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.
Clam chowder, Boston cream pie, baked beans, Fenway Franks, Parker House rolls, chocolate chip cookies, the list of culinary highlights from around the Boston area demonstrates a diversity of foodie thought that reflects our history and culture. These are exactly the reasons why Mayor Menino’s office and Boston-based marketing agency, Digitas, are working together to bring season 10 of the Bravo show “Top Chef” to the hub.
The Emmy award winning series, which has featured fellow culinary capitals like San Francisco, Washington D.C., and San Antonio, is currently in the process of choosing the filming location of it’s next season. Executives at the Bravo network are reportedly looking at both Boston and Portland, Oregon as possible locations.
On February 1st, a lobbying campaign on Twitter called “#yougottatryboston” launched, aiming to convince the decision-makers at Bravo that Boston is the place to be. The mayor has sent out his own tweets and even sought to get local college students in on the act, playing to their propensity for documenting food choices through social media.
Besides the obvious cache of having such a popular series film in the city, there are a number of built in benefits that make the idea a rather tasty dish. Despite several years of increased diversity in the Boston culinary scene, many tourists remain unaware of what Boston’s restaurants have to offer. If “Top Chef” were to film here, the series would be able to demonstrate to viewers nationwide that our food skills are sharp, bolstering the local economy through increased tourism revenue.
Over the years, the Boston food scene has never been too far from the spotlight. Acclaimed chefs like Julia Child, Todd English, and Emeril Lagasse have all called Boston home, and the latter two have even appeared on “Top Chef” as guest judges. We’ve even had a number of chefs featured on the show, most notably, Tiffani Faison, who appeared both in the series’ debut season, where she was runner-up, and the recent “Top Chef; Allstars” edition. The popular chef opened her own barbecue restaurant in the shadow of Fenway Park, this past fall.
No word yet on how close the Bravo execs are to reaching a decision, but in prior seasons they have left it till as late as 2 months before filming in the fall. That should give them plenty of time to give the Boston food scene a try.
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.
Calling all reality show junkies! Do you think you have what it takes to make it on your favorite reality TV show? Casting calls for a number of reality-based competition shows are being held around the country, and you can still be considered for those that aren’t being held in New England by submitting an application and other required materials.
On the Bravo, “Top Chef” season 9, “Top Chef; Just Desserts” season 2, “Tabatha’s Salon Takeover”, and “Love Calling” are all looking for contestants, as are “Restaurant Impossible” on the Food Network, and “America’s Next Top Model” on the CW. Here’s the line-up:
Are you a talented chef with the creative and culinary know-how to wow the well-seasoned judges of this award-winning series? Download and fill out an official application, which includes directions on how to make a submission video. The sooner you send in your packet, the sooner you can be considered. You can find the application here.
“Top Chef; Just Desserts”
If you excel at pastries, cookies, cakes, and everything sweet, you need to give them your all on this spin-off series. Similar to “Top Chef”, simply download and fill out an official application, which includes directions on how to make a submission video. The application can be found here.
“Tabatha’s Salon Takeover”
The sometimes snarky Aussie stylist is looking to lend her helping hand to salons in trouble. If you own a beauty business that needs help, or you know about one that you would like to nominate, go to this website to fill out the necessary forms.
This brand new series is looking for women and gay men who are in need of honest relationship advice. If this is you, email [email protected] with the following information:
If you own or work at a restaurant that is struggling to survive and desperately in need of a helping hand from world class chef Robert Irvine, go to this website and fill out the online application form. In order to be selected for “Restaurant Impossible”, you must own or work at the restaurant that you are filling out an application for.
“America’s Next Top Model”
ANTM is currently holding casting session at cities across the country. If you think you have what it takes to be the next big thing in the fashion world, you need to email the ANTM Casting Associate for the appropriate city you wish to get an appointment in. For the New York City casting session, email [email protected] by 3/25/11. Include your name, age, height, weight, contact info, and three (3) photos of yourself. Additional cities and email addresses can be found here. Please email only one (1) casting associate per city.
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.”
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:
★ “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” receives its first and only Emmy nomination in the Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series category, while Andover, MA’s Leno is left out of the running and posts its lowest ratings since its first season on the air in 1992.
★ Currently covered in a slew of allegations of abuse, Mel Gibson sells his Connecticut estate for $24 million.
★ Naked shots from the set of What’s Your Number, currently filming in Boston, are of a body double and not Anna Faris.
★ Lexington, Massachusett’s native, and former SNL star, Rachel Dratch is pregnant.
★ Newton’s John Krasinski weds The Young Victoria actress Emily Blunt at George Clooney’s place in Italy.
★ Movie pioneer Douglas Trumbull plans sci-fi film to help jump-start the western Massachusets side of state in movie-production.
★ Originally of Concord, Massachusetts, Steve Carrell’s voice stars in the new animated film, Despicable Me.
Early Thursday morning, the nominations for the 2010 Emmy Awards were announced in California, and Hollywood East was left far from being out of the running. A number of TV shows and actors with connections to the New England area were nominated this year.
In the Outstanding Comedy category, “Glee” was nominated. The series is helmed by Newton, Massachusetts bred creator, Brad Falchuk. In the Outstanding Actress in a Drama category, Glenn Close, from TNT’s “Damages”, was nominated. The critically acclaimed actress was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, and first cultivated her acting chops at Choate Rosemary Hall High School in Wallingford, Connecticut.
For Outstanding Actress in a Comedy, Burlington, Massachusetts native Amy Poehler was nominated for her hilarious role in “Parks and Recreation”. Another Massachusetts resident, Steve Carell, was nominated for his role in “The Office”. Carell just recently announced he’ll be leaving the hit comedy on NBC after season 7.
In the Outstanding Reality Show (Competition) category, “American Idol”, “Project Runway”, and “Top Chef” have all been nominated, which have all featured contestants from New England this past season.
Double nominee Jane Lynch, up for Emmys in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy category for “Glee” and for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy for her guest stint on “Two and a Half Men”, recently celebrated her marriage to her partner in a ceremony in Massachusetts.
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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