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KristiB50

Top Chef Season 4

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I don't know if this is funny or sad...

24 Prince

Also, if this has ever been discussed, I apologize, but if you already own your own restaurant, why go on Top Chef. Does anyone else think that the negative attention Nikki is getting going to hurt her in the end?

No three weeks after she's booted off people won't even remeber her name....or atleast not the name of her restaurant.

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I don't know if this is funny or sad...

24 Prince

Also, if this has ever been discussed, I apologize, but if you already own your own restaurant, why go on Top Chef. Does anyone else think that the negative attention Nikki is getting going to hurt her in the end?

From the site:

BIO: Nikki operates 24 Prince Restaurant in New York City as the chef and co-owner. Trained for many years in back of house and in front of house operations with great chefs like Jean-Georges, Shaun Doty and Anne Quatrano, Nikki believes a great chef must understand how to run a business as well as possess outstanding cooking skills. She is also a certified sommelier with extensive wine knowledge. Nikki loves not being restricted to any one particular cuisine and experiments with flavors and ingredients from all over the world. She considers growing up in New York to be the best culinary education one can obtain and says her family and friends constantly tease her about how passionate she is about food. Her future plans are to expand her restaurant group with several new concepts.

Then why the hell does she always do italian food?!?


Edited by malarkey (log)

Born Free, Now Expensive

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Like I said before, the issue is not that she USED a premade sausage. It's HOW she used it. Using it for filling a ravioli is great (a la pre-roasted chicken in pierogi)...but maybe not for a tailgate.

I disagree, last year someone used frozen waffles and won the challenge. I think if Nikki used a different kind of pre-made sausage with an innovative topping she could have won. For example: chicken apple sausage w/jicama, red pepper slaw served in a pita or kielbasa w/sauerkraut, apples, fennel and carmalized onions with a horseradish mustard on a long roll.

I agree that she should go - she can't make decent sausage & peppers or mac & cheese(which is her specialty).


Edited by lcdm (log)

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I loved this episode. Wanted to crawl through the TV and eat the food. I want to try Dale's ribs but the recipes on the site are so imprecise and sloppy (his recipe calls for fusilli and there's no way I saw pasta).

Anyway, the show never fails to show me a technique I haven't seen before. I wanted to ask all of you about something I saw Richard doing.

When he was making his "pate melts" he was taking the meat and throwing it against the hotel tray, like you might do with a yeast dough. Does anyone know why he was doing that? Wouldn't that overwork the meat?


My blog: Rah Cha Chow

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I'm getting tired of the whole challenges in general until now. I mean almost all of them have been group challenges catering public parties/events for dozens of people. I am ready to see them do a fine dining individual challenge.

I am sure we will soon see the restaurant wars episode, but that will be until there are 6 people left. To divide them into 3 and 3 to open a restaurant in a day.

This season the quality of food for challenges and just the level of challenges has really gone down in my opinion. Enough with cooking for the public masses!


Edited by The Flame (log)

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I loved this episode. Wanted to crawl through the TV and eat the food. I want to try Dale's ribs but the recipes on the site are so imprecise and sloppy (his recipe calls for fusilli and there's no way I saw pasta).

Anyway, the show never fails to show me a technique I haven't seen before. I wanted to ask all of you about something I saw Richard doing.

When he was making his "pate melts" he was taking the meat and throwing it against the hotel tray, like you might do with a yeast dough. Does anyone know why he was doing that? Wouldn't that overwork the meat?

How do you overwork meat?

He was probably trying to get the air out of the patties. Air bubbles can burst inside pate's and make grainy textures, and of course, holes. It's pretty common practice to sort of "slam" a pate mold on the counter a bit to do the same thing. That would be my guess.

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How do you overwork meat?

He was probably trying to get the air out of the patties. Air bubbles can burst inside pate's and make grainy textures, and of course, holes. It's pretty common practice to sort of "slam" a pate mold on the counter a bit to do the same thing. That would be my guess.

Richard wasn't the only one working his meat this week. The husky-voiced Lisa was heard saying that she was "going to beat my meat"........

Aha, caught you for a moment. :biggrin: Lisa was whacking her skirt steak to apparently tenderize it so it wouldn't be tough when she slapped it on the grill.

