Iron Chef Alabama

Tonight on Food Network’s Iron Chef, Chris Hastings of Hot and Hot Fish Club is going up against Bobby Flay.

Chris has quite a reputation here for a number of things, but if you ever consider eating at Hot & Hot, know that it is perfectly acceptable to call them first to make certain he will be in the kitchen the night of your reservation (it’s worlds better when he is).  Hot and Hot used to be — used to be — my favorite restaurant in town; the first time Av took me there I was enthralled with the actual dishes used to present the food that I went on and on about them…figuring they were custom, only sold to this establishment or to the design trade.

Fortunately for me, I learned that they were made in nearby Leeds by Tena Payne, with a studio open to everyone.

…so today, I have my very own set, which makes me very-very happy.  They’re among my favorites, and you’ve probably seen them in may of my food pics here, like this strawberry shortcake:

Strawberry Shortcake

They are *heavy* though.  If you’re doing a supper where there’s a lot of passed food…

The B’ham News reported that for Chris’ appearance on Iron Chef, …At Hastings’ request, Leeds potter Tena Payne — who makes all of the plates, bowls and cups for Hot and Hot Fish Club — created five 15-piece settings especially for the show.

“They told us we were the first team ever to bring an entire set of our own hand-designed, handmade plates,” Hastings said. “The plates were a great opportunity for us to show the world visually about who we are, being locally driven.”

Payne, under a time crunch to fire and finish the plates, had to drive 16 hours with her assistants Rebecca Sikorski and Bonnie Smith to get them to New York in time for the taping.

She also delivered the moonshine that Hastings served as an aperitif, and brought a supply of fresh Alabama vegetables that he needed for some of his dishes.

“That might have been a really good thing because you can’t get good tomatoes in New York City,” Payne said. “I mean, come on — it’s not going to happen.”

(Wellll…NYC I’m sure has nice tomatoes but in November, when this was being taped, our Southern garden tomatoes are still going full-steam).

This is Tena — from one of my visits:




Love it.  Tena’s pottery, Earthborn, is here:

Here’s the outcome.

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