Claire Robinson

Best of “Chopped All-Stars” Tweets WK 1

Chopped All Stars

All this month the Food Network is airing a new charity version of hits hot cooking contest Chopped.  The special addition entitled Chopped All-Stars pits some of your favorite Food Network chefs plus NFNS 5 alum Debbie Lee against one another for the chance to win $50,000 for the charity of their choice.

Chopped All-StarsIn a fierce five-part tournament, 16 all star chefs battle head-to-head to win the crown as the champion of Chopped All Stars.  Competing in this battle royal are NFNS alums Brad Sorenson, Debbie Lee, Lisa Garza and Michael Proietti, as well as Anne Burrell, Geoffrey Zakarian (Chopped judge), Claire Robinson, Duff Goldman, Robert Irvine, Beau MacMillan, Jacques Torres, Nate Appleman and former NIC contestants Anita Lo, Aarón Sánchez (Chopped judge), Maneet Chauhan and Amanda Freitag (Chopped judge).

I spoke with Alex Guarnaschelli recently about this event so be sure to read her thoughts HERE.  Through out the week of Chopped All-Stars, I’ll be live Tweeting each show and will post some of the best Tweets I encounter here and adding new snark with each episode.  And I won’t be alone.  You can follow the action life HERE.

Week #1 – NFNS Alum:

[blackbirdpie url=”!/FoodNetwork/status/44550170448375808″]

[blackbirdpie url=”!/StuartDonald/status/44550800403480576″]

[blackbirdpie url=”!/Kellykoop/status/44558778984710145″]

[blackbirdpie url=”!/LegallyBrunette/status/44553833837363200″]

[blackbirdpie url=”!/ChopTedAllen/status/44587355511853056″]

[blackbirdpie url=”!/IbCarlyCammille/status/44580703119224832″]

[blackbirdpie url=”!/purplereign005/status/44580121574768640″]

[blackbirdpie url=”!/text100/status/44580258384576512″]

[blackbirdpie url=”!/PattiVarol/status/44578568805695488″]

[blackbirdpie url=”!/pastorjaredm/status/44580086346809345″]

[blackbirdpie url=”!/ChopTedAllen/status/44582066716803072″]

[blackbirdpie url=”!/sassifilli/status/44584765583654912″]

[blackbirdpie url=”!/black_canary02/status/44589905162145792″]

[blackbirdpie url=”!/Kellykoop/status/44585871973957632″]

[blackbirdpie url=”!/ChopTedAllen/status/44585212499341312″]

[blackbirdpie url=”!/guarnaschelli/status/44590108065796096″]

[blackbirdpie url=”!/mvpchef/status/44591636763779072″]

Check out the best Tweets from week 2 HERE.

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7 Questions with Alex Guarnaschelli

7 Questions is a series of interviews with the culinary movers and shakers you want or ought to know better.

Alex Guarnaschelli has long been a familiar face on the Food Network be it in her popular cooking shows The Cooking Loft and Alex’s Day Off or as a guest judge of Iron Chef America or Chopped  and soon as a contestant on Next Iron Chef 4.  She has been a polarizing figure to say the least.  It seems she is as beloved as she is disliked.  With Chopped: All Stars set to premiere in a few days perhaps we should get to know Chef Alex a little better.

After graduating from Barnard College in 1991, Guarnaschelli embarked on a lifelong culinary adventure beginning with a little time under the wing of the godfather of American cuisine, Larry Forgione.  If the name sounds familiar it should as Larry is the father of the newest Iron Chef Marc Forgione.

With the elder Forgione’s blessing Guarnaschelli took her studies overseas where she matriculated at La Varenne Culinary School in Burgundy.  From Burgundy she traveled France until landing in Paris for a four day study with famed French chef Guy Savoy.  Four years later she was still with Savoy as sous chef at one of his properties, La Butte Chaillot.  She would stay three more years before returning to America to work with the legendary Daniel Boulud at Daniel.

