Monday, February 28, 2011

Don't Forget to Post Your Ideas...

...on our Season 9 and Beyond post. We've got some interesting ones already!

Poll - Who Will Win Top Chef All-Stars?

The results of our last poll showed that almost a third of you wanted to see Tiffany go next, followed closely by Mike. They're both still around....

So who do you think is going to win this thing? I know who I want to win, but have a feeling that's not going to happen.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Video du Whenever - Angelo Sosa's Bibimbap Burger

Angelo's new restaurant, SocialEatz, is scheduled to open mid-March. In this video, he teases us with a menu item called a bibimbap burger, which looks completely drool-worthy to me. Not sure about the "liquid love sauce" though.

View more videos at:

(Dig the tight clothes!)

Top Recipe - Top Chef All Stars Episode 11

Check out Top Chef Masters' Rick Moonen preparing Richard Blais' winning red snapper dish here.
Find the printable version of the recipe here.

Friday, February 25, 2011

All Top Chef Interview with Dale Talde

 Top Chef All-Stars Contestant, Dale Talde talks about his experience on the show.

A highlight: Dale is opening a pop-up restaurant, "Bodega" this weekend.

Click here for the podcast.

Click here for Dale's website.
Thank you Chef Dale!

Bravo Exit Interview - Dale Talde

Thursday, February 24, 2011

ATC Love to Chef Dale Talde

In a bit of a shocker, Chef Dale Talde was eliminated this week after winning three prior Elimination Challenges. The judges felt that his fish stew with amberjack had a bit too much going on and the fish got lost. Dale graciously accepted the verdict, showing a continuation of the growth and maturity he has displayed all season.

It looked like he was going to make it to the finale this time around, and we are disappointed to see him leave at this point in the game. Good luck in everything you do in the future, Chef, and enjoy your winnings from this season!

This post is only for positive comments about Chef Talde and his dishes. If you have anything negative to say, please do so here.

Congratulations, Chef Richard Blais!

A hearty congrats to Chef Richard Blais for his second Elimination Challenge win!  Despite a rough start to the episode, with an idea of his used by one of his competitors, he stayed strong and succeeded in creating a winning dish, with help from his sous chef Fabio. The combination of snapper and pulled pork with polenta was nicely balanced and impressed the guest judges, Paula Deen and John Besh.

Blais is one of the final five - does he have what it takes to win it all?

This post is only for positive comments about Chef Blais and his dishes. If you have anything negative to say, please do so here.

Reactions to Top Chef All Stars Episode 11

The episode opened with everyone reeling from Angelo's elimination. Tiffany definitely thought she was the one to be gone. The next day, everyone seemed in a better mood. Tiffany put makeup on and Richard showed Mike some of the recipes he planned in his notebook.

Later, at the Top Chef Kitchen, the cheftestants were greeted by Food Network's Paula Deen. The Quickfire Challenge was to create a deep fried dish, but make it creative. The winner would get $5,000. The chefs scrambled around for 30 minutes. Richard, of course, broke out the liquid nitrogen and made frozen mayonnaise balls for deep frying. Mike, having seen Richard's proposed recipe for cooking the oyster of the chicken and putting it on an oyster shell, decided to do just that, but deep fry the chicken meat.

After the 30 minutes, Paula and Padma tasted and judged. Carla's catfish was not properly fried and the hushpuppies were too leaden. Dale's steak-wrapped oyster dish was also a flop with the judges. The favorite was Antonia's fried avocado, shrimp and jalapeno, grilled corn tomato and fried herbs, but because she only made one plate instead of two, she was disqualified. That left Richard and Mike, and Mike ended up taking the prize, much to the chagrin of Richard.

To explain the Elimination Challenge, Padma brought out New Orleans chef extraordinaire John Besh. He talked about the Greater New Orleans Foundation, which is trying to provide financial support to the watermen and businesses that have been affected by the oil spill in the Gulf. A fundraiser was being held for 300 people and the chefs were going to cater the event using seafood that was indigenous to the gulf. The seafood was brought out by recently eliminated cheftestants who will act as sous chefs for the challenge. The teams worked out like this:

Mike and Tiffani with an "i" - Brown Shrimp
Richard and Fabio - Red Snapper
Carla and Tre - Grouper
Tiffany D and Marcel - White Shrimp
Antonia and Spike - Crab
Dale and Angelo - Amber Jack

They all run off to the market to gather ingredients, and then race back to the kitchen for 2 hours and 30 minutes of cooking. Most of the teams are getting along, but once again, Marcel is the sand in Tiffany D's oyster. Carla is also concerned because Tre, although from The South, doesn't know anything about southern cooking.

Time soon ended and it was off to the site for the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund event where the chefs had an additional 30 minutes to set up their tables. The guests soon flooded in along with the judges. After a frantic service, the judges retired to Judges' Table while the chefs stewed in the stew room.

