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Top Chef Season 5


Reignking
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Yes, it's a shitty season of Top Chef, but can't we all just pull together and get along?

I'm kidding, of course we can't.

Only thing I gots to say bout Jamie is: if you're going to have something dismissively critical to say (on TV) about an acknowledged master of the craft you're making a career out of (and, oh right, he just had you over for lunch), you had better 1) have your own technique down to where you can do everything they can do, you just "choose" not to, or 2) have developed such a unique and groundbreaking style yourself that it's easy to see why you've had to blaze your own trail, otherwise you just kind of look like a jackass. IMHO.

+++

Edited by markemorse (log)
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Stefan is not that great.  He just looks better in comparison to the rest of this cast.

He was able to reproduce a Le Bernardin dish he had tasted only once, to about 99% accuracy. As Colicchio said, "It's not that easy." It might be a travesty that the season has only one Stefan, but give the guy his due. Most kitchens would be pretty happy to have Stefan cooking for them.
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Chef Blais weighed in on this episode on Bravo. Here's the link - "Chicken and Caviar"

I think he nails it all around.

*edited link cause it was going to page 2.

Yeah I was going to come in post this. I miss him and Stephanie from last season. They both seem like class acts, who cooked food that looked (and probably) tasted awesome. I wish I had some excuse to go down to Atlanta so I could at least hit his burger joint.

Edited by Ochowie (log)
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Maybe I'm naive, but I don't think the producers are manipulating you into thinking that. Stefan is quite clearly, and by a wide margin, the best chef of the bunch.

What's so disappointing to me about this is that, you are right, Stefan really is the best chef there. It's disappointing not because he's kind of a jerk, but because he's completely....passable. He's a very good technician, but he's not artist. I'm not at all interested in eating Stefan's food. Heck, I'm not even sure what a Stefan restaurant would be - he's the guy the chef hires to faithfully and skillfully execute the chef's vision, but nothing more, IMO. That, in nutshell, is the problem with the whole season.

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Chef Blais weighed in on this episode on Bravo. Here's the link - "Chicken and Caviar"

I think he nails it all around.

*edited link cause it was going to page 2.

I remember a raw dish of mackerel like the first time I kissed my wife.

I suspect Chef Blais could have phrased this less like a comparison. :smile:

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

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yes u guys have got to realize that the comments that was edited in during the dinner they had was probably said during her peak of annoyance and bitterness during the exit interview, not directly after the meal. she was probably rightfully pissed at getting booted.

although one has to wonder, isnt it pretty fkng standard procedure to salt your stuff BEFORE reducing?!?!?

I'm not sure that Jaimie's statement about "uninspiring" was during the exit interview. I suspect it was during what reality shows call a "confessional" that probably occurred just after the meal. That would be more typical. Participants are called over to an interview area away from the group and asked to give their top-of-the-mind thoughts or impressions.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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yes u guys have got to realize that the comments that was edited in during the dinner they had was probably said during her peak of annoyance and bitterness during the exit interview, not directly after the meal. she was probably rightfully pissed at getting booted.

although one has to wonder, isnt it pretty fkng standard procedure to salt your stuff BEFORE reducing?!?!?

I'm not sure that Jaimie's statement about "uninspiring" was during the exit interview. I suspect it was during what reality shows call a "confessional" that probably occurred just after the meal. That would be more typical. Participants are called over to an interview area away from the group and asked to give their top-of-the-mind thoughts or impressions.

Yes, you really have to be careful about assuming that the timelines you see created in the editing of this show in any way reflects the actual course of events. Folks disecting these shows like to make a lot of reaction shots cut into a sequence, but unless they have a camera on every single person involved in this it's probably an editor's reimagining of events. And during Hosea's "interview" about the making out with Leah incident, he was shown in 3 different T-shirts during what was presented as one sequence.

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yes u guys have got to realize that the comments that was edited in during the dinner they had was probably said during her peak of annoyance and bitterness during the exit interview, not directly after the meal. she was probably rightfully pissed at getting booted.

although one has to wonder, isnt it pretty fkng standard procedure to salt your stuff BEFORE reducing?!?!?

