The Apprentice

ICA: Flay vs. Stone

iron chef america, wannabe tv chef

Epic.  That is the only word to describe the last Iron Chef America of May 2010.  Perhaps this should be called Battle: Celebrity Chef?  Bobby Flay is a master of Kitchen Stadium and he welcomes Cheflebrity Curtis Stone for the second of four consecutive new episodes.

Curtis Stone, Iron Chef, Celebrity Apprentice, Biggest LoserIf, for some strange reason, you are not familiar with Curtis Stone check  out his IMdb profile which documents his more than 100 TV appearances.  The fact that he has a profile at IMdb should tell you he’s a pretty big deal.  Most known for appearances on NBC’s two popular reality series The Biggest Loser and Celebrity Apprentice, Stone has also hosted over 70 episodes of his own shows Take Home Chef (TLC) and My Restaurant Rules (Seven Network, Australia).

But Stone is as much chef as he is celebrity.  He began cooking professionally at the age of 18 at the five-star Savoy Hotel in London.  As a young chef he worked alongside Marco Pierre White at The Café Royal and at Mirabelle.  From there he moved on to the exclusive Restaurant 301.  Stone has also been a part of four top selling cookbooks including Surfing the Menu the companion book to the eight-part mini series Stone filmed with fellow Aussie chef Ben O’Donoghue.  The guy’s got chops.

This episode is tailor-made for the ladies as it pits two of the sexiest chefs in the country.  Flay’s curly red mop and Cheshire grin have long made him eye candy for Food Network viewers while Stone was named one of the sexiest men alive by People in 2006.  Chef Curtis greatly resembles actor Owen Wilson only without the fugly nose.

How cool would it be if Brett Michaels, Summer Sanders and Holly Robinson Peete were the judges?  Well they weren’t.  Judges for Battle: Skipjack Tuna were John T. Edge, Cady Huffman and Jeffrey Steingarten.  A special condition was that each course had to feature a grilled item.  Chef Flay was once again assisted by blond bombshell Sous Chef Rene Forsberg (who I believe oversees Flay’s Mesa Grill outpost in the Bahamas).  Chef Rene was sporting her signature Pocahontas ponytails.  Also adding heat to Flay’s kitchen was the adorable Christine Sanchez, Culinary Director of the Iron Chef’s company, Bold Food.

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

Flay and Stone have now teamed up for NBC’s new reality competition America’s Next Great Restaurant.

Click HERE for the outcome.

Surfing the Menu

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ICA: Flay vs. Stone – Outcome

iron chef america, wannabe tv chef

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

Judges for Battle: Skipjack Tuna were John T. Edge, Cady Huffman and Jeffrey Steingarten.  A special condition was that each course had to feature a grilled item.  Chef Flay was once again assisted by blonde bombshell Sous Chef Renee Forsberg (Senior Chef Tournant at Mesa Grill).  Chef Renee was sporting her signature Pocahontas ponytails.  Also adding heat to Flay’s kitchen was the adorable Christine Sanchez, Culinary Director of the Iron Chef’s company, Bold Food.

Flay                    Stone
Taste: 26         Taste: 19
Plating: 12       Plating: 10
Originality: 11  Originality: 8
Total: 49          Total: 37

Winner: Iron Chef Flay

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

Flay and Stone have now teamed up for NBC’s new reality competition America’s Next Great Restaurant.

[ad] Empty ad slot (#1)!


New Cheflebrity Marcela Valladolid

Though Bobby Flay remains ever in the spotlight at the Food Network the other two founding chefleberities, Mario Batali and Emeril Legasse have been pushed to the background.  It could simply be about ratings.  Just as likely it has to do with the rumored dissatisfaction many chefs now have with the network’s Disneyesque image.  The execs at Chelsae Market try to weave a squeaky clean web around their stars but the reality is that chefs, by nature, are lustful rogues.  Bourdain is the norm, Sara Moulton is the deviant.

For years now the Food Network has been under fire for programming that is personality-driven rather than chef-driven, fluff rather than serious cooking shows (I know, oxymoron).  Parent company Scripps has plans to address the network’s desire to retain its core audience while building a new one, namely reinventing the Fine Living Network as the Cooking Channel.  In the meantime Food Network has compromised by returning to the formula that built that core audience – chefs who have personality.

Enter Marcela Valladolid.

She has the personality pedigree.  Valladolid was a member of the cast of The Apprentice: Martha Stewart back in 2005 where she finished fourth.  She also bares an uncanny resemblance to cover girl Kristin Kreuk the starlet famous for playing Clark Kent’s high school sweetheart Lana Lang on Smallville.  And of course she has the mandatory celebrity Twitter presence.

Chef Marcela has the chops as well.  She matriculated at both the Los Angeles Culinary Institute and the Ritz Escoffier Cooking School in Paris where she graduated as a pastry chef.  She appeared on the Food Network 12 years ago on the old “In Food Today” with David Rosengarten.  Since then she has worked as an editor at Bon Appetit Magazine, run a catering company, hosted a cooking show for Discovery en Espanol and last summer she published her first cookbook, Fresh Mexico: 100 Simple Recipes for True Mexican Flavor (Clarkson Potter).

But before all of the hoi polloi of Reality TV and big time publishing, Valladolid learned to cook as a child.  Her father was a respected chef in Mexico and her aunt opened one of the first cooking schools in Tijuana.  It is that authentic Mexican food of her childhood that she is prepared to teach on her new Food Network show Mexican Made EasyMME is directed at the busy mom who wants to put out fast, healthy food with a Latin flair.  It premieres Saturday January 23 at 9:30am ET/PT.  As proof of her dedication to the true flavors of Mexico she proclaims, “there is no yellow cheese in real Mexican cooking.”

Indeed.

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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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