Padma Lakshmi

Padma Lakshmi burns her toast? Impossible.

on Nov 15, 2006

I must admit that when I arrived in the Top Chef kitchen for this week's Quickfire and saw all that pig's blood, pig's ears and hooves, and other very gory meaty bits like chicken feet, and calf hearts and brains assembled together, I was stopped dead in my tracks. It made quite an impression on me, to say the least. There is an Edwardian butcher shop in my neighborhood in Notting Hill, London, and at times I have become a bit weak in the knees passing by its window seeing whole skinned rabbits and such, but nothing -- not even eating warm bull's cojones in Spain after a bullfight -- was quite like this.

Something about all those parts together on one table felt a bit like being on the set of a culinary Wes Craven or Dario Argento flick. All this while in the middle of a heat wave. I couldn't help but think how far I'd come from my vegetarian roots. This wasn't an episode I'd be sending to Granny back in Madras. I had to applaud the efforts of the chefs as well as how game Michelle Bernstein was to try everything. For once my gluttony and earnest fork were abruptly curtailed.... But not for long.