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Hungry Magazine - All Things Tasty
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Feature Archive 'Bites: News and Miscellany'

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« Previous Entries

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09.12.10

The Kith and the Kin Break Up

Bites: News and Miscellany


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One of the best new chefs in Chicago just got fired.

Or maybe he didn’t. More »

08.31.09

Grub Street’s State of the Food Union

Bites: News and Miscellany


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The kind folks at Grub Street and NYMag were kind enough to allow me to play in their sandbox and share my thoughts on the state of American dining. Most of my opinions made it in, but for those who are interested, here is the full transcript of my responses.

1. Who are the three most important chefs today, and why?

Rachael Ray, Jamie Oliver and Guy Fieri.

Guy Fieri has more frat boys wearing sunglasses on the back of their heads at a single Dave Matthew’s concert than Thomas Keller has served meals in his lifetime.

Go to any non-foodie cocktail party in the nation and I’m willing to bet 7 out of 10 people won’t even know who Ferran Adria or Grant Achatz are. The road to eating at Robuchon for the majority of people goes through Rachael Ray.

Ray and Fieri are the culinary versions of marijuana, the food TV gateway drug to eating and cooking either bigger, better, and badder food, or for lazier folks, a lifetime of the cooking equivalent of smoking really bad weed.

Thankfully with guys like Oliver who’ve consciously chosen to cook in an unfussy appealing way while featuring super-fresh ingredients, and promoting reasonably healthy eating, people will hopefully be doing more of the former. More »

07.09.09

Stay Hungry

Bites: News and Miscellany


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In case you couldn’t already tell, Hungry is officially on vacation. Thanks for reading. Have a good summer!

06.24.09

30 Seconds on Top Chef: Rick Bayless’ French Kiss Edition

Bites: News and Miscellany


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1 – My name is Ludovic Lefebvre and I will have sex with you with my eyes.

2 – But, that being said, I have a man crush on Rick Bayless. He makes me want to do yoga.

3 – My name is Wilo and I’m a misogynist.

4 – Why isn’t Kelly Choi eating?

5 – I think Ludacris is gonna be pissed that this French dude is stealing and mangling his nickname.

6 – It scared me when Cindy said “testicles”.

7 – Talk about providence. Bayless draws tongue. I mean is there a better taco?

8 - I like how Bayless thinks the quesadilla idea is horrible, but he doesn’t discourage Ludo.

9 – Bayless pulls the bacon card.

10 – “Once Rick Bayless has slipped you tongue, you never forget it.”

11 – Wilo made homemade Cheez Whiz

12 – It’s funny how Fabio’s foreigner lothario persona came off as charming, but Ludo is just an ass.

13 – Cindy’s dish is perfect for Kelly Choi since she looks a little short on good circulation.

14 - Jay Rayner would make a great professor of the dark arts in the next Harry Potter movie.

15 – Bayless wins.

06.19.09

Wild Among the Organics

Bites: News and Miscellany


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From our Cincinnati bureau: A true story

Last Friday morning, a young deer was wandering in the parking lot of a local “upscale” Cincinnati shopping plaza when he became disoriented by the seemingly endless sea of Lexus RX350’s confronting him at every turn. Driven by instinct and panic, the deer bolted toward the first building in his line of sight, a Whole Foods market, the reigning symbol of affluence, sophistication, and moral self-righteousness. The store was originally built as a Wild Oats market, which was acquired by Whole Foods last year, re-badged, and re-stocked, all to the delight of the center’s owners, who so carefully cultivate its haughty, uber-demographic image. More »

06.17.09

30 Seconds on Top Chef Masters: This wine tastes likes tears edition.

Bites: News and Miscellany


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1- If Graham Elliot Bowles’ style is punk rock, then what does that make Michael Carlson of Schwa? Speed Metal?
2- Frying an egg is molecular gastronomy, FYI.
3- If the camera puts on ten pounds, is Kelly Choi invisible in real life?
4- I am Suzanne Tracht. I am a zombie robot sent by my children to talk about my children.
5- Wylie seems to have some anger-management issues.
6- Nothing says Top Chef Masters like Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio
7- Gael, there’s nothing “chemical” about sous vide.
8- Suzanne Tracht earns the right to lose to Rick Bayless (who talks smack next week by saying “What does a French guy know about quesadillas?”) in the finals.

