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Top Chef Season 5


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Stefan.

Yeah, you're right, sorry. Stephan is my neighbor's dog. I mix them up.

It's okay, you're not alone. Either a lot of people on this thread live in your neighborhood, or a lot of people are naming their dogs Stephan these days. :wink:

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

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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Wow, what a weak season. TC= Tepid Chef this year. And what a waste of two culinary capitals, NYC and NO.

As many above have said, Hosea seemed to be the default winner. While I'm sure his food is good, maybe even very good, it certainly didn't seem to live up to the standards we've come to expect from TC.

Here's hoping next season is better.

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I dunno. I put myself in Casey's shoes for a minute: even if Carla didn't trash talk her, Bravo certainly portrayed her in a very negative light. Here she comes back and tries to help Carla out, and in their zeal to portray Carla in a positive light, Bravo spins it like it was all Casey's fault. So, she's pissed. Hell, I'd be pissed to. I'm not saying it was a classy thing to do, but I do think it's understandable, and I can't say for sure how I personally would act in similar circumstances.

Oh, I think I know, Chris. I have never seen anything that would indicate that you would be anything less than graceful and kind in such a situation.

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In his online chat, Toby gave his theory as to why they they judge only one challenge at a time. If the results were cumulative, you could have a season where one contestant had such a huge lead that all he needed to do was show up. In baseball, they don't play the bottom of the ninth inning if the home team is far enough ahead. But it wouldn't make very good TV if they said, "We're cancelling the Top Chef finale because Stefan is already so far ahead that he can't lose."

Additionally, the guest judge is not going to know how the cheftestants performed in previous episodes, so it would render their opinion meaningless. When the judging is based solely on the just the meal at hand, the guest judge is as much in the loop and has as valuable an opinion as all the other judges. If other episodes were taken into consideration, guest judges would not have the background on which to base their decision.

"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

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Additionally, the guest judge is not going to know how the cheftestants performed in previous episodes, so it would render their opinion meaningless. When the judging is based solely on the just the meal at hand, the guest judge is as much in the loop and has as valuable an opinion as all the other judges. If other episodes were taken into consideration, guest judges would not have the background on which to base their decision.

But a cumulative points system, where points are awarded based on individual challenges would avoid this. The guest judge would still have input to the individual challenge.

(I am not a fan of a points or cumulative process)

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I'm going to take back my comments about Casey.  Having looked at the stories on the net, it looks like her comments were taken off her facebook page and not intended to be public.  While I don't think that makes them a whole lot better, it is the nature of the internet to let one shoot ones mouth off.

...

OH COME ON !!!!!!!!!!!!

Because she posted it on FACEBOOK it’s supposed to be private ???

Isn’t that like me taking out a personal ad in the LA Times and addressing it to “My BFFs ONLY” and then saying some really hateful things, posting personal information about me and being *gasp* surprised when I get retribution?

Facebook, and the whole “INTERWEBS” (sic) should be, and are, considered public domain, and therefore subject to public dissemination. You shouldn’t be posting anything you don’t want the entire cyber-world to read. You shouldn’t e-mail anything you don’t want the entire cyber-world to read. Ask any corporate IT person about how “private” and “confidential” your e-mails are. Or, better yet, ask any lawyer.

Sorry. No deal and no pass here. What Casey did was tacky and tactless and cheesy. I have lost all respect for her, and up until this, I really really respected and liked her. But......she put her vitriol out in a public forum and now has to deal with the consequences of her bad decision.

Tacky, tacky, tacky. To the Nth degree.

--Roberta--

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Casey has had a change of heart. Today she hates reporters and just loves Carla:

"I’m a fan of Carla’s and as disappointed as her fans are that she came up short. I’m more disappointed that my great experience with a fellow female chef of Carla’s talent would be damaged by such reckless and unprofessional reporting."

