Giada De Laurentiis Gives Birth to Baby Girl
Sunday, March 30, 2008 | posted by Mike
Hey, you know it's good news when People includes an exclamation point in its headline.
Yep, the magazine is reporting that Giada De Laurentiis and husband Todd gave birth (although I'm guessing Giada did most of the work...rimshot!) to a 5lb, 13 oz baby girl named Jade Marie De Laurentiis Thompson.
If I remember correctly, this is pretty much on target for the due-date, so that's good news. I'm long gone for work by the time she's showing up on Today, so I'm not sure how long she's been out.
We here at TVFF would like to extend our sincerest congratulations to the happy family and note that it is with much regret that we don't know where they are registered. So, in lieu of a gift, we'll be making a donation to an extremely worthy cause (i.e. the TVFF beer fund).
Labels: Giada De Laurentiis
Martha en Français
Thursday, March 27, 2008 | posted by Mike
Franco-philes out there will want to tune in tomorrow to Martha Stewart's show, as she'll be spotlighting some of the best in the business.
If you love French food, Martha has the show for you! Join us for an hour full of mouthwatering meals prepared by three of New York's top French chefs. First, the talented Eric Ripert of New York City's internationally acclaimed Le Bernardin restaurant returns with a recipe for braised halibut and peas a la francaise that's perfect for your next special dinner. Then, Jean-Georges Vongerichten heats up the kitchen with a French twist on a classic dish -- roasted chicken -- that will have everyone asking for seconds. And, Daniel Boulud (Cafe Boulud) shows you how to make a heart-healthy salmon dish the whole family will love.I've had the pleasure of going to Vongerichten's Southeast-Asian restaurant in NYC, although I've never been to his world-class French place.
For those viewers who miss the episode this Friday, they can catch a second helping of ‘The Martha Stewart Show’ on FINE LIVING NETWORK. Airs on a day delay on Fine Living Network at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT.
Labels: Martha Stewart
An Up and Down Day for Philly Food
Monday, March 24, 2008 | posted by Mike
You win some, you lose some...
Although I thoroughly enjoyed the food over in England, I'm happily readjusting to meals back home. And, of course, that means many of my usual favorites, including the food of Philadelphia, where I toil away at the day job.
There was a bit of local food news today, with Philly managing a decent showing among the James Beard Finalist nominees. Included in the list was a nom for Jose Garces in the Best Chef Mid-Atlantic. You all will likely remember his name from tales of my trips to Tinto and Amada. The recognition is well-deserved.
As good as that news was, I have the sad duty to inform you that, despite tantalizing us with the possibility, Rachael Ray will not be in attendance when the production crew of her show Tasty Travels turns up in the City of Brotherly Love to shoot some footage.
Labels: Rachael Ray
Throwdown Not as Covert As It Used to Be
Wednesday, March 19, 2008 | posted by Mike
We're still getting back in the saddle around here, so in the mean time, we'll rely on a little help from our friends.
As you know, Bobby Flay's Throwdown has been around for a little while now. Of course, the main conceit of Throwdown is that the competitors don't know what they're in for when they agree to the taping.
You probably remember that show, Punk'd, which featured celebrities being set up for practical jokes. Well, after a season or two, any time you saw Ashton Kutcher walking your way, you had to be suspicious. It appears the same thing is happening with bogus-sounding shows that want to tape local chefs.
Our buddies over at endless simmer have a first-hand account of a taping of America Eats. You don't have to be a genius to figure out what happened next...
Labels: Bobby Flay
...And We're Back
Tuesday, March 18, 2008 | posted by Mike
I hope that everyone had a good time while I was away. I had an absolute blast in London, as you can see from the picture of me in Trafalgar Square over there.
In addition to seeing all of the historical sites, churches and museums, it was also a great trip from a foodie standpoint. Meals included:
The week was spent pretty much free of food television. For one thing, we got something like seven channels in my hotel room and three of them were in Arabic, so that limited the options. I did catch a couple of commercials (or "adverts," as the Brits call them) for the supermarket Sainsbury's featuring Jamie Oliver that were good for a giggle.
- Some great chicken vindaloo from one of the city's many Indian restaurants.
- Tea pretty much every day, often with a scone with clotted cream.
- Fantastic Fish and Chips at the Dickens Inn in St. Katherine Docks, right near the Tower Bridge.
- A proper English Breakfast that featured sausage, rashers, egg, baked beans and mushrooms.
- And my latest obsession, steak and ale pie.
But that's all over now and we're back to "real life." Sigh.
How Did I Miss This?
Thursday, March 13, 2008 | posted by Mike
I have to hand it to our friends at Pages, Pucks and Pantry who, in a recent roundup, included a link to a site that I have to admit I've never seen before...and I just don't know how I could have possibly missed this.
Yes, it's a site dedicated to chronicling the ups and downs of Giada De Laurentiis' neckline.
The site is called -- appropriately enough -- Giada's Cleavage, and it looks like they update it with recaps of her recent apparel. I do suppose that the posts do have some culinary value as they also include links to the recipes used in the episode.
Regular readers here know that, while we focus on the written word on this site, we like to throw up photos in order to keep the site from looking a little to bland. Well, as you would expect, the folks at GC also employ images to illustrate their points and for "documentary purposes." Want to see what Giada's cleavage looked like in a particular episode? Well there it is! And they've even gone to the trouble of editing out distracting objects like her head and arms. How nice of them!
Labels: Giada De Laurentiis
Top Chef Starts Tonight
Wednesday, March 12, 2008 | posted by Mike
I'm going to assume that a good many of you read a number of food and food-TV related sites and not just TVFF. If that's the case, then you have undoubted seen the breathless countdown to the new season of Top Chef.
