The process started with hopeful contestants-to-be breaking down into large groups and presenting their goods to a panel of judges and answering a short set of questions. After that make-or-break first bite, those who impressed moved directly to a smaller group interview. Those who continued to make the cut then sat for an on-camera interview. Yet another round of interviews with producers yielded the bakers who will participate in the competition. Alexandra and her chai whoopie pie (and bacon chocolate chip "cookiewich") made it through the first two rounds and into the third, but didn't make it all the way to Los Angeles, unfortunately. However, one local baker did make it through this grueling process: Effie Sahihi of Hendersonville, who specializes in the breads of her native Israel. Watch Effie's "Baker Backstory" here.
On The American Baking Competition, Effie will be up against nine other bakers for a $250,000 grand prize and a publishing contract with Simon & Schuster’s Gallery Books. The show is hosted by Jeff Foxworthy and the competition is judged by chef Marcela Valladolid and Paul Hollywood (a judge on the U.K. series). Each episode features three challenges, “Signature Bake,” “Technical Bake” and “Showstopper Bake" with one person crowned "Star Baker" and another eliminated. The finale will have the last three contestants baking it out to be the grand prize winner.
Tune in to CBS tonight at 7 p.m. to cheer Effie on in the competition.
The first stop is the hip Lockeland Table in hip East Nashville, where dinner with Chef Hal Holden-Bache includes pork loin with greens and mac-and-cheese. Interestingly, this is what food blogger Beth Sachan ate during her first visit to the restaurant last year, so you can get a glimpse of it and read her assessment on her blog.
No visit to Nashville is complete without hot chicken. Chef Garvin visits downtown’s 400 Degrees and gets a private lesson on how to make hot chicken from owner, native Nashvillian and all-around hot chicken expert Aqui Simpson.
The last stop in Nashville kicks it old school with a visit to John A’s out in Donelson. The eponymous John A is John A. Hobbs, formerly of the Nashville Palace. Along with the fried chicken livers and prime rib sandwich, Chef Garvin gets treated to some live Nashville-style entertainment.
The episode airs tonight at 8 p.m. on the Cooking Channel and will repeat Wednesday and Saturday. Check the website for specific times. Also, look out for a future episode (set to premiere June 25) that will feature Franklin's Noble Springs Dairy and a lesson making goat cheese.
In the red corner, hailing from Mobile, Alabama, via New Orleans and Long Beach, Mississippi, and blown to Music City by Hurricane Katrina, it's the Cajun Steamer, the Creole Crusher, the Filé Funkmaster himself, John "Chappy" Chapman!
In the blue corner, wearing 15 Michelin stars and a foul disposition, it's the man who's never seen a properly made risotto in his life, Chef Gordon Ramsay!
That's right, it's finally time for the airing of the Kitchen Nightmares episode starring these two strong personalities. Tonight, May 3, at 7 p.m. on WZTV-Channel 17, Chappy and Ramsay face off in a test of wills that promises to be epic, and which ultimately won't make any difference ...
Because we hear that within a few weeks of Ramsay's complete revamping of Chappy's menu, decor and even staff dress code, the chef-owner went back to the way everything was before the show was shot. While I didn't eat there during the brief interregnum when the menu shifted from Cajun/Creole to straight-ahead Southern classics like fried chicken, I had my doubts. I drove by the restaurant when I knew they were filming and happened to catch Chappy during a moment when he had obviously been asked to make himself scarce while they did something in his kitchen. The steam coming off his forehead as he leaned up against a phone pole looked hotter than the peppers on his chef pants.
But even if you know the ending after the ending, it should still make for some entertaining television. Check it out tonight and share your impressions here in the comments. And did anybody try the "New Chappy's" or visit since the reversion? Let us know the skinny!
Vice has a new online video series, Truckers in the Wild, following the exploits of brothers and chefs Eli and Max Sussman as they explore food truck culture in various cities. The latest edition features the Sussman brothers in Middle Tennessee, where they enjoy some barbecue from Soul Fuel in downtown Nashville, then go squirrel-hunting (and naturally, squirrel-’cueing) in "rural" Spring Hill.
Yes, squirrel hunting. What that has to do with food trucks, I'm not sure. Thanks, Vice, for perpetuating the redneck reputation of our fair city. Beats another "hipster" report, I suppose.
Or does it?
More importantly, has anyone tried Soul Fuel? The food looks great, and it's served up out of an old fire truck. Soul Fuel is based in Murfreesboro, but apparently the truck visits downtown Nashville a fair bit.
Any reports are appreciated!
Top Chef wrapped up its 10th season last night. Boston's Kristin Kish completed her big comeback, having fought through five Last Chance Kitchen episodes, to beat LA's Brooke Williamson in, what I thought, was a frustrating finale. Not because of the result, mind you, but because the Magical Elves production staff changed the finale format in a way which undermined the show's distinctiveness.
There are six things the show could do to improve next season:
Before the Woods Amphitheater, before Cafe Fontanella, it was just Barbara Mandrell's li'l ol' house with a helipad out front, where she would hang out and occasionally cook blackened tuna and black bean salsa on TV with Oprah.
Lest you think I have some bias against lowbrow humor, let me point you in the direction of a skit from the weekend that I actually enjoyed. The Fart Patio on Portlandia was fantastic. After a week of eating vegan food at home, topped off with a visit to Sunflower Cafe, I certainly needed one at home. (TMI? My apologies.)
Regardless, I am still just reeling over the awfulness of the Top Dog Chef bit. Why, Lorne, why?
So, what’s Stu’s Stews’ problem? Watch the video (posted on Eater) and you’ll likely conclude that their, um, marketing could use a little help. Carrie helpfully suggests "You could at least get on like Twitter or something." That's a start, but I think they could probably use some new art on the truck as well. See for yourself.
Incidentally, “You vile cow!” is now my favorite phrase. Just in time for Christmas!
Producers are being coy about what else will be featured in the segment, but we know they also visited Live on the Green (and a few of our favorite food trucks) as well as F. Scott's. We'll have to tune in to see what makes the show. Luckily, if you miss it, you can watch the segment when they post it online.
Also, be sure to check out Chef Hall’s Chew Chew Clusters, her own take on the candy.
If you fancy yourself as a talent with a Kitchen Aid and rolling pin (I'm fighting so hard to avoid "master baker" jokes), there's a new show currently casting contestants to show off their prowess on CBS. It's still code-named CBS Baking Show, but I'm guessing it'll have a catchier title than that when it airs next fall. The show is based on the wildly popular British series, The Great British Bake Off.
Applications are being taken online, and there are only five places in the entire country to participate in a live audition. Nashville is fortunate enough to host one of these venues this Saturday, Dec. 8 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Market Street Emporium, Second Ave. N. Participants are invited to whip up their signature baked good and present it to a panel of judges that day to win a chance to compete on the network show. You will be given a few minutes to plate your dish, but there will not be a kitchen to bake or warm it up, so you'll want to have your dish ready to go when you arrive.
Luckily, we're all about helping to get one of our Bites readers their turn in the spotlight, and we have secured ten "front of the line passes" for the open casting, so that your baked treats can be as fresh as possible. Let all those folks who don't have the sense to check out this blog every day linger in the back of the pack as their souffles fall and their soft-batch cookies harden up into hockey pucks.
So if you think you have what it takes to take the cake or cook the cookies that will win the day, send an email to Vanessa Bond, the show's casting producer, with your name, phone number and email address. Her address is email@example.com. Tell her that Bites sent you, and she'll hold the first 10 respondents spots at the front of the line. And make sure to let us know here in the comments if you're competing so we can be rooting for you. If you have any questions about eligibility (for example you must be an amateur baker and cannot be running for public office ... go figure), make sure to check out the show's FAQ here.
Let's bring home this title to the Music City!
Off-topic, but just have to reply to Jody's words: "you could serve that with cicadas…
Condolences. The bums lost. My advice is to do what your parents did; get a…
To Chris's point, $1 on a $15 tab is 7%. That is not insignificant.
1. Lockeland Table
4. Kien Giang
5. Jim & Nick's