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Old 02-14-2011, 08:00 PM   #1
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Interesting Evening . . . .

Lots of posts about the merits of TV chefs. I had the chance to have over for dinner a while back a friend who back in 1998 was a sous-chef for TV Star Ming Tsai.

I asked him the inevitable question - who's the best of the TV guys. He said, frankly, they are all very, very good - way out of the home kitchen hobby chef league in skill and knowledge. He also said that many of the other chefs "in town" are as good, but they don't have TV charisma.

In answer to my question, he said his top five were:

1) Batali - gifted, intuitive, and a complete head case.
2) Flay - he says that this guy is incredible at doing things off the top of his head, his food tastes great and he has the gift of keeping things simple.
3) Jaques Pepin - encyclopaedic knowledge, legendary knife skills, and great imagination.
4) Ming Tsai - a genius for combinations, pragmatic and skilled
5) Anna Olsen - this surprised me, but he said "try her recipes". They all work, she's a good teacher (he felt the best on TV) and he had eaten her food and was very impressed.

He also spoke highly of Lynn Crawford. He didn't offer comments on those whom he didn't know or had not tasted their food. Said it wouldn't be fair.

Did he start his own restaurant? No, he went to seminary and is now a Catholic Priest in Boston.

Yes, the meal went well!

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Old 02-15-2011, 01:16 PM   #2
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Very interesting, Molto. My personal favorite will always be
Quote:
Jaques Pepin - encyclopaedic knowledge, legendary knife skills, and great imagination.
What a true class act he is!!

Now you must tell us what you served for dinner, and did you feel intimidated??
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Old 02-15-2011, 02:24 PM   #3
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The top three are my top three as well - in that order and for those reasons. LOL!
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Old 02-15-2011, 02:37 PM   #4
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Speaking of Ming Tsai, wsn't he on some "knew iron chef" show or something like that? Did he make it anywhere with that?
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Old 02-15-2011, 02:37 PM   #5
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I like Batali and Emeril a lot. Emeril's foods are amazing. And I am a very picky eater.
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Old 02-17-2011, 02:49 AM   #6
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Apparently, Tsai got down to #3. The criticism of his food was that his presentation was dated, and he was too "niche"; with Morimoto on the team, it was felt that a more cosmopolitan approach was necessary. At least that's how I understand it.

Kayelle: I wasn't intimidated because Fr. C. didn't tell me until halfway through the meal he had worked professionally. i probably wouldn't have been intimidated in any case, because having worked as a line cook myself, I know I'm not a head chef - just a good, home foodie type with pretty rustic stylings. As I hunt and fish, I almost always include my season's quarry as tablefare for guests.

I prepared a meal of my own recipes, using local game and produce, to show off our local fish, meat and vegetables available in the Prince George area.

Appetizer: Ceviche of Trout and Pepper Crackers
Starter: marinated carpaccio of venison
Salad: Cold salad of Spaghetti squash, red onion and crabapple with chervil/mint dressing
Vegetable Course: Stuffed Porcini Mushrooms and grilled beet coins with a sauce of braised leek, onion and white wine in a sour cream base
Meat Course: a grilled pork chop and two grilled bear tenderloin coins, stuffed with peccorino, crabapple puree and herbs, garnished with marinated asparagus spears.
Dessert: warm oatcake with homemade wild saskatoon ice cream.

I seldom eat anything but the appetizer and dessert with guests, preferring to serve each dish fresh off the grill or stove.
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Old 02-17-2011, 11:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Appetizer: Ceviche of Trout and Pepper Crackers
Starter: marinated carpaccio of venison
Salad: Cold salad of Spaghetti squash, red onion and crabapple with chervil/mint dressing
Vegetable Course: Stuffed Porcini Mushrooms and grilled beet coins with a sauce of braised leek, onion and white wine in a sour cream base
Meat Course: a grilled pork chop and two grilled bear tenderloin coins, stuffed with peccorino, crabapple puree and herbs, garnished with marinated asparagus spears.
Dessert: warm oatcake with homemade wild saskatoon ice cream.
Very impressive!! No wonder you didn't feel intimidated. He sounds like a gracious gentleman, who likely wouldn't have brought up the subject had your meal not been extraordinary. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 02-17-2011, 02:44 PM   #8
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Thank you so much. Your assessment of this fine man is correct.

As a professional violinist, and having a trained chef as a mother, one of my rules of life is never try out new repertoire in public!

These are all dishes I've been working on for years, so there was nothing experimental about what I cooked. My Mom would roll over in her grave if it were otherwise!

I'm currently working on my presentation of these and other dishes. It's a big part of it, and my main weakness as a hobby chef now!
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