If there is one thing I have learned from watching many seasons of Top Chef, it's that a little bacon on your dish will win points with the judges. Whenever a contestant seems a little nervous about what they are serving to Tom, Padma, Gail and the guest judge, they hedge the description of their dish with "a little bacon." It occurred to me that if I were to cast my own family in the roles of Top Chef judges, here is how the casting would look like at our table.
Happy Fun Ball and Wylie Dufresne bore a toddler together, then that would be my 26 pound force of nature: Do not taunt the guest judge. Do not make eye contact with guest judge while they are eating.
"Please don't ever make this again" or "Where is the pasta? We haven't had it.... IN...SO...LONG!"
So in order to avoid criticism with my fellow judges at our dinner table, I tend to think like a nervous Top Chef contestant and wonder to myself, "What will make this dish seem more appealing to the judges without taking away from the intent of this meal?"
Just a little, maybe a strip or two just to set the tone that this meal will have an ingredient that will not be argued with. That is how I pulled off the chicken stew with white beans and tomatoes... and a little bacon for dinner last night.