Tag Archive | "San Antonio chefs"

Food Network Is Looking for Its Next Star

food network star posterCalling all chefs: If you’re interested in trying your hand at television, you may want to audition for “Food Network Star,” the show that helped introduce Silo’s Luca della Casa to the nation last season.

There is an open casting call on Nov. 15 in Austin from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It will take place at the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown, 500 N. I-35.

Essentially, we are looking for those with a captivating personality who believe they’re at the top of the culinary game and want to inspire a Food Network audience through their passion for food and cooking,” Gabrielle Goldstein, a casting assistant for the show said. The talent scouts are looking for “any chef or culinary professional who might be interested in becoming the host of his or her own cooking show.”

Chefs are asked to visit to apply online and for more information on casting events. At the casting call, the chefs are asked to bring their resume and a photo of themselves.

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Hey, Chefs! Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Food Network Star?

Chefs, have you got what it takes to be a TV star?

food network starYou can find out when Food Network holds an open casting call for its “Food Network Star” series, which is soon to begin its 10th season.

The open casting call will be 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Oct. 14 at the Hyatt Regency, 123 Losoya St.

“Essentially, we are looking for those with a captivating personality who believe they’re at the top of the culinary game and want to inspire a Food Network audience through their passion for food and cooking,” says casting assistant Danielle Sload.

The winner gets to host his or her own cooking show.

Can’t make it during that time? No problem.

“If someone is not available to attend the open call, then they can still apply by submitting a home video,” Sloan said. “Please visit us at for more details on our casting events and how to apply.”

(Photo courtesy

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It’s Emma’s Day at Biga on the Banks

Chefs for Chefs, on behalf of Emma Dirmeyer, attracts about 340 people.

Eight-year-old Emma Dirmeyer has hundreds of friends she didn’t know she had.

Emma Dirmeyer

She met quite a few of them Sunday at Biga on the Banks, which staged a huge party in her honor.

Emma is the daughter of Biga’s sous chef, Daniel Dirmeyer, and she has a brain tumor that is forcing her to undergo radiation five days a week.

Steven McHugh’s roe-topped eggs.

To help her family with the cost of the medical bills, a number of her father’s associates in the city’s’ culinary community joined together for a fundraiser that featured fine food, wines and cocktails, and an overwhelming sense of generosity.

Chefs for Chefs drew about 340 people to the event. They went from food station to food station in order to sample the likes of Damien and Lisa Watel’s Venison Bourguignon or Diana Barrios Treviño’s mini churrasco steaks in chimichurri sauce. Gabriel Ibarra from Cappy’s offered ropa vieja sandwiches, while Chad Carey of the Monterey plated pulled pork on grits.

A few chefs who worked their way through Biga owner Bruce Auden’s kitchens through the years were on hand, including Mark Bliss of Bliss, who was serving up Nancy Fitch’s French toast with duck sausage and berries, and Zach Lutton of Zedric’s Healthy Gourmet to Go! with his seafood tamales, which he promised were lard-free despite their rich flavor.

Mark Bliss enjoys a glass of sparkling wine.

Of course, with so many chefs in one restaurant, some shop talk was inevitable. Jesse Perez offered Aurelia’s Chorizo hash while telling inquiring patrons that his Arcade Midtown Kitchen should be open by the second week of February.  Andrew Weissman served up a Thai Laab Salad and mentioned that Minnie’s Tavern, his new place in the Josephine Street space that once house Liberty Bar, would be open around the same time.

Other participants include Blanca Aldaco, Jason Dady, Luca della Casa, Lisa Filip and Steven McHugh.

A perfect day for the patio.

From the home team of Biga and sister restaurant, Auden’s Kitchen came everything from fried chicken to a series of salads, spreads and charcuterie. Meanwhile, Biga’s pastry chef Lilla Bernal offered a dessert area that had everything from personal creme brulees to cookies left everyone, including Emma, with a smile.

The Monterey’s pork and grits.

Emotions ran high for the entire Dirmeyer family, all of whom were on hand for the event. The same was true for the Biga family, including Perny Shea and Auden, whose voice broke as he thanked everyone for helping to make a different in Emma’s life.

All of the proceeds from the event will go to support Emma. Beyond the chefs and restaurants donating time and food for the event, a great many organizations donated items for a silent auction as well as food, wine and spirits. A few even held their own fundraisers; one was Groomer’s Seafood, which donated 10 percent of its sales Friday to Team Emma. The final amount from the event won’t be known for several days, but donations are still being accepted through Culinaria, which can be reached by clicking here.

Biga chef Bruce Auden (right) talks with former employee Zach Lutton, now owner of Zedric’s Fresh Gourmet to Go!


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The Texas Version of the Three B’s: Burgers, BBQ and Beer

Esquire Bar owner Chris Hill looks on while guests sample a burger.

The tangy aromas of smoke and meat were in the air, as the sun shone brightly on Burgers, BBQ and Beer, Culinaria’s last event of a highly popular 2011 festival.

