Monday, January 11, 2010

Little Ms Blogger....Please Pack Your Knives and Go....

Monday, January 11, 2010.....

Any fan of the show Top Chef would understand this comment. For others, Top Chef is a reality t.v. show where contestants, who are chefs with outstanding credentials, have to cook up tempting treats or meals typically in a ridiculous amount of time for an insane amount of people and 4 judges who determine if their food is good enough to move onto another challenge.

Along the way, contestants cook for renown chefs in the cooking world, win prizes but ultimately end up with the title of Top Chef and a large cash prize.

You never want to be part of the judges' "I think your food sucks" (okay, they never say that) judgement table AND you definitely never want to hear Padma Lakshmi tell you to "Please pack your knives and go". Ouch. Talking about a cutting remark (I couldn't resist).

Saturday, I went into NYC with 2 gfs and met YogaGirl for a lecture hosted by the New York Times for their Arts and Leisure weekend. Our panel consisted of Padma Lakshmi, Gail Simmons (regular judges on the show) and Eric Ripert (guest judge and owner of Le Bernardin). Frank Bruni, ex food critic for NY Times, was the moderator asking a fair amount of questions and keeping the talk interesting.

Here's what I learned:

- Padma is funny, but can talk...A LOT....Although funny, interrupting others is not funny in my book. Luckily, the funny outweighed the rudeness.

- TC is in 20 countries.

- Chefs are NEVER to approach the judges. This keeps the process legit and sometimes the judges do keep in touch with the contestants after the show.

- All judges have equal weight in their vote. I seriously thought as Tom Colchiccio is the head judge, he could over rule all the others.

- There is a 5th unofficial judge of TC: T-Bone, the food photographer. He takes all the photos of the food (which everytime a dish is made, the contestant must make 2 plates, one for the judges another to be photographed) and samples it when finished shooting. When the judges are struggling, the producers may ask TBone for an opinion. However, it didn't sound as TBone influenced anyone's decision as he may typically comment that the food was cold by the time he tasted it and couldn't voice an opinion.

- I learned Padma wears an ear piece when explaining the Quick Fire challenges. She repeats, verbatim, the words of the NBC lawyers via the producer talking in her ear.

- I learned the worst food ever tasted was exactly what I thought it would be, chocolate covered chicken livers Ilan made in Season 2 for Eric Ripert.

- I learned Eric Ripert thinks an interesting challenge would be for the judges to eat blindfolded. I agree. I'm big into presentation influencing my judgment (a topic my husband and I don't see eye-to-eye on).

What I didn't learn was how do I, the experimental home chef, get an opportunity to be a judge for an episode or become a food critic like Frank Bruni.

Ahh...a girl can dream...


Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I love foodie shows, this post was really interesting to me.

I secretly (or not so secretly) would love to win a trip with Bordain or Diner's Drive-In's and Dives' Guy....

TechnoBabe said...

When I used to watch TV I watched the food channel much of the time. Your post was interesting for a lot of reasons. One is how cool that you and a couple gf go into NY for an adventure.

kk said...

oh! so much fun! i padma still preggers? did you ask how she got that nasty scar on her arm???

Anonymous said...

I generally regard reality shows as a sign of the apocalypse that is surely around the corner when we live in a world that thinks it is ok to pay Simon Cowell nine figures a year (sorry - brief rant, moving on...) However, I have such high regard for TC and the work that they have done to elevate the culinary landscape.

Though I do wish they would do away with the absurd notion that a chef is capable of running the front of the house in Restaurant Wars. It's kind of insulting to people who spend careers running restaurants (sorry, another mini rant over...)

Thank you for sharing your backstage insights.

Brian Miller said...

chocolate covered chicken liver...why ruin the chicken livers that way? always thought iron chef would be really cool, before it became amaericanized...of course.

Spot said...

Sounds like you had an awesome and informative time! Wouldn't food critic be an awesome job?? I totally agree with you there. I don't watch TC but I do watch some other foodie shows. Mostly all they do is make me hungry though. Lol.


Lyn said...

I am a faithful follower of Top Chef. I fell in love season 1 and haven't turned back. You are so lucky to have met them, and it sounds like you had loads of fun.

Although Ilan had it with the worst tasting chocolate covered livers, Mike took the prize for weirdest amuse. Remember the SnickerDoodle aka Cheeto stuck in a mound of mushed snicker bar?

MamaOtwins+1 said...

Sounds like so much fun! I've always wanted to be a food judge too!

P said...

