Got a note on an open casting call going down this coming Friday, Feb. 5, at the Loews Hotel (1200 Market St.) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It's for a new Food Network show called 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, which apparently involves five-person teams (familial relationships or some other kind of close-knit hook preferred) tackling the always-ridiculous task of running a restaurant. Kinda sounds like The Amazing Race, except with espresso at the end, or an entire series running with the Top Chef "Restaurant Wars" idea. Here's FN's official description of the show.
Check out full details on the casting call after the jump, and be sure to let us know if any of y'all end up going for it.
Food Network and the producers of The Next Food Network Star are looking for teams for a new competition series!
Have you always dreamed of running your own restaurant? Does your wife, husband, brother, sister, mother, partner or friend share that dream?
Do you make restaurant quality meals at home and want to show that you can take it to the next level? Are you a pro in the kitchen while your teammate is a star in the front of the house? Are you ready to prove that you have what it takes to run a restaurant? If so, we want to meet you!
WHO SHOULD APPLY: Two- Five person teams with pre-existing relationships: Couples, ex-husband & wife, father & daughter, brothers, sisters, twins, cousins, best friends etc. or A family; mom, dad, and kids, Grandparents, aunts and uncles, groups of very close friends, etc.
The Skills to Run a Restaurant: Applicants may have no restaurant experience, a ton of experience, or some combination of the two. One member of the team will be the chef and run the kitchen, and the another will run the "front of the house," so all we ask is that you have the skills to, as a team, actually run a restaurant.
Personality that Pops: Are you and your teammate charismatic and outgoing? We're looking for lots of energy and charm!
OPEN CASTING CALLS:
Date: Friday, February 5, 2010
Time: 10am - 3pm
Location: Loews Hotel
1200 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19107
Selleck Waterfall Sandwich is a Tumblr that features photos of Magnum P.I., accompanied by various sandwiches, Photoshopped into idyllic waterfall scenes.
The image above features our very own cheesesteak kicking it in a tropical locale with Mr. Baseball himself. You can tell it's a cheesesteak because it is wearing a Phillies hat.
Selleck Waterfall Sandwich is hands down the greatest Web site we have ever seen and it makes us question why we're even attempting to do this whole blog thing. Way to make us feel like Salieri, jerks.
Chef Konstantinos Pitsillides tells Meal Ticket his Cypriot restaurant (1001 Spruce St.) will be featured on a Jan. 22 episode of the Food Network's The Best Thing I Ever Ate. (If you haven't seen the show, it's basically a strung-together series of sit-down interview segments featuring FN chefs, hosts and other food personalities discussing their most cherished dishes.)
Pitsillides, who chuckled when we asked him if he's ever watched the show before ("No"), tells us FN came in and filmed him preparing his Cyprus Breakfast plate, a killer spread of olive oil-fried eggs, halloumi cheese, lounza (smoked pork) and fresh-baked bread. The network wouldn't tell Pitsillides which talking head picked the dish as the best thing he/she ever ate. Could be anyone, really, but we'd be inclined to put our money on either Iron Chef Jose Garces or Unwrapped host Marc Summers, whose production company is based locally.
The eBay auction for this Blackfish guest chef menu signed by 10 Arts chef de cuisine/Top Chef finalist Jennifer Carroll ï¿½ plus a $100 Blackfish gift card ï¿½ ends this evening, so be sure to get your bids in while you still can (it's up to $132.50 as of right now). One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale go to Philabundance.
Christina Hendricks, who plays the diabolically beautiful Joan Harris on Meal Ticket obsession Mad Men, is amazing in real life too because she hosts holiday parties catered by NPH's boyfriend and mixes pretty cocktails. Head to People's site for the recipe for Red's "Corzo Pumpkin Spice Cocktail," which combines Corzo Reposado tequila, pumpkin spice liquor, OJ and agave nectar/simple syrup. Also, Don Draper is ENDLESSLY COMPLEX.
If you watched last night's Monday Night Football for more than a few offensive series, you probably saw all three of these locally produced South Philly pizzeria commercials. All three are amazing and all three raise hilarious potential copyright infringement concerns.
