TV Dinner

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Nashville's Tardo & Barlow to Appear on Chopped

Posted By on Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Chef Vinny Tardo
  • Chef Vinny Tardo
Hey, I'm a poet and etc., etc. After a season of many Nashviliians appearing on Chopped, (not even counting ex-Vanderbilt football coach Herb Hand's unsuccessful attempt to anchor down), there are two more local notables appearing in consecutive episodes starting with tonight's show.

Saffire executive chef Vinny Tardo is going to be featured as a contestant tonight (Tuesday, June 24) at 9 p.m. CDT. The episode is called "Swai Not?" and is described as:

"Falafel mix and date paste are among the mandatory ingredients in the appetizer round. Also: A fish proves puzzling for the competing chefs; and there is hesitation about transforming a cookie."

Next week on July 1, Sloco chef Jeremy Barlow will compete in an episode titled "Short and Sweetbreads" featuring:

Sweetbreads and a strong spice blend show up in the first two rounds. For dessert, the final two chefs serve dishes that are chocolaty, salty and fruity.

From chefs to coaches to a fireman, only one Nashvillian, Kristen Gregory of Firefly Grille, has brought home the grand prize from these multiple episodes. Hopefully either Tardo or Barlow can improve our average!

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World Food Championships TV Show Premieres July 10

Posted By on Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 8:10 AM

You may notice that we (well, I) have written a lot about the World Food Championships here on Bites. There are a couple of reasons for this.

First of all, I like to participate in food competitions, particularly ones that include barbecue, so I've attended and judged both of the first two WFCs. You can too! Second, the WFC is this November in Las Vegas, which is not a bad place to be, and hotels aren't that exorbitant Nov. 12-18. Thirdly, I continue to be impressed by the scale and organization of the event, considering almost the entire staff has to put it together from thousands of miles away.

That's right, the World Food Championships are based out of Nashville, where a small local advertising agency known as MMA Creative has taken their experience as the marketing arm of the Kansas City Barbecue Society and multiplied it by many levels of complexity to create an event that crowns a champion cook from many different disciplines.

Under the leadership of president Mike McCloud, in addition to the event management and marketing, MMA also handles the production of an upcoming six-week television series coming to a new network that will share the fun and drama of the World Food Championships with the country. A&E is rebranding their Bio network as FYI on July 8. One of the first shows the new channel will feature is The World Food Championships, premiering on July 10.

Here's how the network describes the series:

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Nashville Pizza and Pit Masters Showcased on TV

Posted By on Tue, May 6, 2014 at 9:23 AM

Nick Pellegrino playing the spoons
  • Nick Pellegrino playing the spoons
Even if Nashville (the show) decides to leave Nashville (the city), there's plenty of television production going on around town. Particularly when it comes to culinary television, it seems like social media is abuzz about this celebrity or that production crew following around some of our favorite chefs every week.

This week, it's our pizza and barbecue culture that takes center stage .... er ... screen. Pizza Masters is a show on the Cooking Channel that features two NYC cousins, Sal Basille and Francis Garcia, as they travel the country seeking out the best pies. This week's episode features Nick Pellegrino of Mangia Nashville, the wildly entertaining weekend pop-up Italian ristorante that cranks up the Dean Martin and puts out tasty Italian food at Franklin's Cool Cafe.

Pellegrino's episode premieres at 12:30 in the morning on Wednesday May 7, but if you're not a night owl it will rerun at 8:30 that evening and again at 4:30 p.m. May 10 and 1 a.m. May 11. Check your local listings or set your DVR to watch Nick charm the heck out of the hosts.

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New Travel Channel Show Chow Masters Features Local Chefs

Posted By on Wed, Apr 16, 2014 at 6:09 AM

Frank Coraci and Sammy DeMarco with Nashville chef Brandon Frohne
  • Travel Channel
  • Frank Coraci and Sammy DeMarco with Nashville chef Brandon Frohne
Travel Channel has a new culinary competition show coming out, and one of the first stops on their eat-inerary was Nashville. Chow Masters features two brash and bulky hosts, chef Sammy DeMarco (aka Sammy D) and his best friend/Hollywood director Frank Coraci, as they travel around searching for “the tastiest and most creative comfort food in America.” DeMarco is the chef behind the former First Food & Bar at the Palazzo and Rattlecan at the Venetian in Las Vegas, and Coraci is the Hollywood director behind the three Adam Sandler hits Click, The Waterboy and The Wedding Singer

The pair visited Nashville in December to film an episode titled “Barbecue in Music City.” Keith West of Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant, Brandon Frohne of Mason's Bar and Shane Autry of Smoke Et Al were interviewed about Nashville barbecue and cooked up their respective restaurants' renditions of a creative barbecue dish. The three chefs competed for a $10,000 cash prize and the Golden Skillet award.

I happened to be present for the filming of Autry's segment, and his pork belly slider topped with fried pork skin could definitely be tough to beat, although I have no knowledge of the final results. The episode will premiere this Tuesday, April 22, at 8:30 p.m. following an episode based in New York City.

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How It's Made Looks at Nashville's Christie Cookies

Posted By on Wed, Apr 9, 2014 at 6:10 AM

No beard goes uncovered: behind the scenes of filming at the Christie Cookie factory
  • No beard goes uncovered: behind the scenes of filming at the Christie Cookie factory
You may already know that I’m a huge fan of the Christie Cookie company. Last fall, they celebrated 30 years in business, and around that time, I stopped in for a factory tour. If a food company will host factory tours, you know they’ve got to be proud of what they make. What I saw were real, high-quality ingredients exactly like I use in my own kitchen, but on a massive scale (and with more name brands, ahem).

But you don’t have to take my word for it. On Thursday night, you can see for yourself when How It’s Made features Christie Cookies in a new episode that airs on The Science Channel at 8 p.m. There’s a marathon of past shows leading up to the premiere of the Christie Cookie episode; they feature the production processes of everything from veggie burgers and pork pies to hats and wax figures. The other segments that air in the new episode feature rawhide lampshades and MRI scanners. Clearly, the Christie Cookie segment will be the most mouth-watering of them all.

Anyhoo, the folks at Christie Cookie were happy to have the show film in their factory here in Nashville. According to brand manager Caroline Sloan, “We enjoyed working with the crew to tell our story and share the goodness of our chocolate chip cookies. They loved the premium chocolates, real butter and hands-on approach to our baking philosophy.” The segment features both the food-service and direct-to-consumer cookie production.

If you miss the show at 8 p.m. Thursday, just check the schedule for repeat airings throughout the following week.

How It’s Made, featuring Christie Cookie
Thursday, April 10, at 8 p.m.
The Science Channel

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Friday, February 7, 2014

Soul Food Scholar Adrian Miller to Appear on WNPT's A Word on Words

Posted By on Fri, Feb 7, 2014 at 9:27 AM

Last summer, I told you about Adrian Miller, a great writer I met through the Southern Foodways Alliance. His book Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American Cuisine, One Plate at a Time has been exceedingly well-received in the academic and foodie communities, and his appearances across the country to promote the work have been filled with fans, and often some really good soul food.

Miller even scored an appearance on The Splendid Table with Lynn Rossetto Kasper where he discussed how Red Kool Aid (Red as the flavor and the color) was the official beverage of the soul food universe. You can hear his interview here.

During his visit to Nashville last year, Miller also taped a segment of Nashville's premier literary television show, A Word on Words with the esteemed John Seigenthaler. The episode will air on WNPT on Sunday Feb. 9, at 10:30 a.m. Will Seigenthaler ask Miller for a sample of a Koolickle? I don't know, but I sure hope so!

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Monday, January 27, 2014

More Locals Get Chopped on the Food Network

Posted By on Mon, Jan 27, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Lately, it seems like the casting directors for Food Network's Chopped must have set up a Nashville office. After Carey Bringle of Peg Leg Porker and Kristen Gregory from Firefly Grille both appeared over the past year, rumors have been flying around about at least three or four chefs who've made the trip to New York City to compete in the Chopped kitchen.

But over the past couple weeks, I've been surprised by two more Nashvillians that I hadn't heard a peep about. I don't feel too bad about not knowing about the first contestant since he's not actually a restaurant chef. Chopped likes to feature firefighters every now and then — first, because they are dedicated public servants, and second, because they have a reputation for often being pretty talented firehouse cooks.

(SPOILER ALERT!) Robert Corbin is a first responder firefighter from Nashville. Corbin lives on a farm and brought his Southern food sensibilities to the show as he had to deal with the incongruous ingredients offered to him in his basket before each round of appetizer, entree and dessert. For the opening round of the Jan. 12 episode, he was confronted with wildfire lettuce, 'nduja (a spreadable pork sausage from Italy), burrata and Indian roti bread. Corbin stuffed the sausage into some mushroom caps and jalapenos and then made roll-ups out of the roti. The judges were impressed and passed him on to the next round.

