Tag Archives: Hell’s Kitchen

Cottle On New Reality Cooking Show

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chefkcWell-known chef Kevin Cottle got his first taste of national television when he finished runner-up on Season 6 of Chef Gordon Ramsey’s Fox reality show, “Hell’s Kitchen” several years ago.

Cottle, a Connecticut favorite who will soon open his Fire at the Ridge restaurant at Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort, is back on the tube again, Las Vegas-style.

Cottle is a competing chef on a new Food Network show called “Kitchen Casino.”

Hosted by former “Apprentice” winner, tv personality and entrepreneur Bill Rancic, the show pits four chefs against each other in three casino-themed cooking challenges, slots, poker and roulette.

“It’s a little crazy,” said Cottle whose segment airs on May 12. “In the slot machine challenge, youBill Rancic pull a lever and get three ingredients that you have to use to make a dish that is judged,” he explained. “In the roulette wheel challenge, you step back and the kitchen stations spin and you end up having to finish a dish that someone else started.”

Celebrity judges making appearances on the show include Michael Chernow, Madison Cowan, Danyelle Freedman, Gavin Kaysen, Aliya Leekong and Kristin Sollenne.

Billed as a “high stakes game of luck and strategy,” the new show premiered April 7. It airs on the Food Network on Mondays at 9 p.m.

“It felt good to be on television again,” said Cottle, who was approached by the network to be on the show. “I had never really planned to do a show again,” said Cottle, who could not spill any of the details of his segment including whether he won the $30,000 grand prize. “But then I got the competitive itch again and this show just intrigued me.”

Jordan Caterers Closes Unexpectedly

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Jordan Rapoport, center, with then Jordan chefs Kevin Cottle, left and Van Hurd, at the New Britain Museum of American Art.

A well-known family catering business has unexpectedly closed.

The owners of Jordan Caterers Design Event Planners announced Monday night they are shutting down the family owned business because of poor economic conditions over the past several years.

In a prepared statement, Debra Rapoport said she and her husband, Jeff, “are truly sorry for the disruption this decision may cause and are incredibly appreciative of the support we have received over the past three decades.”

“We have always focused on putting our customers first and that continues to be of utmost importance,” she said in a statement originally posted on Facebook. “We are actively working with others in the catering community to do everything we can to limit the impact on our customers”

Jeff Rapoport told the Courant Monday there would be no additional comment.

The already popular Cheshire-based business gained additional celebrity about three years ago when it hired two well-known chefs who appeared on the Fox reality show ‘Hell’s Kitchen.’ Kevin Cottle left Jordan’s last year to be part of the Powder Ridge restoration project which includes a new restaurant. Van Hurd, from the same show, left the company two weeks ago.

The Rapoport’s son, Jordan, director of sales, had taken over the daily operations in 2012. He could not be reached for comment.

The  Rapoports began the family business as The Eaterie Delicatessen
and Restaurant in 1979 in Cheshire. In 1987 the company relocated and was rebranded as Jordan Caterers, and had two locations, Cheshire and Darien. The company had also managed food and catering operations at the New Britain Museum of American Art, Whinstone Tavern in New Britain, Guilford Yacht Club, New Haven Country Club and Artspace in New Haven.

New Powder Ridge Resort To Include Skiing, Biking, Restaurant

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pr1 (1)The former ailing wintertime Powder Ridge ski area in Middlefield is getting ready for a new life that will not only include winter snowboarding, racing, skiing and seasonal mountain terrain riding and racing, but also an upscale restaurant, shopping and hotel accommodations.

And it is all scheduled to open by the end of the year.

That was the announcement Wednesday by the five investors who unveiled the finalized plans for the new Powder Ridge Mountain Park Resort.

“We are calling it an urban sports facility and resort,” said CEO Sean Hayes. “We are redefining what a local ski area can be.”

pr1 (2)Renovations have begun for the new adventure park expected to open in December. Investors say it will include a four-lane boarder and ski cross course and slalom runs with multiple gates. Plans call for 20 feature-rich trails for all skill levels, complete with log-style rails, cascading jumps and a full-size half pipe. The park resort also will have a Burton riglet snowboarding program for kids as young as 24 months, according to Hayes. The themed riglet park will feature kid-size interactive stations that teach students how to maneuver over, under and around sculpted terrain and features.

The resort will be designed to operate four seasons with mountain bike trails with lift-service downhill, cyclo cross, free ride and up and down racing trails during fall, spring and summer. Other features of the park will include a 5,700-square-foot rental center with repair services, annual leasing programs, lessons and team building activities.

Hayes, along with his brother Ed Hayes, and Dr. Minh Han and John Gramegna, are the founders of the Portland’s Brownstone Exploration & Discovery Park, a seasonal park open for seven years with zip lines, cliff jumping, scuba diving, rock climbing and wakeboarding in an abandoned quarry owned by the town.

