Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Top Chef Season 4


KristiB50
 Share

Recommended Posts

Has this been spoken about?  I am not an avid watcher but, two episodes ago The Second City Show, they flashed a disclaimer.. Producers and judges pick the person to go home.. And that it might not depend on the contest.. That really turned me off to the competitive side of the show..

They've had that disclaimer since the beginning, though I don't think the producers play a large role in the elimination decisions. I doubt Tom would stay around if every decision was undermined by a corporate exec.

In another blurb from the same source, Tom says, "...I think we choose the best contestant every year, and there is no pressure from the producers or anyone else to pick a certain someone despite what everybody believes. The day they tell us we have to pick someone for any reason other than our judgement (sic) is the day I do my last show."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with those of you who have questioned the authenticity of this week’s Elimination Challenge. I find it incredibly difficult to believe that after watching the “Common Threads” episode, that Bravo is being genuine with the viewers when they lead us to believe that the Chefs were limited to a budget of ten dollars to create a “delicious and nutritious,” kid-friendly meal for four.

I’m not going to be able to definatively back up my argument that Bravo tried to hoodwink us this week because I can’t produce a grocery store receipt as my evidence. But here’s a thought-take a look at the recipe posted for one of top three dishes-Andrew’s “Chicken Paillard with Basil and Parmesan with a Fennel, Orange and Apple Salad.”

Here’s the grocery list:

Salt and Pepper

Panko Bread Crumbs

Basil

Thyme

Parmesan Cheese

Chicken Thighs

Flour

Eggs

Onion

Garlic

Dijon Mustard

Chicken Stock

Lemon

Butter

Olive Oil

Fennel

Oranges

Apples

Cilantro

White Wine Vinegar

Honey

Now take a few moments…and think if you could buy these ingredients for ten George Washington Greenbacks. Even if the Top Chef pantry gave you access to use their kitchen staples like flour, eggs, salt, pepper and chicken stock-could you buy all the other stuff you needed for dinner and still get out of the store having spent just ten dollars? Doubtful.

I do applaud Andrew for giving me a good laugh when he complained that he couldn’t do a “Lobster Terrine” with such a paltry budget. Regardless of your level of income, do your kids like Lobster Terrine?

Now consider the Apple, Maple Syrup and Granola dessert that Stephanie presented. A small bottle of Grade A, Dark Amber, pure Vermont Maple Syrup would probably run you in the area of $4.50 or so. (The imitation syrup is maybe a buck less). That’s nearly half entire ten dollar budget for just a swizzle of syrup on apples. That would leave around $5.50 or so to buy all the ingredients that went into Stephanie’s “Braised Chicken and Veggie Couscous with Chive Yogurt.”

On second thought, maybe Stephanie would have been better served if she had stuck with the Maple Syrup theme for an entrée. (Don’t look at the photo of her messy chicken stew on “Rate the Plate,” you might get sick).

Like I said weeks ago, one of the biggest faults I find with Top Chef is a lack of attention to detail. Whether it’s on the show or on the Top Chef site, the viewer deserves to be given the specific parameters of a challenge, the budget, the time limitations and the exceptions to the rules-every episode. We should expect no less from a show that sees itself as worthy of an Emmy Award.

There’s not much to say about Lisa’s dish that placed in the bottom three. But there is something to say about her snorty attitude that was again on display at the judges table. Take a look at your DVD of the show and the shot of Lisa standing, arms-crossed in defensive posture, in front of the judges. The perception that is projected is one of a cook who doesn’t care to accept constructive criticism and emits an odor of “me versus the world.”

Lisa is teetering on the edge of elimination and it can’t come to soon for my tastes.

Mark couldn’t stand the onslaught of criticism for his mucky “Roasted Vegetables in Red Curry with Cucumber Salad and Garlic Naan” and that’s pretty much the simple answer as to why he was eliminated.

We can debate the intricate flavors of curry until the chickens come home to roost, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that once again, and for the last time, Mark didn’t read his audience as well as he should have and the result was a dish that wasn’t popular and wasn’t cooked very well.

I suppose Antonia deserved the win for meeting the challenge with her “Stir-Fry Whole Wheat Noodles with Bok Choy, Chicken, Edamame and Cilantro.” Kids go for noodles and chicken. Antonia crafted an economical, quick dish that would be perfect for a weeknight meal for the family.

The “Elements” and “Film Food” episodes have demonstrated that Bravo has the gumption to present the Chefs with challenges that test their creativity and culinary skills. That’s what we absolutely should expect to see from a “Top Chef” in a “Top” kitchen. But for the sake of Chanterelles, lets really, really challenge these cooks to be Top Chefs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now I expect all of my friends who post here to give me a thorough report on tonight's episode--something to do with catering a wedding?

