Anne Burrell to Get Food Network TV ShowAnne Burrell’s rapidly rising star is about to go up a little higher. The Centro Vinoteca chef, poised to create an all-new menu for Gusto, is about to get her own cooking show on the Food Network. Secrets of a Restaurant Chef is to premiere on June 29 at 10:30 a.m. and will feature Burrell, previously known to TV viewers as Mario Batali’s spiky-haired Iron Chef assistant, making rustic Italian recipes, some of which, like brined pork chops, they can enjoy if they hightail it over to the restaurant. 10:30 am is pretty early to be thinking about pork chops, but we plan to watch with rapt attention.
Back of the House
Sietsema Says ‘Iron Chef’ Less Than TransparentAs promised, the Voice’s Robert Sietsema blows the lid off Iron Chef, in a very long and detailed account of an Iron Chef taping. According to Sietsema, the chefs know what they’re going to do, recook everything for the judges, and the whole thing is fixed anyway. It’s a pretty deflating account, but for Iron Chef viewers, it’s a must-read. Unless they like the show.
Iron Chef Boyardee [VV]
Earlier: Sietsema to Blow the Lid Off ‘Iron Chef’ Tomorrow
Sietsema to Blow the Lid Off ‘Iron Chef’ TomorrowThe Village Voice’s press department writes in to let us know that the cover story of tomorrow’s issue will be Robert Sietsema’s “Iron Chef Boyardee,” in which “our man Sietsema gets into an Iron Chef America taping, and learns that the reality TV show is more bogus than even he realized.” When we attended an Iron Chef tasting, we did wonder how so much good food could be invented and cooked in an hour when many New York restaurants can’t do the same in six months. Maybe it was sleight of hand?
Related: ‘Iron Chef’ Taping Leads to Earth-Shattering Revolution
Back of the House
Memo to World: Michael Symon and Michael Psilakis Are Not the Same Person
We ran into Michael Symon last week, a.k.a. the Next Iron Chef; as food celebs we meet are wont to do, he said that he hoped what he told us wouldn’t end up on Grub Street the next day. Jokingly, we suggested that we’d just write about how we ran into Anthos chef Michael Psilakis. “That happens to me all the time,” Symon, said, laughing. You can’t blame people for getting confused: Both men are high-profile, thirtysomething Greek (or part-Greek) chefs named Michael who are bald and happened to open up ambitious Greek restaurants at around the same time. There is, however, one clear difference between the two: Psilakis has a chinbeard, and Symon a soul patch. But this seemed cold comfort to Symon last night. Having frequently been accused of being Terrance Brennan’s doppelgänger, we could sympathize. Now if only we could switch bank accounts.
Chodorow’s Got Big, Big Plans; Aaron Sanchez Has an EnemyJeffrey Chodorow is devising a new megarestaurant for a 15,000-square-foot double-decker space in the Empire Hotel at Broadway and 63rd Street. In other news, Frank Bruni has already given it zero stars. [NYP]
Our pal Aaron Sanchez barely avoided being cut on the Next Iron Chef since according to Bourdain, Alton “Knowlton seems not to have disclosed a prior schoolyard incident with a young Aaron ‘El Guapo’ Sanchez — in which Sanchez (it would appear) bullied him mercilessly. He seemed unnaturally eager to send him packing.” [Ruhlman]
Williamsburg’s Hasidic community has its own street-food truck, but you too can buy the kosher grub. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Two ‘Iron Chef’ Contestants Eliminated; Michelin-Zagat Wars Rage OnAfter all the woman got canned from The Next Iron Chef, Aaron Sanchez was overheard warning Morou Ouattara, “Next they’ll be going after the brown people.” [Ruhlman] And last night Morou was one of two chefs booted. [Serious Eats]
Related: Who Will Be Cut Next on ‘The Next Iron Chef’?
One classic New York deli is fighting the good fight against history, the Zeitgeist, and its own storied past. 2nd Avenue Deli reopens next month with the same name and a new location on East 33rd Street near Lexington Avenue. [NYT]
Now that his guides are competing with Zagat in New York, Michelin Guide director Jean-Luc Naret says he’s also eyeing Boston, Miami, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.[AP]
Related: Michelin’s Madness Drives Ed Levine (and Us) Up a Wall
Bourdain Showing ‘Iron Chef’ Some Love; Dévi Back in ActionThe worst thing Tony Bourdain can say about the new Top Iron Chef is “that Ruhlman’s hair is the scariest and most offensive aspect of the show … In every other respect, the damn thing is pretty impeccable.” [Ruhlman]
Related: Who Will Be Cut Next on ‘The Next Iron Chef’?
