Goodbyes From 2011

In 2011 we foodies said goodbye to a number of food shows.  Here’s a list:

Good Eats on Cooking ChannelGood Eats – after 11 years creator/host Alton Brown called it a series so that he could have more time with his family and to develop new projects.

Big Daddy’s House – after being declared the winner of Food Network Star 4, Aaron McCargo Jr. logged 61 episodes before moving on to the next stage of his career.

Crave – possibly the smartest show Food Network has done in years only received a single season but my guess is it will become the Firefly of TV food shows.  Troy, promise me I get to be in the big screen version!

Ace of Cakes – the show that introduced the world to cake decorating.  Duff Goldman and his hilarious staff of artisans, hipsters and other quirky personalities made cake into a trend.  I don’t blame Duff for all of the crappy cake shows on the air today because his was actually good.

Aarti Party – yet another Food Network Star show got the axe.  Currently only three of the seven winning shows are still in production.  Next to Guy’s Big Bite, Aarti Party was clearly the best FNS show ever.  EVER.  Like Good Eats it will live on with the Cooking Channel.  As for Aarti, she has a new series in the works that is a collaboration FNS 5 winner Melissa D’Arabian.

Review: Crave with Troy Johnson

Let’s set the stage.  Here is how the Food Network web site describes its new food/travel series Crave with Troy Johnson:

Hosted by food critic and journalist Troy Johnson, Crave takes viewers on a cross-country journey for the most perfect versions of the foods he craves. Enthralled by the culinary wonders surrounding him, Troy will travel anywhere and try anything in pursuit of his obsession. Whether it’s pizza and pork or fried chicken and ice cream, Troy is on a quest to discover foods that make his mouth water while taking viewers on his nation-wide expedition to indulge in his food fascinations.

For those unfamiliar with Johnson he started off life as a music journalist but somewhere along the way became a food critic.  Having found his niche his star began to take off.  In 2007 he became the Troy Johnson Cravesenior editor of Modern Luxury’s Riviera magazine.  It wasn’t long after that the accolades came rolling in.  He has since branched out into broadcast media as a regular guest as a food and drink expert for KPBS radio in San Diego.

Food Network broke Troy in slowly by having him guest on shows like The Best Thing I Ever Ate before handing him the keys to Chelsea Market.  And no doubt the Network is banking on Crave to help fill the void caused by the court ordered stoppage of Diners, Drive-in & Dives.  Although the suit was settled last week and taping should resume soon it may be a while before new episodes hit the air.   Thus the nine episode deal for Crave.

His every-man style should make for a perfect host for a show like Crave.  And as a writer, Johnson knows the value of research.  Check out this gem he once gave a web site, “The Romans invented the cheese wheel and used to roll them along with everything else when they were doing battle.  They think this is why the Romans were able to kick everyone’s asses in Europe. Since cheese doesn’t spoil very easily, they always had a hunk of protein-and-fat-jammed energy source tucked up their man-skirts. Other armies’ food would spoil, leaving them weak and hungry. The cheese-eating Romans kicked their ass.”

So now you know the back story, it’s time for my take on what Johnson calls a, “series of unauthorized biographies of our favorite foods.”  The first thing that comes across is just how natural Johnson is on camera.  Not bad for a guy who has spent most of his career expressing himself in the written word.  It is not an easy transition to make.  His schtick of dropping one-liners steeped in pop culture or obscure historical references is reminiscent of Dennis Miller or Robin Williams.

As far as the show itself, Crave has many of the best elements of previous food/travel shows like Unwrapped, The Secret Life Of and yes Triple D.  It will also appeal to fans of nerdy (for lack of a better word) shows like Food Detectives and the recently mothballed Good Eats.  That is where Johnson’s pension for meticulous research pays off for the viewer.  He covers each episode’s theme from both a historical and a scientific perspective.  And best of all he does it with an irreverent (dare I say raunchy) sense of humor not scene on the Food Network since Anthony Bourdain.

I really liked Crave a lot.  I like the host and I like the way they handle the subject matter.  Visually it is shot well and seems to flow extremely well.  I kept thinking, “A commercial already?”

