Gastronomic Fight Club SM

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Top Chef Season 5 - Predictions

posted by snekse
Guess what's on TV tonight?

Top Chef: Season 5 - New York

Granted, you probably already knew that.

So it's time for thoughts and predictions before it all begins.

First off, let me say that this season's cast looks rather boring - at least from a culinary perspective. The pedigree of the Top Chef Miami and Chicago casts were far more impressive than what they seemed to have dug up this year. I'm wondering if it was a response to some criticisms that the cheftestants were too experienced in the past and some fans felt it wasn't in the "spirit" of the show. I for one think that's hogwash and enjoyed the show more as the dishes got more impressive. [UPDATE: It looks like the reason for this is due to another show being introduced called "Top Chef: Masters" which will unite "some of the brightest stars in the world of food, award-winning, widely-renowned Chefs who will compete against each other in a series of weekly challenges". Also announced was "Top Chef Junior" which will feature teen chefs, though the details are sketchy at the moment.]

Anyway, based on the bios that I read and taking into consideration past seasons, these are my top picks to win Top Chef New York: Stefan, Alex, Fabio

Possible surprise spoiler - Ariane

Who do you think has a good shot at taking the Big Apple? Who do you think will get eliminated early? Let us know your Top Chef predictions.

Check out the comments below for a link that reveals the Winner of Top Chef Season 5 - New York.

***UPDATE 2***
So the mid-season "spoiler" was obviously bogus. My predictions were close as 2 of the people I chose made it to the final four. None of them won, but still represented well. It was an enjoyable season, but I have to say I'm looking forward to the Master's version of Top Chef than I am to Top Chef Season 6.

Top Chef: Miami (Season 3) - Predictions
Top Chef: The Cookbook

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Omaha's Next Food Network Star

posted by snekse
Okay, now that you got that out of the way, it's time to vote in The Next Food Network Star contestant search. A local Omaha chef is asking you to cast your vote for her as The Next Food Network Star. Check out her audition video and leave your comments.

You can also see more videos on her blog, CHECK IT OUT @ AVESTA CUISINE.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

RECIPE: Ultimate Mac-n-Cheese

posted by snekse
Recently Paul Urban and the rest of his crew at Darwin Bistro won the Ultimate Mac & Cheese Challenge at the Comfort Food Classic. Paul was nice enough to share his winning recipe with me and has also agreed to let me share it with our readers.

8 oz. cooked pasta (shells)
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup Bechamel (see below)
1/4 cup Havarti cheese - grated
1/4 cup white cheddar - grated
5 ea. p&d shrimp (16/20 count)
1/2 oz. langostino meat
2 teaspoons truffle oil (preferably white)
1/5 cup chopped mushrooms
1 oz. caramelized onions
2 tsp. chopped garlic
2 tsp. chopped shallot
1 oz. white wine
1 crab claw for garnish
shaved Grana Padano for garnish
1 green onion sliced razor thin and shocked for garnish
salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp. canola or blended oil


* get a large saute pan hot with blended oil in it, medium heat. add the garlic and shallot and saute until lightly browned, then add the onion and mushroom.
* saute vegetables until 90% cooked, about 2 minutes and deglaze with white wine.
* return the pan to the heat and reduce the wine - 2 minutes. Add your bechamel and cream. Allow the bechamel and cream at least 2 minutes to combine and slightly thicken.
* add your shrimp and langostino meat to the Bechamel, continue to simmer 2 minutes.
* add both Havarti and white cheddar to the pan and toss to combine and melt
* add the noodles, truffle oil and s&p, toss to combine.
* taste and adjust seasoning

** to plate - pour the pasta into a bowl. stab the meat end of the claw into the pasta and garnish with grana and prepared green onions.

For the Béchamel Sauce


1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk (1%)
1 oz. butter
1 oz. flour
1 tsp. of each of the following:
chopped garlic
chopped shallot
fresh thyme
fresh rosemary
1 oz. white wine
1 tsp. olive or canola oil


*in a small pan, melt the butter and add the flour. whisk to combine until a pale yellow consistency forms. Set this pan aside.
*in a sauce pot, sautee all remaining dry ingredients in oil over medium heat
*when fragrant - about 2 minutes, deglaze with white wine
*after wine has reduced, add cream and milk and bring just to a simmer
*simmer for approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
*vigorously whisk in roux and simmer an additional 5 minutes until thickened
*pass bechamel through a fine mesh strainer while still hot

yield: 1/2 cup - 3/4 cup

Thanks to Paul for sharing this recipe. If you make it, share your pictures with us and we'll post them here.

7 Gourmet Macaroni and Cheese Recipes From the 2008 Tilamook Contest Winners

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

RESULTS: 2007 Ron Sailors Culinary Invitational

posted by snekse
Although I was unable to attend, I have the results from the 2007 Ron Sailors High School Team Culinary Arts Invitational

And the winners are...

Hospitality Knowledge Bowl

1st Place - The Doughboys, Papillion LaVista
2nd Place - Paul's Peeps, OPS Career Center

Culinary Skills Competition

Silver Medals

The Doughboys, Papillion LaVista (1st Place)
    Team Coach: Carol Fairfax
Gloria's Finest, OPS Career Center (2nd Place)
    Team Coach: Maybell Galusha
Dakotah and the Angels, Plattsmouth
    Team Coach: Lisa Micek-Johnson
Three Chefs and a Baker, Bellevue East
    Team Coach: Cathy Hansen
The Steel Chefs, Papillion LaVista
    Team Coach: Carol Fairfax
Team RAMRODS, Papillion LaVista South
    Team Coach: Louise Dornbusch

Bronze Medals

Carmel Pleasures, Roncalli
    Team Coach: Cathy Leak
Team JAM's, Papillion LaVista South
    Team Coach: Louise Dornbusch
Paul's Peeps, OPS Career Center
    Team Coach: Paul Urban, Jessica O'Kief & Maybell Galusha
Viking Chefs, OPS North
    Team Coach: Mary Becker
Chef's with Soul, Bellevue East
    Team Coach: Cathy Hansen
Team Fremont, Fremont
    Team Coach: Marcia Fouraker
Tomato Ole Culinary Team, Gross Catholic
    Team Coach: Liz & John Schow
Benson Team #1, Benson
    Team Coach: Ronda Towey
Lady Beast, Bellevue East
    Team Coach: Cathy Hansen
I Can't Believe It, Papillion LaVista South
    Team Coach: Lousie Dornbusch
Team Bryan, OPS Bryan
    Team Coach: Susan Waldron

Reinhart "Team Spirit Award"

The Steel Chefs, Papillion LaVista

Congratulations to the "Doughboys" team who swept both the Knowledge Quiz Bowl and the Culinary Arts Competition.

Team Doughboys Roster
Brent Gray (Papillion LaVista)
Evan Gross (Papillion LaVista South)
Jonathan Hodge (Papillion LaVista)
Jake Newton (Papillion LaVista South)

Something to note is that "the students are competing against a standard, and accumulate points for the competition". This year two teams that were only one point away from gold. It's good to know this isn't just some fluff event that hands out fuzzy awards just for participating. Everything is earned through hard work. I think that's important to prepare the students for what they will face in the highly competitive food industry.

They're cookin' up a storm: Culinary arts students broast competitors (Papillion Times)
2007 Ron Sailors High School Team Culinary Arts Invitational

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