More love from Casey here: :wub:

http://www.chefcaseythompson.com/wordpress/

And it looks like D Magazine stands by its reporting. From the food editor:

I just want to make one thing clear: I have read the original Facebook exchange between Sarah and Casey. Sarah clearly asked Casey to make a comment on the results of the Top Chef show for SideDish. Casey replied. Sarah copied and pasted Casey’s reply. Any claim that Sarah tricked Casey is false. Let’s move on.

"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

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It's a question of whether you are trying to choose the best chef, or trying to make the best TV show.

I think you already know the answer to that one.

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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It's a question of whether you are trying to choose the best chef, or trying to make the best TV show.

I think you already know the answer to that one.

Made more apparent this season by Hosea's win, the guy with several Bottom 3s to his, uh, credit. Without the Hosea/Leah action, I suspect they wouldn't have been around quite so long. And what says Game Show more than Carla's "advantage" of picking the Go 3rd knife first? (Besides asking chefs to cook with ingredients from a vending machine or a sponsor?)

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I think the producers of Top Chef better pay attention to the complaints.

Something went dreadfully wrong this year.

Season 1 was compelling.

Season 2 resulted in an unworthy winner, Ilan Hall.

Seasons 3 and 4 rocked...great competitors, great cooking. Apparently Bravo fixed the problems.

Season 5, I think, was lamer than Season 2. An uninspiring winner (I would never go out of my way to eat Hoser's food) and no interesting drama. Note to Bravo - the Hoser-Ho thing was not interesting.

I don't know how to fix this but this season sucked. Given all the problems, maybe add a creativity factor to the judging to decrease the changes of some average cook like Hosea making it through? He never had an original idea...much like Ilan.

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I think the producers of Top Chef better pay attention to the complaints.

Something went dreadfully wrong this year.

Season 1 was compelling.

Season 2 resulted in an unworthy winner, Ilan Hall.

Seasons 3 and 4 rocked...great competitors, great cooking.  Apparently Bravo fixed the problems.

Season 5, I think, was lamer than Season 2.  An uninspiring winner (I would never go out of my way to eat Hoser's food) and no interesting drama.  Note to Bravo - the Hoser-Ho thing was not interesting.

I don't know how to fix this but this season sucked.  Given all the problems, maybe add a creativity factor to the judging to decrease the changes of some average cook like Hosea making it through?

What you're basically saying is that the rules produce a "meh" winner 40% of the time. Of course, without a larger sample the actual probability is not known—over many years, if it lasts that long, the show could be better or worse than that. To "fix" it, they need to tone down the elements of chance and luck, because those are the factors that produce undeserving winners.

ETA: What I'm saying is that I don't think Bravo fixed anything after Season 2, or that they necessarily broke anything in Season 5. It could have been just bad luck that we had undeserving winners twice, or good luck that it did not turn out that way a lot more often.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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I have a couple of questions about ingredients that I'm hoping somebody can answer. Maybe it's been discussed already and I missed it.

I saw Richard was checking the scallops that were used in Hosea's scallop and foie gras dish. I noticed Richard pulled a scallop out of a can. I've never seen scallops come out of a can. I would have thought the pantry for the finale would have included fresh diver scallops in the shell. Has anyone ever used canned scallops?

During the competition we saw a number of dishes with traditional sauces. In the case of the finale it was a sauce for Carla's beef and a sauce that went with Stefan's squab. I doubt they had the time to do a traditional veal stock or demi-glace. Does anyone know if the Top Chef pantry provides the contestants with pre-made reduction sauces?

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Ok I need something clarified - many of you have said that they had months to know what they were cooking or going to do but after watching twice i do not see that happening. Seems like they had no idea what was in the kitchen as far as protien etc they were going to cook for the final dinner.

Hosa grabbed two items that Stephan needed so I am thinking that it was not like they gave a grocery list to the show so they cook fix their "planned meal". I understand that they all had ideas about what they might want to do but until they saw the ingredients they had in the kitchen could they then make set plan.

I think they assumed certain items would be there in the kitchen but maybe it was not not there or did not look like it was at their "peak".

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I have a couple of questions about ingredients that I'm hoping somebody can answer.  Maybe it's been discussed already and I missed it.

