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Top Chef Season 5


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back to the eels

I laughed out loud when I saw the eels remembering a "Fraiser" when he and Niles bought a French restuarant.

Everything that could go wrong did go wrong on their opening night including the chef and crew storming out.

Niles had to cook eel and was freaking having no idea wat he was doing, then Daphne said something "Good Lord, give me a break."

she then toook the eel swung it over her head a few times and then slammed the head against the counter. Poof, the eel was dead.

It looses something in the telling but it is one of the funniest food scenes ever on TV.

The whole episode was a scream.

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I have to admit I've stopped watching this season. It's just not entertaining anymore. With the possible exception of Carla, there just isn't anyone to root for. By the way did anyone watch the last episode of chopped(zzzz)? That Conant guy seemed to be just as arrogant as on top chef. Or is it just me?

keep it simpull stoopid!

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I wasn't actually participating in an uproar. I read the thread and asked some questions. I am not mad and surely not uproarious.

Sure, anybody anywhere can be a butt head. And they often are.  :biggrin:

But if Ripert is a sexist oinker, I wonder how it is reflected in his judging?  ( There, better now Dignan? Attempting to get back on track.  :wink:  ) Anybody have any thoughts? For instance, he raved about Carla's dish and then awarded the win to Stephan.    :huh:

He announced the win. There were four judges that decided who won. If you watched it, you'll remember how pleased they all were with Stefan's dish. Padma told Eric that Stefan was nipping at his heels. It clearly was the favorite from their comments at the tasting.

Edited by Dignan (log)
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I still wish is was Jamie instead of Hosea, but at least Stefan will have a chance to show his chops. More and more, however, this show feels like "Top Cook"—the dishes that keep winning are never really creative, never go out on a limb, never show any chef-like qualities. They are simple food well prepared. Great. I'm happy for you, you can roast a chicken. Make something interesting!!!

Chris Hennes
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chennes@egullet.org

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I still wish is was Jamie instead of Hosea, but at least Stefan will have a chance to show his chops. More and more, however, this show feels like "Top Cook"—the dishes that keep winning are never really creative, never go out on a limb, never show any chef-like qualities. They are simple food well prepared. Great. I'm happy for you, you can roast a chicken. Make something interesting!!!

Really? All the creative dishes were shot down in the quick fire.

I knew Toby reminded me of someone san glasses:Click.

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Overall an outstanding episode, I thought. I'm so totally JAZZED that Carla is shining, I liked her from day 1, even though I don't see her in the final 2. Final 4, though, way to go Carla !

I had hoped that Stefan would show some humility after overcooking (!!!!) his salmon for that sextet (swoon.......Jacques ! Lidia ! Marcus ! Wylie ! Tom ! Susan !) of culinary icons........but I guess *that* was too much to hope for.

The guest panel were all so gracious and seemed to be really striving to not trash anyone's dish, even if it wasn't up to their expectations. How any of the cheftestants could've cooked for those people.......I have no clue. I'd have been in a puddle in the corner. Talk about an all star team. Just Jacques & Lidia......they're who I want to be when I grow up. Everything, absolutely EVERYTHNG those two make, I want to eat. I really enjoyed tonight.

And Toby has *really* dialed it back from his debut. But I still can't wait for Gail to return next season and say buh-bye Toby.

--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"

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Okay- I did manage to watch the last half of this one and gasped at the breadth and depth of talent on that panel- minus Toby, of course. I agree with the "Top Cook" comment and, being from the Northwest, freaked when Stephan overcooked the salmon. A top culinary sin around these parts! But my favorite moment was when Toby said he liked his whites a little runny and the immediate camera shot of Tom blinking his eyes so fast in consternation they resembled strobe lights!

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I missed how Fabio broke his finger. Anyone??

Supposedly on the Bravo blogs it says he slipped and fell.

I was surprised they ran Stefan's explanation that Marcus Samuelsson was Egyptian but grew up in Sweden when he is Ethiopian.

