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Top Chef Season 5


Reignking
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You know, I would have argued that this season wasn't that bad until this episode. Between the product placements and the mediocre chefs and the English guy who seemed to have a list of comments prepared beforehand, I got mighty tired mighty fast. That said, Toby had some very good off-the-cuff observations once they were seated at Judges' Table.

Still, this season is turning out to be the weakest both in terms of competitors and most annoying in terms of product placement. I know someone has to pay for the show, but come on!  :angry:

I agree that I think this is the weakest season so far and judge Toby tries far to hard to be like Tony Bourdain, who just has a really quick wit. It doesn't even feel like Toby really thinks about how the food is, just a funny (not so much) comment he can make about it. :hmmm:

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Toby is a natural snark like Tony (a true BritWit) but, you're right - I think he has an agenda to be witty and snarky first, and critique the food second. I enjoy him, though. I really thought poor Fabio was going to get axed last week - and, yes, I thought Scott was a bit condescending. Fabio was just trying to defend his food - I think it was "cheese and acid"? Fabio needs to make it to the very end for entertainment value, if nothing else. He has the BEST soundbites, and you gotta like the guy. Besides, he deserves some redress for having to spend weeks sleeping in the "bunky bed"(!!)

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I'm not sure I understood the "c'mon, cheese and acid... you have an Italian restaurant" thing. Was Fabio saying that's wrong? 'Cause I thought parmesan and balsamic was an Italian thing. Not that I'm an expert on Italian.

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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Cheese and acid ARE a natural combo in Italian cuisine, so I wasn't sure what Fabio was saying. But I didn't really catch why Conant was criticizing, either. Now, cheese and seafood in Italian cuisine, I understand - that's a no-no. Cheese and acid? It's beautiful thing. I thought Fabio was trying merely to defend his dish - and rightly so - and wasn't been arrogant or rude about it . . . just plaintive. But I thought Scott's reply to him was dismissive - AND condescending.

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Carla and Fabio are great entertainment.

You seem to be right about Carla. She will be one among many appearing at Women's Heart Health Fair in Washington DC this Friday, yet she is the only one mentioned by name in today's Washington Post's "To Do" column.

Her appearance is at 8:45 AM.

http://sistertosister.org/fairs/washington...tion=happenings

I wonder if she will be the one to go today or will her luck help her again? :smile:

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Yeah I didn't understand that decision but it sounded like Jamie's dish was pretty much inedible...suck though, as she seems to be the more talented and interesting cook (at least based on what we've seen on the show).

This episode was good. I'm of course a fan of Ripert and enjoy whenever he appears on TC or Bourdain, and I thought this was a great test of their chef skills.

One of the better episodes thus far.

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Yeah I didn't understand that decision but it sounded like Jamie's dish was pretty much inedible...suck though, as she seems to be the more talented and interesting cook (at least based on what we've seen on the show).

This episode was good. I'm of course a fan of Ripert and enjoy whenever he appears on TC or Bourdain, and I thought this was a great test of their chef skills.

One of the better episodes thus far.

I knew Jamie was doomed when she mentioned how unimpressed she was by Ripert and how he doesn't inspire her. I knew when she was a goner with that attitude and rightfully so.

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I'm sorry but I don't know what attitude you are talking about. I think she made mention that the food was delicious but she was a little bored by the food and found it to be uninspiring.

I don't think she said anything bad about Ripert (or that he doesn't inspire her).

Listen, I can see her point. I'm personally a huge fan of Ripert's but there are no absolutes in cooking and if it doesn't do it for her, that doesn't mean she has an "attitude."

Not everyone has to cook Michelin 3 star or think it's the god's all of cooking.

She seems to be very much in the same vein as other top level female chefs (upscale home food, very chef driven, etc) like Melissa Kelley, Judy Rodgers, etc. I wouldn't say there is an easy way to quantify someone's subjective taste about this stuff, and I wouldn't say that one style is better than the other since there are so many things that affect it.

Is Ripert's Snapper better than Judy Rodger's roast chicken? Hard to say...I bet the snapper is more "refined" but better would be a hard sell to me.

I got off on a little tangent there so I apologize, I just don't see how, in this instance, she should be faulted because she didn't gaga googoo over her meal.

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I'm sorry but I don't know what attitude you are talking about. I think she made mention that the food was delicious but she was a little bored by the food and found it to be uninspiring.

I don't think she said anything bad about Ripert (or that he doesn't inspire her).

Listen, I can see her point. I'm personally a huge fan of Ripert's but there are no absolutes in cooking and if it doesn't do it for her, that doesn't mean she has an "attitude."

Not everyone has to cook Michelin 3 star or think it's the god's all of cooking.

She seems to be very much in the same vein as other top level female chefs (upscale home food, very chef driven, etc) like Melissa Kelley, Judy Rodgers, etc. I wouldn't say there is an easy way to quantify someone's subjective taste about this stuff, and I wouldn't say that one style is better than the other since there are so many things that affect it.

Is Ripert's Snapper better than Judy Rodger's roast chicken? Hard to say...I bet the snapper is more "refined" but better would be a hard sell to me.

I got off on a little tangent there so I apologize, I just don't see how, in this instance, she should be faulted because she didn't gaga googoo over her meal.

I see your point. Maybe, it is the boredom blandness of the season has made me overly critical of this years contestants. Also that piece of editing made it really clear she was going regardless of whether her attitude was bad or not.

