The first month of the new year is already over, but in case you were totally caught up in the frenzy of the holidays, and you have not had the chance to get your celebrity chef fix, then let me help you get started! There is a bunch – no, more than a bunch – of cooking shows that have been getting people excited even before the 2012 holiday season.

That’s really enough reason to make sure that you have a good cable or satellite TV provider so that you do not have to worry about gaining access to all the new (and returning) exciting cooking shows. Tip: check out GetDirectTV.org to surmount this issue.

Now, I know just how busy life can be, and you may not have the time to allot to all the fun cooking shows showing on TV these days. That’s why I’ve decided to limit this list to only three. If you have time for only a handful of cooking shows, let it be these!

Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery

Gordon Ramsay has sealed his fiery reputation, but what has made him very famous has also turned off quite some viewers. The great thing about his new cooking show is that old timers will still love watching the chef do his thing in the kitchen – minus the F bomb, while those who feel that he has been too abrasive on TV will see a softer side.

That being said, Ultimate Cookery does give you a good look at the kitchen and cooking techniques. Ramsay’s enthusiasm about the food really helps as well.

Chopped Champions

Chopped is a fast-paced cooking show which really demands a lot from the chef contestants. If you liked Chopped, then you will probably enjoy Chopped Champions, where the heads of 16 previous winners of Chopped will be put on the block. The prize? $50,000. That ought to make the competition even snappier.

The Taste

Anthony Bourdain for the women. Nigella Lawson for the men. (And women. What can I say? She is hot!)

The Taste was one of the most anticipated new cooking shows for 2013, but its two-hour premier did get the rough tongue of critics. Still, ratings show that the premier did “okay”. That’s better than bad, isn’t it?

Granted, the premier did not please critics. I think that the concept is still solid – The Voice for cooking, is what has been uttered in places – and that the show can still make it. Give it a go, is what I suggest.

Do you have your own must-see cooking shows this year? Share them with us!

A finalist from last fall’s Top Chef “Just Desserts” television series has been indicted on child pornography charges in Texas.

Morgan Wilson, 38, of Plano, is facing three second degree felony charges of possession with intent to promote child pornography. He was arrested Dec. 7, 2010 in the wake of an investigation that alleges Wilson transmitted files, to an undercover officer, that contained sexually explicit images and video of children as young as toddlers, the Plano Courier Star reported this week.

Wilson was a controversial figure on the Top Chef series who was frequently hot tempered and “prone to angry outbursts,” People.com reported. Continue reading »

The sometimes – OK, frequently – caustic travel and food writer Anthony Bourdain has outdone himself in a raw, and lengthy, new Playboy interview.

Never shy, and always outspoken, Bourdain – a former chef himself – has seen much success with his books and a highly successful show on the Travel Channel. He is sardonic in his wit and at times thermonuclear in his opinions – of which he has many. While those may not always be charming qualities, Bourdain is an original and always entertaining. Continue reading »

With all the celebrity chefs out there, it is easy to see how people can easily get confused as to what really works and what doesn’t work. Each chef has his own style, his own tips, and his own preferences. Who is to say that one is better than the other? I guess it’s all up to us to find out which tips we can use! In addition, one has to trust own’s own palate for ingredients and adjust recipes to make them your own! Copying from a book isn’t always the best solution, although one can never learn enough from these celebrity chefs. A perfect example for me is how I love Ajinomoto’s monosodium glutamate– simply for that extra natural flavor!

Anyway, here are 5 of the best tips that I have followed – and trust me, they work like magic!

Tip #1: Plan your meal ahead of time.
This is from chef Aaron Sanchez of the Food Network. Not only is he a hunk – he also knows what he’s about! He says that people who cook at home a lot should buy food on a weekly basis and do prep work as early as possible. For example, he says to peel potatoes the day before and keep them in the fridge (in water, of course). The next day, no need to go through the hassle of peeling taties!

Tip#2: Add pepper at the end.
I always did the opposite. According to David Kinch, this adds an acrid taste to the dish. I tried it and the difference was remarkable!

Tip#3: Make it simple when entertaining.
I hardly entertain, but when I do, I follow the Barefoot Contessa’s lead: keep it simple. Not only do you lessen the stress, you also get to focus on the flavors more!

Tip#4: Extra-virgin doesn’t mean extra good.
At least when it comes to olive oil – that’s what Tom Colicchio has to tell us. Yes, chef!

Tip#5: Buy whole spices.
Iron Chef Michael Symon knows all about spices and he’s right about buying whole instead of ground. The flavors are much fuller when you grind the spices yourself.

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Have you ever wanted to become like one of the celebrity chefs you religiously follow on TV (and elsewhere you can find them)? I know I would give an arm and a leg to be like Nigella Lawson – for more reasons than her cooking, obviously. I’d also sell my most precious gadget to be like Jamie Oliver. Or, rather, be with Jamie Oliver – but that’s a totally different story.

All kidding aside, I think that every home cook has this inner desire to meet the standards of their celebrity chef of choice. That is perhaps one of the biggest reasons that this obsession about celebrity chefs (and everything associated with them) has taken a stronghold in society. While not all of us may be as talented as Gordon Ramsey, I do believe that a little ingenuity and sense of adventure can take our cooking to a whole new level. All that we need is a push and some help. Continue reading »

First of all, I simply cannot imagine celebrity chef Jamie Oliver speechless. This guy is definitely physically appealing but part of his attractiveness stems from the way he talks – which to me seems non-stop! Anyhow, remember his foray into the wild American eating culture? Apparently, he tried the drink which has been dubbed as the unhealthiest drink in the country and was left, well, speechless.

