Friday, October 21, 2011

Red Onions Are Evil

Italian Chef Scott Conant, self professed raw red onion hater.
A true fact is I hate cooking. I don't find it soothing or relaxing. I don't find it some warm and fuzzy communal activity.

But...

I love to watch cooking shows. I dream of the day that I would actually order quinoa and enjoy it. I am admittedly a beer and chicken wing kind of girl, but I am intrigued by these shows. I love them all from Top Chef to Iron Chef to Rachael Ray and her 30 minute meals. In fact, I even love to watch one of the shows of my arch nemesis Bobby Flay - Throwdown. The premise of this show is that Flay goes in and tries to challenge a "pro" at whatever dish they are famous for. I gleefully chuckle when his assistants openly mock him and he loses.

Ahem.

One of my favorite shows is Chopped on the Food Network. They have taken the best thing about Top Chef and made the entire show a quickfire challenge.  Each contestant is given a basket of mystery ingredients and they must make something out of them. Round one is an appetizer, then someone is chopped. Round two is an entree, then another chef is chopped, and finally a dessert which results in the winner. Awesome.

The Chef/judges are interesting and snarky and full of themselves. But, so are some of the contestants. Some of them (like in most of these shows) think that they know what the diner *should* like. They come up with these random and scary concoctions that if the diner doesn't like it, well, then they have an undeveloped palate and they are poopy heads.

Enter Scott Conant. He is a successful chef and restaurant owner in his own right, and he is quick to give the "don't you dare give me a pathetic excuse glare." I came to love Scott when during one challenge, a chef presented him with an unholy amount of raw red onions with his appetizer. Scott railed on him for that, informing him that his palate was overpowered and destroyed by the evil that is the red raw onion. For the next course, the cheftestant thinks he knows more than Scott and gives him more raw red onions in his entree.

It was with giddy excitement that I watched Scott open a can of proverbial whoopass on the silly young man.

Scott made it very clear... as a chef, you need to listen to your diners. Listen to your guests. You don't know better than they do.

Every time I hear someone talk about a stinky office, or smell an onion, I think of Chopped and the tirade against red onions.

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