Monday, October 29, 2007

Foodie Alert

Airline Food with a WOW!

The ‘Next Iron Chef’ took to the sky on this episode. The four remaining contestants tried their hand at airline food. They traveled to Munich, Germany to prepare new menus for Lufthansa Airline, which is launching a new fuel-efficient Airbus A380. The Airbus A380 will launch in 2009. Scenes of the plane’s first class and business class looked quite different from most planes. The meals which are provided by LSG Sky Chefs looked pretty different, too. It wasn’t the usual bag of peanuts and crackers that I am used to. In honor of the new plane, Lufthansa was pulling out all the stops and wanted a new menu for the flight. The winner of the ‘Next Iron Chef will be offered the chance to collaborate with Lufthansa and LSG Sky Chefs in creating a signature menu for their premium dining program in 2008.
The chefs learned to appreciate airline food after they found out how it is prepared. Bernd Schmitt, Executive Chef for Menu Design at LSG Sky Chefs, explained a few differences in preparing airline food. He explained that taste buds change at high altitudes, foods need to be spicer (which some chefs took into account in preparing their menus, but the judging took place on the ground). Food is cooked and then chilled, then reheated and plated on board the plane. Dishes must appeal to a large segment of passengers, as LDG Sky Chefs serve almost 150,000 premium meals every two months. Schmitt also helped judge this episode.
Amid the running around and chasing camera people out of the way, we saw raw fish dishes, venison, and white asparagus. Michael served tuna crudo and Aaron served scallop ceviche. Chris served severly undercooked cauliflower (Michael
Ruhlman described it as a crudite). Michael Ruhlman also had a problem with John Besh’s watermelon consommé (which wasn’t clear enough). Michael Symon won the challenge with perfectly cooked salmon (which wowed the guest judge). The episode ended with a decision of whether to send Chris Cosentino or Aaron Sanchez home. For a moment, it seemed that the title of episode loser was up for grabs, but the ‘whiner’ won that title. The competition is down to three. The next stop is Paris. Without a miracle, it looks like Chris Cosentino will be the next to go. Which will leave John Besh and Michael Symon to battle it out in kitchen stadium. Either one of these two will make a fine ‘iron chef’. I really like John Besh, but I like Michael Symon even more.

Emeril has a special show airing on Saturday, November 3rd at 8 p.m. Emeril will return to Harlem’s Children’s Storefront School to prepare lunch for the students. Do you think that he will like the cafeteria? He should, he designed it. Not only does he make lunch, but he invites the students back to his studio for pizza, tacos and an ice sundae bar.

Food Network and Chelsea Market Baskets announced they will launch a Food Network-branded area in the front of the Chelsea Market Basket store in the Chelsea Market building in Lower Manhattan. Chelsea Market Baskets is the first retailer beyond Food Network’s online store to provide a physical space and sell Food Network products including DVDs and cookbooks. The retailer will also sell Food Network talent cookbooks and other related items.
“We are thrilled to partner with a proven retailer like Chelsea Market Baskets, at the home of Food Network, Chelsea Market,” said Lia Buffa, Director of New Business & E-Commerce, Food Network. “They have been here since the building opened and we know they are the right partner to represent the Food Network brand locally in New York City.”
The branded space will launch in early November. Other items for sale will include Food Network-branded soft goods such as aprons, oven mitts, canvas tote bags, t-shirts and track jackets. In addition, they will also offer spices, rubs and olive oil from Food Network talent.

New Episodes on America’s Test Kitchen start in January.
This is the most watched cooking show on public television with three million viewers per week. A new series called America’s Test Kitchen: Cook’s Country will air next year in July. The 13 episode show was filmed from September 21st to October 5th in a Vermont farmhouse with practical no-nonsense food.

Check out the website, Serious for Mario Batali.
Mario is producing a video series called ‘Mario Batali Unclogged’. This original on-line video content will feature a new one to two minute episode every Tuesday. Mario also has a PBS show coming out where he and Gwyneth Paltrow will cook Spanish food.

Food Network is everywhere.
You have seen all the ads on TV about being able to buy Food Network products at Kohl’s. What if you don’t have a Kohl’s close at hand: go on-line to for a look at 20,000 products. They will also carry hard to find recipe ingredients.

