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Top Chef: Season 3


KristiB50
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I wouldn't try to speak for those illustrious employers, but I don't think either Hung or Marcel has come across so badly as to make you doubt them, assuming they are otherwise good workers. Marcel actually dealt pretty maturely with the head-shaving business. I'd much rather work with either of them than work with Ilan the way he's been presented, including his Bravo blog.

In trying to guess Hung's chances, I have been thinking about Marcel. Look how far he got. I think every season there have been some huge surprises about who made it how far-- and, second season, who won.

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One thing about Hung I've always wondered is what his employer, Chef Guy Savoy, is thinking if or when he watches Hung on Top Chef. ........

Last year I always wondered what Chef Joel Robuchon thought of Marcel's display on Top Chef. 

I'd bet that until they were selected for Top Chef that Guy Savoy and Joel Robuchon wouldn't have known Hung or Marcel if they walked up and bit them on the ass.

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One thing about Hung I've always wondered is what his employer, Chef Guy Savoy, is thinking if or when he watches Hung on Top Chef. ........

Last year I always wondered what Chef Joel Robuchon thought of Marcel's display on Top Chef. 

I'd bet that until they were selected for Top Chef that Guy Savoy and Joel Robuchon wouldn't have known Hung or Marcel if they walked up and bit them on the ass.

You sure could be right-that Savoy and Robuchon may not have known that Hung and Marcel worked in their respective kitchens, but I'm not so sure.

When I was at the Bon Apetit Food and Wine Focus in Las Vegas in May I went to a private dinner at Guy Savoy at Caesar's Palace. One of my tablemates was a lady who is the Director of Food and Beverage at the MGM. We talked a lot about the restaurants at the MGM that she oversees-namely L'Atelier and Robuchon.

One of the questions I asked her was about the staffing at L'Atelier and Robuchon and whether they were employees of the MGM or employed by the actual chef/owner of the restaurant. She said it depended on the restaurant, but in the case of L'Atelier and Robuchon, their staffs are hired independently of the MGM. In other words, the chefs are employed by Robuchon, not the MGM. I don't know if that pertains to the servers or the dishwashers.

Based on that conversation, I would imagine that Marcel was employed directly by Robuchon, meaning Robuchon's company that operates his restaurants. As far as Marcel being interviewed and hired by Chef Robuchon himself, who knows. Hmm, Marcel interviewing with Chef Robuchon by creating a dish of Pearls of Uni with Kobe Beef Jus and Lobster Foam, wouldn't that be a treat to watch?

Regardless of all that, I think Marcel showed he was a talented, creative chef. I think that Howie and Hung are also talented, creative chefs.

But I still think all three share a common personality trait-they can really be jerks. Bravo has sucked me in.

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David, are YOU blogging this anywhere?  Your stuff is WAY better than the blog by that STRONG woman.

Thank you for the kind comments. No, not blogging anywhere else other than writing my thoughts in this thread. I'd like to read the comments of the woman that Colicchio referred to as 'blogging' about the show. If anyone knows the producers and can get me an in, be my guest.

I was confused about the opening elimination challenge on this week's show. Now mind you, I get confused easily.

Confusing was the fact that Padma opened the show by showing the menu from Red Robin. But I didn't hear her mention that the challenge was to create a new burger for Red Robin. Was that mentioned as the goal of the challenge? I thought we were going back to Rocco DeSpirito and creating a new frozen entree for Bertolli. (I wondered what happened to poor Rocco after his little Italian place in New York showed him the door and then voila, there he was judging an elimination challenge on Top Chef).

Now I don't have a problem with Red Robin. I love their bleu cheese burger. And I certainly understand corporate 'food' companies plying their vittles on television. Bravo is not stupid. A mention of Red Robin on Top Chef probably cost the company that owns Red Robin a pretty penny and I am sure Bravo wasn't shy in accepting their money, aka Bertolli. But I thought it was odd to mention Red Robin on a show that is a competition between some of the country's very talented, up and coming chefs of fine dining restaurants.

Another confusing moment was when Daniel Boulud walked in. No, not confusing to see one of the most talented and revered chefs of the day to appear as a judge on Top Chef. But Boulud and Red Robin? Isn't that sort of like the difference between Target and Saks Fifth Avenue? So if the intent was, (and remember, I didn't catch Padma mention it,), to create a new burger for Red Robin, I just thought it was odd to associate the challenge with Daniel Boulud-a man who creates $125 burgers of Kobe beef studded with black truffles and served with a slab of foie gras. I am sure you will help clear up my confusion.

