Little preview from Lauren Fleming's latest What's Cooking column: This coming Sunday, June 14, at 9 p.m., drop by frequent Meal Ticket haunt The Sidecar to meet Katie Cavuto, the Philly girl who's doing us proud on the latest season of Next Food Network Star. (The first episode ï¿½ï¿½ source of the photo above ï¿½ just aired this Sunday.)
The fifth season of the Next Food Netï¿½work Star is underway, and if one of the contestants looks familiar, itï¿½s because Philaï¿½delphiaï¿½s got a representative: Katie Cavï¿½uto, a native and owner of Healthy Bites (a business that brings nutritional meals right to your door), is celebrating her appearance on the show with a little party at the Sidecar. Guests will get a chance to meet Cavuto, watch the second episode, swig some brews and root for our girl. Sidecar Bar & Grille, 2201 Christian St., 215-732-3429, thesidecarbar.com.
Cavuto was recently featured in Lauren F. Friedman's piece on Philly Kitchen Share.
Bravo's Top Chef Masters, featuring all manner of cantankerous, egomaniacal celebrity chefs fighting with each other in the name of sodding charity, starts next Wednesday, and Team Meal Ticket could not be more excited. (Yes, we'll be doing recaps. Aren't you excited? No? Hello? Wait, where are you going? You just got here!)
But what about the regular Top Chef season? Where will it be? We're sure you've heard the Philly rumors, partially spurned by the March casting call held at XIX. No dice on that, unfortunately ï¿½ those crazy kids are heading to Sin City. This just in from the network (looks like the stratifying Toby Young will be back!):
"Top Chef: Las Vegas" Set For Season Six
NEW YORK ï¿½ June 2, 2009 ï¿½ What happens in Vegas airs on Bravo ï¿½ "Top Chef" moves to Sin City for season six.ï¿½ The Emmy and James Beard Award-winning No.1 food show on cable, "Top Chef," returns with host Padma Lakshmi and head judge chef Tom Colicchio, alongside judges Gail Simmons and Toby Young.ï¿½
"Top Chef" offers a fascinating window into the competitive, pressure-filled environment of world-class cookery and the restaurant business at the highest level. The series features aspiring chefs who compete for their shot at culinary stardom and the chance to earn the prestigious title of "Top Chef." "Top Chef: New York" was the series' highest rated season ever, averaging almost three million adults 18-49 and almost four million total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. Additionally, the season five finale was the highest rated telecast ever for the series among adults 18-49 and total viewers (with almost five million).
We've heard plenty of rumors about a few Philly cooks who may or may not be appearing on this season, but nothing substantiated as of yet. If/when we get confirmation, you'll be the first to know.
To watch, go to http://vendr.tv/live.
Last time Martha did some Philly stuff, she hated on some cheesesteaks and then I hated on philly.com for making "cheesesteak" two words.
I am a huge LOST dork, meaning I'm freaking out a little bit about tonight's two-hour Season 5 finale. Here's a really, really nerdy good way to theme up your viewing party: Max Pictures has a huge archive of Dharma Initiative labels you can affix to the food and drink products around your house. (For those who don't know, Dharma was a mysterious empirical organization that traveled to the island to study its unique scientific and supernatural properties, only to ... you know what? I'm not even going to attempt to explain any more because you'll call me a liar/crazy/both.)
Anyways, you can print out PDFs to nerd up your booze stockade ï¿½ they've got sake, tequila and "amber lager," vodka, stout (above) and Merlot. Plenty of food labels, too ï¿½ if guacamole, potato chips, Vienna sausages or extra-large pitted olives are on the menu tonight, you're golden.
Have fun, and don't tell any non-LOST heads you're doing this or they'll think you're insane.
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) ï¿½ ABC is teaming with British chef Jamie Oliver and Ryan Seacrest for a new series that gives healthy makeovers to an entire city.
Oliver will travel to the unhealthiest places in America and find ways to use nearby resources to improve local eating habits. The network has ordered six hours of the project from Ryan Seacrest Productions.
The series is loosely inspired on Oliver's acclaimed school lunch project in the U.K., where the chef set about to improve kids' nutrition. His effort to improve one school's offerings, documented in the 2005 series "Jamie's School Dinners," shamed educators into passing new measures to ban certain junk foods.
A recent Men's Fitness poll says we're currently the 20th least fit city in the United States, a significant improvement from 1999, when we were ranked number one in overall fatassery. Will this affect our chances of getting Oliver in the 215?ï¿½ Let's hope he and his crew realize that ï¿½ numbers be damned ï¿½ we are obese in spirit.
Cool read from the May 1 NYT on how New York-based Top Chef contestants fare once the show's over. Featured are Leah from Season 5, Season 1 winner Harold, Season 3 winner Hung and Season 4 contestant Nikki. The skinny: Though $100K and the title of Top Chef (not to mention the Gladware!) looks quite sexy on paper, it doesn't always go far in translating to off-screen success:
... [Harold] Dieterle, for his part, quickly learned that investors were more interested in a solid business plan than a star turn on a reality show, and that his winnings wouldnï¿½t go far.
"It's kind of like being handed a case of vodka and saying, go open a bar," he said. "It's not going to happen."
Lackluster 2007 review from the Times notwithstanding, at least Harold owns his own restaurant. The same can't be said for Hung, my favorite Top Chef winner to date:
As the months dragged on, however, one location after another fell through. Finally, in January, Mr. Huynh decided to strike out on his own. But the offers that rushed in immediately after the show have slowed, and the current economic climate has made investors increasingly averse to risk.
"I'm dying right now," Mr. Huynh said with a grin to show he was joking, sort of. "I'm not a celebrity chef. A celebrity has money. A chef has a restaurant. I have neither."
I thought about it, and I couldn't come up with single reason why I shouldn't post this. Cheers to you, DJ Steve Porter.
Non-Colicchio'ed version of the picture after the jump.
Top Chef host and constant Meal Ticket fixation Padma Lakshmi recently posed for Allure's Naked Issue, which hits newsstands on April 21. Her brief Q&A with the magazine is sure to infuriate people with weight issues worldwide:
ALLURE: What did you do to prepare for the shoot?
PADMA LAKSHMI: "I exercised a little bit extra, but I actually think I look better when I have a little bit of weight on ï¿½ my breasts are fuller, and I'm curvier than when I'm at my thinnest."
Crazy ï¿½ I feel like I look better when I gain weight, too! We have sooooo much in common, Padma.
Check out the premier episode of Rob Rawlings and Brendan Huffman's Salt Pepper Ketchup, a new Web series celebrating Philly street food. This one focuses on breakfast sandwiches. They'll release new installments every Tuesday at noon.
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