Tag Archives: top chef

Instagram Photo Of The Week: Gail Meets Top Chef Judge Tom Colicchio

This photo of me with Chef Tom Colichio, of Top Chef fame, taken ten years ago, has appeared in this space before, and all I can think of when I look at it now is how fat my face looks. Also, notice my heavy-lidded eyes, which give away the fact that I was also wasted on free booze. Good times.

You Never Know Who I’ll Meet Unless You Follow Me on Instagram at @WorleyGigDotCom!

Gail Meets Chef Fabio Viviani!

Gail and Fabio Viviani

When you’re as dedicated of a Foodie as me, Celebrity Chefs are the new Rock Stars — and from Eric Ripert and Anthony Bourdain to Jonathan Waxman and Rocco Dispirito, I have met many of the best. But no previous personal collision with culinary genius has matched the heights of squee-worthiness attained by my recent chance meeting with former Top Chef contestant and all around fabulous uber Hottie, Fabio Viviani! I love him! Fabio happened to be shilling for Bertolli Olive Oil at last week’s Editor Showcase at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, and he was just as charming and charismatic in person as he is on TV. Fabio Viviani!

Continue reading Gail Meets Chef Fabio Viviani!

Happy Family’s Shazi Visram Talks to Chef Tom Colicchio about Organic Food for Kids

Pull up a Chair Event Sign

There aren’t many topics in the realm of food, cooking and nutrition that are as hot right now as that of organic foods. While some might think that organic food is an adult interest, the truth is that feeding babies and children organically grown food is absolutely vital for the health of a growing young brain and body.

At a fantastic cocktail party and reception hosted by Colicchio and Sons Restaurant (owned by celebrity Chef and Top Chef judge and host, Tom Colicchio) I was introduced to the excellent work of Happy Family Organic Foods and the company’s dynamic founder and CEO Shazi Visram. Visram is perhaps best known for creating HappyBaby, the first premium baby brand to enter the market in five small stores in New York City. Today, it is the leading premium brand of baby and toddler meals in the US – sold in over 13,000 stores and featuring nine different lines of delicious, organic foods focused on the optimal nutrition of infants and children.

To that end, she has created Happy TV, an engaging online webseries that debuted just last week. Visram offers that she “created Happy TV to showcase and share insights from the innovators and thought leaders behind the brands that are making mindful choices to support the health of local communities and the planet.” After the cocktail party, we were invited to participate in the filming of a segment of Happy TV, which was very fun. In a relaxed conversational setting, Shazi and Tom discussed a variety of nutrition-related topics including hunger in America, school lunch programs, cooking with a farm to table approach and the importance of feeding children organic food.

Shazi and Tom

Shazi and Tom answered questions from the intimate audience and Colicchio also spoke about his wife, filmmaker Lori Silverbush’s new documentary, A Place At The Table (formerly entitled Finding North). That is a film I definitely want to see when it shows in New York.

Watch the first episode of Happy TV at This Link and find out more about Happy Family Organic Foods by clicking Here.

Gail Meets Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio and Gail Worley

I’ve been saying it for years: Celebrity Chefs are the new Rock Stars! It is no secret that I love writing about Food and that Top Chef is my favorite food-centric reality TV show. So, it is always serious fun for me when I get to meet Cheftestants from various seasons of Top Chef as well as the celebrity chef judges that make the show so educational and entertaining. Top Chef!

You can imagine then that it was particularly thrilling to be invited to attend party at Colicchio and Sons Restaurant, owned by Top Chef judge and host, Tom Colicchio, at which I not only got to eat Tom’s delicious food but also got to meet him. The purpose of the event was to promote the  excellent workof Happy Family Organic Foods, and I will be writing a separate blog post about that. In the meantime, I needed an excuse to post this photo of Me and Tom taken at the event, because I’ve had a crush on him for about five years, and let me tell those of you who feel similarly that he is even hotter in person than he is on TV. Hotness! Plus, super nice and cool. I am also saving up my cash so I can eat at his restaurant again, because the food was just insane.

Four-Course Menu with Cocktail Pairings by Top Chef’s Carla Hall

Carla Hall Looking Cute
Chef Carla Hall

It is no secret that eating and watching television are two of my favorite things to do in the world. And considering the fact that one of my favorite shows of all time is Bravo’s Top Chef, it did not take much prodding to get me to purchase tickets to attend former Top Chef contestant Carla Hall’s Pop Up Restaurant/dinner event at David Burke’s In The Box restaurant at Bloomingdale’s. Tickets to this event were offered, at what most people would consider to be kind of a steep price, through the Living Social website, but the expense proved to be so very worth it. Because Carla’s food is just insane!

