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Top Chef Season 4


KristiB50
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Oh, and how can I forget last night's great product placement, when Richard and Dale won $2500 worth of Calphalon. I laughed out loud when Johnny Iuzzini was posing with two large Calphalon boxes as if they appeared from thin air.

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Oh, and how can I forget last night's great product placement, when Richard and Dale won $2500 worth of Calphalon.  I laughed out loud when Johnny Iuzzini was posing with two large Calphalon boxes as if they appeared from thin air.

don't forget the well placed bottle of Michelob in from of every diner at elimination challenge meal.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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I guess as with all TC seasons that I've seen, as the cast gets winnowed down the differing personalities start emerging and I get more attached to everyone. Mark is a goofball and I worry about him next week, but I like him and want to see him stick around until it's time to get "serious", like with CJ and the laidback guy from Season 2. Even Andrew and Spike's antics are growing on me.

I was worried about Steph for a bit last night, but it was pretty telling that the worst parts of their plate were not her doing. I'm ambivalent about who they sent home since at the end, none of the other three should make it to the top 4 or 5.

The elimination challenge was a pretty good idea and actually the dishes they had to make weren't nearly as bad as they could have been.

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And if I hear "I'm doing this for Zoi" once more I'm going to hit someone. 

Ditto.....and again I say ditto. Although I'm sure it could make one heck of a drinking game, all I can think about every damn time she starts in is that scene from the Outsiders when Matt Dillon/Dallas Winston is going on about the big rumble..."Let's do it for Johnny, man! We'll do it for Johnny!". Damn those Top Chef editors.......actually, I wonder how many "gotta do it for Zoi's" they left out?

I did enjoy the elimination challenge quite a bit. A little goofy, but they had the chance to do some actual cooking.

Jerry

Kansas City, Mo.

Unsaved Loved Ones

My eG Food Blog- 2011

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I also noticed the copious Michelob product placement. I was also amused at how much Antonia and what's her name slammed cooking with "****ing beer. " Maybe if Michelob wasn't everywhere they'd change their minds.

Then again, maybe not. There's plenty of good, even great beer in this country. It doesn't seem like most of the chefs, if any, know too much about beer though. I can't really blame them... beer hasn't quite attained the level of respect in the food world that it deserves yet. They have enough to worry about without learning an entirely new ingredient that can actually be quite difficult to cook with.

That said... if they had any respect for craft beer, or an appreciation of the flavors in good beer, they could have easily been quite comfortable cooking a sausage in beer. It's no different than braising with wine or any other number of alcohol related cooking activities. I can't remember who said it, but whoever said that they looked at their challenge as a "burden" rather than an opportunity was dead on. They looked at polish sausage as a burden because it was "below them", they looked at "drunken" as a burden because I don't know why, but a bunch of misplaced beer hate came up... In short, they should get over themselves.

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Oh, and how can I forget last night's great product placement, when Richard and Dale won $2500 worth of Calphalon.  I laughed out loud when Johnny Iuzzini was posing with two large Calphalon boxes as if they appeared from thin air.

don't forget the well placed bottle of Michelob in from of every diner at elimination challenge meal.

Did you notice Mark had to turn his bottle around in the stew room as he was drinking Guiness?

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That said... if they had any respect for craft beer, or an appreciation of the flavors in good beer, they could have easily been quite comfortable cooking a sausage in beer.  It's no different than braising with wine or any other number of alcohol related cooking activities.  I can't remember who said it, but whoever said that they looked at their challenge as a "burden" rather than an opportunity was dead on. 

Actually, they could braise polish sausage in white wine. If they didn't like the beer angle, why not? Why didn't they take the ingredient and elevate it? That would have earned some points. Now I'm inspired to try this at home :rolleyes:

It came down to which dish the judges thought tasted the best, and that won over who followed the rules. I was sweating for Stephanie, and I'm glad it wasn't her that went. She seems to suffer in the team challenges, and shines when she's on her own. She wasn't comfortable with that bread going out like that. She let Jennifer drive when she shouldn't have.

