Mystery Client Cakes

Next on The Food Network Challenge: Mystery Client Cakes

Four pastry chefs must design a cake for a client they’ll meet only moments before the competition begins. The winning cake takes home $10K and is served at the event.  The fun begins on March 2 at 8:00!


Jorg Amsler
Owner, Truly Jorg’s Patisserie
Boston, Mass.
Assistant: Sean Pierce

Michelle Bommarito
Owner, Michelle Bommarito, LLC
Ferndale, Mich.
Assistant: Ryann Kelly Vargo

Andrea Carusetta
Owner, Sedona Cake Couture
Sedona, Ariz.
Assistant: Jay Blaut

Jason Ellis
Owner, Cakes by Jay
Glen Cove, N.Y.
Assistant: Joshua Russell

Introducing Top Chef Spike & Stephanie


Top_Chef_Spike AGE: 27

HOMETOWN: Clearwater Beach, FL – currently resides in Williamsburg, NY

PROFESSION: Chef de Cuisine, Mai House, Drew Nieporent


FAVORITE SIMPLE SPRING RECIPE: Lamb or Pig. A good Greek SPOOL lamb (salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon) on a spit.

Spike works as the chef de cuisine at Tribeca’s new hotspot restaurant, MAi-House, which was named as one of the New York Times’ top ten best restaurants. Born in Montreal, Canada and trained in classic French cuisine in restaurants around the world, Spike has worked with Gerard Boyer at Les Crayeres, Thomas Keller at Bouchon and The Maccioni Family at Le Cirque. Spike believes in learning the basics to become the best. His latest venture is opening a new chain, Good Stuff Eatery, with his family. The new restaurant features his weakness – hamburgers, hot dogs, fries and milkshakes.


Top Chef: Stephanie

Top_Chef_Stephanie AGE: 31

HOMETOWN: Stamford, Conn. – currently resides in Chicago, Ill.

CULINARY EDUCATION: University of Michigan (undergrad); Scottsdale Culinary Institute

FAVORITE SIMPLE SPRING RECIPE: Anything with green garlic such as gnocchi with clams, white asparagus and green garlic

Until recently, Stephanie was the chef/owner of Scylla in Chicago. She is now enjoying traveling, both domestically and abroad, while planning her next exciting venture. Stephanie’s biggest lure in cooking is seafood because the same fish can be cooked so many different ways – grilled, poached, cured, pan roasted – and this brings out different attributes, flavors and textures. Stephanie says in her cooking, contrasting and complementary elements are essential, but balance is non-negotiable. She has always been very driven and a bit of a risk-taker. "Once I set my mind to something, I follow through. It always has to be 110%."

Introducing Top Chef: Nimma and Richard

 Top-Chef-Nimma Two more Top Chef contestants


Top Chef: Nimma

AGE: 26

HOMETOWN: Peachtree City, Ga. – currently resides in Atlanta, Ga.

PROFESSION: Cook at Repast

CULINARY EDUCATION: Culinary Institute Of America FAVORITE SPRING RECIPE: Grilled freshly caught fish with some amazing olive oil and sea salt

A native of Peachtree City, Ga., Nimma earned her culinary degree from the Culinary Institute of America and is currently working as a cook at Repast restaurant in Atlanta. Her favorite thing to cook is pasta and she says she always has salt, pepper, green tea, coffee, and butter on hand.


Top-Chef-RichardTop Chef: Richard

AGE: 35

HOMETOWN: Uniondale, N.Y. – currently resides in Atlanta, Ga.

PROFESSION: Chef, culinary designer, Trail-Blais


FAVORITE SIMPLE SPRING RECIPE: Lamb meatballs with rhubarb & strawberry

Richard is not only a chef, but also a culinary designer, working all over the east coast. He and his wife reside in Atlanta, Ga., with their two weimaraners and are expecting their first child in the spring. He is known for his innovative and personal take on classical cuisine and has studied under luminaries such as Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud and Ferran Adria. Richard believes cooking is an art and a craft and food is meant to stimulate on many levels. He incorporates global ingredients, modern cooking methods, wit and a sense of humor to all his food. He says if he were a food he would be an artichoke. "It’s tough, difficult to work with, even dangerous at its core; but when you come down to it, it’s simple, beautiful and delicious."

Casting Call: Grill It!

Food Network’s new Bobby Flay series Grill It!, a spin-off of Throwdown with Bobby Flay, needs male and female master grillers to cook alongside Bobby. This is a non-competitive show and grillers from across the country are welcome to apply. For information on how to make a 3-minute casting tape, visit and personal stories detailing your grilling skills should be sent to Applications must be received by March 15.

Martha Buys Emeril

Emeril_Martha And here I thought it was illegal to buy and sell people!  That juggernaut,  Martha Stweart Living Omnimedia, Inc. has swallowed up the Emeril Lagasse empire including rights to his TV programs, cookbooks, website and other licensed products.  The deal, which is reported to have cost the homemaking diva $45 million in cash and another $5 million in stock is quite the coup.

Lagasse made news not to long ago when his contract expired with The Food Network (the people who put him on the map) and he chose not to renew.  Now we know why. 

The only thing not included in the buy-up are the Emeril restaurants, says the report in The Wall Street Journal, and, I suspect, Emeril himself.

Introducing Top Chef: Nikki and Mark

Today, a double introduction


Top-Chef-Nikki Top Chef: Nikki

AGE: 35

HOMETOWN: New York, N.Y.