Staying with my thought that the challenge was to create a new signature burger for Red Robin, (and all the corporate trappings that go along with such recognition-"now featuring our tuna sashimi burger with seaweed shavings from Top Chef Hung"), I thought some of the chefs missed the mark. (I actually didn't care for the looks of the 'tempura chips' on Hung's burger).

It looked like Boulud certainly enjoyed Howie's burger with black truffles, but would that sell at Red Robin? I think the diners at the Red Robin in Billings, Montana might go for a bison burger with smoked cheddar, but truffles? And charge more than $12.95 for a burger, I don't think so. So forgive me, I just thought the introduction of the Red Robin menu meant the challenge was to create a Red Robin burger.

If the challenge was to create a unique burger that could be served at such a temple of haute cuisine as Daniel in New York, why did they pull out the plastic coated Red Robin menu?

I thought Boulud's comments were right on the mark-especially his thoughts that burgers should be served on buns and definately not on bread, which is a sandwich, or certainly not wrapped in lettuce leaves, which is a dish unto itself and never called a burger.

Thanks again for the comments about my thoughts on Top Chef. One can only imagine what drama awaits us over the course of the next few weeks.

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I found the link to Ms. Strong's blog and her experience as a 'taster' on Top Chef.

I am in the midst of drinking copious amounts of white wine and waiting for the Pear Brown Betty to cool so I can then scoop it into a bowl and serve it with the largest scoop of Tillamook Vanilla Bean ice cream I can manage to get out of the tub. Ice cream tub that is. I don't keep ice cream in my actual tub, er bathtub.

If I can get through the wine and Pear Brown Betty fog tonight, I'll report back on my thoughts on Ms. Strong's blog of Top Chef.

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One thing about Hung I've always wondered is what his employer, Chef Guy Savoy, is thinking if or when he watches Hung on Top Chef. 

They label Hung as a sous chef at Guy Savoy in Las Vegas.  I doubt Chef Savoy would ever tolerate the attitude that Hung has displayed on Top Chef in his kitchen in Las Vegas. 

Maybe Hung is a quiet church mouse in the kitchen at Guy Savoy and he only allowed his true self to come out when he got into the finals of Top Chef.  Maybe a little arrogance on a tv show doesn't matter even if Hung went back to the kitchen at Guy Savoy after the show.  The publicity probably was good. 

Last year I always wondered what Chef Joel Robuchon thought of Marcel's display on Top Chef.  I couldn't imagine that Chef Robuchon would have hired Marcel to work in his restaurant at the MGM if he knew what kind of a rude little man Marcel was.  Maybe it didn't or wouldn't matter.

I've just always wondered what the employers of the candidates thought of their on-screen antics.

I'd be willing to bet that Chef Robuchon was happy over all the publicity his restaurant got and that one of his chefs was in the finale.

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Arrogance is one thing, pig-headedness is another (as Bourdain mentioned somewhere - and which I completely agreed with as if it matters if anyone agrees with him or not :biggrin: - Joey who was eliminated for a variety of reasons among which "not listening" seemed to be paramount, is exec chef at Cafe des Artistes and must have some really decent skills to have gotten there and to have been awarded that title there) but causing dangerous situations is in another category of behavior in the professional kitchen that simply can't be tolerated. The way Hung moves, often, is dangerous.

Talent aside, this is a huge disability and to my own mind (regardless of who really does win on this show) has simply eliminated him from my even being able to consider him as being in the game in any real way. It's like being around a guy who carries a gun but who keeps the safety off while going disco dancing after taking meth-amphetamines.

(Edited to add: Not that I've ever done that, go dancing with that sort of guy. :raz: I'm just sayin'. :rolleyes: )

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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Another confusing moment was when Daniel Boulud walked in.  No, not confusing to see one of the most talented and revered chefs of the day to appear as a judge on Top Chef.  But Boulud and Red Robin?

I think what we have here is the collision of two forces of reality TV. The first is the almighty product placement. Second in this case is celebrity. It's a bit of a chicken and egg thing going on. I don't know if they got the endorsement deal or Boulud to sign on first. (although I'm sure in the case of Bertoli and Rocco was part of the package.)

