We weren’t the only ones who had questions for Tom and Padma during today’s conference call. They revealed, first, that most of the season was shot in Brooklyn (!!) and that (no surprise) ethnic cuisine will play a major role. Guest judges will include Eric Ripert, Dave Grohl, Martha Stewart, and (together at the table during the “last supper”) Lidia Bastianich, Wylie Dufresne, and Marcus Samuelsson. Expect Toby Young to be as harsh as we thought — Tom said, “He’s brash. He was opinionated — he was very funny and witty as well. I got many chances to roll my eyes at some of the things he said.” Ted Allen won’t be back, said Tom, because his Food Network contract didn’t allow him to work for Bravo. Below, more from the co-hosts.
Padma on guilty pleasures: “I like Tom’s scrambled eggs — he made them for me in the dressing room once when we were in Chicago.”
Padma on gaining weight: “I gain about ten to fifteen pounds over the course of six weeks … I always go up one dress size, without fail … The woman who irons and gets our clothes for us has a lot to work to do, because she really has to think about that when she gets my dresses.”
Tom correcting a questioner: “‘Chain,’ I hate that word. I only have seven restaurants — it’s not a chain!”
Padma on Fabio: “He’s very gregarious — he was fun to have on set … I had to really watch myself with Fabio because I would revert into Italian. I spent a lot of time in Italy so I love to speak in Italian … I didn’t want the other chefs to think I was saying anything that they couldn’t hear.”
Tom on why he’s a sex symbol: “It’s safe to assume more women watch the show than men, or at least straight men…”
Padma on Tom’s sexiness: “I think it’s because of Tom’s authority. I think there’s something very sexy about authority, and Tom dispenses his authority very lightly.”
Padma on the sexiness of food: “Food is very sensual — it’s very physical. It’s also something that includes all the senses — the touch, when it’s in your mouth (the mouth feel is what they call it, I guess), the smells, the sights, all of it. It’s very, very sexy and seductive."
Tom on same: “The act of cooking is what’s really sensual — it’s the ultimate foreplay if you’re cooking for somebody. There’s no better way to lube someone’s heart.”
Tom on low-key chefs: “Jonathan Benno, who runs Per Se … Grant Achatz is very reserved and quiet — you won’t see him on the show this season, but he’s such a wonderful cook.”
Padma on same: “April Bloomfield — she’s very shy and she’s not outlandish in her behavior but her food is solid and delicious and interesting…”
Tom on deal-breaking ingredients: “There’s no deal-breaker … The ingredients I don’t like to see? Truffle oil, and mostly because there’s no truffle in there at all…”
Padma on same: “I really roll my eyes at truffle oil as well. I never used it, and when I tried it, I hated it, and now I know why [I never cooked with it].”
Tom on his favorite new food scene: “Portland … There seems to be such a tight-knit community of chefs who are doing the locavore thing — not because it’s trendy, but because they’re passionate about it.”