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Marcel Busted for Suspicion of DUI, Hair Only Slightly Less Fantastic in Mug Shot
Wednesday, August 27, 2008 | posted by Mike

OK.  Let's be clear.  Drunk driving is not funny.  Drunk driving mug shots, however, are hysterical.

You may remember Marcel Vigneron from Top Chef a couple of years ago.  He was the one with the cartoon character-like hair and soul-piercing glare.  Now you get to see him in a slightly different light, thanks to the mug shot currently up at Grub Street.  The folks over at GS have a very good point when they compare the pokey photo favorably to the publicity shot from TC.

Ahhh...celebrity mug shots.  Perhaps no greater treat has been brought to us by the Internet than these schadenfreude-laden glimpses of fame gone wrong.  And, although Marcel has not made their hall of shame, the alpha and omega of online celeb mug shot sites is, without a doubt, The Smoking Gun.

I'm guessing that many of you know about the site, but those of you who don't (or anyone who is up for a good chuckle) should swing by the mug shot page.  It's hours and hours of fun.  Unfortunately, I think they missed a golden opportunity to let visitors rate their faves, but you just can't go wrong when you click around on a list like that.  In case you're wondering, my all-time fave is Nick Nolte.

A quick scan doesn't seem to reveal any food TV personalities.  So, Marcel, congratulations on your potentially groundbreaking achievement!



Really? Because He Doesn't Seem the Kind of Guy to Pander or Sell Out.
Monday, August 25, 2008 | posted by Mike

Hey, I bet you're wondering what Rocco DiSpirito has been up to since his Bertolli-pitching appearance on Top Chef.  Or maybe you were just hoping he had gone away, never to be heard from again.  I know I felt a little bit of each.  And now I feel like a sucker.

Why?  Because Rocco is slated to be a contestant on the next edition of Dancing with the Stars.
Rocco DiSpirito: This 42 year old American chef will have to leave his homebase of New York city to compete in D.W.T.S. Rocco is another product of reality T.V. He stared in the show "The Restaurant" which followed him and his mother during the opening of their restaurant, "Rocco's 22nd Street". He also competed in "the Biggest Loser: Couples" and was a guest judge and sous-chef in "Top Chef". Viewers always like to see people with strong personalities on the show. Rocco may fit right in. His reality T.V. show "Rocco's 22nd Street" ended with disagreements with his financier, Jeffrey Chodorow. Rocco also hosted his own radio show a few years ago, but that too ended due to "creative differences".
Great...now I can add "dancing" to my ongoing list ("cooking," "talking," "anything") of things I don't want to watch Rocco DiSpirito doing on my TV.

Hat Tip to Emily for passing this fun bit of info my way.



Video Games + Iron Chef America = Awesome?!?!?
Friday, August 22, 2008 | posted by Mike

I'm not going to lie.  It's my secret fantasy to be a video game character at some point.  Every year, you'll read an article abou thow jazzed some football rookie is about the fact that he's actually a part of the latest version of Madden.  It's funny, because the article usually starts out about how thrilled the player is, and it then quickly moves on to how said player is angry that he did not receive a high enough rating in the game.  Such is life.

So, does that mean we'll be hearing about Mario Batali complaining that his knife skills aren't up to his standards with the soon-to-be-released Wii version of Iron Chef America?

Alas, the TVFF household does not feature a Wii, and my video game playing is at an all time low these days, so it's unlikely we'll be providing a review.  But, we do make a point to swing by the Best Buy and jam on "Guitar Hero" whenever I can (much to Mrs. TVFF's dismay), so I'll be on the lookout in the mall this autumn!



iPhone/Food Network Users - Call for Submissions
Thursday, August 21, 2008 | posted by Mike

Hey...are there any iPhone users out there who have tried out the Food Network iPhone web application?

If so, drop me a note at mike@tvfoodfan.com and let me know what you think of it, how useful you find it and any other general impressions you have.  Thanks!

Hey, What'd I Tell Ya?!?
Monday, August 18, 2008 | posted by Mike

Philly chef wins on ‘Iron Chef’

Good for you, Jose



Somewhere, Lidia Bastianich is Quietly Weeping

OK...this may be a bit off-topic, but we'll just interepret the site's stated mission of "food TV" a little more liberally today if that's all right with you.

You know that I like to complain at length about any perceived "dumbing-down" of food content on television programs.  Usually, that takes the form of mindless shortcuts (like pre-minced garlic), but I have to think that the ability to boil water and successfully place an ingredient into said boiling water is about as simple a process as exists in the real of cooking.  And yet...

The folks at Best Week Ever manage to capture my exact feelings, so just go ahead and read this. (Warning: lightly-edited naughty language)

And...welcome back.  Are you as angry as I am?  Good.  And I managed to find this on a day when I'll be cooking pasta for dinner.  I think that makes it all the more revolting.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the Pasta 'N More is, in fact, not the biggest affront to Italian culinary heritage currently on the market.  That honor would belong to the Pasta Express, which doesn't even require you to boil the noodles in water.  Nope, just fill 'er up with hot water and let it...steep?  Be sure to watch the "webmercial," which I swear is actually worse than the one for the Pasta 'N More.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE leave a comment or send us a note (anonymously, if you feel that you must preserve your honor) if you've ever had the good fortune to be served pasta from one of these devices.

"Sea Monster Week" (Yes, You Read That Correctly) on Original Iron Chef
Friday, August 15, 2008 | posted by Mike

As much as we enjoy watching Mark Dacascos doing back-blips on Iron Chef America, we miss the good old days of the Japanese original from time to time.  When we get particularly nostalgic, we'll swing over to Fine Living, which runs episodes of the classic series.

The folks over at Fine Living are very good to us at TVFF.  There was the Shopping with Chefs event in NYC that we got to check out.  And, in general, they reach out to us on a regular basis.  My point is that they are very focused on selling their portfolio of food programs, and that apparently goes for both their original series as well as Iron Chef, because we got a note from them telling us about their special, themed weeks that start next Monday, August 18 at 8 p.m. with "Sea Monster Week."

What's the catch of the day?

Sea Monster Week will feature lots of crazy underwater creatures, starting with Battle Octopus on Monday 8/18, then Battle King Crab, Battle Giant Eel, and Battle Squid, before the formidable Battle Ashura Oyster on Friday 8/22.
According to the folks at Fine Living, this will actually be the first of five weeks of themed program blocks.



Julia Child a Spy?!?
Thursday, August 14, 2008 | posted by Mike

So says CNN.

Word is she could kill a man with a whisk.

Bond had Le Chiffre.  Julia had Le Chiffonade.

OK...enough with the bad jokes?

Also on the list was Sterling Hayden, who appeared in two of the greatest movies of all time, as Gen. Jack D. Ripper ("Mandrake, have you ever seen a Commie drink a glass of water?") in Dr. Strangelove and Cpt. McCluskey (the cop who Michael Corleone whacks in the Italian restaurant) in The Godfather.



If She Ran the Show, the "Satelite of Love" Would Have Been Beautifully Decorated
Tuesday, August 12, 2008 | posted by Mike

Despite her cold-as-ice reputation, it seems like Martha Stewart isn't afraid to laugh...at herself.

That's the premise of a new show that will air on Fine Living.
Can Martha Stewart take a pie in the face — even one she baked herself? Fine Living Network is about to find out.

On Sept. 16, Fine Living will unveil a new original comedy series built around a provocative premise: mocking Ms. Stewart. For a half hour, two hosts will critique — in “candid and often acerbic” language, according to the channel — old clips from her 1990s cooking and craft show. Fine Living, part of the E. W. Scripps Company, calls the series “Whatever, Martha!” 
That's nice.  It's always reassuring when a celebrity can be down to earth.  But, really, being popular enough to base a whole program on your persona didn't really make me feel warm and tingly.

And then I read this:
Martha Stewart is not widely known for her sense of humor. But she is in on this particular joke. In fact, she created it, dreaming up the premise after watching reruns of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” during a sleepless night. That series, produced from 1988 to 1999, delivered sarcastic commentary about old horror movies, and had blossomed into a cable cult hit.
Wait a minute -- Martha is a MSTie!?!?  Oh, man...my respect for her just went through the roof.



Food Network to Get "Butter"-ed Up
Thursday, August 07, 2008 | posted by Mike

Despite the fact that nearly all of the amateur contestants on The Next Food Network Star have managed to snag some sort of job at Food Network, it's not just home chefs that have been joining the FN ranks.  First, we had Anne Burrell start up a new show (which we at TVFF like, although we could do with a little less over-the-top grunting/sound effects from time to time).  Now it's the chef from New York City's Butter, Alexandra Guarnaschelli, who has a show coming up.  Must be a good time to be a female chef from NYC!

The show is called The Cooking Loft.  That' not to be confused with Anne Taylor Loft, which is where I sit and wait uncomfortably while Mrs. TVFF tries on outfits.

