Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Possums, we want to make something clear at the outset: we are not doing this just because we are pedantic and bitchy (though we are undoubtedly both). No, we are doing this because Bravo has a responsibility, and has failed to live up to it.
Tom Colicchio (and, to a lesser extent, Rocco DiSpirito) spent much of the Judges’ Table portion of the show in a snit (and rightfully so) over the cheftestants’ ignorance of classic dishes and techniques, letting on that it was an embarrassment to be competing at that level and not know such basics (and Colicchio and other guest judges have in the past railed against putting out product that is less than perfect). Well, it is likewise an embarrassment at that level not to know how to spell the names of classic dishes or common food ingredients.
Why all this talk about “that level”? Well, because, as Colicchio himself pointed out in an Associated Press article, Top Chef, the “#1 food show on cable,” one that attracts a desirable (because educated and affluent) demographic, “has become respectable” and “is being taken seriously.” This is in large part because Top Chef is now the show where culinary demigods Eric Ripert, Daniel Boulud and André Soltner consent to make appearances. Given that Eric Ripert, Daniel Boulud and André Soltner “really legitimized the show,” is it really too much to expect that the show they have legitimized will at least know how to spell duck à l’orange?
And this isn’t a typo that someone made on a blog or in an email, the sort of thing that can slip in when one is writing on the fly and that is entirely forgivable. No. The season’s first episode was filmed in October. That means that Bravo had approximately five months to get the episode ready, and surely that is more than enough time to make sure that such things don’t occur.
We were not the only ones to notice, but, Bravo, the word is “pappardelle,” not “parpadelle.” (As it happens, neither Rocco DiSpirito nor Ted Allen had any problem spelling it correctly on their Bravo blogs.) Further, the word is “soppressata,” not “sopressata,” “challah” and not “halla” (what, are there no Jews at Bravo?), and “pizza à la grecque,” not “à la grec.”
This sort of stuff is easy to fix, and should be fixed. And Bravo, if you don’t do it for your viewers, at least do it for Eric Ripert. He should not have to purse his fishy lips in pain over this sort of thing.