Top Chef returns for the ninth season of Bravo’s competition cooking show! This time they are taking the “cheftestants” on a tour of Texas culinary hotspots: San Antonio, Dallas and Austin in Top Chef: Texas!
Returning judges Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi and Gail Simmons will be joined by Emeril Lagasse and Hugh Acheson along with special guests Charlize Theron, Pee-wee Herman, Cat Cora, John Besh, Tim Love and Patti LaBelle.
And proving that all things are bigger in Texas, this season the competition starts out with a record 29 cheftestants whittled down to the usual 16 during the premiere!
Those 16 chefs will then embark on a three-city culinary tour of Texas to compete for $100,000 and a feature in Food & Wine Magazine. The catch? None of the 29 chefs starting out the competition know that 13 of them will be going home almost immediately. Oops! “This season’s raising the level of intensity pretty fast,” reveals contestant Chaz Brown in the preview clip. Fittingly, some of the other contestants don’t take the news so well.
A clip of the season premiere is below! Top Chef: Texas airs tonight on Bravo (10/9c). Are you ready to get your grub on?
ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT THE NEW SEASON OF TOP CHEF? WILL YOU BE WATCHING?
On last night’s episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills things got wild Moroccan style at Pandora’s insane, incredible, fantastic engagement party. Can Mohammed be my godfather? Kim debuted her new man who is also a Ken! And Taylor and Russell got a little threatastic with the tabloids. Oh, and Taylor started planning another Birthday Party for Kennedy!
Lisa is driving through her hood amidst the palm trees, Bentleys, designer logos, and mega-mansions casually calling all her friends to remind them that the party of the year will be happening on Tuesday so they better show up. Sadly, everyone is screening her calls. No interest in the British accent today, co-stars? Finally Kyle answers and is wondering what on earth to wear?! Something fun and something ball gown. Lisa fills Kyle in on her little cooking lesson with Adrienne. They are both surprised Adrienne didn’t rub some hand lotion on the poor chicken!
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RadarOnline is reporting that Chrisand his brother Joseph formed Signature Apparel Group (a company that once owned brands such as Rocawear and Eve’s Fetish) in 2005 and “drained the company” amassing a debt of $7,804,227 which was used to “support their luxurious lifestyle”!
According to documents the company banked more than $250 million between 2005 and 2009, but then surprisingly declared bankruptcy in September 2009, and just like their friend Teresa, someone started complaining that the bankruptcy petition might just be fraudulent. The suspicious bankruptcy filing prompted the debtor “to come forward with the complaint”, claiming company monies were “misused,” RadarOnline reveals.
Chris and Joseph “drained the Company of all its funds and assets in order to support their families’ increasingly opulent lifestyle of private jets, limousines, extravagant parties, premium automobiles, designer clothing, ostentatious home furnishings and lavish vacations,” the complaint filed November 2, 2010 alleges. “Signature’s assets were misused to make outright and unjustified payments to Laurita family members, and to fund the operations of the Laurita brothers’ other companies and business ventures.”
So what exactly did the Lauritas spend all that money on? Well, according to the documents, here’s the breakdown:
Nearly $2 million in credit card payments for the Laurity Family, including payments to more than 40 bank accounts
At least $331,637 for payments on no less than eleven leased cars, including a Bentley and a Maserati
At least $284,793 in airline travel expenses for the Laurita Family
At least $145,894 for private airplane rentals for the Laurita Family
At least $7,280 for travel agent expenses for the Laurita Family
At least $755,184 to defendant Christopher Laurita for undocumented or insufficiently documented reasons
At least $784,160 of disbursements directed by the Laurita Director Defendants (Chris and Joseph) to unknown recipients, without any documentation whatsoever
Even worse, the complaint alleges that Jacqueline had knowledge that shady business dealings were taking place and willing participated in wrongfully accepting money from the company, which is why she is named as part of the suit! The documents claim Jacqueline, along with Anthony Laurita, “knew of the Laurita Director Defendant’s wrongful conduct, and each substantially assisted the Laurita Director Defendants in breaching their fiduciary duties by, among other conduct, accepting funds they each knew belonged to Signature and for which they each knew they had performed no services and/or provided no value.”