The top three - Antonia, Richard, and Mike - are called out first. Antonia's crab cake was well liked along with Mike's grit-crusted shrimp, but the win went to Richard for his crispy gulf snapper with pulled pork and citrus grits. Richard won a six night trip to Barbados, which he planned to share with Fabio.

Next, the bottom three were brought out. Tiffany D's shrimp were considered overcooked and mealy, and the glaze was too sweet. Although Tiffany D felt that much of that was Marcel's fault, she remained silent and took the blame. Carla's hot sauce and mustard overwhelmed the grouper, and the collard greens and chow chow pico did not work. However, Dale was the big loser of the night with his Amber Jack stew. The potatoes were undercooked and the mustard on the crouton was too powerful for the fish. After winning just last week, Dale was asked to pack his knives and go.

Should Mike have been called out for swiping Richard's recipe? Should Antonia have been penalized for making only one plate? And was it really Dale's time to go? Share your thoughts below.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Top Chef All Stars Episode 11 Previews

The remaining chef'testants must use a deep fryer to impress the queen of southern cooking: Paula Deen. Deen is then joined by former Top Chef Master John Besh to guest judge the Elimination Challenge where the chefs provide the seafood at a charity event benefiting the fisherman of the gulf region. But when some of the already-eliminated chef'testants make their way back to the kitchen to assist the remaining All-Stars, will they serve as an extra hand or a burden? Find out this Wednesday 2/23 @ 10/9c on Top Chef All-Stars.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Recap Roundup: Top Chef All Stars Episode 10

Jordan Baker on appropriateness: "Blais is one of those people who is MADE to interact with Muppets. He's so perfect at it, and he looks right for the job. He should have a permanent cooking segment on Sesame Street -- he can open a restaurant in Hooper's old storefront."

Grub Street on being judgemental: "The Muppets provided commentary while the chefs cooked, though none of their remarks — even Elmo's thyme joke — were as good as Dale's about Mike I, saying, 'It's funny that someone who eats so many cookies would be so uncomfortable making cookies.' Ouch."

Serious Eats sounds bitter: "Also, I'm not sure who was voicing Cookie Monster for this episode, but it didn't sound like the character at all. Maybe it's just me, but I thought Cookie Monster sounded like a drunk Russian guy who never made it past the third grade. 'Me just kind of throw stuff in bowl and mix and hope for best. Now shut up and pass Stolichnaya. Me want cookies and vodka.'"

David Dust on Dale's reaction to the heckling: "Dale, in particular, gets heckled for making a cookie using potato chips and other non-cookie-ish stuff. And he doesn’t quite know how to react. Dale instinctively wants to tell Elmo, Telly and Cookie that today’s Quickfire challenge is being brought to them by the letters 'F' and 'U', but quickly decides against it."

My Monkey Could Do That grosses ALL of us out: "Mike: almond and dried cherry cookie with rose petal powdered sugar. They marvel that he did all that in 45 minutes, and Mike says 'I’m a little fast sometimes'. That’s what she said. Oh, EW, I grossed myself out."

Minxeats on Angelo's sartorial choices: "Angelo feels like Carl Lewis running through the aisles, only whiter and slower. And a whole lot nerdier. Gone are the tight 'cameltoe' pants from last week and in their place are baggy shorts worn with dark knee highs and white socks."

Monkeys as Critics on shopping fantasies: "It’s always been my fantasy to go to Target when there aren’t twenty people in line ahead of me whom all have coupons, gift cards and want to argue with the cashier about whether or not their eggs are on sale. And yet, the chefs do not appear to be having fun. This must be what Target is like right before a natural disaster hits and everyone’s fighting over the last can of Campbell’s soup."

Max the Girl on distractions: "To be fair, I’m actual familiar with this phenomenon, known as TTA (Temporary Target Amnesia). You go to Target to buy some suntan lotion, you leave with Season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a pair of sweatpants, a cute decorative bowl, a pink dog bed...and, yup, no suntan lotion. Carla, I feel ya, girl."

Fabio is too busy sticking up for his "brother" to pay attention to the episode: "My brother Mike make Fresh Coconut Soup and Padma blast him about the fact that in Target there is no Fresh Coconut…. what do you know Padma ??? Are you trying to tell us that you actually aver step foot in Target ?? Really ??? Well Mike isabella had fresh coconut….. he took it out of the refrigerator section and doesnt really get fresher than that honey…… so just eat it and move on."

Cliffieland on the bottom three: "Up for the knifing are Tiffany, Carla and Angelo. They pretty much know what they did wrong and the judges are happy to agree with them. Tiffany didn't actually make jambalaya and shouldn't have used the powdered spice. Carla should have added some kind of protein to her soup (instead of focusing on linens). And Angelo simply couldn't overcome an overly salty, too heavy potato soup."

Monday, February 21, 2011

TC News and Information 2.21.11

To start Presidents Day off on a, well, Presidential note, Just Desserts winner Yigit Pura recently made finger-lickin’ good pie for Obama. And TC Season 7’s Kelly Liken says on facebook she’s cooking for the First Lady.

