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Tag: Top Chef (41-50 of 108)

'Top Chef: Just Desserts' has a 'Willy Wonka' reunion! Simply look around and view it

So shines a good deed in a weary world. I can’t believe they hadn’t done this yet! In honor of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory‘s 40th anniversary this year, Top Chef: Just Desserts issued a “Pure Imagination” challenge for the contestants to create their own edible “World of Wonder” a.k.a. Wonka’s Chocolate Room. Some of the original cast — the actors who played Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, Mike Teevee, and Charlie Bucket (Peter Ostrum, pictured at right) — were on hand to taste the confectionery rainbow and lament the absence of Augustus Gloop. It’s just as well — had he been there, the amped-up water pressure on Chris’ chocolate waterfall might have swept him away all over again. He’d have been made into marshmallows in five seconds. READ FULL STORY

'Top Chef Masters' premiere: Does a rebooted 'Masters' pack the same punch?

Top Chef Masters is serving up something new this season — actually, several new things. In last night’s premiere, we learned that Australian chef and Celebrity Apprentice contestant Curtis Stone has replaced pretty charisma vacuum Kelly Choi as the show’s host, while judges Gael Greene and Jay Raynor have been succeeded by former Gourmet editrix Ruth Reichl. Perhaps most importantly, the series has also traded its old, tournament-style format for a more conventional reality show scheme — all of the contestants started competing at the same time, and one of them will be eliminated each episode. That’s a lot of change to stomach, especially since the series never seemed like it was in desperate need of a reboot. So how did Episode One of Masters 2.0 fare? READ FULL STORY

'Top Chef: All-Stars' winner speaks: 'It was important for me to embody the spirit of the underdog'

[SPOILER ALERT! Do not click ahead if you haven’t yet seen last night’s finale!] Last night, Mike Isabella and Richard Blais duked it out for the title of Top Chef All-Star. They each created their own restaurants, which gave them a chance to show Tom, Padma, Gail, and guest judges Lidia Bastianich and Hubert Keller what they’re truly all about. And the honor went to…


Gail Simmons blogs the 'Top Chef: All-Stars' season finale

Gail-Simmons As told to Archana Ram.

I think we accomplished exactly what we set out to do this season. We brought back 18 of the most talented chefs on the show who did not win to get them back in the kitchen to see how they did, but also we stretched the show even further — took the challenges further, made things more complicated, exciting and delicious. I’m really amazed, looking back, at how much great food there was, how much I learned about the chefs, and how much I learned about food. I think every chef on this season has a lot to be proud of. We made them work for it, that’s for sure. READ FULL STORY

'Top Chef: All-Stars': And the winner is...

If you haven’t seen the season finale of Top Chef: All Stars yet, DO NOT CLICK AHEAD! After Richard and Mike opened their own full-fledged restaurants — Richard’s pegged to modern spins on classic dishes (shocker!) and Mike’s an ode to Italian flavors (also a shocker!) — the finalists duked it our for the ultimate culinary crown. And now that the results are in, your very first Top Chef All-Star is (SPOILER ALERT)…


Gail Simmons blogs 'Top Chef: All-Stars' episode 15

Gail-Simmons As told to Archana Ram.

Antonia, Richard and Mike had stayed consistent and strong throughout the season. Each of them had won a ton of challenges and kept moving. Each of them individually wowed us. It never plays out quite how you think, but I was really glad they were the final three.

The whole Quickfire was absurd. We knew it was absurd. We just kept piling it on to see how they’d react. They all did really well considering all the twists they were given. They all delivered edible food, which I think is a pretty big accomplishment at that stage. Mike had one pot and nothing else. You never how someone else will react to the challenge you give them, and they also never knew there would be a second twist. Cooking with one pot is a challenge but a realistic one. But cooking with one hand behind your back or tied to someone else isn’t. Simple challenges can be the hardest, and I think it’s because they over-prepare. They’re not able to stand back and simplify. They get caught up in trying to do too much. But in this case, the three of them are actually really good at restraint. READ FULL STORY

Gail Simmons blogs 'Top Chef: All-Stars': Episode 14

Gail-Simmons As told to Archana Ram.

For the Quickfire, I actually think Antonia and Tiffany had a better plan than Richard and Mike gave them credit for. Padma never told them they had to make something incredibly complicated. Obviously, there needs to be some thought and cooking, but they just wanted it to taste good. But both teams were smart to cook in large batches. Everything was the same, and that’s really important. Otherwise, you risk consistency.

Richard and Mike’s dish was more complex in terms of the cooking process. They needed to cook the vegetables and meat, which perhaps takes a little more finesse. On the other hand, Tiffany and Antonia’s dish had several more plating components. Richard and Mike, all they had to do once the sauce was made, was make the pasta, toss it all together and dump a spoonful onto the plate. There was no garnish, plating or presentation. Tiffany and Antonia, as much as theirs might’ve been a simpler plate from a cooking standpoint, it was a more complicated plate from a presentation standpoint. They had a dressing, a salad, which involved prepping the vegetables, and the meat placed on top. That took time and operational skill. I think they did a good job. I can see why they won. It was appealing as a small plate and a smart way to go about the challenge. READ FULL STORY

Gail Simmons blogs 'Top Chef: All-Stars': Episode 13

Gail-Simmons As told to Archana Ram.

It was great to be in the Bahamas. We happened to miss two major snowstorms in New York, so that made us all very happy. Padma works a lot more than we do because she films all the Quickfires, but Tom and I definitely had some time off. I spent a lot of time on the water slides at Atlantis and Tom spent a lot of time deep-sea fishing.

We always take quite a large break between the bulk of the season and the finale. For example, the Ellis Island episode was shot in the middle of September, and then we took several months off until January when we shot the finale. We were four months older and wiser. We had watched the season and knew a lot more about the contestants. I learned about Mike’s burping habits, Richard’s self doubts and all the bromances — it’s all fun. But actually in January, the show had only aired about halfway so we hadn’t seen that many episodes. The contestants themselves also knew how they came across and how they had been received. They had time to think about their food, practice and train. At the same time, they had also been out of practice because they weren’t in the heat of competition every single day anymore. But every season, they come to the finale quite different — charged, trained and having done everything they possibly could to prepare for what they know will always be a great battle. READ FULL STORY

Gail Simmons blogs 'Top Chef: All-Stars': episode 12

Gail-Simmons As told to Archana Ram.

Carla won the Quickfire because she did something fresh and interesting but also something she had created herself. I think that’s what we’re always looking for, something that tastes good, is based in technique and appealing but you can still put your own spin on it. That’s why Tiffany was in the bottom. She just made nachos. There was nothing interesting about them. There was nothing different about them. It didn’t show any part of her personality. Carla, on the other hand, even though what she did was simple, she used them in a fresh way. She used that carrot juice. She infused rosemary from the rosemary potato chips and then she made a salad that was nice. It proves that you can make something out of nothing even when you’re given what seems like very basic ingredients. A good chef can come up something that’s refreshing, healthy and light. It doesn’t need to be pureed hot dogs.

But Mike’s bread soup looked disgusting. There are definitely soups that call for the use of bread, like classic gazpacho, which has stale bread in it that’s used to thicken it. I think he took inspiration from that, but he was grasping for straws, let’s be honest. I’m just glad I didn’t have to taste it. READ FULL STORY

'Top Chef: All-Stars': Eliminated contestant blogs episode 11: 'I literally went to therapy'

Gail wasn’t around for last night Paula Deen/southern cooking extravaganza, so we gave the booted cheftestant a chance to explain what exactly went down. Check it out after the jump, but SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t yet seen the episode, do not click ahead! As for everyone else, here we go!


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