I saw Richard was checking the scallops that were used in Hosea's scallop and foie gras dish.  I noticed Richard pulled a scallop out of a can.  I've never seen scallops come out of a can.  I would have thought the pantry for the finale would have included fresh diver scallops in the shell.  Has anyone ever used canned scallops?

During the competition we saw a number of dishes with traditional sauces.  In the case of the finale it was a sauce for Carla's beef and a sauce that went with Stefan's squab.  I doubt they had the time to do a traditional veal stock or demi-glace.  Does anyone know if the Top Chef pantry provides the contestants with pre-made reduction sauces?

i'm pretty sure dry scallops are packed in cans.

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I think the producers of Top Chef better pay attention to the complaints.

Something went dreadfully wrong this year.

Perhaps, but only if the ratings went down.

I have a couple of questions about ingredients that I'm hoping somebody can answer.  Maybe it's been discussed already and I missed it.

I saw Richard was checking the scallops that were used in Hosea's scallop and foie gras dish.  I noticed Richard pulled a scallop out of a can.  I've never seen scallops come out of a can.  I would have thought the pantry for the finale would have included fresh diver scallops in the shell.  Has anyone ever used canned scallops?

During the competition we saw a number of dishes with traditional sauces.  In the case of the finale it was a sauce for Carla's beef and a sauce that went with Stefan's squab.  I doubt they had the time to do a traditional veal stock or demi-glace.  Does anyone know if the Top Chef pantry provides the contestants with pre-made reduction sauces?

It appeared they were provided access to everything in the kitchen - maybe there was veal stock and/or demi in the house, which you would expect in CP?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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I have a couple of questions about ingredients that I'm hoping somebody can answer.  Maybe it's been discussed already and I missed it.

It appeared they were provided access to everything in the kitchen - maybe there was veal stock and/or demi in the house, which you would expect in CP?

That's what I was thinking. I'm pretty sure Commander's Palace would have had just about everything available. If that's the case, it certainly helped the chefs along with their sauces.

The challenge at Le Bernadin seemed to be close to asking the Chefs to create their sauces from scratch. I remember Stefan prepared hollandaise from scratch for his lobster dish. Carla mentioned veal stock in the red wine sauce she did for her fish dish at Le Bernadin. I'm assuming the veal stock came from the pantry at Le Bernadin.

It sure would be interesting to see a challenge in the future where the contestants would be tasked with having to create a classic sauce totally from scratch. Of course, that may not make for exciting television-roasting pounds of veal bones and reducing stocks over the course of a few days.

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Ok I need something clarified - many of you have said that they had months to know what they were cooking or going to do but after watching twice i do not see that happening.  Seems like they had no idea what was in the kitchen as far as protien etc they were going to cook for the final dinner.
Several months elapsed between the episodes shot in NYC and those shot in New Orleans. Those in the final four could have guessed that a Louisiana theme was likely to pop up in the challenges, and I'm sure they prepared for that. The NY episodes, of course, were all shot rapid-fire, so there was really nothing they could do to prepare. Every challenge was a new surprise.
Hosea grabbed two items that Stephan needed so I am thinking that it was not like they gave a grocery list to the show so they cook fix their "planned meal". I understand that they all had ideas about what they might want to do but until they saw the ingredients they had in the kitchen could they then make set plan.

Here again, they could have assumed that certain basic ingredients would be there, but they had to be adaptable. It would have made a lot more sense to give them a budget and let them go shopping at Whole Foods, as they did earlier in the season. I am assuming this wasn't allowed because if they were observed shopping in public, it would be a dead giveaway as to who had reached the finals.
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Hosea grabbed two items that Stephan needed so I am thinking that it was not like they gave a grocery list to the show so they cook fix their "planned meal". I understand that they all had ideas about what they might want to do but until they saw the ingredients they had in the kitchen could they then make set plan.

Here again, they could have assumed that certain basic ingredients would be there, but they had to be adaptable. It would have made a lot more sense to give them a budget and let them go shopping at Whole Foods, as they did earlier in the season. I am assuming this wasn't allowed because if they were observed shopping in public, it would be a dead giveaway as to who had reached the finals.