After moving up to sous chef with Boulud she then moved to the West Coast to work with Joachim Splichal’s Patina.  In 2003 she returned to New York to become the executive chef at Butter.  Since then she has made her reputation in the kitchen, as an instructor and even as a challenger on Iron Chef America before her keen palate was tapped as a judge both on ICA and Chopped.

In a fierce five-part tournament, 16 all star chefs battle head-to-head to win the crown as the champion of Chopped All Stars.  Competing in this battle royal are NFNS alums Brad Sorenson, Debbie Lee, Lisa Garza and Michael Proietti, as well as Anne Burrell, Geoffrey Zakarian, Claire Robinson, Duff Goldman, Robert Irvine, Beau MacMillan, Jacques Torres, Nate Appleman and former NIC contestants Anita Lo, Aarón Sánchez, Maneet Chauhan and Amanda Freitag.

Whenever discussions of culinary cuties ensue I am always aghast that Guarnaschelli’s name does not immediately come up.  She is clearly a beautiful woman but her descriptions of food are so sensual I swear they make me blush. When it comes to making food sexy she takes a back seat to no one.

Chef Alex will be a judge for this first of it’s kind event but first she answers 7 Questions.

Chopped All StarsCan you tell us what we can expect from Chopped All Stars?

It’s a week of all stars for charity where all the different celebrity chefs are competing for charities of their choice and the grand prize is a $50,000 donation to the winning chef’s charity.  It’s certainly very dramatic.

A little about you, Alex, how would you best describe your style of cooking?

I would say that I’m in touch with the American classics.  My parents were avid cooks when I was growing up; still are.  It was a lot of the French-American, French techniques and American ingredients ranging from Oysters Rockefeller and Lobster Newburg definitely is a big part of my style of cooking.  I love the green market mentality.  Some one once said to me that’s not a cooking style it’s a shopping philosophy which I thought was a very interesting way of putting it.  So I guess I would say French-American with seasonality being one of my favorite things.

Which chefs have influenced you along the way?

Many but probably the most influential definitely is Guy Savoy in Paris.  He was definitely a big inspiration, still is, to me.  Certainly Daniel Boulud is another big influence and inspiration.  You know you have mentors of many kinds when you’re a chef.  And certainly another big mentor to me is Bobby Flay who has just been very supportive of me and really helped me find my own voice as a chef on television as well as, you know, a cooking style.  I think that’s certainly important to me too.

How important do you think improvisational skills are to being a chef especially in a setting like Chopped All Stars?

When you say improvisation to me it makes me think of many other words like solutions.  As in somebody who can handle any crisis.  You know like when somebody doesn’t show up to work at the restaurant or the grease trap explodes on a Friday night or you have to put together a dish from a basket of ingredients in 20 minutes flat.  It’s all sort of that same idea of improvisation.  So I think thinking quickly on your feet is critical.  Which is why I think Chopped is such a natural extension of being a chef, being a cook.  Only now you’re being filmed and all of America is watching you.

What was the experience of being a judge for Chopped All Stars like?

Yeah, it was amazing.  Think about it.  Just think about that list of names.  Can you imagine?  It was incredible.  It was like watching the Super Bowl.

How would you describe the atmosphere in the Chopped kitchen?

The show is such a power, such a house of cards all the time.  Sometimes I like to think there’s a little mystery on the ground floor of the house you know with the basics.

How do you balance being a judge while also being a colleague with the other chefs?

We’re all professionals.  We all work together.  We’re all sort of similar in that all of us are sometimes the competitors and  all of us are sometimes the judges.  And I think that playing that game of musical chairs as professionals you definitely have a tacit understanding of what that’s going to entail ahead of time.  So it wasn’t really an issue.  I don’t think any of us would have allowed it to be.  It’s for charity.

Chopped All Stars premieres March 6th at 9PM ET on Food Network.


This was an excerpt from my latest Kindle Single “Dinner Conversations” which is an anthology of celebrity chef interviews. Available here

South Beach Wine & Food Festival

SoBe FestIt’s just about here again.  The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival is next month and once again the stars of the culinary world will be out in force.  Known as SoBe in culinary circles, this festival has turned into one of the premiere events, gastronomical or otherwise, in the world.  It is the Sundance of food.

