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Food Snob

GBM 2009

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What brief do the chefs actually get in advance of the competition - is it any more detailed than simply 'a taste of home?'

Whilst I think that overall the judges have made the right decisions in choosing the winning menus I can't help but find their comments on what they are looking for slightly contradictory.

The better dishes are ones that will obviously speak for themselves and carry a resonance that isn't necessarily tangible but still, how can you knock one dish for not being 'celebratory' and then another for being too complex...it seems they are making the right decisions but using the brief to back up their decisions when in fact it may simply boil down to more basic quality issues. The chefs all seem at odds with each other in their aims to meet the brief (Aiden's summer orientated menu vs Nigel's comfort food). The brief seems to ask for originality and creativity and this seems to have had the opposite effect as many of the dishes are too 'overthought' to be playful and resonant.

With that in mind which single dish out of the series so far has met the 'taste of home' brief the best? My favourite menu was Nigel Haworth's (but I'm probably biased because I'm from Accrington) but I don't think even that had any dishes that stand out in the same way as those from the previous series.

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who won?


"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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Gordon Ramsay's chefs don't seem to shine at this type of competition; think of Angela Hartnett a year or so back.

Petrus

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mixed feelings about this one, i liked some of the elements from both menus, both starters werent nice, fish and main looked both nice, and the dessert ice cream was better (maybe thats why tristan won?)

big blow for the ramsay chefs on this year, i liked seeing jason back there, he was a nice boss when i was in maze.

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tristan was a ramsay chef up until about 18months ago don't forget...


"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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Gordon Ramsay's chefs don't seem to shine at this type of competition; think of Angela Hartnett a year or so back.

Petrus

So what does this imply??? That Ramsay chefs are really not all that and are hiding their otherwise mediocre talent behind the Ramsay name??? Hmmm... At least I am one person who is of this opinion. Someone like Jason Atherton may be an exception to this rule.

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So what does this imply??? That Ramsay chefs are really not all that and are hiding their otherwise mediocre talent behind the Ramsay name??? Hmmm... At least I am one person who is of this opinion. Someone like Jason Atherton may be an exception to this rule.

Mediocre talent? Are you honestly suggesting that Sargeant, Smyth and Hartnett are average chefs, or do you mean to say that, unlike Atherton, they aren't particularly forward thinking? I agree that it's not all that exciting to watch someone prepare a fish finger on TV, but Sargeant is clearly highly skilled.

Also, I would have to say that 'failure' on GBM is no indication of anything. Chefs Byrne, Clifford and Outlaw all went out at the first hurdle this year, would you consider them to be mediocre too?

I do think that being a Ramsay chef is starting to be a bit of a poison chalice in some respects, this kind of knee-jerk dismissal is surely connected to the fact that the 'big man' himself is being taken less and less seriously these days.

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Gordon Ramsay's chefs don't seem to shine at this type of competition; think of Angela Hartnett a year or so back.

Petrus

So what does this imply??? That Ramsay chefs are really not all that and are hiding their otherwise mediocre talent behind the Ramsay name??? Hmmm... At least I am one person who is of this opinion. Someone like Jason Atherton may be an exception to this rule.

I was thinking that Ramsay chefs (current and past) are very well represented, so on a numbers basis you could argue that they represent a significant portion of the best talent in the UK. They make up 40% (or so) of the chefs on the programme; to me that means Ramsay must have 40% of the best chefs in the country, and therefore 40% of the top restaurants...!

PS - I think this conclusion is as dodgy as judging chefs on such a flaky brief as "Taste of Home". The judges seem to vacillate from course to course on what the judging criteria are. IIRC last night Stephen had one of his dishes criticised because is "tasted too much of home"...! I have had chicken at a couple of GR restaurants and it has been outstanding each time. Simple but superb flavour and texture.

Serious point: it is really great to see so much strength in depth across his restaurants, OK GR may be the main brand but he doesn't seem to be scarred of pushing other people across his team into the limelight. To me that is a good trait, letting good people show off their talents etc. OK it sometimes ends in tears i.e. Wareing, however I am a touch cynical about that, and think 99% of the Wareing/Ramsay spat is PR BS.

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So what does this imply??? That Ramsay chefs are really not all that and are hiding their otherwise mediocre talent behind the Ramsay name??? Hmmm... At least I am one person who is of this opinion. Someone like Jason Atherton may be an exception to this rule.

Mediocre talent? Are you honestly suggesting that Sargeant, Smyth and Hartnett are average chefs, or do you mean to say that, unlike Atherton, they aren't particularly forward thinking? I agree that it's not all that exciting to watch someone prepare a fish finger on TV, but Sargeant is clearly highly skilled.

Also, I would have to say that 'failure' on GBM is no indication of anything. Chefs Byrne, Clifford and Outlaw all went out at the first hurdle this year, would you consider them to be mediocre too?

I do think that being a Ramsay chef is starting to be a bit of a poison chalice in some respects, this kind of knee-jerk dismissal is surely connected to the fact that the 'big man' himself is being taken less and less seriously these days.

Heh I do apologize for my small bit of controversy.

Would these chefs have won a Michelin star if they were not working under the Gordon Ramsay brand? While it is rather grey as to what is or isn't a Michelin star restaurant there are of course a few chefs who have been completely ignored or overlooked in terms of One, two or 3 stars. Smyth claims to be a 3* chef, but is she really one? Heck, is RHR even worthy of its mighty 3*s?

What I am trying to imply is that these chefs seem to be stuck within the formula that is the Gordon Ramsay brand, with only a few, like Atherton who even dares venture beyond that. The statement that Clare made to the effect that she doesn't believe in 'sous vide' cooking is pretty shocking.