“Funds that should have been used to grow Signature’s business and to pay Signature’s vendors and creditors, instead were diverted to the Laurita Family Defendants.” Oops – that’s not good.
Chris has denied “nearly all of the 155 allegations made in the claim” and believes it should be summarily dismissed, citing: “a failure to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action and a failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” The case is still pending so Reality Tea keep you posted with all the updates! Jacqueline has yet to comment, but if Bravo had wind of this matter it may have been another reason she skipped the RHONJ Season 3 Reunion!
In my limited knowledge of bankruptcy law, this is what I understand to have happened: it seems that instead of paying creditors to keep the business lucrative the Lauritas allegedly pocketed the proceeds and spent the money for personal use, then filed bankruptcy to avoid paying their bills. Now they are being accused of fraudulently filing bankruptcy. Any legal or financial experts out there please chime in!
In other news, when it flurries it becomes a Norwegian! Just a few days ago it was reported that Jacqueline was indeed a stripper before marrying Chris and Jacqueline is still adamantly denying it! You know the old expression “the lady doth protest too much…”
Jacqueline took to her personal website to clear up any lingering suspicions about how she met Chris and is sticking to the story that they met while she was a convention model. She also posted yet another Tweet denying she was a stripper and accusing someone (ahem…Teresa) of leaking false stories: “Im being 100% honest w/everyone w/my story of how Chris&I met in Chicago. I WAS NOT A STRIPPER/PROSTITUTE as said by shady people 4 money”
I, for one, can’t wait to hear what sister in law from hell, Caroline Manzo has to say about the latest!
[Photo credit: Sylvain Gaboury / PR Photos]
THOUGHTS ON THE LAURITA’S FINANCIAL SITUATION? DO YOU BELIEVE THEY ARE INNOCENT OF ANY WRONG DOING? ARE YOU SURPRISED BY WHAT THE ARTICLE IS ALLEGING? DOES THE RECENT INFORMATION CHANGE YOUR OPINION OF JACQUELINE?
The popular show released a preview of what’s to come during Game 4 of the World Series letting us know, without question, all of last year’s judges: Steven Tyler, Randy Jackson, and Jennifer Lopez will be returning. Along with debonair host with the most, Ryan Seacrest!
Unlike the cantankerous behavior of former judging panels these judges are the best of friends on camera. “They’re like my brothers and they drive me crazy like brothers, too,” Jennifer described of Steven and Randy. “But we love each other, which is why we’ve become like a family.” Well, as family I wish somebody would talk to Jennifer about her on-set wardrobe! It was a standout last season – and not in a good way.
And since it’s another season without Simon Cowell to be the blunt voice of reason, Jennifer is assuring us this year the judges are “a little tougher on everybody.” Oooohh… good! No more constant praise – we want to see some snark!
Jennifer tells PEOPLE that being too nice wasn’t necessarily the way to go. “Because of last season and the standard that we set, it’s easy to go, ‘Is he as good as even our top 24 from last year?’ ” I guess Jenny has to earn that reported $20M she is getting paid to sit on the judges panel this season.
However, she is positive the talent pool is better than ever with many amazing voices to wow both the judges and the fans alike! “It’s not like you find people just like that, but the ones that we found, we know are very special,” she declared.
The preview clip is below!
[Photo credit: Ivan Nikolov/WENN.com]
ARE YOU EXCITED FOR SEASON 11 OF AMERICAN IDOL? DO YOU THINK THE JUDGES SHOULD BE A LITTLE HARDER ON THE PERFORMERS OR DO YOU PREFER A GENTLER APPROACH?
“Ken stabbed me in the back and Lisa twisted the knife, but they didn’t kill me,” he laments. “It was a rough year, but I’ve landed on my feet.” And things are going well for the former moocher – he now has a job he loves, his own place, and a tell-all memoir in the works.
I wonder if that tell-all will include tidbits about the Vanderpump-Todd family? After all during the Season 1 reunion, Lisa revealed they were forced to get the police involved following Cedric’s ejection from their mansion and Kyle Richards let it slip that the couple filed a restraining order against Cedric!
