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Chris Hennes

Top Chef: Masters

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I really enjoyed the show, even more than the regular Top Chef, and hope that there is a second season.

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I really enjoyed the show, even more than the regular Top Chef, and hope that there is a second season.

I think it's pretty likely there will be.

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I still don't get why people seem so offended over Chef Chiarello. He didn't do anything that would have offended me if I'd been there so I can't really find a reason to be offended for those who were there.

Many people are offended by strong personalities and favor Oprah/Art Linkletter-like (never thought I'd put those two in tandem!) blandness.

Well I hated Linkletter and didn't particularly like Chiarello either. It is possible to avoid arrogance and excessive self-regard without being 'bland'.

I loved the finale, it more than made up for the slightly boring early episodes, in my view. I love it when the chef contestants (in either TC or Masters) are free to cook a great meal with a minimum of constraints.

Do you mean Art Smith? Or sis I miss a show where Art linkletter cooked? :wink:


Edited by KristiB50 (log)

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IIRC, that one star was the difference between a win and a dead heat with Bayless in the finale. Oseland gave him 3 1/2 stars, whereas Greene and Rayner gave him 4 1/2.

Now I'm hurt...

I went through that mathematical exercise a few pages ago and no one looked at it? It showed that James Oseland was "Stingier" with his stars across the board in the elimination rounds. Overall, he gave out fewer stars than the other judges. He simply had a higher threshold for giving out stars. This is fine, as long as he consistently applied it to all contestants, and I believe he did.

It's like a baseball umpire who is calling balls and strikes. As long as he's consistent in his strike zone from batter to batter, even if it's low, high, small, or large, it's fair. Judging is subjective, right? Instead of some conspiracy to hurt one charity to help another, maybe Oseland actually liked Rick's food better?

Thanks again to all for making the wait between shows so entertaining, and to Jay for participating on this thread.

:cool:

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I still want to know, as another poster did as well, how cold and compromised are some of the dishes at service and how do the judges account for that. In some cases it just can't be helped. A shrimp or scallop dish for instance.

Can you shed some light on that Jay? And yes thanks for your time and fun in jumping in here.


Edited by Doodad (log)

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I still want to know, as another poster did as well, how cold and compromised are some of the dishes at service and how do the judges account for that.  In some cases it just can't be helped.  A shrimp or scallop dish for instance.

Can you shed some light on that Jay?  And yes thanks for your time and fun in jumping in here.

There were a bunch of different situations. Some of them required staggered start times, the lost meal for example, and the re-engineered signature dishes. So the issues with Suzanne's cold fish was hers not the shows.

Things like the canapes cocktail party and the buffet challenge was designed in such way so that the food should have been at its best whenever we ate it. That was part of the challenge.

And we made a point of eating dishes in an order us judges afreed on, starting with mildets to strongest so a subtle dish wasn't destroyed by the force of the one preceeding it. At no point did the demands of the show work to the detriment of the food.

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Absolutely loved all of TCM. As far as all of the finalists, the cream really did rise to the top. We were hoping Bayless would win because of the great passion he has for Mexican food and how accessible he makes cooking good Mexican food through his books. Growing up in the S.F. bay area, I've had a lot of exposure to Mexican food but nothing like what he puts out.

Truly there were no losers, all three finalists were maginificent. The real winners were the audiences, charities, and of course the judges who got to taste those dishes.

The judges too seemed to do an admirable job as well. Whilst they wouldn't be critics if they weren't opinionated, the playing field seemed to be level for all and they should be commended for keeping it that way.

Will Bravo do it again? Let's hope so. Who would people like to see as contestants?

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There is no question in my mind that I enjoyed TCM's first season's closing show more than all of the TC shows lumped together. I loooooved those chefs cooking in the nurturing environment they've created. :wub:

I loved the final TCM challenge containing: the past... the present... the future of their cooking. However, I waited and waited for responses (from eGulleters) concerning the absence of sous vide in the "present or future of the Master Chefs," and now I am stuck with a question: am I the only one who noticed that not one of the three (magnificent by all accounts) TMCs used sous vide techniques or equipment?

Now I also wonder:

1. Are TCM finalists, as great as they are in serving classic dishes, too old, too uncomfortable, etc. to embrace the new tends in food prep....?

2. Is Sous Vide a passing fad and is not worth TCM's valuable time because it is already gone and forgotten, but manufacturers are keeping it alive, so they can get rid of their pricey inventory?

