Friday, May 21, 2010

Chef Jody Adams Discusses Top Chef Masters

Before we continue with Part II of our interview with Chef Jody Adams of Rialto on her Top Chef Masters experience it's time to announce the winners of our contest. The lucky winners will both receive free tickets ($100 value) to the Eat, Drink and Be Social event next Monday. It pays to read TBF! And the winners are ....... Maura Downes and Sean Haire! Congratulations to the winners, who will be contacted on how to print up your tickets, and to all those who participated. There are still a few tickets left. I'll see you there. Oh, and Chef Jody will be there, too. Now onto the interview.

TBF: What would make you want to do a reality TV series like Top Chef Masters?

Chef Jody: When they first approached me I said oh no, no, no. I couldn't possibly to do that. That's not what I do. I don't do competitive cooking. I don't need to do that. Then I began thinking: why don't I really want to do it? Clearly, I take myself too seriously. As I talked to people about it I became aware that it's really where people's eyeballs are. So many people watch these shows and there's a whole new culinary culture that's evolved out of these. For me to say no, no, no. I don't do that is kind of not very smart. I do need to know what it's about. Then, the last thing was that my son told me I'd be a wimp if I didn't do it.

I can tell you that if it wasn't for the chance to raise money for Partners In Health, if it was just for me, I would have not done it. They were smart to involve the charity.

TBF: What did you like best about the experience?

Chef Jody: I loved the challenge of pushing myself harder than I'd been pushed in a very long time. I loved the camaraderie of working with the other Chefs. I loved the intensity of it. Then, I loved winning, when I was winning. I really loved that!

TBF: What didn't you like:

Chef Jody: The time crunch. It's really hard to work against the clock that way. It certainly was for me and it was what got me in the end.

TBF: Why do you think that food competition shows are so popular now?

Chef Jody: Well, I think, first of all, that food has become entertainment and people perceive it that way, whether it's in restaurants or on cooking shows. I think it was an evolution. Starting with Julia and James Beard they were instructional but she was also performing and had a sense of humor and made it entertaining. It's just that the expectations, in terms of what would happen in that little box called a TV, were pretty limited so she didn't have to do very much. Then her shows got more involved. She travelled around. She had guests on. She introduced people to farmers and fishermen. Then other Chefs came along. So, it really was an evolution. Back in the early Food Network days there was Ready, Set, Cook and I was on that fifteen years ago. I think that what Top Chef Masters does is to present cooking and chefs and food in a competitive, interesting way that's still respectful of everyone and everything. Some of the other shows, not so much.

TBF: What do you like about Partners In Health that made you choose them as your charity?

Chef Jody: I am so glad we can talk about that. It's a remarkable organization. They work in communities in some of the poorest countries providing care, not just health care but all kinds of care, building gardens, water supplies, jobs, housing and education, all aspects. It's community based so the people who live in those communities are being trained and doing the work to grow these communities. That is a model that I really believe in. I've seen it in Rwanda and Dorchester and it works.

Rialto Restaurant
1 Bennett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Telephone: (617) 661-5050

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