Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Amuse-Biatch Dispatch from the Department of Duh: Padma Lakshmi and Salman Rushdie Take the Train to Splitsville?

Well, possums, we can't say we didn't see this coming.

We had Top Chef sources who had let it drop to us that Padma would talk on the set about dumping Salman Rushdie's Booker Prize-winning derriere, and lo and behold, look what we saw in today's edition of the New York Observer:

Is it curtains for author Salman Rushdie and his fourth wife, the actress, chef and reality-show hostess Padma Lakshmi?

Late last week, a source overheard designer Diane von Furstenberg obsessing over the news that the luscious Ms. Lakshmi, 36, was set to drop the 59-year-old novelist, her husband of three years, like a heavy sack of unread best-sellers.

“I can’t believe she’s leaving him,” Ms. von Furstenberg kept saying, according to the source. The wrap-dress queen is a longtime friend of the couple and attended their wedding in April 2004, along with editor Tina Brown, comedian Steve Martin and assorted other famous guests.

Most troubling to Ms. von Furstenberg, apparently, was Ms. Lakshmi’s stated and not exactly literary reason for putting an end to the relationship with the Booker Prize winner: to focus on her big Bravo hit, Top Chef.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Chat on a Plate: Harold Dieterle

Get your martinis (do we look like we give a damn whether shaken or stirred?), your electrical paddles and Eva Green (just so you don't get the wrong idea, these asides will make sense if you've seen Casino Royale), and join us, The Gals and Ms. Place for a live online chat with the original Top Chef himself, Harol Dieterle, at 7 p.m. Pacific / 10 p.m. Eastern.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Amuse-Biatch Plays Catch-Up: The Tom Colicchio Report

We've been remiss, we know. And neglectful. And cold and withholding. It's all true.

Call it a relapse.

But therapy, snark and the bottle are our solution, our version of rum, sodomy and the lash, and we intend to do our best to make up for our absence and our bender. Call this the period of $12.99 red rose bouquets from Conroy's.

First, let's catch up with the capo dei capi, the top of Top Chefs himself, Tom Colicchio, who has a lot to celebrate this week.

First, he has just been nominated for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Chef. Not too shabby. (Top Chef as a whole did well in the James Beard Award nominations. Guest judge Lee Hefter of Spago was also nominated for Outstanding Chef, the New York outpost of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon [helmed by Marcel Vigneron's boss] was nominated for best new restaurant, the restaurant Terra [owned by Seasone One guest judge Hiro Sone] was nominated for Best Service, guest judge Wylie Dufresne was nominated for Best Chef - New York City, and guest judge Michelle Bernstein was nominated for Best Chef - South.)

Most inexplicably, and best of all, Tom will also be the guest judge on this week's episode of Top Design on Bravo, in the usual Top Chef spot, tomorrow, Wednesday, at 10 p.m. Why? Some call it synergy. Some call it cross-promotion. Others just call it wankery (and we suspect Tom's eyebrows will be saying that).

We confess to being a bit worried for Tom, though. Judge Kelly Wearstler's outfits are so hideous, so positively over the top, that as we've pointed out on Pink Navy, she has left Padma Lakshmi in the dust in the running of the Fug Cup. It's been several months since the filming of the Top Chef finale, but we fear that having to sit next to Kelly and her outfit may trigger an outbreak of Post-Traumatic Dress Disorder in Tom. We hope they have the paramedics handy on that one. And look for him to fight eyebrow duels with Jonathan Adler. Start placing bets now.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Chat on a Plate: My, my, my, my, Sommelier!

Yes, it's true! Our favorite Sommelier/Chef, Stephen Asprinio, will be joining us for a live chat this evening at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

Co-hosted by The Gals of Top Chef 2: They Cook, We Dish and Ms. Place of Dishin' Dat.

See you there!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Television, Bravo Get a Little More Pitiful

Well, possums, we don't quite know what to make of this.

As you may remember, it was Djlexxy, a poster on the website Television Without Pity (TWOP), who was the first to notice and point out that the editing of The Night They Tried to Shave Marcel's Head had rearranged the chronology of events to make Sam, Ilan and Elia seem less culpable. And, indeed, it was the people on TWOP who were among the fiercest and most astute critics of the shenanigans on this past season of Top Chef.

So imagine our surprise when we read in Variety this morning that Bravo has purchased TWOP.

, whose tagline is "Spare the snark, spoil the networks," is well known in TV industry circles for its detailed episode recaps and its deep online community of small screen geeks devoted to dissecting the finer points of their favorite series. Producers with masochistic tendencies have also been known to lurk in the TWOP forums, sometimes driving themselves crazy by listening to the fan feedback.