If I was a food judge, I wouldn't be able to fit through the door! (Unless everyone's food was that disgusting...)

Herding Cats said...

I love TC! It's one of my favorite shows. Thanks for this answered a lot of questions that had been floating around in my mind for awhile.

Sassy Chica said...

ooh to be a food judge...yes a girl can dream!!

Hope you had a great weekend and are enjoying your New Year!

Sassy Chica

Optimistic Pessimist said...

i don't watch the show, but all very interesting information!

DB said...

Although you did not mention cupcakes, the cupcake I ate was pretty tasty (as was the burger). I'm glad that you enjoyed it- it was very entertaining. I will have to tell Janice what she missed, freezing her butt off in Key West :).

Jaime said...

thinking of those chocolate covered livers still makes me sick

Working Mommy said...

Maybe if you blog about it enough - and tag all of those blogs - they ill call you up and ask...hey, it is an idea...never said it was a GOOD one!!


Dan said...

I only like foodie shows that have sampling - I like the tastes more than the preparation. I am so waiting for smell and taste -orama broadcasting to hit the air.

blueviolet said...

That was really interesting! You learned a lot of tidbits there!

The Peach Tart said...

I feel the same way. I think being a judge on Iron Chef would be awesome.

The Peach Tart said...

I feel the same way. I think being a judge on Iron Chef would be awesome.

Jennifer said...

I've seen that show before. It's actually pretty entertaining. :)

Jay said...

You have a great site here. I have a blog myself which I hope will inspire people all around the world. Life is hard enough. I'd like to exchange links with you to help spread some traffic around between each other.

Please let me know if this is possible.


Melanie's Randomness said...

Ya know that would be a very interesting episode if the judges were blindfolded. Ohhhh so that's why Padma sounds like a robot when she's telling the challenges. Ohhh, LOL! I like Top Chef. I hope they keep the seasons going. That's so cool that you got to see them. =)

Little Ms Blogger said...

Pseudonnymous High School Teacher – I’d choose the Diner’s Drive-Ins and Dives because I’m fearful of what Bordain eats on his show.

TechnoBabe – Going into NY with gfs really made the trip!

Kk – the scar is from childhood. More interested in who is the father.

Restaurantrefugee – I like that they don’t interact with the contestants and also hearing that if Eric is judging at the finale, he won’t watch the entire season. He didn’t judge last season because of Jennifer.

Brian Miller – Iron chef would be cool. My gf actually got to go to a taping of that show. She said it was interesting, but long and no food.

Spot – A food critic would be a heavenly job and I have a pretty open palate. Alas, there is never a posting for this job.

Lyn – I too have been a loyal follower and am amazed at how the selection of contestants have really matured over the past seasons.

MamaOtwins+1 - Wouldn’t that be a great job. Just think no slaving over the stove or cleaning up afterwards. I love cooking, but sometimes when I cook for hours I have no desire to eat what I cooked.

Herding Cats – You’re welcome.

Sassy Chica – of course, in my dream, I’m a food judge who never gains a pound.

OP – It’s a great show, but would definitely make you hungry after watching.

DB – Mine was just okay and that is why no mention of cupcakes.

Jaime – Makes me sick too! Makes me want to stay away from any restaurant he’s cooking at.

Working mommy – I like this idea. I’ll have to try it. I doubt anyone from TC will notice or care about my blog. However, I wrote about my love of the show Dirty Jobs and someone wrote me from the show.

Dan – LOL – Wouldn’t that be great!

The Peach Tart – I’d love to be a judge on Iron Chef IF the secret ingredient was something I liked.

Jennifer – Always inspires me to cook outside my comfort zone.

Jay – I’ll come check out your blog.

Melanie’s Randomness –Padma was quick to point that fact out right at the beginning. I don’t blame her. She sometimes sounds a bit heartless.

The Bumbles said...

Well doesn't that sound like it was a lot of fun?! I have seen maybe 2 whole episodes of that show - I'm not a big foodie. I thought, as is typical in all reality shows with judges, that the judges were pretty harsh to just squash someone's dreams like that. But if everyone got to win, who the hell would watch, right?

Unknown Mami said...

I've only seen a few episodes of the show because I don't have cable. Even so, that sounds like a fun panel to attend.

Little Ms Blogger said...

The Bumbles - That's right. I remember how much you love to cook. :-)

Unknown Mami - You don't have cable? Wow, I'm impressed. Wait do you have any t.v.? I can't even see basic t.v. without cable.