If you have the day off, you might want to check out Fabio Viviani’s risotto cooking class, which will live-stream 12pm-2pm LA time. (The last time he did one of these, you could catch it later too.)

Angelo Sosa talks about the food at his soon-to-open Social Eatz in Part II of Fork in the Road’s exit interview: “We're going to take something like a sloppy joe, which I have great childhood memories of, and turn it into a Sloppy Ho Chi Minh. We do our own proprietary meat blend and infuse it with tamarind and some gochujang, which is a fermented Korean chili paste. So it's luscious and flavorful like a regular sloppy joe, but with an Asian twist. Our burgers are going to raise a couple eyebrows. And we'll do yuzu beignets for dessert.” You can find Part I here.

All-Star Mike Isabella is also working on a new restaurant, Graffiato, which he calls Italian-inspired, but not strictly Italian. Potential dishes include chicken wings with black-garlic Romesco and baby-back ribs crusted with Sicilian oregano and served with coriander yogurt and a small salad of blood oranges, sliced radishes and marinated onions, which you can read about in Part II of the Washington Post’s three-part story. Part I, which focuses on the build-out of the space, here.

Following his penchant for naming restaurant’s after fabrics (like Searsucker), Season 3’s Brian Malarkey is calling his new restaurant Burlap. It will feature “Cowboy Asian” cuisine, with a menu ranging from steaks, seafood, roast chicken, duck, and pork butt to sashimi, hamachi, salads, and stir-fry. "It's a protein house but we'll have subtle flavors like ginger butter, yuzu sauce, soys, pickled cactus and sage,” he says in this interview.

Season 7’s Amanda Baumgarten has been named Executive Chef at LA’s Water Grill.

Season 6 finalist Bryan Voltaggio (who happens to be an investor in Mike I.’s Graffiato) is slated to appear at DC’s “Savor: An American Craft Beer & Food Experience” in June.

All-Star Carla Hall cooks up a feast honoring Edna Lewis at Manassas Thursday night, with a menu featuring a salad of wild watercress with vinegar and oil, chicken with dumplings, glazed carrots, crusty yeast bread with butter and deep-dish apple pie with nutmeg sauce. More about the event, and Edna Lewis, Grande Dame of Southern Cooking, here. And on February 25, Carla will speak at the Green Matters Symposium on "Real Food Renaissance” at Brookside Gardens.

Season 4 winner Stephanie Izard will participate in Cochon 555 in Chicago March 20. For more about the porkapalooza that is Cochon 555, don’t miss the video here. Steph will also be part of the line-up of all women chefs at Hot Chocolate’s 6th anniversary party and benefit for Share Our Strength February 28 and another benefit, for TC Masters’ Art Smith’s Common Threads, on March 7.

As if that weren’t enough, Feast speculates an announcement may be forthcoming this week about Steph’s second restaurant.

Yigit Pura will be a celebrity judge at COOK Orlando March 27 to benefit the Human Rights Campaign.

And Top Chef Canada premieres April 11!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Top Chef - Seasons 9 and Beyond

All Top Chef reader Ellen K suggested that we start a post for our readers to make suggestions for future seasons of Top Chef. Not that this very fun All-Star season can be topped (personally, I don't think they've been able to top Season 4), but it would be fun to try.

So...what do you think Bravo should do for Seasons 9 and beyond? Should there be more All-Star seasons? Maybe a season of losers? Do you have ideas for fun and interesting challenges?

Do keep in mind that we're not affiliated with Bravo in any way, but who knows who'll be reading this blog!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Top Recipe - Top Chef All Stars Episode 10

Watch Top Chef Masters' Rick Moonen prepare Dale Talde's winning rib-eye grilled cheese here.

Find the printable recipe here.

Don't forget that you can find most (but not all) of the recipes made on the show by going to

Friday, February 18, 2011

Bravo Exit Interview - Angelo Sosa

All Top Chef Interview with Angelo Sosa

Top Chef All Star contestant Angelo Sosa talks about his experience on the Bravo show.

A highlight: Angelo's new restaurant, Social Eatz (232 E 53rd Street, 212-207-3339, will open in about 3 weeks.

Click here for Angelo's website.
Click here for the podcast.
Thank you Chef Angelo!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Congratulations, Chef Dale Talde!

Last week, Dale struggled to stay alive when he finished in the bottom three. This week, he won the Elimination Challenge for the third time this season with his extremely clever variation on tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, the sandwiches made crispy on both sides with the help of steam irons.

Not only that, he also won the Quickfire Challenge with his potato chip shortbread cookies that impressed even Cookie Monster. The two wins combined earned him a cool $30,000 this week!

So what's it going to be next week, Chef Talde? Up or down? We're hoping to see you continue on the upside of things.

This post is only for positive comments about Chef Talde and his dishes. If you have anything negative to say, please click here.