Chef Robert Irvine is back for another season of “Dinner: Impossible”. Chef Irvine and his two sous chefs take on the seemingly impossible and make it happen. In case you haven’t seen it, the premise goes something like this: Hello Robert. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, will be to feed 100 people,
P.S. Bring heavy clothing.
And he ends up at the North Pole. Or feeds 2000 people at a ball game. Anytime that you are having a bad day in the kitchen, just be thankful that you didn’t receive his mission. But Robert knows his chops, he has cooked for the British Royal Family and four U,S. Presidents. I enjoy his show.
The show airs on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. on the Food Network with 26 episodes.

Have you watched the online webisode series called ‘Top Recipe: The Wong Way to Cook’? This is such a great idea. Thank you Bravo TV for thinking of it.

Do you have what it takes? The search continues in Miami.

This is what they are looking for:

• Cooking know-how: You must have strong cooking skills. Cooks, Restaurant Chefs, Caterers, Personal Chefs, and Foodies are encouraged to apply!

• Personality that pops: Let yourself shine and show us who you really are. Don't be shy. We are all about personality-show us yours!

• Teaching skills: Bring the world of food and cooking to life in your very own passionate and unique way. Please be clear about your cooking point of view.

From a pool of finalists, one winner will receive their own six-episode show.

To Apply:

Please e-mail us your name, age, phone number, e-mail address, city, a brief summary of why you want to be on the show, occupation (if not cooking professionally how do you continue to keep your passion for cooking alive), and a picture of yourself to:

Or Meet the casting team at our Miami, FL Open Call!

Date: 11/6/07
Time: 10am-3pm
635 Collins Ave
Miami Beach, FL 33139

Ohio Foodies

If you are into Food, mark November 9-11 on your calendar. The Fabulous Food Show will be at the I-X Center in Cleveland. With the likes of Alton Brown, Giada DeLaurentiis, Duff ‘Ace of Cakes’ Goldman, Rick Bayless and Jason Roberts, what’s not to like. Local talent will also be there, including Brandt Evans of Blue Canyon Kitchen & Tavern in Twinsburg, Rocco Whalen of Fahrenheit in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood and Matt Swingos of Swingos Grand Tavern in Avon Lake.
For more information or to order tickets, visit Tickets are $25 in advance, $27.50 at the door.
If you can wait until January 16th, you may want to travel to North Canton for the ‘Hearty Boys’, Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh. The two will appear at Fishers Foods’ Loretta Paganini School of Cooking for a cooking class and book signing. Their first book, “Talk with Your Mouth Full” was released in September. The class is $75 and is limited to 40, so early reservations are encouraged. Call 888-748-4063. :: Defining Your Blogs Worth: TopSites:

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Five Chefs and a 'Whiner'

It’s 9:00 Sunday night and I’m glued to the tv, watching the “Next Iron Chef”. Why do I watch? I like reality cooking challenges. I am watching real chefs at the top of their game. I may learn something ( I hope so anyhow, I am always in student mode). And naturally, I want to know who the judges consider to be the best. They are all among the best and as Alton Brown says, “Anyone can have a bad day” and we all know that feeling. You already know who I want to have a bad day – the whiner.

There are six contestants left. Tonight’s challenge is to cook outdoors on a charcoal grill with no electricity, no running water and no gas. As if that weren’t challenge enough, guess who gets to choose your secret ingredients – the other challengers. Alton Brown tells the contestants that this is their chance for sabotage and to use that chance wisely. Who will throw who under the bus? Chris Cosentino won the last episode, so he will select pairs of chefs to select the ingredients. Chris selects Michael Symon as his own partner, Morou versus John Besh and Gavin Kaysen versus Aaron Sanchez. One by one, the chefs secretly pick out ingredients for their opponent. What did the chefs do to each other?

Chris chose quail, berries and something green that Michael had never heard of before. Michael grilled the quail, made juice out of the Jupiter berries and a blackberry salad with the green things he had never heard of before. His claim to fame was making polenta from the cornmeal in the pantry.

Michael chose squab and dandelion greens for Chris. Chris grilled the squab breast with Jupiter berries and made a dandelion greens salad. The judges really liked the salad.

Morou gave John Besh rabbit and lots of flowers as his main ingredients. John made chicken fried rabbit as his entrée and a salad. The judges commented that he did not use the rabbit is both dishes and the rabbit tasted like wet tissue.

John gave Morou venison, which Morou marinaded and grilled, served with a blueberry sauce. The judges liked his dishes, but said that his plating was routine.

