QVC isn't typically appointment television for me but this past Monday as I was navigating through the TiVo guide, I saw three words that made me pause: Isaac Mizrahi Live (technically it's one word, as ISAACMIZRAHILIVE! is the official name of the program but that looks way too busy in running text).
With my frayed-collared button-down shirts I'm far from a fashionista, but I've always adored Mizrahi's infectious spirit, goodwill, and panache and he remains on my Dream Dinner Guest shortlist (who am I kidding—I'd kill to be a guest at one of his dinner parties, where I can only hope that he'd refer to me as "darling" at least once over the course of the evening).
On his old Oxygen show, Mizrahi used to regularly host cooking segments with the likes of Lidia Bastianich or pop into the kitchen of Eileen Weinberg's Good and Plenty To Go to learn how to make the best mac and cheese. And, as a former Iron Chef judge, he seems like a man genuinely interested in food.
The "darling" count was off the charts for over two hours as the celebrity designer and all-around bon vivant held court with QVC host Shawn Killinger introducing new products from his exclusive line.
Blanche, a woman who phoned in a testimonial, hailed Mizrahi as "a breath of spring to QVC" (Mizrahi: "We love Blanche, right?"). And then, sandwiched among the kelly green boat shoes, silk scarves, and canvas totes came the Isaac Mizrahi Madras Cheesecake.
Brooklyn-born Mizrahi teamed up with his hometown borough's legendary Junior's for this couture confection of Junior's classic cheesecake in a chocolate-graham-cracker crust, gilded with a chocolate ganache icing, chocolate cookie crumbs, and a buttercream border.
The "edible plaid" is designed on a thin layer of fondant that sits atop the cheesecake ("plaid has no calories"). I applaud Mizrahi for insisting on a graham-cracker crust ("I'm not just making it look pretty, darling"). While I love Junior's, their signature spongecake crust has always been my least favorite part of the whole affair—I prefer the texture and crunch of a graham-cracker crust as a contrast with the rich filling.
I clearly wasn't the only one watching—the Madras Cheesecake quickly went to "waitlist availability only" on the QVC website.
Mizrahi's partnership with Junior's has been cooking since last summer, but first debuted on QVC in December 2009 with a perfect-for-Christmas Tartan Plaid Cheesecake. Even though it might be so last season, it's still available to order, as is a whimsical Leopard Print design.
While it might be too late to get the Madras Cheesecake for your Easter table, this preppy pick seems like the perfect dessert for any springtime gathering. Served up on Mizrahi-designed dessert plates emblazoned with artwork inspired by his darling dog, Harry, no doubt.
And if you've watched QVC only once in your life you probably know Mrs. Prindable's. What the Quacker Factory is to crop pants and tunic tops, Mrs. Prindable's is for the enormous candy-coated gourmet apples "that have turned fruit into a decadent, elegant affair," according to QVC host Shawn Killinger.
After the Madras Cheesecake they presented a platter of Mizrahi-Prindable candy apples (Mizrahi: "I am the biggest candy apple freak there is"), including a custom flavor in honor of the designer: Double-Chocolate Peanut Butter Almond. Mizrahi's personal touch is also evident in the pink gingham bow wrapped around each of the apples. "Look at the pedigree of the apple," Mizrahi gasped, slicing into one of the mammoth sweets.
While moving away from the apples and back to the business of selling clothes, the host motioned to an off-camera assistant: "Could I get some water. I've got the most decadent, lovely caramel stuck in my throat right now."
TiVo Alert: A new Isaac Mizrahi Live will air on QVC on Friday, April 9.
About the author: Brad Thomas Parsons is a Seattle-based writer who has interviewed many of the food world's biggest names, including David Chang, Anthony Bourdain, Mario Batali, Danny Meyer, Ina Garten, Jamie Oliver, Paula Deen, and Giada De Laurentiis, among others. He is currently at work on his first book, Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, with Cocktails and Recipes.