Enough Oprahsizing: Casey brings a more straightforward story. She's just a hard-working, passionate chef who takes chances and knows her stuff. Friends of mine who know her say she has always been badass, and she's really been bringing it lately, no? For more Ted Allen, check out his iVillage interview here.
On Battle Trout: I appreciate the idea, particularly with the scenic touch of the hot-air balloon (although I'm with Casey on the idea of riding in one -- looks pretty, but I'm not too into dangling from a gas-filled sack hundreds of feet above the mountains). With the exception of Hung, the terror was palpable when the chefs learned they were to cook trout for Eric Ripert, a seafood master, and a verrrrry discriminating palate on this show (and everywhere else, I'm sure). I recently ran into Eric in an airport, and was ashamed for him to see me slink into the food court for bad, corporate pizza -- but that's another story).
What bothered me was the conditions: The chefs had just 20 minutes to attempt cooking what for several of them was an unfamiliar fish on slanted, wobbly tree stumps, and some of the stumps looked wobblier than others. There wasn't enough room for them to work. Oh, well. I've said before, the show ain't called "It's Easy Being a Chef." Predictably, considering his expertise with fruits of the sea (and the river), Hung's dish looked the best -- after just 13 minutes, he was done. Or so he thought. I was as impressed with Hung as he was with himself. But after the bell sounded, he realized he had made the mistake of leaving out the lemon juice (and then compounded the mistake by admitting it to Eric). Casey, meanwhile, brought her trout game, full-on. And, so, Casey takes the win. Go, grrrrl! For more Ted Allen, check out his iVillage interview here.
Fast-forward to Cowboy-Land, where the secret ingredient is elk, which makes Hung a little whiny and Dale almost giddy. (An aside: Dale, does your mother need the Brokeback Mountain visual of you sleeping with "a few" cowboys? And how many is "a few?" Bad gay chef!)
Another, related aside: Despite my jokiness, above, it should come as no surprise that I disagree with the posters last week who think Dale should shut up about being gay. (I mean, just look at the outfit I'm wearing in that picture, above.) First of all, if you think about it for even a millisecond, straight folks throw their sexuality in *our * faces constantly, in every medium, far more often than we gays do when we get the occasional spotlight. Second, being "out" accomplishes an important goal for The Gays: it communicates that we're proud of who we are, it refutes the phony poison from those ignorant fools on the Right, and it empowers other gays to believe in themselves. It matters. Dale is unapologetically being himself, serving as a role model for gays everywhere who might not have otherwise dreamed they could become a chef, or get onto television. Or canoodle with ranch hands. I'm proud of him. For more Ted Allen, check out his iVillage interview here.