As a longtime country music fan, Top Chef Season 4 winner Stephanie Izard was more than willing to serve as executive chef at the 2011 CMT Artists of the Year gala airing Tuesday (9/8c, CMT) but looked to the honorees for inspiration when designing the evening's menu.
"I got a list from each of them, of the different things they like to eat and don't like to eat," Izard tells TVGuide.com. "Taylor Swift said she liked sausage and gravy from Cracker Barrel, so I did an itty bitty sausage and gravy thing for a passed hors d'oeurve."
After putting out his "best food" on the Top Chef: All-Stars finale, Mike Isabella thought victory was his — until Padma Lakshmi announced Richard Blais as the champ. "I thought I won. I've never gotten comments like that before in both seasons," Mike tells TVGuide.com. "Regardless, I did win. ... It was a personal victory. To be on All-Stars and to make it that far — when it was time to step up, I stepped up. As it got tighter and tighter, I got better and better. I couldn't ask for anything more of myself. I'm really proud of myself." Find out how he prepped for the finale, why he's "so proud" of Jamie and if he ever got that "8:37" tattoo.
Top Chef Season 7 has stormed the kitchens of Washington, D.C., with a new voice on the judging panel: four-time James Beard Award winner Eric Ripert. What does head judge Tom Colicchio think of the new arrival? "Having Eric judging the food has a little bit more weight than Toby [Young] judging your food," he says. Colicchio also sizes up this season's cheftestants for TVGuide.com and tells us his favorite Top Chef dishes of all time. Plus: How would he handle the dreaded dessert course if he were in competition?