Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Top Chef Season 4


  • This topic is locked This topic is locked
1111 replies to this topic

#271 gfweb

gfweb
  • participating member
  • 3,418 posts

Posted 29 March 2008 - 03:04 PM

If you would like an idea of what "upscale" Mexican cuisine looks like, I recommend going to Chef Bayless's website.  Go to his Topolobampo Restaurant and click on the menus. 

One example of what I would call upscale Mexican cuisine is this dish from the Spring Dinner Menu:

"Langosta en Crema al Almendra: pan-roasted Maine lobster in velvety almond-thickened guero chile cream. Red quinoa and garlicky braised mustard greens. 38.00"  I'd say that is a pretty good example of an "upscale" dish.

View Post


Looks delicious.

But you are, in a way, sort of making my point. To me this would be a Mexican Influenced dish, not classic Mexican cuisine.

#272 David Ross

David Ross
  • host
  • 3,258 posts
  • Location:Spokane

Posted 29 March 2008 - 03:18 PM

If you would like an idea of what "upscale" Mexican cuisine looks like, I recommend going to Chef Bayless's website.  Go to his Topolobampo Restaurant and click on the menus. 

One example of what I would call upscale Mexican cuisine is this dish from the Spring Dinner Menu:

"Langosta en Crema al Almendra: pan-roasted Maine lobster in velvety almond-thickened guero chile cream. Red quinoa and garlicky braised mustard greens. 38.00"  I'd say that is a pretty good example of an "upscale" dish.

View Post


Looks delicious.

But you are, in a way, sort of making my point. To me this would be a Mexican Influenced dish, not classic Mexican cuisine.

View Post


You might be right. I'm certainly not the expert on Mexican cuisine and I was merely looking at the issue from what I found on Chef Bayless's website and the posted menu for Topolobampo. It would be interesting to hear how the Chef would answer the question. This is certainly an interesting topic and one that would be appropriate as a new topic in another forum.

But in terms of Top Chef, either way you look at the issue of whether or not there is an upscale or classical Mexican cuisine, most of the Top Chef contestants still didn't follow the directions for the Quickfire Challenge.

#273 Gruzia

Gruzia
  • participating member
  • 153 posts
  • Location:Tampa

Posted 29 March 2008 - 06:12 PM

i think that it is pretty, for lack of a better word, "western-centric" to say that mexican, greek etc food can't be upscale. what does that mean, exactly? that those cuisines can't produce dishes with elegant, refined flavors and innovative presentations? or that they cannot be served in expensive white linen napkin restaurants? i mean, are we talking about food or our perceptions of the countries? personally, i think its ignorant to say, as Erik did, that Mexican food is street food only. and damn disrespectful to the range and variety of culinary traditions of the country.

As for classic versus influenced cuisine - i mean, when French chefs deconstruct French country cooking and serve it in expensive little portions no one is going "Well, that's not quite French. To me, that's more French-influenced."


If you would like an idea of what "upscale" Mexican cuisine looks like, I recommend going to Chef Bayless's website.  Go to his Topolobampo Restaurant and click on the menus. 

One example of what I would call upscale Mexican cuisine is this dish from the Spring Dinner Menu:

"Langosta en Crema al Almendra: pan-roasted Maine lobster in velvety almond-thickened guero chile cream. Red quinoa and garlicky braised mustard greens. 38.00"  I'd say that is a pretty good example of an "upscale" dish.

View Post


Looks delicious.

But you are, in a way, sort of making my point. To me this would be a Mexican Influenced dish, not classic Mexican cuisine.

View Post


You might be right. I'm certainly not the expert on Mexican cuisine and I was merely looking at the issue from what I found on Chef Bayless's website and the posted menu for Topolobampo. It would be interesting to hear how the Chef would answer the question. This is certainly an interesting topic and one that would be appropriate as a new topic in another forum.

