…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

Our Upside Down World

Imagine saying this… “Please don’t load the dishwasher; I’ll do it.”

At 5 a.m.: “No, don’t get up; I’ve got the baby, you sleep.”

These are the kind of things coming through my abnormally kind mouth the last 24 hours as Mark recuperates from his eye surgery. We went back to UCLA this morning at the doctor told him had he not had the surgery it would have been “catastrophic.” Yikes.

Happily Mark is not in any pain. It itches but not super bad. When the nurse took off the patch at the examination he said, “How does it look, honey?”

“You know that last scene in the original Rocky where he is screaming for Adrian? Like that.”

So he can’t leave the house for a week. He can move around, but no lifting, straining, bending over, gardening (there goes that herb garden I was looking forward to).

I was pretty freaked looking at his eye. Our vulnerability can hit us at times and make me shaky. Then you get over your fear and the other self takes over.

We had some nice, mellow moments at home today. Since he has to slow the pace down I said he better be careful ’cause without activity he could blimp up, and I’m not into being married to a big fattie.

He has been watching a lot of TV, and he did make some applesauce for Rex, which he loved. Ahhh.

A FEW HOURS LATER…

Okay, is he better yet?

Yes, he did coach me on how to make a sauce for the petrale sole I was making, but I am so used to him not being here. We just had a fight about the appropriate way to reprimand Vivien, or not at all… which was my vote. And Nosy Nellie decided to update my software thus causing me to lose things I had open on my computer.

I felt like a teenager in a sense saying, “Leave my stuff alone!!” He thinks if the software update thing is bouncing it means immediate action.

Okay, watching “Top Chef: Masters” finale with him was fun. He was really intense. We were both glad that Rick Bayless won. His food is incredible, and we personally really like him.

“I wish I could email him and congratulate him” Mark said.

“You can.” I said without thinking

“But I can’t read.” Oh, right.

I can do it for you. Group hug.

Top Chef Masters: My Own Watching Party

Okay, I couldn’t watch it live. Even though I knew the outcome, it made me more nervous than I realized. We went over to Mark’s restaurant and ate, and I had a big glass of white wine (I like them dry and minerally). After the bunnies were in bed, and Mark came home from work, I watched it.

It’s funny since I have hosted reality shows, and I know how much of it is set up and made in the editing room, yet I was still drawn in to see my husband compete.

For those that didn’t see it, I think Mark did very well. He looked handsome, and he was genial and articulate. Which is why I think they used a lot of his sound bites. I also thought the New Orleans chef Jeff Besh came off as a very likable guy. I found the other two chefs were mumblers and a tad harder to understand, but nice enough.

Mark had been saying for months (It was shot a while ago) “I could have done better in the Quick Fire.”  Ironic that his flaw was forgetting the olive oil when I have learned so much about cooking with olive oil.

Stefano stava cucinando
Creative Commons License photo credit: BobbyProm

In the challenge, he had to tie one hand behind his back (they all did). I loved that they had him talking about his dad who was born with only one hand. And that they showed the sweet photo of he and his dad when Mark was little. His dad was pretty solid. He was a teacher. Taught special ed and drivers ed and painted houses in the summer to support his family… with one arm!

The shows goes a fast clip, but Mark was AWOL from home for two and half days. He said there was a lot of sitting around. And the judges’ deliberation that takes about 2 minute in the show? That took 3 hours. He and the other chefs did sit around and drink and wait… and wait.

While we watched, I would pause and ask him things like, “Was your fish overcooked?”  He said probably: “They say you are going to go, and then you have to wait.”  Ah the magic of “reality” television.

When it came down to just he and one other after the other two chefs were ordered to get their knifes and get lost, I said, “Do you feel bad when people are eliminated?”

He said with a smile, “No.”

My Top Chef

Okay, tonight is the night! My husband Mark Peel will be on Bravo’s Top Chef: Masters. I’m a bit of a stage mom so I have to chat him up. He is a very unassuming guy who never blows his own horn. And I want him to have some recognition.

Last year when we got the bad Madoff news I said, “2009 is going to be a good year for you.” His restaurant celebrated it’s 20th year; his cook book comes out in the fall; and his new cocktail bar will open in the fall. I said one of of my goals this year is for you to get on Top Chef. I asked a casting friend I know to submit him and also my agents did so, but it’s so Mark that I think they just found him by his own reputation. In the story of the Tortoise and the Hare, he is the Tortoise.

The Bravo site has different behind-the-scenes stuff with the chefs. They asked Mark to send in some video and pictures. The request sat there for weeks before I took up the task.  I said:

“You know, I know something about doing videos for the web”. I hope they use what I sent in!

Of course, he is also a great dad, and he sweetly carried Rex around Campanile the other night so I could eat with my friend and Vivien and her friend.  No wonder I love him… whether he wins or not tonight.