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Chris Hennes

Top Chef: Masters

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And adding a little more analysis, which goes somewhat counter to the spirit of the point system, but is enlightening in its own right.  By taking out the stars from the Quickfire challenge, we get another view of performance, strictly based on the Elimination.  (Of course, it's all apples and oranges anyway, since there's not much  common baseline to compare performance across episodes.)  Also, to be totally geeky about it, note that the precision in the avgs is skewed, since during the episodes, the star totals were all rounded to the nearest .5

                                                                                          Elim Avg

Rank Ep Chef              Stars    Quick   Diners   James   Gael    Jay    Gail   Overall/Rank  Judges/Rank

4   *6  Art Smith          22.0     4.5       5       3       5             4.5      4.37/4t      4.17/6

i'm still perplexed by james' vote. . .

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I predict Anita or Rick will win.

Art's Scottish Egg was terrifying. I'm surprised he squeaked by. I do like his personality. He seems like such a sweet guy.

And I wish Jay would replace Toby on the regular Top Chef. :cool:

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Art's Scottish Egg was terrifying. I'm surprised he squeaked by.

It struck me as a dish that could have worked, though obviously the lamb needed to be more done, and the egg less. However, I don't have the back-history with it that Jay Rayner does.

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i'm still perplexed by james' vote. . .

My wife and I came to the conclusion that because they are mostly NYers, that the judges are not familiar with Southern food. I am sure it was very good, but I bet my grandmother's and mother's are better.

To me that was just Sunday dinner. Nothing wrong with that, but we are jaded I guess.

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We revised the points system of our little game to match the number of competitors during these finals. As a result, the point value of winning a round will drop as competitors are eliminated. That made this one valuable.

The inner fanboy wanted me to go with Chef Keller or, maybe, Chef Bayless. My head told me to go with Chef Lo based on what I saw during her first win. I listened to my head. I finally got another one right... and nobody else was close. Narrowed the gap a bit this week. :biggrin:

Art seems like a really cool person but it kinda depresses me that an undercooked lamburger with hard boiled egg beat Suzanne's dish... even if it wasn't as hot as it should have been. Of course I didn't have the benefit of tasting them so I'm not a reliable witness.


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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This is really turning out interesting. Would it be too much to ask for a Top Chef: Pastry Masters series?

Dan


"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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... Would it be too much to ask for a Top Chef: Pastry Masters series? ...

Now THAT, Sir, would make for a good spin-off show to watch (unlike FN's cheesey 'challenge' shows). I'd love to see the likes of Charlie T, Susan Wallace (a magnificent P-chef here in DC) and Elizabeth F go head to head.


"There's something very Khmer Rouge about Alice Waters that has become unrealistic." - Bourdain; interviewed on dcist.com

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This is really turning out interesting. Would it be too much to ask for a Top Chef: Pastry Masters series?

Dan

Probably too much to ask but it would be cool to see some sort of "Top" series based on pastry.


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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... Would it be too much to ask for a Top Chef: Pastry Masters series? ...

Now THAT, Sir, would make for a good spin-off show to watch (unlike FN's cheesey 'challenge' shows). I'd love to see the likes of Charlie T, Susan Wallace (a magnificent P-chef here in DC) and Elizabeth F go head to head.

Or how about Francois Payard, Jaque Torres, Bo Friberg, Gina DePalma, Fancisco Migoya, etc... Given how often the chefs on the show choke when it comes to dessert or pastry work, this could be really cool.

Dan


"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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Or how about Francois Payard, Jaque Torres, Bo Friberg, Gina DePalma, Fancisco Migoya, etc... Given how often the chefs on the show choke when it comes to dessert or pastry work, this could be really cool.

Dan

...and Michael Laiskonis and Johnny Iuzzini and Alex Stupak and Sam Mason... :biggrin:


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 that was never clear to me was the logistics of serving. Do all chefs finish at the same time (which is what the show suggests with chefs constantly calling out the time remaining) or is it staggered (which would be logical).

Such a big deal was made of Suzanne Tracht's dish standing around too long that it must have been a staggered plating yet nothing in the show ever hints at that.

Also, for the quickfire, it's quite obvious that every contestant finishes at the same time and yet judging can seem quite lengthy. Is there any concern that those who are judged last will be unduly disadvantaged?


