Speak Up

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bravo to Lia on Top Chef

No the season isn't over, and no Lia didn't win the challenge last night, she was actually in the bottom 4. What Lia did do is stand up to egotistical "greater than thou" Hung. I say bravo, Lia! Hung decides leaving a dropped shellfish on the floor is acceptable and machismo and makes him look like a bad ass...not according to Lia. She shot right in there with, "Don't leave it on the floor" But of course Hung fired back with, "What do you want me to do?" So Miss Lia stands right up to him and says, "Clean up after yourself, that's what I want." Later she speaks again about Hung, "It doesn't matter if you're in a competition or cooking on the line you should have a certain way that you act in a kitchen. And I don't think he follows that code."
That's right Lia-you don't take that. I've only met Lia once, but now that I'm thinking about it I wish I would have spoken with her more then.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

¡Viva Hells Kitchen!

Hells Kitchen is a chef contestant show where the cooks are forced to be ridiculed as they scramble through a mock-dinner service in a studio in LA. Unlike Top Chef, in Hells Kitchen there really aren’t any moments of creativity or imagination. But rather the cooks fight til the death in a men versus women battle to determine a leader of each team. This past week was most entertaining. Not only did Chef Gordon Ramsay say “F*** me senseless”…’don’t mind if I do’ but the cooks could not identify the simplest of foods in a blind taste test. According to them it’s very hard to identify foods with loud music playing in your ears while being blindfolded-but come on, boiled carrot! Who cannot identify a boiled carrot? At least don’t guess and say it tastes like a radish, or worse: papaya!

For your pleasure and entertainment I have included a list of the items guessed wrong and what they were thought to be.
Brace yourself ladies:
American Cheese…thought to be cheddar cheese (ok, not that bad)
Boiled Egg Yolk...though to be potato
Venison...thought to be chicken, turkey, or steak
Lobster…thought to be langoustine or scallop
Bok Choy…thought to be a radish
Pear…thought to be a mango by Josh. Rock wonders: “I know Josh had a pear before?”
Seared Tuna…thought to be Pancetta

To further keep you smiling and crying I have included some memorable quotes from this episode:
Vinny says as he is shown walking in slowmo off the show just before his 8 by 10 picture is burned: “I can’t do what he [GR] does. He’s got years of experience on me. He knows what oysters and caviar taste like from Japan. He knows what spices from India are like” ….you mean like Saffron….Saffron? C’mon, I know this guy has used saffron, right?

Rock says about the other cooks as the show comes to an end: “None of them are a threat to Rock. The only threat to Rock is Rock.” I’m not sure what that means, but I love it! I’m definitely pulling for Rock.

TOP CHEF SEASON 3: Episode 2

If you aren’t already engrossed in season 3 of Top Chef, you better start watching now to catch up on the action. Episode 2, “Sunny Delights”, as named by Bravo, features Chef Norman Van Aken as guest judge. As any good chef’s wife knows, Chef Van Aken is the god of Florida “new world” cuisine (ok, honestly, what does that really mean?).

The 14 remaining cheftestants were charged with a citrus Quickfire (winner: Hung) and an upscale bbq challenge. For the main event, each chef received $200 to buy their ingredients, 2 hours for prep, and 2 hours for onsite bbq cooking. Right out of the gate, I was worried for Sarah. When she claimed that she didn’t know that scotch bonnet peppers were among the hottest in the world, I got a little nervous. Even I know that – of course I do. Anyway, Sarah managed to pull through and landed in the top 3. Joey and Howie, on the other hand, were not so lucky. Joey’s NYC chef ego and hot temper are not going to get him too far. When he tried to throw Howie under the bus, the tough guys went at it and it got a little scary. Ultimately, it was spiky Sandy that got sent home for not grilling in a bbq competition. What do you know? Makes sense to me. Kudos to Brian, who won for his chino latino dish and serving flair!

