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Top Chef Season 5


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I'm rewatching the episode with my daughter, and I have to say that the cocktails appear to be dump-on-the-floor wretched, and not just Carla's "cocktail." It really shows that recent, fundamental innovations in mixology, not to mention classic principles, are still foreign to chefs that know about sous vide, hydrocolloids, and foams.

Jeff's cucumber mojito was pretty roundly praised, as I recall. The color apparently comes from the cucumber, which is pureed with the rum, sugar, mint, and lime, or, um, "mojito mix," according to this blog (about 2/3ds down the page). I'd have to assume if Jeff goes the extra mile to make his own sausage, he'd make his own "mojito mix" with real juice too.... But as to whether it would work with food, I'd think the cucumber would add a bit of an herbacious, savory note that would make it work well with food.

The rest of the cocktails did sound pretty wretched, particularly Fabio's bell pepper martini, which sounded very interesting in concept until we learned that it wasn't anything at all like a martini. But Carla's spritzer sounds pretty creditable -- recipe here.

Christopher

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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.

That's a bit of stretch. I would equate that with looking at pictures and descriptions of a great meal vs actually eating one in the restaurant.

What I meant was - just because she doesn't drink socially it doesn't mean she doesn't taste wine or has never tasted wine.

wine tasters usually spit the stuff back out. I could never be a wine taster, guzzler maybe..

Veni Vidi Vino - I came, I saw, I drank.
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Fair enough -- though I haven't seen anything from anyone that makes me think they're brilliant chefs either.

LOL - and true. Stefan certainly had the time to make a decent cocktail.

And even though they're batching, they did have tenders to either shake or stir the drinks as necessary.

I think a spicy bloody mary or red snapper (made with gin) would've been better than the cocktails they produced.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Fair enough -- though I haven't seen anything from anyone that makes me think they're brilliant chefs either.

You wouldn't expect them to be, as there just aren't that many brilliant chefs in the world, and those who are don't necessarily make it onto this show. It also can't be emphasized enough that the contrived and time-bound nature of the challenges makes every chef on this show appear worse than he or she really is. In "real life," some of them are probably pretty good. But whatever skill level they may have as chefs, I would expect them to be worse at mixing cocktails unless that's something they do regularly.
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Fair enough -- though I haven't seen anything from anyone that makes me think they're brilliant chefs either.

You wouldn't expect them to be, as there just aren't that many brilliant chefs in the world, and those who are don't necessarily make it onto this show. It also can't be emphasized enough that the contrived and time-bound nature of the challenges makes every chef on this show appear worse than he or she really is. In "real life," some of them are probably pretty good. But whatever skill level they may have as chefs, I would expect them to be worse at mixing cocktails unless that's something they do regularly.

In past seasons it was pretty clear that there was very solid talent in some of the contestants. Richard, Hung, Stephanie, Harold - they all were impressive throughout the competition. I can't imagine that editing (or time, which is always a limitation) is making this pool look altogether unimpressive.

Also, the judges did call out some of the cocktails as bad.

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In past seasons it was pretty clear that there was very solid talent in some of the contestants.  Richard, Hung, Stephanie, Harold - they all were impressive throughout the competition.  I can't imagine that editing (or time, which is always a limitation) is making this pool look altogether unimpressive.
I don't think they are altogether unimpressive. Several people have noted, though, that the challenges are dumber than they used to be. Also, it may be getting harder to find 18 great new people year after year.
Also, the judges did call out some of the cocktails as bad.

My reaction was to the comment that the whole lot were "dump-on-the-floor wretched," which does not seem to be borne out in the judges' comments. Edited by oakapple (log)
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I do have to admit that I was a little disappointed last night.  I definitely think Carla should have won.  But Stefan has been totally lax in his performance the last few episodes.  His arrogance is overshadowing his performance.  His competitive attitude with Hosea has thrown him off his game.  The judges thought that Jeff's food was better than Stefan's according to what I heard.  I like Stefan, but he's not been up to par and has slid through by the skin of his teeth sometimes.  If they were willing to break from tradition to let Jeff in, I think in this case that they should have been willing to "break the rules" and let Jeff stay.  Based on everything we saw last night, Stefan and Fabio did the worst and both of them should have gone home.  I think we should have: Carla, Hosea, and Jeff in the last round.  Again, I like Stefan, but he's really fallen down lately and has not really been punished for it.

