Anthony Amoroso is having a good year. Not only was Amoroso recently named the new executive chef at Seablue, A Michael Mina Restaurant, at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, but he will also appear on national television 10 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18, when he battles Masaharu Morimoto on The Food Network's "Iron Chef America."
Amoroso never really thought too much about going on the network's top-rated show, but when the producers came after him, he had to consider the opportunity.
"It actually took me a couple of weeks to answer them because I was scared to death of it," Amoroso says. "I was totally flattered, but I was also really apprehensive and nervous. Being able to do anything good in 60 minutes is pretty tough. You can't even paint a door in your house really well in 60 minutes. But after I TiVo'd a bunch of them and watched them, I said, 'What the heck. I have to give it a shot. It's the ultimate honor.'"
After pondering his options of which Iron Chef to battle, he chose Morimoto.
"I figured I would go for broke," Amoroso says. "I think he's the most experienced and has the most pedigree and is the guy everyone really doesn't want to go against. So I figured if I was going to do this, I was going to give 100 percent and go down swinging or come out looking like I beat the best."
Amoroso says the surprise ingredient, which he can't reveal until the show airs, was a tough one.
"You know nothing. That's the scariest part," he says. "There is no way to plan. You can practice with your own ingredient and see what you can do in 60 minutes, but you really can't prepare. When they tell you that ingredient, your head just explodes. I can't say what it was, but I can say it was a very hard ingredient to work with. It's something that is really difficult to work with in 60 minutes."
The Jersey City native is no stranger to working alongside amazing chefs, particularly Mina, who hired Amoroso to helm his Michael Mina restaurant at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, where he earned a repeat Michelin Star. Amoroso also worked with Michael White and Rick Moonen at White's acclaimed Fiamma Trattoria & Bar at MGM Grand in Vegas and Moonen's Oceana and Branzini in New York and rm at Mandalay Bay in Vegas.
Vogue food writer and James Beard Award winner Jeffrey Steingarten, Asian food writer Akiko Katayama and Italian culinary specialist Mario Rizzotti were judges in Kitchen Stadium.
"They are tough," Amoroso says. "They are not nice. When they are talking to you, it's scary. You're going to hear stuff that you don't want to hear. They say a couple of things that make you feel better, and two seconds later they say something that brings you down again."
So whose cuisine reigns supreme?
"I can't say, obviously," Amoroso says. "But I can say it's no joke. When they say 60 minutes, they mean it. They told me they never stopped for anyone for any reason. If you go back and look and watch Bobby Flay get electrocuted - he was zapped when there was a water spill because of all of that power in that room - they kept going. You know they are serious about it. As far as doing it again, it's hard to say. It definitely takes some miles out of your life, that's for sure. But if I am ever given the opportunity, I think I would have to do it. You can't turn down such an honor."
Replays are also scheduled for 1 a.m. Monday, Oct. 19, and 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22.
Hilton's Peregrines' closes, Oaks open
The Atlantic City Hilton once again "indefinitely" closed Peregrines', one of the best restaurants in the city.
Last year, Hilton executives said they were closing the restaurant permanently, but response from the players and the public made the executives reopen the restaurant last spring. The Hilton closed the restaurant sooner than they expected this year after a roof pipe burst during a heavy rainstorm shortly before Labor Day, collapsing the ceiling in The Oaks that also caused some damage in Peregrines'.
The good news is that The Oaks is currently serving approximately 90 percent of its award-winning menu in the Chairman's Club, which is on the dining level overlooking the ocean. The restaurant, which is open 5:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, is offering all of its customers' favorite dishes.
The Oaks' Sunday brunch is also offered in the Chairman's Club from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for $39.95 per person.
Lance Bass, in town for Harrah's Entertainment's "OUT" weekend, took a break from his paid duties to dine at Morton's The Steakhouse inside Caesars Atlantic City. The N*Sync star posed for photos with fans and staff and signed autographs.
Comedian and "The View" co-host Whoopi Goldberg attended the unveiling of her caricature on The Palm wall inside The Quarter at the Tropicana Casino and Resort. The Academy, Emmy, Grammy and Tony award winner performed at the Tropicana following her Palm appearance.
"Sex and the City: The Movie" co-star Giles Marini, "American Pie" actress Shannon Elizabeth and singer Aaron Carter recently partied at Dusk at Caesars Atlantic City.
Carter was also at Harrah's Resort, where the current "Dancing with the Star" contestant teamed with his "Stars" dance partner Karina Smirnoff to host a private, invitation-only dinner. They also made an appearance at The Pool with Elizabeth and "Stars" dancer Derek Hough. Carter was not scheduled to perform, but he jumped onto the DJ stage, grabbed a mic and performed the unreleased song, "Dancing with a Star." Actor and former "Stars" contestant Mario Lopez was also seen around Harrah's.
New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw joined ESPN 1450-AM's Mike Gill and Pete Thompson for their daily radio show at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort's Ego Lounge on Monday. The football player signed autographs and posed for pictures with fans and also appeared on the show.
Play slots at Resorts Atlantic City on Sunday with a Destination Club Card and you can win an Amazon Kindle DX. Activate your card by inserting it into a slot machine card reader and winners will be randomly selected every 20 minutes from noon to 6 p.m. Winners have 15 minutes to claim their Kindle DX.
Visit Trump Marina Hotel Casino and show your Trump One Card and receive free parking throughout the month of October in the self-park garage.