Well, restraining order or not, Cedric is not hesitating to speak out on the couple who housed him and treated him as one of their family and Cedric insists that Lisa was buddy-buddy with the tabloid media and gave them negative stories about him and other cast members! “There’s no question about it. I’ve known Lisa has Us Weekly on speed dial since she sold out my relationship with Lance Bass,” Cedric declares. Um… what relationship with Lance Bass – did I miss something?
He also claims that Lisa is “absolutely” the person who fed the media information about Taylor’s marital issues, which is a storyline included in this season!
Cedric is also responding to friend Brandi Glanville‘s accusations that Kim Richards is an addict! “Anyone watching this season knows drinking is the least of her problems,” Cedric asserts. “I hope and pray she gets the help she so desperately needs.”
Well, Lisa has no comment – yet – about Cedric’s latest claims! But he will definitely be making an appearance later this season!
In other RHOBH news, unofficial Housewives Brandi and Dana Wilkey are giving their two cents on what it was like participating in a reality show!
As for adapting to life on TV, Brandi to confesses to the Huffington Post there were certainly some “low points” for all the cast members through the course of the show and she faults a lot of the erratic and unflattering behavior to long hours of filming mixed with lots of alcohol and little food!
Brandi also spoke out about LeAnn Rimes, the woman who first stole her husband and is now stealing her style! Brandi calls the alleged imitations “irritating.”
Since dating and subsequently marrying Eddie Cibiran, LeAnn has undergone a drastic weight loss, gotten breast implants, and started mimicking some of Brandi’s Twitter pics with those of her own (I’m sure you all remember the identical bikini poses!). LeAnn has even faced criticism for her weightloss from E! host Giuliana Rancic!
Well Brandi, who definitely isn’t one to hold her tongue, feels that LeAnne should give it up as being Brandi certainly wasn’t enough to sustain her marriage! “It obviously didn’t keep my ex-husband with me,” Brandi explains. “It didn’t work.”
“Oh, it’s irritating, yeah,” Brandi reveals. “[But] the kids love her. I’m happy that they love her,” she relents, taking the high road and admitting LeAnn is a good step-mom.
Dana also talked about how friend and co-star Taylor Armstrong is coping in response to the recent tragedy in her life. Dana admits: “She’s rebuilding. [She] will never be the same person again.”
She also confronts the rumor that Taylor may be dating Most Eligible Dallas star Matt Nordgren after numerous reports have spotted them together. “They’re just ‘silly stories,’” Dana insists!
A new episode of RHOBH airs tonight! The ninth episode titled ‘Otherwise Engaged’ Mohammed throws Pandora an over the top circus-themed engagement party, featuring camels, circus performers and snakes. But no Kim! Kim is a no-show since she is hiding her boyfriend, who according to IMDB, she has been dating for two-years! And Kyle has a tense dinner with Taylor and Russell who threaten legal action against Lisa for supposedly planting stories about them in the tabloids!
Tonya alleges that her fellow The Ruins cast mates Kenny Santucci and Evan Starkman “took another male participant’s toothbrush and rubbed the toothbrush around plaintiff’s genitals, including rubbing her labia and inserting the toothbrush into plaintiff’s vagina.”
Tonya claims she was passed out at the time of incident but MTV cameras captured the “rape” and did nothing to stop it – nor was she told about what happened. She reports that the following morning she found “lacerations and rash-like abrasions on her labia,” and had no idea how they got there. Later she learned that both the camera crews and other cast mates had witnessed the assault.
On the day of incident in question, Tonya’s complaint asserts that on a non-competition day MTV provided the cast members with copious amounts of alcohol before noon and offered limited food, resulting in her becoming “very intoxicated.” She also alleges that on that same day another male co-star “forcibly removed” her bikini top while the group was hanging out at the pool, which prompted her to retire to the cast’s accommodations where she “passed out on the floor.” It was during this time that the alleged rape occurred, according to Tonya’s suit.
Prior to the incident Tonya states she complained about the treatment she and other female cast members received at the hands of male counterparts and both MTV and Bunim/Murray told her to “just deal with it.”
