Thursday, June 2, 2011

Top Chef Rambles

Wendy and I are huge fans of anything “Top Chef.” We have watched every season of Top Chef at least twice, most three times, Top Chef Masters I and II twice and Top Chef Just Desserts only once. Right now is the current season of Top Chef Masters III and it is still great, with a few human flaws. In Top Chef Masters these are already established chefs with their own restaurants, (many times multiple restaurants,) usually world famous with multiple Michelin stars (Did you know the Michelin star is actually awarded by the same company that makes Michelin tires? It all started with a travel and car maintenance guide in 1900. True story.)

Since they already have their own empire, they don’t play for personal gain, all the money they win goes to a charity of their choice. And I just have to rant about that because some of the charities they choose, I consider stupid. The world has real problems and if you’re going to potentially be winning more than a hundred grand for a problem, it should be a big problem.

A few of the chef-testants play for really good causes. Like, cancer research, or building wells for villages in Africa that don’t have running water. I tend to think that not having water is something we should help people with. Water is important. Fighting cancer is important. Alzheimer’s, CFS, ALS, Diabetes, etc. All those are serious things that need tons and tons of money thrown at them.

“Faster Cures” is an interesting charity. I know plenty of people out there suffering with a disease or, say, a spinal problem that would like to see a cure show up as soon as possible. Got a cure for ALS? I’m sure if I had it, I would want it NOW, not after five years of testing and red tape. I don’t care if it kills me, I’m going to die soon. Gimme the damn drug!

The dumbest charity I have heard on the show is Seed Savers Exchange which is, and I quote “Since 1975, Seed Savers Exchange members have passed on approximately one million samples of rare garden seeds to other gardeners. We are a non-profit organization of gardeners dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds.”

Now, I think it’s important to save heirloom crops so that we’re not reduced to eating produce that looks good and holds up to travel well instead of actually tasting delicious, but… really? You have the chance to donate tens of thousands of dollars to a cause and this is what you think is MOST important? Because you should donate to what you think is the most pressing issue of our time if you are going to donate, not to some pet cause that really doesn’t even need the money. It’s really a shame too because we love the chef-testant that is cooking for this cause.

Another charity being donated to that I don’t understand is “The Agricultural Stewardship Association (ASA) is a community-supported land trust dedicated to protecting our local farmland from encroaching development. Working together with interested landowners and active supporters, our goal is to protect 20,000 acres by the end of 2015 and to ensure a future for agriculture in our counties.”

They should line up a guy in a wheelchair, a girl with CFS, a diabetes patient sick of sticking himself with needles, and a woman bald from chemo and make the contestants walk past them as they donate their check to keeping seeds and land safe.

I’m on the fence about the “Feed America” camps. There are multiple chefs playing for getting food to kids, food to families, helping food banks, etc. I don’t want anyone to go hungry, I honestly don’t, especially children. But if you can’t find food in America you’re not trying hard enough. No, I really don’t want the elderly or children rooting through dumpsters, but there is already a lot of money and programs in place to make sure this doesn’t happen. And if you’re an able bodied male you should have no problem feeding yourself. It might not be gourmet, but we’re talking America here. We throw away more food in a day than Africa eats in a week.


  1. Loved your book! Glad I discovered you! Nice blog, and thanks for posting photos. Canadian Canuck Fan

  2. Thank you! I'm glad you found the blog and love the fact you liked the book! Go Canada! Go GSP!

  3. I too stayed in Madrid; my experience was back in 2003, and it was for a few months only. But everything you described was so accurate. To a T. Love your humorous writing style. It's not too much, and it doesn't feel too forced either. Canadian Canuck Fan