This Uncle Tomy's ad, featuring an amazing Hulk impersonator, is new to television, but has already won serious respect from us. ABSOLUTELY THE BEST PIZZA AROUND, BROTHER!
This ad for Not Just Pizza, or NJP, flips "OPP" in a way you can probably imagine. Our favorite part is the dude in the gorilla suit dancing next to the dude in the banana suit. Also, watch this slightly older NJP ad if you want to see a terrifying demonic CGI penguin who talks like the AFLAC duck. (Just ... watch it.)
This one's been around the longest of the three ï¿½ Steak 'Em Up's ad reworks a notable tune by a notable band whose name rhymes with "The Smars."
Stephen Starr made his first appearance on Bravo's Top Chef during Season 5's Restaurant Wars episode. For Top Chef Las Vegas, he sat at the Final Table during last night's finale episode. Meal Ticket caught up with the restaurateur today to get his thoughts on the experience.
Some Top Chef fans here in the city are sore over the fact that they always identify you as the owner of Morimoto and Buddakan in New York, but gloss over all your restaurants in Philly. What's up with that?
The first time I was on [Top Chef New York], it was a totally new experience, and I had no idea what they would do. I had barely watched the show and I didn't know much about it. I don't know why they didn't say that. If I do it again, I would make sure they say that I'm the owner of restaurants in both Philly and New York. My guess is they're sort of not giving us the respect we deserve, just honing in on New York. And of course, that's ridiculous. Philly is our home, and most of what I do is here.
Did you feel as though the format for this final table ï¿½ï¿½ mandatory dessert, the "mystery box" ï¿½ damaged the finalists' ability to showcase their strengths?
It probably hurt them. It's like playing in the World Series in 60-degree temperatures or 40-degree temperatures. What's easier on the pitcher and batter? It's better when things are controlled. If they figure out how to do their best and plan it in their heads, I think it'd be much easier and better.
Now I don't know when Tom Colicchio actually told them [about the various twists]. It might have been 7 in the morning. So if they were told that at 7 a.m., it's not as much as a curveball, since we taped until the late afternoon. But generally speaking, my answer would be that those curveballs would only hurt the chefs.
How long did the taping for the Final Table actually last?
Five or six hours? I don't know. I have all these confidentality agreements so I can only give you the broad view.
Based on what you tasted, do you feel as though the right chef came out on top?
It was really close. And at the end of the day, I was not the judge who made those decisions. I really liked that dessert with the pumpkin seeds. It was really good. People said it was dried out, but it didn't matter ï¿½ the flavors and consistencies were really good. I think that dessert was from the guy that won [Michael Voltaggio]. Bryan [Voltaggio] did the venison ï¿½ that may have been the best [entrï¿½e]. But if memory serves me well, I think that the right guy won.
I don't watch these things very often. I'm really way too busy to watch them every week, but I read on the Internet when people are like, "So and so should've won." But there's no way you can know who should've won by watching TV. You gotta eat it! I think that people really develop a fondness for the characters, like that guy with the beard [Kevin Gillespie]. He was a very folksy, likeable guy.
With so many palates at one table, there was bound to be some disagreements about specific dishes, right? Any disputes or differences in opinion that didn't make it onto the show?
Not really ... there were no major disagreements on this one. Tom Colicchio is excellent, by the way ï¿½ he really is almost a professor with his analysis of food. My opinions are very basic ï¿½ which may be better ï¿½ but Tom's are so much astute and prolific. He's really good.
Taking their styles and cooking in consideration, which of the three chefs would you most like to hire for one of your restaurants?
If you really want me to be very honest with you, the conditions by which we eat this food, the number of dishes we have ï¿½ it's not even close to being enough for me to determine if I would do a restaurant with them. If I were a judge the whole time, sure, I could figure it out.
Funny you say that, because leading up to the Final Table, they had the contestants saying stuff like, "This could make or break our careers!"