And Nikki survives yet another week. Only because she was paired with Mark.

Edited by malarkey (log)

Born Free, Now Expensive

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Actually, they could braise polish sausage in white wine. If they didn't like the beer angle, why not? Why didn't they take the ingredient and elevate it? That would have earned some points. Now I'm inspired to try this at home  :rolleyes:

It came down to which dish the judges thought tasted the best, and that won over who followed the rules. I was sweating for Stephanie, and I'm glad it wasn't her that went. She seems to suffer in the team challenges, and shines when she's on her own. She wasn't comfortable with that bread going out like that. She let Jennifer drive when she shouldn't have.

And Nikki survives yet another week. Only because she was paired with Mark.

Agree totally!

I hear this guy does some pretty interesting things with hotdogs. Which are at least as pedestrian as Polish sausage.

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Regarding "overworking" the meat: There's a terrific eGullet foodblog from Anna N in 2004 where she describes making a particular sort of Danish meatballs that involve lots of beating of the mixture, which does contain breadcrumbs and loads of cream. Link to the thread, with the recipe Here. I was motivated by her description and the recipe enough to make a batch of the meatballs myself, though I must admit I used a Kitchenaid for some of the extensive beating, because I'm kind of lazy. The meatballs were delicious, and the texture was similar to a pate.

I spoke to Chef Blais recently and mentioned the discussion on this thread of his technique, and he seemed really surprised that people would fixate on such a short clip - really just a few seconds show him throwing a meat patty against the pan - and go on to dissect exactly what he was doing. He indicated that he has been reading the discussions here and elsewhere, but I'm pretty sure he's not responding in order to keep in line with his contractual obligations.

Well, that and I'm sure he's pretty busy with the new restaurant opening this week, of course.

This is my first season watching Top Chef, but I've really been enjoying it, and this thread has added to my enjoyment, because some of the people here notice things that I don't notice while viewing the show. It's been fun rooting for Richard, and very gratifying to see that his talents are appreciated on a national stage.

I can't wait to see who gets kicked off tonight.  :wink:

I asked the question about the technique but I hardly think I'm fixated on it. I just saw a technique I hadn't seen before and was curious about it. That's something I like about Top Chef. Once half of the competitors get weeded out, you do get to see some interesting cooking. I wish they showed more of that and less of contestants in various stage of undress.

I think I've derailed this thread long enough but thanks for all the interesting responses.

My blog: Rah Cha Chow

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What the bleep?

That sums up my feelings about judges table this week. I just watched this week's episode on Tivo, and was very suprised at the decision that was reached.

I think Stephanie and Jen's dish was a bit of a trainwreck, I admit. However, Antonia and Lisa didn't even meet the criteria of the challenge.

To dismiss Polish sausage out of hand like that-to not even TRY-shows a real lack of imagination and desire to rise to any occasion.

Why is kielbasa deemed "bar food"?. Sausage making is an art. Just because it isn't boudin noir or boudin blanc doesn't mean it's in another food group. It's sausage! And, it's packed with flavor!!

Lisa going on, and on, and ON about her pityful station in life because she has to cook a dish that "drunk people" shouted out. And her n=1 experience with kielbasa. And woe is me....stop already! My ears are bleeding!

A sure sign of insecurity and lack of true talent is blaming, excuse making, and cheating.

You call it improvising. I call it cheating. The BS flag is thrown.

PS..Lisa, they say "when in Rome, do as the Romans do". Well, when in Chicago, a town full of Polish, don't look down your wrinkled nose at their food.

Let me start a list of dishes that came to me within minutes of thinking about it:

Beer braised mussels with smoked kielbasa

Choucroute

Cassoulet

Anyone else?

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Okay, so last week we had a sausage incident, and the first question was "Did you make the sausage?" (Actually, the first question I think was what kind of sausage was it, but that wasn't nearly as important as the second one turned out to be.) Nikki, constantly about a foot under the breathable part of the deep end of the swimming pool, got dinged because, among other reasons, she bought the sausage instead of making it from scratch.