"Television Without Pity is an online brand destination for the impassioned and opinionated television viewer, which mirrors the exact attributes of Bravo's core audience," said Bravo topper Lauren Zalaznick. "This will broaden the scope of our sites to create a community where smart people with something to say about their favorite shows -- past and present -- can get together under the umbrella of Bravo's pop sensibility."

Although "Bravo execs said the site will maintain complete editorial independence," we rather wonder if this will be true, and if Djlexxy would be allowed to blow the whistle on similar shenanigans now. On the other hand, maybe there won't be any more shenanigans to expose, right?

Well, we can dream, can't we?

Raggaydy Andy Falls On His Sword to Make "Top Chef 3" A Reality

Well, possums, the sword was made of chocolate, and it was actually a knife, and it was made by an aspiring cheftestant, but after all these days of not posting, we had to grab your attention somehow.

At any rate, on today's edition of his blog, Bravo VP and online salonnière Raggaydy Andy Cohen shares the sacrifices he has been making for the sake of Top Chef:

Speaking of casting, I spent the weekend cooped up in a hotel by the airport in final callbacks for "Top Chef 3" and I can report that it is exactly what I wanted to be doing when it was 86 and sunny outside. Not. But despite my enthusiasm for airport-adjacent hotel-interiors, I made the very best of it.

We met over 30 amazing chefs from all over the country who all think they have what it takes to be Top Chef. I woulda thought they all would have brought us food, wouldn't you? One woman made us each chocolate knives that said "Top Chef 3". She mysteriously made them using the coffee maker in her room. I still don't get it AT ALL but I was in the restroom when she went into the nuts and bolts of how she pulled it off. I have a feeling that even if I had heard the explanation I would not get it. The knives were good though.

This was definitely the most talented group of call-backs we've culled the cast from, and it's encouraging that people that talented want to participate....

Just that those 30 or so chefs made it that far was a big accomplishment, and we're still haggling amongst ourselves about which dozen or so will make it to Miami....

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Live Semi-Nude Girl!: Tonight on, Padma Lakshmi Live! (Well, As Live As She's Ever Gonna Get)

Tonight at 11 p.m. Eastern, Padma Lakshmi will appear live on Watch What Happens, the webcast on hosted by Bravo VP and online salonnière Raggaydy Andy Cohen, who has previously testified to Padma's powers to turn gay men straight.

Raggaydy Andy takes on all comers, whether by e-mail or telephone, to answer all sorts of questions (and if you ask nicely, he might just indulge your foot fetish while on camera).

So feel free to write or call in with questions for Padma or Andy (did the cure take? is Andy still straight? are follow-up Padma-ings required? what does Padma think of Kelly Wearstler's wardrobe on Top Design? will Padma try to outdo Kelly when Season 3 of Top Chef begins filming? will Padma sport a bikini in Miami? what are the assault laws like in Florida? will Carlos Fernandez be a guest judge? what's up with the Anna Nicole Smith stuff on Bravo? why is Tom Colicchio appearing on Top Design? would Andy advise Tom to shave his soul patch?). We know we'll be watching, if only to see whether Padma has bathed with, er, Herbal Essences; we're definitely looking forward to a totally organic experience.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Little Dog Laughed: Amuse-Biatch Officially Denies Being the Rabid Dog That Bit Rachael Ray

Possums, we were shocked--shocked!--when we saw this report on Page Six today:

RACHAEL Ray was attacked by a dog in Union Square Park Saturday while bravely defending her pit-bull mix, Isaboo. According to the TV host's rep, "This dog came up - there was no owner in sight - and became aggressive. Rachael and some others shooed it away, but it came back and attacked Isaboo. Other dogs were involved, and Rachael jumped in and was bit by one of the dogs on the leg. A nurse was in the park and checked her out. She's fine."

We swear we had nothing to do with it. We would never have bitten her; we don't know what we might catch from her. It should come as no surprise to you, possums, that in the grand scheme of things, we are more "cat people" than "dog people," but we feel our stainless-steel hearts warming with a little doggie love after this.

And when even dogs spontaneously attack you, you know that your branding efforts have been successful. Well done, Rachael!

And Just Like That, Amuse-Biatch's Head Exploded

Monday, March 05, 2007

Can You Spot the Plump, Sundried, Overly Sweet Agoraphobe in This Picture?

Katie Lee Joel Heats Up the Purple Carpet in Oven Bag

Possums, we looked at this photograph of Top Chef's Season 1 hostess, Katie Lee Joel, taken at the recent Food Network Awards, and we shook our heads in pity.

Well, before the pity came the hunger. When we buy carnitas, the nice butcher chap gives them to us in the exact same bag that Katie Lee is wearing, and looking at her made us long for pork.

At any rate, Katie Lee, possum, it's a nice try, but don't you think it's a case of "too little, too late"? (Actually, Miss XaXa suggested that it was a case of taking a tinfoil hat to the next level, an entire tinfoil collection.)

