Last night was a big night for Boston locals on television. In addition to the premiere of the much anticipated “Boston’s Finest” on TNT, a couple of local folks made headlines related to some rather prominent reality show competitions.
Earlier in the day, Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman was announced as a contestant on the upcoming 16th season of the ABC series, “Dancing With the Stars.” Raisman hails from Needham, Massachusetts, and first captured the hearts of America during her Olympic debut in London last year, where she successfully walked away with three medals. She won a bronze in the balance beam, and gold for both the floor final and for the overall team competition. The new season of DWTS will debut on Monday, March 18 from 8:00-10:01 p.m.
Last night, Boston-based chef, Kristen Kish was announced the winner of season 10 of the Emmy winning Bravo show, “Top Chef.” After having been sent home early in the season, Kristen Kish was able to demonstrate her fighting spirit by earning a spot back into the competition during the “Last Chance Kitchen” challenges. She ended up defeating L.A. chef Brooke Williamson by two rounds to earn the title of Top Chef.
Kish, a former model who originally hails from South Korea and was raised in Michigan, currently works as Chef de Cuisine at Barbara Lynch’s Stir. This educational culinary facility hosts demonstration dinners seven nights a week, and features a revolving menu showcasing different cooking styles, cuisines, and regions. Previously, Kish worked as Chef de Partie at Chef Guy Martin’s Boston restaurant, Sensing.
Along with the title of “Top Chef,” Kish was awarded a showcase at the Aspen Food and Wine Classic, a feature in Food and Wine magazine, and $125,000 in prize money. She told the crew she plans on traveling back to South Korea for the first time since her birth with a portion of her winnings. She is only the second female chef ever to win the prestigious competition.
Tiffani Faison, who first appeared on season 1 of Bravo’s Emmy winning “Top Chef” series, and recently returned to compete on their “All Stars” edition, just opened her first restaurant in the Fenway area. Sweet Cheeks, a full-on barbecue and beer destination for the casual Boston set, features tables fashioned from old church doors and bowling alley lanes, sweet tea served in recycled Mason jars, and of course, every kind of tender-roasted hunk of meat you can think of, alongside a generous selection of brewery libations.
While this season of “Top Chef” saw Faison fall in episode 6, much sooner than her turn finishing runner-up in season 1, she does lay claim to being victor of the fall 2007 winner-takes-all “Top Chef’’ reunion special called “4 Star All Stars.’’ Faison won a $20,000 prize.
Faison has quite an extensive background of working at high profile establishments in the Boston and Nantucket area, and also formerly worked for celebrity chef Todd English, who has made various appearances on Bravo, PBS, and the Food Network himself, in addition to appearing on People Magazine’s list of “Most Beautiful People” in 2001. In March of 2010, she landed the executive chef position at the hot South End spot Rocca, which ended up closing just nine months later. Despite the disappointment, Faison went on to conceive of and now launch Sweet Cheeks.
Faison is currently being featured in the latest issue of Stuff Magazine, along with a slate, or plate rather, full of her fellow Boston culinary colleagues who have made appearances on other cooking competition shows.
Sweet Cheeks is currently open at 1381 Boylston Street.
The high-scale consignment chain, Second Time Around is a Boston staple with three locations on Newbury Street alone, but its the company’s New York employees who have scored their own show on Bravo. ”Fashion Hunters” follows the fashionistas of Second Time Around as they search New York City for designer duds to fit their “rescale goes upscale” merchandise. The show promises to bring the drama with the store’s customers ranging from NYC socialite elite to vintage-loving downtown hipsters.
Second Time Around opened its first consignment shop just outside of Boston in 1973 and in 1990 the first location on Boston’s famed Newbury Street opened. Eventually, locations spread to every state in New England and today the chain reaches as far as Chicago. The company’s headquarters for all 26 shops remains in Boston.
The show will center around the employees at Second Time Around’s Mott Street location in New York’s artsy SoHo neighborhood. Just like the business, two “Fashion Hunters” cast members also boast New England roots. Assistant Manager Ambria Miscia is a native of Hopkinton, Massachusetts and Manager Tara Muscarella hails from Waterford, Connecticut.
“Fashion Hunters” premieres on Bravo October 4 at 10:30. The first season will consists of 12 episodes set to premiere every Tuesday.
Bravo network reality TV star and sharp-tongued hair stylist Tabatha Coffey of “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover” was spotted in downtown Boston on Friday, January 28th outside the Westin Copley Place Hotel. The bleached blonde was seen wearing one of her trademark all black ensembles, smoking a cigarette, and talking with two other unidentified persons.
Coffey was purportedly staying at the Westin for a book-signing at the Brookline Booksmith that same evening for her new book, It’s Not Really About the Hair: The Honest Truth About Life, Love, and the Business of Beauty. The outspoken Aussie gave a free talk about her new memoir that was open to the public, and then stayed to sign copies of it afterwards.
