Top Chef: Masters Episode 4

tcm4.jpgAfter a week off, Top Chef: Masters was back and this time, the contestant were Chinese chef Anita Lo (Annisa, New York City), Douglas Rodriguez (Ola, Miami), John Besh (August, New Orleans), and Mark Peel (Campanile, L.A.).  Besh, many of you may remember was dang near an Iron Chef but was edged out in the final by Michael Symon.

As usual I joined an unknown number of foodies on Twitter chatting about the show live at #topchef.

Quickfire: Cook an egg with one hand tied behind your back.
Why?!?!?!  These people are world class chefs, why waste their talents doing something from a junior high Fall festival?  What a crock.  At least the judges were adults even if the challenge was childish. By the way, don't forget to check our soundcloud and learn how to buy soundcloud plays.

Rodriguez made arepa.  Peel made duck egg pasta.  Besh did a form of shirred eggs and Lo did Asian flavored scrambled eggs.

Peel 2 1/2 stars, Besh 1/2 star (his eggs never cooked), Rodriguez got 3 stars and Lo got 5 whole stars.

Elimination Challenge: Magic Dinner
The chefs prepare a fake out dinner for Neil Patrick Harris (Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, Doogie Howser, MD) and some of his pals.  The meal needed to be an illusion - to look like something other than what it is or some sort of spectacle.

Next Food Network Star – Time for Mid-Terms

This week, the remaining 6 finalists were put through what the judges called “mid-terms.”  It was time for them to show what they can do.  The first challenge required the finalists to make squid, tofu or Brussels sprouts into a kid-friendly dish.  They also had to do a 2 minute demo of the dish.

In this challenge, everyone received positive feedback after this challenge, except for Jamika.  Where was her personality this week?  She lost track of time in the demo and didn’t finish. 

Next up, the finalists were given the challenge to take a kid-favorite dish and make it something adults would enjoy.  They were put into teams of two and would then be doing a demo on the Rachael Ray show. 

Katie and Debbie’s makeover of chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese was an interesting blending of their two culinary points of view.  Unfortunately, their chicken was dry as could be and had no flavor.  Debbie was very calm and relaxed in front of the camera and just seemed very natural.  Katie was looking down so much during her portion of the demo that it was hard to listen to her.

Next Food Network Star - Intrepid

This week when the finalists showed up at the Food Network studios, they were greeted by Bobby Flay and a platter covered by a dome.  This seems to strike fear in the finalists because you never know what ingredient will be revealed.  They were challenged to create a regional burger worthy of appearing on the menu at Bobby’s new restaurant, Bobby’s Burger Palace.  The second part of the challenge was to present their burger on camera.

In this challenge, Katie was still struggling and, for the second time this season, served undercooked meat to the judges.  Her turkey burger might have had potential if they were able to taste it.  Jeffrey was having a rough week after an impressive initial run, his presentation was below par and the food was not what the judges had come to expect. 

Michael created a mouth-watering Mulberry Street Burger to represent New York.  It was stuffed with fresh mozzarella, topped with basil and the burger itself had proscuitto grilled right into each side of the patty.  In spite of his nerves on camera, he went on to win this one based on the fantastic burger!  Be sure to look for it on the menu at Bobby’s Burger Palace.

For the elimination challenge, the finalists were taken to the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum.  Guy Fieri met them there and explained what their challenge: They were to prepare a dish that represents a specific state using ingredients provided, which would be served to returning servicemen and women, as well as their families. 

America’s Test Kitchen Seeks Your Questions

Fans of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country, listen up: The staff of Cook’s Illustrated’s television franchises wants to hear from you.

The shows already feature questions from viewers sent in via mail or email, as well as the occasional visit by a local “neighbor” on Cook’s Country. Now, though, the shows are asking fans to call in their questions to a toll-free number, with the possibility of being featured on an upcoming episode.

Check out the call for questions from recent email newsletters:

Call us on our toll-free number (866-514-7801) and leave a message with your cooking question. Please remember to include your name, number, hometown, and state in your message. If your question is chosen, we will call you back within a few weeks. You could be featured as a caller on one of our TV shows (”America’s Test Kitchen” or “Cook’s Country from America’s Test Kitchen”) and have your questions answered by host Christopher Kimball. (Please leave only one message.)

Top Chef: Masters Episode 3

bayless.bmpContestants in week three included Cindy Pawlcyn (Mustards Grill, Napa), Wilo Benet (Paya, Puerto Rico), Ludovic “Ludo” Lefebvre, (LudoBites, LA) and the ever popular Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill, Chicago).  Like other fans of Iron Chef: America, I know Lefebvre from Battle: Tuna which he waged with Mario Batali. I am not as familiar with Pawlcyn or Benet (who was recently featured on Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmermn) but Bayless I know well, at least by reputation.

Rick Bayless is a chef that I admire greatly because of the authenticity he brings to his Mexican cuisine.  Don’t look for cheddar cheese or crunchy tacos at one of Bayless’ restaurants - his cuisine is free of the Americanized foods we have been taught were Mexican by any one of a dozen Gringo-Mex chains.

Once again I joined an unknown number of foodies on Twitter chatting about the show live at #topchef.  Bayless, an avid Twitter patron, was not able to join the group, however Benet did stop by (virtually, anyway, from a bar in Puerta Rico)  The most noticeable thing during the introduction was Lefebvre’s body language - folded arms, standing off from the crowd - did not endear him to many.

Get Ready to Audition for The Next Food Network Star

Are you immersed in the current season of The Next Food Network Star?  Check our social media to learn more on how to buy pinterest followers.Do you think you can do a better job at competing than the current contestants?  Have you been dreaming of having your own show on Food Network?  Then you are in luck! Food Network will begin auditioning up-and-coming professional chefs and home cooks for a chance to be one of the 10 finalists for the next season of The Next Food Network Star!

Below is a list of dates and locations where you can bring your completed application, photo, resume and/or bio, which will allow you to meet with casting directors.  If you aren’t able to make it to one of the auditions shown below, you can submit an audition video telling them why you should be The Next Food Network Star.  You can submit video auditions right on the Food Network website.

Next Food Network Star: Dinner at Ina’s