Bravo's Top Chef is undeniably the biggest food reality cooking show in America today. So how's it working out for stars of the show who aren't on Life After Top Chef? To find out, we tracked down some of the show's biggest stars at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. Chefs from seasons past, including everyone from Harold Dieterle to Ed Lee, weigh in on what's next for them, whether life's really changed since Top Chef, and what advice they have for chefs on the upcoming Top Chef: Seattle.
They've got 19 kids, choose to homeschool, and don't let their children watch TV. No, we're not talking about the Duggar family, but the Bates family, the stars of TLC's new United Bates of America. The family, who are longtime friends of American's favorite large brood, have scored their own prime-time reality show that will follow Gil and Kelly Jo Bates's adventures with their 10 girls and nine boys living in the hills of Tennessee. The family, who live without TV, Internet, or even credit cards, appeared on Good Morning America today to promote the show. Watch how they respond when they are asked about some pretty well-known pop culture figures, and tell us, do you think we'd be better off if our kids were shielded from today's entertainment stars?
The Nanny Diaries looks tame compared to what's coming from ABC Family! When Beverly Hills Nannies premieres next week, it'll be no stretch to say that the caretakers of the rich and famous don't exactly have it easy. The docu-drama — brought to us by the producers of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills — follows the lives of nine nannies who work for some very wealthy families, including the Margolis family (Cindy Margolis was the "Most Downloaded Woman of 1999"), the Faulk family (Lindsay Faulk is separated from NFL Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk), and the Thames family (Tricia Fisher Thames is the daughter of Eddie Fisher and Connie Stevens). Like its predecessors, Beverly Hills Nannies will chronicle the conflicts and personalities of its stars (both the nannies and their employers), highlighting the employers' unusual demands, outrageous lifestyles, and unique ways of interacting with their employees.
The hour-long show is sure to be eye candy for those who want a peek into the lifestyles (and nurseries) of the ultra-rich, but do they value the same qualities in a caretaker as the rest of us do? And is that curiosity enough to get you to watch the show? Tell us what you think!
If Top Chef, Top Chef Masters, and Top Chef Just Desserts isn't enough for you, Bravo's announced a brand-new series, Life After Top Chef, which will follow four former contestants around the country. Bravo states:
For the first time cameras are taken outside of the Top Chef kitchen and into the lives of Bravo's most beloved former contestants as they reach milestones in their personal lives and culinary careers. From opening their own restaurants to expanding their growing franchises, viewers will follow Jen Carroll in Philadelphia, Richard Blais in Atlanta, Fabio Viviani in Los Angeles, and Spike Mendelsohn in DC.
Sounds like Fabio wasn't kidding when he told us last month that he had further plans for reality TV. "You're going to see me getting up in the morning, you're going to see me doing some sports, some hobbies I have, but my show will be more about everything that's going on in my life rather than let's see who Fabio's dating, or let's see who Fabio's barking at," he told us.
Will you watch Life After Top Chef?
Photos: Camilla Salem, Diane Bondareff, courtesy of the National Pork Board
Welcome to Miami! Like most reality shows, the runaway ratings hit Dance Moms on Lifetime has seen its share of drama. The original follows instructor Abby Lee Miller, the girls' fiercely competitive instructor, as she tells it like it is — little girls' and their mothers' feelings notwithstanding. Like its predecessor, Toddlers and Tiaras, Dance Moms has proven to be as much about the conflicts and personalities of the don't-call-them-stage-moms stage moms as it is about actual dance (hence the title).
Much of show's controversy has centered on Miller's very demanding teaching style. She is very up front about the fact that she does not baby these girls and expects complete and utter focus and determination — bellyaches, schoolwork, and other kid stuff is irrelevant in her world. Berating both mother and child is a part of the job.
The spinoff takes the wildly successful franchise down South, to the slightly more TV-friendly locale of Miami, FL — the original is filmed in Pittsburgh, PA — to follow two new teachers and a new crop of eager pupils. Maybe the warmer climate will mean a mellower crowd? Let's hope not: that wouldn't make for very good TV now, would it?
Will you tune in for Dance Moms: Miami?
