Update: Padma Lakshmi

Padma Lakshmi

I must admit that one of the great pleasures in watching Top Chef is watching host Padma Lakshmi. Now, before you veer down the path of simply enjoying watching her because she is, indeed, beautiful, I am also impressed by her resume (she really does know food), hosting abilities compared with season 1’s Katie Lee Joel, and her dry sense of humor. Unfortunately, since her recent highly publicized divorce from author Sir Salman Rushdie, Padma Lakshmi has been maintaining a significantly lower profile citing personal life issues. However, despite abandoning her Top Chef blog for the remainder of the season, her professional career is moving forward.

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Will Guest Judge Rocco DiSpirito Add Drama to Top Chef?

Rocco DiSpirito - Rocco’s 5 Minute Flavor

Once upon a time there was a reality show called Top Chef where the contestants got along so well we all watched footage of them sharing hot tubs and chatting about making new friendships. One eliminated chef was comforted by the thought she had made a lifelong friend. A winner of a challenge gave his prize away in recognition that another contestant did actually deserve the prize more. Then…along came a guest who once sent his own reality TV career down in embarrassing flames partially as a result of his own abundant arrogance. What happened next?

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Top Chef 3.5 – Best Buddies Finish First

Howie and Joey

The evolution of Howie and Joey from sworn enemies to best buddies is complete. The relationship was sealed when Howie, winner of this week’s main challenge, presented his prize bottle of wine to Joey in a heartwarming gesture. That presentation combined with Casey’s tearful announcement that Chef Lia would be leaving seems the crest of a big warm Miami wave of goodwill among the contestants on Top Chef. It all seems a world away from the battling personalities of Betty and Marcel last season.

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Next Food Network Star 3.7 – Resume Padding Is Not Cool


Padding one’s resume is never a good strategy, and, in the public realm of reality television, the blinding glare of the spotlight can only make it worse. The Next Food Network Star was wracked by significant drama at the end of the show that overshadowed everything that came before. It was a memorable night of reality cooking.

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Next Food Network Star 3.6 – Allez Cuisine!

Due to the fun of spending a few quality days with extended family, this week’s recap of the Next Food Network Star is a bit delayed. However, due to the wonders of DVR and cable television, I didn’t miss a beat. This week the 4 remaining contestants experienced a mini version of the culinary game show Iron Chef America. That meant a second week with the cooking wisdom of Alton Brown as well as the experience of being under the watchful eyes of Iron Chefs Bobby Flay and Cat Cora.

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Top Chef 3.4 – The Perils of Working on a Team

Poached Shrimp

For many of us we dreaded those times back in our school days when we were assigned to or forced to choose a team to put together a project on which we would all be evaluated. Last night it looked like the Top Chef contestants felt the same way. Who hasn’t wondered whether the team judgment was seriously faulty when compared with our own individual thought process, and who hasn’t participated in a simultaneous cringe when a charismatic leader took the group down the wrong path? The 4th episode of this season’s Top Chef was a good primer on all that can go bad in a group project.

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Plating Meat

Flank Steak

We’re all still in Top Chef withdrawal since the 4th of July holiday scuttled any hopes of a new episode this past week. However, I wanted to mention an important element of Howie’s winning dish from the last Top Chef episode.

Howie did an outstanding job of plating the meat in his dish, and it is easy to do at home as well. Continue Reading

Hell’s Kitchen 3.5 – Birth of a Dictator


OK, I’m being polite with my wording in the title, but I don’t see a need to stoop to a certain level. The whiff of serious manipulation of the goings-on gets stronger and stronger on Hell’s Kitchen, but so does the slow move toward self-parodying comedy. Melissa’s night and day attempted emergence as the horned dictator of Hades is just the latest in the ongoing saga of torment in this little corner of Hell.

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Next Food Network Star 3.5 – Meltdown

At right is Food Network personality Alton Brown responding to the trail of disasters from this week’s installment of The Next Food Network Star. He exclaimed in exasperation, “Can’t we just send them all home and start over?!” When actually put in front of the camera for a slightly extended presentation, no one looked ready for primetime. That led the judges to question whether there really is a Food Network star in this group.

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