The Reality Blurred blog also pointed out that Tonya’s lawsuit reveals she actually filed a complaint on May 7, 2010 with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, before filing this lawsuit last week. Some had wondered why Tonya waited so long since the alleged incident occurred in late 2009, and this proves she didn’t. In the original complaint, Tonya alleged “unlawful termination, harassment, failure to prevent discrimination or retaliation, retaliation and sexual assault.” It appears she tried to resolve her complaint with MTV before going the lawsuit route.
Well, a rep for Bunim/Murray is, of course, denying any culpability on the producer’s part, claiming “a thorough investigation” was conducted and that investigation “found Tonya Cooley’s claims to be completely baseless.” MTV has yet to respond do the accusations, stating they do not have a “comment” on the lawsuit. I see they take sexually assault allegations very seriously…
So seriously, in fact, that both Kenny and Evan appeared on Challenge: The Rivals, which aired this summer.
THOUGHTS ON THE ADDITIONAL DETAILS REVEALED ABOUT TONYA’S ALLEGATIONS? ARE YOU SURPRISED THE NETWORK AND THE PRODUCTION COMPANY HAVE NO COMMENT? DO YOU BELIEVE HER CLAIMS ARE “BASELESS”?
Or perhaps they are just responding to the latest round of stories reported by In Touch Weekly, which are rumored to have been planted by Teresa, herself!
Speaking out on New York Live, Caroline did not hold back! “I noticed a change [in Teresa] when other ladies joined the cast,” she revealed. “We were acquaintances, not friends. Off camera, there was nothing — no interaction,” she insists.
“It has been an unbelievable experience. A growing experience, a learning experience, but I’ve had a lot of heartbreak because of it,” she explains, alluding to her rift with Dina Manzo, which she seems to believe was caused or at least exacerbated by Teresa. “So much I won’t say, because I don’t want to hurt anyone. I’m not going to blame the network. For a TV show, I’m not going to hurt someone. I’m not going to do it,” she declares.
Caroline is also still reeling from Teresa’s attacks against her children, who in her mind have never crossed the threshold into adulthood or something. “My children didn’t sign up for this. We put ourselves out there and have no idea.” Caroline insists, claiming they had never seen reality TV before joining the cast and were not prepared for the negativity.
Caroline also joined Melissa and Kathy Wakile for an interview with The Insider where they spoke about, what else – Teresa! Oh, and the upcoming Season 4 drama!
“Why should I feel sorry for someone who walks away from love?” Caroline asks, referring to castmate and never-really-friend Teresa. “You don’t have the right play the victim, when you’re the one doing all the hitting,” she admonished.
Describing her relationship with Teresa prior to the reunion and the explosive stripper-gate incident supposedly filmed the night before, Melissa expresses her shock over Teresa’s behavior. “I get very disappointed in her,” Melissa laments. “When we’re so good, why would you take that chance?”
“We were great, probably better than ever. And I owe a lot of that to Bravo” Melissa explains, claiming that the interaction required for the show brought them closer and helped a positive a more relationship develop.
As for the friendship between the other castmates, Melissa describes: “It’s just easy, there’s no insulting going on.” Caroline and Kathy echo those sentiments, claiming they are supportive of each other, not competitive, and they “help each other” by offering opportunity and support.
Melissa also spoke to Hollywood Life about the reunion and dealing with the sister-in-law from hell on national television. And she believes the other ladies did not gang up on Teresa!
“Everyone was upset with her,” she states. “We had an explosive night the day [before the reunion] — that was a lot of the reason for the bad blood that you saw,” Melissa reveals, refusing to give any more details about what may have happened.
“I felt the pressure she was going through,” Melissa mentions, claiming she tried to keep a low-profile since Teresa and Caroline were embroiled in so much animosity. “Obviously you saw the commotion between her and Caroline, so I didn’t want to sit there and her think that we were ganging up on her. That was not the intention at all. We’re not trying to team up on her. We are addressing the issue. That’s what the reunion is.”
Melissa also agreed that poor plagued by stripper-rumors, Jacqueline Laurita would not have been able to pull herself away from Twitter handle the reunion! “It was something that Teresa has done that Jacqueline does not agree with,” Melissa cites “She just wouldn’t be able to handle a nine-hour filming session.”
