Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain, the infamous traveling chef now on almost every lifestyle channel in existence- had quite a story to tell in one of his first bestselling books: “Kitchen Confidential“. Finally, after many trial and tribulations, he had found his sous-chef extraordinaire, Steven Tempel, for the Supper Club in New York, where Bourdain had just been made head chef. To say that Steven was eccentric was, according to Bourdain, putting it mildly…

Nevertheless, Bourdain reveals in the very frank and no nonsense book (as in how it really goes down in the restaurant business), Steven was somewhat of a genius. It turns out that Bourdain had recruited Steven from Casa Nostra Restaurant, in Northern California, where he had been working in the kitchen with “idiot savant” and “baking geniusAdam Real-Last-Name-Unknown!!

Kitchen Confidential is an excellent read and here at Celebrity Chefs we highly recommend it. As it turns out, the owner of Casa Nostra Restaurant (which was known for serving the best italian cuisine in town)- Joey Velardi, has recently opened up a branch in Manila, Philippines- where it is receiving rave reviews from the locals and in fact Bourdain recently visited for his show “No Reservations“.

Let’s hope Bourdain doesn’t steal the chef again ;)

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?

Michelin stars are not easy to come by, and we all look at restaurants in a different light once they get these stars. IF they have 3 Michelin stars, that ups the game to a whole new level, doesn’t it? There isn’t any restaurateur in the entire world that would not want to earn those three stars, but chef Ferran Adria is one of the fortunate ones (and deserving as well) to have earned them.

His restaurant El Bulli has been hailed by many – professional and amateur foodies alike – to be the best in the world. I haven’t had the honor of dining there myself, but I would give an arm and a leg to do so. Unfortunately, the rumor is that the chef is closing El Bulli for good. Last month, he announced that he would be closing the restaurant for two years – 2012 and 2013. He did so at Madrid Fusion, a conference for Spanish chefs. Why he would want to do that, who knows.

More recently, chef Adria announced that the closure of El Bulli is going to be for good. He said that instead of running the restaurant, he would be running a culinary school – an advanced one at that. Apparently, he and his partner have been losing money (large amounts of it) steadily on the restaurant. Again, how this could have happened, I haven’t the slightest idea!

In any case, this closure is going to be a sad one for the hordes of foodies around the world – especially for those like me who have never had the chance to sample their fare.

tyler-florence-fork6Yes, it is a fork, literally. Celebrity chef Tyler Florence has been operating a cookware store for about a year now in Mill Valley. Dubbed the Tyler Florence Shop (no mistaking who owns this store!), the shop has had a signature fork as its storefront symbol. There is nothing ordinary about this fixture – it weighs a hefty 50 pounds!

Early this month, the police received a report that the 50-pound fork was missing. This was on the 10th of June, although the employees already noticed that it was missing about two days prior to the report. (Well it would be kinda hard NOT to notice a missing fork that big, don’t you think?) Anyhow, they thought that it might have been a school prank so they didn’t think much of it in the beginning.

Now, the missing fork is causing quite a stir, with celebrity chef Tyler Florence himself appealing to people over Twitter. He even offered a reward to whoever finds it and returns it!

The celebrity chef, as much as he might be missing his fork, is not so dense as not to see the humor in the situation, though. Together with his wife, Tyler continues his search for his fork but also welcomes the laughter that it occasionally brings. Indeed, where else have you heard about such an online buzz about a missing fork?

So, if any of you have heard about or seen this fork, let the chef know. You’ll make him happy AND get a reward for it too!

Photo courtesy of Food Network

jamie-oliver-picture-1This guy will never have his full share of controversy, will he? Jamie Oliver had the honor of serving the leaders of the world during the G20 summit in the UK, and this is what he had to offer them:

Starter: Organic Scottish salmon with samphire and sea kale, and a selection of vegetables from Sussex, Surrey, and Kent.

Main course: Slow-roasted shoulder of Elwy Valley lamb with Jersey Royals, wild mushrooms and mint sauce.

Dessert: Bakewell tart and custard.

Vegetarian option: Goat’s cheese starter followed by lovage and potato dumplings for the main course.

There are some things there that I am not familiar with, like samphire and lovage (ah, spank me!), but all in all, the menu looks fabulous to me. But no, some people are quite unsatisfied with the menu, saying that it is not representative of what British cuisine has to offer. Chef Yotam Ottolenghi, in particular said:

The first impression I get from this menu is that it’s extremely British and very politically inoffensive. I don’t think it’s terribly exciting, but then I don’t think it should be on an occasion like this, when Jamie is trying to satisfy so many people.

I would have liked to have seen a few subtle multicultural influences in the menu to reflect modern Britain. It’s a very northern European menu and it doesn’t represent the very strong south-east Asian influences that do exist here.

