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Everything posted by C_Ruark

  1. Just a minor critique... can the Chefs and Bravo take a couple steps off the "We LOVE you Rick Bayless" bandwagon?!?! This Bayless love-fest is really starting to irk me... (this from someone whose copy of Mexican Kitchen is very dog-eared and gnarled up.) BTW, I think I'll start cooking up burgers using Chiarello's method. What an off-beat idea... but I am packing the middle with Roquefort. Burgers without bleu cheese are just plain naked.
  2. Now THAT, Sir, would make for a good spin-off show to watch (unlike FN's cheesey 'challenge' shows). I'd love to see the likes of Charlie T, Susan Wallace (a magnificent P-chef here in DC) and Elizabeth F go head to head.
  3. Well as long as you apply the floor / ceiling method as consistently as you can. (not that the original data was treated the same way... ) Migrating back to topic - summing up two episodes of viewing: /Ep 6/ I would be interested in Johnathan W's plate the most. I like Art's sensibilities as far as offering the diner a "complete" plate (for lack of better def). No faulting the technique, there. /Ep 7/ Wow did Anita put up a gorgeous plate. Not going to discuss the Scottish egg dish (nice idea though). Hubert played it a little too close to his roots when doing a rework of Anita's. I guess I was expecting a riff similar to J-GV's cooking.
  4. Ok... so doing the maths: You would need to show three sig' digits for precision when reporting computed 'Elimination' score else correct the rounding errors. All scores of N.37 were rounded the wrong way.
  5. Another one to review... A Day at El Bulli - for obvious reasons. Has anyone bought it? How is it?
  6. Just got the copy this week... without cooking any of the challenging recipes yet, I'll give the book 4.5/5 stars. A few thoughts... 1.) At 704 pages the cookbook is a BRICK, a lot like LaRouse but the typeset is very nice and clean to read. There are color photos and the food in them hasn't been over-stylized. Most recipes are presented as not requiring a long list of exotic ingredients and the explaination of method is concise and clear. 2.) Throughout the book, there is some nice, not-to-fluffy commentary on each of the Greek regions, the eating lifestyles, and how recipes and menus change for each of the Greek seasons. Like the recipes, the writing is nice and succinct. 3.) The book was translated into a US/UK English format which brings me to my one little nit: I generally don't like to read alternative regionalized words written in-line in the text. There are some variations which are fine like Zucchini (courgettes); but, Kabob (kebab) seems a little redundant. I blame the editors/translators for getting a little to happy with suggestions. 4.) The recipes are rustic and minimalistic. I liked the fact that the recipes for Tzatzhiki and Horiatiki Salata which I learned from my time on Crete appear here without extra "Bam!" or flare. This is what attacts me to Greek cooking although I have a fairly deep Classic French cooking background. All in all, this is a very good buy for those of us who like Mediterranean food. E2A: I just tried to read your review on the Gastronomer's Bookshelf.. is the link broke? Page doesn't load.
  7. Yeah, I agree; it doesn't test any relevant skill. ← Aww... you just made Ferdinand Point (RIP) weep.
  8. Result = Fail. Let's hope the winner knows not to name a restaurant something like "Gorbles".
  9. Could the whole malfunction/less-than-superior equipment issue be one of those show "elements"? If I wanted to put the screws to a group of chefs trying to play king-of-the-hill, surely a simple tweak of the fridge and freezer temp controls seems like a very low-tech and effective (albeit cruel) way to go.
  10. Give the producers a little credit. Rocco as judge was a brilliant move.
  11. My G/F and I just got back from a trip to Seattle and Portland. One of our fave's was the Pomegranate Bistro in Redmond. Very, very tasty meals and the service was excellent.
  12. Just a quick note to say thanks to Portland folks who posted recommendations. My girlfriend and I came out to the city for a wedding and used this thread to get dining ideas. We ended up selecting Veritable Quandary for brunch, and all I can say is "Wow". Great food. Smart staff. And brunch eats were very satisfying.
  13. You can still watch Adam's concept. I believe FN will be airing it this season... just watch Ask Aida.
  14. C_Ruark

    Soup Helper

    IMHO, maybe develop a really good French Onion Soup? I think you'll find there a ton of ways to make it and all will taste pretty good as long as the onions are deeply caramelized (but not burnt). I can't give a recipe but how about the notes from my journal? I. ) One of the tricks I use is how I make the bouquet garni. I follow my instructors method for this: 2 x leaf sheaths of Leek which are wrapped around... 1 x carrot sliced into long julienne 1 x celery stalk sliced as same 2 x springs of Rosemary 1 x bay leaf Secure the lot with some cooking twine and drop into the broth. Other B.G's will work, but I found this one worked best. II.) The broth can be made from various combinations of liquid (chicken or beef stalk, red or white wine, spirits). I prefer a 3:1 ratio of Chardonnay to Water plus a drop of cognac that end. The deep color of the soup should come mostly from the onions not the liquid. III.) Cheeses that I like: Gruyère (the traditional choice), Parmesan and Provolone, Comté, Beaufort. Really any mild cheese can be worked in although it will change what you need to do when seasoning the broth at the end. IV.) Add a bit of flour after caramelizing onions in butter. Your aim is to soup up the fat and make a roux to slightly thicken the stock. V.) To finish. Don't worry about how you combine the soup bread and cheese. I've had many a F.O.S. in France and there is no one "model" way to serve it. Hope that helps. ~C
  15. C_Ruark

