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Top Chef: Masters


Chris Hennes
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Thanks! Now I gotta figure out how to call this one... I need my lead back. :raz:

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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Anybody wanting a little more can read my take on Episode 2 over on the Bravo blogs:

http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef-masters/bl...ular-gastronomy

Thanks for this link, Jay, esp where you say-- "But it seemed bizarre to me that a critic should claim a dislike for a whole genre of the culinary arts on principle." Although it certainly doesn't help that the popular term associated with this kind of cuisine reinforces that backlash. Also good that Blumenthal, Adria and Keller have issued that "manifesto" although, sadly, I think the term has stuck and will forever be here to stay (hope I'm wrong).

As for the past two episodes, I love the fact that the chefs who won were the coolest under pressure. Both Keller and Tracht looked like they'd already figured out what they were gonna do before Choi finished explaining the challenges. It surely looked like there was no winging and iirc finished way ahead of others.

Why not much talk about Suzanne Tracht? While I haven't heard of her before the show, the best part for me last episode was Tracht walking out of the room during credits close carrying only what appeared to be a paper bag... no fancy high-end Pelican or uber-cool knife bag, just a paper bag. Now *that* is a master :)

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I don't think "Slip me some tongue" is going to work too well for future reservations.

Is the french chef deliberately trying to embarrass himself or just destroy his career: "How much did you pay for that, Rick?", indeed!

Publicity like that can't be bought.

Pick up your phone

Think of a vegetable

Lonely at home

Call any vegetable

And the chances are good

That a vegetable will respond to you

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There's somethng wrong when they put Bayless in a challenge that couldn't be more in his wheelhouse (tongue + street food). It would have been a lot better to see him on a different episode.

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What did people think about the challenge last night? It seemed to me, as I think Jay said on the show, that the pig's ear was the most difficult, though I was surprised it wasn't turned crispy. I thought people would do better with a crisp texture than what they got - doesn't April Bloomfield, among others, do quite a famous crispy ear salad at The Spotted Pig?

The tongue seemed to me the most obvious, and especially lucky that it fell to Bayless, who must know to cook it in his sleep.

Edited by WK2 (log)
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There's somethng wrong when they put Bayless in a challenge that couldn't be more in his wheelhouse (tongue + street food). It would have been a lot better to see him on a different episode.

It was sort of boring.

Bayless cooked the same old stuff, no challenge.

The only excitement was the drama with Lefebrve and his tension with RB.

2317/5000

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I enjoyed this episode because I'm a big fan of Rick Bayless. Also, I liekd the quickfire. Not too gimicky. But yeah, it does seem they may have "stacked the deck" to let chefs shine with their normal style of cuisine. Convenient to have banaleaves, tomatiilos, etc. etc. there for quickfire. All stuff Rick uses a lot. Would that stuff have been there had he not been there? And when they openend the cover to reveal the tounge to Rick, it was a given what he would do. And really, nothing wrong with that. Tacos are some of the most perfect street food that exisits, and tounge is not all that uncommon. How much of a stretch is it that people in Los Angeles haven't seen it. (OK, yeah, they were at Universal Studios theme park, so I'm sure their were lots of tourists and less natives)

Still, though, I am very happy hew won. Can't wait to see what he does in the champions round.

For the other chefs, I wasn't familair with them. But I liked Cindy. Neat lady.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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There's somethng wrong when they put Bayless in a challenge that couldn't be more in his wheelhouse (tongue + street food). It would have been a lot better to see him on a different episode.

I thought the same thing. All of the cards seemed stacked in his favor. I'm sure it was just luck, but it was no surprise that he won.

The Frenchman left me cold. He just seemed vulgar.

Rhonda

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Can't wait to see what he does in the champions round.

Mexican. (Just a wild guess here :wink:)

I like Bayless, he just strikes me as a one-trick pony. I know you've got to cook to your strengths to win competitions like this, but I'd love to have seen something that forced him out of his Mexican-food comfort zone. I was hoping Pawlcyn would win: shame they didn't care for her Menudo, she seems like a great chef. Underseasoned, Cindy? Say it ain't so!

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Can't wait to see what he does in the champions round.

Mexican. (Just a wild guess here :wink:)

I like Bayless, he just strikes me as a one-trick pony.

It sure is a trick he knows and does well. :) (and I really like Mexican cuisine, so I am sort of biased)

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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Ludo Lefebvre came off as a arrogant crybaby (if there is such a thing), it seems like he tried to blame everything that went wrong on someone else and didn't own up to his own short comings.

The best line was where he said, "I usually have 5 people to help me do this."

Yeah I got a chuckle out of that, not to mention I lost count how many times he referred to the beatings he took in French Kitchens. It's like, man we get it! But you don't need to remind us a billion times.

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Ludo Lefebvre came off as a arrogant crybaby (if there is such a thing), it seems like he tried to blame everything that went wrong on someone else and didn't own up to his own short comings.

The best line was where he said, "I usually have 5 people to help me do this."

My favorite line was when he claimed Bayless was "copying" him by choosing to make tacos. WTF dude.

Born Free, Now Expensive

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I picked Wilo to win with Rick second so I didn't take that round either.

I thought Wilo gave the best impression of "I'm here to make good food and do something good for my charity so let's have fun" but the things the judges said about his food made sense to me. I hate unheated grocery store pitas, the texture is horrible, and burying the main ingredient so deeply does kinda defeat the purpose.

Pawclyn seemed a bit too nervous. She seemed nice enough but I think in something like this show you need to go in and do what you do best without worrying about what anybody else might want you to do.

Lefebrve choked himself worrying about beating people instead of concentrating on the food. His attitude didn't bother me, I understand getting into the competitive "I have to win" zone, but he let it take over his concentration instead of focusing it. He wasn't going to out-Mexican Rick.

Bayless was spot-on but that elimination challenge might as well have been held in one of his restaurants. Intentional or not, it was definitely biased his way. Still, he's very good at what he does and I don't doubt the judges word that his food was at the top. So congrats on the win Rick.

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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I laughed all through this episode. First, I thought Bayless came off as a nice, enthusiastic team player kind of dude who embraced both challanges with both arms, and who helped his fellow competitors out a lot - good guy. I was surprised that Cindy Pawlcyn seemed to underperform, and Wilo I totally admired - he was just there to win for his kids' hospital, full-stop, and brought his A game to every challenge.

But Ludo? Ahhhh, Ludo! Temperamental, cocksure, arrogant and vastly entertaining! I love watching a French chef of his pissiness unravel! But my thought here is - when a Mexican cuisine maestro offers you help - goodnaturedly, no underhanded intent - hel-LO! Take it! Particularly when he's the dude you're trying to take down! Having said that, I was in fits watching the exchange between James Oseland and Ludo by the quesadilla cart:

JO: (Skeptically): Have you ever made tacos before?

Ludo: (Pause. Hesitantly). Y-e-e-essssss . . .

JO: Professionally, or in your kitchen?

Ludo: Don't stress me!!!

And why the hell not make the pig ears crackly, if you're trying to out-Mexican a Mexican maestro on the one hand, and a Puerto Rican one on the other? Hello, chicharrons? Crackly pig taco, no? Oh, Mon Dieu. I think one's Gallicness - or just gall - got the better of one, in this challenge! LOL! :laugh:

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