The Master Chefs competing in TCM2 for 2 slots from each preliminary round in the 8 person Champions round (actually multiple rounds to pick a winner) are (please forgive the slight puffery in many of these, those left after I deleted the worst examples):
Regarded internationally as an influential culinary force, Chef Tony Mantuano is the chef/partner at Spiaggia, the only four-star Italian restaurant in Chicago. Awarded the 2005 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef: Midwest, Mantuano worked in several Michelin-starred restaurants in Italy before opening Spiaggia in 1984 to critical acclaim, and has since gone on to win The Chicago Tribune’s highest culinary prize, The Good Eating Award, and named a Food & Wine Best New Chef in 1986. His other ventures include Mangia Trattoria in his hometown of Kenosha, Wisconsin and as the chef/partner of Terzo Piano at new The Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago. Mantuano’s first cookbook, The Spiaggia Cookbook, was lauded by Food & Wine magazine as one of the top 25 cookbooks of 2004. In 2008, Mantuano co-authored Wine Bar Food with wife Cathy, which was the inspiration for WINE BAR FOOD outposts at the 2008 and 2009 U.S. Open Tennis Champions. He has also made numerous television appearances and has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and Food & Wine and is a frequent contributor to local Chicago television and radio stations. In addition to his 2005 honor, Mantuano’s Spiaggia also received James Beard Foundation nominations for Outstanding Restaurant in America in 2006 and 2007 and for Outstanding Service in 2008 and 2009. The Mantuanos were honored with the keys to San Martino in the Italian region of Molise (the ancestral home of Cathy Mantuano) for serving authentic Italian cuisine to President Barack Obama, a long-time guest who celebrated his presidential election victory at Spiaggia in 2008.
Competing for: Feeding America
Raised in Costa Rica and Los Angeles, Govind Armstrong is one of the nation’s brightest cooking stars, noted for his commitment to market-driven California-style cuisine. Creator of the Table 8 brand of restaurants, Armstrong is currently the executive chef and owner of 8 Oz Burger Bars in Los Angeles and South Beach. Armstrong began his culinary training at age 13 at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago restaurant in West Hollywood. He is the author of Small Bites, Big Nights and has been featured in People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” issue, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, O: The Oprah Magazine, along with appearances on Oprah, Top Chef, Iron Chef America, and Today.
Competing for: National Kidney Foundation
After graduating from the California Culinary Academy, Jerry Traunfeld served as executive chef at Alexis Hotel in Seattle and as a pastry chef at Jeremiah Tower’s Stars in San Francisco. After spending over 17 years honing his skills as executive chef of The Herbfarm, Traunfeld went on to open Seattle-based restaurant Poppy, named after his mother. The 2000 James Beard Award winner for Best American Chef: Northwest and Hawaii, he is the author of The Herbfarm Cookbook, The Herbal Kitchen: Cooking with Fragrance and Flavor, and has appeared on Martha Stewart Living, Better Homes and Gardens, The Splendid Table, and a host of other television and radio programs.
Competing for: International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
Cited as one of the country’s “best creative fusion practitioners,” Seattle-born Ana Sortun graduated from La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine de Paris before opening Moncef Medeb’s Aigo Bistro in Concord, Massachusetts, in the early 1990s. Following stints at 8 Holyoke and Casablanca in Harvard Square, she opened Oleana in 2001, immediately drawing raves for dishes that The New York Times described as “rustic-traditional and deeply inventive.” Awarded the Best Chef: Northeast” honor by the James Beard Foundation in 2005, her cookbook SPICE: Flavors of the Eastern Mediterranean was published in 2006 and has become a best-seller. Her husband’s farm, Siena Farms, provides Sortun’s restaurant with all of its fresh produce and is named after their daughter. Her most recent undertaking has been Sofra Bakery & Café in Cambridge, which offers a unique style of foods and baked goods influenced mostly by Turkey, Lebanon, and Greece.
