Cast Blog: #TOPCHEF

<i>Top Chef</i> At Grand Central And Sweetbreads!

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Make Doug's Winning Braised Pork!

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Gail: It Was Difficult to Let Go of Shirley

Big Easy to Ocean Breezy

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Hugh: Enough With the Mexican Food Hate

<i>Top Chef</i> At Grand Central And Sweetbreads!

Old favorites and new chef'testants gather at Grand Central to celebrate Top Chef: New York.

Hello again! Before I dive into this week's entry, I first want to respond to some of the comments from my last entry. First, a lot of you have been asking when the new season was starting. Wednesday, November 12th at 10/9c!!! I've seen the first episode, and I gotta say it's looking good. In my blog from last season, I compared Top Chef: Chicago to Season 1 (San Francisco for those who have forgotten) because it took awhile to get into the characters and have favorites. I think this season is more like Season 2 where the characters were really strong from the beginning. Let me know if you agree or disagree after you see the premiere. Anyway, Travis, I will find out where the Season 2 finale was set and get back to you. And to respond to my biggest detractor so far this season (It will be my mission to make you love me), "tdl1501," I did write my blog under a pseudonym last season, but fully disclosed that I worked on the editorial team here at So, integrity is in tact in my book.

OK -- so this past Monday our fabulous marketing department held Taste of the 5 Buroughs, a tasting event held at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Station to benefit City Harvest. I get to cover most of our events and I have to say this was probably one of the most fun. Before the main event, a VIP lounge at Charlie Palmer's Metrazur was held for radio winners and others to mingle with the new chefs. It was so great to see favorite like Spike, Andrew, Harold, Lee Anne, and others again as well. I had finally met Richard Blais a few days before at the last stop of the Top Chef tour bus in Union Square, so it was good to see him again. And, guess what? I finally met Lisa! And I gotta say, she was perfectly nice to me. Chatty even. You can watch Andy Cohen's interviews live from the VIP lounge.


After the VIP event, one of our Bravo interns and I went to the main event where the city's best restaurants were offering tastings on one side of the hall while demos were being given on the other side. I had some fabulous food, but i gotta say with all the fancy stuff being offered my favorite was the pulled pork sandwich from Dinosaur BBQ. It really hit the spot after a long day of shooting. Probably the most amusing part of the whole day was the knife skills demonstration put on by Season 4's Spike and Andrew. I had been joking all week that one of them would hurt themselves, and sure enough Andrew did! He actually cut himself pretty badly, but was a trooper through the whole thing, and everyone was laughing hysterically. It was certainly not a surprise that the majority of the audience was women (sorry ladies, they're both taken.) Anyway, i couldn't tell if Andrew was hamming it up or not,but when i went backstage after the performance, he was still bleeding!! I checked up on him via e-mail a couple days later and he's fine. Phew! Watch video of Andy Cohen's interviews live from the VIP. You can also check out the beautiful photos our photo editor Bo took from the tour bus and the tasting event.


Did any of you guys get tickets and go? I would love to hear what you thougth of the event. I really thought it a very tasteful (har har) start for what is sure to be a really fun season of Top Chef.

OK, now completely unrelated. I mentioned last season that I'd never had sweetbreads, and i was determined to do something about it. So two Friday nights ago, my friend and I didn't know where to go to dinner. I suggested Perilla and luckily they had a cancelled reservation. I decided to try some new things. So for an appetizer i got the Tai Snapper Crudo (green papaya, cucumber, rice pearls & tom yum broth.) Delish! Very light and clean. Then i got the Pan Roasted Stone Bass :Vitello Tonnato" (wax beans, crispy sweetbreads, cippolini onions & marinated tuna sauce.) Is it wrong that the wax beans sold me? Anyway, it was amazing! The sweetbreads tasted like fried chicken. Everyone I've ever asked about sweetbreads says the same thing, and I'm wondering if I'd like them prepared differently. Whenever I think of someone eating sweetbreads I think of the episode of 90210 (the original) when Brenda and Donna go to France and order what they think is veal at a restaurant. After tasting it and finding the food a bit more mushy than expected, Brenda looks up the french dish in her dictionary, utters "It's brains," and Donna just lets the morsel fall out of her mouth. Anyone else remember that? Just me? OK. Anyway, I think Perilla has become my favorite restaurant in the city, and yes, I'm biased because Harold Dieterle owns it, but honestly the food is consistently good and I love the atmostphere. Next time, I'll give some helpful hints for our new Top Chef Fantasy Game!!! Leave your comments, questions, suggestions below. You know I love to read them.

- Monica A. Reyhani