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Thursday, November 15, 2012

20 Questions: Padma Lakshmi

Image: Padma Lakshmi Courtesy Playboy Magazine

Playboy Magazine has 20 Questions for Padma Lakshmi, host of one of my favorite shows, Top Chef.

Out of the twenty questions, I thought these two were the most interesting:

PLAYBOY: Your contestants must fall in love with you constantly.

LAKSHMI: Well, you know, everyone has a little crush on their fourth-grade teacher. It fades. But because this is a game show, the chefs are not allowed to talk to me unless it’s on camera. It’s an FCC thing. Honestly, I don’t know a thing about these chefs while we’re shooting. I don’t know their last names. I don’t know if they’re married or gay. I don’t care. But if an innocent chef tries to chat me up, a producer will walk up and say, “Please step away from the judge.” Where’s that guy in my daily life?
Wow. THAT is very interesting. I had no idea that the chefs couldn't talk to the judges.

PLAYBOY: Quick-fire challenge: What’s a dish every man should know how to cook?

LAKSHMI: A beautiful roast chicken. The key is to leave it on a dinner plate in the fridge for 24 hours uncovered. Really wash it and dry it inside and out first, and then let it sit so the skin dries out—just like in Chinatown. Then I put it on my counter to temper it. You don’t want to put a cold chicken in a hot oven. Inside the cavity I put a quartered orange, garlic cloves, rosemary and bay leaves, and some black peppercorns and sea salt rubbed inside. Then I tie it tight. On the outside I just rub on some pink Himalayan salt. Put the whole thing in an oven at 450 degrees for about 45 minutes, turning it down to 400 as it browns. The last 15 minutes I do a spread in a bowl: a stick of butter, two tablespoons of honey and a teaspoon of cayenne whisked together at room temp. I just slather that all over and let it cook for the last 15 minutes like that. It’s heaven.
Seems to me that the chicken would need to cook a little longer than an hour.

I might try a modified version.

Are you watching this year's Top Chef: Seattle?

Hopefully the City of Boston can step up and bring the show to Boston.

See also: #YouGottaTryBoston: Digitas Launches New Campaign to Bring Top Chef to the Hub


Simple Roast Chicken by Mark Bittman

Yup. 1 hour.

Here's Mark Bittman's cookbook. How to Cook Everything, Completely Revised 10th Anniversary Edition: 2,000 Simple Recipes for Great Food

I own it.

Best cookbook. I use it all the time as a reference.

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