Will Sandra Lee Have the Last Laugh?

January 5, 2011

By Adele

The Today Show this morning did a story on Semi-Homemade’s Sandra Lee, who is now the first girlfriend of New York. Her lover, Andrew Cuomo, was sworn in last week as governor while she demurely held the Bible.

One of her pet causes will be to alleviate hunger in New York — one yukky can of vegetables at a time.

She and Cuomo met in the summer of 2005 after they both went through divorce. They have been living together and will continue to do so. Cuomo has 3 teenage daughters by his ex-wife, Kerry Kennedy (yes, one of those Kennedys). Sandra is childless.

Now that Sandra’s got connections in high places, I wonder if Karen’s buddy, Anthony Bourdain, will retire his schtick about her putrid Kwanzaa Cake? He may very well cross her path a lot more at anti-hunger charity events.

And did Huffington Post cave under Sandra’s new political status and yank Denise Vivaldo’s story about how she developed and sold to Sandra the Kwanzaa Cake recipe and many others even worse?

Will Sandra finally be on the receiving end of some respect, or earn herself a reputation as the tackiest hostess ever to grace a governor’s mansion, serving such delights as lasagna made with cottage cheese and tomato soup? Cuomo claims to love it, while his mother says the very idea makes her want to vomit.

Will her penchant for tablescapes and replacing all the drapes daily bust the state entertainment budget and drive the household staff berserk?

Michelle Obama tested her influence by getting women to wear studded gladiator belts hiked up under their armpits for a while. Will Sandra try to make MSG- and salt-laden processed and canned cuisine chic eats for New Yorkers?

Will being the governor’s girl (and, who knows, a future presidential candidate’s cutie) become so all-consuming that Sandra abandons her dream of becoming the reconstituted Martha Stewart? Will Cuomo have to use that familiar cardboard cutout of Sandra with the pasted-on smile at official functions while she’s out in the pantry concocting and chugging cocktails?

This reality show promises to be more fun to watch than anything Sandra Lee has ever done on the Food Network.


Bourdain’s Too Good for “Top Chef”

December 20, 2010

By Karen

No Reservations Season 7 is tentatively set to begin February 14. In the meantime, Anthony Bourdain fans can watch him judge Top Chef All-Stars.

In week 3, Tony got minimal screen time as the judges noshed at 4 exclusive New York restaurants. I think the less he’s seen with that mean little clique, the better. In his Bravo blog recap, Tony even managed to say something nice about all the cheftestants.

(On the other hand, Eric Ripert ripped a new one for Elia, week 1’s loser, for publicly spewing many sour grapes about Tom Colicchio. It’s as close to nasty I’ve ever seen Ripert get.)

Week 3 was a double elimination. Stephen and the non-Asian Dale got axed for failing to channel the spirit of their assigned famous chefs, yet Asian Dale won the elimination challenge with a mere egg. Go figure.

Is there a larger dollop of pomposity in this season’s judging? Or am I just becoming jaded from seeing one too many plates of weird stuff sitting in puddles  of goo?

Unlike the judges, I’m not surprised when chefs faced with an array of strange ingredients and sometimes malfunctioning appliances — and a ridiculously brief time to figure out what to do with them — concoct increasingly bizarre platefuls of crap.

Speaking of crap, so are the so-called “challenges.” Top Chef has morphed from a cooking competition into a culinary Survivor. I’m waiting for the Quick Fire where Padma coyly gives the the cheftestants 15 minutes to hack off and prepare an unobtrusive body part from the competitor to their left.

As much as I looked forward to Tony’s return for his wit as a judge, I’m now sorry he’s there. He’s not really one of them. He likes tube steaks cooked on dirty grills in alleys. (Granted, Padma loves to lick grease off her ankles.) But at this stage of his evolution from reputed bad boy, hurling clever “Gotchas!” at well-meaning people who were cornered for a multitude of reasons into creating bad food is beneath him. Far beneath him.

End of rant.

Zero Point Zero crew member Helen Cho is now tweeting and blogging for Tony, and her updates are on Tumblr. The plan is to make her as unpredictable as the show’s format, so they flipped interviewing duties and Tony supposedly grilled Helen to reveal some new Bourdainia, including the tentative Season 7 lineup, which is…

701 Nicaragua
702 Cambodia
703 Haiti
704 Vienna
705 Ozarks
706 Boston
707 Brazil
708 Japan
709 Cuba
710 Macau
711 El Bulli
712 U.S. Desert
713 Congo
714 Yemen
715 Memphis

Remember Sandra Lee’s Kwanzaa cake, a staple in Bourdain’s personal appearance repertoire? It seems Sandra bought the recipe 10 years ago from Denise Vivaldo, whose hilarious confession is on Huffington Post (thanks, human Adele, for the link!). Apparently, Sandra’s peeps thought she would be bigger than Martha Stewart. Maybe they still do, now that her boyfriend, Andrew Cuomo, is New York’s governor-elect.


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