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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!
Our next chance to say "we knew him when" comes 8 p.m. Monday on TLC when Waverly, Tenn. cake artist Garrett Wallace competes on the premiere of season 3 of Next Great Baker. Buddy "Cake Boss" Valastro has chosen 13 crafty cake artists to compete for a prize of $100,000, a feature in Redbook magazine and a chance to work side-by-side with Buddy and his team at Carlo's Bakery. This bakers' dozen of bakers will participate in 10 weeks' worth of competitions, which will be judged by celebrities like Lou Ferrigno (Hulk smash cake!), Peter Billingsley, Holly Madison and Joey Fatone.
Wallace bakes cakes under the nom de cuisine "The Fabulous Baker Boy," and you can view his work at a Tumblr page set up to show off his creativity. If that Angry Birds cake is any indication, he should be able to hang in this competition. Best of luck, Garrett!
Now, frankly, I don’t think there is an impending apocalypse of any sort; certainly not in my lifetime. Nor am I particularly interested in living in a world without Internet access and fleur de sel. Rebuilding civilization just isn’t among my interests. However, there are people who not only believe disaster is imminent, but are preparing for it with such vigor that NatGeo has dedicated a television show to them: Doomsday Preppers.
If you haven’t seen the show (which has its season premiere at 8:00 p.m. tonight on NatGeo, the National Geographic Channel), the premise is that for each episode, producers interview people who are preparing for whichever disaster they believe will befall them, asking what they’ve done to survive the aftermath. Then “experts” analyze the preppers' plans for food, water, shelter and security, and rate their overall preparedness. It’s kind of hilarious. But informative as well, because while I don’t believe end times are near, there are some good tips on being prepared for short-term survival in the wake of a tornado or earthquake, both of which are very real possibilities here in the mid-state.
But possibly more interesting than the show are the ads that run during the show and the show’s sponsors, many of which involve survival food and food storage.
This level of competence and confidence makes for compelling television, even among chefs that have been longtime friends or have worked together. They still want to beat the butter out of each other! For the fifth installment of The Next Iron Chef series, they have subtitled it "Redemption," as the competitors are all either previous competitors who fell short of reaching Kitchen Stadium in the past or chefs who have lost out in other competitive cooking shows.
The cheftestants are: returning from The Next Iron Chef: Season Two Nate Appleman (Chipotle Mexican Grill, ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen), Amanda Freitag (Chopped), Eric Greenspan (The Foundry on Melrose, The Roof on Wilshire, Los Angeles) and Jehangir Mehta (Graffiti, Mehtaphor, New York); from The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs Elizabeth Falkner (Krescendo, New York), Alex Guarnaschelli (Butter, The Darby, New York, Chopped) and Spike Mendelsohn (Good Stuff Eatery, We The Pizza, Washington, D.C.); and first-time Next Iron Chef competitors with their own redemption stories, Tim Love (The Lonesome Dove, Western Bistro, The Love Shack, Woodshed Smokehouse, White Elephant Saloon, Fort Worth) and Marcel Vigneron (The Coop, Los Angeles).
This leg of his tour will take him through several Southern cities including Birmingham and Memphis, and some he has never visited, like Music City. He is excited about his first trip to our fair burg, and possibly even more excited than we are about Chef Sean Brock's recent announcement that he is returning to town. "There are a number of places that I've never been that I'm shamefully ignorant of," Bourdain shared on the call. "I've never been to Nashville and I'm looking forward to learning more."
If that's not enough Bourdain for you, the series finale of No Reservations will air on Nov. 5, and the second season of The Layover kicks off on Nov. 19, both on Travel Channel. In between those two, PBS will premiere a new series titled The Mind of a Chef, which will showcase many different cooks, but with a focus on Bourdain and David Chang, the mastermind behind several brilliant restaurants and Lucky Peach food journal. Bourdain is also developing a cooking-based competition/reality show for ABC, so don't be too sad about the demise of No Reservations after eight seasons.
Just to whet your appetite, here's the teaser trailer for The Mind of a Chef:
Y'see, one of the characters on the show, Janette works in a (fictional) David Chang restaurant in New York with (the real) David Chang. Last season, when Janette first started working in the restaurant, there was a potshot at vegetarians after a customer complained of pork broth in a dish that was promised to be vegetarian (link to NSFW Eater recap). A valid complaint met with a pledge to put pork in everything. Harumph.
This season, Janette takes a potshot at food bloggers after it was observed that a patron had paid several visits to the restaurant and was eyeing her quite a bit (another link to the Eater recap).
Chang: "So, go talk to the guy."
Janette: "No way. I don't know him. What if he's a perv? Or worse, what if he's a food blogger?"
Oh, come on. Really, I was starting to feel like chefs didn't hate me for being a vegetarian. I've had some really fantastic meals — most of which were ordered from the menu — in this city. But now I gotta feel like persona non grata for being a food blogger, too? Most of the chefs and restaurant owners I know have been nothing but nice, but now I wonder. I do my best to evangelize for my favorites (and usually keep quiet about places I don't like). I consider myself fair. And I really don't think I have ever demanded special treatment for my diet. And certainly not for writing about what I eat on a website.
C'mon, chefs. I know this show is fiction, but do you really feel this way? Or is it just some show writer who has a beef? Food bloggers are your friends! It's not like we're Yelpers.
(Just kidding, Yelpers! Kind of.)
Dr. Preuss of Georgetown University and Dr. Mary Enig, Ph.D.
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