Yes, it takes a certain amount of skill to be able to cook the way they do - but similarly, it is NOT difficult to follow recipes to the dot. It is the same way how our country is able to churn out doctors by the bucket load - as long as you have half a brain and are able to follow protocols you are considered 'safe'.

On the point on Bryne, Outlaw and Clifford - the chefs simply used the competition as a free opportunity to advertise their food. The chef who designed a dish from scratch to look like cow pat or a dildo on the other hand however deserves a hundred lashings.

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You make some good points, and perhaps Sargeants creative juices have gone a bit off after working under such a strict brief for so many years (I admit that I laughed out loud on first sight of the brilldo* dish), however I think my main disagreement is that I believe it IS that difficult to follow recipes to the dot, over and over, to the standard of RHR or Claridges.

Perhaps RHR doesn't merit its *** any more (and who really cares), and maybe Sargeant and Smyth aren't mercurial culinary trailblazers, but they do what 99% of chefs around the world do (repetiton, repetition, repetition), and they do so at restaurants of high quality. This, to me, implies a higher than average talent.

*sorry, couldn't resist


Edited by danielcollins (log)

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Does anyone know when this final week was actually filmed?

It was striking this evening that either the judges' tastebuds had gone on strike or most of the dishes had changed markedly since the initial heats. For example, watching it didn't appear that Tom Kitchin's haggis dish had been changed significantly, but the judges obviously didn't like it at all.

To some extent this might be explained by a few months having elapsed since the heats - and therefore the seasonal nature of the ingredients was significantly different, but if not then what was happening?

The comments from the other chefs seemed to indicate that many of the dishes were still very good, but apparently not in the judges' view...

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My perception was that when the judges did comment that there had been a marked change, it tended to be for the worse. Or is my perception faulty?

How does the decision making process now work, BTW (assuming that it is not a predetermined fix)? I gather the judges opinions are worth 50% and the public vote is the other 50%. I think tonight's winner got something like 26 points and the second place person about 24. So, how many more pubic votes would the second place person have to beat the other chef by to win (if you see what I'm trying to get at.)


John Hartley

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From the GBM website

The voting will be independently verified and used to create a ranking of the chefs, with 8 points being awarded to the chef with the most phone votes, 7 points to the second highest and so on.

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From the GBM website
The voting will be independently verified and used to create a ranking of the chefs, with 8 points being awarded to the chef with the most phone votes, 7 points to the second highest and so on.

I assume that the chefs scored 1 to 8 points based on the judges ranking, and this will be added to the 1 to 8 points from the viewers ranking.

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Phil

Seemingly, yes. I've stopped being lazy and looked up the rules.

John


John Hartley

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I know that I have been banging on a bit about Glyn's cooking recently, but it would seem justified by his fish course.

No doubt it will be on his menu soon, at hopefully not too big a supplement :shock:

For those who can't get there, or for that matter those who can not wait, here is the recipe

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database...ish_91048.shtml

I just may give this a try myself :biggrin:

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I know that I have been banging on a bit about Glyn's cooking recently, but it would seem justified by his fish course.

No doubt it will be on his menu soon, at hopefully not too big a supplement :shock:

For those who can't get there, or for that matter those who can not wait, here is the recipe

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database...ish_91048.shtml

I just may give this a try myself :biggrin:

Do you think a couple of sandwich bags and the hoover will be a good substitute for the professional vacuum-packing machine specified in the recipe...?

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He is a City fan, hence unaccustomed to winning.

Coming from a different city and supporting a different City, I fully understand this.


John Hartley

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So guys, who do you think/want to win? Here's what I think:

Starter- I'd like James Sommerin to win, being Welsh and adoring his restaurant. But I don't think he will, he hasn't come across as particularly likeable in this competition and he has completely ignored the brief. All bias aside out of the dishes my favourite is Danny Millar's, looks awesome. Too bad it's low down in the rankings.

Fish- Glynn Purnell, he's a great guy and his dish looks stunning.

Main- I personally liked Danny Millar's the best, but all of the top 3 dishes looked amazing.

Desert- I liked Kenny's the best. I may be biased because I hate treacle tarts though. I also thought Tristan's dish wasn't a 'complete' dish and Kenny's looked the most 'fun'.

What do you guys think?


Edited by ElisG (log)

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I thought James Sommerin came across as a real gent! Nice guy votes must count for something, surely? He helped out Tristan when he was in a fix and he immediately called two of the winning dishes. The others' heads seemed a bit clouded with nerves and envy and general weirdness when they were tasting but he just got stuck in.

That said, I'm not sure that the green ravioli will win for the simple reason that the show takes this effing annoying 'taste of home' so boringly literally and that may have rubbed off on viewers.

Personally I'm hoping for a Kenny - Glynn - Nigel - Tristan finish.

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I thought James Sommerin came across as a real gent! Nice guy votes must count for something, surely? He helped out Tristan when he was in a fix and he immediately called two of the winning dishes. The others' heads seemed a bit clouded with nerves and envy and general weirdness when they were tasting but he just got stuck in.

That said, I'm not sure that the green ravioli will win for the simple reason that the show takes this effing annoying 'taste of home' so boringly literally and that may have rubbed off on viewers.

Personally I'm hoping for a  Kenny - Glynn - Nigel - Tristan finish.

Yeah, actually after today I take that back, I just thought he came across as cocky in his heat week. But then again so did Steven. Mind you he's a really nice guy in real life.

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