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More and more, however, this show feels like "Top Cook"—the dishes that keep winning are never really creative, never go out on a limb, never show any chef-like qualities. They are simple food well prepared. Great. I'm happy for you, you can roast a chicken. Make something interesting!!!

Really? All the creative dishes were shot down in the quick fire.

I don't follow... I think we agree, but I'm not sure! Any time one of them tries something creative, they lose to someone doing a damned roast chicken. Being able to make a good roast chicken does not mean you are a good chef, it means you're a good cook. Whereas, being able to successfully invent a new/unique/interesting dish seems much more applicable, at least to me. Alas, none of them seem to be able to do it. Where are this year's Richard and Stephanie? Absent, IMO. All we have is a room full of decent cooks. Not a chef among them.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Any time one of them tries something creative, they lose to someone doing a damned roast chicken. Being able to make a good roast chicken does not mean you are a good chef, it means you're a good cook. Whereas, being able to successfully invent a new/unique/interesting dish seems much more applicable, at least to me. Alas, none of them seem to be able to do it. Where are this year's Richard and Stephanie? Absent, IMO. All we have is a room full of decent cooks. Not a chef among them.

That's too cruel and overly simplistic. The fact is, a truly creative dish generally takes multiple iterations to get right. For instance, Wylie Dufresne took about a year to perfect the Eggs Benedict dish he serves at WD~50. At El Bulli, Ferran Adria takes half the year off to experiment with the dishes he'll be serving the following season at the restaurant.

The format of Top Chef doesn't allow time for trial and error. The "one mistake and you're done" format does not encourage risk-taking. That doesn't mean the chefs on the show are incapable of it. They are playing intelligently within the rules.

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It seems to me that one of the abiding complaints of season 3 (Hung, Tre, Casey, etc) and even to some extent season 4 was that the contestants were solid but the challenges left quite a bit to be desired: they progressed oddly, too many catering challenges, too many gimmick challenges too late in the season (the airline food ep being a particular standout).

Conversely I've liked the progression of challenges this season where they got most of the catering and gimmick challenges out of the way early on but it's become much more based on pure skill as the season progresses. Last night was stellar for a challenge. I hope they keep that one in rotation. Perfect and what a crop of judges. If only Bourdain were there . . . Unfortunately, however, the chefs this time haven't been quite up to it.

Anyways I totally thought Stephan was out the door, meaning 3 of my top 4 were eliminated in as many weeks. Maybe they bent the "judge on the challenge alone" but I'm glad they made the call that as a whole, Leah belonged nowhere near the final 4 especially at Stephan's expense.

Dammit all if Carla hasn't grown on me. Fabio's made it further than I ever thought he would. Get Hosea out of that final 4 and I'm content with any of the other three winning, with Stephan still being the odds-on fave to me.

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Anyways I totally thought Stephan was out the door, meaning 3 of my top 4 were eliminated in as many weeks.  Maybe they bent the "judge on the challenge alone" but I'm glad they made the call that as a whole, Leah belonged nowhere near the final 4 especially at Stephan's expense.

I am still waiting to see Colicchio's explanation. On the Bravo Blog, Toby says he thought that Hosea should go home, but was outvoted by Colicchio.

They will probably never admit it, but I agree they must have been judging based on the "body of work." Based on the comments we saw, it seemed to be clear that Stephan had cooked the worst dish, and he should have been sent home if you were judging that challenge in isolation.

Of course, I do agree that it would be lunacy to have Leah in the final 4 in place of Stephan, but that's what you'd come up with if the rules were interpreted literally. (Of course, it's also possible that the episode was cleverly edited to make it seem like Stephan was doomed, only so that they could surprise us in the end.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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Any time one of them tries something creative, they lose to someone doing a damned roast chicken. Being able to make a good roast chicken does not mean you are a good chef, it means you're a good cook. Whereas, being able to successfully invent a new/unique/interesting dish seems much more applicable, at least to me. Alas, none of them seem to be able to do it. Where are this year's Richard and Stephanie? Absent, IMO. All we have is a room full of decent cooks. Not a chef among them.

