The Second City's Rob Janas
The guest taster reveals a man-crush on our very own Tom Colicchio in maybe the funniest blog ever.
When I think about cooking, two words come to mind: Crystal Meth. The next two words are Top Chef, a show guaranteed to give you a bigger high than any drug. The drama, the food, the swearing! What's more exciting than seeing somebody kick a chair 'cause they screwed up a white wine reduction? And who knew these guys could swear so much! Half the first episode was bleeped out. But hey, this isn't about me watchin' the show, it's about bein' on it! Yeah, I was lucky enough to sit next to Tom Colicchio and the crew to enjoy a meal prepared by the Top Chefs.
Lemme start from the beginning. I used to work at Second City, a comedy club in Chicago. One of the things Second City is famous for is its improvisation, where the audience yells out a bunch of suggestions, and we do (hopefully) funny scenes about what they yelled out. Now see, the guys at Top Chef wanted to do this thing where the audience suggestions were gonna inspire the dishes. I honestly thought it was a terrible idea, considering our typical audience suggestions are "cocksucker" and "dildo."
Now the fun part. The dinner! This was a trip. We went to this house that was actually pretty close to my apartment. I had no idea! If I'd known, I woulda brought a pie over or something. We got there and were immediately offered alcohol, the key to any successful reality show experience.
Dinner was awesome. First off, I got to sit next to Tom. This guy is great, one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. I was a little intimidated at first, cause with that bald head and those steely blue eyes he looks kinda like a hit man. The kind of hit man who will cook you duck a l'orange with plum sauce and then snap your neck. They brought out the first course -- butternut squash soup. It was awesome; everybody liked it. But come on, this can't win, it's soup, right? Anybody can make soup. Then Tom said that soup was very difficult and that in France chefs are judged by their soups. He said it politely, but I knew he thought I was a real idiot.
Next up: Asparagus and goat cheese. This thing was OK. The only problem was I was hungry. I could have used more of it. I know you're supposed to sit there and enjoy the flavors, but I was just wolfing everything down like a ... well, like a wolf. A wolf that hadn't eaten since lunch. It didn't help that the portions were kinda small. I know cooking is an art but it's also gotta sustain human life! I mean, would it have killed them to throw in another asparagus spear? Come on!
Next was my favorite. Grilled tofu. I know, I known...ntofu. Not the most exciting thing in the world right? But this thing was great. It reminded me of this Thai place my wife and I eat at all the time only better. It was really hot and spicy and I loved it. Now here it must be said, that one of our Second City folks is a vegetarian and she was pretty excited so far, 'cause we've had tofu, asparagus, a leaf eaters dream right? But then the dude who made the tofu told her it was in some kinda meat broth, and she was less than pleased.
The polish sausage and the pork loin made her even more depressed. It worked out great for me, 'cause she started giving away food, solving my problem of small portions. The Polish sausage was good, like I said, there could have been more sausage (easy Ted), and to combo it with sea bass was kinda weird. A good weird. Tom was kinda pissed though 'cause sea bass are over-fished and we shouldn't be serving those tasty little guys. I suddenly had an image of Tom outside Whole Foods with a "Save The Sea Bass" placard. Hey, I'm with him. We gotta make sure they don't get extinct so we can keep eatin' 'em. The pork loin was also good. So there it is -- the meal. Everything was great. These guys were all amazing cooks and I thought the judges were gonna have a tough choice. If it were up to me, everybody woulda won.
We said our good-byes. It was tough, cause I'd developed a pretty serious man-crush on Tom. Padma was cool too, although she gave me one of those "lean forward so your privates don't touch" hugs. Don't judge her. I think she has to do this because if she hugged properly, she might kill a man with her hotness.