Saturday, February 13, 2010

Food News About And Around – Top Chef; Mayo Without Eggs; A Bocuse D’or Backer-Outer And Ripert And Bourdain Chat On Radio

Top Chef Masters

The chefs for the second season of Top Chef Masters have been selected and there are a few repeats from the first go-around - unfortunately, not my fav though, Michael Chiarello. (He obviously did so well last time that they didn’t want to hand it to him on a silver platter.)

Mark Peel, Wylie Dufresne and Rick Moonen are back, as are Ludo Lefebvre, Jonathan Waxman and Graham Elliot Bowles. I wonder if people will say those chefs had the advantage of competing before if any of them win?

Of the new chefs, one of my favorites is Susan Feniger. She’s one half of the Too Hot Tamales. I’ve always liked Govind Armstrong too, (he’s hot), and I’m excited to see Marcus Samuelsson. The full list of all the competitors is here.

The judges are the same as last time - critic Gael Greene, Saveur editor-in-chief, James Oseland, food critic Jay Rayner and Top Chef judge Gail Simmons. Kelly Choi will be back as the host. BTW, Gail is getting her own show on Bravo to host, Top Chef Just Desserts.

The second season of Top Chef Masters will start on March 7 at 11 pm, before moving to 10 pm the following week.

Homemade Mayonnaise Without Eggs?

Is it possible? Most definitely. Amanda Hesser reports on her website, Food52, on the making of this magical mayo. It’s from David Leite's book, The New Portuguese Table.

What’s the magic ingredient? Whole milk. Yup, apparently whole milk and oil DO emulsify to make a light silky mayonnaise. The secret seems to be adding the oil VERY slowly at the beginning.

Here’s another story about this wonderful eggless mayo and it includes some of David Leite’s interesting variations as well.

Bocuse D’Or Drop-Out

I really don’t mean that to sound so negative, because I thought it was dumb, IN THE FIRST PLACE, when Kevin Gillespie won a chance to compete for a place on the American team of the Bocuse d’Or competition. Let’s be honest, maybe we could see one of the Brothers V competing in this imposing challenge, but Kevin? He's too relaxed, too nice, too laid back.

NOTE: Kevin won this opportunity in the episode that had me weeping (well, VERY misty-eyed, at least) at the end.

So what exactly happened when Kevin Gillespie dropped out of the Bocuse D’Or competition, just weeks before it was to be held at the CIA in Hyde Park, NY?

OR, at least, THAT'S when Andrew Friedman, writing on his website, Toqueland, noticed that Kevin’s name was no longer on the list of competitors. He called Bocuse d'Or USA for clarification and reported on January 22nd that he was out. (Friedman is also the author of Knives At Dawn, about the US quest to win the Bocuse D’Or.)

WHY did Kevin drop out? Because “he didn't have time to prepare, and didn't want to let the country down. He felt like there was somebody else who deserved that spot. He's a perfectionist and didn't feel like he could do his best with everything going on,” reported a spokesperson.

The “everything going on” is his commitment to Bravo to do all kinds of appearances and other promotional activities. It’s a shame when those things prevent a chef from actually chef-ing. The committee invited him (I have no idea WHY) to participate again in the 2013 try-outs (held in 2012).

It’s not that I think Kevin, himself, is so ill-equipped to compete for a Bocuse D’Or spot. It’s that the chefs, who DO compete, completely dedicate themselves to the preparation of it for months in advance. (In Europe, they allow many months – or more – to prepare.) Here's more background on what it takes to get ready.

Tom Colicchio, in his lengthy blog post at the time, definitely thought Kevin deserved at shot. Would he say that now, I wonder?

The chef who was selected to take his place, Jim Burke, executive chef/owner of James restaurant in Philadelphia, was – in HIS OWN words – an underdog. He got a late start because he was filling in for Kevin and, because he owns and cooks at his own restaurant, he didn’t have a big organization behind him. He turned out to be right.

The winner of the Bocuse D’Or USA competition, held at the beginning of February, was James Kent, Sous Chef, from Danny Meyer's Eleven Madison Park in New York. His assistant was another sous chef from Eleven Madison, Tom Allan.

The Tony and Eric Show

Anthony Bourdain, the Howard Stern of the cooking world and Eric Ripert, singular in his gracious- and graceful–ness, will be joining together to host a food-centric radio show, Turn and Burn.

A lot of publicity has been given to one feature of the show, which will “expand the food porn genre into radio.” Basically, Tony will describe culinary wonders in an erotic way and then delight in trying to get Eric’s more restrained narrative of said items to become increasingly profane.

THAT part seems like a huge waste of two culinary geniuses. I LOVE the idea of a food show on radio. I could listen to folks talking about food forever, but why bother with the blue slant on the show?

Why not let Tony be Tony and talk as he wishes, but also let Eric be Eric and let us hear his elegant musings on culinary matters, rather than simply trying to shock us by being a Bourdain/wanna-be.

The language can go where it will, as the show will be broadcast on Sirius/XM on the Martha Stewart Living Radio station.

The idea for the pairing came about as a result of the two chefs appearing on At Martha's Table on Sirius/XM. Guests will include Martha and Mario Batali and the show will have an initial run of five weeks, airing every Thursday from 7 to 8 pm, beginning February 18th on Sirius channel 112, and XM channel 157.

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