While Richard Blais landed a sweet gig judging on this next Boston season of Top Chef, he landed yet another TV gig -- this time on the infamous Food Network. Could Blais, already the master of celebrity chefness (you've hit it big when you shill cat food, we guess?) give the Food Network a winning show?
We live in the world of "egotarian cuisine," or, as Andrew Zimmern recently put it, "the age where no one is allowed to criticize the best chefs and restaurants in the world." Fair enough, we thought. Surely the best restaurants in the world can't be perfect, right? Right?
So, in order to give some really fair and balanced views of the world's best restaurants, we turned to the ever-reliable, ever-crazy customers unafraid to air their true opinions of a joint: Yelp. In a new series, we're digging through some of the most renowned restaurants' Yelp feedback to paint an accurate picture of what you're really getting for your dollar. As we suspected, Yelpers are hilariously jaded, bringing down the so-called best of the best.
There is a reason that we keep tuning in to Andrew Zimmern's podcast Go Fork Yourself (and not just for Sriracha feuds or celeb chef spotting etiquette). If anything, Zimmern and his sidekick Molly Mogren continue to be our voices of reason, and nothing quite illuminates their sanity than the latest episode of Go Fork Yourself.
Ah, the Fancy Food Show. For three days, 40,000 attendees swarm to see over 260,000 products gathered under one leaking roof in New York City (true story — it rained so hard at the Javitts Center on Monday, that a steady stream flowed into the press office). But I wasn’t just trying to get away from monsoon season 2013, I was there to see all that the Specialty Food Association has to offer: Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory-ing, Wizard of Oz Lollipop Guilding, and whatever other fairy tale-ing dream you can dream and then turn into food.
Started in 1955, the Fancy Food Show has highlighted niche markets of food and beverage, lesser known brands, and innovative products that hope to hit shelves in the United States. The products range from pretty much anything imaginable, to some things that most people probably wouldn’t imagine. Splayed across four floors of the Javitts Center, the show featured cooking demonstrations by Jose Andres and the Food Network Kitchen’s Rob Bleifer and Miriam Garron, and even a keynote address by Marcus Samuelsson.
As a hungry young writer, I was thankful for a near endless supply of samples. I followed the show’s yellow brick road of meats, drinks, olive oils, salsas, cookies, chocolates, crackers, dressings, and spreads to find those pioneering avant-gardists who really put the “special” in Specialty Food. Like the lady from Kelapo Coconut Oil whose response to different ways to use her product was, “Well, I guess as lube.”
See chocolate easter eggs made with actual eggs, weird fruit chunk ice-cube things, ginger on ginger on ginger, and more from my fancy adventures at the Fancy Food Show in the gallery below.