Tag Archives: Chopped

LIC chef to compete in Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay”


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Natasha Pogrebinsky is at it again and this time she is looking to take on an iron chef.

The Long Island City chef, who has appeared twice on the Food Network’s “Chopped,” will now go head-to-head with chef Esther Choi on the network’s new series “Beat Bobby Flay” on Sept. 4 in hopes to move on and battle celebrity chef Bobby Flay himself.

“They were really impressed with me as a chef and as a personality on TV,” said Pogrebinsky, who is also the owner of Bear Restaurant located at 12-14 31st Ave., about getting offered a chance to appear on the show. “They wanted me back.”

In the episode called “Ladies First,” Pogrebinsky and Choi will “thrown down in the kitchen” creating one dish, which must feature a mystery ingredient given by Flay. The dishes will then be judged by chef Marc Murphy from “Chopped” and Katie Lee, co-host of “The Kitchen.”

“It was a lot of fun and it was great to be able to show off what I could do,” Pogrebinsky said.

Whoever comes out the winner in the first round will then be able to challenge Flay with her very own surprise signature dish.

“If I get to win the first round then I can go on to the next round and challenge Bobby Flay to cook a dish that is my specialty,” Pogrebinsky said. “If I make it to the second round then I get to throw him a curve ball.”

Pogrebinsky said her third appearance on the Food Network was a lot more intense because of the competition, yet it was fun because during the taping there was a live audience that included some Queens fans.

“In ‘Chopped’ you have a little more of a chance, here you have a 50-50 shot,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun to hear your fans from Astoria and LIC cheer you on.”

Just like her two previous “Chopped” premieres, Pogrebinsky said she plans on having a viewing party at Bear Restaurant, but details are still pending.

The “Ladies First” episode of “Beat Bobby Flay” will air on Sept. 4 at 10 p.m.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

LIC chef to make comeback on Food Network’s ‘Chopped’


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Angy Altamirano

One Long Island City chef hopes this time she’ll put her competition on the chopping board.

Natasha Pogrebinsky, executive chef and co-founder of Long Island City’s Bear Bar and Restaurant, will be making her comeback on a “Return and Redeem” episode of the Food Network’s “Chopped,” airing Tuesday, Feb. 25.

The chef made her first appearance on the show in August, where she competed against three other chefs. In the end, although the judges struggled to make a final decision, Pogrebinsky came in second.

Now, she is ready to go head to head with three other returning chefs for a $10,000 prize on next week’s episode.

“It definitely feels great to be back on, to represent Queens and to represent New York City,” Pogrebinsky said. “It was just as intense and real [as last time], and I was just happy to come back and put up a fight.”

Contestants on “Chopped” receive baskets filled with mystery ingredients. Each chef must create dishes and compete to make it to the next round.

On the Feb. 25 episode, the returning chefs work with ingredients such as sour candy, green lime jello and palm seeds.

“It was a much tighter competition,” Pogrebinsky said about her return. “You see the basket and you don’t know what is really in there. You have to think on your feet, you have two seconds to decide. It’s very nerve racking and you pull out everything you’ve learned in your culinary career.”

In 2011, she and her brother, both immigrants from the Ukraine, opened up Bear Bar and Restaurant, serving modern Russian cuisine. Currently the siblings are looking to open a fast food Russian restaurant in the same neighborhood.

Since her first time on “Chopped,” Pogrebinsky said she has seen a large amount of support from fans, customers, family and friends.

There will be a viewing party at the restaurant Tuesday night, Feb. 25 starting at 8:30 p.m. Guests can RSVP by emailing contact@BearNYC.com or calling 917-396-4939 to see if Pogrebinksy comes out a winner. They will also be able to taste samples of dishes the chef cooked on the show.

The “Return and Redeem” episode will premiere on the Food Network at 10 p.m.

Bear Bar and Restaurant is open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 3 p.m., for dinner on Tuesday to Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

LIC chef comes in second on Food Network’s ‘Chopped’


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

Being “chopped” never felt so good.

Although Long Island City chef Natasha Pogrebinsky didn’t win the grand prize on the show, she left with an unforgettable experience.