It's a television show, you know? It's a very well-done and successful one. It's inspired a lot of people to not only watch, but to want to cook.
You said you didn't care for the inclusion of bacon in Kevin's dessert. Safe to say we'll never see a bacon-laden dessert at a Starr restaurant?
Chefs are experimenting with lots of stuff, and pork has become a very important ingredient in cooking. Of course, it's always been. [That type of dessert] is being done a lot now ... but putting pork in a dessert for me is just gross. I don't want pig ice cream.
So are you not into that vein of experimentation?
When you're a young chef and you just start doing stuff for the sake of doing stuff ... your foundation needs to be strong. Your knowledge of classic techniques needs to be awesome. Then I think you start to play. That's the danger in cooking shows and things like this. Maybe a lot of people are going too quickly to the experimental stage before they have the basics down pat.
What are the chances of seeing a Top Chef season set in Philly in the future?
I don't know. Of course I put my two cents in that they should do that. I've pushed the producers. I told them they need to come to Philly, it's a great culinary town. I think they are considering it.
Last night, Top Chef's sixth season wrapped up in fairly dramatic fashion. Dramatic chair-leaning was involved.
First off, it should be said that this final three ï¿½ brothers Bryan and Mike, and Kevin ï¿½ is, in my opinion, the strongest in the show's history. Unlike last season, when I (and some of the rest of y'all, i'm guessing) boo-hissed at my screen due to the groan-inducing nature of the conclusion, I knew that all the remaining finalists were worthy adversaries for one another. While it's easy to argue that these three were groomed from the outset by producers based on their manifold archetypal value ï¿½ tall good-looking blonde dudes! vicious sibling rivalries! jolly Southern gentlemen! pork fetishes! tattoos! beards! ï¿½ you can't knock the numbers: This threesome combined to win 12 of the 13 elimination challenges this season. No joke.
To be honest, I was surprised and a little disappointed that they decided to switch up the free-for-all format of the final challenge this year. While in previous seasons the judges had final cheftestants cook up whatever they pleased (the transcendently beautiful Padma would always say something melodramatic like "cook us the best meal of life," and then make a series of sensual gesticulations), this year's ultimate challenge carried a barrage of stipulations and limitations that I believe hampered the overall results for the worse. At first, Bryan, Mike and Kevin are told that of the three courses they're required to cook, they'll have free reign over only one. For the other two, one must feature ingredients out of a Chopped mystery box (above ï¿½ rockfish, kobacha squash, meyer lemon, etc.), and the other ï¿½ the other must be DESSERT. Nooooooo.
Before they get their prep started, the chefs draw knives to see which eliminated contestants will back them up in the kitchen. Kevin pulls Preeti (who was probably offended by this facepalm-worthy WaPo correction) and Ash. Mike adds Jessi ("She's a workhorse") and Eli to his team. Bryan gets Ashley as well as our girl Jen.
While the three finalists sit and stew in a really nice hotel room, they're thrown for yet another loop when their adorable mothers show up and immediately start crying and matting down their sons' cowlicks with spitty fingers. This, of course, translates into even more work for the guys ï¿½ now that mamadukes action is in the house, they have to tack on a fourth course, one inspired by a favorite childhood dish.
The cheftestants cook, Kev gets mad at Preeti for chopping veggies too slow, Bryan reveals that he hunts to "be more in tune with his ingredients," yeahyeahyeah. The final table, at Douglas Keane's Cyrus, features all the usual suspects, plus a murderers' row of big-deal restaurateurs, including Sam Nazarian, Donatella Arpaia and Philly's own Stephen Starr.
Kevin's mom dish, chicken skin over a complex squash casserole, is a huge hit. His mystery box dish features a wack matsutake mushroom, and his pork belly is also poorly received ï¿½ odd, since pig is his wheelhouse. His similarily kosher-unfriendly dessert, a banana/peanut/chocolate/bacon deal, moves Starr to declare that he doesnt't want pork in his sweets.
