Last night I was hungry- it happens to me most nights. I couldn’t decide what to make. After a lot of going back and forth, I decided to use up some fresh basil from my garden to make a fresh spaghetti in a simple olive oil sauce. I went to the store to get a few ingredients. My trip to the grocery store was uninspired. I returned home un-excited to cook. I thought that maybe cooking in real-time “against” the contestants on MasterChef Season 3 would be fun… Could I pull off a fresh extruded pasta in an hour? The question was exciting, but the more I thought about it, I just didn’t want to cook.
I had tweeted about live tweeting an hour of cooking and there seemed to be some interest so I thought it would be fun to do eventually. But not that night… I ate leftovers last night.
Tonight I was ready to cook. A long day at work and I wanted to unwind- cooking relaxes me. I decided to up the ante and shoot for three courses in one hour. They would be simple(ish) courses, but all three in an hour from scratch would be aggressive to say the least. Spoiler: Dinner was excellent. But it wasn’t smooth sailing, here’s what happened along the way (and a few tips that can help speed up your cooking).
Last week I had the pleasure of spending a couple of days working with the kitchen team at Graham Elliot in Chicago. Many of you may know Chef Graham Elliot as one of the judges on MasterChef. Chef was kind enough to invite me into his restaurant in Chicago to work and learn from his crew. It was a great experience, and a true pleasure.
WOW! What a way to end a terrific season of MasterChef… From three contestants down to a winner in just under two hours. This won’t be so much of a recap (you can watch the entire finale at Fox.com/MasterChef) as it will be a reflection of this course of events that will undoubtedly change my life…
“Cast back on set” 3.22.11: We meet for lunch at 11:30. We pile into a couple of familiar white vans and head to a California Pizza Kitchen. We start walking to the door, when the PA’s call us back to the van- we’ve gone to the wrong restaurant. We get back in the vans and drive another 10 minutes to a CPK that was closer to the hotel… WTF?! We sit and order… no Hollywood lunch is complete without libations so we all order drinks. After a few minutes, one of the PA’s comes and says we’re limited to one drink each (even though we’re paying for them ourselves). This dosen’t sit well with the group. While we all LOVE all of the PA’s, people are no longer on their best behavior- the fear of being kicked off the show is no longer… we all have between two and five drinks with lunch;) This is going to make for better TV right?
“Back to Reality” 3.21.11: It’s great to see everyone again. We’ve heard through the grapevine who’s in and who’s out of the competition. When I walk into the hotel lobby — a different hotel that we had previously stayed at… I’m immediately greeted by a table of friends. They’re eating lunch and I’m starved, but seeing them is awesome. I sit and order a crappy pizza that takes forever to come… no worries though, we’ve got lots of catching up to do.
On Monday, the top 6 competed in a MasterChef team challenge. They chose teams and took over the Michelin Star restraunt Patina in Los Angeles. Both teams did remarkably well but in the end, Christian’s experience helped his red team triumph over the blue team.
Team captain Tracy, Adrien, and Jennifer faced a pressure test of massive proportions. The three were given a HUGE King salmon to filet, portion, and cook. At the beginning of the challenge, Chef Ramsay effortlessly broke down the giant fish in a demonstration for Tracy, Adrien, and Jennifer. His skill with a knife and fish gave Suzy Singh an orgasm in the galley. All three chef-testants seemed to struggle with the daunting task, but in the end it was the bit of tail left of Tracy’s fish that sent her home.