    Menu Input

    Add some sweetbreads! That would be cool. Not cool: BBQ Duck Confit in a vinegar base. Vinegar - on the tongue - doesn't play well with fat content of a confit, IMHO. I'm also a bit of a purest and don't like my duck or confit to be manipulated very much. As far as the menu goes. I notice that this is supposed to be a mental exercise and you're not going to hold everything in the kitchen at once (I hope), but I am not understanding what "soul" of the menu is. What are you trying to communicate? Those appetizers, IMHO, read like they are a bit over-engineered.
  16. Rob (and Tyler)... I've been a fan of your photos on Flickr for a while. Any chance you could post a photo-tour of the restaurant soon? Also, thanks for bringing us along for the ride as you get the Kumquat going... best of luck!!!
  17. Wow. Every dish that Chef H put forward looked impeccably delicious.
  18. Well, in attempt to wipe the egg of their face after the last host turned out to have a less than accurate resume, FN has launched the re-brand of Dinner: Impossible. As mentioned in a couple circles back in April: Gone is Irvine. In is Chef Michael Symon. 1st impression: I think - hard to say this about most things FN - it's a decent move! I'm watching the sneak peek and I am entertained. Tonight's theme was... damn, it's a sneak peak. We can discuss the "mission" later I suppose. I will say that - having been recently introduced to it's deliciousness - working chocolate-covered bacon into just about anything is a great attention-getter.
  19. UE, Nice pics of Scylla and the other sets! I need a bucket for the drool as I work through your Michelin Guide Rouge set. As as the Final goes: I wasn't too crazy for way the prod's unrolled this episode either... too much "I'm Lisa and I will win because I deserve it" in the edit. In the end, very happy to see Stephanie won!
  20. This is why I had big issues with the Asian menu Dale and Co. went with. They missed a huge opportunity (or lacked the creativity?) to push out a killer menu. Can someone do me a favor and provide a deeper critique of "Laksa-gate"? I feel like I'm missing something there. That's a soup I've eaten maybe three times at most so clear understanding of what to expect is not there. What nuances did I miss? Heat seems like a prominent taste note, but I suspect there should be something else... Citrus? A rich broth flavor? My armchair TC Quarterback calls... 1 - When asked by Chef B what she was making, saying "Laksa" was a really bad move. Had J said "Asian soup" then, when things went south, there would have been room to move and recover. I blame Dale's lack of menu and kitchen control for that. 2 - Dale's lack of menu "focus" and the overall cooking execution led to a bland menu. Look at the other team, dish to dish they picked a single ingredient to highlight on each plate and then chose the recipe. Didn't happen here. I didn't have a real "Damn, I want to eat that" moment aside from S's dumpling. The rest of the meal seemed to pull punches an awful lot. 3 - The only real observation I have of Antonia's team. All three seem to cook to the same tune: simple plan, detailed execution. If - excuse me... When they go head to head, I wonder what each of them will do to make themselves stand out.
  21. Spike needs to go. Of course, here in DC, I'm just jumping up and down to get a seat at the Good Stuff Eatery. Puh-lease...
  22. Veginomicon by Isa Moskowitz and Terry Romero. They also wrote Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and host the The Post Punk Kitchen. I'm not a vegan by any stretch of the means, but I recently started exploring ways to change some sloppy eating habits. A closer examination of what I eat most often showed that I needed more veggies and fruits in my diet. Picking the book has been a home run.
  23. Might be slightly off-topic to talk TC ingredients? Got to nod with AB on this one. Eric Ripert + trout + elk = major SNAFU by the "producers". All things aside though: What does one do with elk? If you've got recipes to try lemme know. I've got access to some product and will experiment.
  24. C_Ruark

    Top Chef

    I was trained at LCB on the method which is held as a longstanding riff on the original Parisian Les Halles-mongers version. Basically it's all about seasoning a white wine stock and properly caramelizing a variety of onions to get the deepest mahogany color you can without scorching. Another essential is very dehydrated bread. Hint: no oven-baked croutons here. Gruyere's the cheese of choice IMHO but - given the unit cost - a lot of restaurants will trade it out for provolone, swiss, parmesan, emmenthaler (or combination there of) which I think is verging on sacriledge. How much plating time I have at a given moment determines if I drape and broil, mix in, or leave on the side. There is no authentic specification that I know of but if you have time drape and broi with a brulee torch, oven, or salamander (if you've got one... not used enough over here).
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