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Top Chef: Masters


Chris Hennes
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Yes, Wylie had a great score on his chicken and egg dish: apparently it was phenomenal. But he still came across as not having done that well, I think mostly due to his appearing somewhat "scatterbrained." It's unfortunate, but he doesn't really film well (though I thought his constant stream of expletives was amusing).

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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One thing I miss on Masters is the lack of our knowledge of meal development. I mean you have almost no idea what they are cooking until it is brought out to the judges. I like to see some of the prep and thought process that went into their plate. This is my only real criticism of the show. I want to see more cooking.

I agree. Too much time judging and not enough cooking.

I had thought prior to the season that some chefs, like Wylie, would have difficulty when forced to operate out of their element, cuisine wise or technique wise.

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I think another reason why I feel WD messed up is that these shows usually include points for kitchen performance, and again, due to editing, it appeared as if he was running around like a chicken...

I wonder if the egg dish is proprietary and he wouldn't allow more info to be provided.

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I didn't enjoy this weeks episode as much as last week's. The vending machine 'amuse bouche' challenge didn't do it for me and I didn't like that they only cooked one course for the elimination challenge. Also, the banter amongst the chefs didn't seem to be as much fun as it was with the first group.

Wylie just tripped up in the amuse challenge. I bet if he didn't over-reduce his Dr. Pepper, he would have won the whole round and moved on to the champions/final round.

I too would be curious to get details about his egg technique. I wonder what temp the water bath was set to?

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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65.5c for an hour.

I think it was an Arzak technique but could be wrong. Courtesy of the Sam Mason "The Launch" blog...

I enjoyed the show but Wylie seemed really on the verge of losing it.

Still, they were all good, the scores were very high compared to last week.

2317/5000

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First off, to Jay:

It's great to have actual participants in the show sharing their experience and insight here. I remember exchanging thoughts with Michael Ruhlman about the "Cooking Under Fire" show from a couple years back, so please, continue your dialog here.

One thing I notice in Top Chef Masters is that the chef-testants have all pretty much established their national reputations and success already, so there is clearly a lot more respect and camaraderie between them in the kitchen challenges, rather than the "I'm so much better than these other hacks" attitude from chefs who are still desperate to get national exposure. Reminds me of how colonels in the military behave, vs. generals once they've reached their career objective (and maybe feel some guilt). The master chefs really come across as having a hell of a lot of fun with each other, versus the Do-or-Die-and-screw-the-others chance to get some much-needed publicity.

And finally, I'm just an engineer who cooks as a much-needed artistic outlet with my hands, not a professional, and can appreciate the technological approach to cooking when it's as sincere as Wylie Dufresne's... but is it wrong for me to picture this guy -

Link to Mr. Kidd

every time I see Wylie on camera?

:biggrin:

TomH...

BRILLIANT!!!

HOORAY BEER!

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First off, to Jay:

It's great to have actual participants in the show sharing their experience and insight here.  I remember exchanging thoughts with Michael Ruhlman about the "Cooking Under Fire" show from a couple years back, so please, continue your dialog here.

One thing I notice in Top Chef Masters is that the chef-testants have all pretty much established their national reputations and success already, so there is clearly a lot more respect and camaraderie between them in the kitchen challenges, rather than the "I'm so much better than these other hacks" attitude from chefs who are still desperate to get national exposure.  Reminds me of how colonels in the military behave, vs. generals once they've reached their career objective (and maybe feel some guilt).  The master chefs really come across as having a hell of a lot of fun with each other, versus the Do-or-Die-and-screw-the-others chance to get some much-needed publicity.

And finally, I'm just an engineer who cooks as a much-needed artistic outlet with my hands, not a professional, and can appreciate the technological approach to cooking when it's as sincere as Wylie Dufresne's... but is it wrong for me to picture this guy -

Link to Mr. Kidd

every time I see Wylie on camera?

:biggrin:

Le Bumb Soopreeze!

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I think another reason why I feel WD messed up is that these shows usually include points for kitchen performance, and again, due to editing, it appeared as if he was running around like a chicken...

I wonder if the egg dish is proprietary and he wouldn't allow more info to be provided.

According to a Gael Greene tweet or something she said none of them had seen the episode before us.

Any kitchen hi-jinks would be new to the judges.

2317/5000

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I, too, am enjoying this show.

I enjoy the fact that we're actually seeing more actual cooking in the kitchen

and less drama. I do understand that there will be a bit of bickering between

regular Top Chef contestants, but I can do without watching them snuggle on

the sofa and worrying about what their significant others are going to think.

As for Defresene, he reminds me of Ray Manzarek of the Doors in an odd

sort of way.

Must be the sideburns.

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I too was surprise when WD seemed scattered, but not many people work well under fire and on camera. I wish they would have allowed him more of the chemical stuff, which is what he does best. I really wish they would just fully stock the kitchen, maybe have a mystery ingredient then let the contestants do what they do best. We would see some real great stuff cooking wise then, or at least let them do that for the elimation challenge. But the show is big time fun!

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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I'm finding this show entertaining, and not as focused on the harsh criticism aspect of the competition as some of the other 'cooking competition' shows (as others have mentioned.)

And I'm well aware that 'reality' shows have only as much reality as the producers wish them to have, but I found some of the fine print at the end of the show to be quite odd:

Winning and elimination decisions were made

by the Judges in consultation with producers.

Some elimination decisions were

discussed with Bravo.

My reaction to that notice was, WTF??? I guess the cooking is not necessarily as important as the telegenic aspect of the cheftestants. Or something.

Nope. Not at all. Every scoring decision I took was the decision I wanted to take, and I know that's the same with my fellow judges. The line is, however, an accurate description of the process in that, on a show of this scale, there are a bunch of exec producers, some from magical elves (the production company), some from Bravo. At various times as we reached our decisions, in a closed room, various of those execs would be in the room. We told em what we were going to do. Simple as that.

Jay

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I too was surprise when WD seemed scattered, but not many people work well under fire and on camera. I wish they would have allowed him more of the chemical stuff, which is what he does best. I really wish they would just fully stock the kitchen, maybe have a mystery ingredient then let the contestants do what they do best. We would see some real great stuff cooking wise then, or at least let them do that for the elimation challenge. But the show is big time fun!

They were sous viding, using liquid nitrogen and some other technique I believe. I don’t think they would’ve taken issue if Wylie brought some toys from home (ala Richard, Marcel and others from TC seasons past).

I was surprised that Wylie didn’t win, at first. But when I thought about how his cuisine is so technical, precise, reliant on various cooking techniques, machinery, chemicals (often requiring longer prep/cooking times) not to mention the number of components and ingredients in every dish, I was surprised he did as well as he did. As the guys inferred above, his is not the food for stealthy preparation.

Btw, I took my wife to WD-50 a couple years ago for her bday. And while we don’t get out to as many of NYC’s top spots as we’d like, we’ve done a nice sampling over time. The dinner and experience we had at WD-50 was perhaps the best meal either of us have ever had. I would say to anyone interested in this cuisine that it is a crime not to experience it. And he is truly a class act (even though he said f*@k about 10x).

That wasn't chicken

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Re the judging

Nope. Not at all. Every scoring decision I took was the decision I wanted to take, and I know that's the same with my fellow judges. The line is, however, an accurate description of the process in that, on a show of this scale, there are a bunch of exec producers, some from magical elves (the production company), some from Bravo. At various times as we reached our decisions, in a closed room, various of those execs would be in the room. We told em what we were going to do. Simple as that.

That's great to hear - thanks.

When you're talking to said Bravo & Magical Elves people please do let them know how much more we're enjoying the professional personal-drama free atmosphere of this show in comparison to the regular TopChef!

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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I think Wylie lost based simply on that vending machine app, at least to GEB.

The judges for that competition jumped on his sauce over reducing right away.

I'm surprised that more people aren't mentioning his ( Bowles) performance.

Tracht just must have been solid as a rock, she looked focused as heck.

2317/5000

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As for Defresene, he reminds me of Ray Manzarek of the Doors in an odd

sort of way. 

Must be the sideburns.

ROFLMAO.........Right. On.

I was wondering who he was channeling, and Manzarek is totally it !

--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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I'm surprised that more people aren't mentioning  his  ( Bowles) performance.

Tracht just must have been solid as a rock, she looked focused as heck.

I wasn't real familiar with Bowles before this. Actually, I don't think I'd really heard of him, if I had, it didn't stick. I sure HAD heard of Durfrense, Faulkner and of course Tracht.

He blew me away. While I was very surprised Tracht won, I was even more surprised by his work. It was pretty damn stunning. He has a new fan with me.

As I said before, I would have very very happily eaten any of these dishes, and any of the ones from the first episode. They all looked spectacular, and I'm sure tasted that way as well.

--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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So I called that round just about as wrong as I could have called it. I went with Wylie as my pick for the win despite having a bit of difficulty calling him over Graham. I'm a fan of Elizabeth's work but didn't expect to see a dessert challenge so I couldn't put her at the top. I was completely unfamiliar with Suzanne's work so I had no basis with which to place her other than the obvious one, that she was good enough to be there in the first place. I lost my lead this week. Wylie didn't let me down though, he rocked the elimination challenge. Great job by all four chefs.

I wonder if the egg dish is proprietary and he wouldn't allow more info to be provided.

Rob: It's not proprietary at all. If you don't already have it, you really should grab a copy of McGee's On Food and Cooking (and if you do already have it, you should set aside the time to read it :raz: ). It's a whole world of information (including the science behind that egg) in one handy book. I've read it cover to cover, read specific parts many times over the years and refer to it often. I still consider it the most valuable book in my collection by far.

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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One thing I noticed about the vending machine challenge... WD was the only one who's components were probably around 90% from the vending machine.

I guess I thought these challenges are explained differently to the contestants but I expected a little more usage of the vending machine food, to see what they do with it.. however less appetizing it may be.

So I was surprised that WD scored the lowest when his dish hit the "goal" of the challenge.

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One thing I noticed about the vending machine challenge... WD was the only one who's components were probably around 90% from the vending machine.

I guess I thought these challenges are explained differently to the contestants but I expected a little more usage of the vending machine food, to see what they do with it.. however less appetizing it may be. 

So I was surprised that WD scored the lowest when his dish hit the "goal" of the challenge.

His sauce was over reduced.

The judges of the vending machine comp. hit him pretty heavy on that

2317/5000

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I'm having trouble finding information on who's up next. Anybody see it anywhere?

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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