Wednesday evening, the Bravo network debuted the premiere episode of “Top Chef’s” first all-star season, featuring eighteen chefs from the past 7 seasons. Two of these chefs hail from the New England area. Angelo Sosa, chef and owner of Xie Xie in New York City, is originally from Cheshire, Connecticut, and is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York City. Angelo competed in season 7 and made it to the top 3.
Chef Tiffani Faison, a finalist from the very first season, also happens to be a resident chef at restaurant Rocca in Boston’s South End. In honor of her debut as an all-star, Rocca held a viewing party at the bar, displaying the show on big screens, and serving Bud Light Lime, the chef’s favorite beer.
In the first episode, Tiffani, who was the first chef to be introduced, remarked, “I love competition–I’m gonna cook my nuts off.”
Host Padma Lakshmi addressed all the contestants before their elimination challenge, saying “You all are considered to be some of the best, but none of you took home the prize. To beat all the chefs in this room would be an extraordinary feat.”
All of the contestants were then presented with the ingredients from the last dish they cooked before being eliminated in their respective season, and asked to make the dish that caused their defeat, but this time, to make it a winner. Both Tiffani and Angelo successfully avoided the bottom 3, and moved on to the next round.
Rocca will be hosting viewing parties each week that Tiffani appears, promising “globally inspired bar noshes that go well with Bud Light Lime.”
Wednesday night, two reality show cooking competitions had their series finales, and both of them featured New Englanders. On Fox, “Master Chef”, hosted by the always acrimonious Gordon Ramsay, the contestants had to cook the “meal of their lives”, including one appetizer, entree, and dessert.
David, a software engineer from Boston, Massachusetts faced off against Whitney, a Southern 20-something known as the “Pastry Princess”. David chose the bold route, cooking a beef wellington for his entree, and was even told by Ramsey “I love your confidence” for picking such a difficult dish that took Ramsay himself years to perfect before making it one of his signature dishes. Unfortunately, it was not enough, and the Pastry Princess’s simple Southern fried chicken steak beat all for the $250,000 prize as well as a publishing contract to release her very own cookbook.
On the Bravo network, recent Emmy winner “Top Chef” featured their showdown between the 3 finalists, including chef Angelo Sosa, who originally hails from Cheshire, Connecticut, and chef Ed Cotton, who got his start in Boston. Angelo struggled greatly throughout the finale, suffering from an unknown illness that left him in bed while his sous chef completed much of the prep for the final meal in Singapore. Angelo was able to make it to the kitchen after receiving an antibiotic shot, but still was not able to rally himself enough to win the competition, and Ed’s meal did not please the judges, making chef Kevin Sbraga the winner.
Following the “Top Chef” finale, a new spin-off show, “Top Chef; Just Desserts” debuted. This show is comprised exclusively of pastry chefs who will compete in challenges that combine their baking know-how with their sense of creativity for the grand prize. Repping for New England on this show is Tania Peterson, who hails from Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Watch chef Angelo Sosa make his signature sandwich on this video:
On June 16th, season 7 of Bravo’s critically acclaimed reality show “Top Chef” commenced, bringing contestants to our nation’s capital for all new culinary competitions. This year’s crew includes 2 New Englanders, Ed Cotton from Boston, and Angelo Sosa from Durham, Connecticut.
Thirty-two year old Ed Cotton currently resides in New York City, but got his start in Boston area restaurants, including working under former People Magazine’s Most Eligible Bachelor, and owner and executive chef of Olives, Todd English. With English, he helped open Figs in Wellesley, MA, and spent a year out west before returning to Boston to work with another big name in the Boston culinary scene, Barbara Lynch, at her award-winning Beacon Hill restaurant, No. 9 Park, where he was named Executive Sous Chef.
Angelo Sosa, the 35 year-old chef and owner of Xie Xie in New York City, originally hails from a small suburban town in Connecticut, and is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. He’s helped create menus for restaurants in Paris and New York City, and worked with chefs known around the world. He opened Xie Xie, which means “thank you” in Mandarin Chinese in July of 2009.
Both contestants bring a depth of experience to the competition, which benefitted Sosa right off the bat; he won the very first quick-fire challenge of the season where contestants had to prove their knife and prep skills before showing off their cooking. Time will tell if either of these chefs has what it takes to make it to the top.
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