Tamra Barney takes out the trash {The Real Housewives of Orange County}

January 14, 2009

Viewers were surely annoyed that they had to wait a half hour before getting to the “Drunk Gretchen” scene at Tamra’s so called formal dinner party, a party so embarrassingly distasteful, I thought the hired chef, Brian Malarkey, might torch the entire table with his fire-themed deserts.  The big storyline “Tamra gets Gretchen drunk to bring out Gretchen’s dark side,” apparently backfired on Tamra when Gretchen and Tamra’s son, Ryan, looked like they were

Tamra's son, Ryan, brings out "The Dark Side of Gretchen"

Tamra's son, Ryan, brings out "The Dark Side of Gretchen"

going to “hook up.”  Ironically, Tamra stated in an interview segment that a person’s actions are more important to her than what a person says.  She was referring to Gretchen, but Tamra might have well been looking in a mirror. Gretchen has no one to blame but herself for drinking too much Tequila, but Tamra kept ordering her son to bring Gretchen shot after shot as well as encouraging everyone else to go along with her scheme.  The most entertaining part of this whole fiasco was that the other housewives looked mortified at what was happening.  It was clear that none of them wanted to be there; Jeana was the only one who made any attempt to socialize, and the husbands just sat back and watched as if they had front row seats to the WWE.

Simon Barney in his pre-Tequila days

Simon Barney in his pre-Tequila days

The men reminded me of the husbands from The Real Housewives of Atlanta who sat back at numerous dinner parties and watched their alpha wives mark their territory. Bottom line:  Tequila doesn’t lead to bad behavior, Tamra Barney does: she embarrassed herself, her guests, her etiquette teacher, the chef, her husband and his new Tequila brand business venture, and me—for admitting I watch this show.  Calling her son a “manwhore” didn’t help either, and hopefully that phrase will not become Ryan’s latest tattoo.  The funniest line from the show, however, did come from a tipsy Gretchen: I have big boobs, I con do what I want. Click here for Bravo TV’s rogue’s gallery of photos.

PJ

P.S. As of today, Vicki is the only housewife to write in about last night’s episode:

I had a great time at Tamra’s dinner party. It was fun getting all dressed up for a formal party at home instead of going out to a restaurant. All of our homes are so beautiful and I feel we don’t spend as much time in them as we should. It was amazing having Chef Brian Malarkey cook for us. It was overwhelming to watch how much work goes into the preparations for each dish. I have been to his restaurant Oceanaire in San Diego a few times, so it was nice to experience his menu and

Vicki Gunvalson

Vicki Gunvalson

talent at Tamra’s.

The only reason I made the comment at dinner about Lynne being so laid back was because I have never been around anyone like her before. It seems like nothing would ever bother her at all, and it doesn’t seem like she has a care in the world. Coming from me, Ms. Type-A Personality, it is nice to see someone with that level of calmness.

Yeah, right.  (I guess she forgot about almost vomiting over the oyster appetizers).

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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


E Coli is alive and well in Hell’s Kitchen

May 21, 2008

This is the second time this season where I have been distracted by the unsanitary practices in Hell’s Kitchen. Chef Ramsey is the culprit. The good news is that none of the fondled food (overcooked, raw, or otherwise) went out into the dining room. The worst were Matt’s tenderloins; the three tenderloins were different sizes and all were cut too small. Apparently, Matt did not allow for “shrinkage.” Ramsey shuffled these pieces of meat around like hockey pucks, then slapped each one for good measure. Poor Matt, earlier he sliced the tip of a finger (or thumb) off. Ramsey called a medic right away, and then returned to the kitchen and asked if anyone had seen Matt’s missing finger tip. The Red Team was afraid they had cooked it (seriously). (I’m still wondering if they ever found it) When Matt returned, Ramsey pointed out to Matt that he still had nine fingers left and to keep his wounded hand away from the food. All in all, this week’s episode did not make the culinary arts very appetizing.

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


Padma Lakshmi Wanted to Lick the Bowl! {Top Chef Chicago}

April 24, 2008

\An arousing round of applause goes out to Top Chef host, Padma Lakshmi, for her reaction to the first course of last night’s elimination round when she said demurely, “I want to lick the bowl.” I could hear my fellow armchair critics shouting, “C’mon, Padma! Lick it! Lick it!” Last night’s episode was full of suggestive discourse and content. After an entertaining Judges Table, the chefs were surprised when Jen was eliminated. However, no one was more surprised than Jen and her cooking partner, Stephanie; either one could have been sent home, but it was Jen who defended the asparagus and cheese dish (meant to look like a threesome), insisting that plating each asparagus as an erection was a good idea.

Cheers,

PJ


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