That's too cruel and overly simplistic. The fact is, a truly creative dish generally takes multiple iterations to get right. For instance, Wylie Dufresne took about a year to perfect the Eggs Benedict dish he serves at WD~50. At El Bulli, Ferran Adria takes half the year off to experiment with the dishes he'll be serving the following season at the restaurant.

The format of Top Chef doesn't allow time for trial and error. The "one mistake and you're done" format does not encourage risk-taking. That doesn't mean the chefs on the show are incapable of it. They are playing intelligently within the rules.

I disagree. Blais didn't need to take half a year off to be creative and successful with his dishes in almost every single episode last season. He just did it. So did Stephanie. For God's sake, I'm even longing for last season's evil Lisa to return at this point. At least she took some chances...

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Any time one of them tries something creative, they lose to someone doing a damned roast chicken.

While I thought last night was a good show, I thought one of the drawbacks was the requirement to produce a specific dish that the judges wanted, and it seemed like creativity was not rewarded (or maybe it was just poorly done) - ie Pepin's comment that this was not a Provencal tomato.

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I am still waiting to see Colicchio's explanation. On the Bravo Blog, Toby says he thought that Hosea should go home, but was outvoted by Colicchio.

It seems to me that Colicchio has been itching to send Leah home since around the Xmas Party debacle when he barked her down in the stew room. He was pretty hard on her last week and it seems clear (with the caveat as always the show's editing) that he wanted her to go home over Jamie. So maybe he finally won out over everyone if that was the case.

While I thought last night was a good show, I thought one of the drawbacks was the requirement to produce a specific dish that the judges wanted, and it seemed like creativity was not rewarded (or maybe it was just poorly done) - ie Pepin's comment that this was not a Provencal tomato.

I think it required probably probably a good gut check to think the nature of the challenge through. I've read alot of the last meals-type discussions particularly from Bourdain's angle and the thing that comes up over and over again is that people traditionally want comfort food done as best and traditionally as it possibly could be. They don't want a deconstructed roasted chicken sous vide with potato foam and a "salad" of crystallized vinaigrette with freeze-dried arugula powder. They want that exact dish cooked the way their mom made it.

Though I will say that both my wife and I thought, the way the challenge was explained, that each chef had to cook a 5 course meal around that request.

Edited by Kevin72 (log)
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People underestimate how difficult it is to produce a damned good roast chicken. Although it's very easy to do a passable chicken, it is not so easy to do a great one.

I agree,

anyone can cook a roast chicken, but it takes a fine hand and years of practice to do it right.

I also agree that Leah looked relieved. Ever since her little tete-a-tete with Hosea, she's had that deer in a headlights look about her. I think she realized she is the caliber of chef that the others are.

I hope hosea goes next. He seems to always have an excuse as to why something didn't work and it is never his fault - "They ecpected me to do fish well beause I'm a seafood chef, but i'd never cooked that dish before."

Well, duh!

Go Fabio! Go Carla1 and begrudgingly Go Stefan!

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Though I will say that both my wife and I thought, the way the challenge was explained, that each chef had to cook a 5 course meal around that request.

I initially thought so too, but that would have meant a total of 25 dishes, an impractical amount of food for the judges to consume.

Yeah, I did the math and everything. And I was panicking for them. "So, do they have to have say, peas and squab in each course? Can peas count as one course and squab the next? They're going to have to be creative! This is a disaster!!!" Took me until they went to WF to figure it out.

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I also agree that Leah looked relieved. Ever since her little tete-a-tete with Hosea, she's had that deer in a headlights look about her. I think she realized she is the caliber of chef that the others are.

She was interviewed on the Feedbag, and admitted that she was ready for it to be over. Of course, that could be a rationalization. I mean, I doubt that she watered down the holandaise sauce to deliberately increase her chances of losing.

The other interesting comment was that apparently the producers told her the morning afterwards that they had footage of her with Hosea, and she felt she was being used. I can see why she'd wonder, "Why did they have to tell me that?" On the other hand, she wasn't forced to lie on the sofa with him, and no one on that show should be surprised that cameras are around.

She did not admit to being a lesser chef, though she wasn't asked.

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