Austin chefs competing on ‘Sugar Rush,’ new Netflix cooking challenge show

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Austin chefs Amir Hajimaleki and Dennis Van of District Kitchen + Cocktails and Oasthouse Kitchen + Bar  are competing on the newly released Netflix competition show “Sugar Rush”.

Screengrab from “Sugar Rush” on Netflix.

The show, which was released by the online streaming giant today, features the chefs battling in a series of pastry-related competitions. We won’t give away the ending, but you can stream the whole eight-episode series online now.

Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn’s ‘Smokelandia’ pilot airs Wednesday

Tireless Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn, he of the hollow leg, will appear in the pilot episode of “Smokelandia” Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. on the Cooking Channel.

The TV listing Tweeted by Vaughn tips off that the show will feature pork belly from Connecticut (!), whole hog cooking with Sam Jones in North Carolina and hot links in Southeast Texas. Regarding that last tidbit, the Beaumont Enterprise reports that the Southeast Texas spot will is Patillo’s Bar-B-Q.

“It’s a barbecue show about barbecue. The process will be just as important as what ends up on the plate or the butcher paper-lined tray,” Vaughn told me via text message.

As for what else we can expect from the show going forward, Vaugn’s Tweet indicates that this is just a pilot and a full run of the show may be dependent on how many eyeballs the initial show gets.



Austin chef takes down Iron Chef on ‘Beat Bobby Flay’

Austin chef Amanda Rockman beat Bobby Flay. The native Texan who serves as the corporate executive pastry chef for New Waterloo (Sway, Le Politique, South Congress Hotel, et al) took it to the celebrity chef on Thursday night’s episode of the 14th seasons of the Food Network show “Beat Bobby Flay.”

Chef Amanda Rockman of New Waterloo.

Rockman, a former James Beard award semifinalist who previously worked in top Chicago restaurants L2O and Nico Osteria, disposed of chef Vicki Wells before taking down the Iron Chef. Following show rules, Rockman created a signature dessert of her choice, and conquered Flay with her tiramisu. The Italian dessert, made with caramel crémeux, marsala mousse, lady finger coffee streusel, white coffee foam, appears on the menu at Café No Sé in the South Congress Hotel.

It was an honor to have the opportunity to go up against an Iron Chef, but it was a real challenge to keep composure at times – sometimes I wanted to freak out and other times I just wanted to die laughing,” Rockman said. “Really a great experience overall.”


Aaron Franklin appears as guest judge on tonight’s ‘Chopped Grill Masters’ on the Food Network

How’d you like to try and woo and wow James Beard Award-winner Aaron Franklin with your grilling prowess? That will be the challenge for four contestants on tonight “Chopped Grill Masters,” the cooking show off-shoot of the popular “Chopped.”

Aaron Franklin rocks the cafeteria look at Hi Lo. (Credit: Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Franklin will join show host Ted Allen, TV personality Maneet Chauhan and Stanton Social Chris Santos of New York’s Stanton Social, as contestants compete for the final slot in the show’s grand finale with challenges that include making a vegetable “steak,” and cooking with dragon fruit and mesquite powder. The show airs at 9 p.m. CST on the Food Network.

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How La Barbecue landed an Austin DJ a front-row seat in Stephen Colbert’s audience

We all knew La Barbecue was good. Apparently it’s good enough to get you a front-row seat at “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

My buddy and I were heading into the parking lot to eat Thai food from the Dee Dee trailer (look for that review next week) when he ran into old friend Mikey Pendon, aka DJ Jester the Filipino Fist, a longtime Austin DJ. Mikey was loaded up with to-go brisket and sausage from the adjacent La Barbecue.

When asked what he was doing with all of that meat, Mikey said that a friend in New York City told him that if he brought him some awesome barbecue, he’d get him VIP tickets to “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” DJ Jester lived up to his word, and so did his buddy, as you can see Mikey (pictured) in a prime audience seat on Colbert’s show.

Mikey didn’t get to speak on camera, but the mash-up king did get to meet Colbert. He gives credit to people skills and “the best damn barbecue in the world.”

His only regret?

“I didn’t have time to give him a DJ Jester the Filipino Fist whoopee cushion. Had it in my back pocket ready, though,” Pendon said.

Austin chef to appear on ‘Chopped’

Annabelle Turner will appear on "Chopped."
Annabelle Turner will appear on “Chopped.”

Vox Table’s executive pastry chef Annabelle Turner is about to put her quick-thinking and cooking skills to the test. The chef will appear as a contestant on the Food Network’s “Chopped” on October 6. The episode will air at 8 p.m.

