The first time I heard about Top Chef from a friend I really had my doubts about it being all that interesting. How exciting can it be to watch some chefs cook it out in reality-style competitions?
One day, purely by chance, I turned on the TV and happened upon an episode in mid-season 1. As a R-TV (reality television) cynic I was determined to not get sucked in, listening with half an ear, and only taking the odd peek. A few minutes into the show I found myself shushing my conscience’s nagging that the house needed cleaning, with the promise to return to that unpleasant task in the next minute. As if to proof that intent I sat down on the very tip of a chair, not getting too comfortable. When the credits rolled over the screen half an hour later, I found myself most comfortably ensconced in that same chair with a coffee mug, cold and empty, in hand.
When I tell you that I’m not the world’s greatest cook, and that I don’t have a very sophisticated pallet, you will understand why I became fascinated with Top Chef. The way those people whip stuff up, and plate it to look pretty, totally amazes me. I realise they are trained to work fast, probably know a lot of recipes by heart and obviously know how to execute things. Still, I’m in awe.
Another facet of the show that intrigues me is the judging of the dishes. Sitting in judgement of someone else’s culinary skills must mean you love all kind of food, right? I mean, if you’re not partial to a specific type of meat, vegetable, or whatever, how can you objectively judge a dish that has that ingredient? I’m guessing the judges must also be in perfect health to ensure their taste buds don’t miss out on a flavor / pick up a phantom flavor. Food just don’t taste the same when one is running a fever or has a stuffy nose. Oh, and let me not forget those acclaimed chefs who come to guest judge! There were times when I really wanted them to go into the kitchen and whip something up for judges table.
Imagine my delight when I heard about Top Chef Masters! We’re a little behind schedule here in South Africa, only now getting to watch season 1. So far I’m not disappointed. It’s a real treat watching the chefs’ facial expressions when they get to see their food being judged in the quick-fire challenges. No matter how good you think you are, it all depends on someone else’s taste buds. It’s a jungle out there!
In episode 12 of Top Chef Season 5, guest judge, chef Wylie Dufresneof, wanted the contestants to create something surprising and delightful with eggs. He loves eggs, apparently – it also featured in his “Last Supper” request (elimination challenge). Well, I can eat eggs, but that’s not necessarily the last memory I want my taste buds to have!
Potatoes – that’s what my buds’d like, thank you very much! I’d challenge the chefs to come up with potato ten-way. Too much?! Uhm. . . okay, eight then? Six?! I won’t settle for anything less than five!
If you could choose, what would you have the chefs make you for your last supper?