Chefs Have Lives

Season 4's Richard Blais has been on the Today show. He knows of what he speaks.

Many restaurant chefs absolutely dog television chefs behind the scenes. They aren't real chefs. They're pretty actors that have stolen the credit from those who toil relentlessly in basement kitchens for 16 hours a day. They can't hack it in a real kitchen. They're sell-outs.

For the most part, it's all jealousy. And the best at being capable of producing a dish on a television segment, are also pretty damn good in a restaurant. Tom and Rocco come to mind.

I have chefs in my kitchen who know of Rocco only as a TV guy. A good looking, critical guest chef. The guy who had his momma rolling meatballs while he flirted with patrons on The Restaurant. Guess what folks. Rocco's a great chef. I had one of my first amazing restaurant experiences at Union Pacific, where Rocco earned himself the opportunity and dream he lives today.

Onto the show ... The breakfast Quickfire was great. I'm one of those people who could eat breakfast at any time. What's not to love? Cured and smoked meats, the elegance of an egg, the soft pillowy texture of pancakes, and just enough maple syrup to make it all come together.

That made me want to cook breakfast just typing that!

I thought Stefan did a classic french amuse, a spin on the Arpege egg amuse, a famed Paris restaurant. Leah and Jamie again went head to head with a great example of the difference between New York City and San Francisco. Both chefs presented similar dishes. One, a little more refined and the other a little more organic and tasty looking. Those three chefs, Stefan, Leah, and Jamie are clearly representing that they have a personal style and cuisine. And then there's Danny. Did he really say that he ate cornflakes and zucchini blossoms as a kid? I'm calling BS here. And while we are on the breakfast tip, I felt embarrassed for Danny when he was hamming it up in the elimination. It was one of those Showtime at the Apollo moments where you know the hook is coming out. Now, presenting a dish in two minutes or so on live TV is tough. It takes some practice. Check out my most recent Today show appearance on YouTube! Sorry for the shameless plug! Even the most simplest of dishes have a thousand talking points. And if your host is, well, doing their job and engaging you, then you have to be ready for improv. No one wants to watch a robotic chef run down a list of ingredients. It's about interaction.

Some really struggled. For as great a chef as Stefan has been, he's not much of a personality, huh? Alex made a creme brulee? Odd choice, not only for the execution issues mentioned. But creme brulee? What year is this? Some didn't finish, yikes! And Jamie, who I think is just cooking her heart out gave us a flashback to the stance of Lisa the Angry.

On the winning side. I thought Jeff did the best in presenting himself. He definitely has been in front of a camera before. He may have been filming it himself, but regardless, he's been there before and it showed. And for as much as I love Fabio, I didn't care for his dish, or his theory behind dumbing down the food because people who watch TV don't want to learn new things. He's obviously fresha outta tha boata (his words, not mine). Bravo and this Web site is evidence that people are interested in experimenting with food. Sesame crusted tuna? Dude? I mean, if Bethenny did that I'd be cool with it... I also think Fabio, who isn't receiving many compliments during the Quickfires may be second guessing his approach. He's the only one close to pushing super creative food. I hope he doesn't pull inside his turtle shell and go into Top Chef survival mode. I know a good deal about this strategy. There's a point when you realize that the reward of risk doesn't compare to the consequence. And that by simply cooking simple well executed food you will get by those competitors who can't do that. And what a neat prize for Arianne. I missed her piece the following day, but it will do good for her business, and once you've done the Today show, well, every other morning show is a piece of cake.

I also find it sad that Alex gave up. He did. He called his own name right from the beginning of the show. So many people try out for this show for season after season. To see someone come on here and let us know how it's not that important is a shame. Even if it's an obvious excuse for not performing well. Chefs have lives. We know that.


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