Tag Archives: Gordon Ramsay

11-year-old Forest Hills boy vies for ‘MasterChef Junior’ title


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos by Greg Gayne / Courtesy of FOX Broadcasting Co.

Most 11-year-olds would settle for a store-bought cake for their birthday. Not Josh Reisner. The Forest Hills sixth-grader insisted on making 96 cupcakes for his party this year, with a variation for the cake, frosting and topping flavors on each one.

“It took three days to make, but it was really good,” Josh said of his cupcake masterpiece, which included flavors such as candied lemon and pistachio sauce.

It’s that sort of culinary know-how that has landed him a spot on season two of “MasterChef Junior.” On the Fox reality show, which kicked off its new season on Nov. 7, young chefs, ages 8 to 13, compete for $100,000 and the “MasterChef Junior” title. Like the adult version, the contestants must create gourmet-style dishes in timed challenges. Their creations are then critiqued by judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot.

Winning dishes on the first episode included chicken liver pâté on garlic crostini with brûléed pears and fish sauce chicken wings with a yuzu salad.

After thousands from across the country auditioned, Reisner was one of 16 chosen for the show.

“When I got called for the show I was so excited,” he said. “It’s so exciting because you know that out of all those kids you are one of those 16.”

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Reisner, who was 10 when “MasterChef Junior” taped, has been refining his cooking skills since he was 4.

But his passion for food began when he was still a baby and would nibble on sushi, caviar, snails and oysters.

“He would just reach and take things from our plate and we would let him try whatever he wanted to try,” his father Brad said.

Starting out with cupcakes, pasta and pizza, Reisner soon graduated to cooking more difficult dishes, such as beef bourguignon and braised meat.

His father’s favorite is Reisner’s chili, which he makes with Coca-Cola, cocoa, a mix of special spices and no beans because it “ruins the texture.”

Though it takes time to whip up, Reisner, said he loves to make braised short ribs because “it‘s a dish that puts everything you put into it back.”

His mother Serena shares his interest in food, but admits she has let her son take over the kitchen in the past two years. He now cooks at least four days a week for the family, including breakfast on the weekend.

Reisner decided to test his culinary skill outside of his home kitchen after hearing about a casting call for “MasterChef Junior” through Young Chefs Academy in Forest Hills, where he has taken classes.

After making it onto the show, he watched the first season, but admits he was still nervous about judge Ramsay’s fiery reputation from his other reality shows.

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His fears about Ramsay were dispelled, but the experience of cooking for the judges was intimidating at times.

“I hope I don’t go home because I mean that would just ruin my thoughts of Key lime pie and I would not feel comforted when I eat it,”  he said during the second episode, when he landed in the bottom four during a citrus cream pie challenge.

Reisner, who wants to own a restaurant, and be a chef and food critic when he grows up, said he gained confidence from being on the show, and has learned how to accept criticism and take more chances.

“It’s so much pressure, but it’s really a great experience,” he said. “I would have done it a million more times.”

Watch Reisner on the fourth episode of “MasterChef Junior” on Tuesday, Nov. 25, at 8 p.m. on Fox to see if he makes it past the top eight.

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Bayside restaurant to appear on Fox’s ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ Friday


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

A Bayside restaurant is set to wake up from its nightmare of failing.

Kati Allo restaurant, on 172nd Street, will be in the Friday season premiere of “Kitchen Nightmares,” a hit reality television show on Fox featuring chef Gordon Ramsay.

In “Kitchen Nightmares,” Ramsay, who is prone to foul language, visits restaurants around the country to identify and diagnose problems to help turn them around.

According to a preview clip of the episode, the Greek restaurant, opened by husband and wife Emmanuel and Christine Zavolas in 2000, is failing, which is threatening the couple’s marriage.

“Kati Allo in Queens, New York, was really a difficult situation. It was a husband and wife, whose marriage was completely being destroyed by the restaurant,” Arthur Smith, the show’s executive producer, said in the preview clip. “In this episode the one thing to note is that it is the greatest reaction we’ve ever had to a reveal.”

The preview hints that Ramsay’s solutions for the restaurant were favorable by the couple.

“I’m so excited, I’m so happy,” said Christine, who is the executive chef. “My passion came back.”

Kati Allo’s website now boasts: “Our new menu is created by the world famous chef Gordon Ramsay!”

To check out the episode, tune to Fox at 8 p.m tonight.

 

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Reality show ‘Kitchen Nightmares’ coming to Bayside eatery


| mchan@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Jeff Neira/FOX

It might be a nightmare for Gordon Ramsay, but it’s a dream come true for one Queens restaurant and diners in the borough.

“Kitchen Nightmares,” a hit reality television show on Fox, is kicking off its sixth season with its first production shoot at Kati Allo in Bayside.

Internationally renowned chef Ramsay and his team will film in the Greek eatery at 29-06 172nd Street July 13-16.

Producers are looking for diners over 18 years old to sit in while the show is recording.

Those interested should email knqueensrest@gmail.com. Reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Applicants will be asked to complete a thorough survey detailing how frequent they dine at Greek or Mediterranean restaurants in Queens and what style restaurant and qualities they look for in an eatery.

In “Kitchen Nightmares,” a no-nonsense Ramsay, who is prone to foul language, has one week to revive failing restaurants.

Kati Allo, which means “something else” in Greek, has been owned by husband and wife Emmanuel and Christine Zavolas for 14 years. They said they could not comment before the episode airs.

A spokesperson for the show said a date has not been set for the broadcast.

Donald Gardner, a local who patronizes the restaurant twice a week, said the ambiance and service could improve. He added that the young wait staff is somewhat error-prone, while “delivery guys hang out in the front all the time.”

“I’ve never seen it crowded in there at all,” he said. “But this area isn’t the bevy of hot restaurants.”

This is Ramsay’s second visit to Queens with the show and his fifth in New York City, officials said.

PJ’s Steakhouse in Forest Hills appeared on “Kitchen Nightmares” in February 2011, but the restaurant ultimately closed down.

THE COURIER/Photo by Melissa Chan

 

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