I'm in Las Vegas this week for the Bon Appetit "Vegas Uncork'd" special events.

I'll be dining at L'Atelier at the MGM tonight so I'll be out when the show airs. Have fun tonight with your Top Chef drinking games.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now I expect all of my friends who post here to give me a thorough report on tonight's episode--something to do with catering a wedding?

I'm in Las Vegas this week for the Bon Appetit "Vegas Uncork'd" special events. 

I'll be dining at L'Atelier at the MGM tonight so I'll be out when the show airs.  Have fun tonight with your Top Chef drinking games.

Lucky duck!!!!

There will be no reruns for you! :raz:

I liked the episode! I got tired watching them work through the night.

I love the relay challenge!!!

When Andrew said he wanted to do Chicken Nuggets I yelled, "noooooooo!" Crispy food bad for banquet!!!

Antonia agreed with me!

Dales bruschetta did not look good. I was really disappointed with his attitude throughout the challenge. Dang what a douche! I honestly wanted him to go home regardless of past challenge wins. When things don't go his way everybody suffers.

That was awesome of Richard to give Stephanie his win. He's such a great sport! good Karma heading Richard's way!

Lisa had her bitch face on and with the bandanna she looked harsh!! Lucky for her she made a good cake.

Nicky was horrible and as an Italian chef she should have owned that challenge.

She only had one hit that I recall-at the kids challenge so it was time for her to go.

Looks like someone pulls a "Tiffani" on Lisa next week.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This was the first episode for me this season that really had the Top Chef "vibe" and tension to it. It also ran a bit over an hour here--supersize!

The elimination could have gone one of three ways and I can't say I disagree, but the other two will be on thin ice after this.

Liked the relay, but maybe not as much as last season's. Nikki's whisking looked so awkward that my arm hurt watching.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Praise Jesus! Nikki is gone!

Pretty good episode, and I laughed when I heard about yet another catering challenge. It appears Richard is the Top Chef and Top Caterer rolled into one.

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Best line of the evening - "We aren't going to let Andrew talk to the guests". Yeah, you think????

Second best line of the evening - "Dale threw a tantrum and then he had his diaper changed."

Best vibe of the evening - Richard & Stephanie splitting the prize. Both class acts, and yay Stephanie for pulling off a nice-looking wedding cake ! And even more, yay Stephanie for pulling it together. Nice mayo, too.

Biggest sour-puss frowny-face of the evening - A toss-up between Lisa and Dale.

The right person went home. Nikki should've taken this one by the horns and run with it, and instead she let Dale run amok. A very very good episode.

Next to leave......my $$$'s on Spike. He's been cruising in the mid-range, never really doing much of anything, but not really screwing up either. He's going to be outed for his shortcomings very soon.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seems like they got rid of Immunity after Quickfire earlier this year, no? Or is it always at midpoint?

No Restaurant Wars this year? Awww man.

Richard is such a class act all around. And glad that Steph stepped back into form. But I was worried when they interviewed her and she had her hair "different"--usually a sign they're the ones eliminated in the challenge.

Dale was being a lil' bastard all episdoe, but he was for the most part right in his observations. I wouldn't have wanted to be on that team. "Why are you still here?" Was line of the night for me.

Niki running away from her leadership role at Judge's Table was a jaw-dropping moment of audacity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You know, I thought it was pretty awful on Nikki's part, too, but I watched it again when it re-ran again right away, and there are at least three or four times where she makes a point of refusing to make decisions for the others on her team. It's all in the editing, you know...the school marm shot with the glasses certainly implies she took over, she looks authoritative, but she's my age...she's probably squinting at her grocery store list.

Anyway, I'm not disagreeing with the decision, but I think she maybe didn't deserve as much of a bum rap for that challenge as she got.

And lest you all think I am a total Top Chef addict, let me just say my sickie kid was on my chest and I couldn't reach the remote. :wacko:

Edited by pax (log)
“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Certainly Team Groom suffered from a lack of leadership, and SOME one should have stepped up when it became clear that Niki was running from that duty. Spike actually made a pretty astute observation, though that even removing Niki's expertise from the situation, she was the best fit to lead since Lisa and Dale never would've let the other lead and he seemed to put himself in that lot as well.

I think the judges were right to point out that in that situation Niki was probably the best suited one to do it, however. She leant none of her supposed expertise to the team and showed poor judgment in what was offered, and apparently her ravioli sucked to boot.

So, they surprise them with a restaurant wars after all later on? Kinda lame. I always hate when they pull a fast one on them like that.

