Tag Archive | "“Top Chef”"

Paella and Perfect Weather, Just as Johnny Hernandez Ordered It

Zach Lutton of Zedric's makes his paella, which won second place in the challenge.

Ty-Lor Boring uses his burner to cook lobster.

Saturday did not end on a pretty note, in terms of weather. Cold, miserable rain left the ground saturated and spirits low. Luminaria had to be postponed, and hopes were not high for the third annual Paella Challenge at the Pearl Brewery.

"Top Chef" favorite Lindsay Autry

Yet on Sunday morning, the clouds fled the scene, leaving a healing sun in its wake that dried out the amphitheater and made for a perfect afternoon that drew hundreds of people who wanted to sample paella made by many of the city’s best chefs as well as several out-of-town visitors, including several chefs from the recent “Top Chef” Texas season.

Credit for the success of the event goes to organizer Johnny Hernandez, said David Kellaway, managing director of the Culinary Institute of America’s San Antonio campus, which is also at the brewery.

The event is a fundraiser for the culinary school as well as the educational arm of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“The energy and passion (Hernandez displays) towards educating our youth in the culinary arts cannot be quantified,” Kellaway said.

The student team from Lanier placed second in the new high school challenge.

Hernandez, who owns La Gloria Ice House and True Flavors Catering, had wanted the lot power washed before the event, and it seems as if God obliged, the school official joked.

The styles of paella varied greatly. Jason Dady and his crew presented a version blackened with squid ink yet brightened with fresh green herbs. The folks from Max’s Wine Dive offered a Texas paella with game meats and a chipotle butter. Visiting chef Tim McCarty from Minnesota offered three P’s: pork, prawns and popcorn, with ribs and pork belly in the mix.

Mustachioed chef  Ty-Lor Boring from “Top Chef” added a dramatic touch by firing his lobster directly in the flames of his burner. Last year’s champion, Jeff Balfour of Citrus at the Hotel Valencia, offered a paella that featured chicken and arrived topped with egg, which was meant to leave you wondering which came first.

Winning chef James Canter celebrates with his son.

In the end only three of more than two dozen entries would be honored. They were, in order, James Canter of Alhambra in McAllen; Zach Lutton of Zedric’s: Healthy Gourmet to Go, 9873 I-1o W.; and Peter Holt of Lupe Tortilla, which has a San Antonio location at 21103 U.S. 281 N.

Canter arrived at the winner’s table with his son perched high on one shoulder, prompting Kellaway to remark that he had already been given the best award of all.

This year, for the first time, San Antonio high schools were eligible to complete in their own division. Six schools showed up, including Burbank, John Jay, Lanier, McCollum, Memorial and Roosevelt. There was a lot riding on a terrific paella from the students, because the winning team will receive a four-day, all-expenses-paid trip to the CIA’s main campus in Hyde Park.

The winners, in order, were John Jay, Lanier and Memorial.

McCarty, who works for Sodexo, participated last year and was certainly enjoying himself once more. “As long as I make a great paella, I’m already a winner,” he said, while spooning up plates and handing them to the crowds that waited in line.

It's paella for all, with many of the chefs, including Steven McHugh of Luke, making multiple trays.

It's paella for all, with many of the chefs, including Steven McHugh of Luke, making multiple trays.


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Are You Ready for Paella? The Annual Challenge Returns March 11

Jeff Balfour's winning paella from 2011.

Have you ever wanted to taste the cooking of a few of the contestants on “Top Chef”? You’ll get your chance at the third annual Corona Paella Challenge on March 11.

Lindsay Autrey, who made it to the top three this season, will be at the Pearl Brewery, 200 E. Grayson St., for the event, along with Ty-Lor Boring and Keith Rhodes, both of whom were also involved in the season that was partially filmed in San Antonio.

Chef Jeff Balfour of Citrus in the Hotel Valencia, 150 E. Houston St., will be defending his title as champion of the event.

Other chefs making paella for the crowds to sample include Jeff Littlefield of Waterfront Resort, Tim McCarthy of the Mayo Foundation, Jhojans Priego of Villa Rica, cookbook author and Seasons of My Heart Cooking School chef instructor Susana Trilling, Jason Dady of Bin 555 and Tre Trattoria, Steven McHugh of Lüke, who placed second last year, and Jeffrey Axell and David Wirebaugh, both of the Hyatt hotels.

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

The event is hosted by chef Johnny Hernandez of La Gloria at the Pearl, and proceeds will benefit The Culinary Institute of America­, San Antonio, and the Educational Foundation of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“Our goal is to raise awareness about the world-renowned culinary campus we have here in San Antonio: The Culinary Institute of America,” Hernandez said. “We are committed to increasing the opportunities for scholarships and funding for young chefs interested in a career in the food industry.”

