Top Chef Masters Season 5

Summer of Top Chef love starts tonight with the first episode of Top Chef Masters  – woot! Not sure how much love the chefs will be feeling once they find out their first challenge is . . . skydiving? Really, Bravo? I was ready to go find a tranquilizer just WATCHING this preview. Not sure I would have made it on the plane; I certainly wouldn’t have made it off like this: I enjoy Top Chef Masters, in part because they compete for charity – a $100,000 prize! – and seem much more . . . collaborative. No claws. Bryan Voltaggio makes the jump from Top Chef finalist (Season 6) to Top Chef Masters contestant, the first chef ever to make that jump. And in this season’s Top Chef twist, each chef is represented online by sous chef – well-deserved exposure for an equally talented group. Here is tonight’s clip: I’m going to try my hand at live tweeting tonight’s episode. You can follow me on Twitter...

Jon Stewart likes Top Chef, too

Jon Stewart was on fire last night, taking on Congress’ inability to avoid sequestration-related spending cuts and relating it to . . . to . . . wait for it . . . Top Chef! “There are worse penalties for fucking up on Top Chef than there are in Congress,” he says. “At least there you gotta pack your knives and go.” Here’s the hilarious 2:22 second clip: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Political Humor & Satire Blog,The Daily Show on Facebook   I liked Stefan and CJ too, Jon. And you’re right, what was the deal with Josie? Top Chef is over but not...
Top Chef Season 10 finale

Top Chef Season 10 finale

And the winner is . . . You know it by now. In an oddly staged Iron Chef-meets-The Voice final elimination challenge, Brooke Williamson and Kristen Kish went head-to-head in front of a live studio audience in the last challenge of a 2-part finale. Prior to the challenge, the finalists were instructed to plan five courses, with no direction other than they must use scallops in the second course and snapper in the fourth. All the food they ordered was provided as specified, and they chose their sous-chefs in advance. (Brooke chose CJ and Stefan while Kristen went with Sheldon and Lizzie.) So far so good . . . all they had to do was show up and make the best food they could. Their only twist was the live audience – Brooke was visibly shocked when she walked into what I’ll have to call Top Chef Stadium – but that wasn’t a deal-breaker for either one. Judges chose a winner in each round, and the first cheftestant to earn three votes would earn the title Top Chef. It was a bold finale format, and one that seems overwhelmingly unpopular, if you rely on Twitter as a measure. Props to the producers for trying to come up with something new and innovative, but there was a fatal flow that was obvious to viewers by 50 minutes past the hour . . . we all knew with 10 minutes still left in the challenge that Kristen would win. The chefs were just starting to make their snapper dishes, and Kristen had already won won rounds 1 and 3. There just wouldn’t...
Foodie flip-flops: Chef Michelle Bernstein and Havaiana

Foodie flip-flops: Chef Michelle Bernstein and Havaiana

Oh my gosh, I almost missed seeing these. Chef Michelle Bernstein designed a limited-edition line of pins so we can custom-make foodie Havaianas. Whatever you have heard is true- Haviainas are the best flip-flop ever. I should know, since I spend the majority of my time wearing either these or Ugg boots. It’s part of living in Santa Cruz, you know – stilettos and sand just don’t seem to mesh. You probably only have another couple of days to order yourself a pair online – here’s the link. Here are the goofy/cute pins you have to choose from. Looks like the mustard is sole out, but you can still get a pickle and a glass of...

Tom Colicchio’s movie about hunger: A Place at the Table

James Beard award-winning celebrity chef, cookbook author, Top Chef executive producer and judge, the brains and talent behind the Craft and ‘wichcraft restaurant empire, bald salad ruiner, and lifesaving party guest Tom Colicchio has just spread his Renaissance Man wings a little farther. He is the executive producer of a A Place at the Table, a documentary that examines the issue of food insecurity. In a San Francisco Chronicle interview, Colicchio explains how this topic of food insecurity organically came to him and his wife, filmmaker Lori Siverbush: “My wife was mentoring a young girl and she realized that she was often hungry,” Colicchio says. “In fact, we got her into a school that we thought would better suit her, but it didn’t have a breakfast program – breakfast and lunch were the only two meals she was having all day. One day she got a call from the principal, who said, ‘She’s always looking for food. She’s always hungry.’ We didn’t realize how bad it was at home, and so that got Lori thinking, ‘Is there a film here? Is there something we can do?’ “Read more People who are food-insecure don’t always know where their next meal is coming from. Statistically, 1 in 6 Americans don’t have access to enough food to sustain a healthy life. This includes children. Senior citizens. Working parents. In fact, 36% of clients served by the organization Feeding America have at least one working parent in the household, and toss those misconceptions aside . . . only 10% are homeless. In a 2010 Newsweek article, Claudia Kalb defines food insecurity as not having enough...

Top Chef Season 10 Recap: journey to the finale

The final episode of Top Chef Seattle is almost here . . . a few more days, and we all find out who will have earned the title of Top Chef Season 10! I’ve been a fan since discovering the show in Season 3 and think this is probably the Best Season Ever, in part because there were so many personable and talented female chefs. Brooke, Kristen, and Lizzie all stood out by mid-season, not just for their talent but for their professionalism and character. My bet back then was already on an all-female finale, and woot! I was right! Kristen Kish and Brooke Williamson battle it out Wednesday, February 27 at 10/9c for the title. Who will win? Kristen has proven herself to be resilient and intuitive, probably a true genius at innovating a dish. Brooke is talented beyond her years, with an innate sense of taking creative chances that really do pay off in the end. It could honestly go either way, if neither one makes a mistake. Going by the numbers, it seems Kristen has the edge. Brooke won 5 elimination challenges and scored high in an additional 2, but 3 of those wins came after Kristen was gone. Kristen beat Brooke in those challenges where Brooke scored high but didn’t win – episodes 4 and 7 – and beat her in episode 10. Kristen has also been fighting in the Last Chance Kitchen. But intuitively, I think Brooke will take the title. She owns two restaurants and has been cooking longer than Kristen, and I think that gives her the edge. It will definitely be...