One good thing about this season is that there have been no season retrosespective eps so far. It seems like in season three they couldn't go more than three eps without one of those.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Although I was not thrilled to see yet another catering theme, over all it was a good show and lots of actual cooking footage just to illustrate the all nighter they did for this one. I completely agree with why Nikki went home and really you can only be mediocre for so long once the numbers thin out. Richard Blais is a class act, I WANT him to win at this point. Actually I think I want to know him, maybe intern in his kitchen or wash the dishes (like my wife would let me take that kind of paycut) or do anything at all just because I am convinced I would would learn at all levels in that environment. I think Blais is my new chef idol and more so because really he is so far portayed as a really great person and I do not think that can be edited out.

Edited by RAHiggins1 (log)
Veni Vidi Vino - I came, I saw, I drank.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been thinking Dale and Richard to the very end, but Christ, is Dale getting whiny - and screwing up. He needs to put on his big boy pants and be a team player until there is no team left. Now I'm rooting for Richard 1000% - a really class act, and nice guy, as well as talented chef. I agree that Spike will probably be next - he's been hanging behind the other chefs. Did I actually see Lisa smile last night? Oh, yeah - when she said, "Dale threw a tantrum and then needed to have his diaper changed." (!!) Well, at least she showed a glimmer of humor, finally.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At last! Nicki who gives Italain cooking a bad name is GONE! She kept saying since the groom wanted Italian she knew the most and therefore took the lead. But then she didn't lead and copped out at the judge's table.

I also couldn't help notice Lisa body language. That's one angry young woman.

That hair, the piercings, that scowl.

But her comment about her cake was interseting. She was proud of it because "It looked pretty." Tom thought, rightfully so, that it looked like a battleship.

so if that's pretty to her that explains her fashion statements.

I like Richard more and more and am glad Steph got a prize this time.

I think the bride team might just end up being the final four.

Wow! and Spike without a hat!

His comment to Dale though was right - If you're going to bitch about someone just do it instead of whining.

That punching the locker thing was lame.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I enjoyed this week's episode immensely. The quickfire was fun and the dueling wedding thing finally gave some real camera time to actual cooking.

I'm dissapointed that Dale pretty much went into passive (and not so passive) agressive mode when he found himself on a team he did not like. Really in the real world unless working completely solo most of us have to learn how to play well with others if we are to have any hope of success.

Nicki really should have stepped up and shown some leadership on this challenge although the state of her tortelleni suggests that she might have gone down anyway.

Blais - so far a class act all the way.

I'm still unhappy about the $10 "complete family meal*" @ whole foods thing. I'm tempted to drive over there after work and see if I can come up with a "complete" meal for just my wife and myself but doubt it is even doable for $10

for two people let alone 4. That would be a whole other thread though.

*Complete in my mind includes protein, starch, veg and dessert.

Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm still unhappy about the $10 "complete family meal*" @ whole foods thing. I'm tempted to drive over there after work and see if I can come up with a "complete" meal for just my wife and myself but doubt it is even doable for $10

for two people let alone 4. That would be a whole other thread though.

*Complete in my mind includes protein, starch, veg and dessert.

I was still thinking about that too. Pasta, canned tomatoes (for a homemade sauce) and some ground beef for meatballs? Baked apples for dessert.

Not very creative nd it wouldn't win the challenge but it might come under $10 if you buy the store brand.

Edited by KristiB50 (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

And thus another episode of Top Caterer... I am getting tired of these, and it looks like the next one will be similar. WTF?

In any case, Nikki's gone, which was the right choice IMHO. She was involved in making an Italian dinner, her specialty, yet never really took responsability for it or stepped up to lead the team. While Dale was all over the place, she had a chance to really shine doing something she does all the time and instead dropped the ball. Bye bye Nikki.

Still, I liked this episode despite my bitching about another catering event. The cooking scenes were awesome, and my lines of the night would be "culinary boner" and "We aren't going to let Andrew talk to the guests". LOL!

Cheers! :cool:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with those of you who have questioned the authenticity of this week’s Elimination Challenge.  I find it incredibly difficult to believe that after watching the “Common Threads” episode, that Bravo is being genuine with the viewers when they lead us to believe that the Chefs were limited to a budget of ten dollars to create a “delicious and nutritious,” kid-friendly meal for four. 

I watched that episode again and it annoyed me even more the second time. Sorry, but there is NO WAY it is possible to make any of those dinners using only $10, especially at Whole Foods a/k/a Whole Paycheck.

Here's a blogger who tried to make Nikki's dish and spent nearly $25 at Whole Foods to do so: Karmic Chef.