PS: I am a guy.

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I've wondered that as well. It always shows them rushing to beat the clock together and then the food is served consecutively. I'd like to think they have a way of compensating for that little problem that we're not allowed to see. If not, it will completely change my outlook on the show. I'd hate to do a perfect souffle and then find out it would be 20 minutes before anyone was going to see/eat it.


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'd hate to do a perfect souffle and then find out it would be 20 minutes before anyone was going to see/eat it.

+1... Maybe Jay can give us some insight here?

I think what we just saw is how it will end. Rick Bayless just showed us the one weakness he might have -- only doing Mexican-- is not a real flaw, but merely a preference. He clearly can cook a greater range of styles than was previously suspected. This makes him dangerous on Top chef: cool, collected, knowledgeable. Anita is driven as a woman used to working in all-male kitchens will be, and if she doesn't let the top chef hijinks throw her I don't think she can be unseated. Keller is the possible spoiler. He's been cooking as long as he's been alive, and those muscle memories will be there even if he loses his head.

Art Smith is next in line for the chopping block-- did you see him cooking? Spilling all over the place? Heavens, that would get on my nerves. His sweet, funny nature would not make up for crunchies under foot. I'm really sad Suzanne lost to him, because I think she'd have rallied in the next challenge and been a top 3. Her food must really have been more than cold.

Edited for spelling.


Edited by et alors (log)

"Gourmandise is not unbecoming to women: it suits the delicacy of their organs and recompenses them for some pleasures they cannot enjoy, and for some evils to which they are doomed." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

MetaFooder: linking you to food | @foodtwit

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... Would it be too much to ask for a Top Chef: Pastry Masters series? ...

Now THAT, Sir, would make for a good spin-off show to watch (unlike FN's cheesey 'challenge' shows). I'd love to see the likes of Charlie T, Susan Wallace (a magnificent P-chef here in DC) and Elizabeth F go head to head.

Or how about Francois Payard, Jaque Torres, Bo Friberg, Gina DePalma, Fancisco Migoya, etc... Given how often the chefs on the show choke when it comes to dessert or pastry work, this could be really cool.

Dan

After season one of regular Top Chef, I emailed the producers suggesting a Top Pastry Chef show. It would have to be structured a bit differently, if you want to see quality artisan breads, for example. But, I think it would be do-able and interesting.

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Would a pastry show necessarily be as telegenic? It seems like most pastry is very relaxed and methodical but when disaster strikes, it's usually in a way that there's no real recourse.

With a cooking show, you can sense that someone is struggling because they're frantic and you can see their attempts to get back on track, whether successful or not.

With pastry, all you would see is a chef walk into the kitchen in the morning only to discover the starter is dead and then sit twiddling their thumbs for the next hour, knowing they're going home because there's not enough time to proof another loaf.


PS: I am a guy.

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I guess I was thinking in a different direction. Bread never crossed my mind as part of it. I was picturing more of a plated desserts type of thing. I'm not sure I'd want to watch even my favorite pastry chefs in a bread competition. I like to make it, love to eat it, but I think watching it as a competition show would be right up there with watching paint dry. Maybe worse since there wouldn't be the fumes to take your mind off the boredom. :raz: Doing restaurant style plated desserts allows for all the twists and difficulties of the challenges that are thrown at them in the regular version of the show.


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 guess I was thinking in a different direction. Bread never crossed my mind as part of it. I was picturing more of a plated desserts type of thing. I'm not sure I'd want to watch even my favorite pastry chefs in a bread competition. I like to make it, love to eat it, but I think watching it as a competition show would be right up there with watching paint dry. Maybe worse since there wouldn't be the fumes to take your mind off the boredom. :raz: Doing restaurant style plated desserts allows for all the twists and difficulties of the challenges that are thrown at them in the regular version of the show.

Plated desserts are exciting and interesting, I think there are several categories from ACF competitions which would be fun to watch: cake decorating of various types, showpiece (sugar, marzipan, pastillage, chocolate) making, petit fours platters, bon bons, and frozen desserts.

They do cut away a lot from the culinary competitions on the existing Top Chef shows. We didn't see all 3 hours of the preparation of Elk in episode 14 of season 3 -it was cut down to fit in the one hour along with the quick fire and other things. They already edit out hours of braising, baking, and slow-cooking.

