It’s one thing to wear bright orange Crocs when competing in Kitchen Stadium. It’s another thing to wear them to a film premiere.
And it’s a whole ‘nother thing to wear them to the White House.
At Jumped The Snark we’ve followed the Crocs trend among chefs, from the cheftestants on Top Chef to the granddaddy of Croc-clad cooks, Molto Mario Batali. And while the footwear is indeed silly it seems that one could make a legitimate argument for the functionality of Crocs in the kitchen. And Batali normally gets a pass because his orange Crocs have become his trademark, so much that they were even included on the feet of the rabbit character he voiced in Fantastic Mr. Fox. However, for the latest Iron Chef special event “Super Chef Battle,” in which Batali, Iron Chef Bobby Flay and “Super Chef” Emeril Lagasse visit the White House, wethinks Chef Batali might have chosen a more formal shoe. At least something with laces. Do plastic slippers really belong on the White House lawn?
And hey, this is not to say there’s anything wrong with orange. It can work. Just look at the First Lady. Classy, demure, hip; the woman has style. Perhaps Batali can swap recipes for fashion tips.
But, to Batali’s credit, every time I seem him in Kitchen Stadium I’m consistently impressed by his uncanny cool and sense of whimsy, not to mention the ease in which he prepares and presents what I can only assume are mind-blowing dishes. While “Super Chef” Lagasse was running around like mad, sweating into his three remoulades and nearly burning a turkey roulade, Batali appeared to be working in first gear, moving even slower than the honey from the White House beehive that he poured from an unnecessarily great height. But despite his lack of urgency, he was working with a deft hand, and seemed to create food brilliance (might help that he has another full-fledged Food Network personality as his sous-chef). So either he’s about the best chef going or at least one of the most eccentric.
But I can only imagine what kind of furor the orange Crocs would have elicited had the challenge taken place in Japan. Those guys take their cooking very seriously. Just ask Bobby Flay.