In addition to an array of outrageous and outrageously good paellas, there will be wines from Spain and a line of craft and imported beers.

San Antonio band Bachaco will perform its blend of reggae, dancehall, and ska mixed with South America’s own Caribbean legacy rhythm of Cumbia.

The event runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets cost $50 for adults or $25 for children under age 12. Tickets can be purchased at and at Pearl during the event.


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‘Top Chef: Texas’ Premieres Wednesday on Bravo TV

From press releases

Your chance to see what really was happening in San Antonio when Bravo TV was in town is coming up Wednesday on Bravo TV.

At that time, according to  Bravo TV  press report, 29 chefs will do their stuff. They’re accompanied by guest judges and stars, including Charlize Theron, Pee-wee Herman, Cat Cora, John Besh, Tim Love and Patti LaBelle, along with returning series host Padma Lakshmi and head judge, chef Tom Colicchio as well as Gail Simmons. Celebrity chef/restaurateur Emeril Lagasse and critically acclaimed chef Hugh Acheson also join the crew in this take on Texas.

This is a record number of chefs (including two from Austin and none from San Antonio) who will see if they have what it takes to become an official chef’testant and qualify to wear the Top Chef coat. Only 16 will go on to compete across the Lone Star State – in Austin, Dallas and San Antonio. The two Austin chefs competing are Andrew Curren, 24 Diner, and Paul Qui, from Uchiko.

Head judge Tom Colicchio says, “Just like Texas, this will be our biggest season ever.”

Adds host Padma Lakshmi, “I’m so excited for everyone at home to get a glimpse of all the great and talented chefs. This season is bigger and better than ever! Yum!”

The “Top Chef: Texas” chef’testants will be skewered down week by week as they compete to out-flavor, out-cook and out-do their competition. The winning chef will receive $125,000 furnished by Healthy Choice, a feature in Food & Wine magazine, a showcase at the Annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and will earn the title of “Top Chef.”

For more information visit Bravo TVFor a complete list of chefs, check here.









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San Antonio and Top Chef: It’s Official

So, here it is: We have now official information about the Bravo TV “Top Chef” filming in San Antonio — maybe one of the worst-kept “secret” events in town over the past couple of months, but exciting nevertheless to us all. Those invited attended film sessions, in various places, but were contractually bound to keep it their lips zipped.

Yesterday, the San Antonio Convention and Visitor’s Bureau released this account:

“The Emmy and James Beard Award-winning No.1 food show on cable, ‘Top Chef,’ will head to San Antonio for part of the ninth season. The Bravo series filmed the majority of the episodes for ‘Top Chef: Texas’ in San Antonio. Scheduled to air this fall, the series will drive major positive exposure for the city.

“’Top Chef’ provides an innovative way to promote San Antonio’s growing stature as a culinary destination to a broad audience,” says Mayor Julián Castro. “Our city’s historic character and unique cuisine will be highlighted in a creative way.”

Part of an overall approach that integrates multiple strategies to promote the city to national and international visitors, the “Top Chef: Texas” season is a result of a partnership among the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau, the State of Texas Economic Development & Tourism division and the producers of the culinary competition phenomenon. The City and its burgeoning culinary scene will be well-positioned in the San Antonio episodes that may feature regional ingredients or local foods and other surprises.

“Top Chef All-Stars,” the eighth season of the series, averaged more than 3.2 million total viewers, 2.2 million adults 18-49 and was the No. 1 food show on cable among adults 18-49.  The show airs in 20 countries and also brings exposure for San Antonio through sweepstakes, digital media and other opportunities.

Season nine will also showcase many surprising twists and turns and never-before-seen challenges and events.  Returning to the judges table is host Padma Lakshmi and head judge, chef Tom Colicchio, alongside judges Gail Simmons and, new this season, famed chef and restaurateur Emeril Lagasse and critically acclaimed chef Hugh Acheson. “

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‘Top Chef’ Tour Is Coming to SA

The “Top Chef” tour is coming to San Antonio on June 11 as part of the Bravo show’s 21-city tour.

This is the fourth year of the tour, but things are going to somewhat different this year. A showdown between two former chef contestants from the show competing in front of a panel of judges and audience members is planned. The chefs coming to San Antonio have not been announced.

What has been announced is that there will be three sessions here They are set for 10:30 a.m., noon and 1:30 p.m. at the H-E-B Alon Market, 8503 N.W. Military Hwy.

Only a few tickets will be issued in advance. The majority of tickets will be issued on a first-come-first-served basis. For more information, check out the show’s Facebook page or the Bravo website.

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