Serious Eats: Talk
Kenji on "3 Days to Open"
I was amusing myself with Food Network's latest reality show, where Bobby Flay helps people trying to open a restaurant in 3 days, and lo and behold I see (complete with chyron) the one and only "J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, Managing Editor, Serious Eats." (So you know it was filmed some time ago.)
Kenji had been invited to cover a marketing event for a new chicken finger restaurant that Flay was assisting. This marketing event was, and I am not the one who put these words together in this order, "an over-sexualized sauce fight."
Kenji did his damnedest to keep a straight face and actually ask serious food questions (go Serious Eats) of the restaurant's main driving force, who had absolutely nothing useful to say about the food in any way, shape, or form. This is a quote:
Kenji: "The actual [chicken] finger itself—is there something special to the technique?"
Paul (driving force guy): "Oh, yeah, dude, I mean, it's just like..."
Kenji: "Is it brined?"
Paul: "It's like, is there a special technique to raising kids? I think it's the idea that you've gotta put a lot of love into it, and you gotta really kinda..."
Kenji (laughing) "Well, but what does that mean in real terms, though?"
Paul: "No, so it's like, when you raise a kid you gotta really put like a lot of effort into that kid."
Kenji (stunned): "Do you have any actual restaurant or food experience?"
Paul: "Zero! When things get tough, the tough get tougher, and again, I can learn anything."
Kenji: "You've got confidence." (This is much more charitable than I would be.)
The food columnist from Time then actually wanted to taste the sauces, but all the ones Paul had were squirted into the street. He told Josh Ozersky, when he asked for sauce samples, "Get down on your knees and lick it up!" Out of the street.
Kenji, please tell us you don't spend much of your day on dead-ends like that. I haven't made it to the end of the show yet, but dear merciful heavens that "event" was awful.