ATC Love to Chef Angelo Sosa

On Top Chef All-Stars, one week you're riding high, and the next you...get eliminated. So it went for Angelo Sosa, whose pulled pork dish was a huge hit for him last week; this week, his baked potato soup provoked Padma to ask him to pack his knives and go. As he pointed out, he had competed in about 40 challenges in a row, if you consider that there was precious little time between the end of his original season 7 and the start of season 8. The middle-of-the-night challenge didn't help matters, either.

Chef Sosa, it really seemed like you'd be in the top 3 or 4 chefs this season, so this loss is a surprise for many of us. ATC is sorry to see you go, and we wish you great success with your new restaurant, Social Eatz, opening in March!

This post is only for positive comments about Chef Sosa and his dishes. If you have anything negative to say, please click here.

Reactions to Top Chef All-Stars Episode 10

This week, we had probably some of the most charming guest judges of all, more charming than either Hubert Keller or Susur Lee - Elmo, Cookie Monster, and Telly. The three Muppets joined Padma in tasting and judging this week's Quickfire Challenge, which was to make...cookies! 

Of the seven remaining chefs' offerings, the fuzzy guest judges preferred Antonia's ooey gooey chocolate cookies  and Dale's potato chip shortbread over Blais' frozen zucchini-filled "cookies." Dale won over all, and gained an extra $5K for his success.

For the Elimination, the chefs headed to Target at midnight to shop and prepare a meal for 100 hungry employees. They could use anything in the store - utensils, appliances, food, plates - to create their food. For some reason, most chefs chose to make soup. It was a great idea for Dale, who also made grilled cheese sandwiches - using a griddle and an iron - but not so great for Carla or Angelo, whose soups disappointed.

Dale's dish tasted great, and his cleverness probably gave him and advantage that earned him his third Elimination Challenge win of the season and the biggest single-contest prize ever of $25,000.

Angelo oversalted his potato soup and got sent home, probably way too early. But we can probably say that of most of the dearly departed, huh?

So what did you think? Did Dale deserve to win? Was Blais cheated? Did you think Carla was on her way out? Please leave a comment!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Top Chef All Stars Episode Ten Previews!

What happens when Sesame Street invades the Top Chef Kitchen?! The All-Stars get in touch with their inner child with the help of Cookie Monster, Telly, and Elmo where they must make the perfect cookie. Then, chaos ensues when the chef’testants must take over a Target store in the middle of the night and make a winning dish with whatever they can find in the aisles – can they pull it out to impress the judges? Find out this Wednesday 2/16 @ 10/9c on Top Chef All-Stars.

TC News and Information 2.16.11 - Jay Rayner Out, 5 Cheftestants In

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?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Recap Roundup - Top Chef All-Stars Episode 9

Monkeys as Critics on the dangers of fondue: "Anyway, time for the Quickfire Challenge! Richard walks into the kitchen and sees fondue pots. He immediately starts thinking ‘70s bellbottoms, chunky soled shoes and nudity. Richard is sure his parents went to a nude fondue party. I’m hoping they didn’t, because fondue made up of cheese or hot oil and it can splatter. A party just isn’t fun with second and third degree burns on your private parts, no matter what decade it takes place in."

Max the Girl on gang signs: "'I’m going to be honest. I’m going to be like NY Times reviewers up in this bitch,' says Dale. (Now that Marcel is gone, he has decided that he will represent the gangsta side of Top Chef.)"

Eater's recap is great, but this is the best part:

Grubstreet on interstitials: "Of course, the chefs couldn't get to cooking before opening their freezer containing only Buitoni products and having a conversation about their favorite Buitoni raviolis. Nor could Dale get started before he admired Angelo in his tight purple pants, calling him a 'stunning man.'"

Minxeats on being helpful: "Antonia is a bit stymied with having to cook tongue in a mere two hours, so Blais gives her tips on how to use a pressure cooker. Apparently he's been helping everyone, and in a lot of cases, those to whom he lends a hand go on to win the challenge, while he finishes in the middle somewhere. Hmm...maybe he should stop doing that?"

Jordan Baker on confusion:, "Mike’s doing his sausage and peppers “Fenway style” because he thinks Jimmy Fallon is from Boston. Um…no. Mike apparently doesn’t know the difference between "acting" and "real, and has conflated Brooklyn-born Jimmy Fallon with his Bostonian characters from Saturday Night Live and Fever Pitch."

Cliffieland on Blais trying something different for a change: "Later, as the shopping and cooking commences, we see that Richard is going against type with this challenge, opting to make a very simple, traditional preparation, eschewing the expected elements of liquid nitrogen, foie gras and the USC Trojans Marching Band."

My Monkey Could Do That on ha, ha: "Commercial interlude: Jimmy tells a story about how Food and Wine magazine asked him for a recipe, and he gave them one from his mom, which she originally got from…Food and Wine magazine. Eh…that was like, mildly amusing at best."