Was there any discussion of the provenance of the chorizo used in the polish sausage dish? Chorizo is a sort of cured sausage, isn't it, as opposed to a sort of forcemeat sausage? In other words, they probably couldn't have whipped it together in time for the challenge, could they? So they probably bought it.

A polish sausage, I'm thinking, could have been put together from fresh. But I have no hard clue as to what goes into a polish sausage, so maybe not.

What am I trying to say? I don't really know. It seems to me we have two weeks of store bought sausages here, though, and last week it was a real boner.

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Beer braised mussels with smoked kielbasa

Choucroute

Cassoulet

Anyone else?

Killing all birds at once, how about a choucroute-like dish using red cabbage braised in beer or wine of choice in place of sauerkraut? You've got yer polish sausage, yer magenta, and yer drunken all wrapped up. Toss in some slab bacon and you've got the winning dish. (Anyone got stats on how many of the winning dishes have featured bacon this season?)

Christopher

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Lisa is a little cry baby with a bitchy attitude. I added "I'm doing it for Zoi" to my product placement drinking game. I was drunk 20 minutes in. Not sure I understand why Jennifer was sent home. Maybe it was because she said "encapture." Nikki gets reamed out for not making fresh sausage last week, but Lisa and Antonia use store bought chorizo when the rules said kielbasa. The kielbasa snobs should have gone home for not playing the game. At least Jennifer and Stephanie tried. Maybe it all comes down to which dish tasted better.

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I spoke to Chef Blais recently......

if you're reading this Richard....what's with the hair? Didn't we have a guy last year with the same do? Is there some kind of rule they gotta have a guy with hair on that show?

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Antonia was the first to bolt from the beer braised Polish sausage. You're in Chicago a huge polish community and one the has loved sausage since it was incorporated. This is the second time she has lead a rube away from the original concept and not go home.

The refusal to even rif on challenge deserved them going home. I know it seem pedestrian but polish sausage braised with red cabbage and apples with some brown sugar, a shot or two of Red wine vinegar and apple juice add a dob of butter pinch of caraway seed S&P served with crusty bread would have been a snap to cook but would bring a lot of flavor to the plate.

Mark looks like he is in trouble on the preview he was whining about Tom not liking him, which spells trouble.

When I saw Mark and Nikki together I fully expected them to tank in a big way. While Nikki does nothing for me and should go next week there is something wrong about sending Stephanie home this early.

**************************************************

Ah, it's been way too long since I did a butt. - Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

--------------------

One summers evening drunk to hell, I sat there nearly lifeless…Warren

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Okay, so last week we had a sausage incident, and the first question was "Did you make the sausage?"

Exactly. I didn't think their decision NOT to use Polish sausage was a bad one. First, they can only shop at one place, so they're at the mercy of whatever kind of PS Whole Foods has. What if they only have one kind? What if it sucks? Does the average chef even know what goes into a PS if they did want to make it, and does Whole Foods have what they'd need (like casings?). I could easily imagine them doing store-bought PS then being told, well, this was an improv challenge, why didn't you improv?

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Polish sausage (aka kielbasa) is usually cold smoked. I guess they could have made fresh kielbasa, but I don't think they would have had enough time (plus they had no electrical equipment).

Epicurious has a few good recipes that would have fit the bill.

I think one person on that team should have gone home due to the lack of a main ingredient.

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Okay, so last week we had a sausage incident, and the first question was "Did you make the sausage?"

Exactly. I didn't think their decision NOT to use Polish sausage was a bad one. First, they can only shop at one place, so they're at the mercy of whatever kind of PS Whole Foods has. What if they only have one kind? What if it sucks? Does the average chef even know what goes into a PS if they did want to make it, and does Whole Foods have what they'd need (like casings?). I could easily imagine them doing store-bought PS then being told, well, this was an improv challenge, why didn't you improv?

Just a guess-but I imagine WF in Chitown has polish sausage. They didn't even look, or try any, from what we got t see.

