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world's sexiest chef -- now for your viewing pleasure on bravo. debut 11/16/09

ladies, ladies, ladies!
tonight is the debut of the hottest tv chef: chef jean-christophe novelli -- on bravo. the show is "chef academy." http://www.bravotv.com/chef-academy/v...

(i just heard he was voted "world's sexiest chef").

some of the other characters on the show look pretty amusing, too.

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  1. <(i just heard he was voted "world's sexiest chef").>

    Not possible. I live with the world's sexiest chef. (Okay, home cook. Still). LOL.

    1. I'm easy but I really liked the show.

      1. I was surprised. I liked the show also. Novelli and whoever his sidekick/sous chef/partner were thoughtful and articulate. The contestant were interesting. It was well thought-out and well edited. I will watch it again.

        Although it was on at an odd time. Think Bravo is testing it out before it gives it a true prime time slot?

        11 Replies
            1. re: chicgail

              Go to Bravo.com and check their show listings; I found that the show was on 2 consecutive days in the afternoon; didn't check for evening repeats, though.

              1. re: SmartCookie

                Just watched it on my lunch break. The 11:00P slot doesn't work for me. While I'm up, that's DH's Miami Vice time. And we only have one TV and no TIVO -- though we have a DVR but haven't quite figured out how to tape one show while watching another. I'm hoping they would have some more prime time airings in the future.

                It was decent. "Dolly Parton" was hilarious -- loved how she was putting makeup on while she was cooking. I was wondering if they put her on because she would be good for TV. But she actually did quite well at the end of the first episode. This is no Top Chef by any means. The contestants aren't as skilled. But I guess that's the whole point of the show -- to teach the contestants. I will definitely include this show in my rotation of shows to watch.

                1. re: Miss Needle

                  My first thought was that she was a cross over from "Real Housewives of Orange County" and she was there for comic relief.

                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    I assumed that was a trick of editing. I can't imagine that even she would be so flighty as to apply lipstick in the middle of cooking a meal. But maybe I'm wrong.

                    I got a kick out of J-CN's idolatry of Columbo. That seemed like a put on, too. Maybe I'm becoming jaded from too much Reality TV.

                    I like the competition aspect of the Top Chef & Hell's Kitchen. I wonder if the lack of inter-chef rivalry will make the show a little lackluster, or if the "Three-Strikes-You're-Out" setup will provide all the suspense and tension needed to keep it interesting.

                    1. re: JayEsBee

                      I thought it was going to be a Hell's Kitchen kind of show and I wasn't going to watch, but I found myself really liking it. I enjoyed the chef, found him interesting and funny. The Columbo thing was great, all the more hilarious because my family had a chance encounter with Mr. Falk many many years ago.

                      1. re: JayEsBee

                        I loved the Columbo schtick also. It made Novelli so human.

                        The other thing I loved -- and I hope it continues through other shows -- is the gay personal assistant who is trying to please and do a good job while being clueless about food, and really charming in his self-deprecation. I don't remember his name, but I became a fan of his during the drive from the airport.

                      2. re: Miss Needle

                        DH and I both groaned when she appeared... she looked (and sounded) like a total airhead who'd slipped in from one of those appalling 'Housewives' shows. But maybe she has hidden depths. She apparantly knows SOMETHING about cooking, even if only to stick to what she does best. I hope she surprises us all.

                        1. re: Miss Needle

                          The only thing that really bugged me was that it's a competition. Why does everything need to be a competition. It would have been more interesting to me to follow students through a culinary academy. Watching their triumphs and failures but without the game show mentality that seems to be mandatory for TV these days

                          1. re: scubadoo97

                            Actually, I think this setup is less of a competition than any other shows... in theory, all 9 could pass the academy. Other chef/students don't have to fail for one (or more) to succeed.


                2. I was surprised with the quality of the show. I will give it a couple more viewings, too. Couldn't believe what some of the candidates were trying to pass off as an omelet, however, Chef Novelli seemed to be more thoughtful about picking the students and also his comments about their "signature dish".

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: araknd

                    I found the comment by one female contestant that the non stick pan was sticking, or something to that effect. Duh, it's was not teflon honey. Looked to be black steel. A good knob of butter would have made all the difference.

                    1. re: araknd

                      I finally got to watch this today @ 11am. I liked the show - yes, there are some interesting characters, but Chef Novelli and Andrew, his "right arm" seem very intent on helping the people chosen to attend to learn how to cook.

                      Some of the food that the candidates put out during their one hour looked excellent. Not sure I would have picked the blonde OC housewife's dish, but then again, I didn't taste it. :-)

                      I will definitely be tuning in again.