But in terms of Top Chef, either way you look at the issue of whether or not there is an upscale or classical Mexican cuisine, most of the Top Chef contestants still didn't follow the directions for the Quickfire Challenge.

View Post



#274 gfweb

gfweb
  • participating member
  • 3,418 posts

Posted 29 March 2008 - 07:16 PM

Our perceptions of the countries should have nothing to do with a judgement on the refinement of their native food. And I would note that Mexico is far more developed and cultured than the average American appreciates.

There is always discomfort when someone makes a judgement of quality. It is by its nature subjective and doesn't have to be fair.

BTW Both Greece and Mexico are part of the West....

Not that I am comparing Greek or Mexican food to caveman cuisine...but as an aid to thinking about this issue....would it be "western -centric" or unfair in some way to say that roast tyranosaurus is a primitive dish? I think not. Similarly, classic Philadelphian cuisine( cheesesteak, hoagie, scrapple, soft pretzel), while delicious, just ain't refined. Doesn't make it bad. So then if this kind of judgement is possible, I think that one may legitimately apply it to cuisines.

#275 David Ross

David Ross
  • host
  • 3,258 posts
  • Location:Spokane

Posted 29 March 2008 - 08:16 PM

Speaking to our Top Chef topic, this debate first came to light on Wednesday's episode when some of the top whiners on Top Chef snorted that they didn't think a taco was upscale. While their soapbox rants added to portraying them, (Erik and Spike), as the bad boys of the Top Chef clan, they were clearly missing the objective and goal of the Quickfire Challenge. Spike apparently contained his personal thoughts on tacos and presented Chef Bayless with an appropriate dish that met the challenge-and Spike was awarded a spot for creating one of the top three upscale taco dishes.

Well, isn't it curious how the saying "what goes around comes around," sometimes rings true in the end. One of the Top, Top Chef whiners was Erik-he failed miserably in even coming close to meeting the challenge he was told to attempt. It wasn't about the philosophical aspects of the challenge. Erik was roundly booed by Chef Bayless for his feeble taco attempt. Erik's gone now and the competition moves on.

#276 Gruzia

Gruzia
  • participating member
  • 153 posts
  • Location:Tampa

Posted 29 March 2008 - 09:57 PM

Our perceptions of the countries should have nothing to do with a judgement on the refinement of their native food.  And I would note that Mexico is far more developed and cultured than the average American appreciates.

There is always discomfort when someone makes a judgement of quality.  It is by its nature subjective and doesn't have to be fair. 

BTW Both Greece and Mexico are part of the West....

Not that I am comparing Greek or Mexican food to caveman cuisine...but as an aid to thinking about  this issue....would it be "western -centric" or unfair in some way to say that roast tyranosaurus is a primitive dish?  I think not. Similarly, classic Philadelphian cuisine( cheesesteak, hoagie, scrapple, soft pretzel), while delicious, just ain't refined.  Doesn't make it bad. So then if this kind of judgement is possible, I think that one may legitimately apply it to cuisines.

View Post


my use of the word "west" should be more specified as "european based".

also, if we were talking about specific dishes - scapple, etc - i'd agree, but we're generalizing a whole freaking country!

#277 Andrea Dodge

Andrea Dodge
  • participating member
  • 7 posts

Posted 31 March 2008 - 10:27 AM

At the risk of inflaming the board, I have to agree that I cannot see 'Mexican cuisine' and 'fine dining' in the same sentence.  Same goes for Greek. (Steingarten agrees)

I've eaten widely and well over the years and I've never had classic Greek or Mexican dishes that were not pretty crude.

Note  that I say "classic"...meaning the traditional dishes of that country.  While I have had Mexican-influenced meals that were in the fine  dining category, the classic dishes miss widely.  Perhaps I've eaten in the wrong restaurants.

View Post



Could you explain what you mean by refined and which traditional dishes you found crude? Mexico is a large country with distinct culinary regions.