Edited by Ochowie (log)
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I'm so disappointed. As the judges said, Jamie (and Hosea with his dish too) knew exactly what her mistake was, but there wasn't time to re-do it. Whereas Leah didn't have a clue how to create her dish. This decision doesn't make sense to me.

Otherwise, great ep. I loved Ripert's interaction with the contestants during the quickfire (although I had to turn away during the eel segment). And this was a great elimination challenge. I love that the judges recognize how difficult something like this is to do (except for Toby of course). I even had some appreciation for Carla this episode – she actually does have some solid skills. Too bad she's flaky and inconsistent. I still think she should have been gone already, but I'm also glad she finally had a chance to show what she's capable of with this challenge.

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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Maybe Jaime was uninspired because there weren't any scallops.

Bwa-haha!

I thought it was a little rude of her; she was getting a meal at one of the top restaurants in the country and she can't wait to say how bored she was?

Still, two former top contenders (in my book at least) gone in as many weeks. I like Hosea less and less every episode, yet Carla's steadily winning me over. Weird final 5.

Now THAT'S an Elimination Prize!!!

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I'm so disappointed. As the judges said, Jamie (and Hosea with his dish too) knew exactly what her mistake was, but there wasn't time to re-do it. Whereas Leah didn't have a clue how to create her dish. This decision doesn't make sense to me.

As always, the explanation is on Colicchio's blog. The answer is that although Leah did a poor job of reproducing the Le Bernardin dish, taken on its own it wasn't terrible. At least two judges thought that Jamie's dish was almost inedible.

I suppose that if all other things were equal, the chef who understood her mistake would have the advantage. But all other things were not equal.

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i for one was happy to see Jamie go. she had an unrealistic appraisal of herself.

Very little imagination, very caught up in chef speak.

Her remarks about Ripert's food were inane, especially since she is the Queen of Scallops.

Having said that I admire her for her parting remarks. she learned humility and will no doubt be a better chef because her vision has changed.

+

Just because you can cook well, it doesn't mean you are a good chef.

Leah is next.

I really think the top three last night will be the top three in the finals.

Hosea is weaker than he comes across.

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Leah is rapidly turning into this season's Lisa: subpar talent who makes it frustratingly far due to the worst mistakes of others.

BTW, it's getting downright fun watching the ways Colicchio barely contains his disdain for Toby. The withering glances, the "it's not as easy as it looks" retort when Toby had a long speech about how poorly replicated a dish was, and then there was a wide shot of the judges' table when Toby was talking and Tom was leaned as far back and away from him as possible.

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What I am wondering is: what would have been the outcome had Jamie left the ruined celery off of her dish? I am reminded of Howie - who avoided elimination by reminding the judges (including Bourdain) of the principal that you don't serve crummy food, even if it means not fulfilling the challenge precisely.

"Life is Too Short to Not Play With Your Food" 

My blog: Fun Playing With Food

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I knew Jamie was doomed when she mentioned how unimpressed she was by Ripert and how he doesn't inspire her.  I knew when she was a goner with that attitude and rightfully so.

She did say that, and I thought she was rude about it. Fine if you don't have the same cooking style, but it's Eric Ripert. Show some respect.

I really like quick fires that show serious cooking technique and skills. I want more of them.

Edited by daisy17 (log)
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What I am wondering is: what would have been the outcome had Jamie left the ruined celery off of her dish? I am reminded of Howie - who avoided elimination by reminding the judges (including Bourdain) of the principal that you don't serve crummy food, even if it means not fulfilling the challenge precisely.

I suspect she talked herself into believing it wasn't quite that bad. In a 15-minute challenge, it takes a lot of self-awareness to suddenly drop an element that you were planning to serve.
I really think the top three last night will be the top three in the finals.

Hosea is weaker than he comes across.

Hosea has some definite weaknesses, but Carla and Fabio have generally been weaker. There is an element of luck to it, but if skill prevails Hosea will be in the top 3, along with Stefan. I am not sure who the third will be, but I would be most surprised if Leah makes it that far.
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I felt Jamie was doomed from mid-luch, when she remarked she wasn't that thrilled with Ripert's food. If you're invited to lunch at a food god's restaurant, you, as a Top Cheftestant, should now from past seasons that you are going to be asked to replicate that dish. So, lack of enthusiasm aside, Jamie should really have been paying attention and whipping up a head of enthusiasm mid-bite, just to survive the challenge. She wasn't doomed for her dislike of Ripert's food - merely her execution of it.

Having said that, I'm not sure what was worse - a chef who knows her mistakes and knew how to fix them but couldn't, or a chef like Leah who did not even have a clue as to how put Eric's dish together. I was sure it was Leah going home, based on her giving up in the quickfire and not having a clue in the elimination challenge. But, as others have wisely pointed out, Leah's dish was at least edible. Toby called Jamie's braised celery "a salt lick". Oh, SNAP! No getting around that.

Hosea was lucky he wasn't axed. Maybe he wasn't familiar with Z'a'atar per se, but Eric already told him to use a lot less than he did in practice, and he certainly should know not to bread the filet as heavily as he did. Sear the fish BEFORE breading? Well, OK, maybe he wouldn't have thought to do that automatically, but he would have tasted and seen that step at lunch. He knew enough to rest the monkfish (although he didn't leave himself enough time to do so).

Props to Fabio, though, for his comic relief. I love how he explained to Ripert after he won the sardine - fileting round how, as an Italian child, he grew up skinning "sardinians". Yeah, sure . . . he's fiorentino (Florentine). I can see THAT (!!)

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