January 8, 2012 |
Eric Salinas swirls a pat of butter into a pan of sizzling green apples, brown sugar and apple juice. The fat glistens, creating the perfect sauce to go with a bone-in pork loin roasting in the oven. Golden-brown squash cools on the counter. You'd think Salinas was showing off his cooking chops on TV alongside chef Alton Brown, but in reality the 25-year-old is whipping up a master meal in his North Park kitchen. The studio audience consists of his mom and girlfriend, eagerly awaiting dinner in the living room.
November 1, 2011 |
In past seasons of “Top Chef,” we've had one, two or sometimes zero Chicagoans to root for. On the upcoming ninth season filmed in Austin, Dallas and San Antonio, Texas, we have a whopping half dozen -- but there's no telling how long they'll stick around. Because everything's bigger in Texas, the producers decided to start the show with 29 hopefuls who have to cook their way into 16 cheftestant spots. In other words, mass elimination on the first episode, airing 9 p.m. CST Nov. 2. Though the bigger group was intimidating, Chicago's hopefuls were ready to bring it. “I feel … grateful that I'm part of a season that's different than the rest.
November 24, 2011 |
The competition continued last night on "Top Chef: Texas," and so we continue our own point-based competition for the six Chicago chefs in the cast. Quickfire challenge: Border Grill's Mary Sue Millikin and Susan Feniger (remember them from "Top Chef Masters"?) guest judge a chili challenge in which they are to cook a dish with a pepper ranging in spice from the mild Anaheim pepper to the nuclear ghost pepper. Elimination challenge: Teams of three are to cook chili and serve it at a rodeo.
November 3, 2011 |
The Chicago culinary scene is bigger in Texas. At least five Chicago cheftestants have been awarded the coveted “Top Chef: Texas” jacket in the latest season of the show, which premiered Wednesday night. The final slate of 16 cheftestants, which may include a sixth Chicago chef, likely will be revealed next week. In Wednesday's episode, some of the chefs worked with pig and rabbit to create their dishes. Yawn. It seems “Top Chef” has fallen into the “Project Runway” trap of repeating lame ideas for challenges.