Inqlings: A second helping of 'Top Chef'

Posted: September 05, 2010

There's no official word from Bravo, but I have it that Jennifer Carroll - chef at 10 Arts in the Ritz-Carlton on Broad Street - is back for more on Top Chef.

The popular cooking series is shooting Top Chef All-Stars, assembling a dozen and a half cheftestants from previous seasons. It's supposed to premiere after Thanksgiving. The Northeast Philly-raised Carroll, a runner-up on Season 6, did not return my message, and her agent, Chris Cabott, declined to comment.

Stepping lively

While we'll probably be shivering through the Mummers Parade on New Year's Day, the Blue and Gold marching band of Downingtown High School will be marching in sunshine. The band will appear in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., with 340 kids from the East and West campuses plus chaperones and friends. The band is one of 10 high school ensembles selected from about 1,000 applicants.

The students are holding fund-raisers to help foot the bill, which may run as much as $500,000, and parade president Jeffrey L. Throop will be in the area this week to help. On Tuesday, he will be honored at a ceremony at Carpenters Hall, followed by lunch at Reading Terminal Market.

The Blue and Gold last appeared in Pasadena in 2001, but this time it faces a new challenge. Airlines are not so keen anymore on providing transport for instruments, spokeswoman Carol Goldstein says, so organizers are looking for a company to truck all the gear out and back.

Phils on the tube

Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard will appear next Sunday on the season finale of HBO's Entourage. Simple scene: Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) contacts him about a business proposition. Howard and second baseman Chase Utley also will appear this fall on the FX comedy It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

A boy for 'Sunny' stars

Speaking of Always Sunny, Philly-bred star Rob McElhenney and his wife/costar, Kaitlin Olson, are first-time parents with Wednesday's birth of Axel Lee McElhenney. Olson's rep says she went into labor at Tuesday's Phillies-Dodgers game in L.A. "As soon as Ryan Howard hit a three-run home run, we felt comfortable leaving to go have our baby," Olson, who is Sweet Dee on the show, said in a statement. "We love him like crazy, even though he made us miss the second half of the game." She and Mac were married in September 2008.

Sports talking

WIP sports talker Anthony Gargano and his old midday partner Steve Martorano will be together again. Sort of. Gargano will broadcast shows from the new Chubby Balboa's Sports Grill in Glen Mills for WIP, and Martorano will be the voice of the bar's commercials. Martorano also will do sports essays on rival sports-talk station 97.5 the Fanatic. Last week, the Fanatic got Comcast (as in Xfinity) to sponsor its studio, much as Tastykake sponsors WIP's studios. In the Fanatic arrangement, a so-called Xfinity chair is set up in the studio, and players, coaches, and other guests sign it when they visit. At the end of the one-year program, the station will auction the chair and give proceeds to charity.

In time for Flyers season, Comcast SportsNet has hired Lisa Hillary, who covered the Washington Capitals for three seasons for SportsNet in the D.C. area, as the local network's Flyers beat reporter. Flyers reporter John Boruk has been promoted to a full-time anchor and reporter.


Bernie Parent will try his hand at stand-up comedy. The Flyers Hall of Famer will be the celebrity MC and opening act at the annual "Two Funny Philly Guys" show with Joe Conklin and Big Daddy Graham at the Borgata in Atlantic City on Sept. 24.

Reality-TV star Kendra Wilkinson visited the Denim Habit boutique in Marlton on Wednesday for the second time in two weeks and left with two shopping bags. Such retail therapy will be a part of this season on her E! series, as will her book-signing Tuesday at the Barnes & Noble on Rittenhouse Square and, scheduled for Saturday night, a surprise 28th-birthday party planned for her husband, the Eagles' Hank Baskett, at Lucky Strike Lanes in Center City.

Bradley Cooper, squeeze Renée Zellweger, and his parents, Gloria and Charlie, enjoyed a quiet Friday dinner at the Roman Delight in Abington, near the family home in Rydal. Folks left them alone, but did snap photos outside.

Former Philly Police Commissioner John Timoney stopped at the Irish Pub at 20th and Walnut on Wednesday on his way to Boston, where he's teaching "The Politics of Policing" at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Timoney honored Montgomery County D.A. Risa Vetri Ferman for her 125-person "Wheels of Justice" bike team, which raised more than $23,000 for the annual Irish Pub Tour De Shore in July. This year, 1,300 riders brought in $265,000, bound for police charities.

This reality life

CBS has announced that Moorestown-bred beach-volleyball player Rachel Johnston will appear on the next installment of The Amazing Race, premiering at 8:30 p.m. Sept. 26. Johnston, turning 25 on Tuesday, is a West Chester U. grad partnered with fellow volleyballer Katie Seamon, 23, of Rahway, N.J.

Gretchen Krawczyk of Plymouth Meeting is one of five women and 15 men on the reality game show All-American Handyman, a four-parter premiering at 9 p.m. Sunday on HGTV. Winner gets a $10,000 Sears prize package and an HGTV development deal. Krawczyk, 43, a video editor and producer for NBC10, is to the hammer born. Her father, Anthony, built the house near Scranton in which she grew up. She bought a fixer-upper five years ago and has done most of the work herself - except putting in a steel door, which she found too heavy. When she saw the ad to apply for the show, "I said, 'I think that sounds like me. What do I have to lose?' " So she nailed it.

Contact columnist Michael Klein at Follow his blog at and on Twitter @phillyinsider.

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