Monday, May 17, 2010

successful top chef stop in philadelphia

Coin me a complete food nerd, if you will, but I am a self-acclaimed addict for Top Chef. Hooked season after season, the majority of my television watching peeks only during these weekly cooking competitions, and I sadly, sometimes can't even slip into sleep if I am not up-to-date on who most recently packed their knives and went.

So, obviously in connection with my cheesy Bravo Network-specific obsession, I tend to jump at any chance to savor the flavors of my most beloved cheftestants. Most recently, I deliciously devoured Jen Carroll's roundup at 10 Arts, and when I caught wind that several other Top Cheffers were rolling into town, my tastebuds didn't skip a beat.

Lucky for me, my dear friend LeeAnne nabbed several reservations for the tasting tented outside City Hall today, and I obviously accompanied her as we skipped away to their noon session. Equally as awesome was the fact that the Philly spot on the recently-premiered Top Chef Tour landed the darling, petite chef team of Jamie Lauren and Nikki Cascone.

Whether you prefer Ms. Lauren's scallop-spiked enterprise or Nikki's fresh pasta-pleasures, neither suggests their on-air repertoires are truly what their cooking styles are about. Together, the females, both merely over five feet, prepared an almond gazpacho that had been pulsed from a grape juice-soaked sweet baguette. Finished with a smoked paprika-oil and topped with freshly-steamed clams, I can now proclaim that I have tested three examples of female-crafted excellence from celebs reborn on Bravo.

Their "soup," structured with a garlicky slur (Jamie is a confirmed garlic-addict), offered slightly-spicy slurps that were also suggested to be superb if paired with sausage. Easily concocted from a blend of soaked bread, almonds and olive oil, I now feel capable of capturing their simple, yet fantastic star-worthy staple.

After the friendly females demo-ed their light-heartened 'pacho, the now-kitchen stars allowed for a question and answer session, which included J's mention of her recently being awarded the honor of soon cooking for Pink. The public participation period eventually ended when the ladies dialed the egotistical Stefan on speaker phone, where he tip-toed around making any uncanny statements.

AND, in the midst of an afternoon peppered with an extreme Top Chef blabfest, I have to admit I am pretty pumped about the upcoming season, to premiere June 16 from Washington D.C. I hear the challenge where the fresh chefs embark on the eats of Washington Nationals Stadium will be a must-watch.