Competing for: The Farm School
The chef-owner of two popular New York City restaurants — The Red Cat and The Harrison — Jimmy Bradley presides over neighborhood joints that have become destinations for guests from around the city and the country. A purveyor of straightforward, occasionally irreverent, food and contagious conviviality, all of it wrapped up in an attitude-free package, Bradley has helped contemporary diners rediscover the intrinsic value of classic Mediterranean cuisine, reinterpreted for a modern American clientele. He earned features in New York magazine, Food & Wine magazine, Bon Appetit and The New York Times, as well as appearances on Today and The Martha Stewart Show among others. His cookbook was published in 2006.
Competing for: "water" charity
Susan Feniger is well known to Angeleno’s as 1/2 of the popular "Too Hot Tamales" along with her longtime business partner Mary Sue Milliken. Almost 30 years ago, the two chefs opened CITY restaurant; next came Border Grill in Santa Monica CA and Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, and then the Latin themed Ciudad in downtown Los Angeles and the Border Grill Truck. With the opening of Susan Feniger’s STREET in Hollywood in 2009, she launched her first solo venture to reach her dream of creating a unique restaurant inspired by the authentic flavors of street food. A veteran of 396 episodes of "Too Hot Tamales" and "Tamales World Tour" series, Feniger also co-authored five cookbooks with Milliken--City Cuisine, Mesa Mexicana, Cantina, Cooking with Too Hot Tamales, and Mexican Cooking for Dummies. She has been on the board of the Scleroderma Research Foundation for 17 years, spearheading a mission to find a cure for scleroderma, a life-threatening and degenerative illness, by funding and facilitating the most promising, highest quality research, as well as placing the disease and the need for a cure in the public eye. Feniger also serves on the board of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.
Competing for: Scleroderma Research Foundation
My Guess at the Lineup for ep.2: all 6 repeaters from TCM1, talented nationally famous chefs who did not make it past the preliminary round of TCM1 but have been given a second chance at redemption. Who will redeem themselves?
Working as a successful chef, restaurateur and author, Jonathan Waxman has graced such prestigious kitchens as Chez Panisse in Berkeley and Michael’s in Los Angeles. Waxman went on to open his own restaurant in New York City – Jams, as well as the famed Washington Park. Today, Waxman is the chef and owner of Barbuto in Manhattan's West Village. His first cookbook, A Great American Cook, was published in 2007. Giving back is important to Waxman and he works closely with many charities including City Meals on Wheels. He currently lives in Manhattan with his wife and three children.
Competing for: Meals On Wheels
After training in France for 13 years at Restaurant L’Esperance with Marc Meneau, Restaurant Pierre Gagnaire, Arpege with Alain Passard. and Le Grande Vefour with Guy Martin, Lefebvre moved to Los Angeles to work at L’Orangerie. He was promoted to head chef at the age of 25 and made L’Orangerie one of the top-rated restaurants in California, receiving the Mobil Five Star Award. Lefebvre then moved on to Bastide where he also received the prestigious Mobil Five Star Award. Lefebvre was a nominee for the James Beard Foundation “Rising Chef Award” in 2001 and released his first cookbook, CRAVE, a Feast of the Five Senses in 2005. Always the rebel, Lefebvre has created a guerilla style "pop-up" restaurant event called LudoBites that currently takes place at different locations around Los Angeles. LudoBites was honored in the Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold's 99 Most Essential Restaurants List for Los Angeles. He gave it a place in the Top Ten Dishes of 2009 and identified it as a dining experience that "may fundamentally change the way we look at restaurants." Note that I remember him negatively as a boastful, conceited individual in TCM1. Let's see how time has mellowed him ( I am betting not at all).
