top chef masters

MasterChef Season 2 Casting Call

Gordon Ramsay on WannabeTVchef.comFOX has ordered a second season of Gordon Ramsay’s newest culinary competition series, MASTERCHEF, it was announced today by Mike Darnell, President of Alternative Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company.

“Gordon Ramsay is an incredible talent and the biggest culinary star on television today, so we’re very happy to have Gordon and MASTERCHEF back for another season on FOX,” said Darnell. “MASTERCHEF has resonated with viewers this summer, and we look forward to seeing where Gordon takes the show in Season Two.”

“It’s amazing and refreshing to see how much passion and raw talent there is from amateur home cooks across America,” said Ramsay. “It’s extraordinary the amount of energy and excitement the show brought in Season One, and I’m thrilled to be back at FOX for a second season.”

“The amazing reception for MASTERCHEF on FOX has been hugely rewarding for all of us at Shine Group,” said MASTERCHEF executive producer and Shine Group Chairman and CEO, Elisabeth Murdoch. “As the creators of this unique global franchise, we’re thrilled to see the U.S. audience love this show as much as we do. We are looking forward to building on this early success with an even broader, bigger search in Season Two, and to seeing the brand grow as it continues to do so in Australia, the U.K., France and around the world, breaking viewing and ancillary records as it goes.”

MASTERCHEF is the No. 1 new program of the summer among Adults 18-49, outperforming the next highest-rated show by +14%.

For those that believe they are the next MASTERCHEF please visit fox.com/masterchef.

7 Questions with Chef Celina Tio

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

This interview was done when Chef Tio was on Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef.  Recently she competed on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters.  You may continue.

This October, The Next Iron Chef returns with its fieriest season-to-date. Ten of the country’s most accomplished chefs bet on their skills and put their reputations on the line for the chance to join the industry’s most elite culinary society: the Iron Chefs.  Hosted by Alton Brown and filmed in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York City, season three premieres Sunday, October 3rd at 9pm ET/PT on Food Network and challenges the chefs’ culinary skills and mental toughness as they enter a clash of culinary titans.

For all the info on the new season of The Next Iron Chef, check out this link (has press release, episode descriptions, bios, video, etc).

The great thing about NIC is that all of the combatants are serious, award winning chefs.  Celina Tio is a classic example.  The Coatesville, PA native is a James Beard Award winner for her work at Kansas City’s The American where she earned a reputation for making everything from scratch.  This past summer, Tio made the move to her own restaurant, Julian and to stake her claim as The Nest Iron Chef.

Chef Celina is a 1992 graduate of Drexel University where she obtained a B.S. in hotel and restaurant management.  She is also a certified sommelier.  Prior to her heading the kitchen at The American she was the executive chef of at a Disney seafood restaurant, Narcoossee’s, which capped a rich career with the Disney corporation.

With all of the things going on for her right now, Chef Celina Tio was still kind enough to answer 7 Questions:

1. How old were you when you first started to cook?

Celine Tio of Next Iron Chef 3I was eight years old.  I asked my dad for a Holly Hobby oven.  He pointed to our oven and said, “There’s a real one, use that.”  So I learned to use the oven and range at an early age.

2. When did you decide that you could make food your career?

I wanted to go to culinary school out of high school, but it wasn’t quite as common then, so I compromised and got a B.S. in Hospitality Management with minors in Business and Psychology from Drexel University.  I’m jealous because they now have a four year culinary program!

3. Which chefs have influenced you the most?

Julia Child because I saw her on TV.  It never dawned on me that it wasn’t common for women to cook professionally.  I was watching one on TV, how much more socially acceptable is that?  Also, my father, Cesario Tio and grandfather, Julian Rodriguez – the men in my family did all the cooking.

4. If you hadn’t followed this career path, what other career could you see yourself in?

Hard to say, I’ve been doing it for so long and have always loved it!  When I was younger, I was always into math and art, so maybe something in either field.  After having filmed NIC, I love the entertainment industry – the production side, anyway. What a learning curve!  I have a much greater appreciation for everything I see that is filmed now!

5. How would you describe your cooking style?

“Feel Good Food” is the tag line for JULIAN, but mostly straight forward, simple food.

6. What motivated you to enter The Next Iron Chef competition?

I was called on a Friday night and was asked if I’d be interested in being on the show.  I said sure and we set a few more interviews then I was flown out for an on camera interview.  After they saw that, I guessed they still liked me.

7. What’s next for Chef Celina Tio?

Maintaining and always working on improving JULIAN, hopefully have my book concept that I’ve had ready for three years come to fruition and perhaps work on a new concept.  Basically stay busy!

Be sure you check back each Sunday for the NIC Recap.  If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out my recent interview with the newest Iron Chef, Marc Forgione HERE.

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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My Summer Reading List: Kitchen Confidential

Originally published on June 17, 2009.

Last time on My Summer Reading List I reviewed Ruth Reichl’s Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table, the beautiful story of a little girl in love with food who grows up to be a renowned food writer. Tender is a romantic telling of a life spent in food. Kitchen Confidential is a whole other beast.

Kitchen Confidential BourdainSemi-retired chef Anthony Bourdain shocked the world with his tome on the inside workings of the restaurant industry, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. As the story goes, Kitchen Confidential blew the lid of the industry upon it’s release in 2000 by revealing the drunken, drug-laden debauchery that exists in American professional kitchens. I question how many people were genuinely surprised by the revelations in Bourdain’s work, after all the restaurant industry employs more people than any other industry in the nation, save the Federal government, over 12 million jobs nationwide.

I believe that most of the hullabaloo was feigned. After all, of those in the media not currently employed in the Life (as Bourdain calls it) most at least used to be employed in it. To a lifer like myself the book was comfortable. It was like sitting down with an old friend over a bottle of Johnny Walker getting three sheets while reliving memories and swapping tales.

Bourdain paints a perfect picture of life in the kitchen, testosterone driven trash talking, seducing servers and drinking way too much. But what surprised me was the author’s love of food. Images sketched in words of his first raw oyster freshly plucked from the brine while only a lad to his experiences with the amazing creations of Scott Bryan, Eric Ripert and Ferran Adrià. Throughout the text I was constantly reminded of both Bourdain’s love affair with food and his sheer talent for the smithing of words.

Anthony Bourdain Medium RawThe boy’s got chops. At the time of its publishing I don’t think Bourdain knew just how good a writer he was. The book was so explosive, so popular that it actually was made into a television series, all though it was a short lived one. Fast forward nearly a decade and Tony is no longer commanding the kitchen at Les Halles, no longer going on three-day coke benders (I hope) and no longer chasing tail. He has become what he loathed and found it’s a pretty nice gig, this celebrity chef thing.

I made sure to put Kitchen Confidential on my summer reading list because I knew how important a book it is. What I did not expect was how much I would learn from it. In fact, I have gotten a whole new reading list from it. Bourdain emphasizes how important it is for any chef to read the classics, if you will, of our profession.

In sports the greats of the game are known by just one name: Hank, Bo, and Michael. Sports fans know of whom I speak. The culinary world is no different and it is these chefs of which Bourdain speaks. Works of literature produced from chefs so revered that they are known by just one name, Escoffier and Bocuse. So thank you, Tony. Not only have you penned a great book, but you have also made my summer reading project a little longer.

Next: Heat by Bill Buford.

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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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