The brash Bravo star has been calling upon the Bay State quite frequently lately, shooting at least two episodes of her hit series here, both of which aired recently. In one, Tabatha tackles a tricky salon in Provincetown, and in another, she undertakes the revamping of a not-so-nice Newbury Street salon, Avanti. In that particular episode, Tabatha made use of the Boston scenery by taking the staff of the struggling salon to practice with the Harvard crew team on the Charles River to help build team unity. They also were seen visiting competing Newbury Street salon Bradley and Digel, and one particular member of the staff was rewarded with a shopping trip to the French Connection UK, a shopping boutique on the famed “Rodeo Drive of New England”.
Check out Tabatha talking about her life as a reality TV star and how she got into hairdressing in the video below:
On the evening of December 9, celebrity chef Todd English opened the doors to his latest endeavor, CurlyCakes, an upscale cupcake shop on Boston’s Charles Street. The shop was inspired by an idea from his entrepreneurial daughter, Isabelle. That evening, the shop introduced itself to its new neighbors by handing out samples of their mini pumpkin pie spice cupcakes at the Beacon Hill Holiday Stroll.
The tiny shop’s menu will consist of cupcakes in flavors like red velvet, vanilla bean, triple chocolate, chocolate and peanut butter cup, and apple streusel.
English, who’s no stranger to the Beacon Hill area with his successful restaurant Figs, enjoyed being part of the festivities.
“I’ve been part of Beacon Hill for years over at Figs, but this is fun. Its classic Boston, what could be better than that?” said English of his thoughts on the Holiday Stroll.
The 50 year-old chef, and former member of People Magazine’s “Most Beautiful People” list, made news this summer for appearing in court to bring assault charges against his ex-fiance, Erica Wang. The successful restauranteur, who owns restaurants Kingfish Hall, Olives, and Bonfire in Boston, and others throughout the United States, has also made appearances as a judge on Bravo’s “Top Chef” and a challenger on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef.”
Maine resident Kara DioGuardi is coming back to television as the lead judge on “Going Platinum”, a new song-writing competition on the Bravo cable network.
In less than two months since being asked not to return to judge the perennial Fox hit, “American Idol”, DioGuardi has landed on her feet, securing a role on a show that will start taping this month, and debut sometime early next year.
The song-writer commented via People magazine:
“Hit songs are the backbone of the music industry, and as a publisher, nothing excites me more than finding new songwriting talent,” DioGuardi says. “I am happy to be a part of a show that helps up and coming songwriters pursue their dreams, while giving the public a look into the creative process.”
The show will be hosted by singer/songwriter Jewel, who will also help judge the competition. 12 musicians will compete by taking part in challenges to write music and lyrics for different genres, from hip-hop to love songs to dance tracks. The eventual winner will receive a $100,000 prize, as well as a recording contract and a music-publishing deal.
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.
★ Cast of the Bay State film, Fury Vengeance talk about real life animal encounters at the premiere (above).
★ Two-time Tony Award winning actress Frances Sternhagen, also known as Cliff’s mom on Cheers and Bunny MacDougal on Sex and the City, performs at the Salem Theatre Company.
★ Katie Holmes to star as Jackie Kennedy in HBO miniseries.
★ Scott Brown’s daughter, and former “American Idol” contestant, Ayla, gets job on CBS’s “The Early Show”.
★ “Project Runway” contestant, designer Kara Janx, to appear at the May 12th and 13th Stylefixx event in Boston, previewing her spring 2010 line.
★ The New England Patriot Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen drop $20 million to build the their ideal home in Brentwood, California.
Methuen, MA native, Amy Bissonnette, will be the newest reality actress from New England to hit the airwaves on tonight’s premiere of the Bravo documentary, “The Millionaire Matchmaker“. Bissonnette will be one of the many girls, who will compete for the attention of a Millionaire.
Each week, the reality show follows matchmaker Patti Stranger as she uses her credible matchmaking skills by setting up her millionaire clients like Nick and Omar the CEO’s of College Hunks Hauling Junk with not only personal shoppers and dating coaches but dates with beautiful women like Bissonnette, who moved to California after graduating from Bridgewater State College in 2006 and who serves tables at the Olive Garden. Bissonnette, 25, told the Eagle Tribune, that she never went to California with the intention of being an actress, but was just looking for any opportunity that may arise. Bissonnette also said she tried out for the show on a whim after she got hooked watching the first two seasons, religiously.
Rob Giuffrida, owner of Jay Gee’s, where Bissonnette scooped icecream throughout high school and college, told the Eagle Tribune that he was looking forward to watching the show and hopes Bissonnette gets a millionaire, because she deserves it. No matter if Bissonnette finds love with a millionaire or not tonight, she told the Eagle Tribune, she is proud of her work on the show.
This is the third season of the hit documentary show “The Millionaire Matchmaker”. It will air tonight on Bravo at 10pm. Check out photos, bios and episodes on the Bravo website, “The Millionaire Matchmaker“.
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