Food Network: “Chefs vs. City” Mix it Up at 700 Kitchen Cooking School

Note:  This was originally posted on May 3, 2010.  Due to the website going down with technical issues the April/May posts were deleted from the database.  In the interest of maintaining the original content of the site I’m now re-posting.


Chris Cosentino & Aaron Sanchez battled Jamie & Bobby Deen in 700 Kitchen Cooking School during "Chefs vs. City" Savannah All-Stars

Left to right:  Sean Rossi, Kate Blair, Jamie Deen, Bobby Deen, Jonathan Preston, Darin Sehnert, Aaron Sanchez, Chris Cosentino, Danette McGeeney

Finally!  After much anticipation the Savannah episode of “Chefs vs. City” finally aired last night.  Taped back in February, it pitted and , the host chefs of the show, against local Food Network personalities .

Crew Set-up for Taping Chefs vs. City - Savannah

Competing in a total of five food-related competitions around the historic city of , the final battle was set in and featured each team of chefs having to take on my role of instruction but without the benefit of being able to handle any of the food or the equipment themselves.  I provided them with a finished dish for visual reference but the novice cooks that they were instructing had no such benefit.  They were totally reliant on the instruction of the competing chef teams for their knowledge of the dish and preparation tasks.  I served as the judge watching to make sure they prepared the dishes as instructed and completed the task as close to correctly as possible.

I was also responsible for supplying the novice cooks as well as determining what southern-oriented dessert they’d be preparing for the wrap-up of the episode.  My choice?  What is more southern than Banana Pudding?  But, rather than just banana pudding I challenged them to making my Banana Pudding Crepes with Warm Bailey’s Toffee Sauce.

With a production crew of about 12-15 people (cameras, producers, sound, etc.) and nine of us in front of the cameras it made for a busy and crowded taping but everything went off without a hitch (well, except for when Jonathan whipped his cream into butter…and when Kate used salt instead of sugar for her whipped cream)…ok, maybe not without a hitch in the recipes but the taping itself was great.  Wow…and to think I get paid to do this stuff!

Pre-Taping Brief for Chefs vs. City - Savannah All-Stars

Pre-Taping Brief before Shooting Begins

If you missed the episode last night, it will air again tomorrow night on Tuesday May 4th at 9pm EST/8c (6pmPST) and midnight EST/11c (9pm PST).




“Banana Pudding” Crepes with Warm Bailey’s Toffee Sauce

Banana pudding is one of the most ubiquitous desserts of the south. I don’t use pudding or pastry cream for the filling.  The name came about because when friends tasting the finished crepe found the flavor of the filling to be reminiscent of this revered southern dessert.


Yield: 8 Servings

1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup milk
2/3 cup cold water
3 eggs
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup pure maple syrup
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur
1 pkg. (8-oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 bananas, sliced lengthwise into quarters and diced into ¼” dice
½ cup toasted and chopped pecans

Crepe batter: Crack eggs into a mixing bowl and beat thoroughly. Add milk, water, and salt and whisk to thoroughly blend. While whisking the milk mixture, pour in flour and whisk until blended.

Add melted butter and whisk to incorporate.

Chill for 1 – 24 hours.

Cooking crepes: Heat an 8” or 10” non-stick pan until drops of water “dance” on it. Spray with vegetable spray and using a small ladle, pour in 1 ½ – 2 ounces of crepe batter into pan. Tilt and swirl the pan in all directions to spread the batter across the bottom. The batter should cover the bottom with a light and even coating. Allow the crepe to cook until the underside is lightly browned (about 30 seconds). Use a rubber spatula to gently flip the crepe over and allow to cook for another 15 to 20 seconds.

If preparing crepes ahead of time, lay the warm crepes on a cooling rack to cool. Once they are cool you can stack them without fear of them sticking. Place in a plastic bag, label and store in refrigerator or freeze for up to 3 months for future use.

Sauce:  Place maple syrup in a 2-quart saucepan and place over medium high heat. Bring to a boil and continue to boil until syrup reduces and starts darkening to the color of a dark iced tea.

Immediately remove from heat, and add heavy cream while whisking vigorously. Be careful of the large amount of steam that will be released when adding the cream. Add butter and Bailey’s Irish cream liqueur and whisk until butter is incorporated. Serve warm or refrigerate if preparing in advance.

(Sauce may be prepared to this point 2 days in advance and then rewarmed.)

Filling:  Place cream cheese, sour cream, sugar and vanilla into a mixer bowl and beat with electric mixer until smooth. Taste and adjust according to preference with sugar or vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in diced banana pieces until evenly mixed. (Filling can be prepared 2 days in advance but do not add bananas – fold in just before assembly)

To assemble crepes: Lay one crepe flat on work surface. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of filling in center of crepe. Fold the side nearest you over the top of the filling. Fold the left side of crepe over the filling. Fold the right side of crepe over the filling. Starting on the side nearest you, roll the crepe away from your body, rolling up until filling is encased completely. Continue with remaining crepes. Keep crepes at room temperature until serving.

To serve: Place two crepes on each serving plate. Re-warm the sauce and spoon over top of crepes. Garnish with toasted chopped pecans.



2 Comments on “Food Network: “Chefs vs. City” Mix it Up at 700 Kitchen Cooking School”

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