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Around Town: Local mother and daughter make top 3 of 'Top Chef Family Style'

Anika and Anu Kumar in the running for $100K prize

Palo Alto residents Anika, left, and Anu Kumar are competing in the inaugural season of "Top Chef Family Style." Courtesy Smallz & Raskind/Peacock.

In the latest Around Town column, news about a local mother and daughter who've made the top three in "Top Chef Family Style," two good Samaritans who were recognized by the City Council and two men who saved a woman from falling on California Avenue.

BETTER TOGETHER ... Palo Alto's very own Anika and Anu Kumar have proudly represented the city in "Top Chef Family Style," where teams of two family members compete for a $100,000 prize.

Over the course of nearly three months, the mother and daughter duo have made the top three. And just like the dishes they've served, their partnership thrives on balance. Anika, a 13-year-old Fletcher Middle School student, said she brings creativity to each challenge, while her mom tends to "stick to the book."

Their zeal for the culinary arts could be seen on the show in challenges such as the "fire and ice," where the duos created a dessert that incorporated the two elements. Anika and Anu made a ginger and black pepper brownie topped with peppermint ice cream. "As weird as it sounds, it goes really good," Anika said.

They also had fun with the "molecular astronomy" challenge, where they took steak and potatoes to the next level. "We did roasted potatoes and sous vide (cooked) a steak with two types of chimichurri sauce," Anika said. (One sauce was regular and another was foam.)

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Since Anu is vegan, Anika found herself tasting everything being put out. "She really used each and every moment that she had there to do something. ... I could see that she was really enjoying herself," Anu said of her daughter.

The duo also rose to the occasion during the Nov. 18 episode, when the competitors had to make a family-style Thanksgiving meal. The judges loved their tandoori chicken with mint raita and a jackfruit and butternut curry with garlic naan. In the end, all three teams advanced to next week's episode. "It's Thanksgiving. I mean, who has the heart to eliminate someone?" Anika said on the show after the verdict.

New episodes debut Thursdays on NBCUniversal's streaming service, Peacock.

HEROES IN OUR MIDST ... The stabbing of a 16-year-old girl while she was walking downtown over the summer was shocking news for many in the community. The teenager is recovering from the major injuries she suffered in the Aug. 18 attack thanks to good Samaritans who intervened.

Orlando Kent and Benjamin Bellamy were recognized for their heroic actions during the Nov. 15 Palo Alto City Council meeting, where they received proclamations and plenty of applause. (A third good Samaritan wished to remain anonymous, according to Mayor Tom DuBois.)

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Kent had been driving downtown when he witnessed the assault and quickly parked his car, according to his proclamation. He tried to ask the alleged stabber to put down the knife. When she didn't comply, he wrestled the knife from her, tackled her away from the girl and pinned the woman to the ground with Bellamy's assistance.

Bellamy had been walking his dog when he heard screams, according to his proclamation. He rendered aid to the girl and helped pin down the alleged stabber until police arrived.

Many council members shared their appreciation for the two men. "In an age where we idolize superheroes we're so fortunate to truly have two in our own community," council member Greer Stone said.

"Too often we see people who are more willing to TikTok it or YouTube it versus actually stopping ... and preventing something like this from being much more serious than it was," council member Greg Tanaka said.

HEAVEN SENT ... ResidentJean Lythcott narrowly missed a face-first fall to the ground as two men caught her in mid-air in the California Avenue business district.

On Nov. 12, Lythcott was walking to an appointment at La Jolie Nail Spa. When she crossed California Avenue and stepped on the concrete sidewalk near The Cobblery, she tripped on something and was almost sure she'd hit the ground when the unexpected happened. Two passersby each grabbed one of her arms and helped her stand upright.

"When I could speak and hear, it was very clear that, astonishingly, the two men didn't know each other, yet they stepped in, in a flash, fully coordinated to save me," Lytchott told the Weekly in an email. She was left with a graze on her forehead and one of the men offered to find alcohol to help clean her injury.

The other man, along with two younger people in his company, recovered all of Lythcott's belongings, which had flung out of her bag. The trio stayed with her until she was comfortable to be on her own.

"With deep gratitude from me and well wishes from them we went our separate ways. We didn't exchange names or contacts," Lythcott said. "It feels as if they were angels.

