Saturday, July 07, 2007

Hell's Kitchen: Yountville

So, as you probably know, I'm in Yountville visiting Joleen. Yountville is just north of Napa, fyi. I've done many things thus far (including damaging 3 toenails to the point where I think they'll fall off), but first I'm going to write about the most recent thing we've done.

So, have you seen Hell's Kitchen? It's that cooking show/competition with Chef Gordon Ramsay. There's 2 teams of "chefs" who compete and get yelled at and stuff. Anyway, my first comment about that show is that when you watch it you think that Ramsay is a total dick. He's all yelling and swearing at the people and kicking them out of the kitchen and stuff. I thought it was all for show. You know, he's only that bad because it's a tv show and it makes for interesting viewing. Anyway, according to Sunny, he's not bad AT ALL. If anything, he's relatively tame as far as head-kitchen people go. Sunny says that it's MUCH worse at the French Laundry. The Sous Chef (or whatever he's called...the dude in charge of the kitchen...which isn't Thomas Keller because I guess he's rarely there) is worse than Ramsay. He yells things. A lot. He used to love hitting Sunny on the forehead with a spoon. Sunny says he holds the record for getting kicked out of the kitchen. Haha! I guess Corey (the sous chef guy...who happens to also be Korean) used to hate him. Apparently, they've even had people have a heart attack back there because of the stress. And want to talk about labor law violations? They've got to be up there on the list.

As a brief aside, 2 'notable' people who have eaten there this week include Candace Cameron (DJ from Full House), and Leonard Nimoy (Spock from Star Trek).

Uhh, what was my point? Oh yeah. Anyway, on Hell's Kitchen they have this competition where they blindfold them and give them food and they have to guess what it is they're eating. A palate competition, if you will. Anyway, the people did really bad, not even knowing stuff like carrots and pears. So Joleen and I wanted to test Sunny's palate. So we went out to the grocery store and bought a bunch of random stuff to test him on. Sunny was all cocky about it, thinking he'd do all awesome. Well, below I give you the 13 things we gave him. In parentheses after the item I will write what Sunny initially guessed.

1. Acorn squash (cauliflower)
2. Blackberry (raspberry)
3. Watercress (arugula)
4. Turkey bacon (bacon)
5. Yam (yam)
6. Broccoflower (broccoli)
7. Kiwi (star fruit)
8. Garbanzo beans (garbanzo beans)
9. Havarti cheese (harvati cheese)
10. Catfish (salmon)
11. Plantain (parsnip)
12. Pickled bean (pickled bean)
13. Pear Jelly Belly (Pear jelly Belly)

So. He didn't do too well the first time through. He got 5/13 right, and 2 didn't really count. the pickled beans he made himself so I hope he'd know them. And a friggin' pear Jelly Belly? Come on. So then we gave him a second guess for the ones he missed. Upon his second try he got the following right: blackberry, watercress, turkey bacon, kiwi, and plantain. He never got the acorn squash, broccoflower, or catfish. To be fair, the broccoflower was kind of a trick food. Fyi, broccoflower is a cross between broccoli and cauliflower. It looks like green cauliflower. His first guess was broccoli, second guess was cauliflower. To his credit, when we said, "Ok, now put your two guesses together," he said, "Broccoflower! That's not fair!" So he knew the name wasn't caulibroc, or something else. The turkey bacon was also a little tricky and got another whiney "That's not fair!" from Sunny. And he says our kiwi was a horrid example of a kiwi. Which I have to agree on, because when I tried it I thought it tasted like a grape.

We had to look up how to prepare some of the stuff to eat. We had no idea how to make catfish, plantains, or yams. I was most impressed with his ability to correctly identify havarti cheese. But for a while he was the cheese guy at The French Laundry, so I guess he knows his cheeses. Even though he doesn't like cheese.

So that was that.

On a related cooking show note, you know the show Top Chef? Well, one of Sunny's co-workers used to work with the runner-up of the first season ( who everyone hated). He told me she was just as bad off-camera. Haha. Chef gossip.


At 7/08/2007 8:24 PM, Anonymous Anders said...

Em - for a good book on working in a kitchem read Heat by Bill Buford... it sounds like you've already had it explained in person anyway by your host...

also, can't be arsed going to the other comments section re the balloons but I've been for a ride in one of those beasties at the festival we have here, great fun, helluva view...

email me sometime or else I'll release those pics of u and Federline ....

At 7/09/2007 10:07 AM, Blogger Candy said...

Man, that food tasting game sounds like fun. I want to do that...can I just have a food-tasting game party?

I remember I went to a baby shower once and one of the games was to identify the type of baby food by smelling it. I totally rocked at that and won that game...put me in for the food tasting challenge!


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