Secrets from the Staff: What We Loved About Skill'it
Can’t get enough of Skill’it? The team shares their personal thoughts after the show’s finish.
Anyone who watches our cooking competition Skill’it can tell how much hard work went into making it happen. It was a pleasure to finally sit back and watch the result of all our efforts! After all the hustle and bustle of those hectic weeks getting everything done just right, it's nice to think about what the show offered us, and what we personally enjoyed the most.
Those of us on the team that helped create Skill'it and bring it to you took a step back to share with you what stood out to each of us, and some stories about how it all went down.
True Recipe Creativity: Layers that Complement
The dishes created on Skill'it were beyond my imagination. There were many restaurant-worthy dishes created in such a short amount of time and under so much pressure. How many times did Chef Gabe mention that the dish is something he would replicate in his restaurant?
I liked to see the multiple components that all complement each other in the end result. Many times it was not a straightforward dish, but a dish with layers and creativity.
This is something you can keep in mind when you are hosting guests, or making a special dinner. Keep thinking what you can add that will really complete the dish. That's what makes it stand out, and that impressed me the most about the dishes created by the Skill’it contestants, one after the next.
-Chanie – Editor in Chief, Kosher.com
Behind the Scenes at the Shoot
Production is always evolving–because you can never plan for 100% of what you’re going to get. Being in the thick of the action while filming Skill’it was an exhilaration all its own.
For instance, while filming Skill’it we had to deal with changing lighting, with noise from the street, with equipment we were still getting to know.
As Director and Producer of Skill’it, I sought out the stories on the ground and got to know the competitors through their actions on set, and through the ways they cooked and thought. But thinking on your feet and staying resilient were the name of the game. I loved how everyone—on screen and off screen—embodied that mentality. A Tim-Gunn-esque “Make it work” was heard many times throughout filming—and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one saying it.
-Jenna Grunfeld, Kosher.com Video Production Manager
The Best Recipes
The contestants offered up plenty of delicious-sounding, eye-catching dishes in every round, including some I’d actually make in my own kitchen (hello, braised chicken over pasta and of course Kolev’s famous fried chicken), but Moshe B.’s hearts of palm “scallops” blew me away. The move was bold and creative and also a little crazy (like all good inspiration).
I felt that moment of the show stretched further at the limits of what “kosher cuisine” can mean, following the cultural trajectory of the last couple of decades: that the confines of kashrut don’t dictate a diet of deprivation.
- Renee Schwartz, Kosher.com Recipe and Content Editor
I’m all about shortcuts in the kitchen, and watching the contestants create such incredible dishes in just an hour is really inspiring. It makes you think, “Look what they did- what can I make for Shabbos in just an hour!?”
Plus, the way the expert judges offered their opinions in a practical way about how to improve each dish, which is a very direct way to learn very practical applications of how these super talented kosher restaurant chefs operate.
In short- stay calm, stick to a plan, and smile— and you can achieve more than you think you can. A lesson for life as well as for your menu!
-Leah Gottheim, VP of Kosher.com
What Skill’it Accomplished
It’s hard to think of just one part of Skill’it that was my favorite. But if I had to choose, I would have to say the overall execution of the show was incredibly impressive to me.
For me, Skill’it is the epitome of how much the kosher world has evolved over the past few years. To watch a show that can be easily compared in quality and entertainment to a cooking show on any given secular cooking channel is extremely exciting. To be a part of the incredibly talented team who made it all happen, is such a rewarding feeling. The sky’s the limit for the kosher world, and the kosher.com team!
-Rachel Kor- Kosher.com Editorial Assistant
Making You Laugh While the Chefs Sweat: Elon Gold
Elon Gold a world-renowned comedian, writer, actor, producer and host of Skill'it, made a surprise visit to our office on the East Coast a few months ago. We did a hilarious photoshoot with him holding a skillet (the faces he made were epic!) and I got to interview him about hosting Skill'it.
To quote Elon, "I think hosting Skill'it was the best gig of my life, and I've had a lot of big gigs."
He was very funny in real life and we had a lot of fun asking him questions. He told me this was a dream gig for him. The fact that he was able to mix food, comedy, and eating was amazing. He said he was sampling all the food, all the time: "I literally did not stop eating." Elon added great commentary and comic relief to the show and we loved working with him.
-Raquel Cohen Malul, Kosher.com Marketing Assistant
The Life-Changing Magic of Simple Ingredients
Every episode of Skill’it was filled with new and innovative dishes, creative thinking and pure excitement. The episode that I keep watching again and again is episode two, the seasonality challenge. I just love fresh vegetables and meatless meals so I’m always looking for new and exciting ways to bring veggies to my table.
Moshe Bloch’s Mock Scallop and Sesame Chili dressing was by far my favorite dish of the entire series. I just loved the simplicity of the dish using hearts of palm, salt, pepper and garlic powder, that’s it! With just a few ingredients, you have a totally new and delicious Mock Scallop experience. This will be on my menu for years to come.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Moshe Nafisi’s Blood Orange and Watermelon Sangria as another favorite. Again, with just a few simple ingredients like Baron Herzog’s Late Harvest Orange Muscat and Wondermelon Juice, two of my favorite beverages, and the beautifully vibrant slices of blood orange, you have a gorgeous summer cocktail! I will be serving this Sangria all summer long!
-Kim Cassar, EVP Sales & Marketing, Kosher.com
What Even a Wine Expert Can Learn from Skill’it
Some of my favorite moments in Skill’it were the out-of-the-box ways that contestants used wine in their dishes. These guys are standing in the middle of the largest winery in Southern California, and have access to every kind of wine you can think of.
Watching each contestant use wines in completely different ways from each other was incredible!
From reducing wines, to pairing them – even using them to make a chocolate mousse! It was inspiring to watch, and it really shows that these Angelinos know what they’re doing.
As a viewer, it made me take a second look at my wine rack and think “what could I make with that Pinot Grigio tonight”?
-David Whittemore – Marketing Director of Herzog Wine Cellars
We'd love to hear from you too. Did you learn something from Skill'it? What was your favorite part? Leave a comment below!