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Top Chef Season 5


Reignking
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I liked Tom's snappy comeback to Carla on her "sending out love" argument, something to the effect of "just send out good food, keep the love in the kitchen ."

Well, if anyone knows about "love" in the kitchen, it is probably Tom.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Whole Foods Sustainable Chilean Sea Bass:

AUSTIN, Texas (September 25, 2006). Whole Foods Market and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) are pleased to announce that the supermarket is the first retailer to offer Patagonian toothfish, commonly known as Chilean sea bass, from an Antarctic fishery that has been certified to the MSC’s environmental standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries.

This point has come up on Top Chef before. Of course it's still not local...

Edited by rickster (log)
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Whole Foods Sustainable Chilean Sea Bass:

AUSTIN, Texas (September 25, 2006). Whole Foods Market and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) are pleased to announce that the supermarket is the first retailer to offer Patagonian toothfish, commonly known as Chilean sea bass, from an Antarctic fishery that has been certified to the MSC’s environmental standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries.

This point has come up on Top Chef before. Of course it's still not local...

I may be wrong but with the exception of Marcel, the chefs that had a singular mission ie Jamie's "local and sustainable" song and dance, usually don't make it into the finals.

Edited by rconnelly (log)
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Still can't stand Toby. But I'm entertained by the way Tom visibly braces himself whenever Toby begins to speak. Anyone else notice this?

Yes, totally. Also there was a clear body language segment where Tom and the guest chef were hunched together in their criticism and made a pointed look at Toby when they were commenting on the meal. Tom's not liking this non-chef interloper, I think.

I thought this was a thoroughly fascinating episode that perfectly illustrated the growing flaws of this season's talents. Again, with Restaurant Wars you should fight to LOSE Quickfire and not be head chef. You have a 50% chance of going home if you're head chef.

Radhika lost for me right out of the gate avoiding Stephan(sp?) that way. Soooo perfect that he was the deciding factor then. Though Radhika is the better cook between her and Carla it was just staggering that you chose someone with no wins under her belt over the dominant contestant of the season.

Almost every reason why Sahana came out on bottom can be traced to Radhika's failure of leadership, including even Carla's poor showing. Carla's going to have plenty of chances to go home yet, but Radhika was the clear loser of the night to me.

Final three I'd like are Jamie, Stefan, and Jef with Hosea subbing in for either Jamie or Jeff. Fabio was fantastic in this ep, loved the monkey's ass line, but he's this season's Michael/CJ/Anthony (or was it Andrew?): funny guy you'd buy a beer but not the top chef by a long shot.

ETA: Jamie really impressed me in this episode. Very professional and a true leader, touching every dish, throwing out unacceptable presentations, bawling out the servers when needed. If Sahana had managed to win, Jamie would have been the clear winner then.

Edited by Kevin72 (log)
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Yes, totally.  Also there was a clear body language segment where Tom and the guest chef were hunched together in their criticism and made a pointed look at Toby when they were commenting on the meal.  Tom's not liking this non-chef interloper, I think.

I missed this! I'm going to have to rewatch for this alone.

ETA: Jamie really impressed me in this episode.  Very professional and a true leader, touching every dish, throwing out unacceptable presentations, bawling out the servers when needed. If Sahana had managed to win, Jamie would have been the clear winner then.

I agree. I found it ironic that she said she didn't want to win the quickfire because she didn't want to run one of the restaurants, and then she ended up running it anyway.

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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Radhika lost for me right out of the gate avoiding Stephan(sp?) that way. Soooo perfect that he was the deciding factor then.  Though Radhika is the better cook between her and Carla it was just staggering that you chose someone with no wins under her belt over the dominant contestant of the season.
It should be noted that nobody wants to work with Stephan. They are all elevating personal qualities over competence. The fact is, Stephan does act like a jerk much of the time, and I can see why others would find him irritating, but he never cooks a bad dish.
Almost every reason why Sahana came out on bottom can be traced to Radhika's failure of leadership, including even Carla's poor showing.  Carla's going to have plenty of chances to go home yet, but Radhika was the clear loser of the night to me.

Carla's stuff was probably going to suck no matter what Radhika did. Carla should have been in the FOH, and Radhika should have been in the kitchen, where her talents could be put to the best use.

That said, I would still have sent Carla home, because she was the worst chef on the losing team.

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It should be noted that nobody wants to work with Stephan. They are all elevating personal qualities over competence. The fact is, Stephan does act like a jerk much of the time, and I can see why others would find him irritating, but he never cooks a bad dish.

I just don't see that he's so egregious that he would get last picked. I can understand going with someone like a Hosea, Jamie, or Jeff on your first round but to pick Carla, who has no elimination wins under her belt except for team challenges, over him is mind-boggling. This was pointed out on another board, but look how he responded to the freezer issue vs. Carla. Carla ran around flailing. Stefan grabbed two bowls with ice to jury-rig something. He saved that team. Pain in the ass, yes, but I don't put him anywhere near Howie, or Spike, or Mr. "It-Must-Be-Her-Time-of-the-month" from earlier this season.

You're right though, most everyone's overreacting to him by putting personal above professional.

Carla's stuff was probably going to suck no matter what Radhika did. Carla should have been in the FOH, and Radhika should have been in the kitchen, where her talents could be put to the best use.

That said, I would still have sent Carla home, because she was the worst chef on the losing team.

All of those, though, reflect poor judgment on Radhika's part. She picked the weakest remaining chef over the strongest chef. She put her in charge of desserts and didn't build in contingencies for almost guaranteed disaster. She made the choice to work FOH instead of run the kitchen or put the more charismatic Jeff out there or less skilled Carla out of the way. Then she dropped the ball on her FOH duties by hiding in the kitchen.

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Radhika lost for me right out of the gate avoiding Stephan(sp?) that way. Soooo perfect that he was the deciding factor then.  Though Radhika is the better cook between her and Carla it was just staggering that you chose someone with no wins under her belt over the dominant contestant of the season.

It should be noted that nobody wants to work with Stephan. They are all elevating personal qualities over competence. The fact is, Stephan does act like a jerk much of the time, and I can see why others would find him irritating, but he never cooks a bad dish.

I can understand the concerns though. We've seen how overbearing he can be in the planning stages, as well as how loud and distracting he can be in the kitchen. No one wanted him on their team because while the team win is obviously important, the success of each individual's dish is of utmost importance to each chef. And with someone so distracting and stressful on their team, I'm sure they were worried that their own performances would suffer as a result. I can understand that thinking. It turned out to be a mistake.

Carla's stuff was probably going to suck no matter what Radhika did. Carla should have been in the FOH, and Radhika should have been in the kitchen, where her talents could be put to the best use.

That said, I would still have sent Carla home, because she was the worst chef on the losing team.

Radhika let Jeff stay in the kitchen simply because he didn't want to be FOH. But it sounded to me like Carla was the only one there with pastry experience and they were all thrilled to not have that responsibility. No one wanted responsibility for the desserts, but Carla stepped up. And then tripped and fell. I agree she should have been the one to go home. I hate the policy of judging based on the current challenge only. They really should look at overall performance.

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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Carla has been praised for pastry every other time she has made dessert - and without trying to count, it has been a lot. Having her do dessert made sense - how she failed, well, even if the frozen part had worked, it sounded like the flavors did not. Having her on exotic flavors team was not a good match.

It's isn't Top Pastry; she will be going home.

Edited by tsquare (log)
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I think if Radhika had executed one side or the other of her duties somewhat successfully then a better case could have been made to send Carla home. If for example she was a stronger presence in the FOH and not so noticeably absent in that area, yeah she probably still would've been called on the carpet for some kitchen issues but I think Carla probably would have gotten the axe. Or, if instead she actually did something when she went back to the kitchen like salvaged the desserts or adjusted the menu, again it would've more fallen to Carla. As it was, though, she split her duties in competing areas yet botched both.

To me it was an accumulation, a series of bad choices on Radhika's part that, taken from a big picture perspective, sent her home.

Edited by Kevin72 (log)
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Hosea regrets his make-out session with Leah:

When I returned home, I told my girlfriend — one of the sweetest women on earth — what happened. She was willing to forgive me. Our relationship was never the same. We are no longer together. So I have to live with my mistakes and try and grow as a person from it.”
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Hosea regrets his make-out session with Leah:
When I returned home, I told my girlfriend — one of the sweetest women on earth — what happened. She was willing to forgive me. Our relationship was never the same. We are no longer together. So I have to live with my mistakes and try and grow as a person from it.”

I was cringing for both of them when I saw that scene.

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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Carla has been praised for pastry every other time she has made dessert - and without trying to count, it has been a lot. Having her do dessert made sense - how she failed, well, even if the frozen part had worked, it sounded like the flavors did not. Having her on exotic flavors team was not a good match.

In hindsight, she had been really praised for her skill in making a pastry crust. It might have been a mistake to assume that translated into overall dessert skills.

