Chef Gordon Ramsay on the one ingredient you should NOT have in your pantry
As Season 2 of "MasterChef" returned to Fox on Monday night, there was plenty of tension and drama and leg-pulling. There was also a break in programming to talk about the most ridiculous, worthless cooking ingredient on the market, and why you are a cooking neophile if it has a spot in your pantry:
White truffle oil.
I had no idea that buying white truffle oil requires you to trade in your toque for a dunce cap. But that's what the "MasterChef" judges said, and who is going to argue with chefs Gordon Ramsay and Graham Elliot and restaurateur Joe "Death Stare" Bastianich. Here's what happened:
One of the finalists, Tracy, went before the judging panel with a dish that involved a poached egg served atop a seared risotto cake. So far, so good -- she appeared within reach of earning the coveted white apron that would allow her to pass into the next round of competition. Then, she reached for a silver cylinder and began drizzling the contents over her dish. You could see the judges visibly brace, noses a-twitching, as they surmised what was happening.
"What is that?" Joe asked sternly.
White truffle oil, Tracy chirped, clearly quite pleased with her dish and her finish and absolutely clueless as to what was unfolding.
"One of the most pungent, ridiculous ingredients ever known to chef," Ramsay said. "I can't believe you've just done that. I think you just put your apron up in flames."
"A sure sign of someone who doesn't know what they're doing," Bastianich continued. "Do you know that truffle oils are made by perfumists that have no white truffles in them?" He added: "Generally if you go to a restaurant and you see white truffle oil on the menu, it's a good reason to run away."
"But it's ... it's good," Tracy stammered (and, in her defense, though the ingredient is controversial, it is used at some pretty well-respected places ... like the French Laundry). Her face crumpled, she appeared to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
Joe walked over to her cooking area and dramatically tossed the cylinder of white truffle oil into the trash. In the end, Tracy promised to never, ever, ever, ever even think of adding white truffle oil to her dishes. And she earned a white apron.
-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch