10 Things You Need to Know About Top Chef Seattle Episode 8

Bart Vandaele had the great misfortune of being paired with Josie in this week’s Elimination Challenge.

Does anyone else have a bit of a holiday hangover? Too much punch? Too many cookies? Well, I’m sad to report that last night’s episode of Top Chef Seattle won’t do much to settle your stomach, thanks to the awful antics of season 2 leftover Josie.

1. It’s pretty clear that everyone is hoping that The Josie Show is cancelled very soon.

2. In the restaurant business, if you call someone an —hole, it is forgotten the next day. Except when it isn’t.

3. Oysters don’t grow in Hawaii.

4. John Tesar grew up the son of a bayman on Long Island’s east end.

5. I cannot shuck oysters to save my life.

Thanks to Josie, John Tesar is in no way the most hated cheftestant on Top Chef.

6. Drago’s oysters are garlicky-buttery-cheesey awesomeness. I could probably consume 50 of them in one sitting.

7. Josie claims she’s been an athlete her whole life, which seems implausible.

8. Josie’s remarks to Micah about his sexuality were terrible and inexcusable.

9. I’m no Buddhist, but I’m pretty sure you’re not supposed to say “Namaste, b-tches.”

10. When you’re at judges’ table, it is best to discuss your food and your food alone, Sheldon. Do not take any lessons from CJ. Ever.

Top Chef: Texas Episode 2: Chef Ed Hardy on the Bubble Bunch, French Chefs + Veal

"How come Emeril gets to a share a plate with Padma and I have to share with Hugh? I better call my agent," thinks an envious Tom.

The second episode of Top Chef: Texas was a bit lackluster, but we’re hanging in. Hanging along with us, as usual, is our fellow commentator is chef Ed Hardy.

Welcome back, Ed. Do you know any of these folks, or have you dined at any of their restos? I’ve been to Fishtail by David Burke, and it is excellent!

I’ve only been to Fatty Crab, unfortunately. I’ve heard great things about Uchiko in Austin, though. Paul Qui might be a strong contender.

The last round of 8 each have a scant three minutes to choose their ingredient. Pretending you don’t yet know of the time twist, which do you pick — risotto / short ribs / octopus / mushrooms/ oxtails / lamb /duck / veal – and why?

Well, veal is tasteless, short ribs and oxtail are dangerous because they take so long (see the pressure cooker incident), octopus can be an unforgiving ingredient, and risotto and mushrooms seem to be too easy, so I’d pick the duck or the lamb. Versatile proteins that bring their own flavor to the party and pair well with lots of other combinations.

So, considering the time factor, who has the hardest dish now?

Continue Reading

Top Chef: Texas Premiere: Chef Ed Hardy Tunes in With OpenTable

In honor of the Top Chef: Texas premiere, Padma models the latest fashions from Texas Forever 21.

It’s back, baby! Top Chef premiered last night, this time, as we all know, from Texas. I’m sure there will be tons of Lone Star State jokes coming our way. Back in the saddle as our fellow commentator is chef Ed Hardy.

Hey, Ed! Long time no see. So, what have you been up to since our diners last spoke with you? Where have you been cheffing and have you been on any additional TC auditions? In other words, do I need to write a strongly worded letter to Bravo on your behalf?

I can’t believe I let you drag me back here. What did I do to deserve this? Fine. Just one more season, Mrs. Potter. It’s been awhile since I’ve been here, and I’m happy to tell you that I’ve been working for Chef Marcus Samuelsson as a sous chef at Red Rooster Harlem. No strongly worded letters necessary, thank you. I’ve reached a point in my culinary career where the risks of being on Top Chef far outweigh the benefits. So, I’ve given up on auditions.

First up, there are too many chefs here. This is ridiculous. Five minutes in and I’m already tired of the Texas/bigger nonsense. I am glad to see The Alamo, if only to find out if Pee Wee’s bike is or was ever there. What do you think of the massive scope? And, would you be peeved if you had arrived only to have to immediately fight for your right to compete?

Apparently I gave up on auditions just in time. It looks like they took everyone who applied. There ARE too many chefs. It’s like Occupy San Antonio out there, except with knife bags. Can you forgive me if I’m not good with names for awhile? And, to answer your question, I suppose it would be encouraging because if you just play it safe for the first round, you can count on folks spilling soup all over their plates while you slide by.

Do you know/know of any of the competitors, personally or even as far as dining at their restaurants?

Not really, although my wife worked at Spiaggia in Chicago (but not for Sarah Grueneberg.) It’s an excellent restaurant. Moto (also in Chi-town) is a fun technology-savvy place where they put out some very interesting plates. Continue Reading

Chef Watch: José Andrés Gets a Prize; The Obamas’ Favorite Chef; Michael Mina’s New Venture, and More

* José Andrés (The Bazaar by José Andrés) will receive the 2010 grand prize from the Vilcek Foundation, “which annually honors the contributions of foreign-born Americans in the areas of art, culture and science” on April 7th at the Mandarin Oriental in New York. [Washington Post]

* Restaurateur Donatella Arpaia (Mia Donna) can cook. No, really. She’s got a book coming out and everything. [The New York Times]

* Dan Barber (Blue Hill at Stone Barns) discusses sustainable fish at TED. [Daily Blender]

* Mario Batali (Lupa) and Emeril Lagasse (Emeril’s Restaurant) dined at The Publican. [Grub Street Chicago]

* The POTUS is a foodie, and Chicago chef Rick Bayless (Topolobampo) is one of his faves. [The Guardian]

* “No Reservations” Anthony Bourdain (Les Halles) dishes on his latest pursuits to Jennifer Heigl. [Daily Blender]

* Washington, D.C. chefs Mike Isabella (Zaytinya), Art Smith (Art and Soul) , and Bryan Voltaggio (VOLT) work hard to extend their “Top Chef” fame. [Washington Business Journal]

* Chef Michael Mina is set to take over Aqua, where he first made a splash years ago. [San Francisco Chronicle]

* Chef Michael Psilakis (Kefi) has ended his association with Anthos in Manhattan and is rumored to be looking to open another restaurant in Brooklyn. [The New York Times]

* Reality-TV star/chef Gordon Ramsay (Gordon Ramsay) at Boka in Chicago [Grub Street Chicago]

* “Top Chef” season 6 winner Michael Voltaggio, chef de cuisine at The Dining Room at The Langham, talks about his future and what he plans to do with his prize money. [Food & Wine]

* Hoss Zaré (Zare at Fly Trap) is preparing a feast for the Persian New Year, which begins on March 20. [San Francisco Chronicle]