I've never been much of a fan of Chopped — the secret ingredients always seem totally bizarre — but I'm curious to see how the celebrity chefs will handle the tough challenges. Do you watch Chopped? Are you interested in checking out Chopped All-Stars?
Those hoping to become the next Kitchen Stadium superstar include none other than Ming Tsai, who is already an established television personality on PBS, as well as Food & Wine Best New Chef Bryan Caswell. Another notable participant is Marco Canora, owner of New York hotspots Hearth and Terroir. See all 10 chefs who will be competing — as well as my thoughts on the roster — when you keep reading.
Each episode will feature four different contestants, from restaurateurs to home cooks, facing off in a three-round cooking elimination. In the first round, contestants will cook their favorite dishes for Rocco; in the second, they'll create an appetizer and concept for the week's assigned dinner party theme; in the last, the two remaining contestants will fashion a complete menu and decor to win.
To me, the concept sounds remarkably similar to Food Network's Chopped — only with parties. Still, I could see how Rocco's star power could make it successful. Will this be the next big cooking hit for Bravo?
This Saturday, Feb. 6, at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, 12 semifinalists will compete for one coveted position on the Bocuse d'Or USA team. The winning chef and commis (assistant) will compete for the world title at the Bocuse d'Or in Lyon, France, next year. While at Chefs' Holidays, I sat down with Percy Whatley, The Ahwahnee Hotel's chef and a returning semifinalist, to hear how he plans to take Team USA all the way. More, after the break.
Replacing the Top Chef finalist will be Jim Burke, executive chef at James in Philadelphia. Reasons as of right now are unclear, although Bocuse d'Or expert Andrew Friedman brings up the likely possibility that, with all his recent fame, Gillespie doesn't have the time — and motivation — to train for the event. Somehow, I'm not surprised and always questioned whether his straightforward, rustic approach would jive with the other competition platters.
Are you sad to hear that Kevin no longer has a shot at winning the Bocuse d'Or?
Photo courtesy of Bravo
The 12 semifinalists will square off on Feb. 6, 2010, at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, for a highly coveted position on the US team. The winners will then compete at the Bocuse d'Or in Lyon, France, in 2011.
I find it puzzling that, although the competition drew only 17 applicants, the number of candidates seems to have nearly doubled since last year. Still, I'm excited to see how everything pans out. Although I wonder whether Kevin's straightforward, rustic cooking will be too simple for the culinary Olympics, I still hope he goes all the way.
To find out who the other 11 competitors are, read more.
Each night, the casino show will choose six members from the audience to square off onstage at two cooking stations, first competing in two teams, then facing elimination until the last two standing face off to take home the prize. Emeril will appear via the big screen to offer taped commentary and critique. While he admits the casino show is risky, the veteran culinary personality said he was looking for the right show that could be marketed to audiences at a reasonable price.
Tickets are only $35 each, but for that amount, I'd still expect to see more than video footage of Emeril. What about you? Do you see the "interactive cooking competition" being a success?
Although they may have differing opinions on Padma and Tom, each week when I interview the eliminated Top Chef contestants, one thing remains constant. Everyone says that no matter how much they may have prepared, the competition is more challenging than they expected. Can you imagine how difficult it must be to compete on Top Chef? What do you think would be the most demanding part of participating?