Skipper

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I don't know how to answer those questions about the actual work of these chefs in their own kitchens, but in this competition you'd be a fool to fiddle too much with that stuff given the spankings that foam, sous vide proteins, and so on have all been lambasted on this show.

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Bayliss enthusiastically embraced the use of nitrogen in creating avocado ice cream. Use of the sous vide isn't the only way to judge a chef's openness to use of relatively new food technology. And, as chrisamirault stated, final round isn't the time to go too far beyond what your core skills are (knowing what the stakes are and how some of those newer styles have been harshly judged in the past).

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Does sous vide work given the time constraints they usually have to work under?

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I don't know how to answer those questions about the actual work of these chefs in their own kitchens, but in this competition you'd be a fool to fiddle too much with that stuff given the spankings that foam, sous vide proteins, and so on have all been lambasted on this show.

I agree--and proof of this point was demonstrated by Bayless with the "Chorizo Air" in his seafood stew. It appeared to be done primarily as an afterthought--every dish has to have a "foam" or "air" sort of trendy thinking. And it appeared that the judges, led by Gael Greene, agreed that the dish would have stood alone just fine, (as long as the seafood had been cooked properly), without that silly sausage "air."

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I don't think the lack of one technique by a sampling of three chefs denotes any kind of rejection of new techniques. Culinary innovation, IMO, encompasses much more than technique.

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To wit, the technique on those short ribs and that mole were clearly superior to any that the judges had experienced before -- and I dare say those three people have eaten their share of short ribs and mole.

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We're doing our little competition on a points system. You pick one person each week. If that person finishes first, you get 4 pts. Second, 3 pts. Third, 2 pts. Fourth, 1 pt.

I've let my kid (age 7) watch this with me because it's so much more respectful and I love the idea she sees people doing their own thing for charities. She's always making things for kids projects at our UU society and she's always wondered if what she was doing was the right thing. I love that these people are sharing their charities and putting the word out.

Comparing the elimination rounds between the regular Top Chef program, and the Masters program, which format do you prefer so far? 

I'm more inclined to go with the regular Top Chef format.  For me, this one has too much talking and not much of getting to watch the chefs during the elimination rounds.  Although I admit, I do not miss the arguements that occurred between the contenders in Top Chef.

Theresa :biggrin:

I like both. They serve different niches. The one thing I really don't like is the voyeuristic peeking through the windows shots on TC last year. Show the banter or bitter, but don't go peeping through peoples' windows. It made me feel icky last year, the Bearded Colorado Guy with the NYC Girl. It really turned me off and if it starts going that way again, I'll bail.

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To wit, the technique on those short ribs and that mole were clearly superior to any that the judges had experienced before -- and I dare say those three people have eaten their share of short ribs and mole.

I think Jay said he had never had mole?


Edited by Reignking (log)

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Don't know if it has been mentioned, but they are serving Bayless's menu from the final on the tasting menu at Topolobampo until October 10th. I haven't been to Chicago since I was a kid, but since it is now only a 6.5 hour drive we're seriously thinking of driving up there for dinner.

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I don't know how to answer those questions about the actual work of these chefs in their own kitchens, but in this competition you'd be a fool to fiddle too much with that stuff given the spankings that foam, sous vide proteins, and so on have all been lambasted on this show.

I agree--and proof of this point was demonstrated by Bayless with the "Chorizo Air" in his seafood stew. It appeared to be done primarily as an afterthought--every dish has to have a "foam" or "air" sort of trendy thinking. And it appeared that the judges, led by Gael Greene, agreed that the dish would have stood alone just fine, (as long as the seafood had been cooked properly), without that silly sausage "air."

I wonder if that "air" idea also came from his sous chef - the same one who slightly overcooked the seafood.

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Allow me to step in for a moment and defend the foam/air/espuma/whatevertheheckwearecallingthemthesedays: I've had a very similar seafood soup with a chorizo foam on it and the foam worked reasonably well for me. Chorizo on its own is an incredibly powerful flavor that can easily overwhelm everything else in a dish, and the foam allowed the chef to tone it down a bit, while still maintaining the chorizo as an individual component of a complex dish. So in my mind, while the execution may have been flawed in this case, there is nothing terrible about the idea.

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Of course its exceptionally silly.  That's why we care about it.  Much easier than caring about important things that worry the crap out of us.  These shows provide the food-obsessed the same escape that others get from sports.

Possibly the best post I have seen on any forum anywhere.

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