Details?  Here's the press release:
Welcome to The Cooking Loft, home of Chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli’s innovative and inventive cooking class. This successful restaurant chef invites four students into her cooking loft to learn her secrets and ask the kinds of questions at-home viewers would want to know the answers to. Beginning Saturday, August 30th at 9:30AM ET/PT Alex invites everyone to roll up their sleeves and learn first-hand how a pro puts her own unique spin on basic cooking techniques to elevate America's favorite dishes. Each week, Alex breaks down food topics like pasta, seasonal fruit, tomatoes, pizza, turkey, breakfast, holiday cookies, and apples to reveal easy and accessible techniques. The Cooking Loft is loaded with timesaving tips and tricks viewers won't want to miss!

Episodes include:
Premiering August 30th at 9:30am ET/PT – You Say Tomato

Chef Alex Guarnaschelli’s idea of retail therapy includes visiting the greenmarket to find the best seasonal produce. She entices her students with a bounty of tomatoes and teaches them how to use the fruit throughout an entire meal. With dishes like Seared Steak that’s drenched in a fresh Tomato Sauce, Tomato and Watermelon Salad with strawberries, and Stuffed Tomatoes with Caramel and Ice Cream for dessert, no matter how you say tomato, your taste buds will be tantalized!

Premiering September 6th 9:30am ET/PT – This Bird’s Got Range
Chef Alex Guarnaschelli feels there are endless ways to prepare chicken. She’s sharing her all-time favorites to teach the students, including Crunchy Fried Chicken with a sour cream and mustard marinade, and surprisingly juicy Flattened Chicken Breast with a sweet and tangy Marmalade and a side of sautéed Wilted Romaine. After this lesson at The Cooking Loft, you’ll be a certified poultry pro.

Premiering September 13th at 9:30am ET/PT – Sweet and Fruity
Chef Alex Guarnaschelli teaches her students how to turn the best fruits of the season into amazing desserts. She shares a few simple tricks to working with fruit and demonstrates elegant and irresistible recipes like Stovetop Peaches with Streusel and Zesty Sour Cream and Almond Cream and Strawberry Parfait.

Premiering September 20th at 9:30am ET/PT – Perfect Pasta
Chef Alex Guarnaschelli throws a pasta party at the loft to teach her students unique takes on traditional pasta dinners.  Bubbling Macaroni and Cheese with breadcrumbs and Cavatappi Pasta with Spicy Yellow Tomato Sauce are sure to be recipes that will make many repeat appearances.



Adam Gets a Job (And Has Strange Cosmic Connection to My Previous Post)
Monday, August 04, 2008 | posted by Mike

Thought you were done with The Next Food Network Star's Adam?  Think again!  According to a Food Network press release:
Adam Gertler shared his humorous take on food throughout the most recent season of The Next Food Network Star. Now, he pairs his comedic timing with an adventurous spirit in the new Food Network series, Will Work for Food. Currently in production, the series will premiere on Tuesday, September 30th at 9:30pm ET/PT. The half-hour primetime series exposes Adam to the world of little-known food jobs, as he puts his life – and mouth – on the line to try them all!

“On The Next Food Network Star Adam exhibited a unique combination of quick wit, passion for food and an engaging personality,” said Bob Tuschman, Senior Vice President, Programming and Production for Food Network. “He earned millions of fans across the country who have let us know that we have a second star in our midst. We feel this series is a perfect fit for his talents, letting him showcase his brand of humor while he works for food.”

Will Work for Food follows Adam on a fearless journey to learn about a wide variety of unique food jobs. Throughout the series, Adam will introduce viewers to the people who do this work the best, as he learns the tricks of the trade and tries everything firsthand. Whether he’s protecting his fingers while feeding sharks, closely examining potato chips for flaws or trying his hand as a dog food taste tester, Adam will stop at nothing to learn how each job is done.
Adam's background as an actor meant that he was pretty good on camera, so it's nice to know he's got a spot doing something for the Network.  And, hey...Guy Fieri is better known now for his non-cooking program DD&D, so Adam could be the winner in the long run.

Speaking of which, Aaron's new show debuted this week.  Although I thought it was fairly well put-together, the chicken finger salad recipe was a weak effort for the first episode.  Doritos!?!?  Ugh.  He was pretty good on camera, though, and the kid was cute.

So, we know that Adam's back in it.  The funny thing is that, if you check out the recap of the Philadelphia Inquirer story about this over at Foobooz (one of my favorite sites for all things Philly food and, well, booze), you'll see that they mention where Adam has been waiting tables since his place closed down.  That restaurant would be...........Amada.

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