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Tag: Top Chef (51-60 of 108)

Project Top Chef Model: Santa WAS listening

Sometimes, I drift off while watching yet another installment of Real Housewives (of Beverly Hills, of course, I would never fall asleep during Atlanta, let’s get real) and then, pachoo! All the sudden I look up and colorful shapes are flying at my face! Someone is laughing wildly and flicking mashed potatoes off a spoon into the camera! Buttons! Padma Lakshmi/Tom Coliccio/Bethenny Frankel/Tabatha Coffey/Andy Cohen pops up and stares me down! Always the same hands-on-hips pose. Always the dead eyes that say “Fall asleep, I dare you.” Rarely does a 30-second interval pass without a commercial for another Housewives franchise or reality competition show. It’s maddening, yet oddly comforting.  READ FULL STORY

Anthony Bourdain blogs 'Top Chef: All-Stars': Episode 10

Anthony-BourdainAs told to Archana Ram.

The Elimination challenge was brutal. In a lot of ways, even at its strangest and most gimmicky, Top Chef mimics the real world in the sense that, when you run a restaurant, on a Saturday night, you don’t know who your customers are going to be and what’s going to go wrong. You might have to improvise. It was certainly a tough challenge. Plus it was 3 in the morning. The exhaustion factor with these guys was big.

I don’t know whether making soup was a strategy, but the chefs were desperate. They were in a limited situation. They were insecure with their environment, unfamiliar with the tools. They really had to wing it. I think they were playing it safe with soup. But I think the fact that a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup won tells you something. That was obviously a smart way to go. That wasn’t the time to start doing really complex food. Overcomplicating and overreaching is often a lethal strategy. I would’ve played it safe and tried to do the best I could to not go home. I wouldn’t have made this as my day to go home with the big money. But I never would’ve made it to the finals of Top Chef on my culinary skills alone. I was a journeyman chef of middling ability. Generally speaking the chefs on the show, most of them are better cooks than I am, though maybe not as experienced or as well or widely eaten. READ FULL STORY

The 'Top Chef: All-Stars' beef tongue song: Now a free ringtone!

top-chefThe biggest takeaway from each episode of Top Chef is obviously the most recent eliminee, but, much like Carla’s pot pie, last night’s episode of All-Stars gave us a little something extra. Enter: “The Beef Tongue” Song.

Thanks to either a lack of sleep or complete delirium — or maybe both — the top three contestants, Antonia, Angelo, and Carla, broke out into an ode to the beef tongue, one of the many dishes prepared for Jimmy Fallon’s birthday party, during judges’ table. Have a listen after the jump:

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Gail Simmons blogs 'Top Chef: All-Stars' episode 9

Gail-Simmons As told to Archana Ram.

All of the fondues from last night’s Quickfire actually sounded pretty good. I thought that they were all creative. Obviously, in the time they had, some are always going to be better than others. I always think it’s smart when you can take flavors that people are comfortable with or nostalgic about and introduce them in a new way. The truth is, in food there are generally very few things that haven’t been done before. What Richard did was what he’s always trying to do is, which is to take flavors, a dish or a style we know, and reinvent it in a way we haven’t seen before. He’s not going to invent a new flavor, but he can certainly present it in a way that surprises you and that’s really cool.

Jimmy Fallon is a fan of the show, and so is his family. For a while now, he’s expressed his appreciation of the show, and we always said we should get Jimmy on. Working with him on the Elimination was natural. We wanted this season to be about special New York experiences, and 30 Rock is such an iconic place. The history of late night talk shows out of 30 Rock — Johnny Carson, Conan — it just felt right to have the next generation with our All-Stars. We had a blast with them. It really was his birthday that week so the producers devised a challenge that would get the chefs into his studios, live in front of the audience and then have them cook things for his family. He got all of his family to pick their favorite dishes, and they loaded them onto the screen. READ FULL STORY

'Top Chef: All-Stars': Booted contestant speaks! 'I really think the judges should get it together.'

On last night’s episode of Top Chef: All-Stars, the cheftestants had to cook Italian food for some illustrious Italians, including the team behind New York’s legendary Rao’s restaurant and Sopranos star Lorraine Bracco. But among the polenta, pasta, and pork chops, there was one offer the judges could refuse. SPOILER ALERT! Click ahead to find out whose dish it was and what the eliminated cheftestant has to say.

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'Top Chef All-Stars' eliminated cheftestant blogs episode 7: 'Do I have the capability of being an a-hole? Completely.'

