I Should Be a Contestant on ‘Top Chef’!
I’m obsessed with ‘Top Chef.’ Well, maybe “obsessed” is a bit strong. A more accurate statement would be “I occasionally watch repeats of ‘Top Chef’ when they come on in the middle of the afternoon, even though it’s not nearly as good as ‘Millionaire Matchmaker,’ which, by the way, is a totally underrated show, seriously.”
ANY-way. Sometimes we all dream our little dreamy dreams of reality show glory. In the spirit of that, and in the spirit of mid-afternoon slothful television watching, I offer you this…
IF I WAS A CONTESTANT ON THE EMMY-WINNING BRAVO© REALITY SERIES ‘TOP CHEF’
by Oliver Miller
Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 — For his first “Quick Fire”™ challenge, Oliver wows the judges with his creation of… “Quesadillas”!
“…What I do is, I take a tortilla, then put some stuff inside of it,” Oliver explained to the camera. “And then I cook it in a pan. I’ve been doing this ever since college. I put shredded cheese inside, mostly, plus Pace™ brand salsa. Sometimes, if I’m feeling especially flashy, like today, I throw in some avocado as well.”
“Mighty tasty,” said judge Tom Colicchio, munching on the corner of a Quesadilla. “Sometimes, chefs in these competitions, they veer too far toward the avant-garde. But I like what Oliver did today. He took a classic, an old standby, and then punched it up to eleven with the inclusion of avocado.”
Wednesday, January 19th, 2011 — Narrowly avoiding elimination, Oliver pulls it out during the first full day of competition with his creation of “Tex-Mex Quesadillas.”
“…Strictly speaking, it’s not Tex-Mex,” said Oliver. “It’s more of a fusion. What I do is, I take your traditional Quesadilla, then kick it up a notch with the inclusion of Kraft™ brand bar-b-que sauce, as well as some finely diced onions.”
“Great!” raved guest judge Ted Allen. “What I liked here was the ‘wow’ factor. You’re staring at it from the outside, and you’re thinking to yourself, ‘Oh great, another Quesadilla.’ But then you take a bite, and – bam! — from out of left-field! Bar-b-que sauce!”
Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 – The first team challenge. Working with his teammate and competitor Marisa, Oliver completes a “Traditional Hawaiian Luau Feast.” His dish: “Quesadillas Ahola!” (Quesdillas with ham and pineapple.) This dish captures the imagination of the judges, vaulting Oliver into first place for the day, and guaranteeing him immunity for the next “Elimination Challenge”™. Unfortunately, his partner Marisa does not fare so well. The judges find her “Amaretto Poi Comfit” to be “sub-par,” and she is bounced from the show.
Said host and head judge Padma Lakshmi, “You could tell there was a real personality clash in the kitchen today between Marisa and Oliver. Thankfully, the two of them were able to rise above, even though, as we see, Marisa did not make it today. As a chef, you’re going to have to deal with all sorts of hairy situations. I’m just thankful that Oliver could rise above, and also stay true to his roots.”
“Exactly,” said fellow judge Gail Simmons. “As a side-note, I really enjoyed the inclusion of pineapple in this dish! And the ham hinted at the traditional use of pork in Hawaiian cuisine, without hitting you over the head with it. Sometimes it’s better to whisper, not to shout.”
“I don’t know,” concluded Oliver, summing up. “Sometimes you just have to improv. I didn’t have ‘Quesadillas Ahola!’ in my pocket. I just had to come up with it on the spot. You do the best that you can.” He added, shrugging one shoulder: “It appeared to work for me today.”
Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011 – The semi-finals! The “Top Chef”™ contestants are transported to beautiful Marseilles, France, where rapper and guest judge Diddy will help judge their reinterpretations of traditional Southern French cuisine. Oliver’s creation of “Bacon-dillas” (Quesadillas with bacon), earns him some boos and cat-calls from the judges, and lands him in the dreaded “Bottom Three.” Due to his immunity from the last challenge, however, Oliver is excused from elimination.
“Bacon?” said judge Anthony Bourdain. “I just didn’t see the relevance. How often do you see the use of bacon in traditional Southern French cuisine? Oliver was just clearly off his game today; clearly letting himself coast on account of his immunity from the previous challenge. I don’t like to see any coasting here on ‘Top Chef.’ That’s just not the way the game should be played. Just a disappointing, disappointing day here for Oliver. As a side-note, Diddy rated the Bacon-dillas ‘atrocious.’ Those are some strong words, coming from Diddy.”
“I don’t know,” Oliver said. “Bacon. What? I don’t know, I guess, I thought – you know – everyone likes bacon. Not my strongest performance, I guess. The judges had one point of view, and me, I had another. I stand by my work in the kitchen today, though.”
Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 – The “Top Chef” finals! Squaring off against rival and competitor Elia, Oliver manages to take home the crown with his creation of…. the Quesomelet! Incredible!
“You know what it is, is,” said Oliver, “it’s basically sort of your traditional Quesadilla, except, instead of using your traditional tortilla, I sort of twist things 180 degrees by putting the Quesadilla fillings inside an omelet!”
“Wow,” said head judge Padma Lakshmi. “Just – gosh – wow. I don’t think anybody was expecting this today! You know, all through this – all through this competition, there have been those people who have said, ‘Oh, Oliver’s playing too much to his strengths,’ or, ‘Oh, Oliver’s not taking any risks.’ But I think Oliver managed to silence all of those critics here today. I certainly felt so, at least. …And in the end – in the end, what ‘Top Chef’ is all about is – well, it’s looking into the soul of the chef, and saying, ‘Is there creativity here? Is there passion? Is there struggle?‘ And today, we decided that for Oliver, there was. And we decided to honor that struggle.”
…Unfortunately, during the award presentation ceremony, Oliver was retroactively stripped of his “Top Chef” crown for insulting the head judge, Ms. Padma Lakshmi. According to the other contestants and judges, the statement made by Oliver was, “…Well, I guess you can go back to your home country now, Ms. Former Trophy Wife. …You know, whatever country that you’re from. …What? Africa? Bangladesh? Mozambique? I don’t know.”
A tearful Elia was then awarded with the crown.
Oliver’s Basic ‘Quesadilla’ Recipe.
Some shredded cheese
Some medium Pace™ brand salsa
Some onions, or avocado, or mushrooms, or spinach
Some olive oil
In a medium frying-pan, heat the olive oil until hot. Put the tortilla in. Add shredded cheese, salsa ,and mushrooms, onions, spinach, or avocado (optional). Fold tortilla edge over the contents of the quesadilla. Heat until golden brown on one side, then flip over, and heat until golden brown on the other side. Put on plate. Serve.
(Note: to create a ‘Quesomelet,” simply substitute a two-or three egg omelet for the tortilla in the recipe above. You know how to make an omelet, right? You beat up some eggs and add some milk. And then you cook it.)
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