Ilan Hall’s Williamsburg Dinner Was a Beau Monde BashIlan Hall’s last night in town before departing out west to open his tapas truck looks like it was a pretty sweet one, judging from the images of Friday’s charity dinner. As we wrote last week, Studiofeast, a swank “culinary collective,” a.k.a. underground supper club, brought in the Top Chef–at–large to cook a fairly elaborate meal for charity. (A portion of the proceeds went to the West Side Campaign Against Hunger.) The slideshow is thin on images of dishes like Hall’s bacon-poached swordfish or crispy American Lamb breast with ginger and mint vinegar, but it was enlightening sociologically. Is it just us, or does this look like the Logan’s Run of supper-club events? We knew that Ilan was a member of the beau monde, but assumed that at least some of his customers would be the usual Billyburg lows. In fact, they all looked like people you would expect to be friends with Ilan.
Studiofeast: Special Ilan Hall dinner [Studiofeast]
Earlier: ‘Top Chef’ Victor Ilan Hall Stealthily Cooks for Williamsburgers
Ilan Hall to Open Tapas Truck in L.A.; Chefs Keep on BloggingTop Chef champ Ilan Hall’s rumored L.A project is now a restaurant truck that serves tapas and has a foldout bar. [MSNBC]
Related: For Ilan Hall, a Taco Shack of One’s Own
The president of Westland/Hallmark Meat Co., the California beef company responsible for the largest meat recall in American history, acknowledged yesterday the illegal slaughter of sick cows at his plant after a congressional panel forced him to watch the undercover video depicting the abuse. [WSJ]
Chefs’ blogs keep getting better and better, and there are increasingly more and more of them. At what point are they all just going to leave the kitchen and become full-time bloggers? [LAT]
‘Top Chef’ Victor Ilan Hall Stealthily Cooks for WilliamsburgersIn what may be your last chance to taste the quirky cuisine of Ilan Hall before he heads to L.A., Studiofeast, a self-described “invitation-only culinary collective” based in Williamsburg, has tapped the former Top Chef winner to prepare the latest of its feasts, to be held at a secret location on Friday. The $100 ticket price (a portion of which goes to the West Side Campaign Against Hunger) doesn’t get you booze — but you’re welcome to either bring a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck or pick up a pack of wines recommended for pairing with Berkshire pork tartare (with popcorn emulsion), bacon-poached swordfish (with “Ilan Chon” skin salad), crispy American lamb breast (with ginger and mint vinegar), and Scottish rice pudding. Get on this fast, because space is limited.
Special Guest: Ilan Hall [Studiofeast]
Related: For Ilan Hall, A Taco Shack of One’s Own
Back of the House
For Ilan Hall, a Taco Shack of One’s OwnIt’s a far cry from helming a Ken Friedman restaurant, as he was previously rumored to be doing, but now the word, via the Gluttoness, is that former Top Chef Ilan Hall is said to be opening a taco shack in Los Angeles. We suspect, as the Gluttoness does as well, that the hire is a way to buy cheap publicity for the taco shack in question. Still, is this what being a Top Chef has come to? Somewhere, Sam Talbot must be sniggering.
Rumor Mill [Gluttoness]
Related: Will Ken Friedman Open a Restaurant With Ilan Hall?
‘Top Chef’ Parties at South Beach Wine and Food FestOur first night at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival made it pretty clear why this event is such a success. For one thing, it’s warm down here. And the two parties we attended were as carefree as hayrides. The full moon shone down on the Versace mansion, and we gained some useful knowledge. Such as…
Colicchio, Samuelsson, Hall, Others Shine at Taste of New York
Though the event did not run late, the food at last night’s Taste of New York was beyond reproach: Suba’s Seamus Mullen produced some ridiculously rich and crispy oxtail croquettes, and the Ciao Bella guys served a Turkish yogurt gelato that stopped visitors in their tracks. Hill Country’s beef riblets were one of the hits of the show, requested by other chefs even as they labored behind their own tables. Meanwhile, Jim Meehan of PDT was setting out the apple cocktails that seemed to be in everybody’s hands.
