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Posts posted by BuzzDraft

  1. IIRC, that one star was the difference between a win and a dead heat with Bayless in the finale. Oseland gave him 3 1/2 stars, whereas Greene and Rayner gave him 4 1/2.

    Now I'm hurt...

    I went through that mathematical exercise a few pages ago and no one looked at it? It showed that James Oseland was "Stingier" with his stars across the board in the elimination rounds. Overall, he gave out fewer stars than the other judges. He simply had a higher threshold for giving out stars. This is fine, as long as he consistently applied it to all contestants, and I believe he did.

    It's like a baseball umpire who is calling balls and strikes. As long as he's consistent in his strike zone from batter to batter, even if it's low, high, small, or large, it's fair. Judging is subjective, right? Instead of some conspiracy to hurt one charity to help another, maybe Oseland actually liked Rick's food better?

    Thanks again to all for making the wait between shows so entertaining, and to Jay for participating on this thread.


  2. I thought that last night's finale was the best Top Chef episode of any season: great challenge, great dishes, great stories. Bravo indeed.

    I really enjoyed this series. The finale was great... allowing the three top chefs to tell their life's biography through their dishes. It was really very interesting to hear their stories. I thought Keller was running away with it, but by the time of judges table, I felt that any of the three could win it. All were certainly worthy.

    As for Chiarello, he assumed the mantle of underdog towards the end, calling himself "Scrappy". I think it was just good-natured gamesmanship with the other chefs. So he's competitive... it was a competition after all.

    And a particular thank you to Jay for participating in this thread, the participants always add a lot to the discussion since they saw the context of everything before the edits took over the direction of the story.

    Also, thanks to all here for making TCM a very entertaining 10 weeks.

  3. I guess I was thinking in a different direction. Bread never crossed my mind as part of it. I was picturing more of a plated desserts type of thing. I'm not sure I'd want to watch even my favorite pastry chefs in a bread competition. I like to make it, love to eat it, but I think watching it as a competition show would be right up there with watching paint dry. Maybe worse since there wouldn't be the fumes to take your mind off the boredom. :raz: Doing restaurant style plated desserts allows for all the twists and difficulties of the challenges that are thrown at them in the regular version of the show.

    Perhaps a better analogy... it would be like watching dough rise.


  4. I am very scared of you.

    Sorry Jay, it's what I know. :cool:

    I earned my electrical engineering degree from prestigious Georgia Tech... what else other than data reduction could I add to this community of highly trained cooks and chefs and restaurateurs? Learning all I can from foodie sources has made me pretty good in a kitchen, but as a hobbyist. I'm much better at brewing great beers. I'd love to be a food writer when my engineering days are over.

    Watch out, I may still add the standard deviation results...


  5. SORRY!

    Of course, after all that, I found a keying error. Chiarello had 19.5 stars, not 18.5.

    So, here's my equivalent of a pie-chart reward... a ridiculous breakdown of the elimination round results. I added the individual judges' scoring also, so you can see who the strict and soft judges are. I was very surprised that James gave out the fewest stars and Gael Greene gave out the most. Gail Simmons sat in for Jay Rayner for two of the episodes, 4 and 6.

    Rank Ep Chef              Stars    Quick   Diners   James   Gael    Jay    Gail
    1t  *2  Suzanne Tracht     22.5     5.0     4.5       4     4.5     4.5
    1t  *   Rick Bayless       22.5     4.0       4       5       5     4.5
    1t  *4  Anita Lo           22.5     5.0     4.5       4     4.5             4.5
    4   *6  Art Smith          22.0     4.5       5       3       5             4.5
    5t  *1  Hubert Keller      20.5     5.0       4       4       4     3.5
    5t   2  Graham Elliot Bowl 20.5     4.5     4.5       4       4     3.5
    7t   2  Wylie Dufresne     20.0     3.0     3.5       5       4     4.5
    7t   6  Jonathan Waxman    20.0     3.5     4.5       4       4               4
    9t   3  Wilo Benet         19.5     4.5       4       3       4       4
    9t  *5  Michael Chiarello  19.5     4.5     3.5     3.5       4       4
    11   1  Christopher Lee    19.0     3.5       4     3.5       4       4
    12   4  Mark Peel          18.5     2.5       4     3.5     4.5               4
    13   6  Michael Cimarusti  17.5     5.0     3.5     2.5       3             3.5
    14t  5  Rick Moonen        17.0     0.0       4       4     4.5     4.5
    14t  5  Nils Noren         17.0     3.0     3.5       4     3.5       3
    16t  2  Elizabeth Falkner  16.5     3.5     3.5       3     3.5       3
    16t  3  Ludo Lefebvre      16.5     3.0     3.5       3       3       4
    18t  3  Cindy Pawlcyn      15.5     3.5       3     2.5     3.5       3
    18t  5  Lachlan Patterson  15.5     3.0     3.5     2.5     3.5       3
    20   6  Roy Yamaguchi      15.0     4.0       3     2.5     2.5               3
    21   1  Tim Love           14.5     3.5       3     2.5     2.5       3
    22   1  Michael Schlow     13.5     2.5     3.5     2.5     2.5     2.5
    23   4  Douglas Rodriguez  13.0     3.0       3       2     2.5             2.5
    24   4  John Besh          12.0     0.5     2.5       3       3               3
    * = episode winner
           Averages           17.94    3.50    3.73    3.35    3.71    3.66    3.63

    And the corrected average stars awarded per episode.

    Episode  Avg Stars
    2        19.9
    6        18.6
    3        18.5
    5        17.3
    1        16.9
    4        16.5

    I apologize for the confusion... I wasn't able to edit the original post.

    There's enough data here to:

    a) bore the hell out of everyone

    b) perform all sorts of geeky foodie analyses about judge trends

    So there it is.


  6. OK, I'm an engineer so I'm really good with numbers. This Bulletin Board code isn't able to display in tables, so please forgive the Code box.

    Here are the final standings for all 24 master chefs using the elimination round rules.

    Rank  Ep Chef              Stars
    1T  * 2  Suzanne Tracht     22.5
    1T  * 3  Rick Bayless       22.5
    1T  * 4  Anita Lo           22.5
    4   * 6  Art Smith          22.0
    5T  * 1  Hubert Keller      20.5
    5T    2  Graham Elliot Bowl 20.5
    7T    2  Wylie Dufresne     20.0
    7T    6  Jonathan Waxman    20.0
    9     3  Wilo Benet         19.5
    10    1  Christopher Lee    19.0
    11T   4  Mark Peel          18.5
    11T * 5  Michael Chiarello  18.5
    13    6  Michael Cimarusti  17.5
    14T   5  Rick Moonen        17.0
    14T   5  Nils Noren         17.0
    16T   2  Elizabeth Falkner  16.5
    16T   3  Ludo Lefebvre      16.5
    18T   5  Lachlan Patterson  15.5
    18T   3  Cindy Pawlcyn      15.5
    20    6  Roy Yamaguchi      15.0
    21    1  Tim Love           14.5
    22    1  Michael Schlow     13.5
    23    4  Douglas Rodriguez  13.0
    24    4  John Besh          12.0

    * = episode winner

    Also, for comparison, here are the rankings of episode by average stars awarded overall. These can be used to normalize the chef scores by the "difficulty" of each episode if you're interested.

    Episode  Avg Stars
    2        19.9
    6        18.6
    3        18.5
    5        17.0
    1        16.9
    4        16.5

    The biggest surprise here is who finished last.



  7. I had forgotten about this show until I opened this thread. Hulu has episodes 1-7, and I had to go to nbc.com for the final episode 8.

    MPW came across as a pompous preacher in suspenders, Gene Wilder/Young Frankenstein hair, and checkered Vans with no socks. Every time he started wagging that finger at the camera, acting as if each word was the most important thing said in human history, all I could think of was Clinton's "I did not have sexual relations with that woman", or Raphael Palmero's "I did not take steroids. PERIOD!"

    Either is a reason to cancel the show. It followed the same formula as other cooking reality shows, didn't do it as well, and had an unlikeable host.

  8. First off, to Jay:

    It's great to have actual participants in the show sharing their experience and insight here. I remember exchanging thoughts with Michael Ruhlman about the "Cooking Under Fire" show from a couple years back, so please, continue your dialog here.

    One thing I notice in Top Chef Masters is that the chef-testants have all pretty much established their national reputations and success already, so there is clearly a lot more respect and camaraderie between them in the kitchen challenges, rather than the "I'm so much better than these other hacks" attitude from chefs who are still desperate to get national exposure. Reminds me of how colonels in the military behave, vs. generals once they've reached their career objective (and maybe feel some guilt). The master chefs really come across as having a hell of a lot of fun with each other, versus the Do-or-Die-and-screw-the-others chance to get some much-needed publicity.

    And finally, I'm just an engineer who cooks as a much-needed artistic outlet with my hands, not a professional, and can appreciate the technological approach to cooking when it's as sincere as Wylie Dufresne's... but is it wrong for me to picture this guy -

    Link to Mr. Kidd

    every time I see Wylie on camera?


  9. I liked the show. I respect the comments from some of the cheftestants who were judges on prior TC series, that they kind of felt obligated to put the shoe on the other foot and see how it felt to go through the challenges and be on the receiving end of the critiques. Turns out to be not as easy as it looked. However, due to it being for charity and having big name chefs, the critiques certainly are a lot softer than regular Top Chef (Collichio, Toby, etc. - do you think Rocco would dare guest judge on this?) It will make them much more knowledgeable judges in the future.

    The Chopped format to get quickly down to the final 6, meaning 18 of the 24 chefs will only make a brief appearance on a single episode, is disappointing, but then it would require 23 episodes to do single eliminations. This will only take 11 or so.

    I enjoyed the friendly camaraderie, and the dorm room challenge was a great way to constrain the talents of chefs. The cluelessness about how to work the microwaves was really funny, but also a positive reflection on their craft that they had rarely, if ever, had one in their own kitchens. I gotta try that drying the newspaper idea.

  10. Video here.

    Wow, I thought she had more class than that. I can't imagine her actually eating these things in real life and the ad doesn't make too much sense regardless.

    Everyone on this site needs to wake up and stop putting their foodie heroes and favorite TV hosts on some sort of religious holier-than-thou pedestal. She isn't some saint to be worshipped, she's a TV entertainer whose main claim to fame and biggest career break is that she was once married to Salman Rushdie.

    I laughed out loud watching the blatant cuts to cleavage, the licking tomato juice off the leg, the tongue lapping up the side of the bun, and the provocative pose that pulled the dress up her thighs. It has this site talking about the Hardee's Thickburger, so mission accomplished!

    Hey, she's got a great bod, and someone offered her a bunch of money to apply it. She pulls it off a hell of a lot better than Rachel Ray does.

    Anyone who is disappointed in her holds TV personalities in way too much esteem. They're just people looking for their next job, like all the rest of us.

    Good on her, I say.

    With all due respect...

    edit :

    And I'll wager even Saints Bourdain, Keller, Adria, Dufresne, Pepin, Ripert, and even Trotter have indulged in fast food at some point. The quality depends on the context of when it is eaten.

  11. None of the current crop are real contenders for anything beyond the local McDonalds. That being said, didn't the show end with a shadowy figure seen entering the dining room causing everyone to gasp?

    So who is it? Jen?

    If so, my money's on her.

    maybe it's that contestant that he was going to send to culinary school and then have back on the show..forget her name.

    Great concept! I never thought of that. I figured it would be the girl who quit two weeks ago after the burn. I hope it turns out that way.

  12. Gordon Ramsey was on Conan O'Brien last week. He came off very polite, personable, and funny, although he dropped a couple bleeps when he was describing how Conan did the last time they did a cooking demo on the show. He is a very intense person even when in a relaxed situation.

    After the first segment, they did another cooking demo, giving Conan an opportunity to take a few slugs from a tequila bottle, and Gordon threw the spring roll Conan purposely screwed up against the curtain.

    It showed his funny and human side. I like the guy, even with the Hell's Kitchen editing. Maybe even more so because of it. He's paid to present an attitude on the show, and he does it about as well as anyone.

  13. OK, I had Emeril Live on last night. It was a rerun of his casserole show. At one point, Emeril hollers out, "How are you guys in the back doing?", and they cut to the bleacher section, and I SWEAR Corey was there in the bleachers, wearing her chef jacket.

    I don't know when this was filmed, but I saw the same casserole show a couple months ago. Maybe she was trying to lure Emeril into the hot tub. :hmmm:

  14. And he still did better than the Sopranos star who flat out refused to eat some of the dishes prepared when they debuted the show a few years back.

    Hell, even going back to the original IC, they had baseball players, rock stars, and fortune tellers ( :huh: ) on the judges' panel.

    If anything, I think the show's improved by leaps and bounds since it premiered.  I have to admit the whole Next Iron Chef and Michael Symon coming aboard had me worried, but he's integrated quite well.

    Has anyone seen those anime-style ads for it?  Hilarious.

    Yeah, the guy who played "Big Pussy" certainly lived up to the name that day.


  15. The Martin Hyde deposition.


    Oh for God's sake... a so-called "Lawyer" is quoting "evidence" that was posted on Wikipedia??? Does no one understand what a Wiki is? And the guy is trying to weasel out of a release he signed himself?

    Isn't there an ambulance running around this lawyer would like to chase?

    This deposition is yet another black eye on the American courts system, and why Americans hold lawyers in the LOWEST esteem and respect. I can just picture the C-student law clerk who wrote that crappe on his behalf.

  16. ^^Apparently shilling for Bertolli and blogging on Top Chef for Bravo. 

    docsconz is right.  He's very talented, and it's very unfortunate that his career took the path that it did.

    It has nothing to do with "Unfortunate". He is a grown man and is accountable for his own VERY poor decisions. Stop enabling these people, sheesh!

    The only good I saw from The Restaurant is that I found and became a member of eGullet. Other than that, Dispirito made his own bed and must lie in it now like all the rest of human society must.