“I’m not upset about the outcome at all, I’m very happy that I had the chance to talk about my story, my restaurant, my type of cuisine,” said Pogrebinsky. “I was really happy I was a part of it.”

Friends and supporters gathered on Tuesday, August 6 at Pogrebinsky’s Bear Restaurant, located at 12-14 31st Avenue, for a viewing party to watch the chef take on lemon bars and whelk snails on that night’s episode of the Food Network’s “Chopped.” Guests were able to taste samples of dishes Pogrebinsky cooked on the show.

The Courier spoke to Pogrebinsky before the episode aired about her experience on the show.
“It’s a little surreal,” said Pogrebinsky. “I like a challenge and it was really fun to meet new people and be thrown into a crazy environment.”

On the August 6 episode, called “Walk on the Whelk Side,” the chefs worked with ingredients such as whelk snails, lemon bars, lamb shawarma, acai juice, upland cress and cucumbers.
Pogrebinsky competed against Long Island Chef Ben Durham and California Chefs Paolo Pasio and Katsuji Tanabe.

Contestants on “Chopped” receive baskets filled with mystery ingredients. Each chef must create dishes and compete to make it to the next round.

After serving sautéed snails as an appetizer and cooking up a stroganoff for the entrée round, Pogrebinsky made it to the final dessert round where she battled against Chef Tanabe.

The two chefs had 30 minutes to create a dish using cucumber salad, cantaloupe, sesame seed candy and marshmallow spread. Pogrebinsky created a sesame cookie with marshmallow cream and Tanabe whipped up a crepe with cantaloupe cucumber sherbet.

In the end, as the judges struggled to make a final decision,Tanabe became the Chopped winner and took home the $10,000 grand prize.

“Food is magical, food is exciting and intriguing and mysterious and doing it at the restaurant is one level and being able to create that little moment , little story for people to watch all over the world is amazing,” said Pogrebinsky.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

LIC chef to appear on Food Network’s ‘Chopped’


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Natasha Pogrebinsk

Chef Natasha Pogrebinsky hopes her dish does not end up on the chopping block.

The executive chef and co-founder of Bear Bar and Restaurant, located at 12-14 31st Avenue in Long Island City, will appear on an episode of the Food Network’s “Chopped” airing Tuesday, August 6. On the show, which has already been taped, she competes against three other chefs for a $10,000 prize.

“It’s a little surreal,” said Pogrebinsky. “I’m a really competitive person and I love when there’s a rush. I like a challenge and it was really fun to meet new people and be thrown into a crazy environment.”

Contestants on “Chopped” receive baskets filled with mystery ingredients. Each chef must create dishes and compete to make it to the next round.

On the August 6 episode, called “Walk on the Whelk Side,” the chefs work with ingredients such as whelk snails, lemon bars, lamb shawarma and cucumbers.

“I was immediately in the zone, I was paying attention to the clock but at the same time I forgot the cameras were there and that there were other contestants,” said Pogrebinsky. “In real life in the kitchen I take weeks to design a dish. You find the right ingredients, you test them, you pair them, you try them in different ways and in here [the show] that’s all out the window.”

When it came to the judging, Pogrebinsky said she was not too nervous because she feels like she is always being judged.

“Every time a dish goes out, I worry about it,” she said. “I’m confident with every dish I put out, but at the same time because I care about it so much, I always look for that feedback from customers.”

After being a high school history teacher, Pogrebinsky was pushed by her brother to follow her dreams and passion to become a chef. In 2011, she and her brother, both immigrants from the Ukraine, opened up Bear Bar and Restaurant serving modern Russian cuisine.

“I still feel like I’m that culinary kid that is so inspired,” said Pogrebinksy. “It feels great and it is something I’ve always wanted.”

There will be a viewing party at the restaurant Tuesday night, August 6. Guests can RSVP to see if Pogrebinksy comes out a “Chopped” winner. They will also be able to taste samples of dishes the chef cooked on the show.

Once the episode ends, Pogrebinksy will talk about her experience.

The “Walk on the Whelk Side” episode will premiere on the Food Network at 10 p.m.