I think if Radhika had executed one side or the other of her duties somewhat successfully then a better case could have been made to send Carla home. If for example she was a stronger presence in the FOH and not so noticeably absent in that area, yeah she probably still would've been called on the carpet for some kitchen issues but I think Carla probably would have gotten the axe. Or, if instead she actually did something when she went back to the kitchen like salvaged the desserts or adjusted the menu, again it would've more fallen to Carla. As it was, though, she split her duties in competing areas yet botched both.

An interesting question is whether a team leader should ever assign themselves to FOH duties. It seems to me that the judges are always going to hold the leader accountable to some extent for the food and that's difficult to supervise from the FOH. On the other hand, I think they would be more inclined to allow the leader to completely delegate the FOH to someone, and give the leader a pass for FOH screwups if they're back supervising the kitchen.

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While I understand "Restaurant Wars" are an important part of "Top Chef", I feel that if any of the contestants were to open a restaurant that they would hire a good FOH person along with the best possible servers. That said, I believe that as chefs they should all be employed in the kitchen and let Bravo furnish the Maitre'd along with the wait staff. Of course, one of them should be in overall charge as "the owner" with clearly defined responsibilities and authority. The fact that Fabio figured so prominently in the decision to give his team the win makes my point. To repeat, this is "TOP CHEF" not "TOP SCHMOOZER".

Edited to add....As for the love interest, GIVE US A BREAK!!!! What a load of codswallop!

Edited by Ted Fairhead (log)
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What dopes! They had no idea that there was a camera there? Seriously, I'm mystified at why they allowed themselves to be in that position. Were they drunk?

Probably.

I don't think they knew the camera was there. It looked to me like the camera was stationed somewhere down a hall and was peeking around a corner and zooming in on them. And yeah, they were probably drunk. I was almost shouting at the tv – "Noooooo! you're going to HATE yourself for this!!"

And yes, another reason for the cringing was that I don't want to see "Real World" type antics on my "Top Chef".

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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I don't think they knew the camera was there.

Surely they know that there is no privacy in that apartment, except maybe in the bathrooms. As for why they did it: I'm not defending them, but they are under a lot of pressure. It's an environment that doesn't always lead to the best judgment calls, whether in the kitchen or out of it.
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I can't believe that there isn't something in the rules about what happened between those two.  Maybe I'm remembering wrong but weren't the lesbian couple instructed to refrain from any inappropriate contact last year?

Well, I'd say it's pretty obvious they have no such rule. The only one I know of is that physical intimidation or unwanted physical contact isn't allowed. Someone was once thrown off the show for violating that rule.
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I can't believe that there isn't something in the rules about what happened between those two.  Maybe I'm remembering wrong but weren't the lesbian couple instructed to refrain from any inappropriate contact last year?

Naw. One of them interviewed at the beginning of the season that they had decided together to limit PDAs and to keep their relationship as much as a non-issue in the competition as possible. Or words to that effect.

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If it's gotten to the point where the most noteworthy moment of an episode is a puppy love interlude between two emotionally-needy cheftestants, Top Chef is really swirling the bowl this season. I think maybe I'll start switching over to "Flavor of Love".

Being a New Yorker (sort of), I also find it a little embarrassing that the arguably worst season of Top Chef is taking place in a city with some of the best food in the world.

Edited by Batard (log)

"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

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The show is Top Chef but the challenge was Restaurant Wars. FOH/schmoozing is part of the restaurant business so it should be part of the judging criteria for the challenge. Radhika blew it. Carla had a bad dessert night. I knew it sucked so I sent it out with a big helping of love ala mode is crap. She stated that she's quite good at pastry but she was doing a lot of pinch-and-dash-not-measuring on that cake that nobody liked. Leah's "I don't care" comment during her pout session over the raw fish would have sent her out the door if she worked for me but she was on the winning team and the judges didn't see it anyway. As for the love-and-drama crap, I'm not home when the show airs so I usually watch a recording and just skip through those parts. I still don't feel the intense hatred and resentment for Toby some here seem to have, I just find him a lot less interesting than the network probably hoped. I think maybe they were picturing their very own on-staff Bourdain. That they didn't get.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Sometimes there's an element of luck in these challenges. Leah didn't even want Stefan on her team, and his desserts saved the day. And Fabio seems to have landed the FOH job on his own initiative, not because Leah had any insight to put him there.

Radhika did a lot of things right. Her concept was much more coherent than Leah's, and she had the good sense to appoint Jamie sous-chef. Putting Carla on desserts wasn't a bad idea, as Carla had shown some talent in that department. By the time she realized the desserts had gone south, they may have been beyond saving. Her big mistake was giving herself the FOH job, yet only doing it half-heartedly.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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