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        I also thought that Chef Novelli's comment about what he is looking for in a student was not just technical expertise, but a "passion for food and cooking". So he passed through some of the obvious failures in the egg test because of what he sensed and heard. He also commented after the student who cooked the foie gras, something to the effect that the student has probably practiced that dish and cooked it technically well, but that there was no soul in it.

                        1. re: araknd

                          He didn't pick the DJ/bartender who called chefs the 'new rockstars'

                          and he didn't pick the 25 yo NASA chick who made him french toast instead of eggs.

                          I forget, was there a women he didn't pick who called his standards way too high?

                          Will the french guy be the first one flunked out? So far he so spacey and far less intense about learning to make food. Maybe its a french thing?

                          1. re: dach

                            Yeah, the french guy was just a little too laid back, but who knows. I guess we will have to "stay tuned". :-)

                    2. Darn - I missed it. But not staying up to watch it with an 11pm start (no, I don't have TiVO or a DVR - at least not one set up). Will have to see if it's going to be shown again. (Found it - 11am on Saturday.)

                      BTW, alka, your link seems to be broken. http://www.bravotv.com/chef-academy But I see by the pics with the bios that someone's got a MAJOR faux-hawk going on!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        lw, you are correct, madam. link broken. wha?

                      2. I liked it too.
                        I think it will be alot more entertaining than the show starring Pierre Marco White.
                        I'm rooting for the blonde housewife from OC!

                        1. AHAH!!!

                          Don't know if anyone noticed, but Zoe Feigenbaum looks EXACTLY like one of the "drones" on Everyday Food on PBS. Well a skinnier version of Emma Feigenbaum. Bet they are sister's.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: bitsubeats

                            You are correct ma'am.

                            Everyday Food gals are a bunch of Martha Stewart kewpie dolls. Nothing wrong with that, as I do watch Everyday Food when I get a chance. Relaxing... and I have gotten some useful tips from them.

                          2. Didn't catch the show but looked at some pictures online. He doesn't do it for me. But I might watch the show anyway!

                              1. In light of the OP, just wanted to add that I am attracted to the show, not because Novelli is good looking (and he is), but because the concept of the show is interesting and it seems to be taking a fairly intelligent and compassionate approach to the usual competitive cooking show.

                                Anyone who tunes is to see the "world's sexiest chef" or to be amused by the stupidity or ignorance of the contestants will probably be disappointed. I could be wrong, but this does not appear to be Gordon Ramsay showing off his bare chest or yelling at people who don't know how to cook for not knowing how to cook.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: chicgail

                                  I agree, was expecting a sham of a show, but it was surprisingly watchable. Don't think he's the "world's sexiest" anything, but seems like he is truly interested in teaching these "students', and it might be a nice change from Ramsay's incessant screaming and cursing.
                                  I'll keep watching...

                                2. I watched this show this morning and had no idea who Chef Novelli even was!

                                  Sexiest chef? Not in my book, thanks. Anthony Bourdain will always take that title.

                                  Oh my gosh, this group of students are laughable!

                                  Who could cook an egg? Too messy. Too burned. Not enough time. Garlic in scambled eggs? Yuck.

                                  The blonde older lady from Orange County is so ditsy. Someone her age shoud dress like someone her age.

                                  There is a former porn star on the show??

                                  The spacy woman who left a piece of hair in her meal. Why isn't ANYONE wearing a hair net?

                                  You are not supposed to cry in front of the Chef! What a bunch of girls.

                                  I'm not sure if I will watch Chef Academy again. I'm not impressed.

                                  I'd watch Top Chef again.

                                  1. A strange and long forgotten look always comes over Mrs Harters whenever Novelli is on TV. Thankfully, it is rare these days since his restaurant business closed.

                                    1. Looks like a good show. Hope the production didn't attempt to interject false tension and conflict. OMG what am I saying, this is TV! :)

                                      1. Brilliant writing and casting! The charming young-in-love French chef, his loyal cockney sidekick, and his girlfriend "with child", all happily living in the loft above the store. More sexual tension is added when it is revealed in the second episode that the cocky (not to be confused with cockney) young french student chef is a porn star/stud muffin.

                                        The frumpy gnomic (in a loving way) ad agency woman with a passion for feeding her family who seems to be the only student who has heard of the Santa Monica farmers' market scores points in the teacher's heart by showing the market to the class.

                                        The over made up, over dressed, ditzy middle aged broad who was too old to make the cut at "Real Housewifes of Orange County", who surprises everyone by being one of he few students who wowed the teacher with her pancake and conserves and passed the first pastry test .

                                        The culinary clueless newly wed, who can't cook anything who will be emotionally fulfilled if she can ever cook her husband an edible meal.

                                        The hunky young student chef with the requisite Mowhawk.

                                        And more...

                                        The possibilities for this show are unlimited.

