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Top Chef Season 5


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When I have salmon in a restaurant they ask me how I want it cooked. I presume because everyone likes it differently.

The reaction to Stephan's preparation was practically unanimous, which suggests that he cooked it beyond the point that any chef would consider reasonable.

Stefan.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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Did anyone else notice how perfectly matched the knife draw was? Fabio got the italian chef, Stefan got the swedish chef, Carla had the old school french chef, Hosea had the seafood dish and Leah had the dish right out of culinary school.

I always wonder if somethings are staged. This and the fridge breaking down on the Christmas show and no one went home. Just seems too set up.

Ever since the producers of Twenty One got caught cheating in the 1950s, people have always suspected that game shows are staged. The blow to their credibility if it were discovered would be incalculable. And among the large number of crew who work on that show, it would take only one to spill the beans. The chances of pulling it off are low.

The Christmas show was a celebrity event for a large number of guests. If you were going to stage an incident that threatens to wreck the food, is that the time you would do it? Sometimes, shit happens.

I agree that this week's knife drawing was a remarkable coincidence, but even here, there are clues it was random chance. By winning the quickfire, Carla won the right to exchange knives with any chef she wanted. If it were staged, why would you set it up so that Carla draws the knife she already wanted?

All of those dishes were classics, meaning that any of the chefs could have prepared them with equal probability of success or failure. Fabio and Stefan, it's true, won unusually lucky pairings, but that could easily happen even without the producers' intervention.

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Did anyone else notice how perfectly matched the knife draw was? Fabio got the italian chef, Stefan got the swedish chef, Carla had the old school french chef, Hosea had the seafood dish and Leah had the dish right out of culinary school.

I always wonder if somethings are staged. This and the fridge breaking down on the Christmas show and no one went home. Just seems too set up.

Ever since the producers of Twenty One got caught cheating in the 1950s, people have always suspected that game shows are staged. The blow to their credibility if it were discovered would be incalculable. And among the large number of crew who work on that show, it would take only one to spill the beans. The chances of pulling it off are low.

The Christmas show was a celebrity event for a large number of guests. If you were going to stage an incident that threatens to wreck the food, is that the time you would do it? Sometimes, shit happens.

I agree that this week's knife drawing was a remarkable coincidence, but even here, there are clues it was random chance. By winning the quickfire, Carla won the right to exchange knives with any chef she wanted. If it were staged, why would you set it up so that Carla draws the knife she already wanted?

All of those dishes were classics, meaning that any of the chefs could have prepared them with equal probability of success or failure. Fabio and Stefan, it's true, won unusually lucky pairings, but that could easily happen even without the producers' intervention.

Right.

And, I might add, there wasn't anything inherently Italian about a roast chicken and nothing inherently Swedish about roasted salmon with potatoes and spinach.

Now, if it had been chicken cacciatore and hot-smoked salmon with dill, respectively, then perhaps you might say that Fabio and Stefan got a leg up on cultural familiarity.

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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I know many people who don't like salmon medium-rare or rare. It's a textural thing, I think. Raw but warm salmon -- including the center of a medium-rare filet or steak -- can be slimy. I love salmon sushi but that's another thing entirely. Now, if it was dry ...

I think too many people mess up or overthink Eggs Benedict. I make it all the time, I find it simple, and I prefer mine (learned from Mom) exponentially to the crap most restaurants serve.

The only ingredients are: butter, lemon juice, egg yolks (plus perhaps a pinch of paprika at the end); poached eggs; buttered english muffins; and country ham.

That's it.

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Wylie couldn't believe Toby like his egg white runny, either, according to his blog on bravo.

There's no chance Toby is around next season.

I'm excited that the semi (and final?) is in New Orleans -- that would be a great place to have an entire season -- IF they actually used the city in the show.  This season could've been Top Chef Soundstage for all I know.

Its got to be his British palate that has him so at odds with the opinions of the other judges most of the time. Though Padma herself is from across the Atlantic as well, I'd think its safe to say that she's been here long enough for a palate adjustment. I thought Toby was a temporary stand in for Gail anyhow.

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................... In that book, by the way, Jacques Pepin's last supper would be:
The menu for my last meal would be ecclectic [sic], relaxed, informal, and would go on for a very, very long time - years!  I would eat all the things that I love in any order that I desired.  I cannot conceive of anything better than the greatest baguette, deep golden, nutty, and crunchy, with a bock of the sublime butter of Brittany and Belon oysters.  I would consume tons of the best beluga caviar with my wife, dispose of the best boiled ham and the most excellent Iberico ham, and would eat eggs cooked in butter, scrambled, mollet-style, or sunny-side up, with the ham.  Roast squab with the tiniest and freshest peas would be part of the menu, along with a lobster roll and a perfect plump hot dog.  I would gobble down tiny fingerling potatoes just out of the ground and sauteed in goose fat, along with a white escarole salad loaded with garlic and sprinkled with cracked pepper, just like my mother used to make.  I would devour aged beaufort cheese that had a crystallized, salted surface, and fresh, white farm cheese covered with thick creme fraiche seasoned with chives, garlic, and cracked pepper.  I would enjoy my friend Claude's pate of pheasant (faisan) with black truffles and cognac, and super thin slices of salted lardo on thin, crusty farm bread covered with white truffles.  I would eat roasted hazelnuts with bittersweet chocolate (gianduja), and the best apricots, cherries, and white and wine peaches, just off the tree.  I would pile homemade apricot jam onto thin, buttery crepes, hot from the pan and accompany them with a Bollinger Brut 1996 champagne.

Oh Dear God, I LOVE it when Jacques Pepin talks dirty! I'd join him at that table any time. Thanks Ulterior Epicure. :wink:

BTW, a shout out and congrats to fellow DC homegirl Carla for making it to the final four and continuing to improve each week. I had honestly thought she'd be gone by now. No idea if she'll be staying or going this week, but I wish her all the best. Quirky and a little hippy-dippy yes, but seems to be an all around nice lady.

Edited by divalasvegas (log)

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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Ooooo!

A double elimination tonight and an extended episode (although they say final episode will it really be over tonihgt?)

The Bravo site says "Finale, Part 1." If two chefs are eliminated tonight, that would leave us with a mano à mano next week.

thaks oakapple.

All of a sudden today I am unable to access the Bravo website from work as it is considered "streaming media!"

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Yea Gail is back!!! Hopefully for good!

I was so ready to see Stefan go for all his arrogance. I know he's talented but he totally phoned that challenge in!

Man I just wish Fabios food had been better.

Carla!!! Hootie Hoo!!!! I was so happy for her!!!

She must win!!!!

I was hoping Jeff would win and send Stephan and Fabio packing.

Veni Vidi Vino - I came, I saw, I drank.
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I must admit Fabio yanked my heart strings when he spoke of his mother tonight.

And for Carla, who would have guessed? Truth is her delivery of cooking with love may give viewers a chuckle. But honestly she could not be more right and I believe it shows at this point.

Robert R

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GO CARLA ! GO CARLA ! GO CARLA !

Hootie WHOOOOOOOO BAY-BEEEE !

You go girl.

So totally happy Carla won the car, and is coming on at just the right time. Her food did look luscious, and I'm not even wild about oysters unless they're deep fried !

Gail.......don't EVER leave us again, girl. Toby is not fit to polish your nails, honey.

I *did* sort of wish Stefan would get more called out for his attitude, I don't think that it sunk in how p.o.'d Tom was over his whole calling-it-in-'cuz-I'm-so-very-cool act, but in reading Gail's & Tom's blogs on BravoTV, I can see why it was Fabio. Whom I will miss.

Wow. Who'da thunk it'd be Carla, Hosea and Stefan in the final. Stefan was a given, but I think Carla and Hosea were both dark horses.

I SO WANT CARLA TO WIPE STEFAN'S, (ummmmmmmmmmm), you know.

GO CARLA, GO CARLA, GO CARLA !

--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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Oh what a night! At first I was peeved about the Final Four becoming the Final Five, but I have to admit what an interesting twist.

I always liked Jeff and was glad that he got another bite at the apple. He seemed to be a very decent, stand up guy who always took responsibility for his mistakes and never tried to throw others under the bus to cover his ass. The crayfish pots de creme looked luscious.

Hey Stefan, it ain't ovah 'til it's ovah, get it? I actually find his snarkyness kind of amusing but that comment about Hosea's gumbo was totally uncalled for. Ironic since the panel raved about his gumbo while Stefan's fell flat for a lack of soul.

But dear CARLA, kudos to you girlfriend! I thought she had bit the dust attempting to feature oysters in one of her dishes since she struggled right up to the end trying to open them. She's got so much heart and I'm really pleasantly surprised to see her in the finals. Whooty the Hell Who woulda thunk it? :laugh:

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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I hated Tom's comment about how Carla should have steamed the oysters open. Wouldn't that risk overcooked oysters?

I don't think Tom likes Carla anyway. Seems he favors Stefan although he looked disappointed in him last night.

Also the challenge was to cook Creole food but the word, "Cajun" was thrown around last night. I thought they were different cuisines. Or are they interchangable?

Edited by KristiB50 (log)
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I hated Tom's comment about how Carla should have steamed the oysters open. Wouldn't that risk overcooked oysters?

I don't think Tom likes Carla anyway. Seems he favors Stefan although he looked disappointed in him last night.

Also the challenge was to cook Creole food but the word, "Cajun" was thrown around last night. I thought they were different cuisines. Or are they interchangable?

Same food, two schools of thought. The biggest difference I know is that creole uses butter in the roux and cooks it darker.

Maque Choux is a cajun dish that the Acadians got from the local indians.

Veni Vidi Vino - I came, I saw, I drank.
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I was so ready to see Stefan go for all his arrogance. I know he's talented but he totally phoned that challenge in!
My impression is that all five chefs did a pretty good job, and there wasn't a big gap between top and bottom. I am not excusing Stefan's arrogance, but despite "phoning it in" it sounded like his food, after all, was pretty damned good. The difference may have been due to his lack of familiarity with Creole food, than to lack of effort. However, I think Don Colicchio is onto him, and in a hypothetical tie the judges will pick Carla or Hosea.
I hated Tom's comment about how Carla should have steamed the oysters open. Wouldn't that risk overcooked oysters?
I believe that comment was taped right after he observed her visibly struggling to get the oysters shucked in time. He was pointing out that there is an easier way—of course, just like any technique, it needs to be done correctly.
I don't think Tom likes Carla anyway. Seems he favors Stefan although he looked disappointed in him last night.
He commented on the Bravo blog that he did not expect Carla to make it past the midpoint of the season, but his level of respect for her has gone up in recent weeks. I don't think he has a rooting interest. He just wants to eat good food, and lately Carla has been delivering. Everyone on the show seems to concede that Stefan is the best chef there, but he hasn't been putting forward his best effort, and Colicchio resents that.

I was also glad to see Gail back. It looks like we've seen the last of Toby on Top Chef.

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One thing popped out at me about last night's show. Carla decided to depart from the rest of the contestants and make a non-alcoholic cocktail/drink for the event, explaining to some of the guests that she doesn't drink and often ends up drinking water when attending parties or other events. However, early in this episode she's seen raising a glass of champagne along with the other contestants which came in a goodie basket provided by the Louisiana tourist board I think. She wasn't actually seen drinking it though.

My question is can someone actually be a top chef and not drink alcoholic beverages at all? In particular I'm thinking that chefs at the top of their game should have some expertise on how to flavor foods with wine or other spirits and especially need to be knowledgeable about how different wines pair with their finished dishes. Just asking since I have no idea.

And I too am sorry to see Fabio depart. I think he's very sweet and funny and definitely has talent. The pasta and bread he made looked amazing and at least he got credit for that.

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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I hated Tom's comment about how Carla should have steamed the oysters open. Wouldn't that risk overcooked oysters?

I don't think Tom likes Carla anyway. Seems he favors Stefan although he looked disappointed in him last night.

Also the challenge was to cook Creole food but the word, "Cajun" was thrown around last night. I thought they were different cuisines. Or are they interchangable?

Same food, two schools of thought. The biggest difference I know is that creole uses butter in the roux and cooks it darker.

Maque Choux is a cajun dish that the Acadians got from the local indians.

Maybe too succinctly, Creole is an amalgamation of European and African influences that formed in New Orleans. Much more refined, with more subdued flavors.

Cajun is country cookin'. There is almost zero of this in New Orleans, even though it is commonly mistaken for NO's cuisine. Cajun is boudin, etoufee, and things that rarely show up in restaurants, and almost never in fancy restaurants. Spicier (in the sense that more spices are used), bolder food.

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One thing popped out at me about last night's show. Carla decided to depart from the rest of the contestants and make a non-alcoholic cocktail/drink for the event, explaining to some of the guests that she doesn't drink and often ends up drinking water when attending parties or other events. However, early in this episode she's seen raising a glass of champagne along with the other contestants which came in a goodie basket provided by the Louisiana tourist board I think. She wasn't actually seen drinking it though.

My question is can someone actually be a top chef and not drink alcoholic beverages at all? In particular I'm thinking that chefs at the top of their game should have some expertise on how to flavor foods with wine or other spirits and especially need to be knowledgeable about how different wines pair with their finished dishes. Just asking since I have no idea.

And I too am sorry to see Fabio depart. I think he's very sweet and funny and definitely has talent. The pasta and bread he made looked amazing and at least he got credit for that.

I too was sad to see him go, but somehow I think he'l be one of those chefs we see around. He has immense personality and a great public persona.

just because she doesn't drink that doesn't mean she does know wine. I'm sure she has plenty of knowledge about how wine works. You can enjoy wine without being a drinker.

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My question is can someone actually be a top chef and not drink alcoholic beverages at all? In particular I'm thinking that chefs at the top of their game should have some expertise on how to flavor foods with wine or other spirits and especially need to be knowledgeable about how different wines pair with their finished dishes. Just asking since I have no idea.

That might be limiting in some respects, but I'm sure that's where wine directors/sommeliers become especially helpful.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Thanks rconnelly and ulterior epicure for those insights. Personally, I'm still a work in progress about wine and food pairings and not even close to achieving the wine knowledge of a lot of folks on eG. However, I do know that depending on the pairing the "right" wine and food together can range from good to great to ethereal, the sort of nuance I thought that only someone who is consistently actually tasting/experimenting with these pairings on a regular basis could understand and appreciate which, IMHO, surpasses having a working knowledge of wine/food pairings or which wine or spirit is the best choice when preparing a dish. But again, what the heck do I know? :rolleyes:

BTW, do most/all top end restaurants have sommeliers? Again, I have no idea.

Edited for clarification.

Edited by divalasvegas (log)

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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Thanks rconnelly and ulterior epicure for those insights. Personally, I'm still a work in progress about wine and food pairings...

I'm a complete disaster in this area, so I'll let others speak. All I know is that I like what I like.

BTW, do most/all top end restaurants have sommeliers? Again, I have no idea.

Since you specify "top-end restaurants," I''ll venture a yes, more or less.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Last night I looked up the web site of Fabio's restaurant. I was a bit surprised as maybe I was expecting more.

The menu reads typical red and white tablecloth Italian fare found anywhere in small town USA.

Don't get me wrong as I love a well done veal parm as much as the next guy. Yet from reading the menu you would never guess the chef had the talent he does.

But then there are many chefs who tame down their potential and creativity otherwise their dining room would be empty. In this industry 90% of the time if you don't give the customer what they want and expect your out of business.

Robert R

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