Each season on Top Chef, some of the best rising chefs in the country are placed in high-pressure situations that test their skills, their knowledge and their passion for cooking. Episode after episode, they are given time limits, mystery ingredients and other insane challenges that test who is truly the best, all while Padma Lakshmi looks on, appearing to hover a few millimeters off the ground.
Honestly, it kind of reminds me a lot of my own kitchen, where my poor planning, two toddlers, lack of skill and absent-mindedness often result in food preparation tests that are on par with those of a cutthroat cooking competition. Here are just a few challenges I’ve weathered recently.
Make a quiche with the food in your fridge that has expired but still smells pretty OK
Every Top Chef fan knows that time is of the essence. So when I saw that my bacon was starting to gray but still smelled vaguely of bacon, I decided to step up to the literal plate. Sure, the bacon was two days beyond its best-by date, but perhaps that simply meant it was really, really good bacon instead of the best bacon. I paired it with some over-the-hill Parmesan (fuzzy green parts skillfully removed), some limp spinach and a clinically depressed onion to create an extremely passable, totally edible quiche. Look for it on the brunch menu at Emeril Lagasse’s newest restaurant (though you won’t find it).