Turner will compete in an episode entitled “On the Quack Burner,” which will feature mystery ingredients such as duck tongue, seaweed and spicy alcohol and sweet cream in the dessert round. Before coming to Vox, Turner worked at Artz Rib House, Paggi House and Perla’s Seafood & Oyster Bar

Vox Table will air the episode at the restaurant at 1100 S. Lamar Blvd. on October 6 and then feature one of the courses from the show through October 8.

The restaurant shared her recipe for 20-minute flatbread that she makes on the show.

20-Minute Flatbread

1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup Greek yogurt

Heat oven to 500 degrees. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add the yogurt and mix with your hands until fully incorporated.

Knead for 1 to 2 minutes on a lightly floured surface. Divide into four equal-sized portions, and roll into balls. Using a rolling pin, flatten each portion into an oval shape about 1/4-inch thick. Place the flatbreads on a greased sheet tray and bake for about 7-10 minutes or until a light golden brown. Makes 4 flatbreads.

–Annabelle Turner



Video: Andrew Zimmern eats fried rattlesnake in Texas

Andrew Zimmern at the 2014 Austin Food & Wine Festival. (Credit: Addie Broyles AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Andrew Zimmern at the 2014 Austin Food & Wine Festival. (Credit: Addie Broyles AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Travel Channel gastronomic tour guide Andrew Zimmern visited the San Antonio area on Monday night’s “Bizarre Foods.” Among the things the adventurous eater sampled: bone-in rattlesnake. He visited the Cook family at their ranch in Yancey, Texas and sampled some beer-battered rattlesnake fried in pork lard. Have a look …


‘BBQ with Franklin’ TV series airs on KLRU on May 21

Photo by Laura Skelding
Photo by Laura Skelding

Want to learn about the history of American barbecue, take a tour of some of the country’s most beloved joints and possibly learn a few secrets of one of America’s most celebrated pit bosses? “BBQ with Franklin,” starring the affable and bespectacled Aaron Franklin begins its run on KLRU, on May 21 at 8 p.m. The series runs over 10 consecutive weeks on Thursday nights, with repeats at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday. KLRU produced the series, which will also air on PBS affiliates across the country (have your friends and family check their local listings for a taste of Austin.) The first episode, fittingly, focuses on brisket. Check out the show’s website for more information on episodes and the YouTube series that inspired the show.



Bravo’s Austin-heavy ‘Best New Restaurant’ premieres January 21

Swift's Attic (Credit: Alberto Martinez AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Swift’s Attic (Credit: Alberto Martinez AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Bravo’s new reality-competition TV show “Best New Restaurant” will premiere on January 21 at 9 p.m. The show features 16 restaurants from New York City, Los Angeles, Austin and Miami competing for the title. The participating Austin restaurants are Swift’s Attic, Porter Ale House and Gastropub, Barlata Tapas Bar, and Restaurant Jezebel.

“Top Chef” star chef Tom Colicchio will host the show, and the winner will receive an editorial feature in Bon Appétit, a featured spot at Vegas Uncork’d food festival, and $100,000.

A press release describes the show’s format:

In the first round of competition, the restaurants are divided into pairs based around a common theme reflected in their concepts or culinary influences. All are challenged to the same three tasks testing their overall performance, the strength of their staff, and the clarity of their concept. First, the restaurants are subjected to a “Pressure Test,” in which 30 hungry diners descend on the restaurants without notice to see how the businesses handle the stress of a packed house. Next, Tom sends in two “Undercover Diners” wired with hidden cameras in order to get a patron’s perspective when the restaurants do not know they are being judged. Finally, the two paired-up restaurants come together in a neutral location and serve dinner for 30 VIP diners. At the end of each of the first eight episodes, Tom declares one restaurant the victor, and the establishments move on to the semifinals.

The semifinal rounds will feature the restaurants battling in two groups to open a pop-up restaurant based around what the eateries see as the next evolution of their current concepts. The grand finale pits the final two restaurants against each other in a head-to-head contest to put forward their best service possible for a group of 50 VIP diners at Tom’s restaurant Riverpark in New York City.”


The restaurant pairings featured on the show are:

Shared Plates – The Federal vs. Swift’s Attic

Italian Cuisine – Dolce Italian vs. Doma Beverly Hills

New Service Concepts – The Church Key vs. Restaurant Jezebel

Operated by Couples – R House vs. Barlata Tapas Bar

Battle of the Burger – Porter Ale House and Gastropub vs. Tongue & Cheek

European Inspired – L’Apicio vs. Little Sparrow

Fast Casual Dining – Morgan’s Barbecue vs. Buns & Buns

Seasonal Menus – Union Restaurant vs. The Pines