Some of the foreign guests might raise an eyebrow to the idea of mint sauce with lamb, but as long as Jamie keeps it fresh and doesn’t make it vinegary, like some of the shop varieties, people won’t find it offensive.

Who finds mint lamb offensive? Maybe vegetarians? Anyway, from what I heard, the dinner went off quite well.

Sirius XM Radio Welcomes Jamie Oliver To

And it is not just him, apparently! It seems that the British public is becoming increasingly bothered by how much the F-word is being used on the telly. Oh, and I am not talking about “F” as in “fowl” but “F” as in the other foul word. The National has a write up of this today:

A backlash has emerged in Britain against the amount of swearing now common on television and radio.

For years, there has been a progressive increase in the use of bad language in popular programmes, particularly among comedians, talk show hosts and, for no apparent reason, celebrity chefs.

There were a lot of personalities mentioned in the article, including the recently infamous duo of Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross. There were no other celebrity chefs mentioned except for Jamie Oliver, who was said to have used the F-word 23 times in a 50-minute episode.

To be honest, I never really noticed this! Perhaps the episodes that I have seen were “clean?” Or maybe they were edited. Another possibility – I have become so immune to hearing that word that I do not even take note when it is mentioned on TV.

It does not matter – the fact is that for once, I agree with the critics. There is no reason for celebrity chefs to be using the F-word in their cooking shows. Although I have to admit that I have probably used it on several occasions while working in the kitchen. Poor Jamie Oliver, always in the middle of these controversies…

Gordon Ramsay - Book Signing

Who is the sexiest chef on TV today? If you were to ask the women in UK, they would probably say Gordon Ramsay. At least, that’s what the polls have shown. One Poll carried out the research last month and announced the results late in November. In The News has this report:

The F Word host and richest chef in the world topped a poll of TVcooks voted for by more than 4,000 women.

Though tabloid reports recently emerged claiming Ramsay has been cheating on his wife for seven years, his alleged infidelity seems not to have dented his sex appeal among female fans.

A spokesman for www.OnePoll.com, which carried out the research, said: “We weren’t surprised that Gordon came out on top.

“Women go for bad boys all the time. The fact he’s rumoured to be cheating on his wife for years only adds to his appeal.

“It makes him more obtainable for everyday women on the street.”

Hell’s Kitchen’s Jean-Christophe Novelli, 47, was voted second while Marco-Pierre White, Ramsay’s former mentor, came in third.

Saturday Kitchen host James Martin came fourth while Jamie Oliver rounded off the top five.

A spokesman for www.OnePoll.com added: “Most of the men in this poll aren’t purely chefs. Most of them are highly successful restaurateurs, broadcasters and TV personalities.

I do not agree with the results – I think that Jamie Olivier has more sex appeal than Gordon Ramsay but then that is just me talking. Who is the sexiest chef for you?

He may be at the top in the reality TV show Top Chef but Tom Colicchio does not seem to be on top of his game when it comes to real life. Colicchio opened his restaurant Craft in New York in 2001 and has since then widened his horizons by opening other branches in different parts of the States.

On Friday of this week, however, a former employee of Calicchio file a lawsuit against him. The complaint? It seems that the Top Chef star has been remiss in giving his workers their due. Included in the complaint are violations such as not paying minimum wage, overtime, and tips from customers.

The complainant is a certain Nessa Rapone, who worked at the Craftbar in New York last year. In her statement, she declared that she is filing the lawsuit on behalf of the other workers of Calicchio who were paid on an hourly basis. Reuters has this report:

A former employee sued “Top Chef” TV show judge Tom Colicchio in federal court on Friday for allegedly not paying some of his restaurant workers minimum wages, overtime and tips from customers.

Nessa Rapone, who worked at Craftbar in New York in 2007, filed suit in Manhattan federal court on behalf of other hourly paid workers seeking to recover “minimum wages, overtime compensation and misappropriated tips” from Colicchio.

So what does the Top Chef celebrity has to say about the lawsuit? That camp has been silent on the matter so far

julia childs

Aaah, a chef conspiracy! This article claims that chef Julia Childs was a spy! Or at least, applied to be one. Well, if you can’t beat them… bake for them!

delia

Poor Antony Worrall Thompson. That poisonous plant incident has him the laughing stock of all the celebrity chefs — but it’s not the first time he’s been under fire.

Delia Smith once said of him, “Antony Worrall Thompson is dreadful, just repulsive. I think that Food And Drink, the show that he is on, is the most disgusting programme on television. I will never, ever know, as long as I live, how the BBC or the general public can tolerate it.”

His response: “She’s the Volvo of cooks.” (Gordon Ramsay agrees: “Here we are trying to establish a reputation across the world for this country’s food and along comes Delia and tips it out of a can. That hurts.”)

Well, so does eating a poisonous plant. Read this for other celebrity chefs word wars