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John Galliano

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Is ‘Top Chef’ Recycling Its Foul-Mouthed, ‘Faux’-Hawked Contestants?

Gawker agrees with us that Erik is the new Howie and points out that indeed all of this season’s chefs seem like rehashes of previous contestants:

Hung and Ilan have been combined into Dale, who is both Asian and smug. Erik, chrome-domed and prone to silver rings, is the new Howie. Spike, bluff and handsome, is the new C.J., and Stephanie, the winner or last night's challenge, is the new Lia.
Best Week Ever agrees the cheftestants overuse the word “motherfucker” and points out the still more hilarious ubiquity of fake mohawks: “Faux-hawks (or ‘foie-hawks’ as they shall henceforth be known when referring to Top Chefs) are clearly the secret ingredient to culinary success.” Sam Mason, you heard! Don’t miss the gallery. Related: 'Top Chef' Is Full of Motherfuckers [Gawker] The 10 Greatest Faux-Hawks in 'Top Chef' History [Best Week Ever] ‘Top Chef’ Is Back, and Adam Platt Isn't Happy About It [NYM]

Wireless Restaurateurs Ponder Laptop Etiquette

Yesterday Gawker lamented, “How sad and kind of pathetic is it that coffee shops and even bars have been taken over by computers and their zombie-eyed owners?” This got us wondering about the extent to which Wi-Fi–equipped restaurants welcome laptop users, so we rang up a few of them.

Rachael Ray Encounters a Setback in Global-Domination Scheme

Wait, what happened to the Rachael Ray bandwagon? The last thing time we looked, the peppy home-cooking guru was the poor woman's Martha Stewart. Well, maybe not: According to "Page Six" today, Ray’s syndicated TV show looks to be circling the bowl. “Anything below a 2.0 [Nielsen rating] is asking for trouble,” according to “an insider.” Perhaps Ray diluted her brand too much — we don’t want to see her interview Gene Simmons (like she did on Tuesday’s show) as much as we want to watch her prepare “jerky turkey burgers.” Warning to her staff: In these trying times, don’t bring Rach anything besides Starbucks. Just a suggestion. Update! CBS Television Distribution reps are sending out e-mails all over town disputing the Page Six story: “Page Six's report today that the Rachael Ray show is being taken of the air is completely false and in fact our show is growing and renewed through 2010.” Trouble Cooking for Ray Show [NYP] Related: Rachael Ray Doesn't Like Dunkin' Donuts Coffee Any More Than We Do

Anthony Bourdain Insults Alan Richman Right Back

Alan Richman’s review of Brasserie Les Halles yesterday on his GQ blog seemed a not especially subtle slam of Tony Bourdain. “When I phoned the restaurant to ask [Bourdain’s] role there,” the critic wrote, “I was told he acts as a ‘consultant,’ although it’s hard to know what a place that specializes in the hoariest of French dishes would need from an American who wasn’t much of a chef back in the days when he worked at being one.” Meow! Given how long Les Halles has been around and how universally understood its mediocrity is, there could be no other reason to review it than to lay the hurt on Tony Bourdain. Bourdain, though, is unfazed by the attack: He tells Grub Street, “It was like being mauled by Gumby. Afterwards, you’re not sure it even happened.” Kitchen Inconsequential [GQ]

Huckabee Skips Sushi; Super Bowl Snacks Abound

Finally, the presidential candidates “respond” to the sushi crisis. Mike Huckabee’s stance? “Nowhere does the Bible mention sushi in the Garden of Eden.” [NYT] If you’ve ever dreamed of being a Michelin Guide inspector, consider first that in a year “each inspector evaluates 240 restaurants, spends 130 nights in hotels, carries out 800 inspections, writes 1,100 reports and drives 18,000 miles.” [Guardian] The international conservation group Oceana has issued a report saying that it found mercury levels in tuna sushi throughout the United States to be just as high as in New York’s supply. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]

James Beard Hopefuls Lobby on Facebook

Sumile Sushi
It’s time again for Beard nominations, and the whole kerfuffle over Jason Neroni last year isn’t stopping the shameless shilling. A Grub Street reader alerted us to the Facebook group "Vote Evan Rich for the James Beard Rising Star Chef Award," created by a friend of Rich, chef at Sumile Sushi. Rich is in a good spot if the group’s twelve current members are any indicator. Nice of the moderator to invite them all to Sumile! Let’s hope for the sake of propriety that there won’t be any comped green-tea ice cream. Vote Evan Rich for the James Beard Rising Star Chef Award [Facebook]

Red Hook Spokesman Strikes Back, Puts Down Coup

Ivan Kane
The Times reported dissension among the Red Hook vendors, and we were surprised. But not as surprised as Cesar Fuentes, who was furious when we talked with him over the weekend. “This wasn’t really dissension,” Fuentes says. “It was more of a coup d’état.” Seriously? What's going on in Red Hook?

Hostess Fantasies May Come True in the EV; Pork and Funnel Cakes Find Each Other in Boerum Hill

Boerum Hill: Sunday’s Atlantic Antic Street Festival = live music + copious gut busters ranging from baklava and funnel cake to pulled pork and roasted corn. [Hell’s Half Acre] East Village: The Bourgeois Pig plans to move to a new location next week, which means the original space is that much closer to becoming a New World wine-and-beer bar serving homemade versions of Hostess snacks! [Imbible] Harlem: One of uptown’s favorite food carts, Super Tacos on 96th and Broadway, is a finalist at the Vendy Awards this Saturday. [Uptown Flavor] Midtown East: Nikki Beach restaurant and nightclub wants to lure you back in the morning with a weekend buffet brunch. [Grub Street] Soho: Joe on Greene Street near Prince introduces a Fall program of coffee-related classes including "Coffee & The Environment"; "How to Cup: Single Origin Coffee"; and "How to Cup: Exploring Roasteries" that will begin in October. [Grub Street] Upper West Side: Just the right bargain to make us think about how much mark-up we’ve been getting charged for wine: Order the $35 prix fixe on Sundays at Compass restaurant and any bottle you order is 50 percent off. [Grub Street]