Posts Tagged ‘Top Chef’

I’m not sure if you know this, but Chief is a chef..

An Uber-Chef, actually.

He’s cooked along side many of the names that pop up on the Food Network Channel .. has been involved in some pretty prestigious competitions both locally and nationally :: he’s even won some! ::

He’s also cooked along side more then one but less then three chef’s that appeared on Top Chef and was filmed for a reality show pitch when he worked for the high end catering company prior to opening the shop.

Cooking is his passion. He is absolutely in his element when he’s in the kitchen.

He’s also a bit of a bastard to work for in the kitchen. He takes pride in what he does.. doesn’t half step.. and expects everyone working under him to have the same dedication and attention to detail that he does.

There’s no excuses in his kitchen .. there can’t be.

Think about it .. one bad meal surpasses a thousand good ones and when you’re cooking for mega events.. or high end weddings or whatever, you have to make sure that what’s being produced isn’t going to trash your reputation .. because no one cares who did the prep and didn’t clean all the bones from a fish .. everything gets blamed on the chef.

Anyway.. last week my mom calls me about a job listing she saw in the local paper. One for me at an area long term care facility and one for Chief at one of the oldest golf courses in the area. So being dutiful children, we emailed our resumes out. I didn’t hear anything back but on Monday, Chief got an email asking what day he wanted to come in for an interview.

He replied Wednesday, just send him a time.

He didn’t hear anything back by Tuesday night so we kind of just let it roll off our shoulders. This was the first position that he had applied for and from witnessing what I have been going through with the whole no response to inquiry things, he figured it will happen if it was meant to be.

This morning I woke up late.. my whole sleep schedule is off again.. about 10:30. You know how you just KNOW when someone isn’t in the house? Like.. their spirit is gone or something? That’s how I felt. Chief wasn’t home. I thought maybe he ran to the store :: because we’re getting yet ANOTHER snow storm :: but after watching the latest episodes of Teem Mom 2 and The Fashion Show and he wasn’t home yet, it dawned on me that it was Wednesday and maybe.. just maybe.. he went up to the golf course.

I wondered why he didn’t wake me up and tell me.. but figured he had his reasons.

When he finally came home, he walked into the bedroom and I asked him where he had been. He said he went for cigarettes.. in [town where the golf course is] ..

I was like, “Oh.. how did it go?”

He said, “How do you think it went” with that cocky little lilt that he gets when it’s apparent that he’s the best at what he does.

He explained that he received an email early this morning giving the time that the guy he was suppose to interview with would be at the golf course. He drove out there and asked a guy on the grounds where the kitchen was. The guy asked why and he told him that he was there to meet so and so.

Just happens that the guy he asked WAS so and so.. and he had caught him in the nick of time because he was leaving the grounds.

Into the kitchen they went and after about a half hour talking food and kitchen philosophy and the reasons why Chief was apply for a job as a “cook” when his resume was so much more then that. Chief explained that that’s what he wanted to do.. cook. He wasn’t into bulls eying the dude’s executive chef position or anything like that.. he just wanted to cook.. plain and simple.

The dude said that he wasn’t about to offer the job to the first guy he interviewed but if Chief wanted it.. it was his.

The kitchen opens from March to December and he’ll probably work from 1pm to around 9 but he’ll get a call around mid February to help build the kitchen staff.. or something like that.

So again.. prayers were answered and miracles happened.

… so there’s been a pretty heated conversation going on between Jen512 and my buddy The Goober about healthcare. If you’re up for it, you can read it HERE.

I was going to post my episode recaps for Project Runway and Top Chef but I think this topic is a little more important.

NOTE: Just let me set the records straight before I go on my tirade. I am not a liberal.. conservative.. Democrat.. Republican.. a sheep.. or a lion. I am just someone who tries to live right.. tries to provide for my family and loves my country. I don’t trust politicians OR the judicial system for that matter so please don’t think that I have a hidden agenda or am just spewing what I hear from someone else. I keep an open mind about everything and am the first one to google something I don’t understand before I form an opinion about it.

