Sunday, July 08, 2007
Alfred Portale's Big Night Requires a Man with a Small Hand; He Wants a Sous-Chef with a Tender Touch
As you know, possums, we like to be as thorough as possible in scrounging up bits about the judges and contestants on Top Chef.
Naturally, then, we did a spot of research on this week's guest judge, prissy, précieux erstwhile Tom Colicchio boss and Stanley Tucci lookalike, Alfred Portale. Imagine, then, to what degree we cocked an eyebrow when we came across the following semi-precious statement from the jewelry designer turned chef:
"Cooking is an intellectual thing," says Portale, "but it's also very physical." Like a baseball scout, he became a shrewd spotter of potential by observing his young protégés moving around the kitchen: "I look for a certain kind of grace and balance and speed. I look at people's hands, the way they're built. Big hands are not good. Hands like a musician—long fingers and slender hands—are."
"He sounds like a lesbian," harrumphed Miss XaXa. "I'm surprised he doesn't mention keeping your fingernails trimmed."
How, then, to explain Tom Colicchio's double tenure at Portale's restaurant, Gotham Bar and Grill? There are many things we picture when we think of Tom Colicchio, but small hands ain't one of 'em. In fact, as Miss XaXa points out, his big, meaty man-mitts are part of the attraction, the tools to deliver on what those blazing blue eyes can only promise.
Just as puzzling was Portale's choice of Howie Kleinberg as winner of the Elimination Challenge, with a stage at Gotham Bar and Grill as a prize. Whatever his virtues, Howie's not part of the Musician's Hands Club.
Finally, the whole business made us think twice about the statement in New York Magazine that "[i]f you’re dining in almost any of the city’s top restaurants...Alfred Portale has had a hand in your meal." It makes us wonder whether Kelly Ripa would let him cover her mouth.