David Dust on tasteless remarks: "Finally, Dale’s boyfriend (and beautiful man) Angelo presents his Pulled Pork - complete with his homemade rub. And Mike gives them all a big taste of his Sausage (and Peppers). Of course, the guests and judges make a lot of tasteless, innuendo-dripping sausage/pork/meat comments - which I found to be offensive and juvenile. Thank goodness I don’t act like that."

Serious Eats on Higgins: "Everyone liked Angelo's pulled pork sandwich as well. Fallon's announcer joked, 'I pull my own pork a lot but if Angelo's gonna pull it for me, God bless him.' (You see that, lead joke writer dude? That's how it's done!)"

Fabio on his own elimination: "I dont care ablout the outcome of the show, all i REALLY CARE IS HOW MUCH ALL MY FOLLOWERS MEAN TO ME, you guys gave me Goosebumps !!!! I felt Loved and all of you that Stood Up for me THANK YOU !!!!!!!"

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Marcel's Quantum Kitchen

I know you're all eagerly awaiting Marcel Vigneron's SyFy Channel show, Marcel's Quantum Kitchen. Here's a brief preview to whet your whistle.

Marcel's Quantum Kitchen premieres Monday, March 7th at 10/9c.

Top Recipe - Top Chef All Stars Episode 9

Click here to watch Top Chef Masters' Rick Moonen recreate Carla Hall's winning Chicken Pot Pie recipe.

Click here for a printable version of the recipe.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

All Top Chef Interview with Fabio Viviani

Top Chef All Star contestant, Fabio Viviani talks about his experience on the Bravo show.

Click here for the podcast.

Click here for Fabio's website - don't miss his hilarious episode recaps here.

An example: Think about it, and im asking this to all the boys out there, if you HAVE TO get run over by a car, would you prefer a Good Looking smart woman drive or a Stupid Ugly Ass guy ?? See my point ?? At least tonight ill get runned Over by a nice person….

Fabio has written a cookbook called The Cafe Firenze Cookbook, and an e-book called Did I Really Make Breakfast?

Chef Fabio has teamed up with Bialetti and will be in Chicago in March to promote the line. Click here for more information.

The busy chef is also a spokesperson for Bertolli Olive Oil.

Whew! Thank you Chef Fabio!

ATC Love to Chef Fabio Viviani

As in season five, once again we have a sad day for Fabio fans. This week, everyone's favorite Italian was eliminated for a dish he had never before made -the all-American hamburger. One would think that a combination of short ribs, chuck, and pork belly would turn out a moist and delicious burger, but something was lost in translation. The judges thought it was dry and a bit too much like meatloaf (although Jimmy Fallon's mother seemed to like it).

Chef Fabio, we'll miss your, well, Fabio-sity, your charm, your smile, and your accent. But we know we've definitely not seen the last of you!

This post is only for positive comments about Chef Viviani and his dishes. If you have anything negative to say, please do so here.

Congratulations, Chef Carla Hall!

Carla had been champing at the bit to make a chicken pot pie dish, and wouldn't you know it, that's exactly what she was assigned to do in this week's Elimination Challenge. She created a pot pie with a bottom crust, which guest judge and birthday boy Jimmy Fallon said he could tell was made with Carla's Not-So-Secret Ingredient: Love.

Not only did Carla win her third elimination, she also won a six-night trip to Tokyo, courtesy of Hilton - her third trip. Is this lady on a roll, or what?

Congratulations, Chef Carla! We can't wait to see what you cook up next week.

This post is only for positive comments about Chef Hall and her dishes. If you have anything negative to say, please do so here.

Reaction to Top Chef All Stars Episode 9

When the cheftestants arrive in the Top Chef Kitchen, they are greeted by a table full of fondue pots and no guest judge. Padma explains that the Quickfire Challenge is to make a unique fondue, and instead of having a guest judge, the chefs will judge each other. The winner does not get immunity, but a three-day trip to Napa Valley and a tour of the Terlato Vineyard.

With 30 minutes to cook, the chefs scramble about. Richard, of course, pulls out the liquid nitrogen for a reimagined take on chocolate and bananas. Angelo, meanwhile, takes on an ambitious combination of goat cheese fondue, endive with walnuts, and a beet juice shooter to wash it down. When time is up, Angelo is upset with his dish and wants to throw it out.

The chefs and Padma taste all the fondue concoctions and the chefs set about listing their favorites and not-so-favorites on score cards. Since they can't vote for themselves, there has to be some strategy involved. The bottom three were Fabio for his billini in fromage blanc and "Bourdain" wine fondue (that's what the description said!); Tiffany for her giant apple ricotta fritter in hazelnut chocolate; and Mike for his overly spicy lamb kabobs in feta cheese fondue. The top three were Antonia for her smoked salmon on toast in fromage blanc and creme fraiche fondue; Dale for his pho with beef, bread, charred ginger, lime, sriracha and broth; and (to his surprise) Angelo for his endive in goat cheese fondue. Richard, for all his inventiveness, was squarely in the middle. Padma tallied the votes and Dale was the winner.