In this case they were able to pair. A hamburger chain with a celebrity chef who, arguably, was one one of the first high end chefs to take the burger and turn it into a high end item.

Edited by Fpoint (log)

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"Cakes and fine wine."

"If you don't leave we'll call the police."

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I thought Boulud's comments were right on the mark-especially his thoughts that burgers should be served on buns and definately not on bread, which is a sandwich, or certainly not wrapped in lettuce leaves, which is a dish unto itself and never called a burger.

Then again, the people who claim to have invented the burger, Louis' Lunch in new haven, CT, serve their burgers on sliced white bread...... which i find gives the perfect ratio of bread to meat.

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I think what we have here is the collision of two forces of reality TV. The first is the almighty product placement. Second in this case is celebrity. It's a bit of a chicken and egg thing going on. I don't know if they got  the endorsement deal or Boulud to sign on first. (although I'm sure in the case of Bertoli and Rocco was part of the package.)

In this case they were able to pair. A hamburger chain with a celebrity chef who, arguably, was one one of the first high end chefs to take the burger and turn it into a high end item.

Yes, a collision of forces to be sure.

It seems to me that there are two different audiences that watch Top Chef, and I think I'm in both!

First are the intense foodies of which I count myself and my fellow eGullet friends. I would include the judges and the contestants in this demographic.

But the second, and probably larger, audience for Top Chef, would seem to be the mass demographic of reality tv addicts or people who are looking for a new program to watch while "House" and "Gray's Anatomy" are on hiatus. It's this mass demographic that is most likely the target audience that will buy a new Bertolli Frozen Italian entree.

If the ratings for Top Chef continue to grow each week, then Bravo can charge more for a 30-second commercial. That results in Bertolli reaching more people, which in theory would mean more sales of their frozen foods. And of course what follows is a special campaign with print ads showing a photo of the newest frozen Italian dinner next to Rocco and the winning Top Chef. At the bottom of the ad is the requisite Bravo logo and mention of "watch the next episode Wednesday's at 8pm."

I don't have a problem at all with the commercial aspect of the show that I describe above. Without marketing tie-ins we might not even have a show like Top Chef on the tube. So I begrudgingly give kudos to the executives for supporting Top Chef and making it a commercial and financial success.

On the other hand, for food purists, it seems to water-down the soup so to speak, when we see talented chefs on the precipice of greatness being challenged to freeze pasta, chunks of sauce and shriveled chicken and chuck it into a freezer bag.

That's part of the internal struggle I deal with when I watch Top Chef. On the one hand, I am almost embarassed to admit I watch a show about food and cooking where they showcase commercial products that are almost offensive to chefs. The frozen pie crust comes to ming.

But I simply can't wait to see what the chefs present to the judges-I am intrigued by their creativity and technique, the presentations on the plate and how they use special ingredients. That is when the foodie in me kicks in and that is when I learn. Then I flip-flop over to the 'dark side' and get wrapped up into the drama of Howie making poor little Sara cry and then apologizing, sort of, for being an ass**** in the kitchen.

And so be it as Howie would say.

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That's part of the internal struggle I deal with when I watch Top Chef.  On the one hand, I am almost embarassed to admit I watch a show about food and cooking where they showcase commercial products that are almost offensive to chefs. The frozen pie crust comes to ming.

It's a class struggle. One can choose a side or decide that both are valid and useful. :wink:

It could be that Bravo not only realizes this but has decided to utilize it in each show. Yet another bit of story line or dissonance to catch and hold the attention.

(Edited to correct the spelling of the word "catch" which I spelled "catche" as if I were in Merrie Old England.)

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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It's a class struggle. One can choose a side or decide that both are valid and useful. :wink:

It could be that Bravo not only realizes this but has decided to utilize it in each show. Yet another bit of story line or dissonance to catch and hold the attention.

(Edited to correct the spelling of the word "catch" which I spelled "catche" as if I were in Merrie Old England.)

Yes, a struggle of classes and tastes to be sure. And I am happy to say I do count myself as being in the middle of the tug-of-war in terms of the foodie side of Top Chef as opposed to the reality/dramada/commercial side of the rope. It's sort of like enjoying hot wings out of the deli at Walmart on a Saturday afternoon, then eating a Bresse chicken stuffed with fresh black truffles and foie gras mousse in the evening. Two different chicken personalities, both delicious.

