Top Chef All-Stars: here we go

Okay, now in a finale that seems to be lasting a month, because it is lasting a month, we are finally down to the final two chef-testants who will battle it out for the title of Top Chef next week. But first host Padma Lakshmi started out with celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck for the quickfire challenge, which would be to do a choice of a past quickfire challenge. However, the chefs would be assigned these by a competing chef. Yikes. Mike chose first and had Antonia do the “only canned food” challenge; Antonia gave richard the hot dog challenge, which wasn’t a huge stretch; and Richard gave Mike the one-pot-only challenge. Then Padma entered the kitchen halfway through, and added one more twist–they would have to use a crutch from a previous quickfire–Richard assigned Mike the “no utensils” challenge; Antonia gave Richard the one-hand-only challenge; and Antonia had the one remaining, which was to finish the task while having recently-eliminated Carla tied to her.

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Hell’s Kitchen: premieres with more fighting than ever

Every season, “Hell’s Kitchen” on Fox seems to up the ante when it comes to brash contestants who like to get in each others’ faces and who sometimes get in Chef Gordon Ramsay’s face. And somehow, despite the fact that they found 16 contestants among 10,000 applicants, they always manage to draw about 50% from the New York tri-state area. Seriously, if you watched last night’s episode, the New YAWK accents are quite dominant.

The show opened with the 16 hopefuls meeting new maitre’ D James. What, where the heck is Jean Phillippe??? Then they were blindfolded and sent to the new location of where they might be working if they win this season–LA Market. Ramsay was there to greet them and then sent them back to Hell’s Kitchen to prepare their signature dishes for him, in 45 minutes time.

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The Next Food Network Star: tipped off?

During this week’s episode of “The Next Food Network Star,” we may have been tipped off about who would be eliminated this week before they were eliminated. But more on that later.

The Final Four made it to New York City, where they would be duking it out for real to see who would have their own show on Food Network. The finalists? Aarti, Aria, Tom and Herb. And this week they would be battling Iron Chef-style. Alton Brown was waiting for them, as well as Iron Chefs Bobby Flay, Cat Cora, Michael Symon and Masaharu Morimoto. They would be competing in groups of two, making three dishes each based on the secret ingredient. When they weren’t competing they would be floor commentators ala Kevin Brasch.

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The Next Iron Chef is crowned

Last night’s finale of “The Next Iron Chef” on Food Network featured a battle in Kitchen Stadium akin to the real Iron Chef show…and that’s really how it should have been. It was also very close between chefs Garces and Mehta…and while each has a distinct cooking style, the judges had the difficult choice of crowning one of them the season’s champ, one to join the ranks of Flay, Batali, Cora, Morimoto, and Symon on the popular show.

The chairman began as he does every Iron Chef show..by disclosing the secret ingredient–ribs and racks…both pork and beef. Their task was to use that ingredient to create five dishes that represented America as a melting pot of cultures. It was also a daunting task because of the time usually required to break down rib meat, as they would have just 60 minutes.

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The Next Iron Chef: double elimination brings final four

The current season of “The Next Iron Chef” on Food Network is rolling right along, and last night they accelerated things again as two aspiring chefs were eliminated. Now we are in Final Four territory.

Last night’s episode began with the chairman introducing Indian chef Suvir Saran, who then asked the chefs to create their own impression of Indian food, in small bits and strictly vegetarian. Of course, this would appear to give chef Mehta an advantage because he was of Indian heritage. But he had also won the previous challenge, so he also had a tangible advantage….which wound up being having first choice of ingredients.

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