Padma tells the cheftestants nothing about the Elimination Challenge, but rather sends them directly over to Rockefeller Center where they are whisked up to the studio where Jimmy Fallon tapes his talk show. The chefs are brought out for a game Jimmy calls Cellphone Shootout. The idea was that each chef would aim his/her cellphone camera at a wall flashing an array of food pictures. Whatever food the chef managed to get a picture of is the item that chef must make a dish with for Jimmy's birthday party. The food items broke out like this:

Antonia - beef tongue
Fabio - burger and fries
Angelo - pulled pork
Richard - ramen noodles
Carla - chicken pot pie
Dale - Philly cheesesteak
Tiffany - chicken and dumplings
Mike - sausage and peppers

The one proviso was that no one could use any of the following ingredients which Jimmy hates: mushrooms, mayo, and eggplant. With those instructions, the chefs run off to buy provisions. The chefs then have two hours to prep at Colicchio & Sons. Since Fabio has never made a "booger" in his life, he decides to treat it as a meatball and mix different types of meat together into a patty. Antonia doesn't have enough time to cook the beef tongue, so Richard shows her how to use the pressure cooker (I wonder where this is going?). Carla runs around like the live version of the poultry in her pot pie, and Tiffany takes a risk by making a Southwest version of chicken and dumplings.

The guests arrive, including some of Jimmy Fallon's staff and his wife, mom, and dad. The dishes are served and everyone at the table provides their commentary. Jimmy is particularly hesitant to say anything bad about the dishes because he is a fan of all the chefs, but there are clearly some dishes that do not work.

Later, at Judges' Table, Carla, Angelo, and Antonia are called out as the top three in the challenge. Carla's chicken pot pie got high marks for having a crust on the bottom as well as the top. Angelo's eclectic mix of coffee, dill, and cilantro on his pulled pork sandwich got him noticed, and Antonia was lauded for her ability to take an odd ingredient like beef tongue and make a delicious sandwich on pumpernickel rye. As guest judge, Jimmy Fallon had the honor of announcing that Carla was the winner and would appear in a cooking segment on his show. She also won a six-night trip to the Hilton Tokyo with $5,000 for air fare.

Then the bottom three were sent out: Tiffany, Fabio, and Dale. (Richard is once again in the middle of the pack.) Tiffany's chicken and dumplings was judged to be more like a Southwestern soup with flat noodles rather than a rich, creamy dumpling dish. Fabio's "booger" tasted more like meatloaf, and his decision to put grainy, melted cheese on the side was a mistake. Dale's use of a pretzel roll for his cheesesteak, while inspired, backfired on him because the saltiness of the roll was too much along side the salt in the meat and the cheese. In the end, Fabio was told to pack his knives and go.

Another Top Chef favorite bites the dust. Was it Fabio's time to go, or should someone else have gotten the boot? How much longer can Richard stay in neutral? Give us your thoughts below.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

TC News and Information 2.9.11 - All-Stars Finale and Reunion News!

According to TV Guide, the All-Stars finale was shot in the Bahamas. The “four-part” finale will start airing in March. Plus, Wolfgang Puck, Morimoto, Michelle Bernstein, Hubert Keller, Eric Ripert, Lidia Bastianich, Curtis Stone, Alfred Portali, Art Smith and Lorena Garcia are guest judges.

And according to this, the All-Stars reunion show will be filmed March 4.

So, do you think the finale will actually air in four separate episodes? Or will Finale Quick Fires be involved? And what does this suggest as to how many All-Stars go to the finale? Speculate away, kids!

Top Chef All Stars Episode Nine Previews!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Gail Simmons on Jimmy Fallon

Recap Roundup: Top Chef All Stars Episode 8

Jordan Baker with a haiku that sums it up pretty well:
"Tre, “Black Italian?”
Too firm risotto says not
There goes the hotness."

Monkeys as Critics on Isaac Mizrahi - why? "Isaac Mizrahi is in the house for some reason. Because he designs clothes have good taste? Oh, no, because Padma is showing her jewelry line at Fashion Week, so we needed a tie-in. Nice plug, Padma! Subtle! And she’s wearing one of her own necklaces! Which looks like something I beaded at summer camp! Isaac’s new collection was inspired by his Xerox machine. Whaaaa?"

Max the Girl on Angelo's favorites: "Angelo says that fashion is his other passion (besides the continent of Asia, Russian mail order brides, Rid-Ex anti-itch cream, and tight pants). But that’s just his way. If today’s guest judge were the late Isaac Asimov, Angelo would say that science fiction was his other passion."

Minxeats on plating design: "Doing the rounds, Isaac makes lots of amusing comments about the chefs' plating. Angelo has graffiti'd his table with the word "crocadile" and Isaac notes that not only has he has spelled it wrong, but it looks a bit like something Charles Manson might do. Isaac also raises an eyebrow at the mention of Cavalli being Angelo's favorite designer when of course he should have said Isaac Mizrahi."

