The Salty Wit and Wisdom of Padma Lakshmi
The 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 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
Bourdain considers “Hung’s well deserved victory … a nice, stiff middle finger to all those boneheads who’ve been predicting that ‘The producers are setting it up so Casey will win,’ as well as the poor, deluded souls who feel they can somehow taste food through the television screen.” Are you listening, Adam Platt? [Bourdain's Blog/Bravo] Michelin Guide director Jean-Luc Naret wants chefs on their toes: “One thing you have to understand is that stars are not engraved in marble, but crystal, and that they can break easily.” [Metromix NY] Will Goldfarb is officially shacking up with Michel Cluizel at ABC on a dessert café, and Patricia Yeo has abandoned Monkey Bar after leaving Sapa to work on the project in March. [NYT] Related: Cluizel, Goldfarb to Join Forces in Dessert Pact Patricia Yeo Leaving Sapa, Opening Rib House; Something About a Monkey
The chef for Blue Ribbon at Six Columbus will be Bouchon Bakery alum Jose Salazar. [Hotel Chatter via Eater] By the end of Top Chef, even Frank Bruni got a little sentimental. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Related: Adam Platt Was Right About ‘Top Chef’ All Along Rocco hearts Hung. [Eat for Victory/VV]
Ivy 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]
The Top Chef finale turned out to be all we had hoped, as the three remaining rivals were all allowed to make whatever they wanted for a blue-ribbon panel of judges.
The restaurant that David Bouley plans to open next year with Japan’s largest professional cooking school will be a multilevel space featuring a robata grill, a Japanese room with Western touches, and a kaiseki dining room serving Kyoto-style seasonal tasting menus. [NYT] Related: David Bouley to Open Restaurant With Japan's Top Cooking School Scott Bryan has left Veritas, and not for 10 Downing Street, apparently. And, in underwhelming FloFab news, Daniel Boulud still hasn't chosen a name for his master's burger restaurant, and Lever House's Deborah Snyder is the new pastry chef at Alto and L’Impero. [NYT] The executive producer of Top Chef answers questions about cheftestants who hook up and challenges that didn't make the cut. [NYDN]
For the first time Danyelle Freeman is one step behind Adam Platt in her review choice, and she matches his star selection for Accademia di Vino. [NYDN] Related: Molto Trendy [NYM] Blue Ribbon at Six Columbus is expected to open in a couple of weeks. [Eater] Related: Blue Ribbon Sushi at Columbus Circle Will Open in October Hung offers insight into DiSpirito’s comment that the Top Chef contestant reminds him of himself: “He’s confident, he’s cocky, he’s good looking … his technique is on, his flavor profile is my kind of food. I respect him a lot.” [Eat for Victory/VV]
Can the Red Hook Vendors never rest? Now Cesar Fuentes is causing concern for resigning and threatening to sue the same people he represented. [NYT] Bourdain considers Wednesday’s Top Chef a waste, as the producers snagged Eric Ripert only to “shoehorn him into a Scout jamboree” when “it would have been nice, given the all-too-rare presence of a distinguished specialist, to see what the kids could REALLY do with fish.” And why won't Hung cook Vietnamese? [Bourdain’s Blog/Bravo] Discrimination lawyer Marc Rapaport is surprised by his own defense of O’Reilly in a Times op-ed about the Sylvia’s incident, saying “it is apparent from [his comments’] context that O’Reilly was actually attempting to dispel racial stereotypes regarding African-Americans.” [PR Web]
Last night's penultimate Top Chef featured two enormously entertaining challenges.
In 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]
The final cut prior to the Top Chef finale was made last night, as the contestants came to New York to cook before the most august figures the show could muster.