Padma Dishes It Out
Behind the Scenes of Top Chef
Here's what you don't see on TV.
Time spent filming: Up to 15 hours a day, sometimes until 4:00 or 5:00 a.m.
How Padma feels after a night of eating the contestants' food: "Like a human Dumpster!"
Amount of time the judges deliberate before a chef has to pack his or her knives and go: As long as five hours. "We get very passionate," Padma says.
Most gag-inducing dish she's had to eat: "It's a tie. A lemon curd dessert by Ariane [Duarte] that was a nuclear sugar bomb. And a silky chocolate ganache with a morsel of liver embedded in the middle made by Ilan [Hall], who won season two. I was like, 'Oh, what is that in the center?' It was meaty and gamy -- horrible!"5 Tricks Chefs Use to Cook Healthily at Home
Try Padma's easy techniques for more flavor and less fat in your meals.
1. Grind spices right before using them. This heightens their flavor and gives dishes a more robust taste.
2. Squeeze in some citrus. "To give seafood some tanginess, I marinate it in lime for at least 15 minutes before grilling it, as I do with my shrimp dish. I also put citrus in my dressings and squirt lemon or lime into soups and stews before serving them."
3. Toss sweet and tart ingredients in salads to make them more satisfying. One of Padma's favorites: Spinach and Black Plum Salad.
4. Experiment with herbs and vinegars. "If you use flavor enhancers like cilantro, basil, and mint, and vinegars, you can add taste without a lot of calories," she notes.
5. Get creative with garlic. When putting it in dishes, Padma leaves the cloves whole. "It's a time-saver, plus you can pick out the cloves if you don't want garlic breath."
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