An ES Video Interview with Iron Chef Michael Symon

Maybe it was the flamboyantly dressed and incredibly intense Asian gentleman simply called “The Chairman.” Maybe it was the exotic ingredients like river eel and udon. Maybe it was the hastily dubbed frenetic pace of kitchen stadium. Whatever the reason, Iron Chef was the first show that truly sparked my interest in cooking and the limitless options cooks have when they use their imagination. To be fair, I was in college when I came upon the Iron Chef series, when my diet consisted of things like Easy Mac, the cafeteria salad bar and PBR, so it was all outside my small comfort zone. But still, it was amazing.

This was the time when the Food Network was beginning to gain a foothold and many of the programs were as much about technique as the recipes.  Shows like Iron Chef, A Cook’s Tour, Good Eats, Food 911, etc.. really sparked a whole generation to step into the kitchen. Unfortunately since then, much of food television has moved towards personality and recipe driven programming. Even Top Chef seems to be shifting this way.

Today, my favorite food related show airs on the Travel Channel, but I still catch some others and I’ve really enjoyed the 2 seasons of The Next Iron Chef. Through that competition and Michael Ruhlman’s book The Soul of a Chef, I have come to  appreciate the way Chef Michael Symon approaches food. While this appreciation is nowhere near TVFF’s foodie man crush on Season 2 Next Iron Chef winner Jose Garces,  I still jumped at the opportunity to speak with Chef Symon about his new shows, Philly cheesesteaks, and his thoughts on tofu bacon. Click play above to watch my video interview with Michael Symon.

The Next Iron Chef premieres 10/3 on the Food Network. Michael’s new Food Network show, Food Feuds premieres 10/14. His current show, Cook Like an Iron Chef, airs Thursdays on the Cooking Channel. Phew.

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Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: The Stars Come Out in Philly


The latest and greatest news about celebrity chefs, served up buffet style.

– Lots of local news from Phoodie:  Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro (seen above across from my office…really!!) are in Philly shooting The Dark Fields and they grabbed dinner at Cuba Libre.

Iron Chef Jose Garces is firing up a taco truck and will be announcing its location daily via Twitter.  And there goes my productivity out the door.

After the jump…we get nostalgic about lunch and cartoons, and the latest news about successful people recognizing the accomplishments of other successful people.

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Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: Tater Tats


The latest and greatest news about celebrity chefs, served up buffet style.

– The Bleep Bloop crew takes on the Iron Chef video game.  The winner?  Apparently, companies that make cheap attachments for your Wiimote.

– I think we can safely say:  Food tattoos are rarely a good idea.  Yes, that is Eric Ripert.

After the jump…the Food Network Empire keeps growing and it’s getting HOT in here.

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Who is 2009’s Eater of the Year?

As is now tradition, Endless Simmer marks the end of each year by looking back at the chefs, restauranteurs, politicians, talk show hosts, bloggers, and ordinary culinary schmoes who make each year tastier than the one that came before. But unlike certain other publications, we don’t make the final decision ourselves (Ben Bernanke? booooring.) Instead, it’s up to you readers to decide who should join past winners Anthony Bourdain and Hezbollah Tofu in the Endless Eaters Hall of Fame, and more importantly, claim the crown of 2009 Eater of the Year.

So read up on our nominees and cast your votes below.

Meryl Streep


Foodies love to talk about how much we adore Julia Child. She introduced us to French food, she let us use butter, she never once said the word “yummo.” But the truth is, every icon can use a little updating — and really, if Julia was so perfect we’d all spend a lot more time re-watching Lessons with Master Chefs and a lot less tuning into Ace of Cakes, wouldn’t we? Only Streep could take the notoriously self-deprecating, gangly, mumbley Julia Child and turn her into a winsome, genius, sexy (was that just us?) star. If we could just get Meryl Streep to reenact every old episode of The French Chef, now that’s something we’d watch everyday.

Jose Garces


We’ve been hyping Jose since way before he grilled Bobby Flay on TV and then schooled all comers on this year’s The Next Iron Chef, and with six eateries and counting, no one did more to put an American city on the culinary map this year than Philly’s Garces. Some might argue the world wasn’t in need of another name-brand chef-lebrity, but if this means Garces’ unique menus are coming to a city near us, we’re more than game.

Michelle Obama

One year into the Obama era and Guantanamo’s still open, wars are still being waged, and unemployed food bloggers everywhere are still living without health insurance. Well, at least there’s one person in the White House who doesn’t let Joey Lieberman tell them what to do. Mrs. O decided to forget about literacy, china settings, or whatever it is first ladies are supposed to do, and instead made her first year in office all about food. She invited culinary students to the White House, planted a vegetable garden on her front lawn, got a farmers’ market put in across the street — heck, she’s even going on Iron Chef! Now that’s what we call a year’s worth of accomplishments.

This is Why You’re Fat

Every year has one big concept food blog that takes the Internets by storm, a la Julie & Julia or Hezbollah Tofu. The 2009 entry was unquestionably This is Why You’re Fat, a hilarious, no-holds-barred look at the crap Americans actually put in our stomachs. Like some kind of greasy, pornographic car wreck, TIWYF is so wrong yet so right, and we just can’t look away.

Rachel Maddow

A bit of a dark horse, but you’ve got to hand it to the only nightly newscaster willing to devote extended segments to taking on corporate agribusiness and their evil henchman. If you’ve got a free 25 minutes (and if you’re reading this, come on, you do), you really should watch Rachel’s hard-hitting piece about the DC lobbyists who spend millions of dollars trying to convince Americans that our fish need more mercury, our fats need more trans, and everything needs more high-fructose corn syrup. Plus, when was the last time you saw Keith Olberman talk Afghanistan policy while making a croquembouche with Martha Stewart? Did Walter Cronkite ever compare health care policy to ordering a pizza? Can Bill O’Reily show you how to mix a Jack Rose? Does Barbara Walters know where to find $2 tamales in Hell’s Kitchen? No, no, no, and no. Rachel Maddow: foodiest newslady ever.


Throughout the decade, Americans have become more and more obsessed with what we eat, and the whole foodie movement has been a constant struggle between two competing ideologies: the desire to be more in sync with our planet and our bodies, and the desire to wrap everything in bacon. But this was the year when people seemed to find a balance, when everyone and their mother became a part-time vegetarian, a vegan-til-nighttime, or a one-day-a-week meateater. Flexitarianism may not fully placate the PETA activists or sate the hardcore meatheads, but in contrast to all those other diet trends, it actually makes sense, and that’ s not something we see a lot of around these parts.  (Hilarious illustration via Breckenreid)

Vote Now!

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Previously: 2008 Eater of the Year Awards

2007 Eater of the Year Awards

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Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: Joe Bastianich Works Hard, Plays Hard


The latest and greatest news about celebrity chefs, served up buffet style.

– Joe Bastianich celebrates the completion of a marathon the same way I do: with plenty of booze.  Of course, he actually ran in the marathon where as I just read about it in the news.  Also, after losing 45 lbs, Joe apparently turned into a completely different person.  (Compare the photo above to this one.)

-ZOMFG liberal foodies’ heads are exploding everywhere today with the news that MICHELLE OBAMA will actually appear on Iron Chef. This was in the New York Times today, so apparently it’s not a joke.

– Click through to find out about Emeril’s new burger bistro.  Also to find out where Joe Bastianich’s 45 pounds went.

After the jump…an Olympian goes another round, Fox prepares to ruin another English import and a former Top Cheftestant goes whole hog.

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