After two great Top Chef episodes, I find myself wondering, will my chef become a Top Chef? Will he face challenges from Padma and Tom and whip any godforsaken ingredient into a culinary masterpiece? Well ladies and gentlemen, only time can tell. For now, I’m happy to have my chef here with me in NYC.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A Lesson in Burger History

When you’re a chef’s wife you often ask yourself, “What am I going to do on a Saturday night?” So you grab your cell and round up the local wives and friends in an attempt to take over the city.

After hours of lying in the hot sun of Central Park’s Sheep’s Meadow and watching fellow sun bathers attempt a semi-wet slip and slide we hear the growl of our stomachs. Again we find ourselves lying -this time on a couch munching on old chocolate Easter eggs (in June) and some original flavor Kashi TLC crackers. We finally decide on dinner: burgers. Totally a casual night so we end up at P.J. Clarke’s at Lincoln Square where we have heard good things about their burgers. A little corporate-but who isn’t these days. Really now, who isn’t? Even the great chefs once revered in yesteryears have sold their souls just as a young Dick and Mac McDonald did in 1955.

Seated at a red and white checkered table (now red and pink from too many rounds with the washing machine) we sip our beers and skim the menu for this famous burger. And thanks to our burger-educated server Dustin Olson we gained the history of a P.J. Clarke’s hamburger. And please correct me if I am wrong, Dustin. It was not until the 60s that a new burger, known as a ‘California burger’ were served with lettuce and tomato. Until then, a burger came only with a large raw onion slice on the bottom to prevent the greasy burger from weakening the paper plates-oh, and a dill pickle on the side, ah. Since P.J. Clarke’s prides itself on its 129 year old history they stick to the original burger/onion set-up.

Apparently there is shame in requesting lettuce and tomato on a P.J. Clarke’s burger, but Dustin acquiesced as two of us ordered the extra forbidden fruit and vegetable combo. After all, we were born years and years after the 60s, can you blame us? To our somewhat surprise another server walked by, in the most dead pan manner, reminding us of the shame we created with a lettuce and tomato dowsed burger. Ouch.

Ok, so the burgers: cooked perfectly as we requested. Juicy and delish as well. Of course the best part was the history behind it. Snaps to Dustin for bringing history alive and giving attention to these Desperate ChefsWives on a Saturday night.

For the complete history of P.J. Clarke's visit: http://www.pjclarkes.com/

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Top Chef Season 3

Top Chef is back for its third season in Miami and Bravo TV has picked a colorful cast of 'cheftestants'. (their word-not mine) One moment in the first episode had me rolling on the floor (if I could roll had I not recently been given a botched Brazilian). Joey is 29 from NYC and is the executive chef at Cafe Des Artistes. Someone announces in the kitchen that there are only 10 minutes left and then I hear it. After feeling obviously pumped up with cheftosterone (now THAT was my word) Joey said, "Ah, sh*t. You know this is when sh*t hits the fan. This is Saturday night, rock and roll, New York City. This is when people start figuring it out, 'I'm not going to f*cking make it'".

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. "...Saturday night?...rock and roll??...NEW YORK CITY???" Look, I love New York, I love the food here, but all that machismo nonsense is just as good as week-old milk. Now I turn and see my chef also laughing-harder than me actually. Then he stops pauses the show (gotta love DVR) and says to me, "Oh, you don't know why I'm laughing, do you?"

"Yeah, I do" I replied. "This guy is great! Totally like all the rest of you....chefs"

"Nope" he says. "Joey has worked at some of the same places as I have worked, trained under the same guy. I'm laughing because Joey learned that from working for ***, we all say it to pump the line up."

Pump the line up? Is he for real right now? I'm throwing him a look of complete disbelief. I guess I assumed they spoke this way, but I was hit hard with the reality of it. This is worse than I thought. That 'I work in New York City-4 star-Michelin rated-Bruni loved-hot spot-seen on tv-eater/grub street approved-tasting menu- PPX' attitude is starting to get on my nerves.

But really, what would I do without it?

On a side note, I have to give snaps to Lia. Works for the same guy, yet no machismo attitude (seen thus far). But maybe its because she's a chick.