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Around Town: Local mother and daughter make top 3 of 'Top Chef Family Style'

Anika and Anu Kumar in the running for $100K prize

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Sat, Nov 20, 2021, 8:52 am
Updated: Tue, Nov 23, 2021, 9:09 am

In the latest Around Town column, news about a local mother and daughter who've made the top three in "Top Chef Family Style," two good Samaritans who were recognized by the City Council and two men who saved a woman from falling on California Avenue.

BETTER TOGETHER ... Palo Alto's very own Anika and Anu Kumar have proudly represented the city in "Top Chef Family Style," where teams of two family members compete for a $100,000 prize.

Over the course of nearly three months, the mother and daughter duo have made the top three. And just like the dishes they've served, their partnership thrives on balance. Anika, a 13-year-old Fletcher Middle School student, said she brings creativity to each challenge, while her mom tends to "stick to the book."

Their zeal for the culinary arts could be seen on the show in challenges such as the "fire and ice," where the duos created a dessert that incorporated the two elements. Anika and Anu made a ginger and black pepper brownie topped with peppermint ice cream. "As weird as it sounds, it goes really good," Anika said.

They also had fun with the "molecular astronomy" challenge, where they took steak and potatoes to the next level. "We did roasted potatoes and sous vide (cooked) a steak with two types of chimichurri sauce," Anika said. (One sauce was regular and another was foam.)

Since Anu is vegan, Anika found herself tasting everything being put out. "She really used each and every moment that she had there to do something. ... I could see that she was really enjoying herself," Anu said of her daughter.

The duo also rose to the occasion during the Nov. 18 episode, when the competitors had to make a family-style Thanksgiving meal. The judges loved their tandoori chicken with mint raita and a jackfruit and butternut curry with garlic naan. In the end, all three teams advanced to next week's episode. "It's Thanksgiving. I mean, who has the heart to eliminate someone?" Anika said on the show after the verdict.

New episodes debut Thursdays on NBCUniversal's streaming service, Peacock.

HEROES IN OUR MIDST ... The stabbing of a 16-year-old girl while she was walking downtown over the summer was shocking news for many in the community. The teenager is recovering from the major injuries she suffered in the Aug. 18 attack thanks to good Samaritans who intervened.

Orlando Kent and Benjamin Bellamy were recognized for their heroic actions during the Nov. 15 Palo Alto City Council meeting, where they received proclamations and plenty of applause. (A third good Samaritan wished to remain anonymous, according to Mayor Tom DuBois.)

Kent had been driving downtown when he witnessed the assault and quickly parked his car, according to his proclamation. He tried to ask the alleged stabber to put down the knife. When she didn't comply, he wrestled the knife from her, tackled her away from the girl and pinned the woman to the ground with Bellamy's assistance.

Bellamy had been walking his dog when he heard screams, according to his proclamation. He rendered aid to the girl and helped pin down the alleged stabber until police arrived.

Many council members shared their appreciation for the two men. "In an age where we idolize superheroes we're so fortunate to truly have two in our own community," council member Greer Stone said.

"Too often we see people who are more willing to TikTok it or YouTube it versus actually stopping ... and preventing something like this from being much more serious than it was," council member Greg Tanaka said.

HEAVEN SENT ... ResidentJean Lythcott narrowly missed a face-first fall to the ground as two men caught her in mid-air in the California Avenue business district.

On Nov. 12, Lythcott was walking to an appointment at La Jolie Nail Spa. When she crossed California Avenue and stepped on the concrete sidewalk near The Cobblery, she tripped on something and was almost sure she'd hit the ground when the unexpected happened. Two passersby each grabbed one of her arms and helped her stand upright.

"When I could speak and hear, it was very clear that, astonishingly, the two men didn't know each other, yet they stepped in, in a flash, fully coordinated to save me," Lytchott told the Weekly in an email. She was left with a graze on her forehead and one of the men offered to find alcohol to help clean her injury.

The other man, along with two younger people in his company, recovered all of Lythcott's belongings, which had flung out of her bag. The trio stayed with her until she was comfortable to be on her own.

"With deep gratitude from me and well wishes from them we went our separate ways. We didn't exchange names or contacts," Lythcott said. "It feels as if they were angels.

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