If I was on Top Chef...
I know that nothing replicates the pressure and mental head games of actually being a contestant, but everytime I watch Top Chef, I always imagine what I would of made if given that challenge. I always take one of the losers dish in the QF and reinvent it to something better and for Elimination, I just dream of some amazing, in-my-head perfect dish. Of course I have no idea if I could actually execute this if i was actually IN this situation, but it always makes watching fun. For instance:
I would of made an earthy, meaty, eat-with-your hands (entree) TV dinner
Herb Roasted Chicken Drumstick
Roasted Baby carrots with Honey Cardemon Glaze
Wild Rice Pilaf
Berry Crisp topped with dollop of yogurt
I groined when I heard Mike's disasterous leek plan. Susan Goin's Roasted Leek Recipe would of been a much better choice and it's easy and delicious!
Morel mushrooms, and carmelized onion crepes drizzled Roasted Leek cream sauce, sided with some kind of sauteed greens.
Now, do I think I would of beat kevin? No, that man has a midas touch when it comes to food (sans restaurant wars). but especially in past seasons, its funny to compare your ideas against those who are competing.
If I were Top Chef, Not queen, not duke, not prince.
My regal robes of the kitchen would be satin, not cotton, not chintz.
I'd command each thing, be it fish or fowl.
With a woof and a woof and a royal growl - woof.
As I'd click my heel, all the pots and pans would kneel.
And the chef knives bow and the mixing bowls kowtow.
And the cream sauces would take wing - If I - If I - were King!
Each free range chicken would show respect to me.
The Chilean sea bass genuflect to me.
Though my tail would lash, I would show compash
For every underling!
If I - If I - were King!
Just King! er, Top Chef!
I'm guessing that Natalie Portman's food restrictions went beyond the common term of vegetarian, as none of the chefs used eggs, cream, cheese or wheat. Perhaps there were publicity reservations on Portman's part why they didn't broadcast further the restrictions on their cooking, but I'm guessing the challenge was actually closer to vegan and gluten free than straight vegetarian.
If it had been ovo-lacto vegetarian, with no gluten/wheat restrictions, somebody would have made pasta, for sure (that was my first thought, had I been faced with this challenge, I would have made a fresh pasta based lasagne, using the Marcella Hazan tomato sauce with butter). However, the starches used were very limited. One person used lentils, but other than that, it was all vegetables, which seems much closer to vegan and gluten-free than anything else.
Actually, according to Gail's blog at Bravo, they were provided and encouraged to use eggs and cheese. And they realized that it was not vegan, because Jen's sauce had butter and I saw butter on a pan. I thought the lentils were a great idea because they are so quick cooking. They had two hours, more than enough time to cook some grains. I'm also surprised no one did an asian twist.
Well, arm chair quarterbacks always make the winning play! But I do the same thing. Well, at least I think of how I would approach the challenges. I was truly surprised that in the vegetarian round, not one person did a pasta dish. I have many meatless pasta recipes that never make anyone wonder, "Where's the beef!" Struck me as strange.
The term vegetarian is very confusing. There are vegans who are very strict vegetarians eating no meat or products derived from an animal's effort, such as, honey. On the other end, you have people that call themselves vegetarian, but will eat seafood or chicken, as long as it's not read meat.
My arm chair qb play, in the first few mintues of the challenge where everyone is grabbing willy-nilly for ingredients, I would instinctively lean towards vegan. Hopefully, when we break from the fray and start prepping, I would consider eggs, pasta, dairy... etc.