Celebrity Grub Features Health

Celebrity Chefs Unite To Create An Elevated Vegetarian Feast [PHOTOS]

Man, I love watching celebrity chefs in action. Years ago, it was through binging reality cooking shows on my laptop. Recently, however, I was privileged enough to see some of my culinary idols work up close.

At the recent All Star Chef Classic, some of those idols chefs Richard Blais (Juniper & Ivy), Michael Voltaggio (ink.well), Josef Centeno (PYT), Amanda Cohen (Dirt Candy), and Wylie Dufresne (Du’s Donuts) came together to headline a stadium full of hungry Angelenos where they prepared a multi-course vegetarian feast.

Held at the Event Deck at LA Live, the five-course meal featured each chef’s take on elevated treatment of vegetables, paying homage to the growing popularity of plant-based dishes as of late.

Each chef was tasked with creating an amuse-bouche, a main course, and an alcoholic pairing for their meal. Below are some photos capturing the events of the first dinner of the Classics.

Left to right: Chefs Dufresne, Voltaggio, and Blaise.
Amanda Cohen’s confit carrots.
Michael Voltaggio crafting his sunflower seed risotto milanese.
Josef Centeno’s castelfranco and sprouting brassica salad.
Wylie Dufresne hard at work.
Michale Voltaggio’s beet shank and sunflower seed risotto.
Richard Blais demonstrating his spring onion and ricotta dumpling course.
Amanda Cohen preparing to demonstrate her vegetable course.
Wylie Dufresne’s frosted donut dish.

Somewhere in my dream journal regular journal is a bucket list featuring some of these very chefs, where young me dreamt of trying their cooking once before dinner reservation in the sky. Now, not only do I get to check off some of those names (looking at you, chef Dufresne) I can say I enjoyed one of the best vegetarian meals of my 20-something year old life.

Even though I’m a meat eater at heart, I have to say this dinner actually made me forget about my carnivorous cravings — at least for those three hours that I was there.

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Watch Top Chef Richard Blais Make Us His Iconic Fried Chicken Sandwich

For those who don’t consider fried chicken a delicacy — it’s probably because they’ve never tried The Crack Shack, one of San Diego’s most legendary fried chicken joints, led by well-known Top Chef and restaurateur, Richard Blais.

FOODBEAST recently caught up with Chef Blais at his newest Crack Shack location in Costa Mesa, California, to check out one of the most iconic fried chicken sandwiches ever created — the Firebird.

It all starts with The Crack Shack’s signature Nashville-style fried chicken. After marinating the chicken in buttermilk and pickle juice, the chicken is doused with a helping of “Crack spice” – a signature blend of herbs and spices – before it’s fried.

Now, it wouldn’t be fair to call this sandwich “The Firebird” without throwing this perfectly crispy chicken breast into something that’ll get your forehead sweaty, which is why every Firebird is dunked in a hot sauce blend of paprika and cayenne pepper right before it’s set on the toasted bun.

The Firebird comes together with a double helping of Ranch dressing on each bun, some fresh pickles and crispy onion straws.

Next time you’re craving fried chicken, just know that The Crack Shack is FOODBEAST Approved.

To plan out your next foodie-venture in Costa Mesa, visit and tag your pics with #eatcation!

Photos by Pete Pham

Created in partnership with Travel Costa Mesa

Fast Food News Restaurants What's New

Chipotle’s Revamped TastyMade Burger Concept Is Basically A More Pricy In-N-Out

Chipotle has just revamped TastyMade, their standalone burger concept, and the new version has the feel of a slightly upscale In-N-Out.

The chain, under the leadership of Top Chef’s Richard Blais, closed for a couple of days to implement all of the new changes. With the upgraded menu now live, we’ve been able to take a look at what’s new and gone and see just how similar to In-N-Out the burger spinoff has become.

One of the biggest modifications to TastyMade’s lineup comes in the form of price. While a single hamburger went for $3.75 in the past, that price has now been slashed to $2.45, competitive with In-N-Out’s $2.10 cost for the same item (Single cheeseburgers are $2.75 and $2.40 at the revamped TastyMade and In-N-Out, respectively). You can also now stack up additional patties at TastyMade, leaving open the possibility for a 50×50 challenge of In-N-Out’s caliber to be conducted at Chipotle’s version of the burger concept.

Instead of the old “Bacon Sauce,” Blais has added a lineup of modern dips to go with your fries and burgers, including a “burger sauce” that looks and sounds very similar to In-N-Out’s Animal Sauce. That doesn’t appear to be by coincidence, since the Burger Sauce is one of the ingredients to their “Extra Tasty” fries, which are loaded with the condiment, grilled onions, and melted cheese. Sound familiar?

A post shared by Tasty Made (@tastymade) on

Of course, TastyMade was meant to be like In-N-Out to begin with, serving a simple selection of burgers, fries, and shakes (which are still present in the new menu at a dollar cheaper than before). However, these lower price points and the inclusion of items similar to In-N-Out’s signatures makes Richard Blais’s revamp feel like a slightly pricier version of the West Coast Classic, albeit with a little more selection.

The one thing that does separate these two apart is the inclusion of bacon on TastyMade’s menu. It wasn’t there in the past, but the new “Mighty Made” burger comes with three patties, two slices of cheese, and two slices of bacon. That gives Chipotle’s burger concept the ability to compete with and stand apart from In-N-Out should the two ever have locations in the same place.

Read Seth T.‘s review of Tasty Made on Yelp

As for how TastyMade’s burgers taste, early feedback so far is giving the restaurant a thumbs up, with one Instagram user calling the burger “delicious.” And a recent Yelp review, the whole of which you can see above, showered TastyMade with praise after not having been a fan of its former iteration. Looks like Chef Blais is definitely doing something right by steering Chipotle’s concept in the direction of In-N-Out.

Currently, TastyMade is only available in Ohio, but there are plans to expand in the future. For now, customers in the area could see it as what In-N-Out would be like if the legend ever opened up in their neighborhood.

Celebrity Grub Fast Food News Restaurants

Top Chef Richard Blais Joins Chipotle To Help Revive Stagnant Burger Concept

Chipotle hasn’t been having the best of months. Queso has been a topic of concern across the internet, especially with the discontinuing of their chorizo. While their mainstay is having some issues, the business is looking to revamp and revive one of their lesser-known concepts by bringing in a superstar chef. Top Chef alum Richard Blais joins Chipotle as they try to retool Tasty Made, their one-location burger joint.

Richard Blais brings some serious culinary cred with him to the stagnant burger shop. As a winner of both Top Chef and Top Chef All-Stars, he’s proven that he can go toe-to-toe with the greats in terms of producing delicious food. If that wasn’t enough evidence of his prowess, he’s also got Juniper and Ivy, one of San Diego’s best fine dining establishments. There’s also Crack Shack, a mouthwatering fried chicken spot that’s making it’s way up the California coast. And in case you’re wondering what a fine dining and fried chicken gourmet chef knows about burgers, he hosted an entire season of Burger Lab on the Tasted YouTube channel, where he conceived some of the most epic and delicious burgers you can find on the internet.

Chipotle could definitely use a flex or two from Blais’s culinary muscles when it comes to Tasty Made. The restaurant has been open for about a year, but has received mediocre views for its fare, at best. Hopefully, a burger and culinary genius like Blais is just what Tasty Made and Chipotle need to turn the concept around.