Josh Ozersky

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Martha Scorned

There was a time when Martha Stewart ruled the airwaves with helpful hints and creative ideas for the kitchen.  But that was a long, long time ago.  Today Martha can be seen on Halmark (which is Martha Scowlingapparently a TV channel).  Or make that Martha was last seen on Halmark.

The Martha Stewart Show is being canceled by Hallmark in May.  Why?  An average audience of just 225,000 viewers for starters.  That’s less than Polish stock car racing gets.  Extremely high production costs is another.  Adding salt to the wound, Home Depot is dumping Martha Stewart-branded paint and the value of Martha Stewart Living’s stock is plunging.  Finally, moving into to Martha’s old studio at Chelsea Market is Rachael Ray.

Rachael RayYes, the very same Rachael Ray that Martha once described as, “more of an entertainer than she is, with her bubbly personality, than she is a teacher like me,” on ABC’s “Nightline.”  She went on to say that one of Rachael’s cookbooks was “not good enough for me.”  The same Rachael Ray who’s show long ago replaced Martha’s as the “go to” lifestyle show.  I guess “bubbly” is Martha-speak for likable.

Well, apparently seeing the newer, younger, hipper version of herself was too much for Martha last week when she and “RaRay” just happened to dine at the same Bond St. hot spot, Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria.  A witness of the event told the New York Post that, “Martha was staring Rachael down as soon as she walked in with a group of friends. Martha looked disgruntled. You could definitely feel Martha’s heat in that kitchen.”

Rachael, who was accompanied by Time magazine food writer Josh Ozersky, became quite uncomfortable with Stewart’s evil eye and elected to get her entree to go.  Stewart’s camp denies their matron was even aware that Ray was on site but according to everyone who was at the restaurant it was obvious that Stewart was aware as she was, “noticeably glaring in Ray’s direction throughout her meal.”

Stewart once condescended of Ray, “I don’t know if she has a garden; I don’t think so.”  Well, one thing Rachael does have that Martha doesn’t is a TV show.

By the way, I asked Josh what was in his doggie bag and he told me, “short ribs, of course!

Review: The Hamburger by Josh Ozersky

Josh Ozersky, according to wikipedia, is “an American food writer and historian.”  That’s a bit sparse.  Ozersky was with New York Magazine when they kicked off their food blog Grub Street for which he received a James Beard Award in 2008.  Grub Street started out as a terrific food blog but today they isolate their “reporting” to six liberal strong holds – New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston – the rest of the country be damned.  Of late their content is less about great food and more about being part of the Obama re-election machine.

The Hamburger by Josh OzerskyToday Ozersky writes for Time.  Additionally he has published three books,  Meat Me In Manhattan: A Carnivore’s Guide to New York, Archie Bunker’s America: TV in an Era of Change, 1968-1978 and the subject of this review, his 2008 historical text, The Hamburger: A History (all are available at amazon).  He is also is the driving force behind ozersky.tv.

The Hamburger: A History is exactly what the name implies.  It is not a cookbook nor a culinary adventure.  It is a history book.  And for the folks in Seymour, WI, New Haven, CT and St. Louis, MO it will not start off well.  Ozersky makes the case that the hamburger was not invented at any of these locations who have so adamantly proclaimed themselves the birthplace of the quintessential American food.

No, according to the James Beard winner the first real hamburger was made by Walter Anderson in 1916 at a Wichita burger stand called White Castle.  What is it that Ozersky claims as the final touch in the burger’s evolution that leads to his conclusion?  Anderson was the first to put his patty on a bun.  The other “inventors of the hamburger” put theirs on standard sandwich bread.

That proclamation is really the end of any discussion of the hamburger as food. From there Ozersky takes the reader on a fair and accurate review of the fast food industry.  The author does a great job of celebrating the successes of men like Billy Ingram of White Castle, Ray Kroc of McDonald’s and Dave Thomas of Wendy’s while also giving due diligence to their more nefarious innovations.

Well, fair and accurate except for the last five or ten pages.  Ozersky does use the final stanzas of the book to rail on big business, capitalism and America in general.  The last chapter is so out of character from the rest of the book that it seemed like reading a different topic from a different author.

I wouldn’t let the mild America-bashing in the closing pages dissuade you from learning the history of the burger slinging industry.  Ozersky gives poignant micro-bios of some of the innovators of industry who’s ingenuity fueled the US’ post war boom.

I’m giving away a copy of The Hamburger by Josh Ozersky.  Last day to sign-up is 11-04-11.  To enter click HERE.

Food Network’s Extreme Chef Premieres June 30th

Food Network Press Release:

CHEFS GO TO EXTREMES IN NEW FOOD NETWORK SERIES EXTREME CHEF

Extreme ChefFood Network takes chefs out of their kitchen comfort zone in new primetime series Extreme Chef premiering Thursday, June 30th at 10pm ET/PT. Hosted by TV veteran and seasoned world traveler Marsh Mokhtari, each episode pushes three chefs to their physical and mental limits as they must adjust to extreme conditions and unpredictable curve-balls such as swimming across a lake for ingredients and using a car engine as a makeshift stove. Whether extracting ingredients from a block of ice or using a pocket knife as a lone cooking utensil, each of the eight episodes in season one follows three culinary pros as they navigate this over-the-top contest vying for $10,000 and the coveted title of Extreme Chef.

With three challenges per episode, the competitors’ wits, adaptability and artistry are tested as they must cook up a way to showcase their creative chops while surviving the ultimate competition. With minimal time to complete each challenge, speed counts but quality matters most in the end. After the first two challenges, one chef is eliminated and the two remaining competitors battle in the ultimate showdown. From beaches and farms to ghost towns and mountains, Extreme Chef takes the competitors to obscure locations for each out-of-the-box challenge, like cooking a meal on a deserted island, preparing a perfect block party in a torrential downpour and gathering ingredients from a bucket of rattlesnakes.

The season’s competitors hail from across the country and span the culinary spectrum. From restaurateurs to executive chefs, these kitchen masters will need their varied perspectives and cooking styles to tackle seemingly unthinkable tasks. Leading the competitors through this jaw-dropping journey is host Marsh Mokhtari, a U.K. based adventure seeker and host of several cable network travel and lifestyle specials. Notable judges from this season include: Simon Madjumdar (Next Iron Chef judge, food journalist), Josh Ozersky (food journalist), Marco Canora (Next Iron Chef finalist, restaurateur) and Candice Kumai (food writer).

CHEFS GO TO EXTREMES IN NEW FOOD NETWORK SERIES EXTREME CHEF

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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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