The Air team skated by unscathed, even though they didn't score the duck breasts and render the fat, which is also a basic cooking technique. It's interesting to note that the mistakes these contestants are making are truly Cooking 101 issues -- seasoning, rendering, de-scaling. Why are they faltering on these fundamentals? I don't get it.
What may have fallen by the wayside last night was the actual event the chefs were cooking for -- Chicago's Meals on Wheels Benefit. Meals on Wheels is just an incredible chef-driven charity that helps the elderly and disabled by delivering meals to their doorstep and along with them, a friendly face and a bit of conversation. Our chef and restaurant community is one of the most generous and charitable going. A few years ago I started a charity for Darfur and found an incredible groundswell of support for my cause in the restaurant community. We're into our third year now. And many years ago when I was an unhappy lawyer trying to make a transition into the world of food, I found a great community of restaurateurs and chefs to learn from and help me make my move when I started volunteering at Share Our Strength, one of our nation's leading anti-hunger organizations. If you've got some time and some inclination to volunteer or make a donation, here are just a few of the incredible chef-driven charities to donate to or get involved in:
Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation: A national organization that raises funds to end childhood hunger.
City Meals on Wheels (New York City Area): Provides meals to homebound elderly and disabled.
Chefs for Humanity: A culinary alliance of professionals and educators working in partnership with US and global organizations to provide nutrition education, hunger relief and emergency and humanitarian relief to reduce hunger across the world.