It was especially fun to be joined for this spectacular culinary evening by my good friend Diane (a.k.a.”Diaaahhne!”), as she is also a fellow Top Chef fan and especially a fan of Carla’s. Following are photos and brief descriptions of the food we ate, which you will notice get progressively blurrier as the evening wears on, due to the unique cocktail pairings that accompanied each course, of which I was drinking many. Enjoy!

Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche Arancini in Spicy Remoulade
Mini Arancini with Mushroom in a Spicy Remoulade

This tiny rice ball packed a lot of flavor, being perfectly crispy fried, and stuffed with tender rice and a plump mushroom morsel, all nestled on a tiny puddle of spicy remoulade. When we ate this thing, Diane and I agreed that it was the best food we had yet eaten in our lives. Little did we know that we would feel similarly about each piece of food we put in our mouths that evening.

First Course

Mac & Cheese with butter sauce and crispy bacon
Mac & Cheese with Butter Sauce and Crispy Bacon

Carla’s unique take on what she calls “inside out” Mac and Cheese comes off like a cheese stuffed tortellini made of most tender pasta you can imagine. The buttery, savory sauce was further enhanced by crumbles of crispy, salty bacon. I used a spoon to get every drop of the sauce. It was pure heaven. Best thing you ever ate, times two.

15 Ingredient Sangria

The Cocktail pairing for this course was called “15 Ingredient Sangria,” with a medley of 15 ingredients that I believe mostly included fruit and also seltzer to make the sangria effervescent.

Second Course

Hot Chicken Bite With Tomato and Cucumber
Hot Chicken Bite with Tomato and Cucumber Salad

Up next was Carla’s Southern specialty, Hot Chicken Bite, which rivaled my grandmother’s fried chicken for its insanely delicious, super-crispy fried skin. People who have not experienced super-crispy fried chicken skin have really not tasted one of the most delicious things that you can lay upon your tongue. This perfectly succulent fried chicken thigh was set on a tiny square of white bread, because that is how they serve it in the south, and was accented by a spicy hot Tabasco-like pepper sauce for that extra kick. The accompaniment/garnish of chopped fresh tomato and cucumber salad helped to cool the fire. Finger lickin’ good, as they say

Strawberry Margarita By Carla Hall

Accompanying the spicy chicken was a sweet and refreshing Strawberry Margarita with House-Infused Strawberry Tequila. I’m not super crazy about the taste of tequila, but this is fantastic.

Third Course

Meatloaf with Greens, Mashed Potatoes and Creamed Corn
Meat + Three: Carla’s homemade Meatloaf with Collard Greens, Mashed Potatoes and Creamed Corn

You can see that the photos are now in somewhat-less-than perfectly sharp focus, because at this juncture I have had three cocktails within a relatively short period of time. Not to mention, but you can see I am about you, the fact that by now the energy level in the room has kicked up a few notches and people are getting a little crazy over this delicious food. There was a lot of clinking of glasses going on and rampant moaning about how, OMG, this was the best food anyone had ever tasted and how surely we could now be at peace with death after having eaten such a fantastic meal.

Red Wine
Cocktail: Bocelli Sangiovese

Nothing goes with red meat quite like red wine. And you know how I feel about red wine.

Dessert

Banana Pudding with Bruleed Bananas
Banana Pudding with Pecan Shortbread and Bruléed Bananas

You should not be too surprised to hear that I had great difficulty even spooning a few mouths-full of Carla’s delightful banana pudding into my gaping maw after stuffing my face with all of her mind-blowing gourmet dishes and drinking myself into a stupor. I did my best.

Proseco Cocktail with Sangria in Background
Cocktail: Lavender Cooler with House Lavender Syrup, Aloe Juice and Prosecco

Man, what a nice cocktail!

Will Cook for Shoes
Carla’s Apron Says “Will Cook for Shoes”

I forgot to mention that at the start of each course, Carla came out from the kitchen and talked to us about the next dish we would be eating, its inspiration or origin, and how the ingredients worked together to make it super special. Later, as the evening was winding up Carla made sure to stop at every table and talk to each person, to pose for photos and just to be her amazingly cool and talented self. This Pop Up dining event was Carla Hall’s second session of these dinners that she’s held at David Burke, so be on the lookout for her to show up doing something like this again in the future. I do my best to enjoy my life, and to treat myself to nice things when the opportunity arrives to do so. Like I said, it was a pricey evening, but it was one that was worth every penny and an experience I’ll never forget. Carla Hall!

Carla Hall's Dinner Menu with Pumpkin