Openly judging people (yay!) at theTop Chef party

Too many people start their sentences with, "I don't want to be judgmental, but..." But what? You would like to judge? Of course you would! Judging is what stops kids from taking that candy from strangers and women from going home with guys who unbutton their shirts past the third button. Judging is healthy, it's exhilarating....unless you have to do it on camera. In front of a crowd.

Antonia Lofaso
...Yeaaa. I was called up as a Top Chef judge at the L.A. All-Star event. Jamie Lauren and Antonia Lofaso were battling it out over their stoves as us judges sat on stage. As the girls fried cod and improvised with cantaloupe, chilies and other goods, we watched the clock counting down, sipped our bottled water and answered questions into the mic. I mentioned I was a food critic for Boulevard and other magazines, and Antonia snapped, "Oh great! Just what I need - a food critic on the panel!"

Jamie Lauren
But she was all joy and sweetness compared to Jamie Lauren. It wasn't her tattoos that made her fierce. Associating "bad people" with tattoos is so 80's. It was her Courtney Love aura - she was all rock and roll, razor-tongued irreverence

In the end though, I had to choose between the two. My choice would have been secret were it not for Monsieur Cordon Bleu - the chef judge next to me who divulged who picked who. Not cool. I'm a people-pleaser, and when it was announced that I chose Antonia, I shrunk in my seat to avoid Jamie's gaze. 

Me & Monsieur Cordon Bleu
 Later, as I posed for photos with the stars of the show, Jamie Lauren slipped me a headshot that read, "You Suck, bad Judgement" 

I love her.

She hates me!
Both Antonia and Jamie have restaurants here in L.A. Based on the tastiness they served me, I highly recommend hitting them up! Antonia's Black Market dominates the night scene in Studio City and Jamie's Vodvil just opened in the Fairfax District. She said the ambiance "is like your grandmother's basement," and will serve up Americana kitsch; chicken pot pie, pigs in a blanket, etc. Best of all, it's game night every night, and I'm not talking sports!

Jamie's dish, left & Antonia's on the right

You may even see me there, groveling for forgiveness and enjoying the abuse.