Gail wasn’t on last night’s episode of Top Chef All-Stars, but we got the eliminated cheftestant to sound off about what went down during the epic Restaurant Wars battle. And boy, does this cheftestant have a lot to say. Read more after the jump, but SPOILER ALERT! If you haven’t seen the episode yet, do not click ahead! Seriously! Ok, everyone else, you ready? Let’s go!

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Gail Simmons blogs 'Top Chef: All-Stars' episode 6

Gail-SimmonsAs told to Archana Ram.

I think last night’s challenge came at the perfect time. The dim sum challenge knocked everyone down a notch, which is normal. The contestants all get a little exhausted at this point in the competition. They needed something to be excited about, and I think sending them fishing for the day did just that. It was a beautiful day in August, it re-energized them and got them really excited about cooking again.

August is the peak of the best season for fresh local ingredients, and the contestants stopped at a farm stand in the Hamptons, which overflowed with beautiful produce. I think when we have that luxury of fresh produce, that’s how chefs should cook. Look at what’s available, what looks the best, and get inspired. That’s the best way to eat. As far as the judging, I wanted to point out that Kerry Heffernan was one of the best guest judges we’ve had before. We’ve had so many people come to the tables — famous chefs, movie stars, TV personalities — I’ve known Kerry for a long time, and he’s a really talented chef. But I never worked with him on television before and didn’t know what kind of experience he had. But he just owned it. We were all so impressed. It was almost like he had been at the judges’ table with us for years. From a behind-the-scenes standpoint, he slipped right into that chair and talked in perfect sound bites. He was like a producer’s dream. We all said, “Wow! Kerry needs to get a television show!” He’s one hell of a good fisherman, too. That’s also why they brought him on. He and Tom fish together every summer. They both spend a lot of time out in Montauk. That was the inspiration because he’s a great fisherman and knows a lot about the sea, not to mention the fact that Tom is an avid, avid fisherman. READ FULL STORY

Gail Simmons blogs 'Top Chef: All-Stars': Episode 5

Gail-SimmonsImage Credit: Kelsey McNeal/BravoAs told to Archana Ram.

I’ve had the privilege of Tom cooking for me pretty often. I’d like to say he’s my private chef, but he’s not! I’ve been to his restaurant, his house. I’ve learned a lot from him and he’s been a great mentor for me for the better part of a decade. But he was nervous to do this quick-fire challenge because it left him vulnerable to some extent. If he sliced his finger off or cooked for a long amount of time, he would’ve been embarrassed. But he nailed it, of course.

Angelo thought he could put a twist on it and make it not just a crudo. He thought if he added some special techniques that would elevate it. I think he was just getting cocky. READ FULL STORY

Gail Simmons blogs 'Top Chef: All-Stars': Episode 4

Gail-SimmonsBefore we get to this week’s episode, I have some parting thoughts about recent eliminees Stephen and Dale. Stephen was in over his head and I think he knew it. He made no excuses for it. As for Dale, he’s a really great cook, but he does get over-excited and tends to put too much on the plate. When he’s focused he’s really great at keeping things simple. Interestingly enough, in the season 3 finale, I remember that was his problem when he lost to Hung. Some dishes were so focused and beautiful, but for others, he tried to do too many things. But he took responsibility last week as well. He knew it wasn’t his best work. It’s hard to emulate another chef’s idea or take inspiration. These chefs are so established and so known for specific types of food. You have to be careful.

Whenever I’m out for an episode, I call Tom the next day and ask what happened. Nothing formal. But if there’s a big dramatic point that changed the game, the producers will call me the day after and bring me up to speed. Actually, we always have a meeting at the beginning of the day to make sure we understand the challenge and the rules, and they’ll always give us back up if needed if we weren’t there for the last challenge.

I watched the Quickfire as a viewer like you, and to me, a lot of the stuffing seemed really inventive, especially knowing they had no tools to work with. I’m Canadian and I didn’t grow up with Thanksgiving, and I’m Jewish so I didn’t really grow up with Christmas, so I don’t have a family recipe I’m partial to. But I’ve definitely had some bad and good stuffing over the years. I thought Tre’s did look great, like something I’d want to eat. It was savory and had spice, so I was glad he took that one. READ FULL STORY

'Top Chef All-Stars': Hidden Truffles of Episode 3!

Many thanks to the few, the proud, the Top Chef recap-readers who nominated Hidden Truffles this week! After the jump, Anthony Bourdain gets caught removing his eyeglasses (stars: they’re just like us!), a bat torments Tom Colicchio, pedestrians blur into obscurity as PopWatch blogger Padma Lakshmi hails a cab, and more! I’m like a pig in dirt, now more than ever. READ FULL STORY

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