                                        Without tongue-in-cheek, Novelli looks like the real thing, and he brings his passion and high standards to his students, and seems to really enjoy teaching and sharing his knowledge with his students. Since this season's "Top Chef" is about to wind down, this will do very well for Bravo to keep the "foodies" (apologies for the term) tuned in.

                                        Can't wait to see smarmy Andy Cohen's appearance as the "neighbor next door".

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: ChinoWayne

                                          I liked that he was willing to listen to the students and give them credit for their good ideas and good work. Instead of being the all-knowing chef/teacher, he listens attentively when she tells him about the farmers' market and then gives her credit for inspiring the visit. He could just as easily have dismissed her with a "everyone knows about the market, we're already planning a trip there" but he appeared to be genuinely unfamiliar with it (something tells me Bravo set up everything and just flew him in totally unprepared, just to add some "fish out of water" drama to the scenario). And he's always so happy and excited when they cook something that blows him away.

                                        2. Is everyone on this thread on Bravo's payroll or what? I caught this show this weekend and found it awkward, silly and vaguely depressing. Novelli's English is not up to this show whatsover and most of his comment sound completely scripted. The whole setup makes Slade and Gretchen's relationship on "Real Housewives" look like gritty reality. Worst of all were the "contestants," a sad bunch of under- and unemployed LA wannabes who would be more believable as deadbeat tenants on one of those tawdry judge shows. The "audition" with the burned out pan was just painful to watch and a shameful waste of food. Fake, fake, fake. And only superficially anything to do with cooking. This show ranks with "Miami Social" as one of Bravo's worst offerings yet.

                                          1. And to add insult to injury, beat-up nonstick pans on high heat release all kinds of carcinogenic, DNA-destroying fumes. Not only was Novelli humiliating those people, he was poisoning them! And wasting lots of perfectly good food. This guy is scum.

                                            1. Did anyone else think the chef's reaction to the salted caramel garnish for the dessert (on the 2nd episode) was a bit over the top? He acted like salt and caramel was a bizarre, unheard-of combination, when actually it's been pretty common for the past several years. (In fact, a French chocolatier from Brittany takes credit for inventing caramel beurre sale -- salted butter caramel.) It didn't seem like J-C was saying it was too salty, but he kept saying "salt, on caramel" like the concept itself was outlandish.


                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: waldrons

                                                I thought the point of his negative responses is that a chef doesn't radically change a recipe he is assigned to make. Salt would radically change a sweet flavor profile -- and the student stuck her salted garnish right into the chocolate, so it wasn't just decoration or optional flavor.

                                                1. re: dach

                                                  I think you're right. Every student who "played around" with the recipe failed.

                                                2. re: waldrons

                                                  She did put an awful LOT of salt onto her caramel... it didn't look like just a tiny sprinkle, so I wouldn't be surprised if it was hideously salty. But most of them seem to have forgotten the primary rule of cooking - before you start messing around with a recipe, you have to know how to make it! The more they messed with the recipe they were given, the worse it came out... and I take back everything I said about the airhead - it looks like she really knows how to cook.

                                                  1. re: Kajikit

                                                    I agree that the folks that "interpreted" his dish seemed to fail universally... I think the challenge was even explained as "replicating" or "reproducing". And there were big, visible flakes of salt on the caramel. I just thought it was weird that he kept shaking his head and saying "salt? salt?" like the idea was strange.

                                                    1. re: waldrons

                                                      Perhaps the salted caramel trend hasn't made it to Britain, where he's been working most recently.

                                                3. After watching a few episodes, this show will not be included in my rotation unless I have nothing better to do. I had high hopes after the first episode. But it seems to be going downhill from there. There's too much reality for my taste. The ass shot of the porn star didn't quite do it for me. And I just don't quite get Novelli's humor. I find it kind of stupid. "Oh, this dish is absolutely disgusting. I must spit it out. NOT!"

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                                    Went looking through posts to see if anyone commented on that particular part of the episode. I found it totally creepy how they sort of goaded Emmanuel into stripping for that scene (I got the sense he would rather have not), and then how Tracey pawed him like a piece of meat. Really low class and derogatory. Call me old fashioned. And the scene went on and on and on.... And I agree, I hate the stupid little mind games he's playing with them. Not amusing.

                                                    1. re: DGresh

                                                      I didn't get the sense that they goaded Emmanuel into stripping, but I did find it a little (no, make that VERY) weird that they had the gay assistant run him with baby oil before he went out.

                                                      The show seems to have a lot of oddities, including the heads of wild game that Suzanne's husband (Big Game Hunter -- is that a profession?) killed.

                                                      Nonetheless, I am still watching it. Apparently so are you. I find some of it really useful like Novelli's recipes and techniques and some of it feels like watching a car crash: I can't look away.