Will Ken Friedman Open a Restaurant With Ilan Hall?We are hearing that Spotted Pig co-owner Ken Friedman is planning on doing a restaurant with former Top Chef winner Ilan Hall. The rumor chorus places the new eatery down the street from the Pig on far West 11th Street and says it may be only a few months out. Friedman did not confirm any of this, but he didn’t deny it, either. “I hope all those things are true,” he responded when we repeated the details.
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]
Mega Food Weekend Takes Over Pier 94Culinary events in New York are getting bigger all the time, and now comes word of a behemoth so immense that it’s going to require all of Pier 94. Cook. Eat. Drink. Live., to be held October 26-27th, will be a kind of vast, sprawling combination of a giant trade show (think the Fancy Food Show) as well as a giant dining event (à la Taste of New York), adding in fifteen cooking classes a day, five wine-tasting classes, and five mixology classes too, all with the likes of Will Goldfarb, Ilan Hall, Josh DeChellis, and Paul Liebrandt. Normally, this orgy of A-list epicureanism would cost $325 a day, but buy tickets with the NYMAG code for a reduced rate of $175 a day or $350 for the weekend, including all demos.
Cook. Eat. Drink. Live [Official Site]
Twinkies Now Stuffed With Bananas; Lower Eastpacking District Now OnlineReporter files 500 words on the new banana Twinkie. [NYDN]
Talbot loses to Hall again in cooking contest. The real winners here: the women of New York. [NYDN]
The Spotted Pig’s DOH record is not exactly spotless — it’s accused of “vermin harborage,” and not just on weekend bridge-and-tunnel nights. [NYP]
De Niro may be choosing his L.A. partner Sciandri over his N.Y. partner Nieporent as partner in new hotel — turf war! [NYDN]
Vice creates a Virtual Lower Eastpacking District, uniting Internet dorks and party animals. [Gawker]
New York is Now Fat City; Korean KFC Comes to New YorkFat is where it’s at in New York today, thanks to the efforts of what Adam Platt would call the “refined meathead” school of chefs like David Chang and Zak Pelaccio. [NYT]
Related: You Know You’re a Meathead When… [NYM]
Kyochon Chicken, the Korean chain behind the current wave of Korean fried-chicken restaurants, has opened in Flushing. Two more locations are planned for Bayside. [NYT]
Ilan Hall defeated Sam Talbot in their outdoor Top Chef rematch yesterday, Hall’s soft-shell crab salad triumphing over Talbot’s grilled quail and potatoes. [NYDN]
Batali and Bourdain Argue Over Adam Platt, the Egg Thief, and Much More
Marco Pierre White showed up at Borders last night for a book signing with two friends in tow: Mario Batali and Tony Bourdain. We sat down with the latter two for a few minutes before the event and picked their brains. In true style, Mario sent one of the store’s managers out for a bottle of vodka and some tonic at the start, but as the harried fellow didn’t arrive until the end, this discussion was conducted in cold sobriety.
Josie Malave Named ‘Executive Chef’While Ilan Hall wanders around airports wearing street couture (or did you not read about that?), Josie Malave, voted off Top Chef early in the game, has ditched her Marlow & Sons sous-chef job to become executive chef at Island Café Bar and Lounge. The two-floor, 220-seater, set to open in March, will serve locally farmed, Mediterranean-themed tapas. We believe Malave when she tells us that she’s “actually happy” to have escaped Top Chef when she did. After all, some “seed money” winnings can (apparently) mess with a young cook’s head.
Island Café Bar and Lounge, 35-15 36th St., Long Island City; no phone yet.
