Chefs vs. City

Review: Heat Seekers

I have been waiting for the premiere of Heat Seekers for months.  Like most food TV fans I have enjoyed Aaron Sanchez all the way back to his days on Melting Pot.  Roger Mooking is still an unknown entity to most Americans but that should change soon.  Here is how Food Network describes their newest food/travel series:

For chefs Aarón Sanchez and Roger Mooking, Heat Seekers is a tongue-testing odyssey to discover the most deliciously spicy food across the country — and to figure out why these dishes are so fun to eat. From Los Angeles and Santa Fe to Miami and New Orleans, the dynamic duo discovers the secrets of spicy dishes of all kinds — from Mexican to Korean to Indian cuisine — and then subjects themselves to a test of who can handle the heat. Indulging in spicy ceviche and flaming-hot cocktails, Roger and Aarón put their taste buds to the test, and the results are either tears of laughter or tears of pain — usually both.

Mooking and Sanchez Heat SeekersSanchez (Centrico in New York City) is his usual charming, energetic self.  The same attitude that has made him a fan favorite from his other shows like Next Iron Chef, Chopped and Chefs vs. City transfers well to Heat Seekers.  Since his knowledge of food goes well beyond just Latin flavors his placement on this show was a no-brainer.

Mooking (Kultura Social Dining and Nyood Restaurant in Toronto) is the host of Everyday Exotic which airs both on Food Network Canada and the Cooking Channel.  For my money Everyday Exotic is the best stand-and-stir on the air today.  His knowledge of spices and ingredients are born from being a third generation chef and his multicultural background which includes ancestry from the Caribbean to the Far East.  America, get ready for one very talented and charismatic cat.

This show highlights the best in food that has spice and presents it with two passionate and credible hosts.  Mooking and Sanchez have a great chemistry that makes you wish you could join them on one of their road trips.

Or at least it makes me want to join them anyway.  What do you say, Aaron and Roger – shall we meet in Nashville for a little Prince’s Hot Chicken?

Heat Seekers airs Fridays at 10/9 Central on the Food Network.  Be sure to check out my exclusive interview with Roger Mooking HERE.

Chef Unleashed with Chris Cosentino

Chef Chris CosentinoThe following video is a proposed pilot for a very raw cooking show starring Incanto executive chef Chris Cosentino.  “Chef Unleashed invites the viewer on a global eating exploration.  It’s a new kind of reality show, about where good food really comes from—when it’s done right.”

Cosentino is well know for his nose-to-tail approach to cooking.  As a chef he has a tremendous respect for the animals that feeds us and that is why he uses all them in his cooking, so nothing goes to waste.  That is a far more nature-friendly approach than treating animals as a minority group surrounded by a bunch of half-baked activists.

This is the kind of cooking show I would love to see and I think Americans could benefit from.  Let me warn you that if you are the type that can’t bare to see Bambi drilled with a .306 through the jugular then this will be hard for you to watch, but you need to watch it.  Once you see Chris’ actions and emotions you’ll understand where he’s coming from.  Plus we’re only ever three days without power away from having to live like this again.  Anyway, this is what Extreme Chef should have been like.

 

Chef Unleashed from Chris Cosentino on Vimeo.

Next Iron Chef 3

I am curious to see what unfolds on the Next Iron Chef 3.

next iron chef on WannabeTVchef.comThe original was amazing television that was made up of past Food Network stars like Aaron Sanchez and eventual winner Michael Symon and introduced us to some new ones like Chris Cosentino (who now co-hosts Chefs vs. City with Sanchez) and TLC’s John Besh (Inedible to Incredible).

The drama of that first season lay in the fact that every contestant was an established star chef who realized that winning NIC could mean the difference between a six figure salary and a seven figure salary. Also adding to the chemistry was the fact that most of the competitors were old friends. Though there was a little friendly trash talking there was a strong sense of camaraderie among that first group.

Season 2 was not very good. With few exceptions (Amanda Freitag, Eric Greenspan, Nate Appleman and Jose Garces) there were few truly well-known chefs in the contest. What there seemed to be was an over-abundance of was contrived drama and a gaggle of idiotic challenges that did nothing to prove who was best qualified to be an Iron Chef.

There was also Jehangir Mehta, a pastry chef of all things vying to be the Next Iron Chef. Mehta, though talented, seemed to get moved along each week despite a number of tragically failed challenges, cheating and other undesirable behavior. It was clear by season’s end that Mehta was not there because he was a plausible Iron Chef but because the Food Network knew viewers would hate him and tune in just hoping he’d get eliminated.  Adding to the failure of Next Iron Chef 2 was the fact that the eventual winner, Jose Garces shot three battles as an Iron Chef in 2009 and has since been invisible.

Speculation has been rampant: Has Batali finally completed his long, drawn-out exit?  Is Cat Cora stepping away to spend more time with her growing family?  She was on MasterChef you know?  Maybe Flay, Symon or Morimoto is leaving?  The most popular assumption is that there has been some kind of falling out between the Food Network brass and Chef Garces.

Season 1 produced Michael Symon who is the winning-est Iron Chef in the history of the show having taken home victory over 80% of the time he’s gone out. Season 2 produced, well, nothing really. So just what does the third season hold? Will it elevate someone new to a title that signifies the best of the best or will it be another one hit wonder?  I guess we’ll all have to wait until October.

Meet this season’s contestants HERE.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out my exclusive interviews with Iron Chefs Bobby Flay and Michael Symon as well as the newest Iron Chef, Marc Forgione HERE.

Review: Kid in a Candy Store

Adam Gertler on WannabeTVchef.comThis is going to be a very short review.  Because the show isn’t any good?  No, not really.  It’s because the newest show from Food Network, Kid in a Candy Store, isn’t new.  Adam Gertler is just as charming as he was when he (and three other people) should have beaten out Aaron McCargo Jr. on NFNS 4.  It’s the format of the show.  There is nothing really new about it.

If you liked Food Finds, Will Work For Food, Unwrapped, Food Tech, Road Tasted (with either the Neely’s or the Deen’s), Man vs. Food, FoodCrafters, Unique Eats, Follow That Food or How’d That Get on My Plate? then you’ll like Kid in a Candy Store.  It is pretty much those shows.  Only it’s just about desserts.  I’m sure for those of you with strong sweet teeth it will be a fun variation of a tried and true formula with an amusing and talented host.  As for me, I’m not a big dessert guy.  My idea of the perfect dessert is a second cheeseburger.

It is certainly better than Cupcake Wars.

Be sure to check out this recent interview with Adam Gertler.

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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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