Penn Jillette Spills the Beans on Cooking Competition

Inside Magic Image of Magician and Author Penn JilletteMagician Penn Jillette teased listeners across several podcast episodes of his Penn’s Sunday School.  He told listeners he was learning to cook for television in connection with a cooking competition show but that was about it.  He would not divulge the network, the type of competition or even whether there was big money at stake.

Penn did share, however, that cooking is to cooking on television as music is to military music.

At home, you may carefully open packages, measure quantities and cook appropriate quantities for the number of intended guests.  On TV, boxes are sliced open, careful measuring is for the birds and you always cook more than enough so that you can choose the best version of the dish and toss the rest.

The press embargo has apparently been lifted and Penn was able to speak with The Las Vegas Sun columnist Robin Leach.

Penn is competing on behalf of his favorite charity Opportunity Village on the third season of the celebrity competition “Rachael vs. Guy.”  He is on Team Rachel Ray with Jake Pavelka, comedy actress Judy Gold and Florence Henderson.

Penn would not disclose whether he was successful.

“You have to watch to see how far I go,” Penn told Robin Leach. “I feel pretty good, but it is top secret.  One of the things I did to prepare for the show is I went around to different chefs in Las Vegas and was taught a lot about how to cook on television.

“I like the Opportunity Village project because the idea is so important.  I’m hoping that it will grow even more and in other areas of the country.  People who saw Opportunity Village when I competed on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ have thought about doing it in other cities.

“That was really my reason for doing Donald Trump’s show and now on Rachael Ray’s team. Besides raising money for Opportunity Village, we get to show there are other ideas for how to assist people with disabilities.

Read more about Penn’s on-going projects in Robin Leach’s full article in The Las Vegas Sun here.

Iron Meets Copperfield: Magic & Food

Inside Magic Image of Our Own Iron ChefIron meets Copper.  Participants in the Food Network’s Iron Chef will need to get past David Copperfield for a shot at being the next Iron Chef.

The new season premiers on Sunday at 9pm from Las Vegas, Nevada.

Our psychic skills (and the network’s press release) tells us the four remaining competitors will encounter Magician David Copperfield and face his “secret ingredient” challenge.

From the press release: “Copperfield magically produces an ingredient that the chefs must use as they tackle one of the Chairmans (sic) classic challenges from the past – the reinvention of the Las Vegas buffet. Copperfield conjures up the ‘secret’ ingredient that becomes the theme for a buffet that must transcend all expectations of the traditional Las Vegas chow fest.”

We are not able to discern the identity of the ‘secret ingredient’ via our advanced sixth sense or reading of the poorly proofread press release.

Maybe the secret ingredient is salt.  We love salt and it serves as our secret ingredient in all meals.  There are those who believe salt can lead to high blood pressure and kidney problems.  We counter that an absence of salt is directly related to disgustingly bland food.  If you are going to eat flavorless food, why eat at all.  Surely starvation is worse than high blood pressure?

We also love MSG.  In fact, our heart skips a beat every time we see that abbreviation — even if it is just short for “message.”  If God had not created MSG, man would have been forced to invent it.  We love the sweaty way we feel almost immediately after taking our first dose in soups or sauces.  We relish the way our heart beats its funny, irregular rythmn and our skin becomes hot to the touch.  That’s magic in our book.

Update:  a Food Network representative has categorically denied Mr. Copperfield’s “secret ingredient” is either salt or MSG.  She would not comment further.

Read More at TV Broadway World here: Food Network Announces December 2012 Highlights.