Ilan Hall Gets His Bling On; Chodorow Seeks His White WhaleTop Chef winner Ilan Hall is seen walking in the airport with paired Louis Vuitton bag and belt, white Nikes with pink laces, and a $12,000 Patek Philippe diamond watch. [Snack]
Jeffrey Chodorow offers an Ahab-like reward for the first employee who spots Frank Bruni, promising him a Caribbean vacation. [NYP]
Related: We Ask Jeffrey Chodorow If He’s Been Feeling Well Lately
The Gobbler Responds to Mr. Chodorow’s Broadside [Grub Street]
The social scene at Morandi is predictably exclusive: “When Keith McNally opens a restaurant, the famous will come. The fabulous will follow. The walk-ins will wait.” [Bloomberg]
Related: Keith McNally on Why Morandi Will Be His Last Restaurant Ever
Back of the House
Rocket Rod Dances Back Into the River Café; Nobody Likes IlanRod Stewart, banned for life at the River Café for pulling his own “rod” out, gets readmitted after a penitential jig for owner Buzzy O’Keefe. [NYDN]
McDonald’s coffee “the cheapest and the best,” according to Consumer Reports. Of course, it was only going up against Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Starbucks. [NYDN]
Frank Bruni also thinks Marcel got the shaft in the Top Chef finale. Does Ilan have any fans in the media at all? [NYT]
Back of the House
‘Top Chef’ Exclusive: A Chef’s ChefAt this point, we have no idea whether Ilan Hall will take the Top Chef title tonight — after a profile of him as winner leaked on Food & Wine’s Website, the magazine revealed that they also profiled Marcel as champ. But there’s one thing we do know, and it’s exclusive: Ilan’s “underground favorite” restaurant. In an interview a few weeks back, Hall recommended Chez Le Chef, speaking highly of Chef Frédéric Piepenburg, himself a minor celebrity. “It’s really tasty, old-world Austrian and French food,” said Hall. “You can order breakfast in bed, and he’ll deliver the whole meal in a basket, picnic-style. Just give him 24 hours in advance. He bakes all his breads, he makes all his desserts. He’s this crazy old baker that has this gigantic moustache that sort of connects to his hair. I think the restaurant is also his apartment. There’s no one like him.” — Jada Yuan
Back of the House
Ilan May Not Be Top Chef Tonight; Coca Leaf CuisineYesterday’s Ilan Hall winner profile? Just one of two we had ready, says Food & Wine. Read Marcel’s. [Food & Wine]
Related: ‘Top Chef’ Winner Revealed — For Real! [Grub Street]
Bruni weighs in on Top Chef, giving the cooking elements of the show a surprising amount of respect. [NYT]
Sara Dickerman looks at the new wave of cooking shows and finds them all totally ridiculous — but entertaining. [Slate]
Back of the House
‘Top Chef’ Winner Revealed — For Real!As you no doubt remember, Ilan Hall quit his post at Casa Mono last week, fueling speculation that he’d taken top prize in Top Chef. Now we have an apparent confirmation: Eater LA has the text of an article that went up on Food & Wine’s Website for about fifteen minutes yesterday. The teaser? “How did Ilan Hall, the 24-year-old with the Tintin ‘do, beat out fourteen other contestants to become Top Chef on the Bravo reality show? And what’s he planning to do with the $100,000 he won?” Oops. Something tells us Food & Wine won’t have such an easy time getting the inside scoop next time.
Top Chef Spoiled Again [Eater L.A.]
‘Top Chef’ Wannabes, Now Is Your Chance — to Get Baked With Padma Lakshmi [Grub Street]
Sam Talbot (Formerly) of ‘Top Chef’ Splurges at Nobu [Grub Street]
Red Cat Owner Betting on Ilan to Win ‘Top Chef’ [Grub Street]
So Hot She’s Flammable: Host roasted by top chefs. [NYM]
‘Top Chef’’s Marcel Doesn’t Love Joël Robuchon That Much [Daily Intel]
Back of the House
Red Cat Owner Betting on Ilan to Win ‘Top Chef’Immediately following the penultimate episode of Top Chef, we instant-messaged with Jimmy Bradley, the chef and restaurateur behind the Red Cat, the Mermaid Inn, and the Harrison, and the co-author of The Red Cat Cookbook. Last year’s winner, Harold Dieterle, was a sous-chef at the Harrison, so we thought Jimmy might have an interesting angle on the battle between Ilan, Sam, Elia, and the much-maligned Marcel.
Back of the House
‘Top Chef’ Fans Going Wild OnlineUpdate: Snack reports that Ilan Hall has quit his line cook post at Casa Mono. Let the speculation as to whether this is because he won the show or lost it begin!
The Top Chef fans have spoken – or, rather, they’ve been bitching on the Internet. As America waits to find out whether Sam, Ilan, Elia, or Marcel gets the boot in tonight’s penultimate episode, it’s clear that the crowd’s heart is with Marcel, the Joël Robuchon cook the rest of the cast has been bullying all season. “I’m full of impotent rage at the idea that Ilan, Sam or Elia will win either of the competitions (fan favorite or Top Chef),” writes baconeggs on Television Without Pity.