I would love to have a personal (Top) Chef, if only for one meal

May 31, 2008

I have watched Top Chef for a few seasons, but only this season have I actually wished I could try the food. I was really impressed with the dishes the five chefs came up with at Rick Tramonto’s Steak and Seafood restaurant last week. I am not a “foodie” so I can not appreciate food like “squid emulsion” or “foam.” Unfortunately, my palette is limited to mostly sweet and salty. Remember the blind junk food test from Season One? I could do that! In the past, I had to wait until the last final episode to appreciate how these chefs can create dishes from experience, how they can adapt the ingredients into their recipes, and how they can cook a meal in thirty minutes without a microwave! This season, you can’t just be a good chef, your food has to have meaning; the “foodies” have to feel your love, your passion, your soul. In a perfect world, my own personal chef would emerge happily from the kitchen and in a friendly manner discuss the courses for the evening meal. It would be so different from a server reading “tonight’s specials” at a restaurant. My personal chef would explain the whole history of the meal, from conception to birth: how he or she shopped for special ingredients to make my meal healthy and memorable: found the certain fresh vegetables at the market for the salad, and how he or she came across this one exotic fruit for the dessert. For a brief moment I could pretend I was a “foodie” about to be served dinner with love. I guess the the feeling I’m imagininging is “nurtured” and I am reminded how far I have gotten away from the “nourishing” aspect of food; meals have become just things to whip up and woof down. Although I would enjoy the pampering a personal chef would provide during a dinner service, I would want him or her to help me make my own positive connections with food. Is it possible for me to get excited about shopping for ingredients or do I have to out-source this ability? Is the goal of a personal chef to get you into a dependent-on-them lifestyle or to teach you to be more independent?

For more information try these links: The American Personal & Private Chef Institute and chef2chef a culinary portal

PJ

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Chef Matty’s in heaven on Hell’s Kitchen

May 14, 2008

Chef Matt Sigel soared high above Hell’s Kitchen this week, far from the the Blue Team and Wrath of Ben. After beating Ben in a blind taste test challenge and securing a win for the Red Team, Matt thoroughly enjoyed watching Ben, “getting his ass kicked tonight.” Matt did not hold back his comments: “You can’t cook, buddy” and “I love it when Karma bites you in the ass.” Matt was proud that Ramsey said his risotto was “the best risotto ever served in Hell’s Kitchen.” But Matt couldn’t have been happier when Chef Ramsey found out that Ben didn’t have the lamb ready:

Ramsey: What’s on that ticket? Come on!

Ben: 6:30

Ramsey: What time is it now?

Ben: 8:00

What were they doing for an hour and a half? The Blue Team couldn’t get it together, and aside from Louross working hard at the salad station, Ramsey watched the rest of the men go down in flames. Ben didn’t help by telling Ramsey he “couldn’t work in this system”; ironic because it was Ben who spearheaded the men’s system of incompetence.

I give the guests on the Blue side a lot of credit for their patience and tolerance. Some walked out the door, but one women broke out a Breakfast Bar and remarked, “This is really embarrassing, you know? I don’t want to have to eat a snack at a restaurant.”

In the end, neither kitchen completed their dinner service, but it was the men’s team who lost. Ben continued scheming by asking everyone to nominate themselves. This strategy worked for Petrozza whose “level of maturity” won praise from Ramsey, but it backfired on Ben and he was sent home.

Meanwhile, Ramsey asked someone from the Red Team to volunteer to move over to the blue team for the next challenge. Corey wants Matt to return; she’s been gunning for Matt since he switched teams. During the Red Team’s reward (spa treatments), she openly told Matt, “You’re the next to go.” But Matt didn’t let Corey get to him; from under his chocolate face-mask and cucumber slices, he reminded her that it was he who helped them win. Then he told the women (strategically, I think) that he only cared if Ben went home first. No one enjoyed the spa treatments more than Matt who was even served iced tea by Ben.