Honestly, I think she imagined Dale's head on the chopping block while she was senselessly beating the steak. She's still pissed at Dale for his crotch-grabbing outburst directed at her after the "Elements" show.

She got even more angry at Dale when he "sort of" apologized to her this week, saying that Dale "could go F..... himself." No better way for a Chef to get revenge then to beat a rival's image with a rolling pin. Yeah baby.

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Tonight I made Dale's winning "Tandoori Pork Ribs." They turned out fairly good but not outstanding.

The ribs are a perfect "tailgate" food-the prep, the pre-poaching and marinating-can be done the day before the big game, and then the ribs can be grilled/smoked and finished at the party.

The recipe that is posted on the site is not very well written for the average cook-it doesn't tell you how long to "poach" the ribs. People want specifics when they read a recipe:

Dale's "Tandori Pork Ribs:"

Toast all spices and combine with yogurt, bouillon and white soy; blend in blender. Poach ribs in water, vinegar, sugar, hot sauce, salt and pineapple skin. After ribs have been poached tender; let cool then mix in yogurt-bouillon marinade. Grill ribs, on medium flame brushed with marinade.

Tandori Pork:

4T coriander

4T madras curry

9 pieces cardamom pods

2T mustard seeds

2T white pepper

4T chili powder

4T garam masala

3 quarts yogurt

4T chicken bouillon

1 cup white soy

12 sides pork ribs

Water for poaching

1/2 cup vinegar

Sugar to taste

2 quarts hot sauce

4T salt

1 piece pineapple skin

I thought it was odd that Dale included "chicken bouillon" as an ingredient in the marinade. It would be interesting to ask Dale why he uses chicken bouillon. It's almost sacriligeous for a Top chef to use those little dirt clods in quality cooking.

Not really knowing from the written recipe on the site how long the ribs should be "poached" and then marinated, I took my chances. I poached the ribs for about an hour. That seemed to be the right amount of time to get the meat tender yet not falling off the bone.

The recipe didn't tell me how long the ribs should sit in the marinade--so I assumed, quite dangerously, that overnight would allow the meat to soak up the spices. I'm not a chemist, but the finished ribs didn't have the cripsy-crunchy crust I like in my ribs. My assumption is that the pork bathed in the yogurt too long, (and the acids in the yogurt attacked porky), resulting in the finished ribs having a bit of a gummy-pasty texture on the outside.

I liked the fact that Dale prepared ribs in a Tandoori style rather than the usual Southern type ribs. The finished ribs had a spicy kick but weren't overpowering with heat.

So, putting myself on the line for all of you, here is a photo of my attempt at a Top Chef winning dish. Now please be kind with your criticisms, I'm not a professional Top Chef.

gallery_41580_4407_302115.jpg

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Tonight I made Dale's winning "Tandoori Pork Ribs."  They turned out fairly good but not outstanding. 

The ribs are a perfect "tailgate" food-the prep, the pre-poaching and marinating-can be done the day before the big game, and then the ribs can be grilled/smoked and finished at the party. 

The recipe that is posted on the site is not very well written for the average cook-it doesn't tell you how long to "poach" the ribs.  People want specifics when they read a recipe:

Dale's "Tandori Pork Ribs:"

Toast all spices and combine with yogurt, bouillon and white soy; blend in blender. Poach ribs in water, vinegar, sugar, hot sauce, salt and pineapple skin. After ribs have been poached tender; let cool then mix in yogurt-bouillon marinade. Grill ribs, on medium flame brushed with marinade.

Tandori Pork:

4T coriander

4T madras curry

9 pieces cardamom pods

2T mustard seeds

2T white pepper

4T chili powder

4T garam masala

3 quarts yogurt

4T chicken bouillon

1 cup white soy

12 sides pork ribs

Water for poaching

1/2 cup vinegar

Sugar to taste

2 quarts hot sauce

4T salt

1 piece pineapple skin

I thought it was odd that Dale included "chicken bouillon" as an ingredient in the marinade.  It would be interesting to ask Dale why he uses chicken bouillon.  It's almost sacriligeous for a Top chef to use those little dirt clods in quality cooking.   

Not really knowing from the written recipe on the site how long the ribs should be "poached" and then marinated, I took my chances.  I poached the ribs for about an hour.  That seemed to be the right amount of time to get the meat tender yet not falling off the bone.

