Here's my secret fantasy: I want to be a judge on Iron Chef, the show on Food Network. I want to sit in Kitchen Stadium and watch Mario Batali and Bobby Flay compete against chefs from famous restaurants. Famous chefs, famous restaurants, the two contestants battling it out in front of me and my fellow judges. I want to be served ten courses of amazing food and then decide the winner. I want to be funny and smart and be asked back for another show and be served ten new and amazing courses of food that I could never find anywhere else. If I use my wiles, I can turn this into a regular gig. Sure, I'll have to diet more, but hell, it would be worth a fast or two.
I don't know if you've watched this show, but it's quite amazing. The conceit is that the two chefs show up to compete and are given--on the spot--a secret ingredient from which they must make four to five courses. Any one watching can see that they do not, on the spot, create these meals. Everything they need for these rarefied dishes is "surprisingly" there for them in Kitchen Stadium (special cheeses from a tiny province in Spain, spices used mainly in Bangalore, that kind of thing). You know they've made them over and over again in practice, but I am willing to believe them, just for fun.
So in one hour, with the secret ingredient, both chefs commence with two sous chefs to make the most amazing food I've ever seen. I can't stop watching, even when they are cutting up just-seconds-ago live fish. I love to Tivo Iron Chef so I can fast forward through the commercials, sticking with the clock as it counts down to the last seconds and the last dripping of sauce and wiping of bowl. And there they are, these amazing dishes.
Usually, there are at least one or two judges who know what he or she is doing. But there is often the clueless judge--the professional wrestler, the actor, the real estate tycoon. And though I likewise have no professional training (unless you count Home Ec in 7th and 11th grades), I would be perfect. Why? I love to eat? I love to cook, too, but mostly, I have many taste buds and I have an excellent sense of smell, and I'm ready to eat! I'll bring my own fork. I promise not to spit out the snails or the squid. I'll even smile through caviar.
What brought this on was a meal I had at Michael Mina last night, the restaurant to which Ericka, Ivory, Jennifer, and other Redroom folk will be going next month as the prize for the contest this summer. My mother, sister, brother-in-law, Michael and I ate wonderfully and well. We were served course after course of fabulous food, so I've done my training. I'm ready to work. Iron Chef, call me!
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org