY

PopWatch Planner: Brits, tech toys, and gearing up for the Globes


It’s the calm before the storm in entertainment-land this week, as awards season gears up and TV premieres start rolling out. But never fear, PopWatch Planner is here with a roundup of worthwhile entertainment for your week ahead.

Downton Abbey, PBS, 9 p.m.
Absolutely Fabulous, BBC America, 10 p.m.

It’s a double dose of Britain tonight with the season 2 premiere of Downton Abbey on PBS and the 20th anniversary special of Absolutely Fabulous on BBC America. My DVR is in overload mode and I’m making tea and crumpets (and maybe a martini a la Patsy) as we speak.

BCS Championship Game, ESPN, 8:30 p.m.

The college football bowl winners will be crowned Monday in the matchup between the Louisiana State Tigers and Alabama’s Crimson Tide. LSU is 13-0, playing Alabama for the first time since their win against them in early November.

Consumer Electronics Show

Get ready for an onslaught of news about all the new tech toys and Internet crazes of the year to come from the Computer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week. The question remains, just how big a TV is possible?

Top Chef: Restaurant Wars, Bravo 10 p.m.

It’s everyone’s favorite time in the Top Chef season this week — Restaurant Wars. What will the teams be and how will this crew ever decide on a theme? We got a sneak peek in last week’s episode that Sarah will be working at a restaurant called Half Bushel — it’s anyone’s guess what that means….

30 Rock, season premiere, NBC 9 p.m.

Liz Lemon’s back! Feeling forever delayed, the TGS crew is back in action this week and reportedly taking on North Korean leader Kim Jung Il’s death in a sketch. Too soon? You decide.

The Devil Inside (in theaters) … or just rent your favorite horror flick
The new horror movie The Devil Inside opened last week, but is there a better night to see a horror film than Friday the 13th? The film received dismal reviews,  so you may just want to Netflix a classic like Nightmare on Elm Street instead. The Devil Inside was a hit at the box office, though, and surely scared the wits out of thousands of teenagers. Will it continue its frightful success this week?

Saturday Night Live, NBC 11:35 p.m.

Our entertainer of the year, Daniel Radcliffe, hosts Saturday Night Live this week. Can he continue to break the Harry Potter mold and do some groundbreaking comedy?

Golden Globe Awards, NBC, live at 8 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. PT

It’s Hollywood’s favorite night — lower-key than the Oscars, but just as fun, the red carpet rolls out for the Golden Globes. Make sure to check back to EW.com’s Golden Globes special report for real-time coverage and to share your thoughts on all the fashion, winners, losers, and parties.

Gail Simmons blogs episode 9 of 'Top Chef: Texas:' Skewered at the judges' table

As told to Nuzhat Naoreen

For many reasons, I thought there was a big weight on our chefs during this episode. The fact that obviously we were in Texas, they knew that this challenge was coming. We did it at the Salt Lick, which is really a legendary barbecue spot. Not only was the owner with us, but Nathan Myhrvold was with us, and we were all a little nervous to have him on the show because his reputation precedes him. About a year ago, he came out with this extraordinary tome of a book called Modernist Cuisine. He was the first person to really put down in a comprehensive way all the tenants of cooking, and [how] it’s really not just about foam and fancy tricks. It’s basically an encyclopedia of technique. Not only did he create this book, but he’s also a barbecue champion, which you think would be counter-intuitive to modernist cuisine, but it actually gets at the heart of it in so many ways. Understanding the science of barbecue, why barbecue is cooked overnight, why it’s cooked so low, what happens to the meat, how to infuse it with the most flavor, and how to make sure the texture is right — all of these components are so vital in understanding how to make successful barbecue, and that’s what he has really mastered. We were all in awe of him. READ FULL STORY

Tom Colicchio blogs 'Top Chef: Texas:' Tributes and trials

As told to Nuzhat Naoreen:

I think [the quickfire] went well. It’s always good to see what fans are looking for. More and more people are using social media, and I’m sure if we can come up with more interesting ways to use it, we will. It was kind of hard to tell [who had the toughest ingredient]. Sriracha to me is not that difficult. We never told them how much [of the new ingredient] to use. They could have used the tiniest bit as long as it was in there. They could have used a drop, it wouldn’t have changed the dish. I don’t know why they got all bent out of shape, [as if they] had to use half the bottle [of Sriracha]. Again, I don’t think it’s necessarily difficult to incorporate stuff into a dish. It’s a matter of how much you use. There’s always a way to work it in.

It was fun having Patti LaBelle join us. We had a good time. We spent a couple of hours together and it was almost as if the idea of making a show was not even there. It was like [we were] at a dinner party. It’s neat to spend that kind of time with someone. READ FULL STORY

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