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BREAKING: Shane Oporto IN as Chef de Cuisine for La Belle Vie
By: | Posted: 04/18/2006
If Tiger Woods ordered an iced tea mixed with lemonade, what would he call it?
Nothing ticks me off more than cutesy nicknames. For the last four, almost five years, I have taken careful note that every time I order a half iced tea mixed with lemonade, the server always, without fail, smiles at me and says, “. . .an Arnie Palmer . . .” confirming my order with an insouciant nod of the head. It happens five times a week, all over the world. For some reason every restaurant training program from ten-seat mom-and-pops to ten-unit chains all feel compelled to have their servers call back your half-and-half order to you. They don’t do it when I order a burger, or a salad, just the iced tea-lemonade combo. Strange.
Today the streak ended. At The Cheesecake Factory, a server actually took my order without feeling the need to editorialize any further. God bless him! My faith in humanity has been restored. Just thought you should know.
All day today I have been out at the Mall of America Rotunda watching the Food Network Challenge, hangin’ with some of my cable TV buds . . .Gary Feblowitz and his wife Dominique, who shot my Travel Channel Bizarre Foods show, are shooting the MOA–FNC, along with a dozen other teams. Keegan Gerhard, a good dude BTW, is the host of the show, and Allison Page, the veep of programming, is in town keeping tabs on the shoot. She’s seen more tape of me than my mom has, and it was nice to chat with her live and in person.
You can witness extraordinary culinary performances that may go down in the Guinness Book of Records. All week you can watch candy wizards, sugar spinners, pastry magicians, and pizza athletes compete for a place in history and $10,000, which will be awarded at each event. Each challenge is free and open to the public, so go check it out. Not only can you get up close and personal with the chefs, but you can also be on TV, and who doesn’t love that? Here’s the 411:Cereal-Scapes Challenge Wednesday, April 19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.Four pastry chefs bring their creativity and artistry to the Rice Krispies bar, but this competition will be anything BUT square! Our chefs have only a few hours to bring a skyline to life built out of crispy breakfast cereal. Chefs may add color to the Rice Krispies mix, pour sugar and chocolate, and use pastiage. There will also be a chance to taste unique recipes using Rice Krispies. Pizza Record BreakersThursday, April 20, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.Four pizzaioli will attempt to break records for the highest toss, the fastest spin, the speediest roll, and the quickest pizza ever made. These challengers—hoping to make history—are judged by officials from the Guinness Book of World Records. There will be pizza tastings and a chance to receive recipes for pizza you won’t find anywhere else.Sugar-Skyscrapers Record Breakers Friday, April 21, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.Four pastry artists are charged with making the tallest sugar showpieces ever constructed in competition. The skyscrapers will be made entirely out of sugar. A sugar-cube stacking event will be staged at the same challenge. Guinness judges will be looking to add these creations to the Big Book!
Andrew Zimmern is a columnist for Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and the host of Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.See bio
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