So what’s in this drink?

Here’s what you need:

• LOTS of chocolate ice cream
• LOTS of peanut butter
• Heavy cream (LOTS, preferably)

Put these ingredients together and then blend. Yup, the mixture blends, and it blends well!

So what’s the problem with the drink? Think about it – you don’t need to be Sheldon Cooper to realize just how many calories are in this drink. To be exact, the drink has more than 12 percent butter-fat content. The total number of calories equals the amount that the average person needs in one day: 2,010!

If the numbers do not impress you, think about it more. The drink is equivalent to 68 rashers of bacon. If it’s sweet stuff that you like, think about 30 chocolate chip cookies. Baad but good!

So where can you get this drink? Head on over to a Cold Stone Creamery branch – you’ll be sure to find one of the 400 branches scattered all over the United States. Ask for the PB&C – just make sure you don’t eat anything else during the day. One drink is all you need to complete three meals.

I think that you either love or hate True Blood. It’s one of those things that absolutely have to take sides. Personally, I started liking the series. About midway through the first season, however, I just got so bored! I stopped watching, but I am already thinking of picking up from where I left off. People have been telling me left and right that I should have stuck it out a few more episodes, and that if I had, I would be raving about it now.

Another reason that has got me thinking about watching the show – or at least getting the DVD set – is celebrity chef Tom Colichio’s appearance. In the Season 2 DVD, there are a lot of extras included – as one can expect of any DVD set. I am particularly interested in the segment where the chef makes a drink (blood, of course) for vampires.

The drink is for vampires who do not want to “eat” humans simply for ethical reasons. Yup, there are vampires who have given up this habit and stay clear of “free-range humans” as well. So, the chef, who has quite a few friends who are vampires, decided to come up with a solution to the dilemma.

If you want a taste of what the DVD has to offer, check out the video below. You’ll certainly want to see more after watching the chef showcase his talents. Oh yeah, did I mention that he’s kinda cute? Even if he’s not a vampire.

Everyone has his secret, and although many people would like to keep their secret just that – a secret – these things have a way of coming out into the open. Take this simple technique of cooking food in a bag.

Dubbed sous vide, the technique is basically that – putting food in a sealed pouch and dumping it in hot water (maintained at a precise temperature for a certain period of time). It has been around for so long, but not many chefs (celebrity or otherwise) like talking about it. I suppose the idea is too similar to instant food that health-conscious individuals abhor.

Cooking sous vide, however, is actually quite different. The result of using this technique is three-fold:

• Save time
• Save on costs
• Ensure consistency

What’s the advantage of using the technique? Basically, cooking food in sealed pouches at relatively low temperatures over time makes the fats and collagen in meat break down slowly. The juices and the flavors are also retained much better. You can just imagine how tasty the food will be – whether you’re talking about meats or vegetables!

To do this properly, you can buy a “real” sous vide “machine.” This includes the vacuum sealed pouch and a self-stirring bath. This will set you back several thousands of dollars, though. (Yeah it’s one other reason that not many people are using them.) On the other hand, you can set your own up by buying a vacuum sealed bag and making your own water bath. However, the results may not be the same as you have to monitor the water temperature more closely and make sure that the water is stirred constantly.

The next time you hear sous vide – do not be turned off. It just might yield the best meal you’ve ever had!

Food and wine festivals are always worth writing about – who wouldn’t want to go to one? If you are in the Malibu area, or you plan on going there in the next several weeks, then you ought to know that the 4th Annual Malibu Calabasas Food and Wine Festival is going to be held on the 19th of June.

It has been described as the celebration of food, wine, and all things Southern Californian! If that isn’t enticing, then I don’t know what is. The location of the festival itself is something worth visiting – the very beautiful Calabasas. Of course, there are activities that will entice anyone who is even slightly into food.

Live cooking demos by celebrity chefs are the highlights of the festival. This year, some really popular names are going to grace the festival: Joachim Splichal, TV Chef Tommy Tang and world champion Chef Frania Mendivil.

Aside from the celebrity chefs, other entities will be participating in the food and wine festival. How does more than a hundred wineries and breweries coming together sound? Various food and wine vendors will also showcase their wares on the said date.

So, from 2 in the afternoon to 7 in the evening on June 19, make sure to drop by Calabasas Inn 23500 Park Sorrento Calabasas, CA 91302 for a one of a kind foodie experience. Visit the official web site of the 4th Annual Malibu Calabasas Food and Wine Festival for ticketing information.

Do chefs smoke pot? If celebrity Anthony Bourdain is to be believed – and he is highly credible – then, yes, many celebrity chefs depend on marijuana to keep going. According to the TV host, chef, and author, the long and often intense hours require chefs to blow off steam – and they do, one way or another. In his book, he chronicles how marijuana is often the “herb” of choice.

He says that even those people you would not imagine smoking weed actually do! The idea is that these chefs just need something to keep them calm and relaxed and get the job done. If other people smoke weed, why not them?

Of course, there is the issue that smoking weed and getting high in the kitchen can actually alter the results of their efforts. I am not sure that the results are as excellent as they normally are without the high that weed brings. In fact, many people question the practice not because of the illegal nature of the drug, but because the experience it brings might compromise the quality of the food. More so, can you imagine a frenetic kitchen preparing meals for hundreds of people with stoned chefs? It’s an accident waiting to happen.

Then again, despite what Anthony Bourdain says, we all know that there are kitchens whose staff do not need any chemical substances to function properly. Then again, if stoner cuisine is just as good as any other cuisine, who cares if the chefs get stoned?