Monthly Archives: September 2012

Chef Race: Meet Cody Utzman, the Restaurateur Bathed in Brooklyn

Here he is folks: the last member of team USA, and perhaps the most controversial. Check out this video to see why. When I met Cody, the first thing I noticed was that Brooklyn had seemingly thrown up all over him. Skinny jeans, ironic suspenders, arm tattoos galore. As a New Yorker, I say this with love. I also soon learned that Cody cared more about his hair than any other member of team US. Yes, even more than Don. I mentioned this fun fact last night as I was watching the sneak peek of episode 1 on BBC America. My friend Dan said halfway through the show: “you know what, Cody’s hair is looking particularly good in these interview shots.” Boom! But let’s hear more about the man of the hour… Cody Utzman graduated from college after a two … Continue reading

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Chef Race: Meet Don PV, the Madonna of the Culinary World

I’m winding down my coverage of Chef Race Team USA‘s “all-American” recipes. To review, click here. Today, I’m very excited to present to you the one and only, fabulous Chef Don Peavy (PV). To try to explain the shenanigans of Team US on the road, I sent my parents this video of Don. My dad just responded: “yikes.” Chef PV is the Madonna of the food world with a culinary history informed by the various chefs in his family. Growing up among the oil field elites in Texas, Don’s fancy private school friends from abroad gave him some of his early food experiences and helped developed his fearless palate. Don began his professional career in San Francisco working as an Account Executive for a boutique Public Relations firm. A year of corporate life took its toll on Don’s soul and … Continue reading

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Chef Race: Meet Chef Robin, She Ain’t No Southern Bell

The Chef Race premiere is three days away!! I’ve got three more chefs from Team USA to introduce you to (if you need to review, check out Ronaldo, Pippa, Stan, and Bianca). Today, we’ve got Chef & Trainer Robin Bodwin. Despite her tough exterior, I knew Robin and I would get along when I saw how much purple she wore, and when I saw the fear in her eyes when she asked if we could bring snack bars in our backpacks, and was swiftly denied. I packed two industrial-sized boxes of Kind Bars in my suitcase, so it was nice to hear that someone else was not only as prepared as I was, but equally cranky when hungry. Robin is a force of nature with a take no prisoners approach to life. She not only runs her own catering business … Continue reading

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Chef Race: Meet Bianca, our Resident Flour Girl

Leading up to the premiere of Chef Race on October 2nd, I’ll be introducing you to all my fellow chefs from Team USA and sharing some of their special “all-American” recipes. So far, we’ve got an Ex-Marine, a NY Times Two-Star Chef, and the Drummer from Sugar Ray. Today, I bring you the “flour” girl who owns more red dresses than anyone I know: Bianca! The first thing I noticed about Bianca was, wow, that woman really took the personal color scheme memo to heart. But when I found out she owns her own dessert catering company, I deeply respected her marketing savvy and desire to stay on-brand down to the fishnets and character shoes. As a young girl, Bianca Rose loved cooking dinner for her parents. Using her wild imagination, she pretended that the garden window was a television … Continue reading

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Chef Race: Meet Stan, Drummer Boy Turned Chef

Leading up to the premiere of Chef Race on October 2nd, I’ll be introducing you to all my fellow chefs from Team USA and sharing some of their special “all-American” recipes. So far, we’ve got Ronaldo and Pippa. Today, it’s time for you to meet Stan, who I’ve been acquainted with for years–within the context of middle school dances and middle school boys who wore cheesy band T-Shirts–without even knowing it. During the days leading up to the show, when we were holed up in a hotel in Santa Monica, Stan Frazier was by far the quietest character on the scene. He was a little older than most of the group, so I thought he was probably some incredibly bad-ass restaurant chef who only wore Nike track pants, and was a bit “above” what we were about to do. Not … Continue reading

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The Balanced Diet: Kale Salad with Bagna Cauda Vinaigrette

People often ask me about my recipe development process. Sometimes the inspiration comes from blogs, restaurants, cookbooks, or magazines. But more often than not, I have an idea in my head that I just can’t shake. I don’t know how it got there, or if the end result will taste good – and I don’t know if it already exists out there in the world – but I just have to have at it. That was the case with this bagna cauda vinaigrette. I pictured a thick, pungent, funky dressing and lots of sturdy rustic vegetables to stand up to it – not unlike a traditional bagna cauda appetizer, but served as a salad instead of with crudites. When I started researching, I found out, without much surprise, that Mario Batali had already thought of this. Great minds, Mario. Great … Continue reading

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Chef Race: Meet Chef Pippa, a Cook with a Cause

Leading up to the premiere of Chef Race on October 2nd, I’ll be introducing you to all my fellow chefs from Team USA and sharing some of their special “all-American” recipes. First up was Ronaldo. Today, we’ve got another one of my besties, chef Pippa! Pippa Calland and I bonded early on by nerding out to the Sunday Times on one of our down days, and comparing notes on growing up with hippie parents. She’s by far the most experienced and decorated of the US chefs, including two stars from said NY Times for her work at Le Madri. She is the daughter of members of the nascent American foodie movement and spent her childhood trying to avoid the jeers from her peers due to her parent’s beekeeping, ardent gardening and composting in suburban Indianapolis in the 1970’s. (And being out … Continue reading

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Meatless Monday: Sauteed Squash with Caper-Basil Pangritata

I’m a little late to the party with this recipe. Summer produce is still hanging around the markets, but it seems that everyone is a bit over mother nature’s yield at this point. Regardless, there are still some take-aways to be had from this dish – mainly, what’s sprinkled on top of it, which could, in theory, be sprinkled on top of many other things. Pangritata is essentially poor man’s Parmesan. Back in the day when money was tight in the old country, Italian peasants would fry up coarsely chopped bread crumbs with other cheap stables – capers, garlic, herbs – and serve it over pasta instead of grated cheese. One man’s food rags is another man’s riches. I’d take this as a topping over Parmesan any day. I’m officially back on the Meatless Monday bandwagon – not that I … Continue reading

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Chef Race: ‘Spend a Penny’ & Other Items from the British-American Dictionary

One of my favorite things about doing Chef Race was getting to know a lot of wacky Brits. They really tried to fuel the rivalry between the teams, so it was actually the cameramen, sound guys, producers, coordinators and such who really expanded my horizons and taught me a whole new British vocabulary to fill in for everyday objects and sayings. Sometimes, I had no idea what they were talking about. What do you mean there are crisps in the boot with my rucksack? One of my favorite British personalities was our AP, Alex. Bianca and I took it upon ourselves to relentlessly “hen-peck” him. But I think he liked it. There was a rule that you had to stay 20-feet away from a camera at all times. During the first episode, we managed to run away and lose Alex … Continue reading

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