If I were an Iron Chef...
I'm sitting here choking down a protein bar with a hot cup of coffee. Kinda hard to do. I also believe I jogged (soft "j") to the kitchen to get it. Don't really know why, but here I am trying to feed my brain so I can write you a little something.
I didn't know what a "cloche" was until I watched Chopped on Food Network. It's a dome shaped lid that covers food. It's pretty dramatic, really. I've never been to a restaurant where they serve anything under a cloche (pronounced "klosh"). I think I'd be pretty excited. It's like a surprise. Only on Chopped, it's a bad surprise if your dish makes it under the cloche.
If you haven't watched Chopped, it's a show where 4 chefs come and show of not only cooking skills but problem solving skills. They are given a basket of mystery ingredients for 3 rounds: appetizer, entree and dessert. Each 20-30 minute round someone is kicked off by a panel of hot-shot judges, mostly chefs themselves. These judges hand over a pretty hefty prize of $10,000 to the last chef standing. Not too shabby.
My panel of esteemed judges...lookin' kinda bored
A basket of mystery ingredients could be composed of the following things: kangaroo, fresh peas, peppermint candies and cabbage. Or how about, fresh turbot, ramps, Peruvian potatoes and gingersnaps. Or try your hand at, beets, Lucky Charms, pancetta and dates.(I just made these up, but they are pretty close to the real thing)
Usually what happens is that the first 3 items look pretty decent then they throw in a wild card ingredient that makes everyone roll their eyes, cuss or just look defeated before they can even heat up a saute pan.
From watching this show, I've learned some things. Don't fry stuff. Don't make cake. Don't leave cooking the meat until the end. Don't cook pasta for Scott Conant. Don't give Scott Conant red onions.
I get excited every Tuesday night to watch the mystery basket revealed. I always ask myself, "What would I make with that?" My husband says every time, "You could be on that show. You could do better than those real chefs." Isn't he sweet? Then we look at each other and laugh because we both know how frazzled I can get around dinner time when my own time crunch of wailing baby and irritable toddlers is impending.
But seriously, maybe I could do it. Maybe if I look tough enough they would overlook that I am a cooking school drop out- that I'm somewhat of a poser. Mom/foodie wanna-be chef.
I think my version of Chopped at home is even more intense, except for winning money. Come to think of it, I don't get paid at all for my job. Hmmph. I know good moms say, "I get paid in kisses and hugs and artwork of my children's hands". I'm a good mom but I say, "Honey, that don't pay for my scrap booking supplies and occasional Wal-mart shenanigans (click here for that morsel of goodness)". Oh right, the hubs pays for every thing. But I'm always quick to remind him that I'm the cheapest (as in free) and best daycare we could find.
Alright, Tangent Woman! Back to Chopped. Here is why I think I could do well on Chopped:
1. I can do the serious arm-folding pose to shut down any Iron Chef
2. I can sear a steak to medium rare while feeding a baby snacks, directing toddler traffic upstairs with my voice (aka yelling) and still plan for the next day in my head.
3. I can sharpen a knife on a sharpening steel
4. I cook for my own panel of judges every night.
5. I have had tons of practice.
I often have dreams at night where I am in a cooking competition. I never seem to get the dish done so then I guess that would be classified as a nightmare? Yeah, sorta. Regardless, I'm still tempted to fill out that Chopped form on-line, even though it clearly says it's for professional chefs*.
*A note on that, a couple of weeks ago there was a girl on there who's qualifications were that she had a chicken coop and thought she was "the best cook she knew"! She never said anything about the restaurant she worked for...nothing! So I thought, "Well, crap! I could get on there too!" I don't have the chicken coop thing going for me, but I've got experience in a stressful kitchen.
I'll let you know what happens.