Foodie TV

We tried counting the number of food shows currently airing on TV and lost count around the 471 mark. Seems the "Next Top Master Iron Star Kitchen Nightmare" genre is an ever-expanding field, and copycat productions are everywhere. But we have to offer props to "The Feed," the newest show to hit A&E's FYI Network (www.fyi.tv). The premise of the lighthearted show, which launches Aug. 21, is simple. Each episode stars Gail Simmons (Food & Wine Magazine, "Top Chef" judges table), chef Marcus Samuelsson (Harlem's Red Rooster and other restaurants) and food writer/comedian Max Silvestri competing against each other in two food-related challenges -- creating a Cronutlike mash-up, for example, or fare fit for ghosts.

Yigit Pura’s latest offering at Tout Sweet Patisserie was inspired by the Broadway musical "Hedwig and the Angry Inch"
Yigit Pura's latest offering at Tout Sweet Patisserie was inspired by the Broadway musical "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" (Tout Sweet Patisserie)

As you might guess, Simmons and Samuelsson take the challenges seriously while Silvestri goes for the laughs -- but it's his wild creations that you wait for. Let's just say, you may need a naan hand.

Glittery macarons

If you ever wondered how the macaron trend was going to top itself, get yourself over to Yigit Pura's Tout Sweet Patisserie (Macy's Union Square, San Francisco; www.toutsweetsf.com). Pura's pastry homage to the Tony award-winning Broadway production "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" is a macaron -- and not just any macaron. This one ($2 each, or $35 for a 14-piece box) includes a bourbon-orange marmalade ganache with a brandied cherry center, dusted in edible red glitter. We think Neil Patrick Harris would be pleased.


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Gouda news

It's easy to taste and critique a restaurant cheese plate. But what if that "plate" is the size of a convention hall, and there are more than 1,685 cheeses and cultured dairy products to sample? That was the daunting -- and filling -- task facing the judges from the American Cheese Society's 31st conference in Sacramento. The coveted Best of Show award was bestowed on a Tarentaise Reserve made by a Vermont educational enterprise called the Farms for City Kids Foundation. The Bay Area's Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. won second place overall for its Point Reyes Bay Blue. And a San Joaquin Valley creamery, Oakdale Cheese & Specialties, tied for third place overall for its Aged Gouda. Eight first-place ribbons were awarded to California cheese makers, including Cypress Grove Chevre (two firsts, for its Bermuda Triangle and its Truffle Tremor); Rumiano Cheese Co. (Dry Monterey Jack); Bleating Heart Cheese (two firsts, for its Fat Bottom Girl and its Ewelicious Blue); Dairy Goddess Farmstead Cheese (The Valley Fromage Blanc); Karoun Dairies (Blue Isle Mediterranean Yogurt Spread); and Garden Variety Cheese (Yogurt).

-- Jackie Burrell and Linda Zavoral, Staff