How popular? Many events sold out and, at Saturday night’s Grand Tasting the Culinaria store was bought out. “No more T-shirts, nothing left. That’s amazing,” said Suzanne Taranto Etheredge, president and CEO of the festival.

By noon Sunday, the parking lot at the back of the Pearl Brewery was filling up with people drawn in by the scents of smoke, bacon frying and just-opened bottles of beer. As part of the ticket price, hundreds of festival-goers were able to pick up some of the city’s most innovative, chef-cooked burgers and not-your-everyday ‘cue. The perfect weather was thrown in at no added cost.

You could even shop. Melissa Guerra’s stand offered a few items from her store, including $69 leather huaraches in a startling shade of purple.  Her Tienda de Cocina offers Mexican cooking supplies, ingredients, dishes, cookbooks and more.

Or, you could stop at Al’s Gourmet Nuts where author Travis Poling was signing his book on Texas brews, “Beer Across Texas.” The event also  marked the beginning of the first ever San Antonio Beer Week. Click here for information on this series of events.

Oyster barbecuer "Moose" offers bivalves in a spicy sauce on the half shell.

Stephen McHugh, chef at Lüke on East Houston Street, and his crew, served barbecued oysters on the half shell accompanied by an herb-buttered crouton. The bivalve, simmering in spicy juices, went down easily with sips of cold beer. The Two Bros. team of Jason Dady and Jake Dady offered their spicy pork deshabrada, or pulled pork. Ben E. Keith invited one and all to sample conventionally pit-smoked fajitas, bacon-wrapped jalapeños, beef tenderloin and chicken, with all the trimmings. Jesse Perez brought out his smoker and prepared meaty chicken drumsticks in what he called an “old school” barbecue with chipotle and a touch of habanero, another recipe that called for the clean, refreshing taste of an icy beer.

Patricia Wenckus, chef at Auden's Kitchen, with Perny Shea, catering and sales manager.

Patricia Wenckus, chef at Auden’s Kitchen in Stone Oak, and Perny Shea, catering and sales manager for chef Bruce Auden at Biga on the Bank, put up a good fight against smoke pouring off the grill. “It doesn’t matter where I go, it’s coming after me,” said Wenkus, laughing. Her offering of the day was a lamb burger with handmade potato chips on the side.  Chef John Brand from Las Canarias at La Mansion del Rio was grilling Wagyu beef sliders, with toppings that ranged from yellow cheese and pickles to black truffle mayo and foie gras mousse.

Jeff Balfour of Citrus created this pork boudin burger with pickled shrimp slaw.

Beef and lamb weren’t the red meats of choice for burgers at the event, however. Shrimp and pork burgers were passed out. Two of the most popular burgers were pork, including Jeff Balfour’s pork boudin sausage burger topped with pickled shrimp in a tangy coleslaw mix.  Another grilled pork burger was topped with brisket bacon, a smoky-beefy-chewy and delicious creation from the JW Marriott.

Brian West of Las Ramblas in the Hotel Contessa served up a mixed seafood burger with crispy salmon skin.

Timbo’s, located next to the Pearl Brewery complex, is known for its big burgers. But that wasn’t on its menu Sunday. The restaurant offered its delectable Shypoke Eggs with tomato melted under the cheese.

Max, a standard poodle, waits for a treat at the Pearl amphitheater.

Next to the parking lot, the amphitheater overlooking the Museum Extension of the River Walk was a comfortable resting place for weary moms and dads or anyone wanting to get out of the sun while sipping on an icy mix of locally made Dripping Springs vodka and cranberry juice. A few even got up to dance to the music of Ken Little and Rodeo Ho Ho, and even the pooches on leashes got a few tastes of some of the festival fare — if they were lucky.

Though the festival ended Sunday, more stand-alone Culinaria events will be happening later this year. For a look at what is coming up, go to

Photographs by Bonnie Walker

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Paella Challenge: Spanish Rice Extraordinaire on the Menu

Enormous paella pans cook enough of this famous Spanish rice dish for 50 people at a time.

Leeks, shellfish, rabbit, duck, sausage and more might have been the showier aspects of last year’s premier Paella Challenge at the Pearl Brewery, but when all is said and done, it’s the best rice that wins the day.

Chefs, friends and paella aficionados will gather again from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 13 on the grounds in front of the Culinary Institute of America. Local chefs, as well as visiting challengers from throughout the United States and Latin America will compete in an Iron Chef-style challenge. Last year’s winner, Ben Ford of Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City, Calif., is expected for a rematch.

Live music, Spanish hams and cheese, and tours of the CIA campus are also on the agenda.

La Gloria chef/owner and organizer Johnny Hernandez expects a crowd of 2,500. The proceeds from ticket sales ($50 per person if purchased ahead) go toward scholarships for the CIA and to support the Education Foundation of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

For more information and to purchase tickets, go to

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