How much of a role does food play in defining you?

I never had a reason before to announce to the world my favorite Food Network show, but last night’s episode left me with no choice. It might not stand on the same pedestal as Iron Chef or Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, but Private Chefs of Beverly Hills is simply fantastic. It always has good stories and the chefs have personality, but more importantly the show features unique meals and that’s something I’ve appreciated more than anything.

The premise of the show is straightforward, private chefs in Beverly Hills cook for rich people. It’s simple, but a hell of an entertaining show. Usually there is at least one star getting food cooked for an event and two other parties that need these private chefs for lesser known people.

There are meals they are required to cook for specific cultures, freedom to make what they want, and the occasional meat loaf for Meat Loaf, like tonight’s episode. Pan seared lobster with mozzarella and eggplant wrapped in bacon does sound fantastic.

But, that wasn’t what piqued my interest. It was the other two events covered on the show. There was the strict traditional Jewish cuisine the chefs had to adhere to featuring chopped liver with schmaltz fried onions, matzo balls, and a beef stew. Add in the food date party (where the foods determine who you connect with) featuring Crickets.

We’ll start with the traditional Jewish meal. One of the most interesting things to come out of it was the message Chef Sasha, who had some Jewish culinary background from her upbringing. She said something along the lines of you don’t realize how much the background of what you grew up with is infused in what you do especially when it comes to food.

And that is one of the biggest differences between people willing to take chances when it comes to eating and cooking and those who don’t. If you grew up with a steady dose of chicken fingers and french fries, your engrained with little food culture. That’s why expanding your palette at a young age and educating those around you is important even in small chunks.

The second event was the food dating.You started with an appetizer and based on what you swarmed to, the matchmaker would then set you up. From there you chose what foods to bring to your date. There was a simple beef dish, chicken dish, and then crickets.

A big argument about the crickets was who would actually choose that in a first date scenario to try to match up with someone. As much as I might be willing to try it for myself, not sure if I could force it upon someone else. Especially since the other two items looked better than fried crickets. But, the concept itself was intriguing. Do you learn a lot about what people eat?  Does it make for a better match more than anything else?

I would’ve been interested to see if they had a vegetarian match with a person who went in a more meaty direction. While I venture that not many people actually take the time to read this blog, the real point of this is to ask a question.

How much of a role does food play into your personality? Is it engrained in your culture? Is it a factor as to who you connect with as friends or beyond? Think about it, and if you don’t answer here at least ask yourself that question the next time you’re eating.