Sunday, July 15, 2007

top chef update

so, my favorite top chef contender is howie. i'm not sure why--he's sweaty, doesn't smile a lot, and doesn't seem to be the most likeable or sociable chef on the show. yet, i can't help but root for him. he's kind of a teddy bear who seems like he has the most heart invested in his dishes. he kind of reminds me of a bulldog, whose droopy faces i find irresistable, so maybe that's my subconcious reason for rooting for him. also, he totally quoted my obsession, anthony bourdain to his face during the final review in one of the earlier episodes. i'd like to see him win, however the writers at grub street are bumming me out about his chances. anyway, i was playing around on bravotv's top chef site and i found this little q&a with howie. reading it made me love him even more, since he sites chef thomas keller (whose napa valley restaurant was written about by bourdain in "a cook's tour") as one of his main influences.

Date of birth: July 31, 1975
Astrological sign: Leo.
Current job: Executive Chef at The Food Gong, LLC.
Cooking experience: Eleven years at restaurants and hotels.
Restaurants you have worked at: Intercontinental, Miami; Petrossian, Miami; Mark's, Miami; The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne.
Restaurants you would like to work at: The French Laundry in Napa Valley; Restaurant Daniel in New York City; Le Bernardin in New York City.
Chef(s) you admire: Thomas Keller, Gray Kunz, and Eric Ripert.
What cooking shows do you watch? "Top Chef" and "Iron Chef."
Your top three favorite cookbooks are: "The French Laundry Cookbook," "El Bulli," and "The Elements of Taste."
Your must-have kitchen accessory is: Sharp knives
What are your go-to ingredients? Butter.
How many courses should a meal have? 5-6.
What's your favorite course? Appetizer.
What famous person, living or dead, would you like to make a meal for? Alain Ducasse.
And, what would you serve them? The best products available.
What's your favorite style of cooking? Mediterranean/Asian.
What nationality of food do you like the best? Thai.
What's your favorite meal of the day to prepare? Dinner.
Where do you find inspiration when creating a new dish? Cookbooks and markets.
Who has been your greatest inspiration in the kitchen? Tim Andriola.
What is your favorite comfort food? Macaroni and cheese.
Do you ever eat fast food? If so, what? Yes, Taco Bell.
What restaurant do you want to eat at that you haven't eaten at yet? El Bulli.
Do you have a favorite partner that you cook with? My sous-chef.
What do you serve at Thanksgiving dinner? Everything traditional.
What's your favorite dessert? Molten chocolate cake.
Are there wines or liquors that you cook with? Vermouth, cognac, white and red wines, brandy.
How much time do you spend cooking a meal just for yourself? No more than 30 minutes.
What would be your dream job as a chef? Consulting restaurant openings.
How do you react when a customer sends something back to the kitchen? I investigate and rectify ASAP.
Do you have a lucky charm of any kind during the competition? No.
How do you handle the pressure of competition? Positive thinking.
Who was your favorite chef from Season 1 of "Top Chef," and why? Lee Anne Wong.
What scent in the kitchen do you love – what ingredient smells the best? Vanilla.
What ingredient(s) do you avoid/dislike? Liver.
What's your secret splurge at the grocery store? Frozen White Castle sliders.
What's your favorite midnight snack? Ditto.

you can also read the interview online on

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