Monday, December 8, 2008

Top Ten Reasons I Love Top Chef

i love top chef. i do. i love how it makes me jump up and run into the kitchen to see if it's ever going to be possible for me to stop being a mun-daily cook to a truly great artist in the kitchen. i guess if i had a couple of -30ish or so thousand bucks, i could go the Le Cordon Bleu route or just keep it simple and take my ass back to california where i got accepted to CSCA -- california school of culinary arts -- for pastry chefing only to realize that, hey, my credit SUCKS and i can't get a student loan or find a class time that will suit the fact that i have two children, no husband, and no one to really watch them while i'm in school. but just so's you know exactly WHY i love this freakin' show, here are my TOP TEN REASONS I LOVE TOP CHEF --

just for the record? this is pronounced "Pad-MAH" not "Pad-MAY" as in Amidala, as in Star Wars: Episodes Bad to Worse (no offense to natalie portman, whom i think rocks as an actress, for the most part, but, let's get real). no, no, no, this is my girl Padma, who is seriously cool, at least to me, has my younger son all in a tizzy with her beauty and makes me want to grow my hair long and be east indian, which, of course, i will never be. can't change races in mid-stream, or so i hear, but i like her style. she's smart, a little sassy, and kind of a biznatch sometimes, which works on her.

that little bald man has probably got a serious napoleonic complex and if i met him in person i might totally hate his guts. however, i do not hate him on the show. i like his little rolling of the eyes, the way padma will say something one way and he'll negate it, how he'll point out foibles with all the finesse of a viper snake, but makes incredibly good points and gives credit where credit is due. dig it.

can you say "plan, prep and serve a wedding dinner in less time it takes for caterers to even shop for a wedding dinner"? i mean, how freakin' CRAZY was that? as a person who has had to prepare individual wedding cakes for a wedding and ended up staying up for 72 STRAIGHT HOURS (can't you go to hell or lose your mind or something for that?) to finish it, i felt their pain. oh, did i ever. some of this shit is so off the hook, i sit there with my mouth open in awe. you've GOT to be kidding. but these peeps come through, well, most of them do. and when you've got someone who doesn't who usually does and thinks really highly of themselves, well that leads me to my next one...

marcel was my favorite whiny boy from season 2 -- although, trying to shave his head while he slept was, um, probably not the best way to make the american public like you or even stay on the show. then there was dale from last season, who drove me so crazy, i thought i'd die laughing (although, if he had just taken all that passion and chilled out a bit and put it toward his food instead of trying to be the bad boy of the house, he might have gotten further). i hate reality television for the sheer volume of whiny contestant type people on shows and i have a deeply scarring memory of dealing with really whiny contestants on a reality show, but, for some reason, this just sends me into gales of laughter when i see this amazingly talented chef-types get all bent out of shape instead of focus on their craft. LOVE IT!

OMG, they give these quickfire challenges, right? and you'll hear things like "go into a supermarket, talk to 50 people in 15 seconds and create a breakfast burrito that epitomizes those 50 personalities in 20 minutes -- go!" and you'll have these people, chefs, doing their little vo while they're cooking and you'll hear, "well, i had NO IDEA what to do, then i realized there was some ancient chinese secret quail eggs and butterfly wings packed in fairy juice and thought i would create a pomegranite creme brulee burrito with a touch of quail egg for color and the butterfly wings to add whimsy while dancing on the head of a pin." how they go from a to b with their ideas i would like to do someday. really. maybe not this intensely, okay, i'm SURE not like this, but KINDA like this. the spirit of this.

i love watching these poor people who find themselves on the receiving end of some of the most outrageous combinations in food history as part of a challenge. "take the typical chicken dinner at KFC and reinvent it." me? i'd add a sprig of mint and call it a day (okay, not really, you know that's not true, but you see my point). these guys think of ways to deconstruct the freakin' chicken, fill it with the souls of small children and deliver masterpieces and scary experimental shit that just blows the mind. then these wonderful tasters who are innocent bystanders are at the effect of it all. i sure hope they're being paid a shitload of dough, cuz you'd have to give me quite a hefty sum to get me to eat avocado ice cream -- and i like avocado. trust me.

these guys get to preserve their food in such great little plastic containers for FREE, i'm just salivating.

8) GE
this needs no explanation, only the acknowledgement that i covet each and every piece in that freakin' kitchen, which then brings me to

once again, a serious covet. i sit and watch this damn show and all i can think is "my electric stove isn't calibrated and i have no idea how i'm able to cook things that aren't burnt or underdone every single day." yeah, i could go for a kitchen like that. just in case anyone was wondering what i wanted for christmas. thanks.

and, last, but by no means least, and just so's ya know, i didn't put this in any kind of order, 'kay? good. but last is...

i go into my kitchen, i sit at my laptop, i pick up yarn and two knitting needles, whatever it may be, and i am inspired to do more than i normally would or i'm able to get beyond my food block, writers block, knitting block, whatever is tripping me up and just do. it inspires me to work harder, to be better and to have fun little top chef competitions with my kids. dinner: impossible used to do that for me and as much as i like Michael Symon, i miss my buffed boy, Robert. ah, i do. so sad.

anyway, i say all this because i was inspired enough by top chef for me to complete nanowrimo -- which, in case you've never heard of it, is National Novel Writing Month, which takes place in the 30 days of november and you give yourself a goal of writing 50,000 words by november 30. on 28 november, i uploaded my novel and it came in at 52,636 words. yep, i feel pretty good about that and, as you can see, i've got my winner bling to prove it. but, even more than that is the fact that as broke as we are and we had to rework our thanksgiving dinner to accommodate it, i was able to pull off what my sons and i felt was a pretty terrific thanksgiving dinner because i was inspired. partly by top chef, partly by my sons, but i was inspired.

so thanks, top chef. thanks for giving me a reason to watch television. even if it's just for one hour during a limited time of year and once a week.

thanks, tons.


Tina said...

Great post. Funny how a show like "Top Chef" can just make you all inspired and passionate and stuff, ain't it?

I LOVE Chef Tom. Wow. And I know in my head that I probably tower over him by about 4 inches, but I don't care.

Padma? Eh. I might have to disagree. Although the husband and kid both salivate over her, I find very little actual culinary expertise under that pretty package. And often find myself laughing at her, when she struggles to come up with intelligent to say. "I liked hers...because it was (dramatic pause) really good." Mostly, I'm jealous of her. Okay?!?

Tina said...

Oops. "Something intelligent to say." Is what I'm sayin'. Geez.