Oh, Padma. The Emmy-nominated TV-show hostess, jewelry designer, burger spokesperson, and cookbook author is now going to be a sitcom star! Variety reports that the gastro goddess has inked a development deal with NBC for a show, possibly titled Single Serving, in which she’ll play “a woman working in the culinary world.” Hmmm, what could Single Serving be about? Well, it just so happens we’ve snagged the plot outline to the pilot!
SINGLE SERVING: Top-Secret Pilot Episode
After a year of writing a food blog called Mex and the City (about her love of places like Chevy’s and Gonzalez y Gonzalez), PADMA LATCHKI has just scored a gig reviewing restaurants for the New York Chimes. The first scene finds her reading the Chimes on a Sunday morning, with an older gentleman lounging beside her. The headline: “BURRITO BLOGGER SCORES GIG SHE CAN SINK TEETH INTO.” She tells her companion, “The food world is so cynical. Yesterday Mucher.com was saying I only got the gig because of my looks. But this profile is going to force everyone to take me seriously.” On cue, a centerfold falls out of the middle of the paper — it’s a topless Padma, strategically holding up two cupcakes. [Cue laugh track] She catches her companion, played by Tom Colicchio, raising a doubtful eyebrow and says, “No, seriously. Everyone thinks all I do is sleep around with chefs. Finally, this is my chance to clear all that up.” Colicchio kisses her on the cheek and says, “Of course it is, babe.” He buttons his shirt back up and we see it’s a chef’s uniform. “Now if you don’t mind, I gotta get back to the restaurant.” [Cue laugh track]
During Padma’s first day at the office, she’s so nervous that she bumps into Mr. Big Shot, a business tycoon who is there to be interviewed for a cover story. All of her papers spill onto the floor, including a printout on how to tell fruits from vegetables. [Laugh track] Mr. Big Shot suavely picks up the papers and invites her out for a drink. It becomes obvious she doesn’t know much about food when Mr. Big Shot later asks her, “Would you like some brandy?” and she says, “Yes! I love her music.” [Laugh track] She confesses she’s nervous about botching her first big review, of the most famous restaurant in town, Per Chance. The restaurant’s cocky chef, played by Stefan Richter, has already taunted her publicly, predicting that she won’t be able to identify the secret ingredient in his lobster sauce. Mr. Big Shot invites her back to his place for some cooking lessons. There’s a hilarious re-creation of the lobster scene in Annie Hall [laugh track] and then they head to the bedroom.
The episode’s moral dilemma comes when she tells her new assistant, played by Adam Roberts (the Amateur Gourmet), about her encounter with Mr. Big Shot. Roberts tells her, “Don’t you know that Mr. Big Shot is a minority investor in Per Chance?” She says cluelessly, “minority investor? What do you mean? He’s not black … ” [laugh track] — but then the implication dawns on her. She runs from her office practically in tears, thinking her job is toast. In the ladies’ room, she bumps into none other than Gael Greene wearing a funny hat. [Massive applause] “Gael Greene!” she gasps. Gael replies nonchalantly, “Who did you think it was, Zorro?” [Laugh track] Gael asks her what the matter is, and Padma explains. Gael says, “Listen honey. I’ve had plenty of chefs spank me with their spatulas, and let me tell you, the best thing you can do is just be honest about it. When life hands you lemons, make limoncello!” Gael draws a flask from her purse to illustrate the point, and cheers Padma up with a swig. Emboldened, Padma pens a review, “I LOVE PER CHANCE, BUT CAN I BE TRUSTED?”
The review goes over swimmingly, and Padma can now show her face at a party introducing her to the entire food world. Mario Batali gives her a pair of honorary clogs. Then Padma comes face-to-face with Stefan Richter. She’s worried at first (she only gave Per Chance three out of four stars), but he breaks into a grin and says, “Relax! I loved your review. But you never guessed my secret ingredient.” She asks, “So what is it?” He says, “Come back to my place and I’ll show you.” Padma tells him, “Talk to me when you get another star,” and winks at him as she walks away.
The episode ends with Padma writing an entry in her old Mex and the City blog. She spills some Doogie Howser–Carrie Bradshaw–esque wisdom and then, to show that she’s still Padma from the block, she takes a massive bite out of a burrito and the intense music from that Hardee’s commercial plays while the burrito drips all over the place.