Posted tagged ‘Tom Colicchio’

All bow to Eric Ripert… the true Top Chef

February 4, 2009

I don’t think this episode deserves the standard Top Chef recap.

What we saw this week was not a culinary competition… it was culinary education. Since early-December I’ve wanted to write about Le Bernardin, specifically to discuss the unbelievable dining experience I had there. Unfortunately, until now, I simply didn’t know what to say.

Of all the episodes this season, I felt that this was the most interesting from both a viewing and learning perspective. To see how nervous and excited the chefs were, kind of said it all. Even the judges seemed elated to be given such a unique experience. Mr. Ripert himself even seemed surprised at the praise of Toby Young, a critic typically known for his harsh rhetoric and not his endless praise.

Food Mecca at 155 W. 51st St.

Food Mecca at 155 W. 51st St.

I was pleased to see Fabio applauded for his job of  mimicking the Red Snapper dish. I have tried this dish and can tell you first hand that I’ve simply never had a better cooked piece of fish. From the sauce to the razor-thin slice of sourdough that serves as the faux-crust, the dish is flawless.

All-in-all it appeared that the judges were impressed with the chefs understanding of each dish. Let’s face it… no one is going to do it quite like Mr. Ripert… then again, how easy is it to recreate a Michelin 3-star, NYTimes 4-star and Zagat 28 menu?

Should I get the opportunity to return to Le Bernardin, you can bet that I’ll be trying that Lobster/Asparagus. Hopefully, that opportunity will be sooner, rather than later!

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Are ya ready for some footb…err… cooking?

January 28, 2009

Another week, another episode of Top Chef where the contestants prove to be nothing more than fearful of the competition. This time however, for the most part, they came, they feared, they conquered.

At least we got some spice by way of four of my favorite contestants in recent memory: Spike, Nikki , Andrew. and… BACK COMES ARIANE, in a jersey/dress, no less!!! A Giants jersey to Blondie’s delight.

I loved the Head-2-Head concept for this competition.  Rather than past contestants I would have liked to see them sweat it out against famous restaurateurs/chefs from each city (maybe: New Orleans/ Emril Lagasse, New York/ David Burke, etc.)I do appreciate that they didn’t replicate the tailgate party from last year…it’s nice to see the diversity.

As for those that are packing their knives – I liked Jeff as a contestant and look forward to maybe trying his food in Miami, however, one comment that wasn’t mentioned by the judges… HIS cuisine was from HIS city, it has to be a huge faux pas, and blow to his ego, to lose a competition when you are representing your hometown, no? I suppose the point is moot knowing that he is going home.

Fabio dodged a huge bullet at the end, and let’s face it, there was no way that Stefan was going home. Oh, and Super Bowl tickets? Sweet prize for the victor!

Anyone else think Fabio and Spike should get their own show?

Anyone else think Fabio and Spike should get their own show?

Battle Royale: Top Chef Style

January 21, 2009

 To paraphrase: “We can serve monkey ass in an empty clam shell and we’d still win…” – Fabio

It’s been made clear in previous weeks that the proof is in the pudding…  FOOD MATTERS. However, something has to be said for the importance of confidence when opening/running a restaurant.

Aside from Fabio and Stefan, have you ever seen a group of people more embarrassed about what they do? I would rather see 10 people who can’t cook but at least believe they deserve to win.  I much prefer to hear contestants talk about why they should win as opposed to why they should lose. Case in point – See ya later, Radhika.

Quick Thoughts:

– He may not be a fan favorite, but you have to respect Stefan… guy brings it, every week

– I really, really loved Fabio’s quickfire concept. Lunch is where it’s at man… if I had more than a dollar to my name we’d be in business! It is a cheesesteak, though, end of story

– Anyone miss Ariane? I know I do…

Just in case you haven't seen enough scallops already

Just in case you haven't seen enough scallops already

Top Chef: You could see it coming from a mile away…

January 14, 2009

With more than 20 minutes left in tonight’s episode of Top Chef, I knew the inevitable was about to happen. As I stated in last week’s recap, you knew the season was about to get interesting… unfortunately, as interesting as it got, it appears that my interest in the rest of the season will soon fade away…

Tonight, we say goodbye to Ariane Duarte… after 3 wins, a Today Show appearance and some solid home-state representation, she will certainly go down as my favorite contestant from the show.