Brownstone Group purchased Powder Ridge from the town of Middlefield less than a year ago for $700,000. The facility had closed in 2006, and the town bought it in 2008 for $2.55 million after it went into foreclosure. The group has since added nationally recognized chef Kevin Cottle as an investor for both facilities.

Cottle, a former “Hell’s Kitchen” reality TV show runner-up, is heading up the restaurant and catering operations. The 19,000-square-foot former ski lodge is being renovated and will feature the “Fire at the Ridge,” an upscale restaurant, with fine food, fireplaces and a view of the slopes via flat-screen monitors.

“It will be a New England farm-to-table menu with a twist,” said Cottle, who has been executive chef at Country Club of Farmington and Jordan Caterers. Noting it is the first restaurant he has owned, Cottle said he is looking forward to having his own kitchen. Cottle said that while the food and experience will be top shelf, it is not meant to be a “fine dining” kind of place.

The restaurant is also scheduled to open in December.

The former ski lodge will also house the “Ridgeside Tavern” and a cafeteria for skiers and bikers.

The resort also will have hotel rooms, bathing and dressing facilities and retail stores. Hayes estimates the cost for the renovation is between $4 and $5 million. A $500,000 state grant is also being used for the project, Hayes said.

TV Personalities In The News, Hell’s Kitchen Looking for Chefs!

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Fox Ct co-anchor Laurie Perez was one of 37 women honored Wednesday by the New Britain YWCA at its 15th Biennial Women in Leadership Luncheon.

Perez, who is also co-host of FOX CT’s weekly political show “The Real Story”, and five others, were inducted into the YWCA’s Academy of Women Leaders at the luncheon.

The event recognizes women in central Connecticut who demonstrate extraordinary leadership and outstanding achievements.

“This is a well-deserved honor for Laurie. She works as an anchor, hosts a political show, reports on major news stories yet finds time to help other women through her volunteerism and mentoring. We are proud that she is a member of the FOX CT News team,” said Coleen Marren, FOX CT News Director.

Other women inducted in the academy were State Rep. Elizabeth Boukus, Central Connecticut State University professor Carolyn Fallahi, Coram Deo Recovery case manager Theresa Leonard, New Britain High School Academy for Health Professions and Hospital for Special Care consultant Maria Pietrantuono and Career Development Specialist at the Connecticut Department of Labor, Diana Ryan.

Bestselling author Gretchen Rubin was the guest speaker. FOX CT anchor Alison Morris emceed the event.

An additional 31 women were also honored for their community service and outreach efforts at the luncheon at the Aqua Turf in Southington.

And at WFSB…

Dan Kain may have not been feted recently but he surely will be in the next few weeks. He is retiring.

Kain, who has worked at WFSB for 25 years, will step down on June 7.

As far as naming a replacement to the story-telling beat?

“Hard to say,”said news director Dana Neves. “Dan is really and truly irreplaceable!!”

And speaking of tv, do you want to be on it?

Gordon_Ramsay[1]Fox TV is looking for chefs/cooks who want to be on “Hell’s Kitchen” with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.

The reality show pits one cook against another and ultimately ends with someone being chosen by the hot-headed Ramsay to oversee the kitchen at one of his world-famous restaurants.

If you are interested, send an email to HKCasting2013@gmail.com

In the subject line put your name and the city and state where you live. In the body of the email include your name, where you live, your address, you present occupation, a photo of yourself, contact information and a little about your culinary experience and why you think you would be a good fit for the show.

Hurd Makes It A Short Stay At Water’s Edge

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hurdandkerrCelebrity chef Van Hurd is back in the Jordan’s Catering kitchen as its second-in-command executive sous chef.

The former “Hell’s Kitchen” reality show star you might remember, left the Cheshire –based catering firm to become executive chef at Westbrook’s Water’s  Edge last month.

No comment on why he left the new gig so soon, especially since he had said he couldn’t wait to be in charge of his own kitchen. 

Hurd, who hails from Texas,  came to Connecticut several years ago to join fellow Hell’s Kitchen contestant and close friend Kevin Cottle, first at Country Club of Farmington and then Jordan’s Caterers where Cottle is executive chef.


Best Food In the State? We’ll Know Monday

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food1food2food4Celebrity foodies including former “Hell’s Kitchen” finalist  and Jordan Caterer exec chef Kevin Cottle and culinary expert Prudence Sloane were among those who traipsed to the Aqua Turf club in Plantsville Thursday to judge the annual Product Awards competition sponsored each year by the CT Specialty Food Association.

More than 180 products produced in Connecticut were vying for awards in categories including cheese, wines, jams, dressings, breads, desserts, vinegars, frozen food, snack food and sweet toppings.