#278 nliedel

nliedel
  • participating member
  • 106 posts
  • Location:Ann Arbor Trailer Chick

Posted 31 March 2008 - 10:50 AM

Being a, "Middle American foodie," for lack of a better term, I was deeply offended by the comments that I'm not supposed to know and appreciate what good food is. That made me question their ability. "Your palate is elevated, these dopes are too stupid to get it." Pardon me?

Also, scary Erik going off on Baylis. Pardon me? I'm a big fan of Rick Baylis and I was pissy about that crack. Actually, pretty much everything out of Erik's mouth, after that point, was discounted.

As for product placement, can you say, "Mueller's?
Blog.liedel.org

#279 gfweb

gfweb
  • participating member
  • 3,418 posts

Posted 31 March 2008 - 10:59 AM

At the risk of inflaming the board, I have to agree that I cannot see 'Mexican cuisine' and 'fine dining' in the same sentence.  Same goes for Greek. (Steingarten agrees)

I've eaten widely and well over the years and I've never had classic Greek or Mexican dishes that were not pretty crude.

Note  that I say "classic"...meaning the traditional dishes of that country.  While I have had Mexican-influenced meals that were in the fine  dining category, the classic dishes miss widely.  Perhaps I've eaten in the wrong restaurants.

View Post



Could you explain what you mean by refined and which traditional dishes you found crude? Mexico is a large country with distinct culinary regions.

View Post


I have eaten nothing Mexican from any region that took much skill to cook and wasn't very unsophisticated in flavor and execution.


Having said that I won't make any attempt to defend it, define it or explain it further. That's my impression. Your experience and opinion may differ... which is fine too. :-)

Edited by gfweb, 31 March 2008 - 11:16 AM.


#280 David Ross

David Ross
  • host
  • 3,258 posts
  • Location:Spokane

Posted 31 March 2008 - 12:13 PM

A few more glasses of wine tonight and I might just comment on Padma’s culinary revelation at the judges table for the Elimination Challenge when she proclaimed that “I love the wonton…The wonton is genius!”

View Post


Well--I did have a few more glasses of wine after 8:03p.m. on March 28, but the wine was more interesting than commenting on Padma's declaration about Stephanie's wonton.

I don't really have a problem awarding a fruit cobbler with streusel topping and a fried wonton garnish as the winner of the Elimination Challenge. I think it could be the perfect, winning dish for a summer block party if it was prepared properly using seasonal fruits. I liked the idea that Stephanie enhanced the fruit flavors with some basil and lime.

I've always qualified my opinions about the dishes on Top Chef by noting that I'm only offering an opinion based on what I see through the television. I can't back up my opinions with the ultimate test-the taste test. But in this case, I think what I saw on television is more than enough to shout back to Padma that deep-frying wonton wrappers cut in cute shapes and sprinkling them with cinnamon-sugar is not in fact "genius." Tasty, sure. Tasty to the point of being in "love" with the wonton, maybe. But just not "genius" in terms of the concept.

#281 plk

plk
  • participating member
  • 296 posts

Posted 31 March 2008 - 12:25 PM

There's obviously fine dining in Mexico. I can't believe there's even a need to argue this. Here's one example, Pujol in Mexico City: http://www.pujol.com.mx/english.html

#282 Human Bean

Human Bean
  • participating member
  • 601 posts

Posted 31 March 2008 - 03:02 PM

I don't know anything about the cheftestants, but when I saw two(?) of them billed in the first episode as "chef/consultant," I figured that it was a euphemism for "unemployed."

Am I wrong?

#283 The Cynical Chef

The Cynical Chef
  • participating member
  • 150 posts
  • Location:Greenville SC

Posted 31 March 2008 - 04:10 PM

I don't know anything about the cheftestants, but when I saw two(?) of them billed in the first episode as "chef/consultant," I figured that it was a euphemism for "unemployed."

Am I wrong?

View Post



Nope...


However I should point out that Richard is a honest to goodness consultant as well as experienced Chef. His style of food is not something that you just decide to try one day. Plenty of specialized equipment and techniques to learn.

ed.