David Dust on the Elimination Challenge diners: "In addition to Padma, Tom Colicchio, and Anthony Bourdain, there is also some dude in a vest and actress Lorraine Bracco. Lorraine will be playing the role of a drunken Gail Simmons (sans boobies) during tonight’s performance."

Grub Street on Google is your friend: "The chefs got to cooking, but once Carla admitted that she used to be a model we stopped paying attention and started Googling, since the producers were so rude as to not provide photos. They can give us footage of Fabio walking his turtle down the street, but they couldn't get us one measly shot of model Carla?"

Buddy TV introduces the Elimination Challenge: "The Elimination Challenge is going to be set in a New York restaurant so exclusive you have to inherit a table. I guess that explains why I've never been there. The cheftestants draw knives labeled with Italian 'mob' names. Oh no, not mobsters. Turns out that they're restaurant types: Frankie No and Junior (Frankie Pellegrino Sr. and Jr.) and Dino the Chef."

Food and More on Eye-Talians: "As soon as we find out that this is an Italian themed challenge, this becomes a show down between the three Italian born chefs – Jersey Mike, Antonia, and…umm…I know I’m forgetting one of them….oh yeah. Fabio. Mike quickly appoints himself “the favorite” out of the group. Hmmmm."

Serious Eats on a peesed-off Fabio: "Fabio was angry, and I think justifiably so. His food, which Bourdain said 'wiped away the stain' of the pasta course, was more involved, more authentic, more true to the challenge, and everyone at Rao's loved it. 'Antonia beat me with a bowl of steamed mussels and some fennel,' Fabio said. 'That's a French dish! There's something wrong with this picture!'"

Fabio on the end result: "From now on im extremely disappointed of the Outcome of the challange, i will take BravoTv out of my will and i will start to root for the FoodNetwork, Antonia is a great Chef but if a Bowl of steamed Mussels and some shaved fennel beat An Overnight Marinated Chicken, Braised till the meat fall off the bones with a Polenta served in a Cheese wheal, THEN i am in the wrong businness …. simple as that."

We Like TV on the elimination: "As for Tre, he put out risotto, while everyone panned as being just completely technically wrong. I thought this was odd considering in his original season he did a risotto that was praised by Tom himself. Sometimes I feel like if the judges all agree on something, they just end up convincing each other that it's much worse that it actually is. And this ends up getting him the boot."

Cliffieland offers an aside: "In the FBI bust of some 100 alleged mobsters last week, there actually was one whose nickname was 'Hootie.' Which begs the question, In addition to fashion modeling, does our lanky lass have any other hidden skills?"

Monday, February 7, 2011

TC News and Information 2.7.11

Congratulations to All-Star Richard Blais and his wife Jazmin on the birth of their second daughter, Embry Lotus!

And congrats to Season 6 finalist Bryan Voltaggio and his wife, who are expecting their second child.

All-Star Mike Isabella will do a pop-up Valentine's dinner.

Departed All-Star Dale Levitski, Just Desserts’ Yigit Pura, and Bravo’s own Andy Cohen made Out Magazine’s list of Top 100 Most Eligible Gay Bachelors.

And, uh, Season 2's Ilan Hall wants to be on Dancing With the Stars? So suggests this new facebook page.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Super Bowl Snacks with Richard Blais

Top Recipe - Top Chef All Stars Episode 8

Watch Rick Moonen prepare Antonia LoFaso's winning mussel dish here.

Find a printable recipe here.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Top Chef 9 and Just Desserts 2 Casting Call

Network Kicks Off Nationwide Casting Calls For Top Chef Season Nine and Top Chef Just Desserts

NEW YORK – February 3, 2010 – Today, Bravo announced that its newest hit culinary competition series, “Top Chef Just Desserts,” a spin-off of the Emmy and James Beard Award-winning "Top Chef” will be returning for a second season. The series consists of pastry chefs competing against one another in a series of challenges. Open calls for pastry chefs, as well as the previously announced “Top Chef” season nine series, will be held in cities across the country starting on February 27.

For additional casting information and to download an application, visit "Top Chef" season nine and “Top Chef Just Desserts” casting calls are as follows:

Sunday, February 27, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Mark’s American Cuisine

Monday, February 28, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Colicchio & Sons

Wednesday, March 2, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Wednesday, March 2, 12:00pm – 3:00pm

Friday, March 4th, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
BB&T Charleston Wine + Food Festival

Monday, March 7, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Vertigo Sky Lounge at Dana Hotel

Wednesday, March 9, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Hotel 1000

Thursday, March 10, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
STK at Cosmopolitan

Monday, March 14, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
The Foundry on Melrose

Bravo Exit Interview - Tre Wilcox

Thursday, February 3, 2011

All Top Chef Interview with Tre Wilcox

Top Chef All-Star Tre Wilcox talks about his experience on the Bravo Show.

A highlight: Chef Tre is preparing to open a new restaurant, "Marquee Grill and Bar" in Dallas. Click here for the menu.