The recipe didn't tell me how long the ribs should sit in the marinade--so I assumed, quite dangerously, that overnight would allow the meat to soak up the spices.  I'm not a chemist, but the finished ribs didn't have the cripsy-crunchy crust I like in my ribs.  My assumption is that the pork bathed in the yogurt too long, (and the acids in the yogurt attacked porky), resulting in the finished ribs having a bit of a gummy-pasty texture on the outside.

I liked the fact that Dale prepared ribs in a Tandoori style rather than the usual Southern type ribs.  The finished ribs had a spicy kick but weren't overpowering with heat.

So, putting myself on the line for all of you, here is a photo of my attempt at a Top Chef winning dish.  Now please be kind with your criticisms, I'm not a professional Top Chef. 

gallery_41580_4407_302115.jpg

Nice job, still looks pretty tasty to me. I also looked at the recipe and was baffled by the fact they didn't include cooking times. What kind of recipe IS that?


At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since. ‐ Salvador Dali

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Nice job, still looks pretty tasty to me. I also looked at the recipe and was baffled by the fact they didn't include cooking times. What kind of recipe IS that?

Thanks. The wonderful Indian flavors of the spices really came through, but the texture of the outer coating of the meat was not good. While I give Dale recognition for his win, I've got some criticisms for Bravo.

Remember when Tom told Mark at the judges table to "clean up his act...." a reference to Mark's messy habits (i.e., triple-dipping spoons in corn chowder)? Well, Tom should tell the suits at Bravo the same thing-to clean up the posted recipes and some of the mess they've left on the Top Chef site.

I get the sense that Dale probably had the recipe for the ribs in his memory bank. My guess is that after he won the challenge, Bravo asked him for a written recipe. It appears that in a rush to get the winning dish posted, Bravo forgot to have someone review and edit the recipe. Had they done so, it would have included times for poaching the ribs and instructions for how long the ribs should have been marinated. Bravo should have taken the recipe a step further and broken down the ingredients so they would work for a home cook-not "12 sides of pork ribs" for 80 hungry football fans.

I know there is a rush to get recipes of the dishes posted, but I'd rather wait for a recipe that is accurate than settle for a poorly written recipe that is posted a few minutes after the show airs.

There's some other details that Bravo is missing on the website-like posting some photos on the "Rate the Plate" page-yet without a caption telling us the name of the dish and which Chef created it.

Overlooking these small details on the Top Chef site makes it appear a bit amateurish and I'd expect more from the producers of one of the higher-rated cable reality shows.

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In general, I’ve enjoyed the Quickfire Challenges this year more than most of the Elimination Challenges. The Quickfire Challenges tend to be presented to the viewers as less important than the big, dramatic Elimination rounds. I agree with those who have commented that they are tired of seeing so many catered affairs as the theme of the Elimination Challenges. One can only take so many cold “blini” as it were.

But for the most part, I have preferred watching the Quickfire Challenges because they test the skills of the individual Chefs under the extreme pressure of creating a dish in 30 minutes.

This week’s Quickfire Challenge of pairing beer with food really showed us how creative and ambitious some of these Chefs can be. Sadly, for some, Spike in particular, we also saw how an unmotivated Chef’s attitude carries through to the uncreative dish that is presented to the judges.

So let’s start with Spike’s dish of “Charcuterie Plate and Tapas of Clams.” Sure, I’d like a cold beer and some good salami. O.K., throw in a pot of clams steamed in beer and I might be satisfied if I was at a trendy little tapas bar. But do you think putting some salami on a wood block with two green olives, a couple of slices of cheese and a few grapes is creative enough for a Top Chef competition? No, it isn’t. Did Spike honestly think that steaming clams in a little beer broth would win this challenge? If he did think that he was mistaken.

I can’t speak to other parts of the country, but I know that in the Northwest we are happily enjoying the products of a growing micro-brew industry. Some would argue that pairing beer with food is an emerging opportunity for chefs. I would agree. Spike would have been well-served if he had viewed beer in that same light-an opportunity to meet the challenge by creating a unique dish that accented the flavor of the chosen beer. Jennifer did just that and was rewarded with the win.

While I was happy to see Jennifer come away with the win-and to boost her spirits after the departure of her dearly beloved Zoi-I have to question how Jen pulled off her dish of “Shrimp and Scallop Beignets with Fennel, Avocado and Pepper Purees.”

I like Jen’s idea to take beer-battered fish to a new level, but how did she pull that off in 30 minutes? Isn’t that the time constraint for the Quickfire Challenge-30 minutes?

If you read the ingredients in Jen’s recipe you would question how she could accomplish all the tasks she had to do and present the finished dish in such a short time-frame. Let’s see, there’s heating the oil in the deep-fryer, roasting the peppers for the sauce, mixing the batter for the beignets, and chopping up the shrimp and scallops. Maybe Bravo heated up the oil in the fryer ahead of time. In any case, Jen deserves congrats this week for creating a dish that fit like a glove with the theme of pairing beer with food. Nice job Jen.

Now back on my rant this week about Bravo not paying attention to details on the Top Chef website. Take a look at the photo of Lisa’s dish from the Quickfire Challenge on the “Rate the Plate” page. The dish is described as “Bacon Cheeseburger with Potato Chips.” Huh?? Looks like two lamb chops to me. We see a drizzle of sauce, possibly made from the beer Lisa chose-Stella Artois.

Now scroll two photos to the left, and there you’ll see the aforementioned cheeseburger and chips-with a bottle of Amber Bock beer in the background. But there’s no title for the dish and no credit to the Chef who made it. So who did what dish Bravo? Somebody at Bravo needs to really, really clean up the mistakes that are repeatedly being made on their site.

Next up-a few comments about Nikki’s sausage faux pas, (and that lopsided muff of hair that seems to always appear on her head in the “on-camera” interview clips), and the return of the ridiculous French beret topping the head of the head judge.

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I thought it was odd that Dale included "chicken bouillon" as an ingredient in the marinade.  It would be interesting to ask Dale why he uses chicken bouillon.  It's almost sacriligeous for a Top chef to use those little dirt clods in quality cooking.

Don't let Marco Pierre White hear you say that. :wink:

BTW, your Daily Racing Form analysis post was Grade I Stakes quality!

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I thought it was odd that Dale included "chicken bouillon" as an ingredient in the marinade.  It would be interesting to ask Dale why he uses chicken bouillon.  It's almost sacriligeous for a Top chef to use those little dirt clods in quality cooking.

Don't let Marco Pierre White hear you say that. :wink:

BTW, your Daily Racing Form analysis post was Grade I Stakes quality!

Thanks for the advice-I'll pray that Chef Marco doesn't catch wind of my distaste for chicken bouillon cubes. I've heard some rumblings that he once had quite the temper. I wouldn't want him throwing cubes of bouillon at me....

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I loved this episode. Wanted to crawl through the TV and eat the food. I want to try Dale's ribs but the recipes on the site are so imprecise and sloppy (his recipe calls for fusilli and there's no way I saw pasta).

Anyway, the show never fails to show me a technique I haven't seen before. I wanted to ask all of you about something I saw Richard doing.

When he was making his "pate melts" he was taking the meat and throwing it against the hotel tray, like you might do with a yeast dough. Does anyone know why he was doing that? Wouldn't that overwork the meat?

How do you overwork meat?

He was probably trying to get the air out of the patties. Air bubbles can burst inside pate's and make grainy textures, and of course, holes. It's pretty common practice to sort of "slam" a pate mold on the counter a bit to do the same thing. That would be my guess.

I get why the slamming would work with pate, but not a burger. Many recipes I have for burgers, meat loafs, meatballs etc. say "do not overwork meat."

To be honest, I'm not exactly sure how you overwork meat, but I'm fairly certain I've done it. After I competed in the National Beef Cookoff with a meatball recipe, a Food Network reporter who had been in the judging room told me that the judges said I "overworked the meat." Overworking meat has been a has been a concern of mine since then.

Just for kicks I tried the slamming technique today when I made burgers. Can't say I figured out what it was supposed to accomplish, except maybe make patties of even thickness. The mystery continues.