With that said…

Before I met Chief, I had very little :: okay, NONE :: experience with my state’s welfare system. I grew up in I guess you could say a lower-middle class :: or high lower class :: neighborhood where no one really knew they didn’t have anything because we had what we needed :: food on the table, roof over our heads, etc. :: and everyone was basically in the same position that my family was.

We went to Catholic school, went to college and then went to work. We got married.. bought cars and houses and didn’t have any of the drama that you routinely hear about on the news on in the paper.

When I met Chief, he was a working as a chef for a ridiculously high end caterer :: they wouldn’t do a wedding unless the price tag was a minimum of 50 grand :: but was making half of what I was making an hour. In fact, he was making less then an entry level position for the company that I worked for.  He was trying to raise 3 kids without any type of child support because all the judges he and the crack whore went before fell for her sob stories.

According to assistance limits, he was making too much money to get on any type of program that would help with electricity bills or heating bills but was able to get about 180.00 a month in food stamps.

That’s basically 6 bucks a day.

Which the state immediately cut off when he went on unemployment.

NOTE: There is a “down” time in catering and generally you work 8 months and then are laid off for 4 months. Carpenters go through the same thing.

If you think it was hard financially when he was working, imagine how hard it was when he was on unemployment. It was that reason why he decided to open up the store. The way we figured it on paper, my paycheck would be able to handle all the household stuff while his unemployment would go towards opening the store.. and then the store would be able to pay for itself.

He was smart.. and it worked. It was hard.. it was :: and still is :: 20 hour days and a lot of  sacrificing and a lot of worry and a lot of blood, sweat and tears.

I’m not complaining. It’s just how it is. We chose to open a store.. we knew it was going to take a lot of inner strength.. outer elbow grease.. and a lot of praying.

To say we work hard is an understatement. You can ask any one of customers and they will tell you that we do the very best that we can to give our customers things that they want that they can afford.

But what torques the hell out of my Chinese food suffering bowels is that while we are constantly pushing.. constantly striving.. constantly trying to make sure all our bases are covered, there are people that I wait on everyday who are just skating through life.. and think they are ENTITLED TO SKATE THROUGH LIFE.

The Crack Whore can run an air conditioner in every damn window of her apartment 24/7 and doesn’t have to care about what her electric bill is because she doesn’t HAVE TO PAY her electric bill.

She’s on welfare… the state pays it.

And guess what? On Tuesday, MY electricity was turned off because I owed a 28.00 back balance.

You read that right…

FOR 28.00 FUCKING DOLLARS, THEY CUT MY ELECTRICITY OFF.

Or how about this one:

One of my regular customers came in on Monday asking if she could get a few things to hold her family over until her husband got paid on Wednesday. Knowing that she has kids to feed, I said “sure”. So she got something like 25.00 worth of stuff.

As I was slicing her lunch meat, she tells me that she will be having Gastric Bypass surgery in October.

Now, there’s no denying that she’s over-weight. But Gastric Bypass? There’s no way that I would have thought that she’d be a candidate for it. I know people personally that have had the surgery and they were OBESE. Like, can’t fit through the front door obese. This woman is no where near that size.

But guess what? She’s on welfare.. so guess who’s paying for the surgery?

At any rate.. it wasn’t even that pissed me off so much.. on Wednesday, she came in to pay her bill with her mother. While she was waiting for me to finish up with a few people in front of her, she started checking our our shelves saying that she had her first nutrition meeting and was looking for things that she would be able to eat after her surgery.

She then tells me that what she is going to do is join Nutri-Systems after her surgery so she doesn’t have to worry about counting calories or proteins or whatever the hell she has to check.

You know what the going rate is for a monthly subscription to Nutri-System?

299.95 A MONTH!

You can’t make your fucking money stretch so you have to ask for credit from me to feed your kids but you’re going to spend three hundred dollars a month for Nutri-Systems???

WHAT THE FUCK!

So.. as delicately as I can be.. I asked her how she was going to be able to swing it and you know what her answer was?

“… oh, the state is paying for it because I have to have the surgery for medical reasons”

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME??