Click here for Tre's website.
Click here for the podcast.

Thank you Chef!

Congratulations, Chef Antonia LoFaso!

It didn't look good for Antonia several weeks in a row when her team ended up on the bottom, although in a few cases, the judges said her dish was actually one of the favorites. This time, however, cooking by herself, she nailed the challenge. Her simple antipasto of mussels with white wine and fennel really wowed the judges and fulfilled the Italian challenge to a T. And who better to win such a challenge than an actual Italian?

This post is only for positive comments about Chef LoFaso and her dish. If you have anything negative to say, please do so here.

ATC Love to Chef Tre Wilcox

While risotto was a winning dish for Chef Wilcox in his original season, it did him no favors this time around. The judges did not like the texture, claiming it wasn't runny enough, and they felt his vegetable garnish was overkill. Possibly it was a fine risotto-type dish for a different challenge, but it just didn't work for something that needed to have a more authentic Italian feel.

We're so sorry to see the "Black Italian" sent off so soon in this competition, as he was a sentimental favorite. All of us at ATC wish him great fortune in his future endeavors.

This post is only for positive comments about Chef Wilcox dish. If you have anything negative to say, please do so here.

Reactions to Top Chef All-Stars Episode 8

This week, the challenges were a bit more straightforward than in recent weeks, although kinda interesting in their own way. First off, the recheftestants meet Padma with special guest judge Isaac Mizrahi and pretend it's Fashion Week in NY (actually, that starts next week). The challenge is to create an aesthetically-pleasing dish that will be judged on appearance alone. Fabio comes up with the sorta-poetic "beeootiful women walking in rain trying not to get messed up by water" with fish and mushrooms...Uh-huh. Angelo does something hideous with eggs and bags and tells us his inspiration is Roberto Cavalli's crocodile prints. Um, yeah. In the end, Isaac is most impressed with Blais' black ice cream decorated with herbs.

For the Elimination Challenge, the nine cheftestants draw knives to see which course of a typical three-course Italian meal they will be preparing. Antonia, Carla, and Tiffany get the antipasti course; Tre, Dale, and Mike get the primi piatti, and Fabio, Angelo, and Blais get secondi. They will be working at the famous Rao's restaurant and trying to impress Frank Pellegrino, his son Frank Junior, and chef Dino, among others, with their spin on Rao's home-cooked-style Italian food. The three Italians in this competition - Fabio, Antonia, and Mike - all think they have it in the bag. Fabio surprises all by not making gnocchi, and Mike gets ambitious and makes his own fresh rigatoni (pretty impressive that the Top Chef kitchen is equipped with an extruder and dies for doing such a thing, unless he brought his own).

After two hours of prep, the recheftestants head to Rao's for one more hour of cooking. We see the tasting panel assemble: the Pellegrino boys, actress Lorraine Bracco, and some long-time staff of Rao's. The three antipasti chefs go out first with their minestrone, mussels, and polenta, all of which please the judges. The pasta boys go out next and serve overly al dente rigatoni, mushy and unsauced fresh pasta, and clumpy risotto, all of which displease the judges. Finally, the meat boys go out with pancetta cutlets, pork chops, and chicken cacciatore, and get mixed results.

On top are Antonia, Carla, Fabio, and Tiffany. Despite of - or because of - her simple mussel dish, Antonia was given the win. On the bottom were Mike, Dale, and Tre, all of whom could have definitely been out of the competition for their missteps with the primi course. Mike squeaked by with his good sauce and because Tre's over-garnished, too-lumpy risotto was the worst of the three.

Always sad to see Tre go.

So what did you think about this episode? Please leave a comment!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Top Chef All Stars Episode Eight Previews

Internationally-acclaimed designer Isaac Mizrahi serves as guest judge for this Quickfire challenge, where – for the first time in Top Chef history – the Quickfire will be judged on presentation only rather than taste. Then for the Elimination Round, the All-Stars must prepare a traditional three-course Italian meal in one of NYC's most famous and exclusive restaurants, Rao's. The Soprano’s Lorraine Bracco returns to lend her knowledge on all things authentic Italian – but will the All-Stars earn her seal of approval? Find out tonight 2/2 @ 10/9c on Top Chef All-Stars.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Another Top Chef Has a Cookbook

Top Chef season 1 cheftestant Candice Kumai, aka the Stiletto Chef,  launches her first solo cookbook today. Congrats, Candice!

TC: Where Are They Now?

Bravo has this photo gallery up purporting to tell you "where every chef, from every season, works." It's a fun trip down memory lane. But it ain't quite all that.

Despite the 61 pages on Bravo's site, not all of the Top Chef contestants are included. And some of the info is not current. In many instances, the only "where they are now" info Bravo lists is twitter, facebook, and website contact info. Which is fine. Just don't assume that if that's the only info listed, these cheftestants aren't actually working in a restaurant right now, or hard at work on their next new project.

We're always happy to receive - and share - updates on any of the Top Chef contestants. Add a comment or email us at