As for how Teresa could make amends with her family and her former (maybe never?) friends, Melissa thinks a simple apology will suffice. “We all do things wrong, we’re all not perfect; she just needs to be able to say ‘you know what, I’m sorry.’” Although Melissa confirms: family is family. “I’m always going to be here to support her and her children.”
My Thoughts: Caroline’s new-found relationship with Melissa and Kathy seems eerily similar to her prior fauxlationship with Teresa! And for someone who was merely an on-camera acquaintance she certainly played up the “like family/thick as thieves” angle in S2 and off camera in interviews and appearances. Which is interesting because Caroline emphatically states over and over that she does not lie. Now, I am 100 percent certain Bravo demanded their relationship seem authentic, but Caroline did a mighty good job of convincing us that it was! Also, Teresa’s reactions at the reunion seemed to indicate she believed they had an authentic relationship (although it’s hard to be sure with her).
Second of all Caroline’s children are adults and have been for the duration of filming. Therefore they did sign up for this show – they knowingly signed contracts, agreed to film, and were compensated for their involvement. Does that give Teresa the right to insult their ideas or behaviors in a cookbook for her own financial gain? No, of course not. But the Manzo children are not innocent by-standers in the situation. They insulted Teresa plenty this season and did not seem to have any qualms about their behaviors. The children who truly did not sign up for this show are those of the Gorgas, Giudices, and Lauritas (save for Ashlee).
THOUGHTS? DO YOU THINK THERE IS HOPE FOR TERESA RECONNECTING WITH HER FAMILY AND CASTMATES? DO YOU BELIEVE CAROLINE, KATHY, AND MELISSA HAVE A GENUINE RELATIONSHIP? ARE CAROLINE’S CHILDREN INNOCENT VICTIMS OR IS SHE OVER-REACTING?
Jill Zarin is doing what she does best – running her mouth! In a new interview the out-spoken former Real Housewives of New York star talks being fired, doing more reality TV (oh no!), and the unfortunate side to C (or is it D?)-List fame.
Contrary to what we all know in our hearts to be true, Jill claims she was “prepared” for being let-go from RHONY. Telling Parade, “I had sort of an inkling over the summer that the show might take a turn,” she admits. “As a family, we weren’t sure if coming back for a fifth season was going to be the best road for me right now, but we were waiting until Bravo made their decision.”
“I believe that what’s meant to be is meant to be, so I sort of let it happen,” she explains of her feelings about being publicly fired. “If they asked me back and that was my path, so be it. And if they said that they wanted to make a change for the cast and that was going to be my final season, I was certainly ok with that.”
“In television, it’s about what you can do to be more dramatic and keep the viewers,” she states, echoing exactly what many fans believe is behind a lot of the cray-cray.
Agreeing with another ex-housewife, Kelly Bensimon, Jill feels the show was a good experience, “I had a four-year run on a very successful show,” she comments. “I’m very proud of what I did. It was just a platform for me,” she explains of how Housewives impacted her life. “I’m grateful to Bravo for opening the door for me in this business that I never though I’d be in — the entertainment business.”
As for how fame has negatively affected her life, Jill claims a lot of the backlash has disappeared since the fans got what they wanted she left the show. “I really don’t take any kind of negativity personally,” she expects us to believe. And now that’s she’s away from the camera, Jill insists: “I am having the best time of my life,” revealing, “I got my happy back.”
“It’s really about this sort of character on TV. It’s interesting, when the show is airing, there’s a lot of chatter on the Internet, but then when the show is off the air they move on to Beverly Hills or New Jersey. I don’t feel any negativity right now.”
Jill also confirms she and fellow mean girl, Bitchtress Countess Luann de Lesseps are still friends. “I’m very close with LuAnn still and Sonja [Morgan] and I have a good relationship. Just because I’m not on the show doesn’t mean that I’m not happy for them.”
And of course – the news we’ve all be dreading – Jill threatens promises a return to television! “It won’t be the last time (I hope) that I’ll be on television. I have a couple things that I’m in the middle of that I can’t share yet.” There have been reports stating Jill is trying to pitch a reality show that will involve both her and Patti Stanger! And Patti might just be available for that show as ratings for the Millionaire Matchmaker continue to dip this season, averaging less than a million viewers per episode, in addition to her recent faux pas.