Homaro Cantu and the Laptop Bandit

Homaro Cantu MotoHomaro Cantu is the chef/owner of Chicago’s famous molecular gastronomy restaurant Moto.  Cantu, who was the host of Future Food on Planet Green, defeated Iron Chef Morimoto in Kitchen Stadium.  The Le Cordon Bleu Portland grad was actually homeless from the age of six to the age of nine.

In addition to his prowess with a knife, Cantu is also incredibly tech savvy.  He is an inventor who’s patented creations appear in the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum and at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.  Additionally he has been sought out by several Fortune 500 companies to assist in product R&D.

All of this is to establish that Homaro Cantu is someone you do not want to f@%k with.

For instance, about a month ago Cantu had his personal laptop swiped by some Chi-town thug.  That was a bad move.  Using state-of-the-art key logging and tracking software Cantu has been able to follow the aforementioned computer thief through cyberspace.

Though Cantu may be a genius the laptop bandit is not as he has been posting pictures of himself using the stolen computer.  And not just any pictures but photographic evidence of him committing other crimes.  I had published one of those pictures here but at the request of Chicago PD I have removed it.  As soon as they give me the all clear it’ll be back.

The punk also posted a picture of his own car in front of his own house.  In case you are unaware there is software readily available which can pretty much analyze a picture of any building in the US and tell you the address of it, not that it was needed.  Chef Homaro has been posting the pictures the wannabe gangsta has been taking on his own Facebook page so that fellow Chicagoans can help him track the perpetrator down.

Cantu has also published the record of web sites the guy has visited.  It appears he has a raging fascination (or possibly a crush) for rapper Jay Z.  He’s also a fan of “hot Latina booty.”

The chef has it within his power to alert the police at any time to end what many are calling “the laptop saga” but where’s the fun in that?  I mean, sure, that is the ultimate end game but can’t those of us civilized members of society share a laugh or two at the expense of someone who has proven they are considerably less evolved than the rest us?

Don’t miss out on all the fun.  Zip on over to Facebook and “like” Chef Homaro Cantu to watch the drama unfold live before your eyes.

Food Network’s Facebook Page Flamed

Recently Food Network decided to Spam it’s fans via their popular Facebook Page with a shameless ad for Applebee’s.  The post was a plug for Applebee’s 550 calorie (but high fat, high carb and high sodium) Weight Watcher’s menu.  Neither Applebee’s nor Weight Watcher’s are companies I put much stock in as both have a long track record for taking their customers for granted.  Apparently I am not alone.

The classic Spam advertisement soon received over a hundred negative comments from Food Network fans many of whom “unliked” the FN Fanpage because of this breach of trust.  There were a few positive comments but most were made by people who’s profiles indicate their paychecks come from FN’s parent company Scripps Networks.  Suspiciously missing from the post was the usual Facebook button allowing you to report a post as Spam.

Let’s forget for a moment that Applebee’s menu is littered with farm raised imported shrimp (which is toxic) and the lowest quality beef and chicken that is legal to sell in the US.  Let’s forget that Weight Watcher’s is notorious for marketing a brand that has absolutely nothing to do with a healthy life style.  Let’s concentrate on the fact that Food Network actually Spammed it’s Facebook fans.  For shame, Food Network, for shame.  I don’t expect Applebee’s or Weight Watcher’s to do right by the American people but I do expect that from you.  For shame.

Food Network Spams Facebook Followers

Is Aarti Canceled Or Does She Party On?

A no-brainer.  Aarti Party is easily the best Next Food Network Star series that Food Network’s most popular show has ever produced.  Aarti announced her second season simply saying, “YAAAAAAAAYYYYY! I’m on for a second Aarti with Sunny Anderson and Roger Mookingseason!!!”  Aarti’s Facebook announcement about being renewed received more than 500 “Likes” and nearly 200 comments in just 4 hours.  So much for the lunatic fringe that was hoping Aarti Party was canceled.

Season 3 of Aarti Party just wrapped taping and new episodes should start airing in July of 2011.  If the show keeps pulling the ratings it has been it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.  Or will it?

In fact, Aarti Party is going global.  Aarti recently announced that the show is headed across the pond.  From Aarti via her Facebook page, “What’s up ye olde United Kingdom? I’ve got some intensely exciting news. I’m going to be on Food Network UK starting August 1st! Tune in, what what!! (US folks, tell your UK friends about it too!)”