It’s a given that the selection at the ingredient table was growing smaller and smaller, but Gavin and the ‘whiner’ did their best for each other. Gavin picked snails for the ‘whiner’. And what did the ‘whiner’ do? What he does best, whine. He couldn’t believe that he got snails. He couldn’t get his fire hot enough. The trials and tribulations in the life of Aaron Sanchez. The fire situation was remedied and just to see if it was hot enough, the ‘whiner’ tried to pick up a steel skillet without his side towel. What a goof! Anyhow, he prepared escargot pierced with garlic scapes and a mushroom salad.

Gavin got frog legs and quail eggs. What to do, what to do. Gavin confessed that he had only cooked frog legs twice before. He grilled frog leg lollipops with a raspberry sauce and poached quail eggs for a salad. Again the judges commented that the main ingredient was not used in both dishes. Judge Michael Ruhlman had a problem with his seasonings.

Even though the judges thought Chris Cosentino’s presentations were boring, he got a pass. John Besh also got a pass. Michael Symon was declared the winner of the challenge. Go, Michael!

This left three, Gavin, Morou and the ‘whiner’. Two would be eliminated. Who got to stay? The WHINER. Are you kidding me!!!!

Next stop is Munich.
 :: Defining Your Blogs Worth: TopSites:

Sunday, October 21, 2007

French Cooking Can Be Easy! Just Ask Amy.

The Gourmet Next Door

Amy Finley has struck again. I really enjoy her recipes. She has a little bit of Alton Brown in her. She explains not only what she is doing, but why she’s doing it. I really don’t watch a cooking show to be entertained as much as learning a new idea or technique. I like to understand the concept of cooking or baking. Five people could use the same ingredients and recipe, but yet the dishes won’t all taste the same. They will be close, but someone who understands food science has an edge on all other cooks. Harold McGee wrote a wonderful book called “On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen”. If you have been to culinary school, this is required reading.

Today’s episode featured an endive and roasted red beet salad with Chicken Piccard and roasted potatoes. A mocha terrine rounded out the meal for dessert. Amy pointed out that she offset the slight bitterness of the endive with the sweetness of the beets. She picked dishes that included some of the same seasonings to save time and as a theme for the restaurant style meal. Amy talked a lot about the aromas of the dishes. You use two of your senses to judge a dish before you ever taste it, your sense of sight and your sense of smell. If you walk into a home and you smell something that just doesn’t smell right and then you look at it thrown on a plate. You pretty much know that it isn’t going to taste good. Amy’s food looks very good, so we are assuming that it tastes good too. Last week, she bashed some potatoes and cooked them on top of the stove. This week, she roasted them in the oven. For dessert, she made a three layered ice cream dish.

I like Amy’s show and I wish her much luck with the remaining episodes. :: Defining Your Blogs Worth: TopSites:

Monday, October 15, 2007

The "Next Iron Chef" - episode 2

RANT: I have to say it and get it off my chest. Chef Sanchez, why do you think the rules apply to everyone else, but not you? Maybe, you have a hearing problem. You just don’t hear that time is up. Maybe, you are just a whiner. That would be my guess. You are not Iron Chef material!!!!

That said, I can now get on with the rest of the story. I really enjoy this show. I am always sorry to see someone have to leave. (That would not include Chef Sanchez) I like the competition and the camaraderie among the chefs. The chefs seem to have a good time until the JUDGEMENT.

The themes for episode two were Simplicity and innovation. In the first challenge, the chefs were supposed to produce one bite that revealed everything about their culinary style and personality. Since John Besh won the last competition, he was allowed to select his ingredients first. John sauntered to the table and then invited everyone to join him. They were to make six plates. The reason for the six plates, they were to judge each other.

John Besh made a seared scallop with truffle and Jerusalem artichoke.

Chris Consentio made ahi tuna cured in olive brine, basil and tomato juice.

Aaron Sanchez only got one bite plated, so that is all he was judged on. He made ceviche, which John Besh said was perfect.

Gavin Kaysen made a clam dish, which John Besh said tasted flat after eating the ceviche.

Michael Symon made a lamb tartare with citrus zests and heirloom tomato and Greek yogurt.

Jill Davie had some issues with her dish. She ran out of time and kind of threw everything on the plate. It was also commented that her bite had a peanut butter and jelly flavor.

Morou made duck with orange and cumin. His bite was very tender.

And the winner is Michael Symon with three votes.
On to the second challenge.
Do you have this gadget in your kitchen? The elimination challenge focused on gadgets and chemicals. Michael Symon commented that all of his career, he has tried to take chemicals out of food and now they were asking him to put chemicals in his food.

A company named PolyScience came up with innovative gadgets for the chefs to play with.

Some of the Gadgets:
‘Anti-Griddle’ freezes sauces and purees instead of heating them. You can either freeze the sauce or puree solid or have a crunchy outside and creamy centers.
‘Vacuum Packaging System’ makes ‘Food Saver’ look like a toy.
‘Smoking Gun’ can be used as either a finishing tool to add smoke or used a marinate to add that smoky flavor.
‘Thermal Circulating Baths’ are really quick ways to cook.

The contestants had to use 2 chemicals and 3 gadgets. They had ninety minutes to explore the gadgets and present a dish. This is the elimination round.

And the judging begins. First up is John Besh. He prepared a cold potato soup, a summer truffle tapenade and a warm potato soup. The judges were not impressed. His next dish is roast duck and something covered with parmesan crust. The judges still don’t seem impressed.

Next is Gavin with a fricassee of sweetbreads, Hamachi crudo and three kinds of beets. The judges still weren’t impressed.

Chris made a duck breast smoked with spice and the saour shaving cream with razor clams. At last, the judges start to take notice.

Michael made a deconstructed tomato salad. Two of the judges liked it. Andrew doesn’t seem to like much of anything. His next dish was a truffle salad with compliments applied liberally to Donatella.

Morou made a lobster sashimi with pickled plum and a braised beef cheek dish. He said he was inspired by the immersion cooker.

Jill made a potato and cod creation that just didn’t pass muster.

Aaron pan roasted a sable fish and sweetbreads. Verdict: needed more salt.

Everyone gathers in front of the judging panel.
First save: Aaron (luckily for him, the judges only see the finished product and not the kitchen attitude.)
Next save: Morou
Next: Michael
Next: John

That left three, Chris, Gavin and Jill. They still haven’t mentioned a winner. The next save is Chris and ‘oh by the way, Chris you won.’

That leaves Jill and Gavin, neither one is looking very confident. Gavin, you are safe and Jill, you are leaving. That’s it for the ladies.

Next week will be a double elimination. That increases the chances that the whiner will go home.

The episodes continue:

Episode 3 - October 21
This episode focuses on resourcefulness. The chefs take it outside. They select ingredients for one another from a collection of wild ingredients. With very little in the way of supplies or cooking equipment the challenge is to create an amazing meal.

Episode 4 – October 28
The chefs travel to Germany. The challenge: create under pressure. The chefs will prepare the ultimate first class meal for passengers of Lufthansa’s new luxury double-decker plane, the Airbus A 380.

Episode 5 – November 4
There are three chefs left. They fly to Paris for the next challenge: lead and inspire. The inspiration part of the challenge is to create dishes that ‘Explain America’ for a party held by Craig Stapleton, the U.S. Ambassador to France. The leading part of the challenge should be interesting. All of the sous chefs are French and do not speak English.

Episode 6 – November 11
The Grand finale challenges the two remaining chefs to attain greatness in the kitchen stadium. There will be a panel of surprise guest judges. The winner will be an ‘Iron Chef’ and begin his reign on the new season of ‘Iron Chef America’ starting on November 18.

Do you have a favorite?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

"The Gourmet Next Door"

I just finished watching Amy Finley in the “Gourmet Next Door”. I had medium expectations for the show. I really wanted Amy to win “The Next Food Network Star”. Today was the premiere and as I expected, Amy was nervous (personally, I would have been a basket case). Because this was Amy’s first show and she was not a veteran TV personality and the topic for the show was not ordinary Food Network fare, I did not have high expectations for the premiere. But I believe that Amy pulled it off. I liked the fact that Amy talked as though you were sitting across the counter from her. I liked the idea of something different in the food department. I liked being able to see what was going on. There was very little presto, change-o in the preparation. She also explained why she did some of the things that she did. Another big plus, she used ordinary ingredients. I learned a new technique, beat your potatoes with a rolling pin (interesting).
My only negative comment: Amy, you really need a new hairdo.

Menu: Cheese Puff Appetizers (Gougere Choux)
Pan Roasted Potatoes
Grilled Flank Steak with a Red Wine and Shallot Sauce
Profiteroles with Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce

The food looked good and very manageable for most cooks. I plan on making this meal soon.

All in all, a good show. Congratulations, Amy!

The Food Network website should have the recipes up by tomorrow.

Don't Forget About Amy!

"The Gourmet Next Door" premieres at noon today. This is the first episode of Amy Finley's new show. Amy was the winner of "The Next Food Network Star". I'm hoping that her show goes over well. Let me know what you think of it.