Top Chef D.C. Episode 12: The Final Countdown

Shame on me. I didn’t realize we were getting to the final four so soon. This probably explains why I’m a blogger and not, say, a calculus teacher or an engineer. I’m back with would-be cheftestant Ed Hardy. We’re chatting semi-live, meaning we both DVR’d it and watched at the same time. The U.S. Open is going on and, as it turns out, I am concurrently watching Andy Roddick get Serbed. Ha! Get it? Tipsaveric is Serbian? Anyway, let’s get Ed in on this….

First, are you excited to be here again? Tell me again why you’re watching on delay? Did you take your lovely wife out to dinner? Where’d you eat?

"I totally almost wore the same thing as Padma. Ha! NOT!"

“Excited” is a strong feeling. Especially for a person who drinks until they can’t feel feelings anymore while watching Top Chef. I’m watching on DVR because I was out at dinner at Convivio. Chef Michael White is “White” hot right now in NYC. Which is great because Italian is the new culinary black. So Chef White is the new black.  Which makes sense. Because I’ve been drinking. My wife Françoise (CP note: She’s a food writer for StarChefs and is, for all intents and purposes, out of Ed’s league. You know it’s true, Hardy!) and I found a lot to like at Convivio. Good staff, good antipasti, and sfizi (Italian amuse). Some minor texture issues with the pasta, but we’re hypercritical reviewers. Worth a second visit!

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Art Smith and Batali Slim Down; Tom Aiken Tunes Out; Eric Ripert Tweets; and More

From the ‘ChefWatch’ files…

* Art Smith (Table Fifty-Two) shared his tips for shedding a whopping 95 pounds with YumSugar (and, presumably, Oprah). [YumSugar]

* Susan Spicer (Bayona) talks about being the inspiration for Janette Desautel on HBO’s post-Katrina series Treme, training actors to work the line, and the state of the New Orleans cuisine scene. [Wall Street Journal]

* He ruffled some French feathers when he predicted Ferran Adrià was the heir-apparent to his culinary throne in 1996, but Joël Robuchon (L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon) was right. [LA Times]

* Speaking of Ferran Adrià, his food makes most diners swoon — and a few sick. [LA Times]

* Don’t call it a comeback (even though The Oregonian did]. The success of Portland’s MetroVino is more of a culinary comeuppance for talented chef Gregory Denton. []

* Tom Colicchio talks “Top Chef” Season 7 and how thoughts of legacy gave rise to Colicchio & Sons. [Daily Blender]

* The original nose-to-tail chef Fergus Henderson (St. John) names his faves in London and around the world. [FindEatDrink]

* You don’t have to go to culinary school to work for Thomas Keller. Just ask Timothy Hollingsworth, chef de cuisine at The French Laundry. [Sacramento Bee]

* Showing off a svelter belly, Mario Batali [Del Posto] declares vegetables are the new pork belly. [Chicago Tribune]

* Alain Ducasse (Adour Alain Ducasse) discusses success, failure, sticky-fingered diners, and how to become a lot less “New Yorkery” (if that’s your goal). [Eater]

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Chef Watch: Michael Voltaggio Cooks and Tells; New York Post Has a Beef with Alain Ducasse; Norman Van Aken Opens His Recipe Book; The World’s Most Influential Chef; Charlie Trotter’s New Hire, and More

Chefs making food and headlines…

•    Michael Voltaggaio, winner of season 6 of “Top Chef” shows football fans how to have a very molecular gastronomic Super Bowl party. Does that mean deconstructed nachos? [Los Angeles Times]

•    Speaking of Chef Voltaggio, who is chef de cuisine at The Dining Room at The Langham, he answers questions about his post-TC life. [Orange County Register]

•    Jose Garces, whose Philadelphia restaurant empire includes Amada, Chifa, Distrito, and Tinto, reveals what’s inspiring him lately. [The Daily Beast]

•    Charlie Trotter hires visually impaired chef Laura Martinez to join his kitchen at Charlie Trotter’s. [Grub Street Chicago]

•    If Chicago’s Graham Elliot Bowles’s food at Graham Elliot were an album, it would be Feed the Animals by Girl Talk. At least this week, anyway. [Time Out Chicago]

•    Meet the U.K’s own Fergus Henderson of St. John restaurant in London. He’s also the world’s most influential chef. No, really. [Men’s Health]

•    Chef Norman Van Aken shares some of his signature recipes from Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando, but it’s probably just easier to go ahead and let him make them for us at his eponymous restaurant. [The Daily Beast]

•    Thomas Keller (Ad Hoc, Bouchon, Bouchon – Beverly Hills, The French Laundry, Per Se) loses his right-hand man. As long as it’s not his right hand. [San Francisco Chronicle]

•    Restaurant critic Steve Cuozzo of the New York Post has a bone to pick with Alain Ducasse (Adour Alain Ducasse at The St. Regis New York, Benoit New York) over his recent comments about the New York restaurant scene. Call me a coward, but it’s probably not all that wise to start a beef with anyone who wields knives for a living. [New York Post]