Jay Rayner tells Eater he's been "sacked" from Top Chef: Masters: "All I know is that the new host is non-American and therefore they couldn't have another non-American accent on the panel. And that's fine. I'm reasonably assured that is the reason. I don't examine these things too deeply, because all jobs come to an end. Being involved with TCM was fantastic. Being able to say I'd done it was fantastic. But it was difficult. I have two small children, and doing the show meant I would be in Los Angeles for a month at a time. And that was very, very hard. It ended up with me phoning my wife and saying, "I've got good news and I've got bad news: the bad news is that I'm no longer involved with Top Chef: Masters, and the good news is that I'm no longer involved in Top Chef: Masters." I knew she'd be delighted."
Meanwhile, Food + Wine is opening up its annual Best New Chef Awards this year to online voting from the public. You have until March 15 to vote for 10 nominees in 10 regions. And the Top Cheftestant nominees are:
Season 4 winner Stephanie Izard (Great Lakes)
Season 5 contestant Jeff McInnis (Gulf Coast)
Season 5 contestant and ousted All-Star Jamie Lauren (Pacific)
Season 6 finalist Kevin Gillespite (Southeast)
Season 3 finalist and ousted All-Star Casey Thompson (Southwest)
Voting linkage from Food + Wine here, and more from their "People's Choice" partner, CNN's
Eatocracy here. F+W has more details about each of the nominees, or you can find a quick and dirty list of all 100 nominated chefs from Eater, which assures us the press release says, "Inclusion as a nominee for The People's Best New Chef award does not preclude consideration for a Best New Chef award" (aka the traditional Best New Chef award decided upon by F+W) and that results will be announced in F+W's July issue. Guess our press release got lost in the mail :)
Meanwhile, Stephanie Izard's Girl and The Goat gets a positive write-up from Saveur, launching the magazine's venture into long-form restaurant reviews that aim to be "expansive, thoughtful pieces about very interesting restaurants of the moment," explains TC Masters sometime judge and Saveur editor-in-chief James Oseland, who offers no tidbits as to whether he - and his sweaters - will be back for TC Masters Season 3.
So who were you surprised to see on Food + Wine's list, and who are you proud to see from your own region? And what the heck do you think is going on with the revamp of Top Chef Masters?