Yes i was thinking the same thing about keeping them unwraps. I also was pretty sure they to were assuming about certain ingreds being in the kitchen, I was just wondering if they took supply into thought as I said before that it seemed like if one of the final three saw something they wanted to use they took it all to their station whether or not they would use it all, as in Hosea using all six cans of caviar

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i'm at a loss to understand casey's remarks. they come across as angry. so, what was she so angry about? what prompted her remarks?

i don't think she was shown in a bad light for messing up carla's final meal. she made some pretty straightforward suggestions carla didn't have to take them.

I think what it is is that Carla was beloved and people don't want to blame her, so public opinion is throwing Casey out with the bathwater.

I am highly disappointed in both Casey (for being tactless and obnoxious) and with Carla (you are in the finale! Now is not the time to try something new! That's like going for a home perm the day before school pics and looking like a deranged poodle in the yearbook!).

I am more interested in what Marcel had to say about working with Stefan. I have the feeling that he wasted Wolverine's talents and used him like a prep bitch instead.

Hosea... oh my.. I would actually put him the worst Top Chef winner above Ilan. He has the appeal and personality of soggy toast. If it wasn't for playing kissy face with Leah, I don't think anyone would've payed him much mind at all this season.

Now fortified with extra Riboflavins!
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I think the producers of Top Chef better pay attention to the complaints.

Something went dreadfully wrong this year.

Season 1 was compelling.

Season 2 resulted in an unworthy winner, Ilan Hall.

Seasons 3 and 4 rocked...great competitors, great cooking.  Apparently Bravo fixed the problems.

Season 5, I think, was lamer than Season 2.  An uninspiring winner (I would never go out of my way to eat Hoser's food) and no interesting drama.  Note to Bravo - the Hoser-Ho thing was not interesting.

I don't know how to fix this but this season sucked.  Given all the problems, maybe add a creativity factor to the judging to decrease the changes of some average cook like Hosea making it through?

What you're basically saying is that the rules produce a "meh" winner 40% of the time. Of course, without a larger sample the actual probability is not known—over many years, if it lasts that long, the show could be better or worse than that. To "fix" it, they need to tone down the elements of chance and luck, because those are the factors that produce undeserving winners.

ETA: What I'm saying is that I don't think Bravo fixed anything after Season 2, or that they necessarily broke anything in Season 5. It could have been just bad luck that we had undeserving winners twice, or good luck that it did not turn out that way a lot more often.

One thing that felt that it had been "fixed" prior to Season 5 was casting. Off the top of my head, the competitors seemed weak in Season 5 compared to previous seasons (I'm certainly not the first to state this). For example, IIRC, didn't they go out and recruit Blais to compete in season 4? Did they do that in Season 5? Other than Jamie, none of the season 5 competitors seem that they might have been recruited?

I guess my point is that better casting can make a difference. Having said that, could the previous couple of season's casting been due to good luck in casting? Perhaps, but the Blais anecdote seems to suggest otherwise.

EDITED: corrected obnoxious use of quotation marks

Edited by dscott (log)
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One thing that felt that it had been "fixed" prior to Season 5 was casting.  Off the top of my head, the competitors seemed weak in Season 5 compared to previous seasons (I'm certainly not the first to state this).  For example, IIRC, didn't they go out and recruit Blais to compete in season 4?  Did they do that in Season 5?  Other than Jamie, none of the season 5 competitors seem that they might have been recruited?

I guess my point is that better casting can make a difference.  Having said that, could the previous couple of season's casting been due to good luck in casting?  Perhaps, but the Blais anecdote seems to suggest otherwise.

EDITED: corrected obnoxious use of quotation marks

I read an interview with the casting director where he stated that Jamie tried out for every season. I wonder why she wasn't picked in the earlier seasons. If it was because she was weaker than the contestants they picked for the previous seasons, it would say a lot considering that she was one of the strongest of season 5.

Edited by Ochowie (log)
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