I had to swallow my tongue because you see.. years ago.. I was 12 sizes bigger then I am now. I’m not that big anymore because I just started to eat right and I exercised. A lot. And eventually, I got down to a size 12.

No surgery .. no state paid food delivery service.. nothing but determination and commitment.

Then there was the whole glasses fiasco.

I needed new glasses and Chief needed glasses period. My insurance basically covered the exam.. the frames.. and the lenses but not anything extra like transitions :: where the lens get dark automatically in sunlight :: or UV protection or that kind of stuff. Chief needed a bifocal so because that was out of pocket also, I had to give up the transitions so that he could have the bifocals.

Okay.. whatever.. his was more important then mine and we could have only afforded one so the bifocals it was.

Two weeks ago, Weed came into the store and I forget how the subject even came up but he pulled out his little welfare medical card and said, “… I LOVE this thing. Do you know that I got two pairs of glasses that turn into sunglasses.. and I didn’t even NEED them I just got them because I could.”

Remember that scene in Austin Powers when the mannequins head explode?

Yea. That was me.

Oh.. and did I also tell you that the state is paying for him to get his G.E.D and is giving him a laptop so that he could study and look for a job? All because HE WENT TO JAIL FOR BURGLARY AND DEALING?

Or how about the woman that comes in bitching that her 700.00 a month in food stamps isn’t enough?

Or the other woman who BUYS a food stamp card from some barfly for half the amount in cash?

Or the couple who come in saying that yes, they can afford to have a second baby because they’ll be getting more food stamps when the baby is born?

Is it me or is something wrong here?

Why can’t the widowed father of 5 kids get any type of help from the state because omg.. he actually has a JOB.. but a baby making factory can get free food, free housing and a monthly cash stipend and is doing NOTHING to make her life better? Because to HER .. her life is SWEET.

“… I ain’t gotsta do nuffin’. Dey gotsta give me my money” .. that being an actual conversation I had when I asked what she was going to do when the state finally goes bankrupt and her food stamp card becomes useless

Some would say that I have nothing to bitch about because I choose to accept the food stamp card in my store. But I couldn’t have a store unless I take food stamps. The majority of my customers are on it.. and instead of having a moral struggle with it, I just feel like I’m basically getting my own money back.. since as a working person, my taxes go to providing them their lifestyle.

So you’ll have to forgive me when I hear about how the current administration wants to give MORE of my hard earned income to somebody else.

I’m struggling but because I had a job.. and I own a store.. nobody cares. Nobody is giving my kids free school supplies.. or school clothes.. or lunches.

No one cares about how I’m going to make my next car payment or utility payment or the fact that I had to cut out a lot of things that we’ve become accustomed to in order to keep a roof over our heads.

As long as there are more people with their hand out then there are with their hands in their pocket.. we are going to be forced to dish it out. And that’s just plain wrong.

Give a man to fish and he’ll eat for one day, teach a man to fish and he’ll eat everyday

… or something like that.

For more details on Food Stamps, read THIS post that I wrote back in April

<< end rant >>

One thing you have to admit about Bravo … their reality competition shows are generally a notch up.

I <3 Top Chef… even before I got with Chief. Sooo much better then Hell’s Kitchen because the judges are actually constructive in their criticism and the chef’s are actually.. well, chefs.

Sorry.. but if you really think that a short order cook can POSSIBLY win the opportunity to head a Gordon Ramsey restaurant at the Borgata then well.. you need to dip into the Crack Whore’s zip lock bag of pills.

Anyway… as with my previous post on the new season of Project Runway, I’ll just give a list of the contestants and my initial impressions.

NOTE: I do NOT watch this with Chief. I tried once but he just got SO fucking annoying with his color commentating that I threw him out of the bedroom. Don’t get me wrong, Chief is an AMAZING chef and we would be probably living large if he would just succumb to MY desire to have him audition for one of these shows. He’d be brilliant on Top Chief but I would actually love for him to go knife to knife with Ramsey… OMG, Gordon would have SO met his match but yknow.. he won’t do it. At any rate, sometimes I just want to be entertained so he’s not allowed to watch it with me!

