Monthly Archives: February 2013

Top Chef Contestant Coming to a Kroger in Raleigh on February 16th

Top Chef is one of my guilty pleasures and the sole reason that I don’t want Bravo to exist anymore as a channel. Bravo used to have some pretty decent shows before its reality makeover in 2003 which is similar to what happened on MTV. I know that there are probably a lot of people out  there like me who feel the same. I digress. Top Chef may be overly dramatic but I love watching talented people make delicious looking stuff in the kitchen. If only there were a taste option for all these food shows.

I received an e-mail from the PR agency representing Kroger’s Mid-Atlantic Division that invited me to an event at a local Kroger. Chef Eli Kirshtein, from Season 6 of Top Chef, will be at the Kroger on Creedmoor Road in Raleigh on February 16th from 11 AM to 2 PM. I am a Kroger customer and actually I tend to shop at the store that he will be visiting. I have been told that he will  “share his expert recipe advice and helpful kitchen tips, while preparing delicious meals using easily accessible grocery products.” I imagine that he will be using a lot of ingredients from the shelves at Kroger. I’ve been told that he will be preparing Pork Nam Sod.

Born and raised in Atlanta, Kirshtein, 25, is a self-proclaimed Gastronome. He started his culinary career at the young age of 16 as a cook at Atlanta’s Buckhead Diner under Chef Kevin Rathbun. Kirshtein quickly moved to restaurant Fishbone under Chef Richard Blais before moving to New York to attend school at the Culinary Institute of America. While in New York, he spent time in some of the country’s greatest kitchens with a series of stages. After graduation, Kirshtein returned to Atlanta to reunite with Blais, as Sous Chef at One, Midtown Kitchen. After two years at One, he took a year long hiatus to work under Alberto Cabrera at Miami’s Karu & Y as Executive Sous Chef. He is currently Executive Chef at ENO, Restaurant and Wine Bar.

Kirshtein was a contestant in season six on Top Chef. He fared well making it to the 12th episode before turning in his knives. He won two quickfire challenges. He didn’t win any elimination challenges but his dishes placed pretty high on four episodes and only low in two.

He has been doing a lot of stuff in the ATL including hosting pop-up restaurants, creating an all-Jewish barbecue team and working on a cookbook with Richard Blais. He brings a lot of energy to the restaurant scene as you can see by his green sneakers in the profile shot to the right. He kind of looks like a mad scientist. I know Jimmy over on Eat It, Atlanta has tasted some Eli’s dishes included a gnocchi and a yuzu meringue dessert with pistachio and it sounds like he enjoyed them.

The event will be held at the Kroger at 6300 Creedmoor Road in Raleigh from 11am to 2pm. I’m pumped to learn some good techniques from him and learning how to make his Pork Nam Sod. See you there!


Genji Ramen Noodle Night @ Whole Foods Durham – 2/20/13


image001When I hear someone talking about ramen noodles, my first thought goes to the cup of noodle stuff that my friends and I consumed when we had 10 minute breaks during high school. We called it beef water or chicken water depending on the flavor. It was fluorescent. I also ate some similar stuff in college when I was dead ass broke. The cup of noodles are made by Nissin and the other stuff by Top Ramen  and neither are very good. Both of these fall under the “instant ramen” category. Instant ramen is to true ramen as what Chef Boyardee is to true Italian.

Good ramen is tough to find in North Carolina. There aren’t many restaurants whose specific focus is ramen and the dish is something that takes dedication. Chefs train for years to learn all the intricacies of ramen as portrayed in both Tampopo (1985) or The Ramen Girl (2008). It is considered an art by many foodies and there are people who make voyages just to try a new ramen place that they have heard about.

On February 20th, Whole Foods in Durham is having a Genji Ramen Night where they . If you didn’t know, Genji is the sushi bar/counter at Whole Foods on the eastern seaboard and San Francisco. They are a national company that is constantly trying to source their products from suppliers using sustainable fishing practices so not to deplete the fish population. Their  goal is to contribute towards healthier food consumption habits on a global level. This is your  top-of-the-line supermarket option for sushi so I have the feeling that their ramen will follow suit.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to try freshly made ramen, head over to the Whole Foods Durham on Broad Street from 6pm to 8pm and give it a taste. It is a world of difference from the instant. You can buy a bowl of ramen which has been simmering all day in the store with either shrimp tempura and roasted pork (char siu) for $4.50 per bowl but you can also bring a friend or your appetite and get BOGO ramen bowls. They use a Miso Tonkotsu Ramen in the ramen which combines two of the most popular: Tonkotsu pork broth and Miso broth If you are on-the-run, you can pick up a to-go version which you can quickly heat up within 90 seconds using hot water.

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