Chef Febres gets TV practice with ‘Bizarre Snacks’

Fans of local chef Jason Febres, owner of Taste and See at 255 N. Washington, know that he is not the least bit uncomfortable in front of the camera.

Nutella-dipped grasshopper, anyone?

Nutella-dipped grasshopper, anyone?

The chef has made several appearances on national television, working as a consultant on Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue” and as a contestant on Food Network’s “Guy’s Grocery Games” and “Cutthroat Kitchen.”

Febres also has been public on social media about his desire to have his own national cooking show and has hinted that some sort of a deal is in the works. His quest to land a show has resulted in a bizarre web series called “Bizarre Snacks.”

Febres started filming the short webisodes back in June, he said, following the advice of a producer who said that networks would be more likely to consider him if they could see more evidence of how he performed on camera.

In “Bizarre Snacks,” which can be found on Febres’ YouTube channel, jasonfebres1, the chef films himself and often his Taste and See guests trying outrageous, strange and rather gross ingredients. So far, he’s tackled fried silk worms, Nutella-dipped grasshoppers, ant and sesame candy bars and snake bites. His favorite has been spicy squid jerky, he said.

“It was so disgusting, but it was so good,” he said. “The flavor was nice but the texture was really bizarre.”

In each episode, Febres gives a little background about the ingredient’s actual use then films the various stages of revulsion as he and his guests choke down the snack.

Febres says he tracks down the delicacies at a variety of sources, including online and in local Asian and Indian markets. In September, Febres said, he will put on a free event in his restaurant where he will invite brave customers to come sample mystery ingredients if they agree to let him film their reactions.

I’ll let you know when he sets a date.

To keep up with the Bizarre Snacks installments, which Febres hopes to produce about once a week, like his Bizarre Snacks Facebook page or subscribe to his YouTube channel.

NBA legend cooking at Taste and See

Febres, far left, standing next to NBA legend Charles Oakley

Chef Jason Febres likes to offer the unexpected at his Taste and See restaurant, and tonight, he’s cooking with an unlikely partner.

NBA legend Charles Oakley, who played with teams such as the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks and who also is a restaurant owner. Febres was put in touch with him through a local contact and invited him to Wichita to help him cook as part of one of his famous demonstration dinners.

Oakley will be at Taste and See tonight (Friday, July 28) and will help Febres prepare a six-course tasting menu. Spots are left and cost $45 a person. Wine pairings are available for an extra $20 a person.

For a reservation, call 316-771-7393.

Next week’s Celeb & Chef Cookoff one of the fun fundraisers

The 11th annual Celebrity & Chef Cookoff, a popular fundraising event for the Orpheum Theatre, is just a week away, and I’m pretty excited for this one.

I get to be a judge this year, which means I’ll help my co-judges, local chef Tanya Tandoc and AIWF’s Beth Bower, choose the best cuisine prepared by teams of Wichita celebrities paired with Wichita chefs. (Above, see a video I co-produced from the 2010 event.)

Over the course of the year, I visit several foodie fundraisers, and this one is among the most fun. It’s full of good drinks, good food and — best of all — the excitement of watching local chefs in action. The celeb/chef teams compete “Iron Chef” style to come up with the best dish on the spot. A secret ingredient is revealed at the beginning of the contest.

This year’s chefs include Nathan Toubia of Bocconcini Italian Eatery, Peter Moretti of the Wichita Marriott, Kevin Derks of Newport Grill, Ben George of Tallgrass Country Club, Jake Lippincott of The Petroleum Club, John Fitzthum of The Candle Club, Marshall Roth of Treat America at Beech Activity Center and defending champ Jason Febres of Taste and See.

Among the celebs who’ve agreed to help cook: U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo and Jody Horner, president of Cargill Meat Solutions. My bud Bonnie Bing will emcee.

The event, which also will include prize drawings and auctions, is scheduled for 6 p.m. next Tuesday, June 12, at the Wichita Marriott Hotel, 9100 E. Corporate Hills Drive. Tickets are $75 a person and available at the Orpheum’s website or by calling 316-263-0884.

So much October eating, so little time

Father H

Father H

When we wrote a couple of weeks ago that October was overflowing with food and wine events, we had no idea. Several more have surfaced since then. Let the belt loosening and wallet opening commence. A few more:

United Way Chili Cookoff: I’ll be a judge at this event, which starts in less than an hour at the Davis-Moore at 5817 E. Kellogg Dr. It’s from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today, and chili is $5 a bowl. Come down and say hi.

Father H’s 2nd Annual Cigar BBQ for Local Charity: The Rev. H Setter, who’s known around town as a priest who loves cigars, is putting on his annual fund-raising barbecue from 11 a.m. to  5 p.m. Saturday in the plaza in front of the Old Town Warren, Second and Mead. He’ll be serving hotlinks, brisket, pulled pork and more from Prairie Fire BBQ, and the event also will offer beer and other drinks. Tickets are available for $25 until 5 p.m. today at 316-682-1415, or a la carte tickets will be sold on-site.

On the Town with Carrie & Denise: I had this crazy idea a few months ago to get the foodies Carrie and I interact with on a regular basis though the paper and Kansas.com together to talk about dining in Wichita face-to-face. The first On the Town event is at 5:30 Tuesday at Oeno, 330 N. Mead. Admission is free. Please come. We don’t want to stand there all alone.

Sam Adams Beer and Buffalo Wild Wing Tasting: aVenue, a banquet hall connected to Auburn Spirits liquor store at 13303 W. Maple, is putting on a tasting that will feature Samuel Adams beer and wings from buffalo wild wings. It’s at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 15, and tickets are $10 a person. Call 316-440-1111 for tickets.

Taste and See Open House: Chef Jason-Paul Febres, who’s now cooking for Taste & See Everyday Gourmet, a new cooking studio in Office This at 3825 E. Harry, will offer free samples of his food at an open house that will last from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 16. Call 316-771-7393 for more information.

Center for the Arts wine class: The Wichita Center for the Arts is putting on a food and wine pairing course from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 21, led by Whitney Post of Jacobs Liquor. The class is $55, $45 for center members. Call for reservations at 316-634-2787.

Mystery Wine Tasting: aVenue also is putting on an Oct. 28 Mystery Wine Tasting, which will include hors d’ oeuvres and blind taste tests of six different wine varietals. It’ll start at 7 p.m., and tickets are $15 a person. Reserve by Oct. 26 at 316-440-1111.