This Is A 10 Foot Bratwurst Jumping Over State Street Bridge In Chicago. You’re Welcome.

This Is A 10 Foot Bratwurst Jumping Over State Street Bridge In Chicago.  You're Welcome.Conan O’Brien is on location filming in Chicago this week.  Because he’s Conan O’Brien and decided to start things off by launching a 10-ft bratwurst over the State Street Bridge. You’re welcome.

Munchies, Andrew Zimmern’s New Food Awards, Announce Nominees

So the James Beard Awards these might not be.  But how cool is it that there’s a new award for the food industry (even if it is a corporate sponsored shill type of thing)  And culinary freak-show Andrew Zimmern is part of it.

The new awards are sponsored by Tablespoon.com, which is owned by General Mills.  They cover almost everything that could be covered by food awards: chefs, print media, TV, restaurants, even individual dishes.  They’re being billed as the “People’s Choice Food Awards,” which means that users are able to vote on the winners.  The nominees were chosen by a 13-person panel of culinary experts, including Zimmern, food writer Mark Kurlansky and Twitter personality Ruth Bourdain.

Given that it’s a new award, it pits some industry legends against up and comers for some categories.  Which is weird.  Who wants to be up against the French Laundry.  Not this cook, I’ll tell you that much.  Still, there are some interesting picks. Read the full list below, and vote on your favorites at Tablespoon.com until April 30: Continue reading

PBS Has A New Series On Food, And It’s Called “Food Forward”

The documentary series Food Forward will be debuting soon on a PBS affiliate near you, sometime in either April or May.  The show aims to “reveal the compelling stories and inspired solutions envisioned by food rebels across America who are striving to create a more just, sustainable and delicious alternative to what we eat and how we produce it.”  Each episode will focus on a major food issue (fishing, farming, processed food, etc) and the people making positive advances in those fields.  Below you’ll see bits from a segment on chef David Kinch and the biodynamic, sustainable farming he does for his Los Gatos, CA restaurant Manresa. Continue reading

Top Chef Texas – Finale

Top Chef Texas - FinaleSo it’s the finale.  The big enchilada.  A four course tasting menu in a beautiful restaurant.  A mini restaurant wars.  Competing to be the sous chefs are a smattering of folks who’d left weeks before.  The poor bastard who hacksaw butchered the pig in the first episode, is back.
Top Chef Texas - Finale

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Top Chef Texas – Fire and Ice – And Then There Were Two

Top Chef Texas - Fire and Ice - And Then There Were TwoBack to Whistler this week.  Down to three chefs.  The chefs arrive in Vancouver and get their coats on.  They’re in Chinatown.  Greeted by Emeril and Padma (in a wacky leather top) the chefs are about to get their Quickfire on.

Three Top Chef Masters pop out of the back of the restaurant.  Each chef draws a knife to pair up with a Master.  It’s a tag team Quickfire with your Master Chef and 20 grand up for grabs.  You don’t get to communicate with your Master Chef, you just get to tag off every 10 minutes.  Scary.  You can see why the Top Chef Masters are indeed Masters.  Totally relaxed, totally together.  40 minutes seems to go by in a flash.Top Chef Texas - Fire and Ice - And Then There Were Two

Lindsay and Anita made a dish with scallops three ways.  It seems as though the judges really like it.  Sarah and Floyd made a cod and crab curry dish.  They seem to be on the same page.  No clue what the judges thought.  Paul and Takashi had geoduck.  Paul thought he might have overdone it with Thai chili seeds.  He was right.  Padma, who likes hot food, thought it was it bit much.  Methinks Sarah and Floyd have won it.  And they did.  Sarah walks off 20 grand – she’s won 30 grand since getting to Canada.

Elimination Challenge.  The three contestants are throwing a fire and ice party.  One dish, one cocktail.  Incorporate fire and ice in the dishes (whatever that happens to mean to you), serving 150 culinary elite.Top Chef Texas - Fire and Ice - And Then There Were Two

The chefs run off in their van to Whole Foods and crash through the store, as usual. Chefs get into the kitchen and start ripping into their food.  Paul is hacking up live lobsters.  Sarah is making fresh pasta for 150 people.  Lindsay is revisiting Halibut (the dish that got royally screwed up during restaurant wars.)  There’s a lot of focusing on Fiji water bottles.  That’s too bad, given they’re an awful corporation.  Horrible.  Heartless.

The judges show up wearing winter coats.  Clearly they’re taking the fire and ice thing literally.  Paul serves a King crab dish with lemon snow and a rum Thai chili drink.  Sarah plates up a Five Greens Filled Pasta, and a rum drink.  Her foam on the drink is a rock.  The cocktail and the dish don’t pair too well.  Lindsay is last up.  She pops out a Halibut with Fiery Celery Root.  Her drink is an Escondido.  Each chef has some ups and downs.  Judges seem a bit on the fence on who’s doing what.Top Chef Texas - Fire and Ice - And Then There Were Two

Ever elegant Padma walks in and calls them to judges table, walking through the snow to get there.  Paul’s dish was a bit mild on heat, his arugula seemed like an afterthought, but otherwise seemed like it went over well with the judges.  Sarah’s mousse was just too frozen.  Brave dish, somewhat poor execution on some aspects.  The judges also liked Lindsay’s dish.  The fish was overpowered by the tomato a bit, the cocktail overpowered things a bit, but the pairing made the judges happy.  All good dishes, none flawless, however.  Back to the stew room/train-car, through the snow.

Tough call then.  No one looks particularly comfortable making the call.  One imagines they were left in the stew room for quite a while.  Padma makes one of those let’s toss things up and call the “runner-up” first.  Sarah is moving on to the finale.  So it’s between Lindsay and Paul.  Who’s going home.  Lindsay is heading home.  She just turns and walks out, clearly not wanting to talk to anyone.  I’m pretty sure I’d have the same reaction.  I was fairly certain Sarah would go home for having a frozen black of ice atop some pasta.  That seemed fairly glaring.  It was like a piece of solid carbon on the plate.  Who the hell wants to eat that.  I’m not a big Lindsay or Sarah fan.  I just think Sarah deserved to go home more than Lindsay and I’m afraid Sarah could go home with the whole thing.  That would be annoying, to say the least.Top Chef Texas - Fire and Ice - And Then There Were Two

Paul moves on.  He’s actually the winner, so he gets to go on vacation as well.  Nice.  Lindsay looks devastated.  Poor girl.  Sarah knew all along it would be her versus Paul.  She should buy a lottery ticket then.

One show left.  One competition.  And then we get to end this thing and see who’s Top Chef.  Who the hell is it going to be?  Here’s hoping it’s Paul but we’ll have to wait till next week to find out.

Top Chef Texas – Culinary Games

Top Chef Texas - Culinary GamesWe return this week not in Texas but in Canada – Vancouver to be exact.  That’s pretty far from Texas.  The chefs all rejoin in Canada – as always some with different hair and things going on.  People are even somewhat happy to see Bev.  Another Toyota mention.  Thanks – I had forgotten, what with all the product placement and ham fisted references.

Chef’s get a message to head up to Whistler – big mountain that.  We get plenty of time to look at the inside of Toyota’s van on the way.  Thanks.  Whistler Olympic Park is bustling – and snowy. Continue reading