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First, life imitated art when The O.C. became the inspiration for a little reality show called Laguna Beach. Then, Desperate Housewives served as the basis for the original Real Housewives, and now it looks like The Twilight Saga may be spawning its own reality show too.
Once upon a time, Forks, WA was a sleepy little town in the middle of nowhere, but thanks to Stephanie Meyers, who set the Twilight books in Forks, the town has become the destination for fans of the franchise. There is even a documentary about the community called "Twilight in Forks," which will be released on DVD with "New Moon." So its no surprise that reality TV execs have come knockin' on Forks' door looking for the next big reality TV stars.
Alex Boylan is proof that there is life after reality TV; well there's also The View's Elizabeth Hasselbeck from Survivor, but she isn't out bungee jumping and continuing to travel the world. After winning Season 2 of Amazing Race, Alex decided that a month of rushing from plane to train wasn't enough, and so set out in September 2007 with a cameraman/producer but not a single penny, determined to circumnavigate the globe for free.
Prior to the concept of "twitchhiking," or leveraging Twitter for travel tips and tickets, Alex formatted his Around the World for Free website as a social network, whereby fans of his CBS Early Show updates could offer knowledge, lodging and transportation in the same manner as twitchhiking. Finishing the journey in February 2008, Alex and his producer managed to mooch their way across 45,000 miles, 159 days and 16 countries.
Now over a year since wrapping up, the 11-episode series in HD has finally been picked up by WGN America, and will begin airing Thursday nights at 9pm EST, starting April 16. Despite the delay in selling the show, we have to say that Alex has done very well for himself, as anything is better than being roped into The View.
· Free thinker from 'Amazing Race' Goes Global [NY Daily News]
· Amazing Race 2 winne Alex Boylan Travels the World [LA Times]
· The Twitchhiker Looks to Tweet Across the Globe WIth Your Help [Jaunted]
· Television Travel Coverage [Jaunted]
[Photo: Around The World Productions]
For the most part, Top Chef's "surprises" got pretty weak in season five—cook with alligator! Cook with oatmeal! cook with Dr. Pepper! Cook with your eyes closed—but we have to say they got us in the finale.
After cocky Stefan dominated most of the season and spunky Carla took over late in the game, Padma and Co. went ahead and gave the crown to Hosea, who until now was mostly known for kissing Leah a couple of episodes back (and kissing Leah again in the closing scene of the finale! What's up with that?)
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Top Chef left New York this week to hold their two-part finale in foodie-fave New Orleans, and suddenly everything's upside down: unfunny judge Toby Young is gone while Gail Simmons is magically back, the last three axed chef'testants get a surprise chance to cook their way back into the game, and after representing New York's diversity by spending all their time in a Williamsburg condo and Whole Foods aisles, the show is now out and about all over New Orleans.
All improvements, we'd say, especially the last one.
Top Chef was down to the final five this week, and each chef'testant had to prepare a last supper chosen by a culinary god. Fabio aced it cooking roast chicken for Lydia Bastianich, Carla wowed Jacques Pepin with her perfect peas, but Leah couldn't impress Wylie Dufresne and was asked to pack her knives and leave.
We thought Leah's poached eggs and bacon looked pretty tasty, so we're wondering, what exactly did Wylie have in mind? So we checked out the menu at his molecular gastronomy super-kitchen, WD-50 on Clinton Street in New York and it looks like Leah just wasn't thinking small enough.
Yes, the photo above is Dufresne' version of eggs Benedict. Fried hollandaise cubes battered with English muffin crumbs, gelled egg yolk, and Canadian ham crisps. Come on Leah, how hard would that have been to do?
Seriously, have you readers dined at WD-50? Let us know if it is worth the hype because it sure doesn't look like it would fill us up.
Photo: [Kent Wang]
The Top Chef'testants had a particularly tough time with this week's challenge--reproducing a dish from guest judge Eric Ripert's legendary seafood restaurant Le Bernardin. We were a little disappointed with the chefs' output (especially Leah, how did she not go home?!), but the episode certainly did get us salivating to try the real deal--Ripert's classic French dishes like black bass tartare, poached escolar, and pan-roasted monkfish.
So we're wondering--just how hard is it to get into Le Bernardin nowadays? Reservations are notoriously difficult to come by (on the first business day of every month, they become available for the month after that, and their phone lines get busy quickly), but it turns out you can get around that if you're willing to eat super-late. We just did an OpenTable search and found tables for two available tonight at 10pm, and Friday and Saturday at 11. Not so hard after all!
Of course, you still have to be willing to pay for all that fishy goodness. The lunch prix fixe is $68, dinner is $109, while the extravagant chef's tasting menu is $185 a head.
Oh, and bonus news for all you Ripert-heads: Looks like he's enjoying this TV thing. Ripert will get his own show, "Avec Eric," coming to PBS this fall.
Top Chef New York is finally getting serious. They've gotten rid of the lower half of contenders, the ones we knew never had a chance, and now we're down to the top seven, the chefs who each seem like they could realistically win it all.
In last night's Super Bowl episode, we saw three favorites fall to the chopping block, including the dynamic Euro duo, Fabio and Stefan. But I think we all knew Bravo producers weren't going to let either of those camera hogs go home this early, which was of course bad news for poor Jeff.
This week's Top Chef was everyone's favorite episode: Restaurant Wars. As is the case in previous seasons, Restaurant Wars is the first episode in which no chef'testants are given immunity in the elimination challenge, and even the favorites can definitely go home.
Once again this year, we saw one of our top picks--Chi-town's cutie chef Radhika--asked to pack her knives and leave. While the judges' decision seemed fair (she clearly had no idea how to run a restaurant), we're still intrigued by her spicy global cuisine, and would be more than happy to eat at a restaurant where she's not running the front-of-house.