Forget Nanny 911, there's a new parenting sheriff in town, and her name is Lenore Skenazy. Readers may remember her as the famous or infamous — depending on which parenting circles you run in — New York columnist who was dubbed the "world's worst mother" for allowing her 9-year-old son to ride the subway solo in 2008. Instead of backpedaling and trying to save face in front of all those haters, Skenazy turned her adventure in parenting infamy into a whole movement, known as Free-Range Parenting, in direct opposition to the Helicopter Mom phenomenon.
Skenazy is now the host of a new reality series, Bubble Wrap Kids, where she attempts to "unwrap" a generation of tots being protected to the point of suffocation by their well-meaning, way overprotective parents. The first episode finds Skenazy counseling an extremely anxious mother of a 10-year-old boy who isn't permitted to skate, ride a bicycle, eat bacon, go to camp, or use a knife. Currently, the show is being produced in Canada, but if an American version shows up, will you watch?
The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs premiered on Food Network last night. Just as expected from the lineup of the accomplished and talented chefs, the competition was fierce.
In the last installments of The Next Iron Chef, just appearing on the show was a feat in itself; the tables have turned this season. All of the contestants have an established following — most even have a restaurant or two up their sleeves.
The difference was clear, even from this first episode: each of these chefs has the culinary chops to be the next Iron Chef. The real challenge here is going to be standing up to the pressure, remaining confident, and not getting lost in their head, regardless of what crazy circumstances are thrown in their direction.
The first challenge tested the resourcefulness of all the competitors: the 10 cheftestants were paired off into teams and promptly dropped in the middle of nowhere. All the teams had was a suckling pig, a spread of local ingredients, the necessary elements to build a fire, and the instructions to cook their hearts out. Given the situation, what all the chefs managed to create was nothing short of spectacular. Keep reading to see which team won the challenge and who was forced to duke it out in Kitchen Stadium.
As grown women we find entertainment and redeeming qualities in our favorite guilty-pleasure reality TV shows, but many of them aren't meant for a prepubescent audience — and for good reason. New research from the Girl Scouts says that reality TV is making girls meaner and vainer, with a higher percentage of the girls who watch reality TV saying that gossip is normal between girls and that a girl's value is based on her looks. More of the reality-TV-watching girls, ages 11-17, also said they have to compete for a guy's attention and that they are happier when dating someone. On the positive side, they ranked higher for believing in themselves as leaders. So they are mean girls with confidence? We decided to look into some of the not-so-great qualities that the women of reality TV shows promote, whether they recognize it or not, and then ask you which has the most negative effect on young girls. Tune in now!
We've been wondering for some time: how will Bravo top last season's Top Chef All-Stars? The answer, we're assuming, lies in the location. After more than a month of speculation in the blogosphere, the folks at Bravo have finally confirmed that Top Chef is headed to Texas.
According to the announcement, the season will take place in "not one, but three cities — Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio." Houston is glaringly missing. In addition, the show will feature not only the regular cast of characters (Padma Lakshmi, Tom Colicchio, and Gail Simmons), but also Emeril Lagasse and and former Top Chef Masters contestant Hugh Acheson.
As a native of the Bayou City, I'm undeniably biased, but it's hard to believe that Houston — the largest city in the state, the fourth-largest in America, and home to Bryan Caswell, Chris Shepherd, and some of the country's biggest rising stars — has officially been snubbed. We should pray that this season won't get caught up in Texas stereotypes, but the announcement — which is already full of cheesy references like "everything's bigger" and "we hope the cheftestants' cowboy boots are made for walking" — almost certainly foreshadows campy challenges and hokey one-liners. I'm already predicting a kill-your-own challenge on a ranch, a guest appearance (or five) from Dallas star chef Tim Love, and a trip to Smitty's, Salt Lick, Kreuz, or another famous Austin-area barbecue joint. Will you tune in?
The latest season of the Top Chef spinoff will premiere Aug. 24 at 10 p.m. on Bravo. It'll be led by the usual suspects — Gail Simmons as host, Johnny Iuzzini as head judge, with Hubert Keller and Dannielle Kyrillos as regular judges — plus a few famous guest judges, among them Cat Cora, Francois Payard, and the Beastie Boys' Adam Horovitz. Oh, and the cast of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Bravo's revealed the season two lineup of contestants, too.
Will you tune in?
Photos courtesy of Bravo