Okay.. so this season the gang is in Vegas and they’re throwing in some twists and stuff that is going to make things a little bit interesting. So we’ll see..

At any rate, here’s the scoop:

Ash Fulk

Ash Fulk

To be completely honest with you, I can’t remember one thing that dude did on this episode other then saying that he was the only one of the chef’s with a boyfriend.

I can’t remember what team of four he was for the quick fire OR what he cooked during the main challenge that was based on each chef’s vice.

Not sure not being remembered is a good thing but with 16 chefs.. and it being episode 1.. it’s not unusual to forget someone here and there!

Dig the bow tie though!

Ashley Merriman

Ashley Merriman

She’s another one that didn’t leave any kind of impression.

I’m not even sure that they spent time on her during the initial part of the show when everyone meets everyone else for the first time.

I could go back and watch it On Demand but yknow, I kind of think that would be cheating in away. If she didn’t do anything to stand out then.. well.. she didn’t do anything to stand out.

Bryan Vottaggio

Bryan Vottaggio

The slightly geeky.. non-tattooed.. not as cool Vottagio brother!

This season includes brothers. Each successful in their own right and living on opposite coasts I think.

This must add another level of intensity during challenges because of the whole sibling rivalry thing going on… not sure if their cooking styles are different but in the coming weeks, we should see that coming into play more especially when the chefs cook individually as opposed to in a team.

Eli Kirshtein

Eli Kirshtein

Eli may not look it.. but he has a long resume behind him with some serious background!

Very impressive.

Okay.. I cheated. I looked at his bio on Bravo’s website because I’m starting to feel like I’m not remembering ANYTHING from this episode.. but I guess that’s the point, right?

Heh.

Eve Aronoff

Eve Aronoff

Poor Eve!

I think she was seriously affected by a case of the butterflies!

It seems like every season there is one chef that you think “.. omg, she is SO out of her league!” and Eve would be THAT chef THIS season especially because she is based in Ann Arbor, Michigan and not some culinary hotspot.

But let me tell you… this chick is not some fly by night lets-open-a-restaurant little rascal. The girl got some chops and a more then impressive resume. Hopefully, she’ll get down to do what she does best instead of over thinking what the judges might want.

That could be her downfall.

Hector Santiago

Hector Santiago

Hector is just badass.

Come on.. can you just picture him in cut-off leather cruising around on a motorcycle loud enough to loosen your fillings?

And who else looks like they have the balls enough to throw a steak in the deep fryer of Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant?

Well, ok.. Chief would.

Side Note: Chief actually cooked along side Wolfgang Puck a few years ago during a local Pro-Am competition for charity and Chief can’t stand him. He said he was the most arrogant mother fucker who wouldn’t say anything good about ANYONE else’s dishes regardless of how good they were. If there’s one thing that Chief is cocky about, it’s his ability in the kitchen so… yknow.. there it is.

Anyway.. back to Hector.

Hector is from Puerto Rico so his dishes are going to have that PR-island flair to them.

Jen Zavala

Jen Zavala

Jen was the first chef eliminated.. and even I knew that she was going to be.

Her breaded vegan something or other not only looked like crap but anyone who ever tried to bread something could see that it wasn’t breaded properly.

I think she tried to hard.. and I think she just had a bad case of the butterflies too. I got the impression that she wanted to win this SO much that it became a mental thing for her and instead of just doing what she does best, she took an unnecessary risk and it bit her in the ass.

Basically, she just tried to hard.

Jennifer Carroll

Jennifer Carroll

I’VE MADE MEN CRY IN THE KITCHEN

I loved that line.. Jen is a total bad ass!

But in full disclosure, I’m rooting for her because Chief actually knows her. Well.. ok.. not like “.. let’s get together for some drinks” but he’s been around her at various events over the years and he said that she can cook her ass off so that’s good enough for me.

And cook she did.

She won the Quick Fire challenge and came in a close second in the Elimination challenge so she will be a force. Definitely TEAM JEN!