PROFESSION: Chef / co-owner – 24 Prince

CULINARY EDUCATION: A.O.S Culinary Arts, School of Culinary Arts

FAVORITE SIMPLE SPRING RECIPE: Fresh English peas with shallot, grape tomatoes, pecorino cheese and fresh mint

Nikki operates 24 Prince Restaurant in New York City as the chef and co-owner. Trained for many years in back of house and in front of house operations with great chefs like Jean-Georges, Shaun Doty and Anne Quatrano, Nikki believes a great chef must understand how to run a business as well as possess outstanding cooking skills. She is also a certified sommelier with extensive wine knowledge. Nikki loves not being restricted to any one particular cuisine and experiments with flavors and ingredients from all over the world. She considers growing up in New York to be the best culinary education one can obtain and says her family and friends constantly tease her about how passionate she is about food. Her future plans are to expand her restaurant group with several new concepts.



Top Chef: Mark

AGE: 29

HOMETOWN: New Zealand – currently resides in New York, N.Y.

PROFESSION: Sous Chef at Public Restaurant in New York City


FAVORITE SIMPLE SPRING RECIPE: Roast New Zealand venison, minted edamame, wee fella Yorkshire pudding and espresso hollandaise.

Born and raised on a sheep farm in New Zealand, Mark developed a great appreciation for cooking from scratch. After leaving school at the age of 16, he went to work at a slaughterhouse before leaving New Zealand to travel the world. Over the past eight years, Mark has worked his way up the kitchen ladder from dishwasher to sous chef and has worked in New Zealand, Melbourne, Tokyo, and New York.

Casting Call: Cook with Rocco

Rocco_02 Are you cooking for your first housewarming? A soldier’s homecoming? A very special birthday, anniversary or reunion? Are you going to propose marriage or make an announcement? Do you need to impress someone, thank someone, or tell someone that you’re sorry? A&E is looking for people in and around the New York City area who need Rocco’s help. To apply for the show, email with your name, age, phone number, a recent photo and the reason you need to cook with Rocco. You can also call our casting hotline: 818-752-5559.

Everyone loves to share the important moments in life over food, and Rocco knows exactly how to make those moments memorable!


Source: Grub Street

Ultimate Recipe Showdown: Chicken Winners

eat_more_beef Did you catch The Ultimate Recipe Showdown?  It was all about chicken, stewed, fried and roasted!  The recipes looked great but I wish they’d spent more time showing the actual cooking and less time on everything else. 

The grand prize winner was Amparo Alam with her Rotisserie Chicken, with Fried Yucca Root

The runners up were:

  • Fried Chicken: Eboni Williams
    Battered Chicken Wings with Pomegranate and Mango Barbecue Sauce

  • Soup/Stew: Lauren Wyler
    Chicken, Tasso and Andouille Gumbo

  • Personally, I wanted to taste that African Groundnut stew – that looked mighty tasty!

    Next week it’s all about the burger!

    Ultimate Recipe Showdown: Burgers
    Food Network searched for the Ultimate Burger Recipe. After a nationwide recipe contest, nine finalists competed in three rounds: Beef Burgers, Poultry Burgers and Seafood Burgers. A panel of food experts determined whose burger was the best. See who walks away the winner of $25,000!


    David Kadagishvili
    Recipe: Biryani Burger in Naan Pocket
    Occupation: Owner/chef small neighborhood restaurant
    Hometown: Latrobe, Pa.


    Continue Reading

    Introducing Top Chef Manuel

    Top Chef: Manuel

    Top-Chef-ManuelAGE: 33

    HOMETOWN: Laredo, Texas – currently resides in New York, N.Y.

    PROFESSION: Executive Chef, Dos Caminos

    CULINARY EDUCATION: B.A. in Business Administration from St. Mary’s University of San Antonio, Texas; A.O.S, New England Culinary Institute, Montpelier, Vt.

    FAVORITE SIMPLE SPRING RECIPE: Crispy soft shell crabs with charred ramp vinaigrette

    As executive chef of Dos Caminos Third Avenue, Manuel brings authentic Mexican fare to the heart of Midtown in New York City. Growing up in the border town of Laredo, Texas and influenced by his Mexican heritage, Manuel began cooking at an early age and has never stopped. Manuel was classically French trained at the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont. After moving up the ranks from Garde Manger to Tournant at New York’s Le Cirque 2000, he then worked with executive chef Mario Batali at Babbo Restaurant where he quickly rose to sous chef. Manuel believes that it is always good to inject new ideas and stir things up.

    Get Your Celebrity Italian Cookbook Free!

    Barilla really knows Italian and so does Mario Batali!  He and Barilla have teamed up on a project that will not only warm your tummy, it will warm your heart.  It’s the Celebrity Italian Cookbook and Barilla will donate one dollar to America’s Second Harvest for every copy that is downloaded from their website.

    The lovely, full-color booklet is loaded with recipes, menu ideas and along with tips for creating just the right ambience for your special meal.  

    The book is divided up by special occasions, (But that doesn’t mean you can’t use these recipes for every day meals.)

    Each "table" has recipes from a celeb and is accompanied by menus and gorgeous table decor ideas from Mario Batali and David Tutera.  First it’s a Romantic Dinner with Chris Daughtry.  Debra Messing serves up a Celebratory Feast.  Natalie Portman gives us a Girlfriends’ Gathering while Stanley Tucci has Family Night.  Finally, it’s a dinner party with Marisa Toemi.

    Some of the recipes included are Farfalle with Pancetta and Truffle Paste, a Lemon Tart, and Spaghetti with Italian Tuna Sauce. 

    It’s truly a great book of recipes and it’s made even better knowing that you’ll be contributing to food banks all over the nation simply by downloading the book.

    To get your copy, visit the The Celebrity Italian Cookbook website.