Sure, you saw Padma Lakshmi become more popular (or talked about, which is all that matters) than you on the second season of Top Chef. You said to yourself, "What does she have that I don't?" As Yul Brynner used to talk-sing in The King and I, puzzlement.

After all, both you and Padma have the affectless delivery and slightly glazed look down pat (as well as youth and rich, pudgy, more famous husbands). You rightfully concluded, then, that Padma's whorendous, fugly outfits gave her the edge, and you decided to campaign for your old job back.

Sorry, possum, you're going to have to do better than that outfit which is both oven bag and turkey. The wrinkling is a nice touch (makes us think of the crumpled wrappers on those hot dogs you get outside Costco), but you're going to have to do a lot more to get into the Padma league. Better luck next time.

P.S. The whole Baby Spice/Katie Holmes look is also worrying us. Call us; we can help.

SoBe(er Bong): South Beach WINE and Food Festival, Michael "Beer Bong" Midgley, Live Up to Their Names

Friday, March 02, 2007

Betty "Spice Rack" Fraser Munches (Hors D'Oeuvres, Of Course) at Bravo West Hollywood Gay Soirée

We were petting our teacup kitten this morning as we gazed at pictures of a shirtless Matthew McConaughey on, and a few more keystrokes took us to today's entry by the Little Beau Pepys of the Internets--Bravo VP, boy reporter, and bloggervardier extraordinaire, Raggaydy Andy Cohen. And possums, just look at what we found:

I had to run out to go to an event at the Abbey sponsored by Out@nbcu, the companywide gay organization. "Work Out" supertrainersuperstar Jackie Warner was going to be there and I had (sadly) cancelled on training with her earlier in the day and needed a hit of her before I split town.

Little did I know when I walked in that Top Chef 2's Bada-Bing Betty would be in attendance, no less in a white knit cap. I love me some of that Betty so I always like running into her. Betty reports that she is still in touch with most of the chefs from her season, especially Elia and Ilan. Her business at Grub is booming and she is best pals with her ex hubby. Bada Bing is on top of her game.

We were shocked--shocked!--that Elia Aboumrad and Ilan Hall are the two people with whom she is closest. We were as shocked as Raggaydy Andy that Betty was sporting a white knit cap. We were shocked that "she is best pals with her ex hubby." Not, of course, because she has an ex hubby to begin with, but, rather, because on her Bravo photo diary she had identified the woman at left as "Jill[,] [m]y breast/best friend!" Were we shocked that Betty--who shares the name of a band that saddled The L Word with perhaps the worst opening theme in television history--appeared in the gay epicenter of the gayest of cities at an event sponsored by the NBC Universal gay organization? Not so much.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Completely Heterosexual Man in the White Suit: Ilan Hall Channels Dirk Bogarde, "Death in Venice," in South Beach

Our first reaction to this photograph taken at the recent South Beach Wine and Food Festival was, "Wait, isn't Sam supposed to be the metrosexual?" Our second reaction was, "Is Ilan really wearing a two-tone shirt with that suit?" Our third reaction was, "Whom was he trying to channel? Dirk Bogarde? Peter Sellers? Al Pacino? Mr. Chow?" Our fourth reaction was, "How much did the suit cost?" Our fifth reaction was, "Tom, it really is time for you to shave that soul patch. Seriously. Trust us, it doesn't work for you. Ask Frank Bruni." Our sixth reaction was, "Where's Beer Bong? We thought Ilan was going to take Beer Bong with him to South Beach." And our final reaction was, "Damn, Gail, you look good."

Completely Heterosexual Ilan Hall Laces Up His Pink Sneakers to Show Off His Whitney Houston Album and Discuss Dance Music with Time "Out" New York

In a little piece in the current issue of Time Out New York, we learn that Ilan Hall lives in the East Village, that his apartment is 300 square feet, that he owns two iPods, that he collects "mostly ’90s hip-hop albums," as in vinyl, and that he stores them vertically (or, as Miss XaXa puts it, "erect"). We also learn, as you can see from the accompanying photograph, that Ilan rolls up the cuffs on his jeans, has a penchant for pink sneakers and pink and purple album covers, and loves himself some Whitney. Finally, we learn that Ilan's father makes the turntable on which Ilan listens to music (since "[d]ance music just comes through better on vinyl"), and that he

took his girlfriend to his parents’ house on Long Island, where she was introduced to music played alternately on his father’s Linn Sundeck turntable, a prototype Music Hall MMS9.1 and a 1911 Victrola hand-cranked turntable with its own volume control. “She really liked it,” he says. “She thought it was charming.”

We just wonder whether he played for her our favorite track from that Whitney album, "How Will I Know."