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...