So, sure. It’s important that a chef be able to cook and run a kitchen and write a menu and do all that other stuff. But, in this image-obsessed age, if you’re gonna make the big time it also helps to be pretty. Why? Because when the national media run out of nice things to say about your food, they will inevitably turn to a high school-style ranking of your relative hotness.
To wit, today brings us not one, but two completely separate lists of hot chefs. And Philly has a representative on each of them.
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Been a big day in Eric Ripert news. First came word that he was stepping away from the Ritz-Carlton’s Westend Bistro in Washington D.C. effective January 1st. And now the Insider is reporting that Ripert is also ending his association with 10 Arts at the Ritz-Carlton here in Philly–the place that made Jen Carroll famous before that whole Top Chef thing. The reason? Some mystery restaurant in NYC affiliated with his celebrated fish palace, Le Bernardin.
For the time being, 10 Arts staff (including sous chef Nathan Volz) will continue to operate 10 Arts as 10 Arts, but what we’re wondering over here is whether a recent visit by Jose Andres (who recently began a partnership with Ritz-Carlton at their new, ultra-luxury property, Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico) to the kitchens at 10 Arts while he was in Philly has anything to do with anything.
Because, seriously, losing The Ripper sucks. But trading him for Jose Andres would go a long way toward making me feel better…
Eric Ripert Leaving 10 Arts [The Insider]
Curious about what’s happening with Jen Carroll’s new Greenwich Village version of Concrete Blonde? Even more curious about the events that transpired which drew her out of the confines of Philly and into the deep waters of the NYC restaurant scene? Well, over on the Philly Post, Richard Rys has some of the answers–which include ex-boyfriends, battles with investors, the loss of a damn-near-perfect Center City location (rhymes with Schmarathon…) and the magic of television.
Here’s a taste:
[Carroll] refuses to nail down a target opening date (“sometime in 2013”), and acknowledges that while her Top Chef cachet kept her afloat this past year, it may work against her in a city where jaded gourmands feast on failed celebuchefs. Her plan to avoid that fate is blunt, as usual: “The food has to be fucking amazing,” she says. “I need to live up to it. If not, it’s my fault.”
You can check out the whole interview right now, over on the Philly Post. Just follow the link below.
Jen Carroll Dishes On Her New York Restaurant [Philly Post]
Itinerant food writer Charlotte Druckman‘s new book has got some serious chops. Skirt Steak: Women Chefs on Standing the Heat and Staying in the Kitchen, reveals exactly what its title suggests–offering a look inside the life, triumphs, struggles and journeys of over 70 female chefs.
To celebrate the book, a series of collaborative chef dinners that benefit non-profit organizations related to women are being held across the country. And lucky us, one of these dinners will be held right here in Philly…
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You would think that being famous, a proven talent, and having a Bravo TV crew following you around would be a good way to attract investors and get yourself into a restaurant of your own. But then again, this is the restaurant business so, apparently, you’d be wrong.
Grub Street talked to local hero/Top Chef cheftestant Jen Carroll about what was happening with her new restaurant concept, Concrete Blonde, and she let them know that while she was super-duper close to getting everything in line, at the last minute her investors bailed out and left her in Nowheresville. So what happens next?
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Foobooz Open Stove Night
Last night, we held our first official Foobooz Open Stove Night battle at Cook and it was a killer: Packed house, noble competitors doing glorious combat, special guest judges, surprise plot twists. It had everything anyone could ask for in a serious cooking competition, including enough booze to float a battleship and more ramen than you could shake a stick at.
In keeping with the rules, our two challengers were working guys–sub-chef-level pros willing to step up and face off in full view of the paying public. We had Jim Kenngott, sous chef from La Calaca Feliz and Aaron Gottesman, currently taking a turn through the kitchen at Sbraga, soon to be on the opening line at Jen Carroll’s Concrete Blonde. Both guys knew they were cooking ramen. Both were instructed to bring an appropriate appetizer and a dessert.
But that, in a nutshell, was all they knew.
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Even as the final February schedule was being posted online at Cook today, they had one class they were still trying to put together: “A Valentine’s Day To Remember” starring none other than hometown hero (and Top Chef shit-starter) Jen Carroll.
According to Cook, “Jen will be preparing a romantic and delicious multi-course menu for you and that special someone.” And as of right-this-minute, there are still nine tickets left to the February 14th class. So if you (or someone you like a lot, because the class ain’t cheap) are interested, I’d get over there in a hurry and register now.
Cook’s February Schedule [Cook]