Scenes from an Untalented Restaurant

As a kid, I remember the first time I watched Billy Joel’s uptown girl climb on his bike and take off her hat, opening a floodgate of cascading Prell-covered hair to reveal that she was not just any gal who happened to live north of 42nd Street, she was Christie Brinkley. And he was in love with her despite being a downtown guy in coveralls. And yes, it took me until the final moment where she shook out her hair (which was probably the act that most defined feminine charms to me in the 1980’s – piling all the hair under a hat just to shake it loose as I so often did even though my hair happened to be a bowl-cut cleverly marketed under the name “Dorothy Hamill”) to realize it was Christie Brinkley. I was not yet the slave to pop culture that I am now and even if Variety for Kids had existed I probably would have used it to line the workspace where my Rock Polisher held court in the basement. Turns any ordinary stone into a wearable, shiny gem! Comes with complete array of metal jewelry settings to create pins, rings and earrings out of things you find near the driveway!

I was fascinated with the Joel-Brinkley alliance and really thought it was solid as a wearable rock. But as anyone knows, nothing in Hollywood is forever and just like the shitty glue that came with my rock-jewelry making kit, that bond broke and left me with nothing, but in the latter instance, it was a matter of rust.

Though it has taken years to realize, the most unfortunate outcome of that dissolution is Katie Lee Joel, new wife to Billy and host of the worst new show on television, Bravo’s Top Chef. Twelve aspiring chefs battle it out to win the title of “Top Chef” which means very little because that’s as much information as the Bravo website divulges. “But,” you say “it’s from the producers of Project Runway!” “But” nuthin’. It stunk like a meat-lover’s poo. Katie Lee Joel ironically lacks the spice or flavor needed to host a dinner party, let alone a cable television show. About food. Her bio says that she learned from her Grandma how to love cooking (who didn’t?) and in a separate interview admits that before studying in Italy, she thought the Olive Garden was considered real Italian food. Now. I’m no food snob. (I don’t even like sushi, adoring urbane readers! I know! How do I survive?) But you don’t admit in print to a food magazine that you thought that tradition in Italian cooking meant unlimited salad and breadsticks.


I’d even be willing to forgive her lack of real food expertise if she had showmanship. If she was funny. If she did…anything. But in my second ironic food metaphor of the day, for the host of a show all about food, this girl knows nothing about delivery. When she says the show’s signature line that dismisses the loser by saying “Please pack up your knives and go” the words burn as hot as a gas oven whose pilot light went out.

All of this made me wonder, what makes this girl qualified to host this show? And then My Viewing Companion ever so gently replied, “The real question is which Bravo exec killed a hooker, took pictures, and gave Billy Joel the negatives?” Well put, My Viewing Companion. With smarts like that, you’ll be trading in your Chevy for a Cadillac-ac-ac-ac-ac any day now. In my cookbook, Top Chef gets two thumbs down.


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  • Comments (2)
  1. Those oven mitts exactly mirror my feelings about “Top Chef”

  2. I haven’t seen “Top Chef” but I love this post.
    Also I want to find a way to incorporate “please pack up your knives and go” into my daily conversations.

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