The Next Food Network Star

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I feel like i’ve done a decent job of keeping church and state separate here on my blog; now that I work for Food Network, you don’t see me blatantly promoting its shows, do you? I’m not writing love letters to Sandra Lee am I? No, no, no: the two things are very separate. Only now, I’d like to offer you three reasons to watch the premier of Next Food Network Star Season 4 this Sunday night at 10:

1. I interviewed the entire cast when they arrived their very first day and interviewed each of them as they got kicked off, so I can answer all of your questions as the show progresses; (you can see my interviews with all the cast members here);

2. After each episode, we’re going to post a “viewing party” on The FN Dish where you get to hear my immediate reaction as well as that of my co-host and friend, Food Network’s newest star, Sunny Anderson. (Sunny, by the way, has a really fun blog–check it out here.)

3. At the end of every episode, you’ll see a commercial on-air featuring me in a blue sweater. Isn’t that reason enough? You can be sitting there with your friends and family and say, “Hey, I know that guy!” or, at the very least, “Hey! I read his blog!”

Enjoy the weekend and see you guys on-air this Sunday night!

My Favorite Manifesto Comment

I’ve really enjoyed reading your responses to my Anti Dress-Code Manifesto (which was difficult to punctuate, by the way: is it Anti-Dress-Code?), but my favorite was the last one written by Natty of Life Is A Feast. Here’s what she had to say:

“From a woman’s perspective, I like dress codes because, come on, it’s a suit or a sports coat. I wish I could look that good, that easily, that cheaply! A man can own ONE suit. ONE. Uno. 1. He can wear it everywhere and look sharp.

“Me? I have multiple outfits for all the parts of life that require looking sharp– weddings, job interviews, funerals, fine dining, etc. I have different outfits depending on the weather, time of year, and whether I’m home or traveling. I could try and get away with one little black dress but even that has its limits.

“Is it really hard for you dudes to put on suits? :-) We go out to dinner somewhere amazing I’m wearing Spanx under that flirtly little dress that tastefully shows of my cleavage. Do you know what Spanx are? No? You lucky, lucky devils.”

Make sure to click the comments in the last post to read the rest of what she had to say.

No Jacket Required (An Anti Dress-Code Manifesto)

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The man was a regular. He walked in confidently, with an air of entitlement about him. I’m not sure what he did for a living–was he a stock broker? An investment banker? A bestselling novelist?–whatever he was, it didn’t matter. He smacked of success; he glowed with accomplishment.

He moved briskly from the door to the maitre’d, an equally polished man who stood alongside an equally polished woman, there at the entrance to one of the city’s finest restaurants: Le Bernardin.

“Good afternoon, Monsieur,” said the maitre’d.

“How are you?” said the man in a deep, resounding voice, shaking the hand of the maitre’d. “I know I don’t have a reservation, but can you squeeze me in?”

The maitre’d carefully, but subtly, looked the man up and down. And the man, who possessed charisma and charm and a killer smile, lacked the one thing the maitre’d was looking for: a suit. The man was wearing shorts and an untucked buttoned-down shirt.

“I’m sorry, sir,” said the maitre’d. “Perhaps if you went home and changed?”

“Oh right,” said the man, laughing. “I’m not wearing a suit.”

“We’re sorry sir,” said the maitre’d. “We have to uphold our dress code.”

“I understand,” said the man, making his way for the door. “Thanks anyway.”

He exited and I felt like I had just witnessed something important, something I wanted to write about. As for myself, I was wearing a suit I hadn’t worn since law school, waiting to meet my friend Phoebe Damrosch. When she came, she complimented me on looking so dapper and the maitre’d happily led us to our table. Maybe it was because of what I had just witnessed, but the feeling was nothing less than triumphant.

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Applewood

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Here’s some unsolicited advice, reader: if you want to enjoy a nice dinner out, don’t plan it. I think the unhappiest experiences people have eating out are cases where it’s overplanned–the expectations are so high that something’s bound to disappoint. But when you wander out of your apartment, as Craig and I did last week to enjoy the nice weather, and you stumble upon the well-regarded Park Slope restaurant Applewood on 7th Ave. and 11th Street, you’d do well to embrace this as an opportunity for a positive dining experience.

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The Vegas Episode

Happy Memorial Day! For your entertainment today, we have a very special FN Dish featuring Lorraine Bracco, Todd English, Barbara Fairchild, Wolfgang Puck, Daniel Boulud, Guy Savoy, Cat Cora and many many more living the lush life at Vegas Uncorked. To read more about Vegas Uncorked, read my posts here and here. Enjoy!

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* Iron Chef Michael Symon celebrates the reversal of Chicago’s ban on foie gras. “It always boggles my mind how quickly people bash foie gras but in the meantime have no problem with mass produced chicken, pork etc….let me assure that these ducks live a much better life than the “yellow chikens” that seem to be at every grocery store.”

* Pim visits Pink’s in L.A.. “Waiting half an hour for a hot dog was certainly a new experience for me.” (Long ago and far away when I lived in L.A. for a summer I visited Pink’s with a friend and enjoyed it. Though the celebrated “snap” of the dog, which Pulitzer Prize winning food writer Jonathan Gold made note of in his indispensable L.A. eating book “Counter Intelligence,” didn’t quite please me the way a soft, New York city street dog does. Maybe because the city dog is the dog I grew up with.)

* Davivd Lebovitz eats at Jules Verne in the Eiffel Tower. Strangely enough, I’ve been there too: my parents took my brother and I to London and Paris when we were too young to appreciate it, though I remember getting dressed up and riding the elevator up into the belly of the Eiffel Tower for dinner. When we asked for our table, the maitre’d kindly informed us that there’d be a small wait because “the American actress Sally Field hasn’t gotten up yet.” When she got up, we asked for her picture and she said no.