According to whoever determines food holidays, this Wednesday, September 10, is TV Dinner Day. And Boston is long on chefs who have made appearances on the many (and growing) cable food shows. So in honor of the day, we reviewed restaurants from our local food TV stars, and found their chef-driven takes on some traditional TV dinner meals. If you're a hungry man (or woman), dig on in.
As Seen On TV: Though he didn't take home the top spot, chef Chris Coombs appeared on two separate episodes of Chopped.
Try: Maybe you've nuked a packaged sticky bun grabbed from the junk-food aisle. They've got nothing on the sinfully sweet housemade pecan bun ($7) you'll find on the brunch menu here.
As Seen On TV: Chef Jason Santos managed to make it to the runner-up position on Hell's Kitchen. His Financial District spot has a name that nods to the indigo hair that became his trademark.
Try: Here you'll find an upscale take on a grocer's freezer favorite, truffle and Gouda tater tots ($4).
As Seen On TV: Say hello to Chopped winner Jamie Bissonnette at this intimate Italian in the South End.
Try: Ditch the DiGiorno and treat yourself to real, wood-fired pizzas with artisanal ingredients. We love the Salsiccia ($16) with pork sausage, ricotta, roasted onion and fennel pollen.
As Seen On TV: Sisters Carla and Christine Pallotta triumphed together on Throwdown With Bobby Flay.
Try: Their winning dish, the vegetable lasagna ($23) of layered zucchini, ricotta, mozzarella and pecorino cheese.
As Seen On TV: It's almost showtime for chef Stacy Cogswell, who will appear on the upcoming Boston-filmed season of Top Chef.
Try: Sorry, Kraft. We'll opt for Cogswell's gooey mac 'n' cheese ($12) which pairs a Ritz cracker crust with truffle oil, with options to add sweet peas or duck confit,
As Seen On TV: Tune in on September 12, when this Faneuil Hall-side poutine palace will be featured on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
Try: Unlike the frozen snack, Saus's Legit Corn Dog ($6) is made with a housemade frankfurter from Karl's Sausage and European Market in Peabody, paired with a spicy mustard.
As Seen On TV: Chef-owner Tiffani Faison (pictured) was the runner-up on the very first season of Top Chef, returned for an All Stars engagement and will be seen tomorrow on the latest episode of the new series Top Chef Duels.
Try: Fried chicken is a TV dinner staple, but a Sweet Cheeks tray of buttermilk fried chicken ($21) is a true blockbuster.
As Seen On TV: Star chef Michael Schlow was a contestant on the inaugural season of Top Chef Masters.
Try: While we love a good "taco night," those boxed kits are tragic. Tico's selections are top-notch, with varieties that include duck ($12) with charred serranos and papaya-onion salsa.
As Seen On TV: Jody Adams took on the small screen during the second season of Top Chef Masters.
Try: Trade has a killer baked rigatoni ($22) with spicy lamb ragout and provolone. Chef Boyardee this is not.
As Seen On TV: Chef Paul stars alongside his actor/singer brothers Mark and Donnie on the reality show named for his Hingham burger joint.
Try: It doesn't get as much screen time, but right across the street is Wahlberg's upscale restaurant Alma Nove. Over there, fish-stick fans will find some fantastic cod cakes ($12.50) with smoked tomato salsa, saffron butter and black olive oil.