Edited by The Cynical Chef, 31 March 2008 - 04:13 PM.

John Malik
Chef/Owner
33 Liberty Restaurant
Greenville, SC

www.33liberty.com


Customer at the carving station: "Pardon me but is that roast beef rare?"

Apprentice Cook Malik: "No sir! There's plenty more in the kitchen!"

#284 Reignking

Reignking
  • participating member
  • 600 posts

Posted 01 April 2008 - 08:08 AM

There's obviously fine dining in Mexico. I can't believe there's even a need to argue this. Here's one example, Pujol in Mexico City: http://www.pujol.com.mx/english.html

View Post


I refrained from getting too off-topic, but now I have to post Las Mananitas, in Cuernavaca (45 minutes from Mexico City), named one of the top 25 restaurants on some list...I haven't been there in 8 years, so I can't recall what I had, but I did enjoy it.

#285 Reignking

Reignking
  • participating member
  • 600 posts

Posted 01 April 2008 - 08:10 AM

He isn't running restaurants, but he's consulting them and opening them up with his techniques and ideas. The latest is Elevation, in Kennesaw, GA...

#286 dockhl

dockhl
  • participating member
  • 1,729 posts
  • Location:Paso Robles......Central Coast Wine Country

Posted 01 April 2008 - 08:44 AM

Andrew. Twitching and vibrating. :blink:

WHAT is the deal??

#287 pax

pax
  • participating member
  • 616 posts
  • Location:Frozen solid in the Finger Lakes

Posted 01 April 2008 - 09:02 AM

Jeez, can't imagine anything that might make someone twitchy, sniffley, and bug eyed. :rolleyes:
“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”

#288 Claudia Greco

Claudia Greco
  • participating member
  • 551 posts

Posted 01 April 2008 - 09:06 AM

Jeez, can't imagine anything that might make someone twitchy, sniffley, and bug eyed. :rolleyes:

View Post

Man, he's just a twisted knot of ganglia, that one. I'm going with the previously suggested hypothesis - amphetamine psychosis!

(Still laughing over Colicchio's face when Andrew told him, "it's MY house." Oh, dear God.) :laugh:

#289 nliedel

nliedel
  • participating member
  • 106 posts
  • Location:Ann Arbor Trailer Chick

Posted 01 April 2008 - 09:34 AM

I read the blog Bayless put on the Top Chef site. Interesting comment about Ryan. Sort of, he worked in one of my places, but was a bit of a jerk, thing. That is badly paraphrased.

It's hard to tell what Padma thought was genius about the wonton. It might have been genius for the circumstances, rather than genius food.
Blog.liedel.org

#290 Tess

Tess
  • participating member
  • 1,310 posts

Posted 01 April 2008 - 11:34 AM

I read the blog Bayless put on the Top Chef site. Interesting comment about Ryan. Sort of, he worked in one of my places, but was a bit of a jerk, thing. That is badly paraphrased.



I chose not to know anything about the chefs beforehand because I wanted to go in with a completely clean slate, but Ryan had worked in our kitchen at one time and I sort of recognized him, but when he was presenting his dish to me in the Quickfire Challenge he brought up the fact that he’d worked in our kitchen for a day or two, and he did it in a total brown-nosey way, and I was so taken aback because then I remembered him and I remembered that I didn’t really care for him.


Ouch!

That's page 7 of Bayless's blog. (They break them down into some many little pages that's they're a little tedious to read.)

#291 nliedel

nliedel
  • participating member
  • 106 posts
  • Location:Ann Arbor Trailer Chick

Posted 01 April 2008 - 11:41 AM

Ouch!

That's page 7 of Bayless's blog. (They break them down into some many little pages that's they're a little tedious to read.)