Crave airs Mondays at 8:30pm/7:30c on the Food Network.

Taste of Minnesota

From the official web site:

Taking place July 2 – 5 on Harriet Island along the banks of the Mississippi, Taste of Minnesota is the summer’s most rockin’ party celebrating the best of summer in Minnesota. Now in its 28th year and under new ownership and a new management team, the four-day celebration will offer over 100 hours of top-notch musical acts on 5 stages, over twice as many restaurants as last year, and an expanded family-friendly entertainment area.

No matter what trips your tastebuds’ trigger, this year’s Taste of Minnesota is sure to delight. With twice as many restaurants serving savory and satisfying cuisine, from sushi to roast beef, fish and chips to Juicy Lucy’s, roasted corn to berry kabob’s, every festival-goer and foodie alike will find plenty to choose from. So get ready for this year’s whole new Taste!

This year’s participating food vendors: 1919 Rootbeer Floats, 5-8 Grill, All Star Catering, Barrio’s Taco Truck, Bennett’s Chop and Railhouse, Bobick Concessions, Bridgeman’s, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Carolina Catering, Carrie’s Popcorn, Cheese Curd Factory, CRAVE, Decoy’s Grill and Bar, Derrick’s BBQ & Soul Food, Falafel King, Famous Dave’s, Funnel Cake Factory, Gass Lemonade, Gass Station, Hickory Hut, Holy Land Brand, Island Noodles, Joe’s Crab Shack, Kabob Shack, Maui Wowi, Mayslack’s Bar & Grill, McLellan’s Shrimp Shack, Minneapple Pie, Northwoods Steak Buffet, Retch’s Cookie Dough & Cream, Cheese Comets, Safari Kenya, SEVEN, Sporty’s, The Liffey, The Tea Garden, Tom Thumb Donut, Tootie’s Boiled Peanuts, Vero Pizza, VF King Food, Walleye Wagon, and Wok N’ Roll.

Taste of Minnesota’s July 2nd Main Stage line-up sponsored by 89.3 The Current promises to kick off the transformed Taste of Minnesota with a huge line up of hip-hop and indie music including two local headliners Atmosphere and P.O.S.  The Main Stage line-up for July 2nd starts at 5 p.m. and includes:

  • Minus the Bear at 5:00 p.m.
  • The Walkmen at 6:05 p.m.
  • P.O.S. at 7:25 p.m.
  • Atmosphere at 8:45 p.m.

“We are so excited to welcome The Current as a Main Stage sponsor this year and to not only expand the musical genres at Taste but to feature talented Minnesota artists as headliners on the Main Stage and throughout the festival,” said Andy Faris, co-owner and managing partner of Taste of Minnesota.  “Minnesota has an amazing and diverse music scene and Taste will be featuring the breadth of it on five stages starting at 11 a.m. daily and continuing until 10 p.m. nightly.  No matter what your appetite in music is — Taste will fill it.”

This year The Taste of Minnesota will offer more than 100 hours of live music on five stages starting daily at 11 a.m. and continuing until the gates close at 10 p.m. In addition, Taste will also feature more food options with twice as many restaurants participating this year, along with a new emphasis on family fun in the Family Entertainment Village.

“As a Minnesota-based station supported by our members, we are very pleased to be able to partner with Taste of Minnesota as it expands its musical horizons,” said Jim McGuinn, Program Director of The Current. “We are also thrilled that some of our top local hip hop artists will be featured this year since that is one of Minnesota’s hottest musical exports and is a significant part of the Current’s playlist.”

