Top Chef All-Stars Exit Interview: Episode 1


It’s like a family reunion: lots of familiar faces, lots of hugs, lots of passive-aggressive energy and lots of full frontal hatred. I think this season promises to be a fun one, with heightened emotions and high-level challenges. I never usually enjoy the first 5 episodes or so of Top Chef because there’s just too much going on with having to learn names and personalities and concentrate on 18 different dishes. At least for this season, we already know the chef’testants, know who we like and know who we want humiliated.

Unfortunately, this also means chefs that we love must leave. Sometimes too soon. Here’s the first chef’testant to pack up his/her knives. Find out who is PISSED and calls Tom Colicchio’s rise to stardom sad and heartbreaking.

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Top Chef Exit Interview: Episode 4


There were a lot of things to get mad about on this week’s Top Chef: team elimination, Padma’s and Tom’s babies not participating in the challenge and that oven labeling issue.

At least those were my gripes. Here’s what the axed chef’testants have to say.

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Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: Spike’s an Author?!?


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

– Learn how to cook like former Top Chef-er Spike Mendelsohn.  Whether or not you wear a jaunty hat while in the kitchen is completely up to you.

Padma Lakshmi is not just awkward in prime time — she’s awkward in late night, too!

After the jump…a food fight, the fishermen’s plight and my new channel don’t look right.

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Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: Amtrak is a Culinary Wasteland


Would it kill Amtrak to sell reasonably good food?

I spent five hours total on the North East Corridor yesterday, traveling from from Trenton, New Jersey to Washington, D.C. for work.  Normally, I have a pretty high tolerance for shitty food — as long as someone else is paying for it.  Unfortunately, my employers have decided that the 150-mile trip doesn’t qualify for meal reimbursement, so I’d have to shell out my own cash if I wanted a dirty water hot dog or whatever else they were hawking.  I settled for reading food blogs and toughing it out until I made it home for dinner.

Look, I understand why the folks who fly steerage on airlines get crap (if they’re lucky).  There’s only so much space on the plane and the equipment used to cook/heat the meals isn’t exactly ideal.  But why can’t Amtrak, which makes tons of stops where good food can be loaded and has the luxury of a roomy cafe car, offer some higher-quality fare for its riders?  Isn’t this the kind of thing that Emeril, Wolfgang or someone like that should be jumping on?

It’s nothing but first class when you ride the smörg…

– Really, Wall Street Journal?!? You don’t say…” Another boost came from Mr. Ramsay’s blossoming media career, with the success of reality television shows such as “Kitchen Nightmares,” “Hell’s Kitchen” and “The F-Word” — so-named for Mr. Ramsay’s frequent use of expletives.”

– The fact that a cheftestant on the upcoming season of Top Chef has left her job has NOTHING to do with her performance on the show.  It has EVERYTHING to do with her snagging a better deal at one of Philly’s higher-profile spots.

After the jump: the culinary scourge of the nation, the world’s least surprising medical update and Spike tells you how to sign off in style.

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Cheflebrity Smörgåsbord: On the Wings of Love


I’m not a complicated man.  I’ve discussed many of my food weaknesses here on the site.  For the most part, they’ve been very specific…a particular dish from a particular restaurant or a traditional recipe made in an exact way.  But there is a more generic food item that gets me salivating like Pavlov’s Pup as soon as I hear the words.

Buffalo wings.

Dangle the possibility of deep fried chicken wings tossed in hot sauce (side of blue cheese dressing, please), and I’ll pretty much travel to the ends of the earth.  Funny…the one place I don’t travel is the owl-mascotted restaurant chain that’s located less than a mile from my house, because Mrs. TVFF doesn’t look kindly on that establishment.  Anywhere else buffalo wings appear is a place I’m going.

So when my Twitter reader started BINGing with a tweet from the local bar McGillin’s Olde Ale House — plenty of atmosphere, good food and great local microbrews — mentioning a special offer of $.25 wings, I knew what I’d be doing that evening.  McGillin’s may be the oldest continuously operating tavern in Philly (since 1860), but they’re au courant with a Twitter account.  Wings, twitter – you got my number, McGillin’s.

OK, enough e-drool. On to the smörg…

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Breaking…Obama Burger Week Still Going


Barack may trek out to NoVa for his socialist burger fix, but his ladyfriend knows you don’t have to leave the Hill for a quality beef patty. Yup, Michelle Obama was spotted today lunching at Good Stuff Eatery, the burger joint owned by ES BFF Spike Mendelsohn, of Top Chef fame.  No word yet on what she ordered. Anyone see her?

And more important, will Michelle bring Barack back next time? Make sure to get your guess in for the Where Will Obama Eat Next contest.

(Photo: DC 365)