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Battle of the TV Chefs: Kitchen Nightmares Gets the Star(s)

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In TV land, Tom Colicchio of Top Chef plays a kinda sorta pompous judge on the popular Bravo show. In real life, he's chef-owner of NYC's Craft (other restaurants include the Gramercy Tavern, Craft, Craftbar, and 'wichcraft in New York, Craftsteak at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and NYC).

Gordon Ramsay plays another sorta pompous chef on FOX's Hell's Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares. In real life, his latest restaurant venture is Gordon Ramsay at The London in NYC.

So we've always wondered who's the better restauranteur, but we've never been able to try either's cooking. (And while Hell's Kitchen tapes in LA, we're a little scared to try the food in the aspiring chefs' test kitchen.)

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But today, we got a little inkling. Michelin, the gastronomic guide that dishes out the stars that make or break restaurants, released its latest NYC edition today. Out of 619 establishments reviewed in the City, only 42 were awarded one, two or three stars. According to the guide: One star means a very good restaurant in its category. Two stars mean excellent cooking, worth a detour. Three stars mean exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey.

A Reuters story broke the news about Tom's Craft:

Tom Colicchio of "Top Chef" fame lost a Michelin star at his New York restaurant Craft, while celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay gained a rare two stars for his first U.S. venture.

After you get over Gordon's abrasive personality, it does seems he really cares about food and the people he works with and trains. So we're not surprised at his two stars. But we are wondering if Colicchio can take criticism the way he dishes it out on Top Chef.

Ed. Note: Colicchio's Craft has a branch that opened this summer here in LA. The Los Angeles Michelin Guide drops on November 12; we're not sure if the powers that be chez Michelin had time to taste Colicchio's West Coast wares, and Ramsay has yet to open an outpost out our way. Stay tuned, I suppose, is all we can say! --Lindsay William-Ross