Interesting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with those of you who have questioned the authenticity of this week’s Elimination Challenge.  I find it incredibly difficult to believe that after watching the “Common Threads” episode, that Bravo is being genuine with the viewers when they lead us to believe that the Chefs were limited to a budget of ten dollars to create a “delicious and nutritious,” kid-friendly meal for four. 

I watched that episode again and it annoyed me even more the second time. Sorry, but there is NO WAY it is possible to make any of those dinners using only $10, especially at Whole Foods a/k/a Whole Paycheck.

Here's a blogger who tried to make Nikki's dish and spent nearly $25 at Whole Foods to do so: Karmic Chef.

Interesting.

The thing I don't know, and which could have made a big difference, is how many ingredients they were allowed to use from the Top Chef pantry. I know from last night's challenge that there was brown sugar back there, so if they could use things like butter, oil, flour, sugar, spices, vinegar, etc., from the pantry, it might have been feasible. But I read somewhere that one whole chicken at WF is about $8.00. Doesn't leave much for the rest of the meal, does it? I know I could do it from a regular supermarket, where a whole chicken is closer to $5.00.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The thing I don't know, and which could have made a big difference, is how many ingredients they were allowed to use from the Top Chef pantry. I know from last night's challenge that there was brown sugar back there, so if they could use things like butter, oil, flour, sugar, spices, vinegar, etc., from the pantry, it might have been feasible. But I read somewhere that one whole chicken at WF is about $8.00. Doesn't leave much for the rest of the meal, does it? I know I could do it from a regular supermarket, where a whole chicken is closer to $5.00.

I know that it's TV and everything, but the $10 limit was highly dramatized when the challenge was described ("You have to make a healthy, kid-friendly dinner for a family of four AND YOU CAN ONLY SPEND $10!!!!") I didn't see anything during the show that suggested that it was $10 plus whatever they could find in the pantry. Obviously, they must have found and used pantry items but that fact was not disclosed to viewers. I guess that's my gripe. That it was misleading to viewers as to the cost of shopping at Whole Foods. (Come to think of it, maybe that was the whole point of the challenge, so that people watching at home would say, "Gee honey, I didn't know Whole Foods was so reasonable! We'll have to start shopping there!")

As long as I'm griping, I've also got to say that I'm about to throw out every "Glad" brand item in my house because the overdone product placement in the show is so incredibly annoying! :angry:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

<thread jack>

Even my husband the cultural black hole said, "You can't buy anything at Whole Foods for $10."

Maybe maybe I can see the whole wheat pasta, some sparsely spread chicken, and whatever veg was on sale....yeah. But add in one hunk of good parmesan and you've tipped the scale. Literally.

Whole Foods is my organics of last resort. I do the Giant/Martin organic house brands before I throw money at Whole Foods, if I can't get it from the local farmer's market/CSA. I seriously hope you're reading this, you Whole Foods people. I am an upper middle class home maker who loves to cook and going into your store doesn't make me feel virtuous about feeding my family good food, it makes me wonder whether or not I need my head examined. I think I have re-sourced almost everything I used to get there. It was all I could do not to run out of there weeping about false virtue when there are children living in poverty in this country.

Sorry for the thread 'jack. </off>

I wondered if Richard actually tasted the cake before he said that very gentlemanly thing he said about it. I wonder if he meant he liked the taste, or whether it meant hey, it was impressive and it served it's purpose. I am so impressed with his demeanor. It's obvious it's coming down to him vs Dale and I think Richard's professionalism is really a pleasure. I have not heard one negative word pass out of that man's mouth. Good on ya, man.

Edited by pax (log)
“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Still, I liked this episode despite my bitching about another catering event.  The cooking scenes were awesome, and my lines of the night would be "culinary boner" and "We aren't going to let Andrew talk to the guests".  LOL!

Cheers!  :cool:

Perfect example why they wouldn't let Andrew talk to the guests. :biggrin:

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

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think Richard continues to uphold the high standards that Top Chefs should be...I was a little "meh" about him in the beginning because I thought he would turn out to be full of himself, etc, but the opposite is true. He impresses me with his humbleness and willingness to meet every challenge head on to the best of his ability (which is high). I also can't say enough about how he doesn't complain and whine about things (like tofu, etc). I'm rooting for him all the way.

I'm not sold on the challenges though...would have much preferred to see a restaurant wars style episode than a catering episode. I do loathe catering in my pro. life though, so maybe I am just biased.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I finally saw the rerun last night and it was a very good episode.

The groom's team was just horrible. None of them wanted to step up due to their petty differences. I know it was edited, but it did seem that Dale carried the team load and I don't blame him for grousing. But, bending the locker? Dude.

They all got picked apart for their contributions at the judge's table except Lisa (of all people). And what exactly did Spike do? Not much is what I heard.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...