Giada, Emeril, Mario, Nigella. Don’t even need last names. We know who they are. Celebrity chefs. They draw big crowds, sell lots of cookbooks and, in general, seem to be a pretty personable group on and off the tv screen.
Disgruntled by an encounter with a certain unnamed culinary media star, I’ve been boycotting food tv for a while now. For days after the incident, I ranted on and on. “Don’t they know that television viewers like me are the ones who made them famous in the first place?” “Who does he/she think they are?” Maybe I was unfairly hard on this person, maybe they were just having a bad day and maybe a quick rise to fame is tough to handle. Probably a combination of all three. I needed to let it go, but my family knows that’s a tough one for me. My boycott continued and even extended even to local chef appearances and cookbook signings, once something for which I would eagerly rearrange my schedule. I’ll show those foodie big shots, I won’t participate (as if anyone cared at all.)
But yesterday I threw caution to the wind and went to watch GMA Food Editor and cookbook author Sara Moulton do her thing at In The Kitchen in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. In town as part of a book tour sponsored by Chantal cookware, Moulton was scheduled for a cooking demo and book signing. I ventured down to Penn Avenue, snagged an illegal parking space and zig-zagged my way through the Saturday crowds buying Penguins jerseys and Asian chicken on a stick . And hallelujah, my faith in food stars was restored. Not only did Sara share tons of helpful cooking tips, but she was approachable and actually seemed interested in her fans.
My favorite take-aways from the demo? Don’t apologize for dishes that don’t come out as planned. Don’t admit any mistakes to your guests. Just rename them . . a watery stew? Call it soup. An undercooked cake? Call it a pudding cake! Love that.
Afterwards, Sara happily signed everyone’s books and chatted with the folks in line. So, I’m back on the culinary tv bandwagon. Next stop? The Top Chef Tour stage down the street. More on that later.