Competing for: C.H.A.S.E. for Life
From 1994 to 2005, Moonen earned 3 stars from The New York Times for his work at Oceana, Molyvos, and rm in New York City. Moonen was the executive chef at the Water Club and his passion and vocalization of sustainable seafood practices led him to publish Fish Without a Doubt in 2008. Sensitive to consumers’ home cooking needs, the cookbook is intended to serve as inspiration to chefs for their cooking choices. In February 2005, Chef Moonen opened his multi-level restaurant Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
Competing for: Three Square
Wylie Dufresne is the chef/owner of New York’s highly celebrated wd~50 restaurant. The Lower East Side eatery was awarded a Michelin star in 2006, which it has retained through 2010. The James Beard Foundation nominated Wylie and wd~50 in the following categories: 2000, Rising Star Chef (while Wylie was the chef at 71 Clinton Fresh Food); 2004, wd~50 for Best New Restaurant; 2008 and 2009 for Best Chef, New York City. wd~50, whose ownership is shared with chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten and restaurateur Phil Suarez, acquired its unique name from the combination of Dufresne’s initials and the restaurant’s street address.
Competing for: Autism Speaks
Mark Peel has been the Executive Chef and owner of the award-winning Campanile restaurant in Los Angeles for 20 years. The 20th anniversary milestone was reached in 2009, the same year his book New Classic Family Dinners was published. The book was selected as one of the top 10 cookbooks of 2009 by Amazon and one of the top 25 cookbooks of 2009 by Food & Wine magazine. Mark also recently opened two new establishments, The Point (a casual cafe in Culver City) and The Tar Pit. The Tar Pit combines Chef Peel‘s passion for market fresh food with the excitement of artisan cocktails. For The Tar Pit he has partnered with Audrey Sanders, of the Pegu club in NYC. Mark also is co-founder of La Brea Bakery. Peel began his career working under Wolfgang Puck at Ma Maison. He did stints in France at La Tour d’Argent and Le Moulin de Mougins. He then worked at Michaels and at Chez Pannisse. He moved back to Los Angeles when Wolfgang Puck asked him to be his chef de cuisine at his new restaurant, Spago. Peel also helped open Chinois and Spago Tokyo. He also co-authored two other cook books with his former wife, Nancy Silverton, Mark Peel & Nancy Silverton At Home: Two Chefs Cook for Family and Friends and The Food of Campanile. Peel has five children and is married to TV host, comedienne, and blogger Daphne Brogdon.
Competing for: Doctors Without Borders
Graham Elliot Bowles
After his culinary education at Johnson and Wales University, Graham Elliot Bowles began his career by working at The Mansion on Turtle Creek, a five diamond/five-star property in Dallas, Texas. This was followed by a move to Chicago where Bowles had the opportunity to work at the famed restaurant Charlie Trotters for the next three years, as well as work alongside Chefs Rick Tramonto and Gale Gand as the Chef de Cuisine of Tru. A stint at The Jackson House Inn & Restaurant in Woodstock VT earned him a spot as one of Food & Wine Magazine's Best New Chefs of 2004. Bowles returned to Chicago for Chef de Cuisine of Avenues at The Peninsula Hotel. During his four years leading the kitchen, he became the nation’s youngest four-star chef with three James Beard award nominations. In May 2008, Bowles opened Graham Elliot in Chicago, a "bistronomic" restaurant combining four-star cuisine with humor and accessibility, with wide critical acclaim. In Summer 2009, his passion for music led him to be the Culinary Ambassador at Lollapalooza, a three-day music festival, where he cooked for both the public as well as backstage for the performers. In the Spring of 2010 Bowles plans to open Grahamwich, a branded sandwich shop in the River North area of Chicago. Note: he did better than I expected in TCM1 so maybe he can earn some money for my favorite charity.
Competing for: American Heart Association
My Guess for the 3rd preliminary round:
A James Beard Award winner and four-time nominee, Debbie Gold has led Kansas City’s The American Restaurant to national recognition as its executive chef. Initially studying restaurant management at the University of Illinois, Gold received her professional culinary training at L’Ecole Hoteliere de Tain L’Hermitage in France. After apprenticing for two years at Michelin-starred restaurants across that country, she returned to Chicago to hold positions at such reputable venues as Charlie Trotter’s, Everest, and Mirador. Although Gold took a hiatus to begin her successful restaurant venture 40 Sardines, she returned to The American Restaurant as the executive chef to once more lead the locale to a host of honors, including consistent AAA Four Diamond and Mobil Travel Guide Four Star ratings.
