Open Stove XXI: Now We’re Legal

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It is hard to believe sometimes that we have been doing Foobooz Open Stove Nights at COOK for as long as we have. But by the somewhat suspect accounting of the COOK staff, Wednesday night was our 21st outing and we celebrated it with two great teams, a potato-based challenge, shots of potato vodka, and cases of beer from those potato-loving Czechs behind Pilsner Urquell.

It was a wild night, full of drinking and rivalry and potato chip garnishes and coxcombs. But when the dust settled and the scores were tallied, there could be only one victor. And while only 20 or so people actually got to see the competition first-hand, we’ve come home with photo evidence of how things shook out (which is good, because everyone’s memories are probably a little bit fuzzy right now). So if you couldn’t be there yourself, click through the jump and check out what happened once the shots were poured and the tater tots hit the tables…

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About Last Night: Sbraga vs. Sbraga At COOK

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Last night was a special kind of night at the COOK thunderdome. Sure, it was the same kind of set-up we’ve been using since the start–two chefs enter, vying for ultimate victory, and we do our best to make them cry like pre-teen girls with our secret ingredients, trash-talk, funny nicknames, enforced drinking policies and ridiculously complicated challenges. But still, last night was special.

For starters, it was a Sbraga-vs-Sbraga battle, with Aaron Gottesman from the Fat Ham and Greg Garbacz from Sbraga battling it out. Then there was the dictum, handed down from their boss, Kevin Sbraga himself (who was kind enough to show up last night to keep an eye on his guys), that neither chef would be allowed to bring a sous chef with him, forcing them to nut up and just cook all on their own (something that has only happened one other time in the history of Open Stove, and that one was accidental). Oh, and to make things even better, we decided to make last night a Theme Night, with all the secret ingredients and challenges based on Kevin Sbraga’s winning run during season 7 of Top Chef.

So how did it all shake out? Well, we’ve got pictures from last night’s contest to show you if you couldn’t make it in person. But let’s just say that it takes a truly remarkable chef to turn cuttlefish, coconuts, wonton wrappers, bok choy, horned melon and six-foot stalks of un-trimmed sugar cane into edible dishes for twenty drunken foodniks. Especially when you have to cook half the night tied at the ankle to your opponent…

Show me the pictures

Filipino Takeout Lunch at Cook Today

Photo by Suzanne Tenuto

Photo by Suzanne Tenuto

Today, COOK is offering a very special takeout lunch. Chef Lou Boquila of Audrey Claire will be preparing Filipino “silog”-style boxed lunches. The lunches will include your choice of beef, chicken, eggplant with eggs, fried rice, lumpia, flan and sago. The lunches are $12 and cash only. All proceeds will benefit Philippine typhoon relief efforts, with all the money going to the  Gawad Kalinga Fund, a poverty empowerment organization.

Lunch kicks off at noon and goes till the food runs out.

Sneak Peek: January Schedule At Cook

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Still have a few last-minute Christmas gifts to pick up for the food nerds in your life? Then we have the perfect solution. The January schedule of classes at COOK is going live at 2pm today, but because you’re a Foobooz fan, you’re getting to check out the goods a couple hours early.

And January is going to be a good month, too, with lots of cool stuff to choose from. Between Peter Woolsey doing classic French bistro fare, a bread making class with Jonathan Petruce and two chances at hanging out with local Top Chefs (Jason Cichonski and Jen Carroll, each doing a one-night-only class at the end of the month), how can you go wrong? Oh, and if you miss out on those two Top Chef classes (or if you’re looking for something a bit more in-your-face), January’s Foobooz Open Stove night features cooks from both of Top Chef winner Kevin Sbraga‘s restaurants–Aaron Gottesman from The Fat Ham and Greg Garbacz from Sbraga. What’s more, that Open Stove competition is a little bit of a grudge match, seeing as both Greg and Aaron have stepped up to the stoves before. Greg won. Aaron lost. And now both of them have something to prove.

So check out the full preview after the jump. And get ready to make with the clicky-clicky right at 2pm today, because these things are going to sell out fast.

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COOK Masters Program: Now Accepting Applications From Cooks And Food Writers

michaelwraytattoosYes, ladies and gentleman, we’re doing it again. Foobooz and COOK have gotten together and organized a new semester of the COOK Masters Program–a totally free cooking school curriculum designed to put up-and-coming cooks in front of some of the most talented chefs in the city so that they can learn from the best.

