June 12, 2008
Stephanie wins Top Chef Chicago and becomes the first female Top Chef, but aside from her victory, the rest of the show was BORING! I decided to post this in fancy “Vivaldi” style font because it suits the high brow foodie audience for which the finale was intended. I could not appreciate Stephanie’s daring pecan and olive ingredients that so impressed the judges. The producers keep forgetting that those of us at home can’t taste the food.. I could appreciate, however, that Lisa’s soup caused the renowned guest chefs to “slurp” and ask for seconds. Like I have said before, Lisa did her homework before arriving in Puerto Rico and performed better than she ever did in Chicago. She was uncharacteristically at ease during the finale due to the fact that there wasn’t anyone around to argue with her. If you have ever watched Hell’s Kitchen, you can easily imagine Chef Gordon Ramsey eating Lisa alive (and probably throw up afterwards). Richard’s tanks of exotic gasses didn’t set him apart from the others. As I watched him pour liquid nitrogen into his bacon flavored ice cream, I thought isn’t that the stuff doctor’s use to freeze warts off of people? (ick) I believe Richard’s downfall was that he thought he could pull it all together on the second day, but surprise—no sous chefs! They bring back the old format for the finale: 2 finalists cooking head to head with the help of former cast mates. Otherwise,Top Chef should move over to the FOOD network. I hope to see more of Stephanie! Maybe she will write a cookbook or get her own television show. She is a heck of a lot less annoying that Rachael Ray!
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
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