Competing for: unknown at this time; check back later
Jody Adams is a James Beard award-winning chef with a national reputation for her imaginative use of New England ingredients in regional Italian cuisine. Her four-star Rialto restaurant in Cambridge has been named “One of the top 20 new restaurants in the country” by Esquire magazine and “One of the world’s best hotel restaurants” by Gourmet. Beginning her culinary career as a line cook at Seasons restaurant, she went on to open Hamersley’s Bistro as sous-chef and then served as executive chef at Michela’s in Cambridge, where Food & Wine listed her as “one of America’s ten best new chefs.” Soon thereafter, Adams opened Rialto in Harvard Square, induction into the Nation’s Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame and other honors. Adams has been featured in The New York Times, The Boston Globe and Bon Appetit. She also has a strong commitment to hunger relief and is known for her loyal support of The Greater Boston Food Bank, Share Our Strength, and Partners in Health.
Competing for: Partners in Health
The 2009 James Beard Award winner for Best Chef: Northwest, Maria Hines sharpened her culinary skills at fine restaurants from coast-to-coast before becoming a sensation as executive chef of Earth & Ocean in Seattle in 2003. Named one of Food & Wine magazine’s best chefs in 2005, the Ohio native truly established herself as a national dining force when she opened her certified organic restaurant Tilth featuring New American cuisine. Only the second restaurant in the country to receive the Oregon Tilth organic certification, The New York Times named Tilth one of the country's top 10 best new restaurants in 2008.
Competing for: PCC Farmland Trust
Rick Tramonto is executive chef/partner at world-renowned four-star and Relais & Chateaux restaurant Tru, in Chicago. Tramonto is also culinary director of Tramonto’s Steak & Seafood RT Sushi Bar and Osteria. He received a bevy of awards and honors including the James Beard Foundation for Best Chef: Midwest Award, Robert Mondavi Award for Culinary Excellence, Food & Wine magazine's Top 10 Best New Chefs 1994, Outstanding Service Award from The James Beard Foundation, Four-star Mobil and Wine Spectator Grand Award. Tramonto started his culinary career in Rochester N.Y. at Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers in 1977, and has gone on to work with some of the masters: Pierre Gagnaire, Michel Guerard, and Alfred Portale. An accomplished cookbook author with six titles to his credit, his 7th book will be released in Spring of 2010: Rick Tramonto Steak with Friends. Tramonto has a number of television appearances that include Oprah, Today, Iron Chef America and a judge on Top Chef.
Competing for: Feed The Children, through Gregory Dickow Ministries
Hailed by Zagat as “a culinary genius,” Susur Lee emerged from 15-year-old apprentice in Hong Kong to become a worldwide leader in Asian fusion cuisine, blending traditional Chinese dishes with classical French techniques. In 1987 Lee opened his 12- table Lotus restaurant in Toronto, earning rave reviews from The New York Times, Art Culinaire, Gourmet and Food & Wine magazine. Lotus ran successfully for a decade before Lee left for a "re-energizing" period in Singapore, serving as head chef and consultant. Returning home to open Susur in 2000, Lee has since launched Shang in Manhattan, Zentan in Washington D.C. and Lee, a second restaurant in Toronto. Lee is a sought-after guest chef across the globe and has been featured on numerous media outlets. A noted philanthropist, he contributes regularly to the James Beard Foundation, cancer research at Spinizolla in Boston and the Null Foundation, which provides scholarships for underprivileged students to attend culinary school.
