Top Chef – LIVE!

I am a Top Chef Fan. Shocker. Along with millions of other people I enjoy watching a show that I can ultimately take NO pleasure in since I can’t taste the food that they are making. Its actually sort of insane. With Project Runway you can see the clothes. With Biggest Loser you can see the weight loss. But with Top Chef you are merely tantalized and taunted and then its over. I must be a glutton for punishment. Anyway, I had heard that the UCS Book Festival was having food industry speakers and some Top Chef veterans at the event. So I left my 5 month old baby in the care of her daddy and drove 2 hours to the blazing hot festival. I was tired, hungry, parched and late. I was planning on making it to Michael Voltaggio’s cooking presentation but LA traffic got the better of that situation. So I decided to bake out in the open sun in order to reserve a front row seat to hear what Gail Simmons had to say. Gail Simmons is a judge on Top Chef and also works for Food & Wine Magazine. I actually had no idea she had written a book (although I don’t know why it wasn’t obvious to me – I was at a BOOK festival.) Gail made her cooking demonstration as simple as simple could be – a scrambled egg. However, I was delighted to learn some new tips on how to cook a scrambled egg properly. I found out that Gail had gone to culinary school but never with the intention of being a chef. Rather, she wanted to understand and get a foundational knowledge to help her career in media as it related to food. And that’s exactly what she’s done. After watching her presentation I was inclined (and felt obligated) to buy her book. And she was doing a book signing so I thought, “What the heck.” There is a picture of me and Gail but I didn’t post it because my figure after the baby is not as svelte as I’d like to be. That’s why there is an out of focus shot of Gail with some blonde hair (me) in the frame to represent the photo I’m not posting. ;)

So onto the book. In short the read was very entertaining and well worth the purchase. However, it was somewhat weak in content and would only be interesting to Top Chef fans. It felt as if Gail was given the opportunity to write a book and took the offer as if she wasn’t sure there would be another one.  I can’t blame her as I probably would have done the same thing. Overall the book encompassed her road to Top Chef and many experiences while judging the show. It was a fun and simple book.

The final experience of the day was a interview with Michael Voltaggio and Nancy Silverton. Michael Voltaggio is the Season 6 winner of Top Chef and new co-author of, “Voltaggio Ink” with his brother Brian. Nancy Silverton is a long time and well respected chef and restaurant owner whose most recent restaurant Mozza has had wide success. The topics revolved around the food scene in Los Angeles and was fun and educational. Some subject they went into were the foie gras debate, LA’s perception of not being a “food town” and behind the scenes of writing their books.

Finally, the food trucks were off the hook. LA is definitely known for the craziest food trucks and they were definitely there representing.

Overall, I got a wicked burn but thoroughly enjoyed watching these TV personalities in the flesh.

(Below: Me (blonde hair) with Gail Simmons (out of focus). I look REALLY good in this photo don’t you think?)

(Below: Michael Voltaggio & Nancy Silverton during their interview)

(Food carts!)

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