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As I have what the contestants don't have, access to the internet and recipes, it seems that both chorizo and polish sausage can be made and served fresh. If I was making italian sausage, I'd shoot from the hip with pork, fennel seeds, and sweet/mild/hot spice. But with a chorizo or a kielbasa, I'd know what they should look like but without references I wouldn't have any idea how to make them taste right.

As for casings, I would expect that the fresh sausages in one of these high end groceries are made in house, so perhaps you could score some from the butcher. Also, it remains a mystery to me what sort of things are provided to them in the pantry or what they can request, so that may also have been an option. And of course, if casings aren't available, the sausage could still be made and served loose or as a patty or shaped in some way.

Anyway, it seems wrong that Nikki got a rasher of shit for her sausage choice and these chefs didn't, and that it didn't occur to them after the previous challenge that it could be an issue.

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if you're reading this Richard....what's with the hair? Didn't we have a guy last year with the same do? Is there some kind of rule they gotta have a guy with hair on that show?

Check the article that I posted previously -- he comments on it.

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I finally got to watch the rerun last night after work.

As much as I dislike Jen, she should have stayed. And their dish did look awful. And the pantomime hardon from a lesbian (?) was stupid. What was that orange thing?

But, Lisa should have gone. Their team did not "improvise", they phoned it in.

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, Lisa should have gone.  Their team did not "improvise", they phoned it in.

I still think Antonia should have gone. She was the one that shot down using real Polish sausage right off the bat, and then kept on persuading herself and Lisa that they really were "improvising". They totally blew off the rules off the challenge. Why is it that Antonia always gets away with imposing her concepts on her team mates (or squashing others'), getting them all brought up to the block because of it, but yet she keeps escaping elimination? No matter how bad the asparagus tasted or how cheese-dominant it was, at least Steph and Jen followed both the rules AND the spirit of the challenge, and really tried to "sell" their dish. Lisa and Antonia basically defied the rules, made no explanation for their decision or even tried to justify it as "improv" - and they rather arrogantly downed shots of tequila without even offering them to their guests/judges. Bad move. You'd think they'd get the hint a pour a few even after one of the comics said, "What? None for us?" (Tequila was a component of their Chilen sea bass/chorizo (but not kielbasa) dish). Antonis needs a smack upside the head, I think.
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And if I hear "I'm doing this for Zoi" once more I'm going to hit someone. 

Ditto.....and again I say ditto. Although I'm sure it could make one heck of a drinking game, all I can think about every damn time she starts in is that scene from the Outsiders when Matt Dillon/Dallas Winston is going on about the big rumble..."Let's do it for Johnny, man! We'll do it for Johnny!". Damn those Top Chef editors.......actually, I wonder how many "gotta do it for Zoi's" they left out?

I did enjoy the elimination challenge quite a bit. A little goofy, but they had the chance to do some actual cooking.

Triple Ditto...in the beginning of this episode I was like 'well how would zoi like it if they kick your butt to the curb next!!!'...and they did.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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, Lisa should have gone.  Their team did not "improvise", they phoned it in.

I still think Antonia should have gone. She was the one that shot down using real Polish sausage right off the bat, and then kept on persuading herself and Lisa that they really were "improvising". They totally blew off the rules off the challenge. Why is it that Antonia always gets away with imposing her concepts on her team mates (or squashing others'), getting them all brought up to the block because of it, but yet she keeps escaping elimination? No matter how bad the asparagus tasted or how cheese-dominant it was, at least Steph and Jen followed both the rules AND the spirit of the challenge, and really tried to "sell" their dish. Lisa and Antonia basically defied the rules, made no explanation for their decision or even tried to justify it as "improv" - and they rather arrogantly downed shots of tequila without even offering them to their guests/judges. Bad move. You'd think they'd get the hint a pour a few even after one of the comics said, "What? None for us?" (Tequila was a component of their Chilen sea bass/chorizo (but not kielbasa) dish). Antonis needs a smack upside the head, I think.

You are probably right, but I dislike Lisa more than Antonia. When they downed the shots with that flippant nope remark I told my wife one of them was going home. So I was shocked and can only surmise that the other teams food really stank.

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