And I agree with the frustration about the Top Chef recipes. My guess is that the chefs do their cooking and then they jot down how they made it. I'm sure they don't precisely measure things as they go. All the same, it's irritating to want to make some thing and have something missing -- I've been wanting to try Stephanie's banana bread dessert but in her recipe she doesn't say what to do with one of the ingredients. There's a Top Chef cookbook out -- unless someone really edited and tested those recipes, it's going to be a waste of space on a bookshelf.

David, your ribs look delicious!


My blog: Rah Cha Chow

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Somehow I suspect that Bravo really doesn't see the website and the recipes as being a high priority :sad:

On the 'overworking the meat' thing, I always assumed it was because there was a danger of squishing it together too much so that it got dense, but that isn't based on anything authoritative.

I really liked this episode. I liked the quickfire, I liked the things that people made for the challenge, and I agree with the elimination...although like others have said, Nikki's really gotta go.

I wouldn't be surprised if the oil was preheated actually. I know its not really comparable, but on iron chef I think I've seen them use pots of stock that has been heated up ahead of time (at least that's what it looks like). I'd be interested in knowing if that's the case, though.


Kate

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Overmixing allows the protein strands to tangle which will then constrict when cooked and causes a denser and drier product. Imagine a bunch of strings in a bowl, the more you play around with it, the more the strings will get tangled up with each other.


PS: I am a guy.

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I know there is a rush to get recipes of the dishes posted, but I'd rather wait for a recipe that is accurate than settle for a poorly written recipe that is posted a few minutes after the show airs.

These shows have been taped for 6 months -- there's plenty of time to do it right.

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I thought it was odd that Dale included "chicken bouillon" as an ingredient in the marinade.  It would be interesting to ask Dale why he uses chicken bouillon.  It's almost sacriligeous for a Top chef to use those little dirt clods in quality cooking.

Don't let Marco Pierre White hear you say that. :wink:

BTW, your Daily Racing Form analysis post was Grade I Stakes quality!

Thanks for the advice-I'll pray that Chef Marco doesn't catch wind of my distaste for chicken bouillon cubes. I've heard some rumblings that he once had quite the temper. I wouldn't want him throwing cubes of bouillon at me....

Bouollion does not always mean cubes. There is boulllion out there that is more like a concentrate and is used in alot of better restaurants for speeding up prep.

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I thought it was odd that Dale included "chicken bouillon" as an ingredient in the marinade.  It would be interesting to ask Dale why he uses chicken bouillon.  It's almost sacriligeous for a Top chef to use those little dirt clods in quality cooking.

Don't let Marco Pierre White hear you say that. :wink:

BTW, your Daily Racing Form analysis post was Grade I Stakes quality!

Thanks for the advice-I'll pray that Chef Marco doesn't catch wind of my distaste for chicken bouillon cubes. I've heard some rumblings that he once had quite the temper. I wouldn't want him throwing cubes of bouillon at me....

Bouollion does not always mean cubes. There is boulllion out there that is more like a concentrate and is used in alot of better restaurants for speeding up prep.

I followed Dale's instructions and used the chicken bouillon. The recipe on the site simply calls for "4T chicken bouillon." Since the recipe didn't specify what type/form to use, I used granulated chicken bouillon. The chicken bouillon didn't seem to have any flavor effect on the ribs. I'm still curious why Dale used it.

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I thought it was odd that Dale included "chicken bouillon" as an ingredient in the marinade.  It would be interesting to ask Dale why he uses chicken bouillon.  It's almost sacriligeous for a Top chef to use those little dirt clods in quality cooking.

Don't let Marco Pierre White hear you say that. :wink:

BTW, your Daily Racing Form analysis post was Grade I Stakes quality!

Thanks for the advice-I'll pray that Chef Marco doesn't catch wind of my distaste for chicken bouillon cubes. I've heard some rumblings that he once had quite the temper. I wouldn't want him throwing cubes of bouillon at me....

Bouollion does not always mean cubes. There is boulllion out there that is more like a concentrate and is used in alot of better restaurants for speeding up prep.

I followed Dale's instructions and used the chicken bouillon. The recipe on the site simply calls for "4T chicken bouillon." Since the recipe didn't specify what type/form to use, I used granulated chicken bouillon. The chicken bouillon didn't seem to have any flavor effect on the ribs. I'm still curious why Dale used it.

