Bobby who? Here are the celeb chefs I want to see open a restaurant in Louisville

Bobby Flay. (Photo courtesy of Food Network)
Bobby Flay, bein’ all cool. (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

It’s a good thing I’ve settled my imaginary beef with Bobby Flay. It looks like this celebrity chef is making serious googly eyes at Louisville.

The Courier-Journal reported back in September that Flay was scouting possible locations to open a restaurant in Louisville. And Insider Louisville is hearing some buzz that Flay’s going to set up in the former Burger’s Market on Grinstead Drive.

I used to have an unreasonable dislike for Flay. I didn’t like how he rolled into town with his Food Network show, Throwdown with Bobby Flay, like he owned the joint and challenged chefs. Quit showing off, Flay. Then I met him in person when I was a reporter on the red carpet at the Barnstable Brown party. He was actually pretty nice, which completely squashed the rivalry I had built in my head.

So, I’m cool with Flay coming to Louisville. It’s just that there are a few other celebrity chefs and TV personalities that I would like to see make a restaurant home in Louisville. Come along with me as I play pretend with folks I’d like to see in our city:

You better WERQ, Ree Drummond. (Photo courtesy Food Network)
You better WERQ, Ree Drummond. (Photo courtesy Food Network)

I love me some Ree Drummond. The woman cooks, writes and takes beautiful pictures on her blog, The Pioneer Woman. Her approachable demeanor and hearty meals fit for life on the ranch make her a wonderful addition to the Food Network lineup. I’d welcome Ree’s downhome charm in a Louisville restaurant. Picture it: Ree greeting guests, her husband stopping in from the ranch with some kind of carcass he killed himself, and lots of wood paneling.

Not your most crisp collar, Ina. (Photo courtesy of Food Network)
Not your most crisp collar, Ina. (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

One of the loftier goals of my life is to become the black Ina Garten. My closet will be filled with crisp button-down shirts. I will pop collar of said shirts. And I will whip up meals that include lots of lemon zest for the wonderful moments when my Jeffrey pops in to see what I’m up to. I imagine that Ms. Garten’s restaurant could fill the shoes that La Coop in NuLu will leave. Ms. Garten would serve food of the French countryside in a candlelit dining room with citrus centerpieces. And she would never spill ratatouille on her fresh shirt.

Oh, Alton. You slay me. (Photo courtesy of Food Network)
Oh, Alton. You slay me. (Photo courtesy of Food Network)

Alton Brown is a great teacher on the show, Good Eats. You get a little history, a little science and a lot of fun in each episode. Why not show off his teaching skills with a lot of science in an open-concept kitchen? I see foam garnishes, dry ice and lots of sous vide.

What celebrity chef or food personality would you like to see open a restaurant in Louisville?

Six ways to save yourself this Thanksgiving

English: Thanksgiving Dinner, Falmouth, Maine,...
English: Thanksgiving Dinner, Falmouth, Maine, USA 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s the day before Thanksgiving. Do you need some helping getting dinner together tomorrow?

I’m fresh out of miracles. Instead, I have a good dose of keepin’ it real.

We are delusional in the weeks before Thanksgiving. We convince ourselves that we can cook a 20-pound turkey because Alton Brown says it’s easy. We fill our grocery cart with pounds and pounds of potatoes because boxed mashed potatoes will just not do. We buy a rolling pin and a pastry blender because this will be the year we finally make that pie crust from scratch. And we sincerely believe that from our kitchens will emerge a display of culinary prowess that would make Martha Stewart throw her panties at our feet in adoration.

That fantasy is a few turkey trots away from our realities. For 364 days of the year, dinner is something simple enough to fix after an eight-hour workday, be it pasta with a homemade mushroom cream sauce, scrambled eggs or a bowl of cereal. Why do we think we can pull off a full Thanksgiving spread?

We can’t. No one can achieve the high expectation we set for ourselves. And that’s why you made it to the blog today, because the turkey is still frozen, the mountain of potatoes haven’t been peeled and the butter just won’t blend with the flour for that pie crust.

I can’t save your disaster. But I have some tips to save your sanity.

  • Stick with what you know. Do you have a killer chocolate chip cookie recipe? Do your friends rave about your fried corn? That’s what you need to cook for Thanksgiving. Everyone has a recipe that they have mastered over the years and made their own. Now is the time to whip it out of your recipe box (or iPad).
  • Just make a salad. I can’t think of one Thanksgiving meal that included a salad. It’s not that my family is full of salad-haters; everyone’s just too busy with mashed potatoes and the like to put together some fresh greens. Buy a bag of pre-washed lettuce, toss it with sliced apples, dried cranberries, feta cheese, almond slivers, and a raspberry vinaigrette, and veg heads will be grateful.
  • Think outside the casserole dish. There are lots of other items you can bring to the celebration besides food that your family and friends will appreciate. Run to your nearest dollar store and get some paper plates, napkins and cups.
  • Never underestimate the power of a beverage. Be the cool cousin and bring a few bottles of wine. Is your family more conservative? Stop by a gas station and get some two-liters (bonus points if you get Coke Zero).
  • Break it and bake it. Grab a pack of the ready-to-bake Nestlé Tollhouse cookie dough. No mixing and barely any work — you just separate the squares of dough, put on a baking sheet, and let cook in the oven. Dessert in less than an hour. What’s not to love?
  • Be honest about your shortcomings. Just come right out and say you’re frazzled and can’t fulfill your culinary commitment. So what if the crust never came together? Your family and friends will love you anyway. That’s what Thanksgiving is about.

Bits and pieces: Some food news that happened while I was away

  • The guy who created Doritos died. Here’s a list of 50 flavors of this tortilla chip. And here’s how you can use Doritos to start a fire. (Best Week Ever, Lifehacker)
  • Shout-out to the ladies who recently won the Nobel Peace prize. Here are five Nobel laureates who made important contributions to the world o’ food. (Food and Think)
  • Alton Brown isn’t too big on food trends, such as slow food or molecular gastronomy, but he has some valid reasons why. (The Kitchn)
  • Leaders in Louisville’s dining and agriculture community gathered on WFPL last month to discuss the city’s “eat local” food movement. (WFPL)