where’s jose garces

ICA: Garces vs. Pomeroy

Someone call the FBI and cancel the APB on Jose Garces!  Last year’s Next Iron Chef winner makes an appearance with just his third battle as an Iron Chef.

Naomi Pomeroy on WannabeTVchef.comChef Naomi Pomeroy comes to town to do battle from her acclaimed restaurant Beast in Portland, Oregon.  Beast is a six-course prix-fixe restaurant that celebrates the glories of meat.  The menu changes based on what is in season with one exception, a footnote that reads “Substitutions politely declined.”  Amen!

Fresh off an appearance on the Cooking Channel’s Food(ography) in June, this one-time vegetarian now boasts a meat-centric menu that recently landed her in O Magazine as one of “10 Women on the Rise.”  In 2009 Food & Wine honored Pomeroy with a Best New Chef Award for the cuisine she calls “refined French grandmother.”  In 2008 Portland Monthly magazine named her, Chef of the Year.  That same year she was one of six ladies featured in a Food & Wine article entitled Women Chefs: The Next Generation and the restaurant she co-owns with Micah Camden, Beast, was named co-Restaurant of the Year by Diner.

Chef Naomi is a genuine individual crediting neither apprenticeship nor culinary school for her success but rather reading.  She is obsessed with cookbooks and food history.  She attributes Richard Olney, Larousse and Harold McGee for her culinary education.  She is famous for her Smoky Tomato Soup with Maple-Candied Bacon.  Her cuisine was once described by Karen Brooks of the Oregonian as being like, “a blind date between Julia Child and Anthony Bourdain.”

Pomeroy’s appearance should squelch rumors that Jose Garces is no longer on the show.  Or does it?  In a June interview at OregonLive.com Pomeroy reveals that the episode was actually shot in October of ’09.  Probably around the same time that the other Garces battles would have been taped.  So again the questions pops up, “Is Garces still an Iron Chef?”  Why are they doing The Next Iron Chef 3?  The plot thickens.

The judges for Battle Truffle were Jose Andres, Karine Bakhoum and Jeffrey Chodorow.

Click HERE for the outcome.

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ICA: Cora vs. Kostow

After last week’s battle of the salads between Morimoto and Amanda Cohen hopefully there will be some meat on the menu in the second-to-last ICA of season 8.  With Cora doing battle this week, we once again are left wondering Where’s Jose Garces?

Chef Cora’s challenger this week is rising star chef Christopher Kostow.  Oddly enough, Kostow has a full bio on the Food Network web site, a rarity for a one time challenger.  Could there be something in the works?

Christopher Kostow on WannabeTVchef.comWho could blame the Network for wanting to enlist Kostow after the hullabaloo surrounding the talented young chef the past few years.  A Michelin-starred chef by age 30, Chef Christopher was named to Food & Wine‘s list of Top Ten Dishes of the Year in 2007 and San Francisco Chronicle named Christopher a 2008 Rising Star Chef.  It was also in 2008 that he arrived at The Restaurant at Meadowwood in Napa Valley after a lofty and unconventional journey.

Rather than spending years shut away in some culinary school, Kostow opted to instead earn his way to chef by working at some of the most notable restaurants in the world.  He got his education old school when he left his hometown of Chicago to work for the likes of Trey Foshee and Daniel Humm.  Afterwards he did the rounds throughout France to learn the tricks of the trade in traditional French bistros.

Kostow describes his approach, “I embrace food memories — traditional combinations that work together — and then distill those flavors into something that is very much different, and very much stands on its own.”  Cat Cora has created a few food memories herself.

The judges for Battle: Oatmeal were Liliana Cavendish, Ryan D’Agostino and Nina Griscom.  There was also a Top Chef sighting as both competitors had sous chefs from that “other cooking contest” in tow, Richard Blais and Ed Cotton.

Click HERE for the outcome.

If you haven’t already please check out the interview of Cat Cora done recently by Lindsay Mott of MS Digital Daily.

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ICA: Morimoto vs. Cohen

Just two more episodes left of season 8 of Iron Chef America.  Still no sign of the newest Iron Chef, Jose Garces.  Perhaps that is why the Network is ready to kick off another season of the Next Iron Chef in a few weeks.  But that is neither here nor there.

Amanda Cohen on WannabeTVchef.comThis week kitchen stadium is visited by New York’s Amanda Cohen.  A vegetarian chef, Cohen’s motto is, “Anyone can cook a hamburger, but leave the vegetables to professionals.”  She is a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute.  NGI is not a strictly vegetarian cooking school as they do have classes on eggs, poultry and seafood, but there are no mammals in their curriculum.

Since receiving her degree from NGI, Cohen has labored in several of New York City’s vegetarian restaurants.  She has done a little time as a teaching assistant at Angelica’s Kitchen which has specialized in organically grown plant-based cuisine for over 25 years.  But it was at Spanish Harlem’s DinerBar that she gained notoriety, oddly enough for her Buffalo Wings.  When pop star Moby decided that he wanted to open a vegetarian tea room he picked Cohen as the first chef at Teany.

Cohen has since worked at a number of vegetarian eateries culminating with her own restaurant, Dirt Candy.  Cohen’s restaurant has since been named “Best Vegetarian Restaurant in NYC” by amNew York and L Magazine, voted “Best Vegan Restaurant in NYC” by Citysearch readers and the Village Voice singled it out for “Best Grits in NYC.”

Amanda Cohen enters Kitchen Stadium having proven herself a star in the vegan counter culture.  But the question that remains is can she go blow for blow with Iron Chef Morimoto armed with a menu full of side dishes?

Well, the Chairman took care of that by banning the use of meat, poultry and seafood.  So the judges (Melanie Mannarino, Jeffrey Steingarten and Kelly Hu) got to sample ten said dishes.

Be sure to check out my exclusive interview with Chef Amanda Cohen.

Click HERE for the outcome.

ICA: Symon vs Crenn

Iron Chef America on WannabeTVchef

Another new Iron Chef this week and it looks to be the last one for a while as The Great Food Truck Race with Tyler Florence premieres next week.  With that in mind, hopefully this will be another blockbuster like last week’s match up of Morimoto and Hines where we saw the Iron Chef fall to a Top Chef: Masters alum.  This week it is Mike Symon’s turn to take on a challenger from a popular reality show.

Dominique Crenn on WannabeTVcef.comDominique Crenn, a native of Versailles, France, was a contestant on last year’s Next Iron Chef in which Jose Garces won.  Speaking of Garces, has anyone seen him lately?  I digress.  Crenn studied the culinary arts in San Francisco and worked under the likes of such luminaries as Jeremiah Tower and Mark Franz while toiling in the kitchens of noteworthy restaurants like Stars, Campton Place, 2223 Market and the Park Hyatt Grill.  The road to success soon found her named the executive chef of the Yoyo Bistro at the Miyako Hotel in San Francisco where she elevated it to a 3 star rating from Access San Francisco.

After a brief stint in Indonesia, Chef Crenn returned to the Left Coast to assume the post of executive chef at the Manhattan Country Club, in Manhattan Beach.  Some of the star studded club members who have enjoyed her cuisine include Sidney Poitier, Sharon Stone, Cindy Lauper and the Japanese and Egyptian Ambassadors to France.  An impressive resume to be sure but is she ready for Michael Symon?

The judges for Battle: Yogurt were Anya Fernald, Andrew Knowlton and Sabine Cassel.

If you haven’t already be sure to check out my exclusive interview with Iron Chef Michael Symon.

Click HERE to see the outcome.

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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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