I'm thinking more about this and R you are probably right on-maybe Dale used a concentrated, liquid type of bouillon to give the marinade for the ribs extra flavor? If that's the case it certainly makes more sense. Even if the recipe that Bravo posted on the site doesn't make sense.

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Last week, I gave Chef Colicchio a “bravo” for addressing the issues of the demeanor of the contestants and for recognizing the fact that he is listening to the comments and constructive criticisms from the viewers.

Tom is my favorite judge on Top Chef. And his crew in Las Vegas cooks one mean piece of meat at “Craftsteak” at the MGM. If the “Roasted Hen of the Woods Mushrooms” are on the menu when you dine there, order them to accompany your prime-grade, grass-finished, seared steak. Delicious.

But this week for the “Tailgate” episode, Chef Tom lost a few style points for bringing back that silly looking black beret. (Maybe he should have dipped into Spike’s supply of funky headwear for something new?)

Wasn’t it last year that we first saw Tom wearing the beret? I think it was the “Airline Food,” episode. There they were, Tom and Bourdain, two cool middle-aged dudes sitting on a Continental 777 in a hangar in New Jersey. Maybe a basic hat with the “Schlitz Beer” logo would have fit in better at a Chicago Bears game. A minor point that made me smile. Thanks for the chuckle Chef.

There were certainly more laughable scenes from this past week’s “Tailgate” episode.

Mark and Spike decided to spend the evening before the challenge on a date in a bubble bath. One of the better lines of the evening was when Mark told Spike to “look at my bubbles.” As Antonia so brilliantly put it, “it looks like cheap porno.”

Bubble baths and champagne are fun of course, but Mark might have put his time to better use by doing some homework and writing a script for how to pull-off chicken skewers and corn chowder at the tailgate party. Studying instead of bathing with Spike might have given Mark “cleaner” marks from the judges.

Mark was a disaster at the barby-He didn’t appear to have enough chicken skewers prepped and ready to go on the grill fast enough to keep pace with the customers appetites. He gave away a much-needed towel to his friend Ryan at the next station-a towel he needed to clean up his own mess.

I didn’t catch it, but listening to Padma describe Mark’s triple dipping his spoons-first in the chowder, then in his mouth, then back in the chowder-really made me groan.

Mark’s weak attempt at the Tailgate Challenge put the spotlight on what may be his weakness in the future-an inability to plan, be organized and cook “clean.” Chef Tom put it in simple and frank terms at the judges’ table when he told Mark that “you better clean up your act man!”

Nikki is a minor player on a Triple-D class ball club trying to compete in the major leagues against stars like Richard.

Nikki made so many mistakes it’s hard to list them all. Settling for pre-made, basic recipe Italian Sausage was just one of the more noticeable errors in judgement.

She chose to pair her “Sausage and Grilled Pepper Sandwich” with inconsequential grilled shrimp served with “homemade cocktail sauce.” She should have disregarded the shrimp and used the savings to her advantage by buying quality cuts of meat and blending her own spices to make a savory sausage. (Like the more talented Chef Richard did for his “Pate Melt with Spicy Mayonnaise and Pickled Cucumber”).

Another glaring fault was Nikki’s error in not planning enough food for the number of guests she was told would pass by her station. One of my pet peeves is going to a bakery at 7am only to be told “we’re out of the maple bars, Sir.” That’s basically what Nikki told the football fans. What was that you said Nikki? You can’t really give me a whole sandwich because you “might not have enough.” Not good enough my dear. If you’re serving hungry Bears fans give them a full sandwich. (Oh yeah, and hold out 4 of the sandwiches-you might need them to serve to the judges).

We are all in agreement that she absolutely has to go--and soon. Yet Nikki did make an attempt, however feeble it was, to meet the challenge of a “Tailgate” party.

Lastly, there was our metro-sexual friend Ryan. Through his own admission, he doesn’t like sports and he’s never really been to a tailgate party. And it showed.

A Top Chef would have to be really ignorant to present the three fussy dishes Ryan put on the back of the tailgate. Football fans don’t want to mess with having to nosh on a dainty little “Poached Pear” or cut through a messy “Bread Salad with Marinated Chicken.” Food you can feel, that you can hold with one hand while balancing a beer in the other hand, food with lots of flavor, that’s what the “daily special” should be at a tailgate party.

