The collapse of the 35W bridge spanning the Mississippi River in Minneapolis is one of the most horrific local news stories in recent memory. Here at Chow & Again, our thoughts and prayers are with everyone whose lives have been touched by this tragedy. It's too soon to start asking certain types of questions, but road and highway safety continues to be a major concern for all Americans as our local and national surface-transport infrastructure ages. Be safe. Moving on . . .
Rumors flew last week that there would be a major shake-up in the local pastry world. If you know what I am talking about, good. If not, I feel your pain. Look to this page again tomorrow morning for the news that I learned on Monday and had to swear to secrecy over. Suffice to say that all parties and restaurants involved are going to be very happy . . . and that this tidbit involves the two most talented and awarded pastry queens in the Twin Cities. I am biting my lip I am so eager to spill this one . . . but a promise is a promise. Check back over coffee Friday morning—this one is bigger than the Wolves-Celtics deal.
Two weeks ago, I am on a plane flying back from LA with my wife, and who is sitting behind us but Wolves guard Ricky Davis? I am a huge sports geek, but I don’t recognize him. Despite his bigger-than-average size, guards are small, and so I don’t notice him on the plane, except that the flight attendants are making a big deal out of the dude, and he’s singing hip-hop tunes the whole flight home. I figure he’s a huge music star . . . besides the great voice, the fella’s wearing a ton of real diamonds and a killer watch. At one point, he leans between the seats and taps me on the shoulder and says, “Excuse me for interrupting you, but I am a huge fan, and we watch you all the time at my house. How did you eat that fish in Trinidad?”
Well, I flipped out when he introduced himself to Rishia and I, and then, when I asked him if the team would ever trade KG, he emphatically said no way, insisting that no team would be stupid enough to trade an NBA player of Kevin’s caliber without getting equal value in return. Guess Ricky forgot about Kevin McHale and Glenn Taylor’s deficient gene pool in the smarts department. How is it that Boston comes out looking like the team to beat in the East and the Wolves look like they are starting over again . . . for the ninth time? Ugh.
Hot stove-talk from the world of food TV . . . . The Next Iron Chef is a new series premiering October 7 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Food Network. Here’s the skinny: Food Network is looking to add one more Iron Chef America to the world’s most exclusive culinary club of Bobby, Mori, Mario, and Cat. But the contestants/finalists will each have at least ten years of culinary experience, including a minimum of five years at an executive chef level. Taping at a secret, decked-out “Chairman’s Lair” at the Culinary Institute of America, contestants will go head to head for the title of the Next Iron Chef through a series of battles determined by the Chairman to measure their culinary abilities. The six-part series will premiere October 7, with the first battle for the newly crowned Iron Chef premiering November 18 at 9 p.m. I am going to be interviewing the "loser" of the previous week’s show about his or her experience, what it was like competing against such a distinguished group of chefs, etc., as well as doing a series of interviews with the Chairman himself and host Alton Brown, highlighting the week’s events and the participating chef-competitors. Look for news on this as the months pass by.
The eight contestants include:
– John Besh (New Orleans, LA) Executive Chef, Restaurant August, Besh Steak, Lüke, and La Provence
– Chris Cosentino (San Francisco, CA) Executive Chef, Incanto
– Jill Davie (Santa Monica, CA) Executive Chef, JOSIE
– Traci Des Jardins (San Francisco, CA) Executive Chef & Co-owner, Jardinière, Mijita, and Acme Chophouse
– Gavin Kaysen (San Diego, CA) Chef de Cuisine, El Bizcocho at the Rancho Bernardo Inn
– Morou Ouattara (Washington, DC) Executive Chef & Owner, Farrah Olivia
– Aarón Sánchez (New York, NY) Executive Chef & Owner, Centrico and Paladar
– Michael Symon (Cleveland, OH) Executive Chef & Owner, Lola and Lolita
Here’s my take, the two chefs with the best chance of winning are Besh and Symon, both of whom have the skills and the personalities to handle the competition. Anyone local that you think could handle the Iron Chef pressure cooker and emerge victorious? I like Jack Reibel’s chances in stuff like this—a great cook and tough as a sledgehammer.