See for yourself: Wednesday nights 10pm.




Sunday, June 10, 2007

Romancing the Stove

This article was written by SuperChef author Juliette Rossant in 2005. She mentions an article written by Catherine Hong of W Magazine called "Romancing the Stove" that I would love to get my hands on. If anyone has it, or a link to it, please let me know.



Wednesday, June 6, 2007

UK Desperate Chefs Wives Take Action!

This article was found on findarticles.com, and it has given me some ideas....

Independent, The (London), Dec 16, 2006 by Ed Caesar

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a woman in possession of a food millionaire must be in want of a life. At least, it's true if the woman in question is Tana Ramsay, wife of the fiery maestro Gordon, or Jools Oliver, missus of the mockney moghul Jamie.

They may both talk themselves up as stay-at-home spouses, but Jools Oliver stepped out from her husband's shadow earlier this year, with a diary of pregnancy and motherhood entitled Minus Nine to One: The Diary of an Honest Mum. And this week, Tana Ramsay was named as the face of a new UKTV food programme called The Market Kitchen, building on the success of her cookbook, The Family Kitchen, and her regular column for Grazia magazine.

Why now? The phenomenon of the successful superchef's wife is a very recent one. When the nation watched Keith Floyd, did we care what his other half was up to? Did we yearn to know the details of his children's conception? Now, suddenly, it seems that it is not enough for our television chefs to rule our airwaves and our bookshelves - their spouses must muscle in too.
And why bother? It's not as if either of the families need the money. Jamie Oliver, with a library of best-selling cookbooks, a thriving television career and a restaurant to his name, has a fortune estimated this year at [pound]25m. Ramsay, whose restaurant empire grows seemingly by the day - this week he announced plans to open establishments in Amsterdam, Paris, Singapore and Australia - has an estimated fortune of [pound]67m.

But Tana and Jools, who should by rights be sipping Caipirinhas from midday and having thrice-daily manicures by now, have refused to let their husbands hog the spotlight. Jamie Oliver started it. Remember all those early cookbooks where, in between blathering on about his "absolutely perfect roast chicken" or how he was "doolally about herbs", Oliver would crowbar his long-suffering missus into the story.

Jools's presence wasn't an accident. Much more than a pretty face, Jools was crucial to the image of the Naked Chef as a likeable homebody, a regular guy. The tactic worked. With his wife twinkling in the background, Oliver has sold more cookbooks than any other British chef, ever.
But where does a F-WAG cross the line into being a personality in her own right? Jools's Rubicon was forded earlier this year when she released her book, a graphic trawl through the mucky business of pregnancy and birth. Dostoevsky it ain't. But then Jools, an ex- model, has never claimed any special literary expertise.
"I just wrote the diary because I was kind of bored," Mrs Oliver explained. "And I read it to my mum. She said, 'This is so funny. You're so good.' You think mums always say that... but I read it to a few friends. They went, 'Oh, you should get it published'. And then, obviously - being Jamie's wife, it's a lot easier, so I was very lucky. So I thought, 'Take the opportunity,' and I was lucky enough to do it."

Jools, it would be fair to say, has no plans for global domination and does not intend to write further books. The odd magazine spread, and tabloid titter (of the "Jools ditches Jamie for girlie night out" variety) aside, Mrs Oliver has largely slipped out of the limelight.
That's more than can be said for Tana, who has shot from being a Montessori schoolteacher to a media starlet in her own right. Not only has she been creating salads for Peter Jones and writing a cookery book, called Tana Ramsay's Family Kitchen, which made a cameo appearance on the bestseller lists, she will soon, like her husband, be the face of a food magazine programme, The Market Kitchen, which will be filmed at Borough Market and marks a serious step up for Mrs Ramsay. But what expertise does she bring? By her own admission, Tana did not become interested in cooking until her children were born. If her husband has earned his fame - learning to cook in the hothouses of the continent's kitchens, and building a seven-Michelin-starred empire of his own - Tana has piggy-backed to hers. She once admitted that Gordon bought her Delia Smith books to improve her culinary skills, hardly the confession of a woman desperate to be taken seriously as a food guru.