    -- THE TomH

  17. I'm glad Gordo dispatched Melissa without a vote, but I'd rather have seen the punishment be something more cheffy - like having to prep both kitchens, first; second, I thought the extra punishment - by dragging a member of losing team in to empty garbage at the shoot - was totally unnecessary, and rubbed salt into a open wound.  And third, why did Gordon single out Rock, a proud cook, a good cook, whom he had, up to that point, admired?  I thought it was specifically humiliating to Rock.  Gordo said he thought he needed to do HK to boost his profile so he could open his restaurant in NYC (ridiculous), but demeaning a good, professional man and cook, a man of color, on national TV is a new low for Gordo - as a chef AND as a human being.  He should not have agreed to participate in that extra little bit of debasement. :angry:

    Oh good, someone throws the race card.

    Rock was selected ONLY because he was the one bitching the loudest about it. He exposed his Achilles heel by telling Ramsey he has a problem with going through the garbage, and the producers pounced. The other losers accepted their punishment, with resignation. I wouldn't be surprised if the producers came up with that twist after Rock went over the top with his temper tantrum.

  18. So, what's the real deal with Aaron?  is his role here nothing but "comic relief" for us?  I know I keep saying this is a TV show and not a true picture of a real kitchen/restaurant, but when Gordon asked Aaron to be the person deboning the Dover sole tableside, why not train him? Obviously, the answer is to make Aaron look like a dope.  Still, you would think they could have at least given him a figthing chance.  Have Gordon (or maybe Jean Phillip) train Aaron on the technique, then let him loose and see how he does.  He could suprise as all and do well, or just hang him self with his own noose.

    I never watch any other reality shows, but I can't imagine a person less suited for weathering this sort of high-pressure situation. I worry about his health, especially after seeing the previews with the ambulance. If he got any de-boning training, it may be on the cutting room floor, too.

    THE TomH

  19. Well, I for one, was sorry to see Eddie go.  I don't think he was given a fair shot -

    IMO.  Others screwed up much more royally than he did.

    I can't for the life of me understand why Aaron didn't hit the road.  Let's see -

    sleeping for 4+ hours during the fish challenge and the guys doing their

    punishment,  whining and crying, taking 15 minutes to debone at the tables,

    and sweating in the food.  Can I imagine him running his own restaurant?

    Ummmm . . .  NO!!!  Can Ramsay imagine it?  Of course, he can't.  Little Eddie

    could've stuck it out and been given the chance to prove himself.  Instead,

    Josh gets the break.

    It's part of the strategy. Who would you prefer to compete against in future episodes, Aaron or Josh? I'd want the three weakest chefs and me to make the final four. I'd never nominate Aaron, because I know he would not be a threat to me winning. You want to eliminate your chief competition every chance you get . If they survive the trip to the carpet, though, they're going to come after you hard when their chance comes up - kind of Soprano-like. That's why Ramsey gets a choice opf two to eliminate - to counter balance that sort of back stabbing strategy.

    And I've read here many times that Ramsey is a screamer, but on this show he's playing it over the top. You also won't see his moments when he encourages... that's not good for dramatic ratings.

    THE TomH

  20. How is this a surprise to anyone who watched the first two seasons? This is the show.

    The "diners" are all people who have an agenda of some sort to get on camera. Anyone remember the two bimbos who walked up to Ramsey at the service station to complain and get on camera? He asked them to get their ta-tas off his counter and put them in their places quicker than he does the cooks.

    The interesting part to me is the dynamic in the kitchen, who can handle the pressure and get the food out even though they want everyone else to fail. They have always assembled the cooks from a diverse background at all levels. I couldn't do it. I don't think I'd even want to try.

    Anyways, let's watch and see how it develops. These are the preliminaries to set up the later episodes. It's only tv.


  21. My condolences and God bless to the Buxbaum family, friends, and loved ones, and also to all who were fortunate enough to know him beyond the pages of eGullet.

    I regret I never got to meet Bux, but I have enjoyed his posts over the years as a mostly lurker/sometimes poster, and I managed to engage him a little and exchange some messages with him.

    I guess the finest thing that can be said about a person is that he will be missed by many, including many who never even met him, and I hope his inner circle can take some comfort in that during this time of grief. He meant something to us all.

  22. I'm re-watching it as I type here, and you're right. That guy is a more than Joe Pesci, he's a characature of Joe Pesci like the old SNL skits. At first I had to check I wasn't watching "Easy Money". Is the Cheese Whiz part of the legit Philly cheese steak? Everyplace around here uses melted cheddar.

    No disrespect to the "Any rebroadcast of this event without the expressed written consent of major league baseball is strictly prohibited" thing, but the independent thought and creative music from your music guy really makes me re-live my Batman days. I even had the cowl and cape. Chick magnet it was... well, for an 8 year old. If I wear that stuff now I get a free night in jail.

    Can I use my one call to reach you as a character reference?

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