06.10.09

30 Seconds on Top Chef Masters: Tim Love Drinks a lot Edition

Bites: News and Miscellany


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1- I’ll never recognize Gael Greene because of her sneaky hat disguises.
2- Is Jay Rayner Marco Pierre White’s long lost twin?
3- It’s really scary how Kelly Choi over-annunciates exactly like Padma.
4- Seriously, even the Top Chef Masters are retards – dude watch the show. For like 10 seasons they have been doing dessert. If you don’t know how to make a great dessert by now, go home.
5- Tim Love is an alcoholic. And yeah, we get it dude, you’re just an aww-shucks boy from Texas.
6- The chicken fried strawberry negates the fact that nothing says 1984 like chocolate covered strawberries.
7- Is GE Monogram gonna be pissed that their logo got flashed when the cakes weren’t baking?
8- In this case, some of these chefs really are getting schooled by little girls.
9- Yo, my dorm room didn’’t have a shiny stainless steel toaster oven and microwave.
10- This Michelob Light is for you Mr. Rolling Cooler Cooler Roller.
11- These judges are almost reverent of these dudes. I almost miss Toby Young.
12- Cooking competition rule #1: Never cook risotto
13- Hubert Keller wins. I was pretty certain of this halfway through the episode.

05.21.09

Ace of Coffee?

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Though he’s been wearing it for a while I just noticed a few weeks ago that Food Network’s Ace of Cakes, Duff Goldman, owner of Baltimore’s Charm City Cakes is often rockin’ an Intelligentsia Coffee hat. Spoke to Sean McMahon, National Production Manager at the Chicago coffee roaster, who says: More »

04.20.09

All Tomorrow’s Dinner Parties

Bites: News and Miscellany


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All of this, minus 27 sous chefs, could be yours for 150 easy payments of $19.95

In order to avoid sounding too much like Oxi Clean pitchman and sharp bearded wonder Billy Mays, we try to stay away from the promotional fare on Hungry magazine, but every once in a while we just can’t help ourselves and end up purchasing a box full of Snuggies and a Barack Obama Chia pet…this time around, we’ve got something much better for you.

To benefit the Writer’s Theatre Nick Kokonas and the boys at Alinea are offering one lucky bidder the opportunity of:

Dinner for 2 at Alinea with wine pairings
A signed copy of the Alinea book

AND….

The opportunity to use the Alinea kitchen on a Monday or a Tuesday when we are closed to host your own dinner party. You bring the food and up to 6 guests… and we will set up tables in the kitchen for you to host. You get the use of the facilities all day to prep… and in the evening myself and one of our chefs will help you out in cooking and service. Make no mistake — you have to cook… we are not going to do the cooking for you… We will also open up the Alinea wine cellar for you to purchase wine at a discount. In short, Alinea is your home kitchen for one night only.

The auction takes place Friday but you can submit a proxy bid by going here and contacting Sarah Ostman at 847-242-6012.

04.06.09

Koetke of Kendall Named Cooking Teacher of the Year

Bites: News and Miscellany


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One of the questions I get asked a lot by aspiring chefs is how they can become a great chef. I’ve got a good piece going up this week about how you can be one of the best chefs in the world which should help with that. In the mean time, I came across a little nugget from our intrepid writer Cynthia Clampitt that Chris Koetke, the dean of Kendall college was named Cooking Teacher of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals this weekend. This reminds me of the fact that if you’re choosing to go to culinary school and drop big dollars you should go to a very good one.

On a global scale this means you should consider CIA, Le Cordon Bleu, and Johnson and Wales. If you’re going to stay in Chicago, Kendall seems to be the big one these days…consider grads like Shawn McClain, Doug Sohn, Mindy Segal as great examples. Chances are they like to hire from their alma mater. On top of the networking, you want good peeps guiding you, and Koetke’s nod says a lot. He’s done a good job of building a solid teaching corps including the legendary Pierre Pollin (Le Titi de Paris) and John Bubala (Timo, Thyme). Bubala teaches his class like it’s an afternoon on the line instead of some French gourmet theory. When you walk out of his class, you’ll be able to stage like you mean it.

That being said, cooking is one of the few professions where you can still make it by walking in to a kitchen and working your way up. If you don’t have the cash, be smart and pick a good working kitchen that’ll teach you what culinary school would have. That is to say, don’t focus on a spot using immersion circulators and lasers until you know how to do a traditional braise and make a brunoise of veg. Once you can do that in your sleep, then knock on the back door at Alinea or Moto.

04.01.09

The Cheeseburger Show

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Kevin Pang - CLTV - April 16 - The Cheeseburger Show. A local food show so good it makes me jealous I hadn’t thought of it.

03.04.09

G’Day Mate

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Our food historian Cynthia Clampitt is a master of all things down under (and coincidentally burst our bubble that Fosters is not Australian for “beer”). She recently gave a talk on the foodways of Australia at the gathering of Culinary Historians. Listen here.