A lack of talent need not be a barrier to success, and Tana has built on her other qualities - she looks good in front of the camera, and is likeable - that have been fostered by her appearances on her husband's show, The F-Word.

And, like Jools, she makes no claims to greatness. "[My approach] has been... if I can do it, anyone can do it," said Tana, at the launch of her latest book. "I wanted to simplify everything right down. The recipes came from me and my mum, from friends and family, not some home economist."

She is also sanguine about her current foray into the media world. "I would be stupid if I thought that Gordon wasn't the reason I'd been asked to do it," she admitted. "But I can either dwell on that, and worry what people are going to say, or I can get on with it."

Monday, June 4, 2007

Ladies of Manhattan

L.O.M. is an organization started by some intelligent, classy, career -driven women for the purpose of friendship and networking in NY. I wish I could give a better explanation but the founders have a phenominal story to tell regarding the spirit behind L.O.M. Here is the latest event which will be held on Tuesday June 26 at Megu New York. The drinks are great and food is mouth watering. I won't deny eating nearly a whole platter of kobe beef at the last event. I sure hope they have that kobe again. Plus who doesn't love a gift bag?

The Ladies of Manhattan
Will welcome boys for ONE night ONLY
to an exclusive
“Single Mingle”
@ MEGU New York
(62 Thomas Street between Church & W.Broadway)
On Tuesday June 26th, 2007 from 7 - 10pm

$15 Cash Admission (at the door)
Includes Signature drinks & Appetizers,
Along with “wallet-friendly” drink specials,
gift bags and the chance to win
amazing prizes in our
Raffle drawing!

RSVP for you & your Single male friend to: Brandi@Foodscope.com

We hope to see you there!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Isn't it funny...

...how when you go to eat at a restaurant- let's say run by a prominent NYC Italian chef, that the 'man behind the desk' is so rude to you because you are early but then realizes you have those special little letters next to your name that all of the sudden you hear, "Ah yes, Mr. ****** we've been waiting for you" with a grin bigger than Texas. I wonder where that kind demeanour was a moment ago when I walked in as a vagrant off 125th street? (in his eyes of course) . Actually, I would have much rather him been a prick the whole time; at least he would not have to suffer by acting like a phony "oh is there anything else i can get for you?" maitre'd. And it's too bad because the food was wonderful. Just goes to show you.


Welcome to the Chefs Wives Club

Where on earth do I begin? Well, why not the beginning? My husband is a chef for a very prominent restaurateur/celebrity chef here in...where else? NewYorkCity. About 3 years ago we moved here from the suburbian wasteland of Los Angeles so that he could pursue his dream of working long hours and getting paid 3 beans a day. Ok, ok, the truth is, he came here to be a 'new york city chef' because really now, where else would anyone want to work? As any chef wife/girlfriend/siginificant other knows-chefs work long exhausting hours that takes a toll on us! So instead of fighting a losing battle with a gazillion dollar a year profiting industry, I decided to join them. Oh no, I dont work at any restaurant (do I seem that crazy?) but I do take an active, appropriate interest in what drives this massive thing. So here I am now with a blog set up for people to converse about all the drama that goes on inside the kitchens, restaurants, bars, and oftentimes-alleyways. Of course I will change names to protect people, but if its not a HUGE deal, I'll blab every little tiny detail.

Let me please reiterate that the chefs wives club is for all people STUCK to a chef in one form or another. If I excluded it to wives, I might only hear back from 7-15 people. After all, who in their right mind would willingly promise to spend their WHOLE LIVES with a chef? Oh yeah, me. Oops. Hey, you can't blame me, he was my high school sweet heart. How charming, huh? Well don't get used to it, thats probably the only 'sweet' thing you'll see on this website.


And please, feel free to share the stories, gossip, drama, and heartache. If we all stick together, we might actually get through it.