Enterprising chefs Suvir Saran and Hemant Mathur will have their recently acquired restaurant Dévi reopen by Monday. [Eater]
Related: Debriefing Dévi: Suvir Saran’s Suspected Side Projects
Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious cookbook is uncomfortably similar to another cookbook published a few months before it, which also encourages moms to put spinach in brownies. [NYT]
Related: Hey Jessica Seinfeld! What Up? [Daily Intel]
Josie of ‘Top Chef’ Opens Restaurant; Schumer Opens a Second FrontJosie Malave’s restaurant Speakeasy in Clinton Hill has had its soft opening. [Eat for Victory/VV]
One food editor learned some things from last week’s nose-to-tail feast Fergus Henderson–at–the–Spotted Pig including “Hung Huynh is much sweeter than the series might lead you to believe … Ilan Hall has a project up his sleeve … there’s no graceful way to eat a roasted pig’s head when Heath Ledger is sitting at the next table watching.” [Mouthing Off/Food & Wine]
Related: Fergus Henderson to Cook Tomorrow at Savoy, Wednesday at the Spotted Pig
Chuck Schumer has joined another foodie cause: In response to the recent Topps Meat contaminations, he has accused the USDA as being “toothless tiger” and plans to introduce legislation that would give the Department of Agriculture authority to close down plants that repeatedly fail inspections and order recalls. [NYP]
Related: Senator Schumer Springs to the Red Hook Ball-Fields’ Defense
Stark Cuts the Cord With Amalia; Betting on the Next Iron ChefIvy Stark has quit as executive chef at Amalia and may, in fact, return to the B.R. Guest group to spearhead plans for a Dos Caminos Las Vegas. [Foodservice Blog/Nation’s Restaurant News]
Related: Will Ivy Stark Return to B.R. Guest?
Tom Colicchio doesn’t mind that people come to his restaurants for his celebrity, plus he ponders a showdown with Harold Dieterle and Ilan Hall in this Q&A. [Radar]
Caesars Palace is setting the odds to see who will be the Next Iron Chef. Our money’s on Aaron Sanchez. [CNN]
Johnny Iuzzini Is the Badass You Want Him to Be; Bloomfield vs. an Iron ChefIn true badass-with-a-softer-side form, the latest rock-star pastry chef Johnny Zs reveals he dreamed of becoming a stuntman before discovering his love for baking. [Restaurant Girl]
The Spotted Pig’s April Bloomfield is stepping into the ring this morning to battle an undisclosed Iron Chef. [Down by the Hipster]
True top chef André Soltner formerly of Lutece goes on about the pros and cons of food TV. [Newsday]
Earth to Chicago: You Lost ‘Iron Chef’ Fair and SquareMonday’s Iron Chef, in which Chicago chef Graham Elliot Bowles lost to Bobby Flay, has occasioned a gale of protest from the Windy City. For proud Chicagoans, it’s just not possible that Bowles could have lost; as A.J. Liebling put it, the prevailing local belief is, simply stated, that “everybody in the world is trying to put one over on Chicago.”
Ask a Waiter
Your Secrets Are Safe With Katarina ‘the Shadow’ Auster of Morimoto
After graduating from Juilliard, Katarina Auster started a pop-rock band called Majorette that was signed to Sony. Instead of blowing her advance, she took a job as a server at Morimoto. Her boss there, music booker turned restaurateur Stephen Starr, tells her to thank him when she gets a Grammy; before that happens and she finally leaves, we thought we’d ask her what it’s like playing “shadow” in the vicinity of misbehaving celebrities, awful blind dates, mysterious fish thefts, and the Iron Chef’s fugu theatrics.
Back of the House
Yau Already Replaced at Gramercy Park; Everybody’s BloggingIan Schrager has already found a star chef to replace Allen Yau at the Gramercy Park Hotel: The Japanese-born nouvelle-Chinese star Yuji Wakiya, who almost came here two years ago to do a restaurant at the Bryant Park Hotel. [NYP]
Related: Restaurant Happenings: Sirio’s New Address? [NYM]
Bruni won’t have to bear the Diner’s Journal load alone anymore; we can now also look forward to the musings of Julia Moskin, Kim Seversen, and other contemplative food writers. [NYT]
Meanwhile, Le Bernardin’s Eric Ripert and the Food & Wine staff have launched their own blogs. (The Ripper’s requires a subscription to The Wine Spectator.) [Snack]
Back of the House
K-Fed Demeans Fast-Food Workers; David Blaine’s Zagat StuntRestaurant-industry representatives want a K-Fed Super Bowl ad in which he’s a fast-food worker pulled, because it “leaves the impression that working in a restaurant is demeaning and unpleasant.“ Being associated with K-Fed is demeaning enough, no? [MSNBC]
Meanwhile, McDonald’s announces its strongest year in three decades. [NYT]
Related: Food Network Accused of (Subliminal) Advertising
David Blaine, in his most grueling stunt yet, chats with the Zagats at Babbo, calling Tim Zagat “a saint.” [NYP]
Related: Junior Zagat Resigns
Food Network Accused of (Subliminal) AdvertisingHas McDonald’s resorted to subliminal advertising? And is the Food Network in on the conspiracy? No. But believe it or not, there’s a blogger who seems to think so. Not without reason, it turns out. This slow-motion look at a segment of Iron Chef reveals one single frame of the Golden Arches and “I’m Lovin’ It” slogan — played at regular speed, it would never be seen by the human eye. The Food Network denies the use of any mind-control techniques. “It was a technical error on our part,” spokesman Mark O’Connor said in a statement that was sent by the network when we requested comment. It was “not a subliminal message as suggested by a website running the slow-motion playback.” Apparently, a small sponsor logo that was supposed to appear on a stats page appeared full screen at the wrong time. But there’s one question O’Connor did not answer: Why do we suddenly have the urge to make a Hamburglar sock puppet?