This week Jen and Rosann both faltered during the dinner service, but Ramsey singled out Jen to receive his Navy Seal training techniques. Jen was dumbfounded and went through a whole range of emotions, but her funniest comment was: “Chef Ramsey, he got it out for me. He supposedly likes vocal people. He want a leader, he wants somebody to stand down. Now I guess he on his period or whatever today, so he gets pissed off at me when I try to be vocal and be the leader.”

(Above: The drama continues with chefs Matt, Corey, & Jen)

PJ


Hell’s Kitchen episode leaves bland aftertaste

May 8, 2008

Despite all the in-fighting, backstabbing, and alliance-making drama amongst the chefs in Hells’ Kitchen, this week’s episode registered lukewarm in entertainment value. The men are still excluding Matt (they call him “Matty”). Ben let fly with a few “you’re a little BEEP” remarks. Corey tried to “target” Louross by removing her jeans and tee-shirt and climbing into the hot tub. However, Louross wouldn’t bite because the water (not Corey) was too hot for him. Corey said that she “had a boyfriend” although I don’t think that would have stopped her… Both teams completed the dinner service to guests who were celebrating a Sweet Sixteen Party. The guest of honor was polite when she sent her raw steak back. Her mother tried complaining, but because mom had the personality of a houseplant, everybody ignored her. Shayna was sent home for preparing food too slow. In the end, Matt might prove to be the smartest chef in the Hell’s Kitchen; realizing his position in the men’s team’s food chain, he volunteered to go over to the women’s side. I hope they all can turn up the heat next week.

PJ


Hell’s Kitchen’s “donkeys” and “darlings” finally succeed!

May 1, 2008

Chefs competing in Hell’s Kitchen are hazed, harassed, and verbally hammered by Chef Ramsey and this week succeeded at completing their first dinner service. Then men (who Ramsey insults by calling them “donkeys”) served up their own drama complete with tears, temper tantrums, and moments of pouty-lipped whining. Ben was mortally offended by Louross, accusing him of “being a little BEEP.” After the men lost the gourmet pizza making challenge, Louross put a towel over his head and paced around the kitchen weeping. Ben has become a little paranoid, claiming that Chef Ramsey hates him. (Wah). Ramsey drives home the point by making Ben deliver pizzas in a wobbly delivery truck. The men’s team would have fared much better if they focused more on the task at hand and less on assigning blame and conjugating the F word. Matt, in particular, had the worst time, pleading (like a little BEEP) for his team to work together. The team repaid him by nominating him to be sent home. In a hilarious moment, Matt rescued a charred beef wellington by slicing off the top layer and exposing the tender meat inside. Unknowingly, Ramsey accepted the dish as up to his standards and sent it out to the diners. An amused Louross exclaimed, “That was the most ghetto-est kitchen move I ever saw!” The drama-free women’s team soared through this weeks challenges, prompting Ramsey to call them”darlings” ten times more than usual. Unfortunately, Vanessa had to leave the show because her severely burned hand prevented her from cooking. She went up to Ramsey’s “office” to deliver the news, an office that looked like a bat-cave. What does Ramsey do up there, anyway? To reward the contestants for their successful dinner service, Chef Ramsey decided not to send anyone home. I hope the chefs are awake enough talk to eachother next week— otherwise the BEEP will BEEP, BEEEEEEP. —PJ


Chef Ramsey’s Naaasty Pasta {Hell’s Kitchen}

April 23, 2008

Only a Reality TV show can cut to commercial and leave me on the edge of my seat wondering what a pile of pasta weighs. The only hellish thing I can see is the lack of sanitary conditions in Hell’s Kitchen. I was so grossed out by the pasta-draping scenario that I’m tempted not to order another pasta dish. Later, more accidents happened in a kitchen run by sleep-deprived chefs who can’t tell the difference between raw and cooked chicken. Answer according to Chef Ramsey: Raw chicken is “Pink and Bloody!” Yum.

PJ


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