‘Best Leftovers Ever!’ – Creativity meets flavor in Netflix series
David So is a stand-up comedian, entrepreneur and restaurateur who absolutely abhors food waste, so doing a show like “Best Leftovers Ever!” was a no-brainer for him.
Currently streaming on Netflix, the half-hour series pits three contestants in a competition to see who can repurpose last night’s Pad Thai, duck confit or fried fish sandwich into something delicious that best impresses judges Jackie Tohn (“GLOW”), Rosemary Shrager (“Rosemary: Queen of the Kitchen”) and So (“Death of a Telemarketer”). The winner takes home a $10,000 grand prize.
“You know in Los Angeles, I think food waste is a big thing,” the LA-based So explains. “You know, everybody feels like they have to buy some new food every day and that’s not what I grew up with. I grew up with Mom and Dad making one big meal, usually on the weekends because they were working all the time, and I had to be creative with those leftovers and make something new for myself during the weekdays. … Like food waste is terrible, like I hate it because I didn’t have that growing up. My mom made sure that we used every bit of food in the house and when she did, it tasted good. It’s possible, you know?”
The culinary talent presented here is not on the order of restaurant chefs but rather very good home cooks who have a following online and some may have had culinary training. And the creativity is impressive, such as in the opening episode when one contestant created macaroni and cheese from leftover Pad Thai.
So was wowed by that dish but not all outside-the-box thinking will get his vote in this competition if the food doesn’t adhere to his rule No. 1
“For me it’s always going to be flavor first,” he says. “I think that when it comes to some contestants, they’re trying to think so hard outside of the box that they forget that the food has to taste good first – because I’ve got to eat that.
“So it’s great that you have a lot of these abilities and you have a lot of these skills that you probably picked up online or you learned from somebody else. That’s fine,” he continues. “But just don’t forget where you came from and don’t forget that the food has to taste good first. There’s always going to be like the ‘wow!’ factor and skill, it’s cool. But then it’s always going to be about what it tastes at the end of the day.”