I did a dinner this past week, for these folks who live north of Boston. I truly love cooking for them. But the day started out as a train wreck. I arrived in their kitchen 45 minutes late, due to 4 road construction sites, and two accidents. And my assistant was having babysitter problems, and would be arriving after appetizers were being served. Hmmm. Was dinner for eight going to be breakfast for eight?
So here’s what I made for dinner that night: 36 mini crab cakes with a mustard-dill sauce, organic medjool dates stuffed with goat cheese and bacon, mesclun salad with fresh figs and a simple balsamic vinny, roast leg of lamb with a brandy sauce, broiled Alaska salmon (the best!), potato gratin (lactose-free!!), asparagus, and kale with peppers and onions. And dessert? Two lemon meringue pies (of course I made them in their kitchen!!!!!!). With my own pie crust, of course.
So, what’s the big deal? Well, I did this in 2 ½ hours. No Sous chef. No high-tech kitchen with nuclear powered steamers and ultraviolet ovens. And no commercial breaks to yell at staff and have my tv makeup adjusted. Just me in a kitchen. It was a blast, the food was terrific, and everyone had a good time.
So when I watch Iron Chef on tv, they have two competing chefs, with at least one sous chef each(and sometimes with even more assistants). Plus mania and sprinting, and adult-only words that goes on for an hour. When their hour is up, they have some nice looking food, usually a dish or three. But I look at my dinner, and then these folks, and I have to ask, “Really? That’s all you’ve got?” Maybe we need something more stripped down. We can call it “Cooking Unplugged.” Yeah, we’ll have electricity. But how about a competition to get real food on the table, in a real kitchen. THAT would be cool. Hello Food Network?