Bryan's mom-homage sardine starter wins praise, but his sous-vide rockfish mystery box dish is deemed too safe by Gail. His venison/sunchoke purï¿½e main, on the other hand, is a smash, as is his polished dulce de leche cheesecake to round it all out.
Finally ï¿½ Mike dehydrates broccoli for his childhood memory plate (he was a picky eater), but serves an iffy spot prawn with it. His dashi-glazed rockfish is generally well-received, and the same goes for his squab breast with pistachio cassoulet and 'shrooms. A chocolate/caramel/squash coulant/brulee combo for dessert doesn't quite come full circle.
At judges' table, Kevin's zapped at the outset (the unfortunate timing of some personal issues might've played a part), so it comes down ï¿½ much to Bravo's devious glee, I'm sure ï¿½ to the Voltaggio brothers (have I mentioned that they have a SIBLING RIVALRY?!). Bryan's food is "well-presented and beautifully constructed," says Tom C, while his brother "reached high, and often delivered." So who the hell is rightly supposed to take this thing?
Mike Voltaggio is your new Top Chef, winning $125,000, the title, and psychological dominance over his older brother for years to come.
Questions and thoughts for y'all (let's hear what you have to say in the comments):
- Hell of a close call between these two, based on both season-long success and finale performance. What, at the end of the day, do you think bumped Mike past Bryan?
- What went wrong for Kevin in this episode?
- What did you think of all these final-table curveballs ï¿½ the mystery box, the mandatory dessert, the mom course? Good to level the playing field? Or squelching for the competitors?
- How much of a role ï¿½ in any ï¿½ did the Voltaggio sibling rivalry play in both of them to the very end?
- Is Mike the father of Padma's baby?
Check back on Meal Ticket a little later, when we'll chat with Stephen Starr about the Final Table.
Tonight at 8, P.Y.T. in the Piazza is hosting It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Quizzo, which we believe is the first Quizzo of its kind in the city. The three-round competition, hosted by P.Y.T. bartendress L'oreal (she also wrote all the questions), will feature gift certificates to Tommy Up's burger joint ($75, $50 and $25) as prizes, plus pitchers of beer as a reward for bonus rounds. It's Always Sunny's season finale airs at 10 p.m., after which point they'll kick off a game of "Flipadelphia" (aka the flip cup tourney featured in tonight's ep) at the bar.
We really enjoyed Stephen Starr's appearance on the last season of Top Chef -- he repped us well. Now comes word that the restaurateur will pull up a seat at the "Final Table" for tonight's episode, featuring cheftestants Kevin Gillespie, Michael Voltaggio and Bryan Voltaggio vying for the title. (Philly's own Jennifer Carroll was lamely sent home in part one of the finale last week.) We're sure he'll hold it down and provide some solid feedback during what is always our favorite challenge: When Padma and Co. tell the finalists to simply cook the best meal they've ever cooked. The results are always interesting.
Last week, we did a little poking around to try and determine which of the remaining chefs were hosting finale parties. Results here; do with them what you will.
- barstool scientist
- Brew Revue
- Chef Salad
- Dirty Dishes
- Don't Front
- Eat This Immediately
- Field Trip
- Food and Art
- Food and Holidays
- Food and Movies
- Food and Music
- Food and Politics
- Food and Sports
- Food and Web
- Food Blogs
- Food Books
- Food Events
- Food News
- Food TV
- Happy Hour Hopper
- In Print
- Meal Ticket
- Menu Time
- Not So Quickfire
- Notes from the Weekend
- On Wheels
- Patio Drinking
- Philly Beer Week 2010
- Private Chef POV
- Product Placement
- Snack Time
- Stiff Drank
- Ticket Stubs
- Top Chef
- Weekly Candy
- Weird Regional Foods
- We're Here to Help
- Where'd We Eat?
- Drew Lazor's Ill-Advised Rant Factory
- Ill-Advised Ranting
- The Week Without Meat
- Philly Beer Week 2009
- Real Big
- Where'd I Eat Last Night?
- Top Chef Masters
- The Good Word
- Next Iron Chef
- Arterial Terrorism
- Food and Radio