The events at SoBe are mammoth.  How about a BBQ sponsored by Original MOONSHINE that’s hosted by Adam Perry Lang (Daisy May’s BBQ USA, NYC)?  Or maybe brunch with Gail Simmons and sponsored by Dolce Wines.  Do you love pasta?  Well Barilla is teaming super chef Bryan Voltaggio and Food Network’s Claire Robinson for an interactive lunch.  There’s also a SoBe Fest 2011private cocktail hour hosted by Next Food Network Star winner Aarti Sequeira.

Perrier-Jouet, makers of great champagne, host an annual cookout on the beach called Bubble Q.  This year it will be hosted by Bobby Flay featuring some great cuts from Allen Bros. – the finest steak purveyors in America.   But that’s not all.  You can get cooking tips from Ted Allen and Alex Guarnaschelli or cocktail ideas from Zane Lamphrey.  Just a few of the other cheflebrities who’ll be hanging out at SoBe are Rachael Ray, Charlie Trotter, Guy Fieri, Paula Deen, Alain Ducasse and Laura Werlin.  Heck even Ming Tsai will be there laying out a mean Dim Sum.

Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival CookbookThere is more heavy duty, high dollar, blue blooded eating going on than you would ever be able to do in just four days.  Seriously.  There are all kinds of private dinner parties, seminars and star studded happy hours going on.  Heck, this festival is so big it even has its own cookbook.  If there is a chef with a well known restaurant you can bet they’ll be at SoBe.

If you have the time and money I highly urge you to check out this amazing event.  Book your reservations HERE but remember where it says, “How did you hear about this package?” remember to put in WannabeTVchef.  Maybe they’ll send me a T-shirt or something.


Claire Robinson Helps Cooks via Twitter

I found this in my e-mail this morning.  Very cool:

Robinson to Host Tweet Chat to Help at-Home Cooks Make Simple and Super Meals

SAN DIEGO – Aug. 2, 2010 – Food Network chef and “5 Ingredient Fix” host Claire Robinson is partnering with Chicken of the Sea to promote the SuperCook contest and spark creativity in the kitchen with a live chat on Twitter.

Claire Robinson on WannabeTVchef.comThe chat will take place Aug. 5, 2010, at 8 p.m. – 10 p.m. EDT. During the chat, Robinson will offer tips on how to create easy and great-tasting meals. She will also answer cooking-related questions from participants and encourage people to get creative and enter Chicken of the Sea’s SuperCook contest – a search for people who know how to make simple and super meals. Those interested in participating can follow @COSMermaid or follow the hashtag #COSChat on Twitter.

“Creating great-tasting and healthful recipes doesn’t need to be complicated, and it doesn’t need to break the bank,” said Robinson. “That’s what the SuperCook contest is all about. During the chat, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite tidbits that will help any cook make simple and super meals his or her family will love.”

The SuperCook contest encourages home cooks across the country to share their original recipes using any Chicken of the Sea product for a chance to win the grand prize: an appearance on national television, $10,000 cash and be featured on a Chicken of the Sea product package. One first-place winner will receive $3,000 and also be featured on a product package. Second- and third-place winners will receive a $2,500 and $2,000 cash prize, respectively. To enter, visit and submit your recipe by Aug. 15.

Claire Robinson on WannabeTVchef.comEntrants are judged on: recipe creativity; use of Chicken of the Sea product in the recipe; embodiment of Chicken of the Sea’s brand assets of health, nutrition and convenience; and taste and appearance of recipe.

The chat is part of Robinson’s ongoing relationship with Chicken of the Sea to promote the SuperCook contest. Previously, Robinson conducted a nationwide television media tour in which she promoted the contest and offered viewers simple and super recipe ideas. Robinson can also be heard on radio nationwide and seen on the Internet and on various social media platforms promoting the contest.

A seafood category leader, Chicken of the Sea provides a variety of shelf-stable seafood products, including tuna, salmon, crab, shrimp, oysters, clams, mackerel and sardines. The Chicken of the Sea brand and famous Mermaid icon are among the most recognized brands in America.

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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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