Top Chef Season 10: Last Chance Kitchen winner

The Last Last Chance Kitchen ended with Tom Colicchio leaving us wondering which chef – between Lizzie or Kristen – would earn a place back in the Top Chef finale. Here’s the final installment; the first two and a half minutes serve as a highlight reel of the Last Chance Kitchen episodes, and it ends with the winning chef being introduced into the competition. I would have liked to see Tom announcing the winner IN the kitchen, as always. The losing chef should have had a chance to congratulate the winner and say her final words. You know who the winner is by now, though, right? Congratulations Kristen Kish! Content and/or other value provided by our partner,...

The Last Last Chance Kitchen: Josh vs. Save a Chef Winner vs. Kristen

The final Top Chef Seattle Season 10 Last Chance Kitchen began with Tom Colicchio introducing the two eliminated chefs from last week’s final Save A Chef battle: CJ Jacobson and Lizzie Binder. Chef CJ was kicked off along with Tyler Wiard back in episode 5’s “Pike Place Pickle,” famously and angrily observing afterward, “It’s not ‘Top Team Chef;’ it’s ‘Top Chef.'” He went on to win seven Last Chance Kitchen battles in a row, losing only against Kristen Kish after her Restaurant Wars elimination, and along the way won a Twitter following loyal enough to keep him in the running, even in a close race against Stefan Richter. But was his following strong enough to crown him the Save A Chef king? Chef Lizzie was much more in the eyes of the network viewing audience, lasting all the way to the final four. She was eliminated because of the lack of seasoning on her sourdough and salmon sandwich in episode 14’s “Kings of Alaska.” As she said in her Last Chance Kitchen, she understood why she was lost. The challenge had stirred up bittersweet memories of her father, a fisherman who recently passed away. “You cook from your heart, and there it was. All that sadness, out there.” Lizzie was close to redemption, turning out an excellent salmon dish that Tom took quite a shine to, but in the end Kristen took the Last Chance Kitchen win. Lizzie moved on to the Save A Chef contest, for one last opportunity to try and get into that finale. Back to the Last Chance Kitchen. Tom brought CJ and Lizzie in front of...

30 Rock’s bald salad ruiner

30 Rock may be over, but the zingers will live on forever. Did Liz Lemon really call Top Chef judge, life saver, and all-around chef extraordinaire Tom Colicchio a bald salad ruiner? Click through to watch the final episode and see for yourself!

Top recipe: Michael Voltaggio makes Josh’s fried chicken

The simplest things are generally the hardest to make well. The challenge in Top Chef Episode 12 was straightforward – make great fried chicken. Josh was the clear winner, brining the meat like his grandpa taught him and making this smoked fried chicken with hot sauce and blue cheese. I love it! This would be a great dish for a summer weekend dinner with some friends, my favorite dijon potato salad, and a bottle of pinot grigio. Michael Voltaggio shows us how it’s done:...

Last Chance Kitchen 9: Josie vs Kristen

It’s grudge match that was written in the stars: popular favorite Top Chef Kristen Kish, who took the fall for Josie Smith-Malave’s poor time management and insubordination in last week’s Restaurant Wars, faces Josie one last time in the Last Chance Kitchen after Josie was booted for her greasy fried chicken. “We can take a minute to be friendly about the challenge, yeah?” Josie asks, acknowledging the tension in the car as she and Kristen drive from the Last Chance Kitchen to Pike Market. (It’s a hybrid Toyota Camry, by the way. Kristen is driving.) “Totally,” smiles Kristen, always graceful under pressure. They are on there way to Seattle’s Pike Market, each instructed to pick out the nicest salmon they can find. After some antics with the fishmongers – is that a stunt fish Kristen kisses or fresh catch? – they return to the kitchen, where Tom finishes explaining the challenge: they have 30 minutes to break down their whole salmon, portion it into ten identical pieces, and create ten composed dishes. The clock ticks down. The eliminated chefs wince right along with Tom as they watch Kristen and Josie inexpertly butcher the fish. CJ calls out encouragement to Josie – was he sensing hostility toward her from someone else? Kristen’s salmon is prepared with crispy skin and pickled pineapple, pickled raisins, shaved cauliflower, and creme fraiche. It’s not a perfect dish; the raisins don’t plump Josie’s made fennel pollen-dusted salmon with fennel, radish, and tarragon salad. The fennel pollen drew raves for the lovely aroma, but she dropped a piece of salmon on the floor and they were overcooked....

Cook like a Top Chef

This is for all you Top Chef Seattle fans wanting to duplicate a favorite dish from a challenge AND for the home cooks out there wanting to make something a little special one night – here’s a site for you to bookmark. Bravo TV has a searchable database of Top Chef recipes. Keep reading for the scoop.

Michael Voltaggio makes Kristen’s mushrooms and onions

In Top Chef: Seattle Episode 4 Chef Kristen Kish won a whopping $10,000 from Healthy Choice for her 50’s Food Flashback: French fried onions and French mushrooms. I want these – they looked so good! Luckily Top Chef Season Six winner Michael Voltaggio is here on Top Recipe to show us how: Content and/or other value provided by our partner,...