Everything is bigger in Texas! So it comes as no surprise that as “Top Chef’” embarks on its 9th season, the Emmy-winning Bravo show was filmed in not one, but three cities in the Lone Star State. The cities featured in the show are San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas. In keeping with this “bigger” theme is the addition of one of the original big names in reality cooking shows, Emeril Lagasse as a season judge.
Emeril is arguably the first widely famous professional chef. “Emeril Live” and “Essence of Emeril”, both of which aired on the Food Network, pioneered the way for the likes of Rachel Ray and Anthony Bordain. Emeril is joined by chef Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, and fellow newcomer critically acclaimed chef Hugh Acheson as this season’s judging panel.
Emeril Lagasse finally weighs in on Bravo's 'Top Chef!'
A successful restaurant owner, cook book author, and creator of his own line of kitchen products, it is long overdue that Emeril comes on as a judge for “Top Chef.” Even though he has guest judged before, it seems like an oversight that he hasn’t come on full-time until now. Season 9 of “Top Chef” premiered last week and airs on Bravo on Wednesdays at 10/9pm Central. If that’s not enough, you can always “kick things up a notch” and head to one of Emeril’s restaurants. You can’t go wrong with the original Emeril’s in New Orleans.
Season 2 of 'Top Chef Just Desserts' premieres tonight on Bravo
For those of us with a sweet tooth, the wait is finally over for ‘Top Chef Just Desserts’ season two. 14 pastry chefs get their time to shine and compete for $100,000 from KitchenAid, a spotlight in Food & Wine magazine, and a showcase in the Annual Food & Wine Cayman Cookout. With two challenges and an elimination in each episode there should be plenty of drama for the pastry chefs.
The challenge for the season premiere is to create a dessert that is inspired by fairytales and Bravo promises that the contests will just get more involved and demanding from here. So tonight make sure to leave room for dessert and tune in to Bravo for ‘Top Chef: Just Desserts” at 10pm eastern/9pm central time.
Rocco DiSpirto hosts Bravo's newest cooking show.
When we heard that Bravo’s Top Chef was nominated for four Emmy’s it got us missing the Quickfire and Elimination Challenges and we started looking for something to tide us over until the next season begins. Thankfully, for all of us suffering from Top Chef withdrawal, we didn’t have to look too far. Bravo has given us Rocco’s Dinner Party on Wednesday nights and in each episode three chefs compete for the opportunity to cater a dinner party for Rocco DiSpirto and his celebrity guests. Whoever throws the best party wins and walks away with $20,000 cash.
Last night the competitors were executive chefs, Kevin Gaurdreau, Janet Kim, and Chris Calcagno. Each were asked to prepare a signature dish, the one that impressed DiSpirto the least was eliminated and did not get the opportunity to cook for Rocco and his guests. Chris was cut first because of his broken beurre blanc, leaving Kevin and Janet to battle it out in the dinner round. The party’s theme, gastropub, looked like it favored Janet to take home the bacon. Kim works as a chef in Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant at The London Hotel in New York City. However, Kevin’s more simplistic attitude towards food and his experience as executive chef of The Pier Restaurant in Newport, RI earned him the big W.
Rocco DiSpirto pulls no punches in his commentary about the cooking, the jury is still out on whether he’s a jerk or he’s justified, but either way we’re hungry for more and will be back next week. Three new chefs will be competing with a whole new theme: dishes inspired by high-end fashion. Rocco’s guests will include fashion designer Nicole Miller, Hairspray star Nikki Blonsky, NPR’s Dinner Party Download co-hosts Rico Gagliano and Brendan Newnam, Project Runway finalist Kara Janx, and TV Host and Early Show contributor Katrina Szish.
Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, a spin-off of the hit show Top Chef, is a reality show where 24 world-renowned chefs compete against each other in weekly challenges. Now that Top Chef Masters has wrapped its third season let’s take a look at who has won so far and where you can stick your fork in some of their delicious food!
Season one winner- Rick Bayless.
- Claim to Fame: Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, and XOCO, franchise Mexican restaurants located in the Chicago area.
- Latest Venture: Bayless published his sixth cookbook on Mexican cuisine, Fiesta at Rick’s in 2010.
- Also Noteworthy: Bayless created the Frontera Farmer Foundation; a nonprofit organization that promotes and funds small, sustainable farms serving the Chicago area. The Foundation’s goal is year-round interchange between farmers and consumers, in which seasonal local agriculture provides the foundation for sustainable regional cuisine.
Season two winner- Marcus Samuelsson.
- Claim to Fame: Aquavit in NYC, chef and co-owner of the hit Scandinavian inspired restaurant.
- Latest Venture: Red Rooster which opened in Harlem in 2010 was the venue for a fundraising dinner for the Democratic National Committee attended by President Barack Obama.
- Also Noteworthy: You can taste his food at C-House located in the Affina Hotel in Chicago, or the more casual burger joint Marc Burger in Chicago, IL and Costa Mesa, CA.
Season three winner- Floyd Cardoz.
- Claim to Fame: Tabla (closed December 2010 after 12 years)
- Latest Venture: North End Grill is set to open at the end of 2011. This new collaborative effort with longtime parner, Danny Meyer will have a seafood focus, quite different from the Indian inspired Tabla
- Also Noteworthy: If you happen to be a Mets fan, Cardoz is the consulting chef at El Verano Taqueria at Citifield.