It was an evening of food-talk at San Francisco's Omnivore Books. This unique store, once a butcher's shop, offers all books on everything food. Along with the selection, the store hosts frequent discussions by some of the nation's most influential culinary geniuses.
Last night's speaker was none other than Food Network's Tyler Florence. The Bay Area is lucky enough to have Tyler Florence who recently relocated to Marin County with his family from New York City. For a city based on adoration for food, it was no surprise the turnout to hear Mr. Florence speak was successful. A predominantly female audience listened intently to the charming chef and TV icon as he recounted the journey of his success. Last night was organized to celebrate Mr. Florence's latest cookbook, Tyler Florence Family Meal: Bringing People Together Never Tasted Better. However, with most book signings, the talk branched into a spontaneous discussion on owning San Francisco's Wayfare Tavern and balancing the life of a celebrity chef.
After five seasons of relative kitchen amateurs pulling out their knives for fame and fortune on Bravo’s hit show Top Chef, it’s now time for a celebrity-of-the-culinary-world spin-off in Top Chef Masters. Premiering tomorrow night, June 10th at 10pm, Top Chef Masters takes the best of the best in the restaurant business out of the guest judging seat and into the contestant ring. Twenty four world renowned chefs will be competing against each other to earn the coveted and crowned title of culinary “master”-- and $100,000 to the charity of their choice.
Hosted by New Yorker and acclaimed food journalist Kelly Choi, and judged by a panel of fierce and famous food critics, the show retains the Quickfire and Elimination challenge sequence of its Top Chef predecessor, but does adjust the season format a little. Since there are so many more contestants, the first six episodes will feature four different sets of chefs competing against each other to determine six semifinalists. The remainder of the season will eliminate one chef every episode until the half-dozen dwindle down to one winner. A cut-throat competition to be sure, but will this rapid-fire elimination give us enough of a chance to connect to the people behind the top chefs?
Some players to watch out for in the coming weeks are: Anita Lo, a long time New York City restaurateur and consulting chef of Rickshaw Dumpling Bar, burger guru Hubert Keller, who was Bill Clinton’s first guest chef at the White House, “Pastry Chef of the Year,” Elizabeth Faulkner, Hawaiian chef Roy Yamaguchi, who now has 37 restaurants named Roy after him, and Michael Chiarello, the sous-chef to the Dalai Lama.