Photo: Wayan Vota
By: Michael Engle
There are only a few aspects that are held constant in Gordon Ramsay’s television show Hell’s Kitchen from season to season. Shortly before the red and blue teams combine to form the “black team” (or, according to certain alpha-minded individuals, the “everyone for him/herself team”), each remaining contestant takes Gordon’s blind taste test. In this challenge, each person is blindfolded, given noise-canceling headphones, and asked to identify four simple foods, such as Swiss cheese, hard-boiled egg yolk, or cilantro.
However, the most significant challenge–which, according to Gordon, separates the cooks from the chefs–is the “Taste It, Now Make It” challenge. Each aspect of the contestants’ replicas are dissected, from the consistencies of their sauces, to the proper temperature of the appropriate cut of meat, and even to the decision between the use of prosciutto or Serrano ham. If, instead of under the scrutinizing eyes of Gordon Ramsay and the FOX cameras, you seek to recreate dishes in your own home, there is no such thing as a mistake that can eliminate you from a $250,000 prize. Instead, as Alina Dizik writes for The Wall Street Journal, making the perfect recreation of an old dish–in the absence, or with the incompleteness or ambiguity, of a written recipe–can channel a satisfying sense of nostalgia, while providing an invaluable link to family traditions and history.
Even though certain factors, such as equipment and ingredients, may change, memories and legacies imparted by “my grandmother’s way” can be disrupted by the smallest variation. Read More