Rocco Dispirito

ICA: Flay vs. Greenspan – Outcome

SPOILER ALERT: The following information is the outcome of Flay vs. Greenspan. If you want information on the combatants click HERE. If you are only interested in the outcome read on.

The judges for Battle: Goose were Cady Huffman, Donatella Arpaia and Andrew Knowlton.

Flay                        Greenspan
Taste: 22                     Taste: 22
Plating: 9                    Plating:  10
Originality: 8               Originality: 12
Total: 39                      Total: 44

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ICA: Flay vs. Greenspan

iron chef america, wannabe tv chef

Epic.  That is the best word to describe the pending battle between LA’s Eric Greenspan and NYC’s Bobby Flay.  This episode has “sweeps period” written all over it.  What better way to put to bed season 8, the longest and most adventurous season to date of America’s best TV cooking competition.

Eric Greenspan Iron Chef AmericaGreenspan is a fixture on the US dining scene; a bona fide star.  Greenspan was born Jersey, raised in California and forged in the kitchens of the Big Apple.  He has spent time working at Bouley, Union Pacific, Essex House and even El Bulli.  He has learned under the great chefs of our era like David Bouley, Rocco DiSpirito, Alain Ducasse and Ferran Adria.

Chef Eric’s own star burst onto the scene at Patina in Los Angeles.  At Patina, Greenspan was charged with pampering guests with seasonal tasting menus, gourmet cheeses, caviar service, and an award-winning wine list.  From there Greenspan took over the kitchen of Meson G which was like a shooting star having rocketed to the A list and then burning out all in a brief period of time.

Today Eric Greenspan is the chef/owner of the highly popular The Foundry on Melrose Place which the chef describes as “fine dining restaurant for the every day man.”  The Foundry is famous for making the best burger in LA and the best grilled cheese sandwich in the known universe.  The trip to Kitchen Stadium is one that Greenspan has been on for quite a while.  He came up just short of his goal in last year’s Next Iron Chef competition which was won by Jose Garces but now his time has come.

Foundry's ICA Tasting MenuBased on Chef Greenspan’s tasting menu for the Iron Chef viewing party at Foundry Sunday night I’m going to go out on a limb and say the secret ingredient is goose.  Of  course it could be a phony.  If so then I guess it is my goose that has been cooked.

The judges for Battle: Goose were Cady Huffman, Donatella Arpaia and Andrew Knowlton.

If you haven’t already be sure to check out my exclusive interview with Iron Chef Bobby Flay (HERE).

Click HERE for the outcome.

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Review: Family Style

I saw the casting call for “Family Style” a year or so ago and thought that it might just prove interesting.  I thoroughly loved the documentary Food Network did about the opening of Iron Chef Morimoto’s restaurant in Philly several years ago entitled Morimoto: Raw.  It was a behind the scenes look at how a big time restaurant opens.  It chronicled the ordeal with trying to open on schedule, dealing with contractors and creating buzz.  It was riveting television.  The first season of NBC’s the Restaurant was similar before they began engineering behind the scenes drama.

Joey and Melissa Maggiore of Family StyleThat is what I was hoping for from Family Style.  It was billed as a show about a family-run restaurant with behind the scenes access.  The family is real, the Maggiore clan in San Diego is well respected for running some of the area’s best Italian restaurants including Tuscany and Tommy V’s.  The family patriarch, appropriately referred to as Papa Maggiore, is a bit of a legend in the uber-competitive Southern California restaurant scene.  The TV show, however, focuses on the brother-sister competition between Joey and Melissa as they each endeavor to open the best new restaurant in San Diego.

Here’s how the Network describes it in it’s one paragraph page on the FN web site:

Family Style is the new docu-series that follows siblings Joey and Melissa Maggiore as they each open restaurants in the San Diego area. Joey is opening the flagship restaurant in his chain of barbecue restaurants. Melissa is auditioning executive chefs for her full service eatery. Will Joey be able to open after he is unexpectedly pulled away from his restaurant? And how will Melissa respond when one of her chef candidates asks her out on a date?

So that’s what I was expecting, a “docu-series” about opening new restaurants.  I was hoping for the behind-the-scenes adventures that come from opening a successful business and learning from the marketing push leading up to the grand openings.  What I got was Jersey Shore in a kitchen.

Chefs vs. City Season 2

This Sunday Iron Chef: America (the greatest show on TV – sorry, Smallville) takes the night off so that former ICA challengers Chris Cosentino and Aarón Sánchez can kick off season 2 of Chefs vs. City.  And just as in the season 1 premiere the guys will be going up against two of their own, Sunny Anderson (Cooking For Real) and Claire Robinson (Five Ingredient Fix and Food Network Challenge).

For those unfamiliar with the show Food Network describes it thusly:

Sánchez and CosentinoThis is the ultimate foodie tour. In each episode of Chefs vs. City, Food Network chefs Aarón Sánchez and Chris Cosentino challenge two local foodies in an action-packed food adventure to locate that city’s biggest, boldest, most unexpected food places. From wine stomping in Malibu, to eating the spiciest curry in all of NYC, to braving the coldest room in Las Vegas, Chefs vs. City will test the wits, guts, and skills of both teams as they race to the finish line.

In other words it’s an extravagant scavenger hunt.

Aarón Sánchez was one of the early Food Network chefs having hosted the ethnic culinary kaleidoscope  known as The Melting Pot.  Sánchez co-hosted the show with, among others, Rocco DiSpirito, Padma Lakshmi and future Iron Chefs Cat Cora and Michael Symon.  These days Sanchez is often seen as a judge on Chopped and is is the owner and executive chef of Paladar and Centrico in New York City.  Aarón is the son of famed cookbook author and restaurateur Zarela Martinez of Zarela.

Since taking over as executive chef at San Francisco’s Incanto quickly earning the Italian eatery a 3-star review from the San Francisco Chronicle, Cosentino’s star has been on the rise.  Chef Chris has gained notoriety as a leading proponent of offal cookery (the preparation of organs, entrails and lesser used cuts of meat).  In 2007 his passion for offal gained national attention when he was a contestant on the Next Iron Chef where he competed against Sánchez and eventual winner Symon.  In addition to Chefs vs. City Chris is still at Icanto and is the founder of Boccalone, an artisanal salumeria.

This year’s season premiere was shot in Miami during the South Beach Food & Wine Festival which is hosted each year by the Food Network.  The festival is akin to a family reunion of Food Network celebrities and is the setting for several shows each year featuring any mixture of culinary all-stars.

The show is scheduled to air each Sunday at 9pm/8c.  Next Sánchez and Cosentino head to Hotlanta to take on Dinner Impossible’s Robert Irvine and George Galati.

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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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