It seemed that everyone was out to get her from the beginning. However, I have also stated over and over again that the main dish is the main focus, and apparently, the lamb failed miserably.

What I know is this, the base of a good eating experience comes from everyone that has their hand in the meal. From the farm that grows the food, to the chef that prepares it, to the bus boy who clears your table. I find it really hard to believe that one person can be held accountable for a poor dish in a setting like that.

I’ll be visiting Montclair soon and I definitely don’t see this as the end to my dining experience with Ariane.

Later my friend
Later my friend, it’s been fun…

Restaurant Wars next week, I suppose that could be fun… oh, and the whole Hosea/Leah romance… enough already, I’ve seen porn relationships with more depth than that.

… oh, and last week it was Dr. Pepper, this week it’s Spam… what’s next, cheese doodles? easy cheese?

Top Chef: Heating Up in the Kitchen

January 8, 2009

I’m sure, as always, there is a ton of criticism this week about Top Chef, however I really REALLY enjoyed the show.

For a good competition, make it simple. Basically: “Chefs… go crazy, cook what you want, oh by the way… two of you are going home and without knowing who’s food they are eating, your cohorts will be helping judge”

What a great premise…

What we learned was…once again… Ariane is a champion. Fact is… the woman knows how to prepare a great meal. Focus on the main course and do the sides/garnish/etc. right. The Michelin man, who really bothered me on this episode and thrashed everyone during the quickfire, could not have been more impressed.

Jamie, congrats, at least we don’t have to hear you whine. (gotta love the Italian… “This is Top Chef, not Top Scallop”)

Toby Young seems like he will be a fun addition.

I’m not sure why, but I just thought that Eugene deserved another shot. Colicchio made it clear that this is a competition, and the chefs shouldn’t attempt safe dishes. That fish was risky and beautiful…but hey, taste is taste.

Judging by the whiff I got via smell-o-vision, I would love to try Fabio’s dish… man did that look good!

I really think we’re in for a big finish… Go Jersey… The weak is almost weeded out….it should get interesting.

No lie, Italy did beat France in the World Cup

No lie, Italy did beat France in the World Cup

New York Restaurant Week 2009

January 7, 2009

Just noticed that NY Restaurant Week is here. Jan 18-30 (excludes Saturday)

Think I am going to take part this year and try some of the old standards that I have never visited.

Click Here to see this year’s participating restaurants

On the list for me… Mesa Grill, Il Cantinori, Craftbar and maybe some others.

$25 lunches and $35 dinners — 3 course prix-fixe

IAteItMyWay Top Chef Sighting

December 12, 2008

As one could imagine, I am a HUGE fan of Top Chef.

Aside from an HBO show or two, I try to stay away from television altogether, however, it’s just one of those weekly shows that I refuse to miss. I’m not sure if its me diggin’  Colicchio’s opinions or Padma’s cougar-ness, but Wednesday nights are permanently reserved for this show.

ANYWAY… I have been following this season particularly close because I was given the opportunity to participate in an upcoming episode (Next Week: 12/17 10p.m. ET). No, despite my thinking that I am an all-knowing food expert, I was NOT the guest judge, but I was part of a rather size-able crowd that was given the opportunity to enjoy the holiday festivities.

I suppose I can’t give any details of the event, with the exception of  assuring you that all the food was damn tasty. I am however pleased to say that my likeness was featured not once, but TWICE in last week’s teaser for the new episode.

As far as my thoughts for the season so far…  I am loving the terrific representation of Jersey… GO ARIANE!

Out of pure excitement, I patiently awaited the rerun and took a picture of the TV from my couch. Christmas is coming, someone please buy me a DVR/TIVO.

Enjoy below, and watch next week!

The real New York Christmas Spectacular

The real New York Christmas Spectacular