I have been rooting for Stefan, but I have to say I'm over him. IMO, the competition this season is not great, but at least the other chefs are putting their heart into it. Stefan just assumes he is going to win and he's not putting in any effort and he's totally arrogant. I would like to have seen Stefan go home this week instead of Fabio. Now I find am am rooting for Carla. Hooty Hoo!!!

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I have been rooting for Stefan, but I have to say I'm over him.  IMO, the competition this season is not great, but at least the other chefs are putting their heart into it. Stefan just assumes he is going to win and he's not putting in any effort and he's totally arrogant.  I would like to have seen Stefan go home this week instead of  Fabio.  Now I find am am rooting for  Carla. Hooty Hoo!!!

Wat bothers me more than Stefan is the editing on this show!

The way they have manipulated the show just through editing alone is very cheesy.

I wouldn't even mind the product placement so much if they would just show an honest representation of what these people can do in the kitchen.

Look at a show like masterchef from the UK. I think it's a lot more fun and pleasureable to watch just because it feels more honest. I have no idea how close to the actual experiences of the judges and contestants it is but it at least FEELS more honest and I'm not being shoved product in my face every 5 minutes.

There was one line that Carla said that just boggled me... "I took my Calphalon pan..." I mean that sounds SO scripted! How much of the show is scripted?

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I do not believe the show is scripted, but there's no doubt the editing is manipulated to create the drama and suspense that the producers believe will pull in viewers and keep them hooked. (Whether they're succeeding or not is a whole other question.)

I am quite sure the cheftestants are given guidelines that, among other things, encourage mentioning favorably the vendors that have donated food, services or equipment.

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You wouldn't expect them to be, as there just aren't that many brilliant chefs in the world, and those who are don't necessarily make it onto this show. It also can't be emphasized enough that the contrived and time-bound nature of the challenges makes every chef on this show appear worse than he or she really is.

You also have to keep in mind that most "Top Chefs" are employed and unwilling to quit their jobs or unable to take a leave to compete on the show. I think Richard and Stephanie last season were both "between projects".

Edited by rickster (log)
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Anyone know if participants receive a check to make up for income lost while on Top Chef?  In the two reality documentaries I worked with, we did pay participants a token stipend for their time.

I wouldn't be surprised if there's a small stipend, though I doubt it entirely covers all of the lost income. After all, being on this show has a huge intangible value, even for those who do not win. Still, they need a situation where they can get 5-6 weeks off while being guaranteed a job to come back to. Those who own their own business presumably need to have a trusted deputy to manage in their absence.
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Was that Arianne from Top Chef Season 5 as a sous chef on the challenger's team in tonight's episode? It certainly looked like her and she was wearing her trademark cap.

Yeah, I was just coming to post that. It was her alright.

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Was that Arianne from Top Chef Season 5 as a sous chef on the challenger's team in tonight's episode? It certainly looked like her and she was wearing her trademark cap.

Yeah, I was just coming to post that. It was her alright.

Ditto ! It was absolutely her.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

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Our Fabio is apparently about to share how to do easy, stress-free Italian food, paired with a martini instead of wine in his new cookbook. More here including why he'd rather be Colicchio than Batali.

Will there be recipes for bullshit eggs and a chapter on monkey's ass I wonder?

Not in the Wal-Mart version. That one would be squeeky clean :laugh: . Me thinks this won't join my Italian cookbook shelf.

As for Top Chef, I really have no favorite. Not really, but I just cannot bring myself to like Carla -she annoys the heck out of me- even with Stefan's arrogant ass on the screen!

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Was that Arianne from Top Chef Season 5 as a sous chef on the challenger's team in tonight's episode? It certainly looked like her and she was wearing her trademark cap.

Yeah, I was just coming to post that. It was her alright.

Ditto ! It was absolutely her.

I have to know about what went on behind this. Granted it was probably shot alongside TC or even before, but Ariane just doesn't strike me as the one you want on your team in such a high pressure situation. And they had her butchering and prepping meat?!

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Was that Arianne from Top Chef Season 5 as a sous chef on the challenger's team in tonight's episode? It certainly looked like her and she was wearing her trademark cap.

Yeah, I was just coming to post that. It was her alright.

Ditto ! It was absolutely her.

I have to know about what went on behind this. Granted it was probably shot alongside TC or even before, but Ariane just doesn't strike me as the one you want on your team in such a high pressure situation. And they had her butchering and prepping meat?!

They are apparently close friends and Frietag was the one who told her about the Top Chef auditions or some such thing. Can't do a cite linky right now but google them together and you'll get some blurbs.

Edit: Here's one.

Edited by Dignan (log)
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