The full music line-up for all days and stages is as follows:

Taste of Minnesota 2010 on WannabeTVchef.comFriday, July 2

  • City Pages’ Big Music Tent
    • Jeff Ray & the Stakes – 11:00 a.m.
    • Earl Greyhound – 12:30 p.m.
    • Justin Townes Earle – 2:00 p.m.
    • Retribution Gospel Choir – 3:30 p.m.
    • Dawes – 5:00 p.m.
    • James Hunter – 6:45 p.m.
  • BT’s Party in the Park
    • Allison Scott – 11:30 a.m.
    • Communist Daughter – 1:30 p.m.
    • Haley Bonar – 3:30 p.m.
  • The Red House Records and KFAI Stage
    • Nirmala Rajasekar – 11:00 a.m.
    • Dave Moore – 12:00 p.m.
    • Joe & Vicki Price – 1:15 p.m.
    • Guy Davis – 2:15 p.m.
    • Willie Murphy Band – 3:45 p.m.
  • Family Entertainment Village
    • Acts TBA
  • The Main Stage Presented by 89.3 The Current
    • Minus the Bear – 5:00 p.m.
    • The Walkmen – 6:05 p.m.
    • P.O.S. – 7:25 p.m.
    • Atmosphere – 8:45 p.m.

Saturday, July 3

  • City Pages’ Big Music Tent
    • Red Dot Garage – 11:30 a.m.
    • Wayward Boyz Klub – 1:00 p.m.
    • Free Fallin’ – 2:45 p.m.
    • Ipso Facto – 4:30 p.m.
    • Otis Clay – 6:15 p.m.
  • BT’s Party in the Park
    • Dave Thune and the Backseat Boogie Band – 12:30 p.m.
    • Dustin Lee -2:30 p.m.
    • The Alarmists – 4:30 p.m.
  • The Red House Records and KFAI Stage
    • Charlie Parr – 11:00 a.m.
    • Doug & Telisha Williams – 12:00 p.m.
    • The Roe Family Singers – 1:00 p.m.
    • The Brass Kings – 2:00 p.m.
    • Scottie Miller – 3:00 p.m.
    • Cool Disposition – 4:00 p.m.
  • Family Entertainment Village
    • Acts TBA
  • The Main Stage– Presented by KQRS
    • Lou Gramm – 6:00 p.m.
    • John Waite – 7:00 p.m.
    • Sammy Hagar – 8:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 4

  • City Pages’ Big Music Tent
    • Wilebski’s Blues Revue – 11:00 a.m.
    • Americana Songwriters – 12:45 p.m.
    • Sensacion Latina – 2:45 p.m.
    • Dirty Dozen Brass Band – 4:15 p.m.
    • Marcia Ball – 6:00 p.m.
  • BT’s Party in the Park
    • Joey Ryan & The Inks – 12 p.m.
    • Catchpenny – 2:00 p.m.
    • The New Standards – 4:00 p.m.
  • The Red House Records and KFAI Stage
    • Eliza Blue – 11:00 a.m.
    • The High 48’s – 12:00 p.m.
    • Switched at Birth – 1:00 p.m.
    • Big George Jackson – 2:00 p.m.
    • Mother Banjo Band – 3:00 p.m.
    • Molly Maher & Her Disbelievers – 4:00 p.m.
  • Family Entertainment Village
    • Acts TBA
  • The Main Stage – Presented by Cities97
    • Gin Blossoms – 6:00 p.m.
    • NeedToBreathe – 7:10 p.m.
    • Counting Crows with Members of Augustana – 8:30 p.m.

Monday, July 5

  • City Pages’ Big Music Tent
    • Lynhurst – 11:00 a.m.
    • Attention – 12:30 p.m.
    • New Primitives – 2:00 p.m.
    • Heiruspecs – 3:45 p.m.
    • Hairball – 5:30 p.m.
  • BT’s Party in the Park
    • Jeff Arundel – 12:00 p.m.
    • Mark Mallman – 2:00 p.m.
    • The Spectaculars – 4:00 p.m.
  • The Red House Records and KFAI Stage
    • Chastity Brown – 11:00 a.m.
    • Claudia Schmidt & Prudence Johnson – 12:00 p.m.
    • Davina & the Vagabonds – 1:00 p.m.
    • Café Accordion Orchestra – 2:00 p.m.
    • Ray Bonneville – 3:00 p.m.
    • The Pines – 4:00 p.m.
  • Family Entertainment Village
    • Acts TBA
  • The Main Stage – Presented by 93X
    • Pepper – 5:45 p.m.
    • The Offspring – 6:35 p.m.
    • 311 – 8:10 p.m.

Taste of Minnesota 2010

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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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