March 29, 2011

Top Chef

There is no reason why I should like Top Chef. There is actually every reason why I should hate it. The nauseating product placement, the orchestrated and unnecessary competitiveness, the hyper-tense melodrama, and yes the weird gongs and terrible music, but alas none of these aspects make a damn of difference because I love this show. I mean love, couldn't be more entertained. I never want it to end, love!

Late to the game, my wife and I started to download the series from season four and have been on a steady diet of episodes for a few weeks. Every night after the kids are in bed and the rest of our lives are in order, we snuggle up on the couch and watch a bunch of strangers talk about food. It gets us excited. We discuss the merits of each Cheftesitant (Lame I know, don’t judge me), talk about various cooking vocabulary, (Did you know that Sous Vide means to cook something slowly in a bag?) and of course we drool over the amazing art form that is fine dining.

As a college student, I worked in several fine-dining restaurants in my twenties (One restaurant was Aquavit in NYC. I was surprised to see Marcus Samuelsson as a guest judge, as I remember him expediting food one night when I was working.) As a former waiter I have a soft spot for the restaurant world. I pride myself in starting as a busboy and working my way up the food chain. (Pun intended) I learned about wine and flavor and things like Radicchio. In some sick way, I still miss my restaurant days. I have always enjoyed eating out and food culture. I was never a professional, but I enjoyed understanding food and giving my diner's a pleasant experience. My wife says, I am a terrible person to go out with because I am the guy wondering why our drink orders haven't been taken yet or why there are stains on our silverware.

Watching Top Chef has awakened something in me. I am making my own ice cream and pasta and really thinking about food in a whole new way. Yes, it is cheesy and dramatic, but it is also very entertaining, funny, and mouth watering. If you haven’t watched this show and you like food, you are missing out. I joke with my wife that I am in love with Padama and that she is my new TV wife, and I must admit that I have a bit of a man crush on Tom Caliiclhio. I have said too much. Looking forward to starting season eight tonight. Yes all-stars! Do you watch it too? Who was your favorite? What stories do you have to share about food?

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