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Yesterday, we gave you the Must-Stay Hotels for Wailea in Maui. Today, we're giving you a Must-East spot. Conveniently, it's in a hotel. Mahalo!
Chef Sheldon Simeon has done pretty well for himself after finishing in the top three of Season 10 of "Top Chef" and winning the "Fan Favorite" award. The Hawaiian native, who previously helmed Star Noodle in Maui not only opened his own restaurant, MiGRANT, at the Wailea Beach Marriott, he's also taken over the kitchen at the hotel's Mala restaurant.
So with the same chef overseeing both restaurants, what's the different? The Mala restaurant has a more formal restaurant set-up with a somewhat traditional menu while MiGRANT has a casual setting with a more creative menu. Ok. So which one should you choose? Allow us....
We stayed at the Marriott in May while celebrating a family member's big milestone, and when a dinner at Mala ended up being fraught with service issues, we were invited back to try it again, this time with Chef Simeon himself guiding us along his excellent culinary adventure.
The dishes that we had were a mixture of Mala and MiGRANT items but all were Simeon's creations, heavily influenced by local traditions and his own Filipino heritage. Here's what we sampled, and ultimately fell in love with:
Has it already been over a year since Top Chef Seasons 6, aka the Las Vegas one? We love Top Chef not only for the pretty food, but also for a glimpse at what talented chefs are cooking in hotel kitchens, since oftentimes the contestants cut their teeth at a hotel restaurant.
Even the winner of Season 6, Michael Voltaggio, continues to cook at The Dining Room at the Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa in Pasadena, a restaurant that holds one of the few Michelin stars awarded in the US.
But it's Philadelphia we're focusing on now, since our recent visit revealed that the Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia is still milking their Top Chef contestant, Jennifer Carroll. She didn't win, but she did come in fourth.
If you salivated while watching last week's Top Chef room service challenge, you will be able to taste the winning dish soon. The Hilton is working to put Kelly Liken's braised beef short rib, chèvre-scented polenta, balsamic-infused beef jus, sauteed mushrooms and herb salad on its room service menu soon.
On the show, Hilton's vice president of restaurant concepts, told the cheftestants that the company was looking for a new signature dish that was healthy yet sophisticated, easily executable and able to be made quickly. The dishes also had to fare well traveling, since it will be featured on the room service menu.
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So, the new season of Top Chef is in D.C.—but there are already a number of former Top Chef contestants working in hotel land across the country, including the lovely Jeff McInnis, Chef de Cuisine at The DiLido Beach Club.
Keen HotelChatter readers already know that we're fans of the Ritz-Carlton South Beach's Tanning Butler, but after spying Chef Jeff on our last jaunt to Miami, we think Miguel has some serious competition in the Ritz-Carlton eye candy department.
Excellently, the food McInnis serves up is pretty damn delicious, too.
A new season of Top Chef kicks off on Bravo tonight, and while we've seen contestants land in hotel gigs after appearing on the show, this time hotels are starring right alongside the cooks. The chain looking for fame is Hilton Hotels, which is all over Top Chef D.C.—including, of course, in the kitchen. The new Top Chef Kitchen is located inside the newly renovated Washington Hilton, best known for hosting power events such as the White House Correspondents' Dinner and Inaugural Balls.
We'll also get to see Hilton in some of the chef's challenges, in gift packages given to the contestants throughout the show, and in the finale episodes, which will be set at "an international Hilton location."
Do you remember the Smyth Tribeca? It opened back in February 2009 but compared to its social siblings in the Thompson Hotels collection, Smyth is often forgotten about, largely because it lacks any sort of nightlife scene. However, that should change now that its restaurant, Plein Sud, from restaurateur Frederick Lesort, is finally open.
The restaurant has actually been soft-opened since April but without a liquor license, meaning guests had to drink in the bar area before dinner or after but not during. (Our friend tried to go there for a first date once and found out this crucial, potentially disastrous bit of info.)
Now that the grand opening is today, we're finding out some other crucial bits of info. Like that Plein Sud's executive chef is one Ed Cotton, formerly of BLT Market and db Bistro and soon-to-be seen on "Top Chef Season DC". So we're not quite sure how he's faring considering that when he filmed this show, Plein Sud was most definitely not open. But perhaps he's been working all this time on these tasty-sounding dishes?