Arts & Culture

Worst Cooks In America Re-Cap: Joshie Watch

As the official ambassadors of Team Joshie, we give you another installment of “Joshie Watch.” Read More

By / January 13, 2011

This week, Chefs Anne Burrell and Robert Irvine gave their recruits a test most chefs would describe as the most basic gastronomical feat: cooking an omelette. The chefs were challenged to imitate restaurant quality rolled omelette dishes, Chef Anne’s a spinach and fontina omelette with a side mesculun salad topped with a balsamic vinagrette and Chef Robert’s a spinach and herb omelette with a side fruit salad served with a champagne dressing. As much as we care about the progress of all of the Worst Cook recruits, we naturally care most about the success of our uber Jew, Hassidic raised Joshie Berger. This is, after all, Joshie Watch, a key example of Jewcy’s shamless support for any and all identified Jews on national television.

This episode began on a positive note for our dear Joshie, as his culinary knowledge impressed Chef Anne when he geniusly recalled that good knife skills (i.e. cutting vegetables into equally sized pieces) are crucial to the ingredients cooking evenly. He then explained to us that even though he’s never eaten most of these ingredients in his life, he’s really starting to enjoy them through his new experiences cooking and tasting with Chef Anne and his fellow red team recruits. I ignored the fact that the recipe which this confessional was edited into involved ingredients as simple as eggs, vegetables and cheese and hoped his Hassidic upbringing did not deprive him of sampling pleasures as basic and simple as a good omelet.

Then, things got interesting when Joshie and his teammates were asked to mimic Chef Anne’s Asian pork dish with sugar snap peas and spinach. Clearly this loin de treyf was not something Joshie was used to sampling from childhood, and he got to work overcooking his cutlet to the texture of a leather boot. With his Chef’s biggest peeve being presentation, Joshie was quick to explain the hardships involved in teaching a Jewish boy to present a dish beautifully – “I come from a Jewish household where food is like hanging off the plate so food having to look nice just seems crazy to me.” This reality show competition seems an awful lot like the overhaul my own British mom gave my Brooklyn dad when she informed him that a “good Jewish home” does not necessarily entail covering glitter glued covered couches with think plastic slip covers. Chef Anne may be in for a challenge as she overhauls any and everything Joshie Berger held true about cooking, eating and culinary presentation – I have a strong hunch that paper dishes strewn across a paper tablecloth caked with cholent crud and pretzel crisps and scattered empty bottles of Mayim Chayim soda pop is not what gastronomy’s top minds consider perfect presentation.

Despite his current inability to shake the brisket gravy stain his upbringing’s left on his cooking ability, Joshie is certainly not at the bottom of the pack and seems to be making slow and steady improvements as episodes progress. His knack for talking to himself is certainly keeping him interesting as his mumblings earned him a nice scream from his teacher slash Chef who just wanted to know who the hell he was talking to as he worked himself through cooking his pork outloud – to himself.

Looking forward to more of Joshie’s Team Red spirit, self-talk and dabblings in things as sinful as shellfish in next week’s episode.