On one level, yes, bread baking might seem boring, but, it could be a valid challenge and interesting if edited to be interesting. In culinary school we produced several types of bread every day during a 5 hour class which also included a lecture. For some breads, we made them over several days, retarding the dough in refrigeration, but many breads were easily produced in under 5 hours. (we made 4 breads on the day we made challah and braided it with a 6-braid) They just need to get clips of contestants talking about why they chose various flours, hydration levels, and add-ins and then show what comes out of the ovens. And, in many ways, bread is a far more forgiving product -unlike anglaise or tempering chocolate, where you need to be spot-on with temperature and technique.

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On one level, yes, bread baking might seem boring, but, it could be a valid challenge and interesting if edited to be interesting. They just need to get clips of contestants talking about why they chose various flours, hydration levels, and add-ins and then show what comes out of the ovens. And, in many ways, bread is a far more forgiving product -unlike anglaise or tempering chocolate, where you need to be spot-on with temperature and technique.

Or how about bread sculpting, as shown in the French Professional Pastry Series books? That work is too awesome to believe it's made of bread.

Theresa :biggrin:


"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

- Abraham Lincoln

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I guess I was thinking in a different direction. Bread never crossed my mind as part of it. I was picturing more of a plated desserts type of thing. I'm not sure I'd want to watch even my favorite pastry chefs in a bread competition. I like to make it, love to eat it, but I think watching it as a competition show would be right up there with watching paint dry. Maybe worse since there wouldn't be the fumes to take your mind off the boredom. :raz: Doing restaurant style plated desserts allows for all the twists and difficulties of the challenges that are thrown at them in the regular version of the show.

Perhaps a better analogy... it would be like watching dough rise.

:cool:


TomH...

BRILLIANT!!!

HOORAY BEER!

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You'd think that by now, anyone appearing on a Top Chef of any flavor would have at least a couple of desserts (one that requires an oven, and one that does not) in their bag of tricks.

MelissaH


MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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Just a minor critique... can the Chefs and Bravo take a couple steps off the "We LOVE you Rick Bayless" bandwagon?!?! This Bayless love-fest is really starting to irk me...

(this from someone whose copy of Mexican Kitchen is very dog-eared and gnarled up.)

BTW, I think I'll start cooking up burgers using Chiarello's method. What an off-beat idea... but I am packing the middle with Roquefort. Burgers without bleu cheese are just plain naked.


Edited by C_Ruark (log)

"There's something very Khmer Rouge about Alice Waters that has become unrealistic." - Bourdain; interviewed on dcist.com

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After the teaser, I cannot wait for the Michael/Dale machismo contest next week.

I was happy to see Anita squeak by, I hope she goes back to her kooky brilliant self. Overall a good show, once that posed real challenges for the masters for a change. And the camaraderie continues to hearten. I supposed that's why they are bringing in some top chef contestants-- to bring back some sniping, jabbing and whining into a show that runs a bit too smoothly.

I have completely forgiven Rick for his Chili's commercials after this show; the boy can cook.


"Gourmandise is not unbecoming to women: it suits the delicacy of their organs and recompenses them for some pleasures they cannot enjoy, and for some evils to which they are doomed." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

MetaFooder: linking you to food | @foodtwit

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After the teaser, I cannot wait for the Michael/Dale machismo contest next week.

I was happy to see Anita squeak by, I hope she goes back to her kooky brilliant self.  Overall a good show, once that posed real challenges for the masters for a change. And the camaraderie continues to hearten.  I supposed that's why they are bringing in some top chef contestants-- to bring back some sniping, jabbing and whining into a show that runs a bit too smoothly.

I have completely forgiven Rick for his Chili's commercials after this show; the boy can cook.

I loved this episode. Good challenges and stuff that would have knocked lesser chefs for a loop. I was so glad that Michael won, and Art lost. Art didn't cook anything but the brittle. I too have a new respect for Rick, but I would still like to see Michael take it. His quinoa pasta looked great - and he had to pull the strands apart. That must have been a royal pain!! I can't wait for next week. Although I did like Dale in the end, he has a temper and to mouth off to Michael - should be interesting!

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