Food Network Running Subliminal McDonalds Ads [thatsfit.com]
Biscuit Battles ChipShop, Part Two: Is Sushi Better Fried or Smoked?Yesterday, when we left the battle between new Park Slope barbecue joint Biscuit and batter-happy neighbor ChipShop to determine whether our off-the-menu requests tasted better smoked or fried, the competition was neck and neck: ChipShop’s owner Chris Sell impressed judge Gabrielle Langholtz of Edible Brooklyn with his fried PB&J — “My brain stem is like, ‘Gorge on the fat while you can’” — but Biscuit’s owner Josh Cohen bounced back when onetime Iron Chef judge Ben Schmerler lauded his smoked ribs as “savory and primal.” Who, then, will take the next two rounds?
50K Spent on Fish at Uniqlo Store Opening?Sure, you can always pay $10,000 for AM to D.J. your store opening (that’s what a publicist who worked with him told us he pulled), but for true atmosphere, why not hire an Iron Chef to put on a promotional robe and cut up toro all night? We’re not sure how many $99.99 cashmere sweaters the new Uniqlo outpost will have to sell to make back Morimoto’s appearance fee, but we can tell you this much: While sipping sake from wooden Uniqlo boxes, we heard secondhand that one of the party’s organizers said the fish cost $50,000. (Morimoto’s people said the number was off but wouldn’t say by how much, or whether it included the charge for his actual appearance.) Whatever the store paid, it was worth seeing Morimoto wielding his sword (possibly the $30,000 one?) and mugging for the Japanese girls who must’ve popped off 100 photos of him while perched at his elbow. The Iron man’s sous-chef also hammed it up: When one attendee demanded the very last cut of toro, the chef grinned facetiously and, instead of rolling up rice, served it to him on a ball of wasabi.
Update: A publicist for Uniqlo informs us that the fish, a specially imported, 100-pound whole loin of bluefin tuna, only cost $4,000, though one ordering an equal amount of the fish from a sushi restaurant might spend $25,000. She would not say whether Morimoto’s appearance fee accounted for the remainder of the $50,000, if that figure was accurate at all.
Flay to Battle Morimoto in Atlantic CitySaturday’s “Women in Wine” event at the Borgata in Atlantic City would be worth going to just for the wine (23 female vintners from around the country) and the chefs (the Borgata’s resident all-star team, featuring Bobby Flay, Michael Mina, Wolfgang Puck, Susanna Foo, and in-house celebrity chef Luke Palladino). But the real draw is something you’ll never see on television: two of the Food Network’s Iron Chefs, Flay and Masaharu Morimoto, going head to head to see whose cuisine reigns supreme. (Normally, Iron Chefs only compete against guest challengers.) The event, which will cost $195 to attend, benefits Living Beyond Breast Cancer and the Atlantic County Women’s Center in New Jersey. Tickets can be purchased here or by calling 866-900-4849.
Women in Wine, Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Atlantic City, N.J.
Saturday, November 11
The Annotated Dish
An Illustrated Guide to Morimoto’s Toro TartareWelcome to the Annotated Dish, where the creator of a buzzed-about New York entrée walks you through its essential components. Simply scroll over the arrows on the image to get quotes from the chef. (We’ve got Oompa-Loompas working around the clock on a taste component, but no promises.) Generally, we’ll be choosing a dish from a new or of-the-moment restaurant, with a special eye to the creations of important or rising chefs. Today, “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto breaks down the toro tartare served at his eponymous West Side restaurant. A paragon of Japanese simplicity, the dish is served at lunch and dinner.
Back of the House
‘Iron Chef’ Taping Leads to Earth-Shattering RevelationWe’ve often wondered what the hell actually goes on behind the scenes at Iron Chef America. When an invitation to yesterday’s taping landed in the Grub Street mailbox, we were quick to accept it. On the set, the air was filled with dry-ice mist and dozens of sharply focused spotlights, giving the aura of an incipient Metallica show.
Back of the House
Top Chefs Convene in New York, Party
We learned a lot hanging out at StarChefs.com Congress. The conference, which convened some of the most famous cooks from the four corners of the earth on Tuesday and Wednesday, cost an arm and a leg to get into — $850 for a two-day “industry pass” — but it was worth it.
‘Iron Chef’ Fans Drive Morimoto MenuIron Chef Morimoto, with his stern visage and poetic imagination, is utterly compelling, as television owners from Kyoto to Kentucky now know. But how closely does the menu of his vast West Side restaurant, Morimoto, hew to his work on the small screen? Sometimes, rather closely.