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David, are YOU blogging this anywhere?   Your stuff is WAY better than the blog by that STRONG woman.

Thank you for the kind comments. No, not blogging anywhere else other than writing my thoughts in this thread. I'd like to read the comments of the woman that Colicchio referred to as 'blogging' about the show. If anyone knows the producers and can get me an in, be my guest.

I was confused about the opening elimination challenge on this week's show. Now mind you, I get confused easily.

Confusing was the fact that Padma opened the show by showing the menu from Red Robin. But I didn't hear her mention that the challenge was to create a new burger for Red Robin. Was that mentioned as the goal of the challenge? I thought we were going back to Rocco DeSpirito and creating a new frozen entree for Bertolli. (I wondered what happened to poor Rocco after his little Italian place in New York showed him the door and then voila, there he was judging an elimination challenge on Top Chef).

Now I don't have a problem with Red Robin. I love their bleu cheese burger. And I certainly understand corporate 'food' companies plying their vittles on television. Bravo is not stupid. A mention of Red Robin on Top Chef probably cost the company that owns Red Robin a pretty penny and I am sure Bravo wasn't shy in accepting their money, aka Bertolli. But I thought it was odd to mention Red Robin on a show that is a competition between some of the country's very talented, up and coming chefs of fine dining restaurants.

Another confusing moment was when Daniel Boulud walked in. No, not confusing to see one of the most talented and revered chefs of the day to appear as a judge on Top Chef. But Boulud and Red Robin? Isn't that sort of like the difference between Target and Saks Fifth Avenue? So if the intent was, (and remember, I didn't catch Padma mention it,), to create a new burger for Red Robin, I just thought it was odd to associate the challenge with Daniel Boulud-a man who creates $125 burgers of Kobe beef studded with black truffles and served with a slab of foie gras. I am sure you will help clear up my confusion.

Staying with my thought that the challenge was to create a new signature burger for Red Robin, (and all the corporate trappings that go along with such recognition-"now featuring our tuna sashimi burger with seaweed shavings from Top Chef Hung"), I thought some of the chefs missed the mark. (I actually didn't care for the looks of the 'tempura chips' on Hung's burger).

It looked like Boulud certainly enjoyed Howie's burger with black truffles, but would that sell at Red Robin? I think the diners at the Red Robin in Billings, Montana might go for a bison burger with smoked cheddar, but truffles? And charge more than $12.95 for a burger, I don't think so. So forgive me, I just thought the introduction of the Red Robin menu meant the challenge was to create a Red Robin burger.

If the challenge was to create a unique burger that could be served at such a temple of haute cuisine as Daniel in New York, why did they pull out the plastic coated Red Robin menu?

I thought Boulud's comments were right on the mark-especially his thoughts that burgers should be served on buns and definately not on bread, which is a sandwich, or certainly not wrapped in lettuce leaves, which is a dish unto itself and never called a burger.

Thanks again for the comments about my thoughts on Top Chef. One can only imagine what drama awaits us over the course of the next few weeks.

I don't think there was anything mentioned at all about a burger for Red Robin. I think it was a point of reference and of course and advertiser.

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Does anyone know if the contestants are briefed ahead of time as to the products that are available in the pantry? When Padma introduced the burger challenge I didn't catch her saying anything about the pantry and what was available.

Obviously there was beef and black truffles because that is what Howie used in his burger. But was there a choice of prime or choice beef? What about the breads available? I wonder how many bun choices they had available.

There was plenty of seafood used, so I guess the producers had layed out a good display of fresh seafood.

I was just wondering if, like Iron Chef, the Top Chef contestants are briefed ahead of time as to what is available in the pantry or is it just a rush to start grabbing stuff once the challenge is announced. Anyone have some insight?

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David, are YOU blogging this anywhere?  Your stuff is WAY better than the blog by that STRONG woman.

Thank you for the kind comments. No, not blogging anywhere else other than writing my thoughts in this thread. I'd like to read the comments of the woman that Colicchio referred to as 'blogging' about the show. If anyone knows the producers and can get me an in, be my guest.

I was confused about the opening elimination challenge on this week's show. Now mind you, I get confused easily.

Confusing was the fact that Padma opened the show by showing the menu from Red Robin. But I didn't hear her mention that the challenge was to create a new burger for Red Robin. Was that mentioned as the goal of the challenge?

I don't think there was anything mentioned at all about a burger for Red Robin. I think it was a point of reference and of course and advertiser.

I had to download this episode on my MacBook since I was at a hotel w/o BravoTV and my addiction is greater than I thought...anyway, in playing it back, Padma says "Your challenge is to create a new burger inspired by their [Red Robin's] 'Adventuresome Burger' section."

And on Lee Ann's blog, she said that the chefs do know what it is in the pantry, although I suppose it would be difficult to remember everything.

I am listening while typing and Hung giggled like a schoolgirl when Boulud said he liked his burger. It was even more girly when listening and not being able to see him...

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Really, really poor and tacky judgment by Bravo for featuring this brother of Madonna, whoever the f*&k he is. What a complete self-aggrandizing asshole, and I'm sure he's the person alive who doesn't think that. He probably pays a gaggle of hangers-on to tell him he's wonderful.

(Edited 11 p.m.)

Ah, I kind of half-watched this episode, and I'll say Trey's elimination cut my interest in this season considerably. Sorry he made a really bad dish, but he seems far superior to, at the very least, four or five of the remaining contestants.

Blah. I'm getting tired of the formats, anyway. Decor? And they had to find a way to work Steven back in?

Edited by chappie (log)
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They did it again! They highlight (briefly, but it was still there) the relationship between Casey and Tre, and then Tre gets the boot. It's ridiculous, this has happened the last few eliminations. If the producers keep up this trend, the rest of the show is going to get really annoying. I don't need to see an emotional attachment between two contestants, one of whom is eliminated that episode, just so I care about the show. Just show the cooking! Anyone else with me on this?

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I guess I don't understand the overall aim of this competition......Tre, IMO, is one of the top chefs and I expected to see him in the finale. I feel this was a Big mistake, cutting such a talented chef as opposed to others who obviously are inferior, and find I am not so interested in watching next week, at least, I won't go out of my way for it.

Brenda

I whistfully mentioned how I missed sushi. Truly horrified, she told me "you city folk eat the strangest things!", and offered me a freshly fried chitterling!

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Not to mention, I will miss his beautiful guns and great smile! :biggrin:

Brenda

I whistfully mentioned how I missed sushi. Truly horrified, she told me "you city folk eat the strangest things!", and offered me a freshly fried chitterling!

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I expected Tre to be there longer but now that I think about it he's had more misses than hits. He even acknowledged his faults and he left with class. He said he could make bread pudding in his sleep. He didn't mention it wouldn't be good.

But CJ really threw Tre over and under the bus with his comments.

I'll miss the guns.

On the other hand Hung seems to have checked his ego and bounced back. He was a machine breaking down those chickens.

I could totally whoop Caseys a$$ at onion dicing.

I KNEW Stephen would be the sommelier-I don't know why the cheftestants were so suprised. I mean who else could it be?

Note to Bravo-please don't show Madonnas brother again.

And another thing-how come in every season no chef ever has a decent dessert? You'd think, knowing they were going on the show, they'd brush up on pastry!

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I expected Tre to be there longer but now that I think about it he's had more misses than hits. He even acknowledged his faults and he left with class. He said he could make bread pudding in his sleep. He didn't mention it wouldn't be good.

But CJ really threw Tre over and under the bus with his comments.

Actually, Tre was a pretty strong contender and had the most number of outright "wins". Check out this Wiki link and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

I was beginning to kind of like CJ in this competition, but last week he tried to throw Brian under the bus and now this week with Tre.

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Wow........just.......wow. I'm so stunned that Tre is gone. I for sure thought he'd be in the final two. Although he was certainly the epitome of class and dignity in his leave-taking. He took full responsibility and acknowledged that as "executive" chef for the restaurant, it was all him on the line. What a refreshing change !

But still.......wow.

And yeah, even with bad eyes, (getting worse with age) and an absolute total lack of hand-eye coordination, I could totally dice Casey under the table on onions. I mean........COME ON. That was pathetic.

Wow.......... :shock:

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With this episode, Hung has to have a lock on the title. While the decision seemed a rational one, Tre clearly has so much more talent than Sara, Howie, or Casey. In fact, the fact that those first two are still around is an insult to the likes of Tre and Lia, obviously more talented chefs who caught bad breaks in the competition format of the show.

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