MasterChef Junior gets an upgrade
The still-pretty-adorable reality competition MasterChef Junior returns tonight, down one judge: Chef Graham Elliot, who’s now brought his Professional TV Food Judge services to Bravo’s Top Chef, announced his departure from the Fox reality series last December after six years on the MasterChef circuit. At the time, Variety reported Elliot’s replacement would be named in early 2017, but it appears the third-judge slot will be filled by a rotating cast instead. And sorry, Graham, but it’s an upgrade: The LA Times reports former First Lady Michelle Obama, First Lady of Domesticity Martha Stewart, and the Muppets (!!!) will all make appearances.
Shake Shack, expanding again
The cultishly beloved burger chain Shake Shack has announced new expansion cities, and sorry if one of these locations isn’t coming anywhere near you: Danny Meyer, Randy Garutti, and Mark Rosati’s juggernaut is headed for San Antonio (marking its fifth location in Texas) and more excitingly, Cleveland, Ohio (its first location in that state). In Cleveland, Shake Shack will take over a 3,000-square-foot space in the downtown Gateway district, although local burger fans will have to be patient — opening won’t happen until 2019 at the earliest.
• An update in the ongoing saga of “When the hell will Labor Secretary nominee Andy Puzder get his confirmation hearing”: The newest date has it scheduled for Thursday, February 16. Pudzer’s hearing has been postponed four times so far, thanks to delays in his ethics review as the Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s CEO attempts to remove himself from the fast-food brands’ businesses.
• For the first time anyone can remember, Whole Foods is downsizing: Citing a decline in sales, the grocer will shutter nine stores through the country, in addition to three commissary kitchens.
• Because why not, here’s a wine glass that’s designed to contour to the drinker’s face.
WORTHY READING: Apropos of totally absolutely nothing influenced by current events, Extra Crispy takes a close look at George Orwell’s literary classic 1984 to help answer the question: What does the book tell us about eating under a (fictional) totalitarian regime?
VIDEO INTERLUDE: Are you somewhere that’s buried under snow right now? If so, here’s a twofold warm-up, in the form of hot chicken at Howlin’ Rays in sunny Los Angeles: