Top Chef Masters returns for Season 2

Its been announced and making the rounds; Top Chef Masters will be returning for Season 2 on Bravo. I’m looking forward to this season for a few reasons; I thought season 1 made for good watching, I always enjoy seeing top-tier chefs doing there thing, and most of all, Seattle has three entrants. Woot.

When we last talked about Top Chef Masters, season 1 was on the horizon and Kelly Choi was still an unknown to me. Well, after watching the season, we have a few more opinions on Kelly Choi, but most importantly, we were able to learn more about the roster of chefs. Going into the show I was already a fan of Rick Moonen and Rick Bayless, so it was pretty cool to see Chef Bayless walkaway with the prize. What I think is really great about the show is that it highlights chefs that are in the high-tier of their industry and expose them to a mass audience.

For this season, the net was cast a bit further and there are even more contestants. And also some returning contestants. So one of my faves, Chef Moonen will get another chance to take a stab. I’m also looking forward to seeing what’s up Marcus Samuelsson’s sleeve. I’m a fan of his style of cooking and have a lot of success with his recipes. Also, look forward to seeing what Susan Feniger brings to the table; she seems to be a blast.

What’s exciting for Seattleites is that we’ll have three entrants to the arena; Maria Hines of Tilth, Jerry Traunfeld of Poppy, and Thierry Rautureau of Rover’s. For season 1, Seattle didn’t have any competitors so to have these three is rather symbolic for the profile of our area. For any proof, read the comments in some of the blog posts about Top Chef Masters Season 2; people from San Francisco are freaking out because they aren’t represented.

I look forward to tuning in on April 7 for the start of the new season and to see what’s cooking. It’ll tide us over until the next season of Top Chef is at bat.

Here is the list of the chefs that will be competing in this season’s Top Chef Masters:

Jody Adams – Rialto Restaurant, Cambridge, Mass.
Govind Armstrong – 8 oz Burger Bar, Los Angeles, Calif.
Graham Elliot Bowles – Graham Elliot Restaurant, Chicago, Ill.
Jimmy Bradley – The Red Cat, New York, N.Y.
David Burke – David Burke Townhouse, New York, N.Y.
Wylie Dufresne – wd~50, New York, N.Y.
Susan Feniger – Street, Los Angeles, Calif.
Debbie Gold – The American Restaurant, Kansas City, Mo.
Carmen Gonzalez – Chef Consultant, New York, N.Y.
Maria Hines – Tilth, Seattle, Wash.
Susur Lee – Madeline’s, Toronto, Canada
Ludo Lefebvre – Ludo Bites, Los Angeles, Calif.
Tony Mantuano – Spiaggia, Chicago, Ill.
Rick Moonen – Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, Nev.
Mark Peel – Campanile, Los Angeles, Calif.
Monica Pope – t’afla, Houston, Texas
Thierry Rautureau – Rover’s, Seattle, Wash.
Marcus Samuelsson – The Red Rooster, New York, N.Y.
Ana Sortun – Oleana, Cambridge, Mass.
Rick Tramonto – TRU, Chicago, Ill.
Jerry Traunfeld – Poppy, Seattle, Wash.
Jonathan Waxman – Barbuto, New York, N.Y.

Tako Truk + Two Beers event on 3/6 to support Haiti

Early this year, word off the street (well, Twitter) was that the good folks at Tako Truk were planning an event for Saturday 3/6. Details were vague at the time, but the murmur was growing for the event. More info has come out and the purpose of the event is noble indeed. On Saturday March 6th from 1-6pm, Tako Truk is teaming up with SoDo’s Two Beers Brewing Co. to raise support for Haiti.

How will they do this? They’ll accept donations which will go towards purchasing ShelterBoxes. ShelterBox USA is a really great organization that provides kits with relief supplies. They provide these amazing boxes to those in need, so your donation will go towards getting a ShelterBox. Your minimum donation of $20 will get you four tickets towards beer and tacos. Here is how the tickets work; for one ticket, you’ll either get a beer or two tacos or some tosses in the Bad Beer Toss. So for that $20, you could get two beers and four tacos, which is pretty awesome. Plus, you’ll get good karma for helping out. The people of Haiti need it, and this event is another way to help those in need.

Some other details on the event – this should be obvious as it’s at a brewery, but it’s 21 and over. DJs will be spinning. Be sure to RSVP by emailing Tako Truk. The RSVP is to let the Tako Truk crew know how much food to prep. They’re hoping for a big crowd to increase the amount of donations, so be sure to get on the list. The MO for most of Tako Truk menus is to have three different types of tacos; one veggie, a meat of sorts (usually pork, sometimes beef, sometimes chicken), and the eponymous tako (octopus) taco. And the last detail; keep an eye on Tako Truk’s twitter feed, they’ll post updates on the fly.

When Tako Truk went into hibernation last fall, many people asked me for details on their next venture (full disclosure – Bryan of Tako Truk is a friend from high school). Well, they’ve been plotting their next steps and their event with Two Beers to support ShelterBox is one of the things they’ve got up their sleeves. Again, be sure to email the Tako Truk guys to RSVP for 3/6 and I’ll be sure to see you that afternoon for some beer and tacos.

One more thing, if you haven’t read the Adriana Grant’s Seattle Weekly’s feature on Tako Truk’s Cormac Mahoney, but sure to read them here and here. There is even a recipe on the famed coco piggy. And if you want to read what Bryan of Tako Truk is up to here is some of his stuff. Enjoy!