I'm not sure that Jaimie's statement about "uninspiring" was during the exit interview. I suspect it was during what reality shows call a "confessional" that probably occurred just after the meal. That would be more typical. Participants are called over to an interview area away from the group and asked to give their top-of-the-mind thoughts or impressions.

Yes, you really have to be careful about assuming that the timelines you see created in the editing of this show in any way reflects the actual course of events. Folks disecting these shows like to make a lot of reaction shots cut into a sequence, but unless they have a camera on every single person involved in this it's probably an editor's reimagining of events. And during Hosea's "interview" about the making out with Leah incident, he was shown in 3 different T-shirts during what was presented as one sequence.

I don't think it matters when the interview was.

Granted you don't have to be "inspired" by food just because of the rep of the chef, but her attitude and remarks showed narrow vision and a some arrogance.

Both, of which, proved her downfall.

She had a high opinon of her food, but if you think about it, any time she was asked to think outside the box and once the "average" chefs left, she had nothing to show.

Edited by rconnelly (log)
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I don't like the phrase "jumped the shark" too much, but I think not only has this show performed said cliche, but so, perhaps has the era of celebrity chefs.

Perhaps we should say it has "jumped the snark" then, in honor of Toby...

Those who do not remember the pasta are doomed to reheat it.

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What's so disappointing to me about this is that, you are right, Stefan really is the best chef there.  It's disappointing not because he's kind of a jerk, but because he's completely....passable.  He's a very good technician, but he's not artist.  I'm not at all interested in eating Stefan's food.

As others have noted, Top Chef is not a show that rewards artistry. The contrived and time-bound nature of the challenges does not encourage risk-taking. Except in the final challenge, you do not need to the be the best; you only need to avoid being the worst. I suspect when these chefs are in their own element, and not constrained by the show's format, they're all better than they appear on TV, and that would apply to Stefan as well.

Anyhow, I am not sure how you are defining culinary artistry, but I think it's a gift given to very few. Most great meals are served by chefs with the talents that Stefan appears to have. If you're really being served by artists every time, I envy you.

yes u guys have got to realize that the comments that was edited in during the dinner they had was probably said during her peak of annoyance and bitterness during the exit interview, not directly after the meal. she was probably rightfully pissed at getting booted.

I'm not sure that Jaimie's statement about "uninspiring" was during the exit interview. I suspect it was during what reality shows call a "confessional" that probably occurred just after the meal. That would be more typical. Participants are called over to an interview area away from the group and asked to give their top-of-the-mind thoughts or impressions.

It could very well be. Either Padma or Colicchio mentioned that the debate at Judges' Table sometimes goes on for hours. I suspect they use that time to conduct these interviews. Edited by oakapple (log)
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Stefan is not that great.  He just looks better in comparison to the rest of this cast.

He was able to reproduce a Le Bernardin dish he had tasted only once, to about 99% accuracy. As Colicchio said, "It's not that easy." It might be a travesty that the season has only one Stefan, but give the guy his due. Most kitchens would be pretty happy to have Stefan cooking for them.

Boiled lobster with raw asparagus and hollandaise...a culinary school student could do that.

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It could very well be. Either Padma or Colicchio mentioned that the debate at Judges' Table sometimes goes on for hours. I suspect they use that time to conduct these interviews.

The problem with that theory is that they are always shown in the stew room in their whites. They go in and out of Judges table in their whites. I don't think I've ever seen an interview in whites -- they've always changed to street clothes. It's most confounding when they show interviews during an event, and the cheftestants are talking in the present tense, as if they are right in the middle of it, but are wearing street clothes and have neat hair and lip gloss.

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It could very well be. Either Padma or Colicchio mentioned that the debate at Judges' Table sometimes goes on for hours. I suspect they use that time to conduct these interviews.

The problem with that theory is that they are always shown in the stew room in their whites. They go in and out of Judges table in their whites. I don't think I've ever seen an interview in whites -- they've always changed to street clothes. It's most confounding when they show interviews during an event, and the cheftestants are talking in the present tense, as if they are right in the middle of it, but are wearing street clothes and have neat hair and lip gloss.

I've been behind the scenes for a couple of reality segments (non-cooking). The "confessionals" typically happen right after there is a break in the action when the events are still fresh in the participants' minds.

Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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The problem with Jamie's remarks for me was that, she's certainly free to not like the food or be overly impressed with it (but I find it hard to believe, given her own seafood-centric approach, she wouldn't see something exciting/interesting in the opportunity). There were just better ways to say it than, IIRC, "I was a little bored with it to be honest . . . ". Taken into context of her snotty attitude at times throughout the season, it was just too much.

Plus, it just rankles that someone who a) has shown a pretty narrow repetoire without backing it up (seasonal, seasonal, scallops) and b) spent the first part of the season regularly coming in second to Ariane really doesn't have much wriggle room to be bored by one of the best restaurants in the country.

This is completely independent of her elimination though. I still would rather have seen Leah go, but I really wouldn't have been pulling for Jamie much more in my hypothetical final matchup either.

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The problem with Jamie's remarks for me was that, she's certainly free to not like the food or be overly impressed with it (but I find it hard to believe, given her own seafood-centric approach, she wouldn't see something exciting/interesting in the opportunity).  There were just better ways to say it than, IIRC, "I was a little bored with it to be honest .  . . ".  Taken into context of her snotty attitude at times throughout the season, it was just too much. 

Yeah, it's a bit like Salieri saying he's bored with Mozart.
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The problem with Jamie's remarks for me was that, she's certainly free to not like the food or be overly impressed with it (but I find it hard to believe, given her own seafood-centric approach, she wouldn't see something exciting/interesting in the opportunity).  There were just better ways to say it than, IIRC, "I was a little bored with it to be honest .  . . ".  Taken into context of her snotty attitude at times throughout the season, it was just too much. 

Yeah, it's a bit like Salieri saying he's bored with Mozart.

Oh, that analogy is PERFECT!
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re shark jumping. I agree, but I think that the show is salvagable if they get fewer callow youths and focus on those with more experience. The downside is that the more experienced probably have a real job that they cant boogie off for two months.

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Jamie's most damaging statement was after Eric Ripert had sampled all of the contestant's dishes and offered them insight and his opinion on how to make their dishes better. He didn’t sample Jamie’s, and after he had critiqued everyone else’s dishes, she said something to the effect, “Eric didn’t sample dish because I didn’t have time for him to sample it.”

What the hell was that?!? She was being judged on how closely she could replicate one of the man’s own dishes and SHE doesn’t have time for HIM?!? That's just stupid.

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Jamie's most damaging statement was after Eric Ripert had sampled all of the contestant's dishes and offered them insight and his opinion on how to make their dishes better.  He didn’t sample Jamie’s, and after he had critiqued everyone else’s dishes, she said something to the effect, “Eric didn’t sample dish because I didn’t have time for him to sample it.”

What the hell was that?!?  She was being judged on how closely she could replicate one of the man’s own dishes and SHE doesn’t have time for HIM?!?  That's just stupid.

I took it to mean she wasn't ready, she was behind, she was struggling -- it wasn't complete enough to be sampled.

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re shark jumping.  I agree, but I think that the show is salvagable if they get fewer callow youths and focus on those with more experience.  The downside is that the more experienced probably have a real job that they cant boogie off for two months.

There are two things we don't know: who's not applying, and who's applying but getting rejected. Obviously the contestants all have some level of culinary skill, but other factors control who gets on the show: personality, looks, geographic and ethnic diversity.

Obviously it limits your talent pool when you need people who can take 2 months off of work. But there could be chefs who feel it's not worth the bother, given the contrived nature of the challenges and the lack of cumulative scoring. I mean, your "season" could effectively be over in the first half-hour of episode 1, and you're stuck in the losers' house for another 8 weeks.

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Regarding Jamie's comment - obviously she can have an opinion regarding Ripert's food. I think it's more in the context of the forum that she said it in.

Hey - I respect people who don't feel the need to kiss a little ass to get ahead. But it doesn't always hurt either. My point - Jamie's on Top Chef NOT because she was a well known chef, but rather because she WANTS to be a well known chef. I certainly don't think doors are slamming on her - but it certainly doesn't help her cause to make that comment KNOWING it will be published on national television.

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