If you are in the business of wine, you either "get it" or you don't "get it", as I always like to say. "Getting it", in one manner of speaking, is not about wine, but the culture that nearly completely envelops wine, which is food. "Getting it" is about understanding the importance of great food and a great food culture. The foodie culture has grown by leaps and bounds. For those of us fortunate enough to be in this biz, we get a front row seat, and often participate. The best part of my job, hands down, is the time I spend with chefs writing menus. I feed off their creativity, and the moments that I give them direction or inspiration are unlike any other. Personally speaking, I am fascinated by creativity. I find myself now talking about chefs like I used to speak only of athletes or movie directors. I try to not be impressed by celebrity chefs, but I've been too impressed by too many. It could be worse, I could spend hours reading about Brittany/Paris/Miley/ blah blah blah, instead, I fawn over people that actually create something and that represent something that is essentially art. This inspires me. Sadly, Food Network now largely sucks. Except for a few great shows (Iron Chef, Good Eats, Chopped), they've given up on the chef and inspiration angle and gone towards the "you're an idiot and don't know how to cook, so we'll put someone up there that may or may not know more than you to not intimidate, and in the end, you'll have acquired no new skill set" . So I am left with BBC America, for Gordon Ramsey in the slightly less obnoxious persona, an occasional Mario Batali spotting on PBS, and the guiltiest obsession I have which is Top Chef.
I know, how can artists actually compete, how fair can it really be? Product placements are beyond annoying. Unfair editing. Padma? Lot's of easy knocks on this show. But they get several things right. Tom Colicchio with his flabbergasted eye twitches and rolls,has taught us all where the bar should be set. That Molecular Gastronomy for MG sake is crap. That poorly seasoned and cooked meat is inexcusable. That this competition, as unscientific as it may seem, has raised the bar for an entire generation yearning for a little boob tube foodie inspiration. While it's not perfect, it's the best thing us foodie's have. While I'm patiently awaiting the arival of Ad Hoc at Home , I'll relish in Kevin's victory tonight (after all, the Voltaggios are clearly robots).