Friday, March 6, 2009

He's still cooking . . .

Ben Walanka, executive sous chef at Rhapsody (Photo: FOX)

Last night's episode of Gordon Ramsay's "Hell's Kitchen" had all the elements of good reality telly: lots of tears, a yummy Asian fusion fare challenge, crazy-ass customers, backstabbing and a mooning!

Of course, our boy Ben Walanka—who reps Chicago as the exec sous chef from Rhapsody—was in the thick of it all.

Won't give the details of what exactly went down on Thursday night, but you can watch all the action here.

Someone's Having a Birthday!

John Ross, owner of Bucktown's The Bristol. (Photo: The Bristol)

The Palmer House Hilton's innovative Phillip Foss (March 4) creates the decadent French- and Italian-influenced dishes as executive chef for Lockwood Restaurant.

OK, so Tyler Florence (March 3) isn’t a Chicago-based chef, but this dashing culinary star from the Food Network will be here on March 22 to participate in the annual Common Threads World Festival, and that’s close enough for us.

John Ross (March 5) is co-owner of The Bristol, Bucktown’s bustling neighborhood spot that serves not only amazing beers, but also a menu that changes so often they keep it written on a chalkboard.

And Joe Shanahan (March 5) has been keeping Chicago rocking hard for more than 25 years with his creation of Metro, a home for legendary music acts as well as those sweet up-and-coming bands no one has heard of . . . yet. The former deejay—who occasionally still gets behind the turntables—is also the brains behind the venerable Smart Bar, known for bringing in world-class spin stars.—Served deliciously by Suzy M.