Competing for: Andre Agassi Foundation for Education
My Guess for the 4th preliminary round:
Named 2009’s Best Chef at the Houston Culinary Awards, Monica Pope is a 2007 James Beard Award Nominee for Best Chef: Southwest and the owner of t’afia and Beaver’s in Houston. The only Texas woman to ever be named a Top 10 Best New Chef by Food & Wine magazine, Pope first learned to cook from her Czech grandmother and earned her Chef’s title from Prue Leith’s School of Food and Wine in London. After working in Europe and San Francisco, Pope returned home to Houston to open her first restaurant, the critically acclaimed The Quilted Toque. Soon after opening Boulevard Bistrot in Houston, Travel & Leisure hailed her “one of the most ingenious restaurateurs around.” t’afia has been featured in Gourmet, O: The Oprah Magazine, Bon Appetit and Fortune. She recently published digital cookbook Eat Where Your Food Lives (available at www.ChefMonicaPope.com
) and is currently working on a cooking memoir entitled Eating Hope (and Other Things I’ve Had to Stomach).
Competing for: Recipe for Success
Known affectionately as “The Chef in the Hat,” French born Thierry Rautureau is the owner of Rover’s Restaurant in Seattle. Raised on a farm in the Muscadet region of France, this James Beard Award-winner for Best Chef in The Pacific Northwest began a cooking apprenticeship in Anjou, France at age 14 before training at top culinary locales across that country. He eventually found himself working for Jean Claude Poilevey at La Fontaine in Chicago before heading to Los Angeles’ The Regency Club and The Seven Street Bistro. Opening Rover’s in 1987 after a chance visit to Seattle, Rautureau has been featured in Gourmet, Zagat’s, USA Today, and every major metro-Seattle publication that covers dining.
Competing for: Food Lifeline
Puerto Rican native Carmen Gonzalez has been a prominent figure in American dining for over 20 years. Opening the nationally recognized Miami-based Carmen the Restaurant in 2003 (hailed “One of the Best New Restaurants in America” by Esquire magazine), Gonzalez has been recognized with many honors including the Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence from 2004-2006; AAA’s coveted 4 Diamond Award in 2004 and 2005; a 2006 mention in Zagat’s America’s Top Restaurants; among others. Gonzalez has been featured in The New York Times, Miami Herald, Food & Wine magazine and Bon Appetit, as well as appearances on The Martha Stewart Show, Today and MGM Latino. Gonzalez’s greatest passion comes from community outreach efforts, involving herself for many years with Share Our Strength, the James Beard Foundation, Chef Carmen Cooks for a Cure, and Feeding the Mind Foundation, the latter two of which she founded.
Competing for: ASPCA
Owner of David Burke Townhouse, David Burke at Bloomingdales, Fishtail by David Burke, Burke in the Box, David Burke Prime, David Burke’s Primehouse, David Burke Las Vegas, and Fromagerie, Burke is one busy chef. Trained at the Culinary Institute of America and in France under esteemed chefs Pierre Troisgros, Georges Blanc, and Gaston Lenôtre, Burke was America’s first recipient of France’s coveted Meilleurs Ouvriers de France Diplome d’Honneur for excellence in American cuisine by age 26. Burke’s other accolades include Japan’s Nippon Award of Excellence, the Robert Mondavi Award of Excellence and the CIA’s August Escoffier Award. Burke was inducted into the 2009 James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America. He is a ntoed culinary product inventor (GourmetPops, Flavor Sprays & Flavor-Transfer Spice Sheets)and author of cookbooks Cooking with David Burke and David Burke’s New American Classics.
Competing for: Table to Table
So, who has the best chance to win each preliminary round and who will win the Grand Prize?
For prelim round 1, my guess was that Jerry Traunfield would win, but we already know from last night's ep. 1 that it was Susan Feniger and Tony Mantuano that moved ahead to the Champions Round.
For which round the TCM1 repeats are in, I expect Jonathan Waxman to win a close victory with whoever his partner turns out to be.
For what I marked at guess at ep. 3 and ep. 4, I have no real knowledge of any of the 10 chefs competing in those preliminary rounds, so I decline to nominate anyone.