Jesse Sandlin

Jesse Sandlin

Two things came to mind when I was watching Jesse. One, she looked like an emo Rosie the Riveter when cooking.. and Two, she looked like she should be on Hell’s Kitchen.

Boy was I wrong.

She had a strong showing in the Quick Fire.. even though she had never cooked with prawns before.. and although she came in on the bottom after the elimination, the judges recognized that Jesse knew exactly why she was there from the get go. It’s one thing to crash on a dish but the important thing is that she knew exactly what she did wrong and that gave her props from the judges. Rightfully so. Jesse is also an early favorite.

Kevin Gillespie

Kevin Gillespie

Kevin won the Elimination Challenge .. narrowly beating Jennifer.. so we’ll be seeing more of him.

Interesting thing about Kevin is that he had a scholarship to M.I.T. that he just chucked away to go into culinary.

Could you imagine that conversation with his parents?

OMG.. my dad would have killed me!

Laurine Wickett

Laurine Wickett

I have absolutely nothing to say about Laurine…

I honestly don’t remember her…

She may have been the chef to pick the golden chip at the beginning of the episode :: which meant she didn’t have to compete and would have immunity for the elimination :: but I’m not sure.. I checked all over Bravo’s website and couldn’t find anything to click on a memory so I’ll have to leave it at that

Mattin Noblia

Mattin Noblia

Funky accent..

So obviously French..

Loved the little sailor neckerchief and striped shirt.

That’s all I really remember about him.

Michael Isabella

Michael Isabella

Boy.. did he start off on the wrong foot!

Mike is one of those guys that you really just want to punch in the mouth. He’s a loud mouth, cocky son of a bitch that should piss off every Italian American male in Jersey for his over the top stereotyping.

I’m sure he can cook as well as he says he can but he also made a remark when Jennifer was neck and neck with him shucking clams that “… a girl shouldn’t be at the same level as I am”

WTF dude!

Honestly, I hope he tanks.

Michael Vottaggio

Michael Vottaggio

The more tattooed of the Voggattio brothers, Michael I believe is on the west side of the country.

Not to sure what he did… or didn’t do this episode. But do remember either him or his brother saying that no one wants to see the other exceed more except when competing head to head.

Ok.. so.. we’ll see

Preet Mistry

Preet Mistry

Sorry.. but I really have to say this..

Preet resembles the gay girl in Miami that Brooke Hogan was set up with by her gay friend.

Real quick.. Brooke’s roommate is gay and not having any luck in the dating field. Having once been engaged to a woman, Brooke thinks that maybe he really isn’t gay. To prove that one knows one’s sexuality, he sets her up on a blind date with a girl. A girl that looks just like Preet.

I know that really has not place here and I’m truly not being disrespectful to Preet. It’s just an observation. And honestly, considering that Preet’s responsibility during Quick Fire was to shuck clams that she never shucked before and was STILL shucking after all the other teams had completed the ENTIRE challenge, I think she’d rather be remembered as the girl who looks like the girl that gave Brooke Hogan her first lesbian kiss!

Robin Leventhal

Robin Leventhal

ROBIN WAS THE CHEF THAT PICKED THE GOLD COIN!

Woosh!

I was positive it wasn’t Laurine but yknow.. my mind doesn’t operate on full capacity this early in the morning!!

Other then that.. nothing really too spectacular to point out about Robin.

Maybe next episode

Ron Duprat

Ron Duprat

What a story Ron has!

Originally from Haiti.. Ron traveled to the US as a refugee on a little boat that took 27 days and a few lives.

I’m positive that that was an experience that shows up all over the place.. especially in the dish that he made during the elimination challenge. How could it not be in every aspect of your life?

At any rate.. his dish did receive good reviews from the judges and I expect that Ron’s island upbringing will play a big part in future episodes.

Well… there you have it.

It’s a lot for one episode so just bear with me. I promise my recaps will get much better as we go on.

In fact, I may even employ Chief and his color commentating. He’s going to loathe sitting in front of the tv watching a reality show but I’ll guilt him into it!! LOL!