Archive for April, 2012

my newest culinary inspiration: gordon ramsay

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

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everyone knows i love watching the food network and cooking shows. they’re so exciting, and it’s fun to watch chefs creatively think up new dishes on the fly. if i could be anything for a day, it would definitely be either a celebrity chef of a fine dining restaurant a la bobby flay, mario batali, gordon ramsay, etc. or an awesome musician a la christina aguilera or gwen stefani. the emphasis, however, is on the one day. i’m sure their jobs look way harder than they actually look, and to that end, i don’t think i mind living my relatively “normal” life…

speaking of normal, i recently started watching gordon ramsay’s “hell’s kitchen.” let me tell you – this show is not your normal cooking show. in hell’s kitchen, 16 chefs compete against each other in teams until only 1 chef remains standing. the competitions include creating the best signature dish, blind taste tests, speed tests, and creativity tests where each chef must create a visually pleasing and equally delicious dish out of a set of unusual ingredients. think kumquats, salsify, blood sausage, mangoes, and prunes. mm.. the combination sounds delicious.

what makes the show unique and definitely not normal is the fact that the name of the show is incredibly appropriate given its content. gordon ramsay’s kitchen is exactly what they say it is – hell’s kitchen. there is so much screaming, yelling, smashing of undercooked halibut, angry kicking of garbage cans, and absolute chaos. “all of you! come here! oh, look at this halibut. it’s raw, raw, raw!”  ramsay would scream as he throws down the dish of halibut, sending pieces of undercooked fish flying everywhere. gordon ramsay never lets a less than perfect dish out of his kitchen. you better be on your toes if you want to be in his kitchen and compete in hell’s kitchen. i think i’d very  much prefer to be outside his kitchen peacefully enjoying his fine dining food rather than inside his kitchen running around like a chicken with its head chopped off.

that said, i would love to try out one of his restaurants. in particular, i want to try restaurant gordon ramsay at the london hotel in new york. it’s definitely not somewhere i would go on a regular basis (given its crazy expensive price tag), but i think it’s a terrific place for those extra, extra special occasions or celebrations. take a look at some of the dishes on his menu. don’t they look fabulous? i would love to sit at the chef’s table (which is located inside the kitchen) and experience the pace and drama of the kitchen firsthand. after seeing these pictures, wouldn’t you, too?

~ irin

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restaurant gordon ramsay at the london hotel

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 such a beautiful and colorful dish!

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each dish looks like a work of art…


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getting the meat’s temperature right is harder than it looks, apparently!


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a delicious tower of chocolate and a side of housemade ice cream – a perfect ending to a perfect dinner!


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another dessert – gorgeous!

who run the world? GIRLS

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

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well i’m sure it gave some of my older, overly-active Facebook-ing family members pause when “jamie mandel likes GIRLS” appeared on their newsfeed recently, but as it pertains to the new hbo series, airing this sunday, it’s true and i can’t wait for the premiere.

created by and starring the uber-talented lena dunham, who previously created, directed and starred in the criterion collection approved and cult-favorite “tiny furniture”. let it be known too that she also currently holds the esteemed position of being my favorite person on twitter. no seriously, is there any line i wish i had thought of myself more than this one? “@lenadunham: rihanna and chris brown’s new duets make me want to go hide under gloria steinem’s bed for 72 hours”. just something she’ll add to her growing roster of accolades, i’m sure.

when i made my new york debut and a measly starting salary not quite as big as even ½ of my dreams, i shared a one bedroom with fake divider walls with two other roommates. it was… the best of times and the worst of times. as for GIRLS, the show is a comic and often gritty look at the assorted humiliations and rare triumphs of a group of girls in their early 20s. my point is that i’ve been there, girlfriend, i just like your version a whole lot better. in the thoughtfully penned new york magazine feature story, emily nussbaum writes, “dunham’s sly, brazen, graphic comedy, with its stress on female friendships, its pleasure in the sick punch line, its compassion for the necessity of making mistakes, felt like a retort to a culture that pathologizes feminine adventure. as my younger colleague…put it, the show felt, to her peers, FUBU: ‘for us by us.’” i’m totally bringing that expression back.

in the pilot, we’ll meet the characters and hear hannah (played by lena), tell her parents that she’s, at least, “the voice of a generation”; after a weekend visit to the house i grew up in and an ill-advised scan over some of my own ancient, angsty diary entries, it became painfully clear that voice would not be my own. dunham wrote and directed the pilot of the series, which she executive produces along with judd apatow and jenni konner. the cast also includes jemima kirke, allison williams, and zosia mamet. episodes were shot in new york at places you’ll recognize as some of your favorite neighborhood haunts and, as unavoidable comparisons to that other hbo show roll in, does also include sex near the city.

while i anxiously await the pilot like the rest of you, that didn’t stop me from making some rash judgments in the meantime. based on some sketchy first impressions, i’ve had a fun time assigning each character some of my top picks from my favorite clients. do you think i got it right?

hannah: endearing protagonist and way funnier than your average everygirl, hannah has a penchant for eating cupcakes in the shower. step it up a notch with these unbelievably delicious caramel marshmallows from vosges haut-chocolat. you’re worth it.

marnie: highly responsible and very put-together, she has a very adult job at a very adult art gallery. whether or not you’re in love with the job, best to look the part with this highly covetable hester van eeghen inner circle bag: perfect for the office but holds everything you’d need to blow off steam at post-work drinks after a long day.

jessa: jessa is british, bohemian and an occasional nanny who has traveled to as many different countries as she’s had boyfriends. now that she’s making new york her home, she’d love to set the mood with candles from linnea’s lights, like the new wild honeysuckle, earthy vetiver, and rich cashmere scents.

shoshanna: a girl’s girl with sex & the city dreams and brooklyn nightmares, her friends tend to dismiss her as a suburban innocent, but she consistently proves to be a surprising source of wisdom. cheers to that over some bubbly from henri’s reserve, and better make it rosé.