For the entree round, Corbin opened his basket to find a rack of wild boar ribs, ghost peppers, cucuzza squash and saganaki, which he used to fashion a dish of fried boar chops with roasted potatoes and pasta. While the judges said the extra starch of the undercooked pasta was superfluous, they still passed him on to the final dessert round. Desserts seemed to be Corbin's specialty since he claimed to come from a long line of meringue makers. He combined wafer cookie sheets, vanilla pudding cups, lemon soda and a blow torch to create a blueberry pudding with lemon meringue, which he bruleed with the torch. (They say most firemen have a touch of pyromaniac in them.) Unfortunately, his pudding did not set in the short time it spent in a water bath, and Corbin lost out to an L.A. firefighter who bravely made ice cream for the first time in his life. Still, it was a fine showing.

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Wahlburgers Premieres Tomorrow Night on A&E

Posted By on Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 6:08 AM

For women of a certain age (and that is not an age I will reveal in specifics), there is much love for the actor Mark Wahlberg. For some, it started when he was still Marky Mark, boldly showing off his skivvies for all the world to admire see. For others — including myself — it started with his serious acting roles (::cough:: Boogie Nights). As with Justin Timberlake, Matthew McConaughey and Bradley Cooper, I will watch, support and cheer for anything and everything Mark Wahlberg does, even if it is a hamburger restaurant. So you can imagine my excitement when I heard about A&E’s new show, Wahlburgers.

Wahlburgers is an unscripted (read: reality) show that features Mark Wahlberg and brothers Donnie (of New Kids on the Block, also an actor currently starring in CBS' Blue Bloods) and Paul. Together they own and operate the Wahlburgers burger restaurant in Boston.

Paul Wahlberg is the chef, and the restaurant (and impending expansion) is the basis of the show, but the family relationships (including being in business with your brothers) will be a big part of it as well. In other words, the show will be about the Wahlbergs as much as the burgers.

Continue reading »

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

TLC's Hungry Brothers Bring Their Appetites to Music City

Posted By on Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 8:08 AM

TLC has produced a new television show called Hungry Brothers, in which two siblings from the U.K. — one a butcher, the other a baker — travel around Kentucky and Tennessee exploring Southern culinary culture. The home network of Honey Boo Boo will premiere the show next Monday, Jan. 20, with two episodes airing locally at 10 and 10:30 a.m.

The 10 a.m. episode, titled "Moonshine and BBQ," focuses on Nashville, where they will visit some local favorites. Here's the synopsis:

Tom and Henry arrive in Nashville eager to sample the cities [sic] best culinary creations. They bravely attempt to eat Mother Cluckin' Hot Chicken, and use moonshine to extinguish the flames. Then, the brothers battle preparing dishes inspired by Nashville.

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

ABC's The Taste Features Local Cake Designer Jay Qualls

Posted By on Wed, Jan 8, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Last summer, casting directors from ABC’s The Taste paid a visit to Nashville. Several lucky Bites readers — including Trish Mathisen of Nutrisha catering — got VIP passes for the audition, but didn’t called upon for the next step. Carlos Davis of Riffs Catering did move forward to have the celebrity judges taste his food, but wasn’t chosen (their loss!). However, one Middle Tennessean did win a spot in the competition: "cake designer" to the stars, Jay Qualls.

Though officially from Murfreesboro, Jay Qualls Cakes is located in Nashville, and Qualls has produced wedding cakes for numerous country music stars including Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride and Hillary Scott. During last week's season premiere episode, which showed contestants' auditions, Qualls shared his personal story of weight gain and loss and coming to terms with his sexuality. The glimpse we got of his personality indicates he’ll be fun to watch.

Qualls previously competed on a Cake Boss spinoff, Next Great Baker (placing fourth), but he prepared a savory dish, a ginger pork dumpling to impress the Taste judges. However, his skill with cakes was probably a key factor in being chosen by three of the four judges to join their team, since pastry is something many chefs and home cooks tend not to practice. Of the judges who offered him a spot, Qualls chose to join Nigella Lawson’s team.

The Taste airs Thursdays at 7 p.m. on ABC, and this week's episode is the beginning of the real competition. You can follow Jay Qualls on Twitter and Facebook for some behind-the-scenes commentary and other news and learn more about his cakes on the company’s website.

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