I like the idea of a bread salad with chicken, but Ryan just wasn’t successful at presenting the dish within the context of a tailgate party. As the judges said, aside from the fact that Ryan didn’t even come close to meeting the challenges presented at a “Tailgate” party, his food “just wasn’t very good.”

I think the judges were left with two very poor choices-keep Nikki, who at least attempted to make a first-down but went out of bounds before she got to the line-or eliminate Ryan for fumbling the ball in the end-zone.

I’ve seen the previews for the upcoming episode-something about pastry and baking? Now this is really going to be a treat.

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I loved this episode. Wanted to crawl through the TV and eat the food. I want to try Dale's ribs but the recipes on the site are so imprecise and sloppy (his recipe calls for fusilli and there's no way I saw pasta).

Anyway, the show never fails to show me a technique I haven't seen before. I wanted to ask all of you about something I saw Richard doing.

When he was making his "pate melts" he was taking the meat and throwing it against the hotel tray, like you might do with a yeast dough. Does anyone know why he was doing that? Wouldn't that overwork the meat?

How do you overwork meat?

He was probably trying to get the air out of the patties. Air bubbles can burst inside pate's and make grainy textures, and of course, holes. It's pretty common practice to sort of "slam" a pate mold on the counter a bit to do the same thing. That would be my guess.

I get why the slamming would work with pate, but not a burger. Many recipes I have for burgers, meat loafs, meatballs etc. say "do not overwork meat."

To be honest, I'm not exactly sure how you overwork meat, but I'm fairly certain I've done it. After I competed in the National Beef Cookoff with a meatball recipe, a Food Network reporter who had been in the judging room told me that the judges said I "overworked the meat." Overworking meat has been a has been a concern of mine since then.

Just for kicks I tried the slamming technique today when I made burgers. Can't say I figured out what it was supposed to accomplish, except maybe make patties of even thickness. The mystery continues.

Ok, I don't know exactly how Richard made his pate, so I can only tell you based on my own experience. When you make a meat based emulsion (sausage, pate, etc.) you purposefully overwork the meat, I suppose, just by the process. First of all, grinding the meat. Second, one almost always either mixes it in a standing mixer or food processor, which will release the myosin protein from the muscles. This is, in essence, meat glue which binds the proteins together and creates a nice texture. I think it would be hard to "overwork" meat in a pate.

Now, for a meatball, or a hamburger, etc, which is still essentially the same thing (different protein, different % of fat, but still similar) I have difficulty seeing how you could overwork a patty. Perhaps it is a combination of releasing myosin and then cooking it to a temp which will cause the proteins to seize up (i.e. a stewed meatball or a grilled burger) vs. a pate or terrine which is assumed to be cooked at a lower, slower, gentler temperature.

Again, the slamming of the meat is, IIRC, an effort to release any air bubbles that may be trapped in the mold. That may be Richard's thought process behind slamming the patties on the hotel pan. I'm not 100%, but it would be my guess.

Overmixing allows the protein strands to tangle which will then constrict when cooked and causes a denser and drier product. Imagine a bunch of strings in a bowl, the more you play around with it, the more the strings will get tangled up with each other.

What you described happens to proteins anyways...they constrict, release water, and coagulate.

I suppose I can see that argument for a burger or a meatball, though I would argue that a dry meatball or burger is more from overcooking than overmixing any meat. I have trouble buying that argument.

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As I see from a food perspective, "tailgating" has nothing more to do with sports (and whether you like them/have played them/have watched them) than any other BBQ. You are cooking outside for people who need convenient food that travels well. FFS, it isn't even that different from the "High Rollers Challenge" (or Poker Players or whatever that was).

Easy to eat, non-fussy food. Preferably no forks. Nothing soggy from steaming. It has been the same challenge, over and over again. Boring, and they don't get it.

Nikki is a cook (and not a very good one :unsure: ) , not a Chef.

Mark, a rugby playing Hobbit. Funny visual. :wink:

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Not to pick nits, but the hat in question is, I believe, a backwards English driving cap which made sense on "Snacks on a Plane" if Tom is playing Samuel L Jackson. Tiger Woods looks cool wearing one.

I would NOT wear one to a Bears game for fear of being beat on. And you would deserve it. I fell asleep before its appearence and have not seen a repeat or I would have booed the TV.

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