First let me say, everyone should stop reading this right now and head to Harold's restaurant. He's doing serious food. My meal was light but hearty, restrained but bold, creative yet familiar, sophisticated but still fun. Harold, man, I'm happy I live in the neighborhood. Congrats. I was hoping to answer some questions this week, but I've been on the road without Internet access, so next week I'll have some answers for you all. Oh, and unlike Bourdain, I'm not a writer so thanks for bearing with me on this blog. "Top Chef" isn't easy. Each week comes with its own set of challenges, so I figured I'd make a list of the things that I thought weren't easy about this week:
#1: Fatigue Everyone looked pretty drained. After a few weeks into it, your initial adrenaline rush dissipates and the long, stressful days start to accumulate. The average show takes about two days to shoot. Two really, really long days. Almost 18-hour days. I never got more than four hours of sleep and usually less. And from the looks of it, this crew is a little fatigued.
#2: Cocktail pairings.
(If I had only known in college that becoming "Global Mixologist For Bombay Sapphire Gin" was a career path....) Gin and chefs is a pairing about as common as a burger and fries. But chefs attempting to pair something with fin other than themselves is another story. It's not like wine -- if you're under the gun you can follow some general rules and you'll be OK. A complicated cocktail takes some time and some thought -- two things a Quickfire Challenge doesn't allow. But what this season does have is a stocked pantry. Foie Gras?! Where was that last season? And speaking of the pantry, Lee Anne is a rock star. Have you noticed how good the spreads look?