Bear Bar and Restaurant is open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 3 p.m., for dinner on Tuesday to Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m. and on Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Astoria chef competes on ABC reality show ‘The Taste’


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of ABC

The freshest face of foodie television is as fiery as her cooking.

Diane DiMeo, a self-taught Astoria chef and aspiring restaurateur, is a contestant on “The Taste,” a new ABC program that teams ambitious cooks with kitchen veterans for blind taste tests, battling it out for $100,000, a car and gastronomic glory.

DiMeo, who was selected by Anthony Bourdain, best known for his show “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations,” calls herself the bad-boy chef’s “female equivalent.”

“I identify with him,” DiMeo said. “You love to love him and you love to hate him. He’s just that guy.”

DiMeo, who has spent the past 22 years in kitchens across New York City, said her style was crafted by trial and error and the thick skin necessary to survive as a woman in a male-dominated industry.

“Women in the kitchen didn’t exist,” said DiMeo. “You were a pastry chef, but you were not an executive chef. I learned very quickly that I was going to get tough or get taken down – it’s definitely shaped my culinary style in a very renegade fashion.”

She hopes her presence as a strong, successful woman on a national cooking show creates a different identity for women hoping to make a name for themselves in the restaurant world.

DiMeo, who competed twice on Food Network’s “Chopped” and won once, said her cooking is identical to her personality – fiery and bold with global elements.

“There’s nothing wimpy about what I cook,” she said.

DiMeo moved to Astoria eight months ago, attracted to the neighborhood’s mix of authentic ethnic cuisine and new, innovative favorites.

“There’s already so much food there,” she said. “There are so many ethnicities and cultural restaurants and cuisine but it has new venues too. It’s a food scene that’s changing.”

DiMeo is currently in negotiations for a space on 30th Avenue in Astoria, where she hopes to soon open a new seafood restaurant, tentatively called Shell and Roe.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Astoria’s Christos Steakhouse is a ‘rare’ find


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photo by Alexa Altman

Meat has met its match at Christos Steakhouse, a hidden Astoria eatery where the cuisine is captivating and the service spectacular.

Tucked away on 23rd Avenue, far from the buzz of Steinway Street, the building’s façade is easily unnoticed amongst a row of residences. It isn’t until you catch a glimpse of the valet parking attendant, a luxury not often seen in New York City, that you know you’ve arrived.

The interior was warm and inviting with low lighting, classic wooden fixtures and beautiful table settings. In the corner sits a tank swimming with live lobsters, for diners looking for an “interactive” experience.

Staff members were hospitable and kind, armed with their top suggestions and a wine list that included several Greek selections. Executive chef Mina Newman, a kitchen veteran, executive chef at Manhattan’s Edison Ballroom and winner of Food Network’s “Chopped,” stepped out of her workspace to chat about the restaurant’s latest happenings.

After sipping on a glass of California Pinot Noir, we sampled the house’s clams casino and octopus appetizers. The clams were large morsels topped with seasoned peppers and bacon in traditional “casino” style. The octopus, served charred over a salad of roasted red peppers, capers and fresh greens, drizzled in a red wine dressing, was salty and tangy with a texture unlike that of any other fish.

For our main course, we selected one of Christos’ famous cuts of steak — the T-bone, served with an assortment of sauces including béarnaise, a red wine and shallot reduction and the house’s original steak sauce. Tender and flavorful, the steak was some of the best we had ever tasted.

We also ordered a seafood special — Chilean sea bass over a bed of spinach and tomatoes. The fish was delicate and light, a nice juxtaposition against the heaviness of the steak.

It was impossible to not try some of Christos’ hand-cut French fries and flavors of mashed potatoes. Our server suggested the bacon and blue cheese mashed potatoes and the fries with Parmigiano cheese, truffle oil and chives. Both dishes were excellent complements to the meal, taking the tried-and-true staple of “steak and potatoes” to the next level.

Sadly, we did not save room for dessert, even though the “Baked Astoria” — cookies and cream ice cream with red velvet cake served flambé style —– sounded incredible. We plan to make it back a second time, however, just for something sweet.