…and I played the wife

Mark was asked to be on a chef competition show.  He was a bit wary as Top Chef Masters was NOT his favorite experience, but his manager ( me) said he should do it.  It’s “Knifefight” on Esquire channel. Use to be G4 channel and before that I am sure it was two other channels before that.  He had been a judge on an episode on the last season with Exec. Producer Drew Barrymore next to him and had a good time.  (“She took my card!” Um she is never going to call you dude.  She didn’t)

Mark clapping behind his new BFF

Mark clapping behind his new BFF

“Knife Fight” is more irreverent than Top Chef with it’s super serious, jib shots of chefs waiting to be judged with the dum, dum, dum music and the “Go pack your knifes” blow off.  It’s demoralizing.

this sucks

this sucks

The producer of “Knife Fight” asked who Mark wanted to compete against and we both said, “Sal Marino”.  He is our friend and a great chef, unsung really.  Owns Il Grano. They would have fun.  It’s shot at Gorbals where the chef/owner/ Ilan Hall is the host.  He is a nice guy.  Also, it’s a shorter shoot than Top Chef which drags on and on with them plying the chefs with cheap booze in the hopes of some “Big Brother” meltdown and for no pay.  All unscripted exploits the hell out of people in general.

So, I trucked down to watch the shoot and then ended up being part of it.  That is if they show my back shucking peas.  It was fun to see both Sal and Mark cook.  They had one hour to cook with the surprise ingredients.  Great to see them both in action.  I can’t say what they made ( or Drew Barrymore will come and beat me)  and I didn’t get it to eat it, but it looked fab.

Maja, Sal’s wife, was also there.  She is my friend so it was a fun outing.

...they all laughed, except for Josiah in this picture

…they all laughed, except for Josiah in this picture

The chefs had known each other before, but we all became good friends when our daughters were going to pre school and they became friends.

With a judge on the show Chef Josiah Citrin who helms the BEST French restaurant in LA, Melisse

With a judge on the show Chef Josiah Citrin who helms the BEST French restaurant in LA, Melisse

As the shooting went on they were placing Maja and I for reaction shots.  So when it finally airs, think May, you might see my “wife” visage.  In the meantime, it inspired Mark and Sal to finally cook together for real.  This weekend and next Mark is going to jam with him at Sal’s restaurant.  A special menu they collaborated on.  It’s going to be good.   I will play the wife and eater. MORE INFO HERE

The Gorbals

This is an LA eatery, but I thought it might be interesting to those of you elsewhere who watch Top Chef.  Ilan Hall won the second season and he opened The Gorbals in downtown LA.  It is in a Funky space with a capital funk.  In the lobby of a residential hotel.  The hotel has the trappings to be something swanky-marble floors, high ceilings- if redevelopment every makes it to 5th and Spring, but for now it’s still an honest to goodness residential hotel.

I had set this up to be my dinner clubs visit for the month with my co-founder John.  I am a big believer in institutionalizing rituals or else you never see anyone.  I have been seeing this people for the better part of 6 years and we love getting together.  I took most of ’09 off for various (or obvious) reasons, but trying to pull it together for the new decade.  Our coed group met in the spartan, yet chic bar.  They have some great beers on tap.  We sat at a communal table and enjoyed the Jewish/Scottish food as Hall calls it.  Bacon wrapped around Matzo ball is a first, but quite tasty.  No, he is not keeping kosher.  We liked everything, but his fried chicken which was batter heavy, but the pork ribs, the cucumber chick pea salad, everything else was great.  There were flickering votives that made the room feel cozy.  A review of it here.

Either in spite of or because of the off the beaten track (or rather, the very beaten track) the Gorbals feel like a secret.  Check it out.

Side Bar:  I met Chelsea Handler.  I always like to support female comics since any guy with a pulse who comes off of Saturday Night Live seem to get movie deals and funny women have a harder time of it.  We were at a dinner for a bunch of chefs, but since it was sponsored by Belvedere vodka they had to invite the gal who had Vodka in the title of her book.  She was there and was about to leave with a large group.  I had to tap her on her shoulder.  I told her I was a fan.  She was very nice and gracious and not at all like some boozy, crazy like some of her funny books would make her seem.  I didn’t say, “Hey some people say I’m the mom version of you” as that would have sounded kind of stalky.