UPDATE:  Food Network has ceased shooting new episodes of Aarti Party after just three seasons.  However, Aarti’s show will live on with the Cooking Channel.  Aarti is now a regular contributor on Drop 5 lbs with Good Housekeeping with fellow NFS winner Melissa D’Arabian.  Aarti had this to say on her Facebook page, “Since everyone has been asking, and I don’t want to ignore you and make you think I don’t read your comments, I guess I should let you know that my show was not picked up. I found out last year but I didn’t want to make a big deal about it. I am doing tons of new stuff for FN and Cooking Channel though, and I can’t wait for you guys to see it!”

A quick review of FNS winners:

  1. Party Time with the Hearty Boys got six episodes then was canceled.  Was brought back for 13 episodes and then canceled again.
  2. Guy’s Big Bite is still in production after 120 plus episodes.
  3. The Gourmet Next Door got six episodes then was canceled.  Reportedly Food Network offered host Amy Finley 13 more episodes but she declined and moved to another country.
  4. Big Daddy’s House, despite atrocious ratings, was given 61 episodes before being canceled after five seasons.
  5. Ten Dollar Dinners has to date produced 32 episodes over three seasons.  Currently filming season four.  New episodes continue to air on Sundays while older episodes join the M-F daytime line-up beginning Sept. 26th.  The move to the daily line-up is a strong sign that Food Network plans to make many, many more episodes of Ten Dollar Dinners.
  6. Aarti’s Party produced 28 episodes over three seasons.  The ratings were quite good but Food Network has moved it to the Cooking Channel in re-runs only.
  7. The Sandwich King premiered to great reviews and a second season just started airing.
YAAAAAAAAYYYYY! I’m on for a second season!!!

Trust the Trend

Stuart Reb Donald on WannabeTVchef.comAt one time or another everyone of us has been caught up in a fad.  With great pride I went to school sporting striped suspenders studded with buttons.  I think the picture to the right demonstrates that copying Robin Williams’ cocaine influenced Ork-style was not my only fashion infraction.

That is in fact me, the Wannabe TV Chef in the size-too-small Subway shirt while rocking the mullet and porn stash.  Note that I am frying bologna in Parkay!

I share this with you to say that all of us have at one time tried on a fad only to years later have an embarrassing photo show up on Facebook.  That is because fashion trends are stupid.

Food trends on the other hand are not.  Food trends do not come from the mind of a “gifted” fashionista or spring forth from the THC clogged lymbic system of some modern day Holden Caulfield.  Food trends are the result of innovation – overcoming adversity by utilizing what you have available to you.

Remember when deep dish pizza, sun dried tomatoes and Buffalo wings were all the newest thing in food?  Food trends are rarely created by someone trying to revolutionize the culinary world but rather by someone trying not to starve to death.  Have you noticed that food trends may lose their status but the technique nearly always becomes part of the standard repertoire?  You cannot find parachute pants these days but egg rolls and nachos are everywhere.

A food trend is simply a regional technique or ingredient that works it’s way into the mainstream.  It was just a few years ago that flavored foams, panini and sous vide were cutting edge; now few are surprised to see them on a menu.  Foods are only trendy because they are new.  At one point or another everything we eat was a fad.  With that in mind why are Americans such sissies?

salmon on WannabeTVchef.comIn watching the current season of the Next Food Network Star I am startled by how many people are pulling against Aarti Sequeira because “no one likes Indian cuisine.”

Huh?  There are over a billion people in India that eat Indian food everyday, of course they just call it food.  Indian cuisine is the most popular ethnic food in the UK as well.  It’s as popular with the Brits as Mexican is here in the States.  For the record, had it not been for Europe’s lust for the flavors of India, Christopher Columbus might never have become the fifth person to discover the New World.

There is a reason that Food Network senior vice-president Bob Tuschman has been desperate to find the right host to do a show on Indian cuisine on the Network.  He knows, after years of doing his job very well, that with the right star behind it Indian cuisine will be the next hot trend in food; it will be the next sushi or Korean BBQ taco.  He knows that in ten years most people won’t remember Indian food as being exotic or bizarre.

Roasted Pork Belly on WannabeTVchef.comSo when you see that wild new item or flashy new cooking style on the menu try to remember that the chef would not serve it if it didn’t taste good.  That’s not the business they’re in – the tricking people into eating something nasty business.  The fast food industry has that all wrapped up.  So, please, try the roasted pork belly, try the heirloom tomato salad, try the fricking curried lamb.  Trust the trend.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up


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