Although I don’t enjoy reality television in general, I do love that fabulous Bravo show Top Chef. I love to cook. Before I even reached our new bureau offices in Texas I had a vegetable steamer and a set of very nice (and ridiculously sharp) Ginsus pre-deployed to my apartment (via Amazon supersaver shipping). I have also invested in a fust-class set of Calphalon cookware. Meal preparation has never been this much fun! Before I took up blogging, cooking was my one and only creative outlet. It is the only right brain talent I have. Blogging and cooking are very similar when you get right down to it. You have to serve up something delicious in a short time to an an often ungrateful audience who thinks they can do better.
My favorite part of the show are those “quickfire challenges.” In these fierce battles, contestants are given only like 15 minutes to prepare a scrumptious meal out of some very basic ingredients. Once the hosts sent the contestants into a Kwik-E-Mart and made them use the food available there for a gourmet entree.
Speaking of hosts, Padma Lakshmi, the host of this season’s Top Chef (as Amardeep previously reported), has been getting skewered by the cooks off-camera. Here is a sample of the many ways to cut and prepare a Padma:
According to a source who worked on the set of Top Chef, the ex-model turned trophy wife turned hostess Padma Lakshmi allegedly enjoys smoking pot on set, giving a whole new meaning to the term “Quickfire Challenge” — see, cause she’s allegedly lighting up a joint instead of a stove! Anyway. Exactly how often this happened is disputed, though we were assured it was allegedly “fairly regularly…” [Link]
Asked if he trusted Lakshmi’s culinary taste, Ilan Hall, a line cook at Casa Mono, asked a Bravo flack, “Um, are we allowed to say disparaging things about Padma?” No. “She’s beautiful,” Hall offered. “Mostly, she just explained things, and she did a good job at that.” Cliff Crooks, executive chef at Salute!, said, “Nothing she said really made a difference in my cooking.” Sam Talbot, former executive chef at Punch, said, “Next question.” He also noted that she seemed intent on stepping out of her famous husband’s shadow. “She never wanted to talk about him. I remember a time she got a phone call and she yelled, ‘You can ask me any question you want, but don’t bring up my husband!'” And then there’s the matter of her stomach-baring, kitchen-unfriendly attire. “Some of the things she wore, I wouldn’t suggest anyone wear around a working kitchen,” said Crooks. “Either she’d be a fire hazard or she’d get hurt…” [Link]
See, if I ever had the opportunity to score a trophy wife then I think I could do a lot worse than Padma. On the show she always has a very neutral tone though. She smiles often but never actually laughs. She also gives a lot of really intelligent sounding critiques to the chefs…until the real chefs nicely contradict her seconds later. I do love those outfits though, even if they are fire hazards.
Anyways the season finale of Top Chef is on Wednesday night! It’s down to that obnoxious Marcel and the saffron-happy Ilan. I can’t stand the excitement.
It’s not just “The Apprentice” with the chef Tom Colicchio subbing for the emperor Donald Trump, not just “America’s Next Top Model” with a much higher calorie count. It’s a look at the imagination, desperation, judgment and serendipity that inform any great meal. [Link]
I will close the comments tomorrow night until after the show is over on the West Coast. You East Coasters always ruin these things by blabbing too early.