Entries tagged with “Chefs”.


We’re finally seeing more Seattle chefs compete on reality TV, now some of our amateur cooks are going to get a chance too.

Master Chef, the new Fox TV reality show featuring Gordon Ramsey, is scheduling auditions in Seattle for Jan. 10. The Hollywood Reporter calls the show, based on a hit show in the U.K. and Australia,  ”a culinary American Idol” where contestents around the country will create dishes for a judging panel to consider. 

The key prerequisite for applicants: You can’t be a professional cook. They’re looking for “amateur chefs, passionate foodies, the ultimate dinner party host/hostesses.”   

Want to get a jump on the process? Not too intimidated by the idea of working with Mr. “SHUT IT DOWN”? Email masterchefseattle@gmail.com, and give the casting folks your name, age, occupation, current photo, contact number and a brief description of your cooking experience and style. Put Seattle, WA as the subject of the email. The Seattle casting call will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 10 at the Sur La Table in Kirkland, 90 Central Way.

 

*updated 12/10

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The new season of Top Chef starts tonight, with — finally! — not one, but two Seattle chefs on board. Due to the hyper-secrecy of reality TV, Robin Leventhal and Ashley Merriman didn’t know until they arrived in Las Vegas that there would be any other chefs from home. (They already knew each other; Leventhal had offered Merriman a job at Crave “on the spot” when Merriman moved to Seattle, though she ultimately ended up at Tilth and  Branzino.)

I talked with both chefs, separately, by phone this morning in advance of the first show. Merriman, currently driving across country to help mentor Alex Guarneschelli open a New York restaurant (she’ll return to Branzino), will watch from Minneapolis. Leventhal will watch from Seattle with friends and family. “I even got DVR.”

Here’s an peek at what each one had to say about the Top Chef life. I’ll be rooting for both:

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I could have made a good case for any of the Seattle chefs nominated for a James Beard Award this year, but there’s something especially sweet about Maria Hines of Tilth taking home the 2009 medallion for Best Chef: Northwest. No chef exemplifies the Northwest more than Hines; she simultaneously illustrates our cuisine and helps define it.

Hines converts diners to organic ingredients and small local farms because she also creates wonderful food, arguing her philosophy through the taste buds rather than political theories. Behind those meals, though, are endless long days of unsung work, both in the kitchen and in the larger world of food. I see her as a grass-roots leader in where our country is headed; it’s heartening to see a national nod, in turn, for her.

Hines (along with last year’s Best Chef winner, Holly Smith of Cafe Juanita) was cooking at the post-awards gala, and sent out a statement thanking her crew at Tilth and “a very special thanks to my wife for letting me put a lien on the house for Tilth.” 

Hopefully, tonight was a down payment on knowing we all appreciated it.

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Good news for everyone awaiting Emmer, the new restaurant from Seth Caswell, president of Seattle Chef’s Collaborative and former chef at Stumbling Goat: He’s aiming for a summer opening for his own place, and he’s added something more to the menu: The food is still the locally sourced, seasonal menu he’s always planned — a sample menu  had me at  ”pickled fiddleheads” before he even got into “porcini tart” and “oyster pan roast” and “emmer farro fries”– but the name is now Emmer & Rye, the rye part referencing whiskey. Caswell is teaming up with Benjamin Hodgetts, former GM at the Alibi Room (and currently at Matt’s), adding “innovative, yet classically prepared cocktails” to the mix.

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We already knew that the Seattle empire builder favors Pho Bac and Tai Tung and Sea Garden when he’s not eating in his own restaurants, and I was struck by a couple of items on his “10 thoughts” list printed in Restaurant Hospitality:

#4. If there was no duck, I’d have no reason to live.

#6. If I were on death row my last meal would be a whole Chinese barbecue duck with green onion pancakes, Chinese broccoli (gai lan), ginger-steamed rice and hoisin chili sauce.

#9. My idea of a perfect day is work, dim sum at 11 a.m., golf at noon, work 4-8, dinner with Jackie on the sunny side of the house and some wine.
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With all the food writers in Seattle using Oddfellows as a second office (and one with better pastries than the home version), how did I miss the news that Ericka Burke is no longer in the kitchen? Burke told Seattle Metropolitan that she had no conflicts with owner Linda Derschang (see under: Stranger comments?), but that she left because her Volunteer Park Cafe needed more of her time. Derschang noted that the mighty Matt Dillon is offering a helping hand in the interim.

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Mike Davis, former chef at the Salish Lodge, helped establish Walla Walla as a mini-Napa of the Northwest when he opened 26brix in 2004. The restaurant went through redesigns and growing pains, finally closing earlier this year. But Davis, whose food won acclaim, is now returning to the Seattle area to join the team that operates the Purple Cafe & Wine Bar and other ventures. At the Heavy Restaurant Group, Davis will oversee the kitchens of the three HRG restaurants set to open in Bellevue Towers this year: A fourth Purple Cafe branch, a second Barrio branch, and a cafe called Bliss. So, technically, I suppose he’s returning to Bellevue, not Seattle, but I suspect he’ll make it over to our side of the water too.

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Food & Wine Magazine has named its 10 best new chefs of 2009, and Mark Fuller of Spring Hill is on the list. Fuller, formerly head chef at The Dahlia Lounge, particularly impressed the judges with “olive-oil-poached albacore tuna with smoked king clam panzanella, arugula and avocado.” The chef has won raves for Spring Hill, and was also on the recent list of Seattle’s “Rising Stars.”

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A few readers have asked about the new Homegrown Sandwiches in Fremont using cured meats from The Swinery on their sandwiches. Wasn’t the whole controversy with Culinary Communion and The Swinery that owner Gabriel Claycamp didn’t have a Swinery permit yet from Public Health - Seattle and King County?

I called Homegrown today to inquire, and was told the Swinery products were off the menu. 

“We had been told that the paperwork was in order for (The Swinery), and then we found out otherwise, so we decided to stop carrying their stuff,” said Brad Gillis, who owns Homegrown with Ben Friedman.

I checked in with the health department, and was told that its staff had told Homegrown the meat was not from an approved source.

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I’m selfishly sad to report that pastry chef extraordinaire Neil Robertson has left Canlis. I’ve loved what he was doing there.

Neil wrote: “It was a complicated and painful decision, but what it really came down to was my inability to find a sustainable balance between the job and personal life. My time there was hugely rewarding, and the Canlis family could not have been more supportive.”

He’ll be traveling to Japan for a few weeks in May. After that, I hope we’ll get to enjoy his work somewhere else in our town.

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