As always, the program is free. COOK will host one class every week for 7 weeks, beginning January 13 (with most classes happening on Monday afternoons in order to work around the schedules of busy line cooks), for just 10 students. They’ll learn butchery from Jon Cichon of Lacroix, French sauces from Peter Woolsey of Bistrot La Minette, talk about wine with Brian Freedman and more.

But this time around, we’ve made a change. While, in the past, the program has been open only to cooks, this time we’re holding a couple spots open for food writers–and having a special class taught by Rick Nichols and Drew Lazor which will focus completely on the business of writing about dinner rather than cooking it.

So are you interested? Of course you are. We’re taking applications for ten days (starting today), and you can find a full course schedule and links to the application paperwork below.

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Jennifer Carroll Cooking in Philly Tonight

 

Photo by HughE Dillon

Photo by HughE Dillon

COOK, Bonfire/Electric Factory are kicking off the first in a series of visiting chef appearances at Underground Arts this evening. The concept is that chefs have become the new rockstars and Underground Arts is bringing food and music together with guest chefs whipping up playful and affordable bar food for concert goers. Tonight’s show is a first Thursday club night and will feature Tennis, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Savoir Adore and On and On. Jen Carroll will be behind the burners for the inaugural event. Admission is $15 and all food proceeds benefit Philabundance.

Jennifer Carroll’s menu »

Sneak Preview: December At COOK

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December’s schedule is about to be released at COOK and you, you clever little monkeys, are getting an early look.

Because of the holidays, there are a lot of nights being taken up by private events (contact the lovely ladies at COOK if you’re interested in scheduling one of your own), but there are still some good classes available for those looking for a special holiday night out. Nick Macri, Peter Woolsey, Phoebe Esmon and Christian Gaal, George Sabatino and Jett–they’re all going to be there and, if you’re quick, you can be, too.

Registration opens at 2pm today. Be there and get clicking.

COOK’s December schedule, right this way

Sneak Preview: November At Cook

Open Stove

November is the best month of the year. That’s not an opinion, that’s fact. The city looks prettier, the people look nicer, the food even tastes better. My birthday is on the 5th of it, and 23 days later, I get to eat a lot of turkey. It’s really the best month.

It’s looking to be an awesome month for COOK, too. Very Thanksgiving-y, and rightfully so. Rachel Klein (Miss Rachel’s Pantry) is serving up a Vegan Thanksgiving, while Laura Frangiosa (The Avenue Delicatessen) is whipping up a Jewish Thanksgiving, and I have no idea what either of those mean, but it’s exciting. Also, there’s an inside-look at what the Petruce brothers are bringing to Walnut Street and yet another installment of our Foobooz Open Stove Night which, coming as close to Thanksgiving as it does, promises to be a total drunken disaster totally awesome.

Check out the full schedule after the jump and be ready to buy some tickets this Friday, October 4th, at 2 pm.

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About Last Night: Junk Food Rumble at COOK

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We have done a lot of these Foobooz Open Stove Nights. Almost twenty of them now, by my count.

And we’ve had good nights and bad nights. Nights where we messed with the chefs a lot, and nights where we more or less left them alone to do their own thing. We have taken away tools and ingredients, made them cook with gefilte fish, SPAM and gummy bears. We haven’t made anyone cry yet, but we’ve come close.

Never before though have we had an Open Stove Night like last night’s Open Stove Night at COOK. While we have, by necessity, developed a kind of what-happens-at-Open-Stove-stays-at-Open-Stove kind of mentality, I can say that we messed with our contestants last night in some truly remarkable ways. We made them switch sous chefs. Then we made them switch back. We f’ed with the clock, threatened them with a dance battle, made them cook with Kraft macaroni and cheese and a selection of truly awful junk food picked up from the fanciest 7-11 in all of Rittenhouse Square. We made them do shots. We made the crowd do shots. And in the end, despite all of that, Jonnathan Yacashin from Noord (who won the night by one of the closest margins we’ve ever seen), Mack Horebe from the Saint James and their sous chefs performed with amazing restraint and aplomb, cooking some of the finest dishes we’ve had at any Open Stove since the games began.

And yes, I am saying that Pringles-crusted steak, macaroni-and-cheese-stuffed squash blossoms and Swedish Fish demiglace are some of the finest dishes we’ve ever had. Don’t believe me? Get yourself a ticket to next month’s Open Stove and come see for yourselves.

Or, you know, you could just check out the pictures from last night after the jump and pretend like you were one of the lucky few who joined us for our Junk Food Rumble…

Show me the pictures

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