the shame

posted by tom / March 08, 2005 /

Alright, someone has to blink. Yes, the DC blogosphere has kept up a brave face, going through the motions of denial in precise synchrony. Keep your eyes up and a smile on your face. Only later, when the lights are out, the alarm is set, and it's just you and an empty universe -- only then can you let in that flicker of honesty that will inevitably send you plummetting down an endless chasm of despair.

You're a fraud. We're all frauds. Our heroes are weaklings, our imagined power is officious bluster, and the goddamn pandas aren't fooling anybody.

I am, of course, referring to Roberto Donna's shameful performance on last Sunday's Iron Chef: America. Chef Donna, of Galileo, is considered to be one of our city's top 2 or 3 chefs, and while nobody would rank Washington among the foremost culinary capitals of the world, residents like to think the city acquits itself pretty well, subsidized as it is by thousands of lobbyist expense accounts.

Sure, Donna would likely be facing one of the country's foremost Italian chefs in the form of Mario Batali -- victory was not certain, but surely it would be a valiant battle. But wait -- what's this? Batali wouldn't be competing? No, instead Donna faced Masaharu Morimoto, that shock-artist prettyboy. Alright, points for disliking Bobby Flay, but this should have been a walk in the park.

But instead Donna, the region's pride, failed to even meet him on the field of battle: the sack of guts only completed 2 out of the required 5 dishes within the time limit and barely scored half as many points as Morimoto. Oh, Roberto.


It was hilarious... he had some really beautiful-looking dishes in the works, but clearly DC didn't bring its A-game. And one of his two plated dishes was completely raw.

Posted by: jeff on March 8, 2005 03:08 PM

I'm hoping DCist has Catherine's post about this up later today, in time for the replay tonight. I didn't catch it, but I'll watch tonight. Can't say I'm surprised. Morimoto is a seasoned professional at this kind of "pressure cooking" (groan) while Donna seems more in tune with Slow Food.

Posted by: Kanishka on March 8, 2005 03:12 PM

I can't say I'm doesn't seem like Donna's thing. The only other chefs in the area that are at the kind of level where you might expect them to be good competition are Gerard ? of Gerard's Place and Patrick O'Connell of The Inn. O'Connell would probably be the better, as his dishes tend to be less elaborate (thus quicker). He's also probably one of the best chefs in the world.

Posted by: Michael on March 8, 2005 04:22 PM

What about Michelle Richard? I've never eaten at Citronelle, but Sietsema seems to think he's the guy to beat.

Then again, it's Sietsema who puts Donna at the top of the DC Italian heap... and really, Catherine and I were somewhat underwhelmed by Galileo. Particularly given Sietsema's cold shoulder toward Goldoni's, at which I've gotten to eat several times, I was expecting something revelatory, and it just wasn't. Obelisk was better, too.

Posted by: tom on March 8, 2005 04:28 PM

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