02.27.09

On Coffee

Bites: News and Miscellany


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One of my favorite M. Doughty (former lead singer of Soul Coughing*) songs is Busting Up a Starbucks. Not because I REALLY dream of kicking in the windows of the local franchise of the twin-tailed siren and taking my frustrations out on a couple of baristas. It has more to do with using ironic appreciation of extreme notions as a way of salving my general ennui toward the company formed on the basis of unexamined ideas about Starbucks being a bad corporate citizen. More »

02.25.09

Top Chef Finale Live Blog/Abducted by Twitterati

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Those of you looking for the usual Top Chef hijinx should direct your browsers over here at 8:30 - 9 p.m. where I will be joining a stellar crew of local food personalities to live blog the finale. Also, if you haven’t heard, I’ve (Mike nagrant) finally been co-opted in to the Twitterati. So if you really want to hear what I sound like when I don’t have an editor, follow my stuff. In the meantime, I’ll throw down some pre-show odds:

“Sideshow” Carla Hall - Even money

If we’ve learned anything this season, Tom Colicchio really only digs cooks who cook like he does, i.e New American simple seasonal, and though it’s not called Top Chef New American, it pretty much is, and Carla, once the dark horse, is the favorite.

Stefan “Panzerboy” Richter - 2-1

Though as he contested last week, Top Chef is not a “butt rubbing contest”. Unfortunately, as he’s learned all too late, it is. So if Stefan can do a little butt rubbing, skip the smoke breaks, and stick to the Nicorette, he’s probably the most talented of the group.

Hosea “I did not cheat on my girlfriend” Rosenberg - 3-1

The other remaining member of team chromedome has got more whine than the cellars at at Chateau Margaux. While he’s talented enough to win, we’re not professional bookies, and so we’re letting our complete and utter disdain for him cloud our oddsmaking and making him the longshot.

02.18.09

30 Seconds on Top Chef: Old Porno Movie Edition

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Eez Top Chef, Not Top Hot Funny Italian Chef

1 Fabio’s mohawk is awesome. Fabio just beats out Richard and Dale for Top Mohawk.
2 I guess this mean’s Top Chef New Orleans next season. Also awesome.
3 It’s Top Chef, not Top Chef Second Chance.
4 Why would you make something you’ve never made before, Leah?
5 I’m amazed Jamie isn’t doing creole dusted scallops or scallop gumbo.
6 They should have let the remaining contestants choose who gets back in by a blind tasting of their dishes.
7 Jeff is back. Good thing he didn’t do crawfish ceviche.
8 Yeah, I’m sure the New Orleans tourism center picked Korbel champagne for their gift basket.
9 I’m so tired of Hosea.
10 “This is not a butt-rubbing contest” – Stefan
11 Once again, Top Caterer rears its ugly head. Advantage Stefan.
12 Beware the ghost of Spike and Tramonto! Avoid the producer planted frozen seafood from Emeril’s walk-in.
13 That’s absurd. Sideshow Carla is about to shuck 100 oysters for a catering event. I hope she’s cooking ‘em, cause she’ll lose the liquor.
14 I love how Colicchio always dons the blue chef jacket even though he’s not cooking.
15 Hosea’s more insecure than Anna Nicole Smith.
16 Don’t trust a chef who doesn’t drink.
17 Dude, they kicked Toby Young to the curb in favor of my super crush, Gail.
18 Why can’t Jeff, a high end chef, say chipotle right? Why can’t anyone? Chi-pot-lay, not chi-pot-el, not chi-pol-te.
19 Interesting, Hosea’s home restaurant is named Jax, which ironically was an old school southern beer.
20 Jeff gone. Fabio gone. Milli Fusili broken up. Blame it on the rain.

02.11.09

30 Seconds on Top Chef: Fabio is not a Top Pussy

Bites: News and Miscellany


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I was robbed.

1 – Sideshow Carla says she used to model…eyeball model for Cocaine monthly?

2 – Ironically, Fabio did exactly what Wylie does at his restaurants by faking an egg in a sweet application, but Wylie didn’t like it. Maybe that’s how his customers feel?

3 – I can’t believe Leah’s buying challah for her Benedict. Seriously, make your own bread component. There are only four components in the dish. The ghost of Paul Kahan asking why the Top Chefs didn’t make their own sausage from last year’s tailgate echoes in my head.

4 – “I got so many kick in my ass, that sometime when I’m in the bathroom I still poop shoes out of my ass.” - Fabio

5 – Can you imagine the beautiful baby Marcus Samuelsson and Padma would have? The kid’s cheekbones would be higher than Snoop Dogg after smoking an ounce of chronic. (I fully realize this something Toby Young would say)

6 – Holy cow. Stefan might be going home? Can you say Salmon-gate? Did Stefan really overcook his salmon, after being technically brilliant most of the show?

7 – I wonder if Lidia Bastianich’s orange rimmed glasses were a gift from Mario Batali?

8 – “It’s top chef, not top pussy.” - Fabio

9 - Toby Young had nothing to say at dinner with Pepin, Samuelsson, Colicchio, Bastianich, etc, suggesting he was intimidated because he truly knows very little about good food. Young validates this by asking for “crispy” texture on his potatoes at judge’s table. Traditional dill potatoes in Sweden are boiled.

10 - Top Chef is pretty predictable. Cook simple food simply and you win.

11 – Leah, she gone, invalidating the judge’s protestations that past performance has no bearing on current elimination. I’m pretty sure she was better than Stefan tonight.

02.08.09

Hungry Magazine Goes Legit

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Friday Night, Nick Digilio, 720 AM WGN late night maestro and his producer Andy Hermann had a momentary lapse in judgement and they allowed me, Hungry magazine editor, Michael Nagrant, on real radio. Seriously though, Digilio knows his food, and I was privileged to spend some time talking about Top Chef, Gordon Ramsay, Cafe Senegal, and condensed soup. If you missed it, check out these podcasts of the show

Part 1 Nagrant Interview
Part 2 Nagrant Interview
Part 3 Nagrant Interview
Part 4 Nagrant Interview

02.04.09

30 Seconds on Top Chef: Pablo Escolar Takes out Jamie

Bites: News and Miscellany


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May I gut Hosea like this fish?

1- I wonder if Eric Ripert highlights his hair that way, or is it natural? “Oui, I will have zee zalt and pepper Jorge Clooneey frosted teeps.”
2– Stefan is a bit Hannibal Lecteresque in his bloodlust for killing eel

3– I think Stefan is going to overcook the lobster by just chucking it in water. My guess is Ripert coddles that shit like it’s the Hope diamond. (Or not, Ripert seems to like it)

4– Leah and Jamie should just go home, get some coffee, and share bad attitudes together.

5– Who knew I’d miss the days when Toby was riffing on Tropic Thunder? His spontaneous stuff is somehow more contrived than his canned stuff. Pablo Escolar? I wish Escobar was here to avenge the affront.

6– Jamie, she gone. Clearly top chef wants a couples showdown between Milli Fusili and Lesea (or is that Hosleah)

7- Next week, Jacques Pepin and Wylie Dufresne arm-wrestle

01.28.09

30 Seconds on Top Chef: Monkey Ass Filled with Fried Banana Edition

Bites: News and Miscellany


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No, you shut up. I’m the judge here.

1- I know nothing about celebrity chef guest Scott Conant, but he sure seems pleased with himself.

2- So basically what we’ve learned is that oats are only good as a crispy coating.

3- So Stefan’s obviously in the final. They should just give him a bye.

4 – Carla and Andrew can hit the bong, err I mean peace pipe together after the challenge

5 – Jamie doesn’t know what to do with her mystery basket cooler. Clearly there are no scallops in there.

6- “If they’re going to give me a monkey ass to fill with fried banana, that’s no problem.” - Fabio

7- “Bunky bed” – Fabio

8 – So I guess Top Chef is pissed at Ted Allen for doing Chopped on Food Network and they’re trying to steal Iron Chef with this “Top Chef Bowl” episode

9 – Why is Radhika wearing a New Orleans Saints jersey? Ditka would whip out a can of ass-kickin salsa on her for that move.

10 – Colicchio thinks warm ceviche is “more authentic” than cold ceviche….maybe he should call his buddy Rick Bayless and consult on that one.

11 – Jamie’s rocking the flashdance headband again.

12 – Milli Fusilli looks like they’re getting broken up

13 – Or not. Jeff, he gone.

01.21.09

30 Seconds on Top Chef: Restaurant Wars

Bites: News and Miscellany


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Tom, let me tell you about my technique of sending love from the kitchen.

1 – Jamie wants to serve local sustainable ingredients…hmmm that’s gonna be tough with a pantry made up of Bullseye BBQ Sauce and spam.

2 – Eez not a cheesesteak. Eez a filet mignon sandwich.

3 – Radhika and Leah win the quickfire, and then promptly have a three way with Hosea…oh, wait, that’s next week.

4- Radhika Translator: Global means Indian.

5- “As far as being a natural born leader, I’m still learning.” Hmmm…I guess that means Radhika also is still learning what the phrase “natural born” means.

6- Since when is kissing “flirting”? I guess for Hosea and Leah, sex is just like a handshake.

7 – You gotta love chefs who follow their vision so closely that they choose frozen food over a fresh option. I was going to make fun of Jamie and her desire to open a local and sustainable restaurant since everyone says that. But truthfully, few people put their money where their mouth is.

8 – Fabio is dressed like Tony Montana.

9 – Toby once again betrays that in addition to eating cat food, he occasionally likes to drink dish water.

10- Stefan’s desserts look killer.

11 - Carla’s craziness doesn’t stop Radhika from going home. She gone.


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