“We had a different balance this year,” said organizer Tricia Levesque, association director. “A lot of newer companies entered and some of our veteran companies chose not to compete, but we have almost the same number of entries as last year.”

The annual event is designed to showcase local food producers from around the state and determine who makes the best of the best in Connecticut.

Tabulating scores from judges won’t be done until Friday with winners being announced on Monday.

For the record, Java was a judge for the fourth year in a row, this year judging jams, non-alcoholic beverages, gluten-free snacks and desserts and vinegars.  A perfect workday!

Last year Chaplin Farms LLC of Chaplin  won “product of the year”  with its apple pie jam.

Hell’s Kitchen “Bad Boy” Hurd Moving To Water’s Edge

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hurdandkerrWe loved the him on Season 6 of the Fox reality show “Hell’s Kitchen” with his bold mouth and   redneck charm, and welcomed him as a Connecticut celebrity chef when he relocated to join fellow HK standout Kevin Cottle at the Country Club of Farmington and then Jordan’s Caterers.

But now Van Hurd has decided it’s time for him to be the #1 guy in the kitchen and will do it as the new executive chef at Water’s Edge Resort & Spa  in Westbrook.

“I’m just tired of being the second one in charge and this is a chance to head my own kitchen,” said Hurd who was living in Texas when he was on the popular Fox network show hosted by Gordon Ramsay. “My plan is to review the menus at all the restaurants at Water’s Edge before making any changes but it’s exciting  to take on this new job.”

Hurd, who has worked under Cottle for several years said his decision to move on by himself feels likes a “break-up” with the guy who became his dear friend when they met on the show.

“But we’ll still be friends, probably better ones now that we aren’t working together,” laughed the married father one. “It was time for me to go on my own ,” he said. “I’m excited about it.”


Cottle Headed Back To Hell’s Kitchen

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We were bummed when our favorite chef, Kevin Cottle, didn’t win Season 6 of Hell’s Kitchen. But as the runner-up, he still fared well and has gone on to a stellar cooking career that landed him the job of  executive chef for Jordan’s Caterer’s here.

For fans of the Fox reality show, be sure to tune in Monday night. Cottle is back on the tube and in the hell heat of Gordon Ramsay’s kitchen.

He and several other second place chefs from past seasons will be taking on the six chefs who are still in it this season.

Cottle, you may remember, ended up drafting fellow contestant Van Hurd to Connecticut as well. The two have stepped up more than once to help a host of Connecticut charities,  making Hell’s Kitchen loss, our state’s gain.


Chef Smackdown At Belle Terrace, A Gift Of Love

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It was a busy night for event planner Maura Fitzgerald Friday. She was co-chairing gifts of Love annual “ready, set, COOK” fundraiser in Avon, with plans to leave there at 9:30 to head over to another one of her events in Collinsville.

She did it all with a smile.

Fitzgerald is the driving force behind the annual Gifts of Love fundraiser that featured four celebrity chefs, assisted by celebrity “helpers” in a cooking smack-down that ultimately raises money for the non-profit that provides everything from food to furniture for those in need.

“It’s hectic but it’s good,” said Fitzgerald, as she surveyed the record crowd that turned out for the competition at Belle Terrace in Avon. “We’ll get it all done.”

And done they did. With co-chair Lori Shield and a committee of workers, the event included an impressive line-up.

Celebrity chefs included former Hell’s Kitchen contestant Van Hurd, The Meat House’s Tim Hester, Chip Miller from Hartford’s Society Room in Hartford and last year’s winner Michael Lee from Max’s Oyster Bar. The chefs had back-up from celebs including former New England Patriots Tebucky Jones, Fox Ct anchor Logan Byrnes, former Whaler and New York Ranger Bob Crawford and Sacramento Mountain Lion Andre Dixon.

Emcee for the event was WHCN radio show host and Fox Ct traffic reporter Rachel Lutzker and WWYZ radio show host Corey Myers.

In between signing autographs and posing the for pictures, the celebs had a big job to do…cook up some serious food with the products they brought and the three mystery items that this year were coffee, cheese doodles and fennel.

“I never would have believed there was such a thing as cheese doodle milk,” said Rocky Hill  resident Art Plourde, as he watched one group blend cream and cheese doodles into a sauce for a risotto dish.

There were also cheese doodle potato cakes, and crushed cheese doodle-dipped brioche,  coffee crusted beef skewers and coffee mustard foam on made-on-the premise bratwurst boiled in beer.

When all was tasted, Miller was proclaimed the winner.

Among the judges was Jim Bucko, who by chance, is one of the principals in The Society Room and Belle Terrace.

“I can be fair about this,” he good-naturedly insisted as the taste testing began. “I want the best chef to win.”

For more pictures go to: http://bit.ly/NeShXH