Well, the show's about to hit the road and my friends over at YumSugar were good enough to drop me a note and let me know that they have an interview with Andrew, one of the new contestants. From the look of it, Andrew has some badass potential. Fun.
I'll be catching this on DVR when I return from my vaca, but don't put off watching it just for my sake!
Be sure to check it out on Bravo at 10/9 central.
Labels: Top Chef
Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares: Compelling Television...If Your Cable Goes that High
Tuesday, March 11, 2008 | posted by Mike
Although you risk a nosebleed by venturing to the upper reaches of your digital cable, tracking down BBC America in order to watch Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares is well worth the risk. The show may be the most compelling food program on television right now.
I know what you're saying. "He's a boor on Hell's Kitchen." "The U.S. version of Kitchen Nightmares reeks of Fox Reality Programming." Yes, I'll give you that. But, as we've come to expect from all things British, this is a much classier level of boorish behavior.
Yes, Ramsay's still the opinionated, ill-tempered person we see on American television. But the main difference is that the impatience and yelling melts away much more often. You can see that he's a rude guy, but it is done for the purpose of making the restaurants into something better. Plus, these are professionals in the kitchen, so that feeling of squeamishness you feel when he's beating up on some hapless HK contestant isn't there.
It's also an interesting show for Americans because it does give you a look at life in everyday-UK. The thing that I was most surprised at when I started watching the program -- the first British reality show I've watched -- is that, despite our familiarity with the British culture, much of what we consume through movies and television is an idealized Britain. Whether it's a Victorian costume drama or a Bond movie, we get the remnants of Britain's storied past. Or sometimes we get a glossy comedy (all those Bridget Jones look-alikes) or cheeky romp.
The thing is, we rarely get a true glimpse into British life. I'm thinking of the film version of Quadrophenia or maybe a Ken Loach film. Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares focuses on the real people of the UK, not the kind that might be played by Colin Firth.
Labels: Gordon Ramsay
Friday, March 07, 2008 | posted by Mike
That's right, kids. I'm packing up and taking a nice week-long vacation starting next Tuesday. I'll be binging on fish & chips and Indian food, as well as seeing all of the big sites on my first-ever trip to London.
But, thanks to the wonders of the Internet, this doesn't mean that you'll be left out in the cold! I have a couple of posts already loaded and ready to go, and they'll be rolled out during the week. We might not be on top of the latest news, though. So, if Giada somehow decides to go into labor while I'm in the U.K., you'll just have to get your gossip elsewhere.
We don't have a whole lot of visitors to the site from Great Britain, but I'll gladly accept any recommendations you may have, especially for food and/or pubs. Be sure to get them in by Monday evening, either in the comments section or directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Former Chef from Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Project Found Dead
Thursday, March 06, 2008 | posted by Mike
Some sad news out of the UK where one of the enrollees in Jamie Oliver's Fifteen program, which sought to give troubled youths a chance to turn their lives around through an opportunity in the kitchen, was found dead near the Cornwall location of Fifteen. According to the Daily Mail:
Depressed Christopher Pethick, 20, was found dead in woodland just 18 months after securing a place on the Fifteen training programme. The program was started a few years back and was the focus of a short series called Jamie's Kitchen, which was featured on cable (but not Food Network, if I remember correctly). It is a noble effort and all signs point to it being a successful endeavor, considering they've gone from one location to three. Obviously, when you're dealing with troubled teens, there is always the risk that, even with the fantastic opportunities afforded here, the situations and influences that got these kids into trouble in the first place may re-emerge.
In May 2006 he became one of 21 young cooks chosen out of 300 hopefuls who applied to work in Fifteen in Watergate Bay, Cornwall.
But he dropped out of the course after just two months with "severe depression."
Labels: Jamie Oliver
About Two Hours
Wednesday, March 05, 2008 | posted by Mike
That's approximately how much Food Network, in total, I've watched over the past three weeks or so. And that's including the two DVR'd episodes of Bourdain's seven-year-old-show that I viewed.
I caught about fifteen minutes of that Ultimate Recipe show and had some Giada on as background noise on a Saturday morning. Normally, I'd rant about the over-the-top Applebee's tie-in, but the show doesn't come close to eliciting enough passion to get me worked up.
Then, the other night, I switched FN on and saw Dinner: Impossible. That just depressed me and so we were off to something cheerier...I think it was a WWII documentary on The History Channel.
I don't know whether that spate of negative articles about the Food Network from a couple weeks back had an impact on me, but I certainly haven't been thrilled lately.
That's not to say that I haven't been watching food TV lately. In fact, I've been watching quite a bit of what may well be the best food show on television. And the unfortunate part is that you likely aren't watching it. In fact, you may not even be able to watch it.
But we'll have more on that next week...
Labels: Food Network
Jamie Oliver: Better than Churchill and MLK?
Monday, March 03, 2008 | posted by Mike
Possibly, at least according to a survey from the UK on who children should look up to as role models. According to an article from Reuters:
I think that Jamie should be content with his seventh-place showing. If I were him, I wouldn't be particularly jealous of Richard Branson, who came in second -- behind "a family member" and in front of Jesus.
Diana, Princess of Wales was placed sixth and celebrity chef and healthy eating campaigner, Jamie Oliver came in number seven.
"Despite our obsession with celebrities and footballers it would seem they do not make the cut when it comes to top role models, with go-getters such as Branson and Jamie Oliver being the exception," said Mark Hodson, Head of Research at Opinium.
Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was ranked eighth, American civil rights hero Martin Luther King ninth and Microsoft founder Bill Gates came 10th.
Sure, a spot ahead of THE BIG GUY may seem like quite a coup. But I'm guessing you wouldn't want to court the same controversy brought on the last time an Englishman compared himself to JC.
Labels: Jamie Oliver