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The Top Chef All-Stars Situation.

December 7th, 2010 1 comment

Top Chef All-Stars started last week and airs again soon (Wednesdays on Bravo TV).  I like Top Chef, but haven’t been riveted by its happenings the past few seasons, though I’ve caught most shows, since they rerun them over and over.  And right now I’m happy to be excited about the show again, because of the All-Stars.  Already knowing the personalities makes it more interesting.  The formula was getting a little boring, although it’s better than most TV programming.  I admit to liking Millionaire Matchmaker and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills too — That Camille, I can’t stand her, but we talk food here.  Let’s get back to Top Chef All-Stars…

I like Carla.

I like Fabio too — Our Guest Blogger Bonnie recently reviewed his restaurant, Café Firenze posted here.  Last week during Top Chef All-Stars, Fabio was reamed by Judge Anthony Bourdain, who repeatedly said he “hated” his dish.  Trying to be funny, AB was pretty much a dick.  It’s unnecessary to be so dramatically negative, which applies to all judges, and cheers to Fabio for speaking up about it.  He handled himself well.  I probably would’ve cried after putting so much effort into it.

The All-Star Chefs were delivered the ingredients they used and had to pack their knives for and go, during his/her respective season.  Each had to make the dish better or at least passing this time — How fitting.  A perfect first challenge.

Wanted to quickly commentate on the photos and generally about the show, not provide a complete recap — Who has time?  Watch the show.  If further compelled, we’ll weigh in.

Just In Time For Top Chef All-Stars: Fantastic Food, Fun & Fabio.

November 29th, 2010 2 comments

Top Chef All-Stars starts this Wednesday, December 1st on BRAVO — Bravo to that!  Here’s the contestant line-up, which includes Fabio Viviani from Season 5.  He has a restaurant in Moorpark, California — Café Firenze, where Bonnie, our traveling Guest Blogger recently dined.  She raved about her experience, thus we’re certainly rooting for him.  Other Top Chef All-Star picks will be selected after first airing.  Until then, Bonnie reports about her meal by Fabio.  I think she’s in love.  I sure wish she’d get a camera, as her Fabio photo and most didn’t turn out.  Nonetheless, I appreciate the report and wish I’d been there.  Go Fabio!

Fantastic Food, Fun & Fabio. Fabulous!  That’s how I would sum up our dinner Saturday night at Café Firenze in Moorpark, California.

BRAVO TV’s Top Chef Runner-Up and upcoming Top Chef “All Star” contender Fabio Viviani was on hand to greet us and, after spending several hours at his restaurant, I can assure you that you will not be disappointed. While he is just as charming off the screen as he is on it, it is his food that truly stands out as exceptional.

In fact, the five course tasting menu that Fabio designed especially for us was magnificent, but since we let him use his own discretion rather than ordering from the menu, I can’t remember every detail.  There were three appetizers, including a silky smooth Imported Burrata Mozzarella, a pasta with homemade Duck sausage and a pancetta wrapped Jumbo Shrimp filled with gorgonzola cheese.  I think the latter was the best shrimp I have ever eaten.

The entrée consisted of grilled Colorado Lamb with braised pistachios – a truly unique combination of flavors – and the desert was something so creamy and luscious that all I can remember is how delicious it tasted, rather than its name.

And dinner was a lot of fun too, thanks to bartender Damiano Carrara. What’s with all the charming Italian men at Café Firenze?  I don’t know, but Damiano’s accent and prowess with a bottle — ala Tom Cruise in “Cocktail” – was quite the show.  His signature cocktails, one made with 2 Nite Vodka from Italy and the other with pomegranate were the perfect accompaniments to our tasting menu.

At this point I probably have convinced you about the food, but I have to inspire you with the interior design as well.  Naturally, everything has been imported from Italy (Firenze is the town where Fabio was born) and no detail was spared.  So don’t forget to check out the coffered ceilings and stunning chandeliers.

Moorpark isn’t exactly known as a dining mecca, so Fabio’s restaurant stands out as an exceptional experience.  I can’t wait to go back!  Good luck on Wednesday night, Fabio, I will be rooting for you.

(Note that what we had is very similar to what is called “The Chef’s Table” where you get five courses paired with either wine or martinis to compliment each dish for $75 each or five courses without alcohol for $50 each.  We loved this innovative concept.) 

by Bonnie Flamm, Guest Blogger, Interior Designer, Writer

Rao’s On Top Chef Tonight: We Love Their Meatballs – Say Hi To Bubbles.

February 2nd, 2011 No comments

Rao’s was on Top Chef tonight — As previously reported, we LOVE their Meatballs and will (most likely) never make another.  The above photo is hanging on the wall at Rao’s Caesars Palace.  When we visited, we met Bubbles who you might see there.  If so, please say hello.

Wish I was at this table — Learn more about Rao’s here.

Have You Heard Of The “Wicked Fresh! Wednesdays” Live Chat Series?

December 14th, 2010 No comments

“Top Chef All-Stars” Contestant Carla Hall Whips Up Delicious Holiday Cooking Tips and Recipes:  The “Wicked Fresh! Wednesdays” Live Chat Series continues.  Participate in a LIVE online Q & A with Celebrity Chef and “Top Chef All-Stars” Contestant Carla Hall immediately following “Top Chef All-Stars” on Bravo.

When:  Wednesday, December 15, 2010 – 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. PST / 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. EST.

Where:  Tom’s of Maine Facebook page via the Live Chat tab or click on USTREAM, near Carla’s photo above.

What:  Join Carla Hall, a Chef who cooks from the heart and balances her Southern traditions, classic French training, and holistic approach to food, as an entertaining expert and Owner of Alchemy by Carla Hall – For the sixth installment of the Tom’s of Maine “Wicked Fresh! Wednesdays” Live Chat Series.  Learn about seasonal and local ingredients that will spice up any holiday dish, ask questions about holiday meal planning, and learn what it’s like to compete in the exciting “Top Chef All-Stars” series.  “Hootie-hoo!” 

Who:  Carla Hall – Owner of Alchemy by Carla Hall, “Top Chef All-Stars” Contestant and Celebrity Chef.

Why:  To celebrate the launch of Tom’s of Maine new Wicked Fresh! Toothpaste and Mouthwash line by showcasing wickedly cool individuals who are pursuing their dreams while inspiring goodness in others.  Archived chats are available on USTREAM.tv.