Corey -- the airline chef -- won the Signature Dish Challenge. The whimsical nature of and the potential of the dish won me over.
My dinner party theme was Town and Country … “town” being the sophisticated, big city taste and feel; “country” being a throw-back to simpler times, farm-fresh ingredients, and the casual gathering of friends around a casual table.
Nicole and Corey picked their theme by choosing one of two domes. Under one dome were eggs (country); under the other, caviar (town). Corey got the Country assignment; Nicole, the Town.
They put a lot of thought, energy, and detail in their decors. Corey chose the Terrace and party planner Jes Gordon decorated it with lots of rustic touches: country photographs, wagon wheels, and a special country-themed gift at each place setting. Nicole went for a high-style, white, lime green and fuchsia décor, with black and white photos of New York City hanging on my walls.
On my invitation list were:
Terrance Brennan, the Chef-Proprietor of the successful and acclaimed restaurants of The Artisanal Group, including Picholine, Artisanal Fromagerie, Bistro & Wine Bar, and Bar Artisanal. In 2003, Terrance launched the Artisanal Premium Cheese Center -- a 10,000-square foot facility dedicated to the selection, maturation, and distribution of the world's finest artisanal cheeses. He brought a table full of his cheeses to the party, so I asked both chefs to prepare a cheese course using Terrance’s cheeses.
Melissa Joan Hart. You’ve seen Melissa in the live-action version of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and since 2010, she has starred in the ABC Family series, Melissa and Joey.
Deborah Cox, singer and actress who has conquered the R&B and pop charts, including six top R&B singles, and impressive 10 number-one hits on Billboard’s Hot Dance Party Play chart. Plus, she has starred in musicals on Broadway.
Christian Campbell. Christian is an actor who has been on so many TV shows, movies, and plays that his resume could wrap around Manhattan and back.
Mo Rocca. Humorist, actor and writer, Mo Rocca is best known for his off-beat news reports and satirical commentary. Currently, he’s the host of Food(ography) on the Cooking Channel.
Tiler Peck. Tiler is the Principal Ballerina with the New York City Ballet. Tiler was a consultant on the movie Black Swan.
Rocco love your show! Marry a cuban! we have lots of Sabor! Keep the great dishes coming..i'm making your fried chicken!
I was taping all the shows and somewhat enjoying watching the competition and recipes but the banter amongst dinner guests is another story. The atmosphere at the dinner parties in general is reminiscent of high school, "If you don't get the inside joke, you're not cool." But the jokes are contrived, everyone is vaguely uncomfortable, and Rocco DiSpirito just doesn't keep my interest. The most banal and incomprehensible moment was when one of the guests mentioned something about a "Four minute cunnilingus session." What? This is not dinner conversation, or conversation for any time in mixed company as far as I'm concerned. This is a desperate attempt to be relevant, because it is neither interesting nor intellectual. And it's not funny. I may not be "cool enough" to "get It," but Rocco and his friends are definitely not good enough to come into my home anymore.