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Top Chef

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The Salty Wit and Wisdom of Padma Lakshmi

The latest issue of Vanity Fair features a profile of none other than Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi, who's promoting her new cookbook, Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet. Amid all the foodie talk, Padma actually reveals quite a lot about herself. A sampling: • On the Top Chef Emmy nomination: "[It] was a big fucking deal.” • On life without her ex-husband, Salman Rushdie: "I'm really fucking sad." • On her new cookbook: "Finishing the fucking book was like being in labor for two years!” • On hosting dinner party: "I pulled this out of my ass." • On an AIDS charity she supports: "…we’re doing a campaign and an event and you should buy a fucking table.” • On telling the press if she had a boyfriend: "My husband would call fucking Reuters." • On a tabloid's coverage of her bra size: "…they said it was 36C. I said, 34C, motherfucker!” • On her current living situation: "Now I’m staying in a fucking hotel with all my shit in storage." Damn, Padma. A Taste of Fame [VF]

Tom Colicchio Named One of the ‘Sexiest Men Alive’ and Sandwich Ambassador

In the wake of his bigger, bearier, and balder Top Chef season, Craft chieftain Tom Colicchio seems to be finding ways to keep himself busy. Craft L.A., though receiving mixed reviews, is doing boffo business, and two more Craft restaurants are on the way in Atlanta and Connecticut. And, having been appointed the new Earl of Sandwich by Sara Lee, Colicchio is now, just in time for National Sandwich Day, giving confused Americans helpful tips like “think BIG flavor.”

Bourdain Showing ‘Iron Chef’ Some Love; Dévi Back in Action

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]

Who Will Be Cut Next on ‘The Next Iron Chef’?

Nothing can replace Top Chef in our reality-TV affections, but we have to say, The Next Iron Chef is pretty good. We only started watching this past week, being understandably resistant to another show built on the identical format of Top Chef. The premise Next Iron Chef is that, rather than just having the next Iron Chef selected by Food Network suits, the nation's most celebrated chefs should compete, with the winner given the dubious honor of cooking in weekly battles in Kitchen Stadium. (You would think chefs would be fighting to avoid such a fate, but such is the pull of fame.)

Josie of ‘Top Chef’ Opens Restaurant; Schumer Opens a Second Front

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

‘Top Chef’ Winner Hung Shows Off His Knife Skills

Hung Huynh
Do you grip a knife like a baton? Do your tomato wedges fall apart in seedy clumps? Recent Top Chef winner Hung Huynh visited with Grub Street at Dani yesterday to demonstrate his famous knife skills. The quicksilver cook showed how to julienne squash and a speedy way to slice meat. Definitely try this at home. But first, watch the video. How to Chop Like a Top Chef [Video]

Bourdain's Reaction to ‘Top Chef’; Goldfarb and Cluizel Sittin' in a Cacao Tree

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

‘Top Chef’ Winner Declines to Shake Booty

After trash-talking and sous vide-ing his way through the season, Top Chef contestant Hung Huynh finally prevailed over his competitors in last night’s finale. Serving up dishes with a “touch of love”, Huynh seemed to answer his critics’ charges that his cooking lacked soul. He talked to us today about his change of heart and why he doesn’t feel like Brad Pitt.

Stark Cuts the Cord With Amalia; Betting on the Next Iron Chef

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]

Bouley's New Japanese Restaurant Off the Chain; ‘Top Chef’ Producer Tells It Like It Is

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]

‘Top Chef’ Finalists Reveal Gripey Tension

They’ve endured inane cooking challenges on yachts and airplanes. They suffered through guest judge Rocco DiSpirito. They even cried together. Now it’s all coming to an end tonight when the remaining three cheftestants try to out-cook each other on the season finale of Top Chef. We presented three questions each to Dale Levitski, Casey Thompson, and Hung Huynh and found them all to be a little defensive. The pressure is on!

D. Freeman vs. A. Platt; Ditch Your Topps Meat

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]

No Rest for the Red Hook Vendors; Bourdain Considers 'Top Chef' Episode a Waste

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]

Latest ‘Top Chef’ Non-Winner Calls Hung Bad Names

It was Brian Malarkey, he of the peasant stew and whiskey river drunken elk, who was unceremoniously eliminated on Wednesday’s penultimate episode of Top Chef. He talked to us today about his admiration for cowboys and entered the debate about Hung’s soul.

Recent ‘Top Chef’ Non-Winner Stands By Her Chicken

Sara Mair
Sara Mair could not escape elimination on last night’s Top Chef when she began the episode by serving Sirio Maccioni of Le Cirque an undercooked potato-wrapped sea bass and concluded with poorly flavored and undercooked chicken for deans of the French Culinary Institute. Today she talks to us about reconciling with Howie and Hung’s lack of heart.

Johnny Iuzzini Is the Badass You Want Him to Be; Bloomfield vs. an Iron Chef

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]