View Post


That drives me bananas. Gotta promote the beer, but honestly, does it really need to be that way?
Blog.liedel.org

#292 chappie

chappie
  • participating member
  • 705 posts
  • Location:Cambridge, MD

Posted 01 April 2008 - 02:11 PM

I just saw on rerun Erik's comments for the first time. Whoa. Where does the ego come from, especially on camera? It wasn't even an elimination. Deal with it. It was the parameters of the challenge.

Glad he's gone.

#293 David Ross

David Ross
  • host
  • 3,258 posts
  • Location:Spokane

Posted 01 April 2008 - 03:28 PM

Erik is still spewing bad breath about tacos and Chef Bayless-even after his Top Chef 15 minutes of fame. Check out the March 27 Q and A with Erik over on Grub Street. He has some rude things to say about Chef Bayless and the taco fiasco.

And apparently his culinary career is really taking off. He mentions on the post that "My guys are talking to Vince Neil from Mötley Crüe." Hmm. Wonder how that plays into Erik's cooking career....

#294 henri

henri
  • participating member
  • 6 posts
  • Location:Bellingham WA

Posted 01 April 2008 - 03:33 PM

So, we made corn dogs a few nights ago (out of "staff meals from chanterelle")

yummy as always (can't go wrong with a freshly made corndog with good ingredients). BUT a few hours later I walked by and, having left one out, figured "hmm, i'm still hungry". Took one bite of a soggy corn dog and tossed the rest out.

I can see why he got the boot, my poor corn dog was miles away from where it had started.

#295 Dieck

Dieck
  • participating member
  • 65 posts
  • Location:Rochester, NY

Posted 01 April 2008 - 03:47 PM

Thanks for mentioning the Chef Bayless blog. Very interesting -- and he sounds nice.
My blog: Rah Cha Chow

#296 Priscilla

Priscilla
  • participating member
  • 1,834 posts
  • Location:SoCal Scruburbia

Posted 01 April 2008 - 05:36 PM

Man, I am so glad that guy was eliminated. I thought he should have gone when he proudly displayed how he had no idea in the entire world what a souffle was.

His comments to or about Rick Bayless and Mexican cuisine were just beyond moronic. What an ignoramus.

Priscilla

Twitter InstagramOCFoodNation.com Taste of Orange County, Orange Coast Magazine
In the Daily Gullet
: Vegetables, in a Soup


#297 chappie

chappie
  • participating member
  • 705 posts
  • Location:Cambridge, MD

Posted 01 April 2008 - 07:41 PM

Erik is still spewing bad breath about tacos and Chef Bayless-even after his Top Chef 15 minutes of fame.  Check out the March 27 Q and A with Erik over on Grub Street.  He has some rude things to say about Chef Bayless and the taco fiasco.

View Post


Whoa. I haven't even gotten to Erik's blurb yet, but instead reading with turned stomach the piece on Kobe Club. Maybe I need to get over it -- after all, who knows when some emperor will offer me $1 billion for the scrappledog -- but places like this and $700 sips of congac, et al, make me angrily nauseous. I'm glad some dude can pick up a $5,000 tip from Rush fucking Limbaugh, but I can't help wish anyone who pays that kind of money for food to choke on it in a back alley.

#298 dougw

dougw
  • legacy participant
  • 117 posts

Posted 02 April 2008 - 06:11 PM

Nah, Rush doesn't believe in tipping. That's Socialism!

As for Padma...she can tell me that VanKamps Pork and Beans is genius and I'll believe her. I can't question anyone that hot...

As for Andrew, he and his coke habit need to go.

#299 chappie

chappie
  • participating member
  • 705 posts
  • Location:Cambridge, MD

Posted 02 April 2008 - 07:21 PM

"I have no doubt that the people eating the food will culinarily crap in their pants."

An appetizing quote from Andrew.

#300 Reignking

Reignking
  • participating member
  • 600 posts

Posted 02 April 2008 - 08:00 PM

I called it! They showed [person that got eliminated] way too much, too early.

Richard kicked ass, again...and then it looks like he's in trouble next week.