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Top Chef: Season 6 – Las Vegas


Chris Hennes
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You gotta love it when a Cheftestant calls a raw slice of tomato "sashimi" and then watches with anticipation as the diner's ooh and aah over this earth-shattering culinary technique for putting vegetables on a plate.

Yes... ish. I get what you're saying but I don't think a little creative license with culinary terms is always too over-the-top. I can see it being more fun for a group of vegetarians if a little creativity goes into the menu descriptions. It's sometimes more fun for non-vegetarians, so why assume vegetarians aren't into creativity as well? As long as the flavors back up the gimmicks, I'm fine with it. I mean, soy milk ice cream isn't ice cream but that sounds better on a menu than "frozen non-dairy soy product".

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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You gotta love it when a Cheftestant calls a raw slice of tomato "sashimi" and then watches with anticipation as the diner's ooh and aah over this earth-shattering culinary technique for putting vegetables on a plate.

Yes... ish. I get what you're saying but I don't think a little creative license with culinary terms is always too over-the-top. I can see it being more fun for a group of vegetarians if a little creativity goes into the menu descriptions. It's sometimes more fun for non-vegetarians, so why assume vegetarians aren't into creativity as well? As long as the flavors back up the gimmicks, I'm fine with it. I mean, soy milk ice cream isn't ice cream but that sounds better on a menu than "frozen non-dairy soy product".

Fair enough and a good argument of the other side of the issue--especially as it pertains to the naming of dishes in a vegetarian menu.

At least I haven't harped on the "tomato confit" issue this year--until now. I seem to have heard one of the Cheftestant's using the term on one of this season's episodes. I'm not a big fan of tomatoes stewed in duck or goose fat, but I guess we live in times where anything can be called a "confit"--a liberal description of what is a specific form of cooking. Tomato "sashimi" or tomato "confit"--I suppose in the end what matters most is what the judges tasted.

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I guess no-one slapped Paul Bartolotta on the hand as a child for putting his knife in his mouth. :wink:

And the way Tom holds his cutlery freaks me out. :shock:

Did you notice the way Jennifer held her cutlery and put food in her mouth? Jayzus!

Tom's cutlery-holding style is actually pretty common. I see it a lot, unfortunately. At least he doesn't keep the same hold when he puts the food in his mouth. I've seen that, too.

I guess even top chefs are only required to know how to cook the food properly, not how to eat it.

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Chef's manners always look pretty bad when I see them feeding.

I'm sure that there will now be an series of posts saying how table manners aren't important etc etc etc.

Well they are.

Unless you are a Euro and then you are actually expected to put both feet in the trough.

Flame away LOL.

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You gotta love it when a Cheftestant calls a raw slice of tomato "sashimi" and then watches with anticipation as the diner's ooh and aah over this earth-shattering culinary technique for putting vegetables on a plate.

Yes... ish. I get what you're saying but I don't think a little creative license with culinary terms is always too over-the-top. I can see it being more fun for a group of vegetarians if a little creativity goes into the menu descriptions. It's sometimes more fun for non-vegetarians, so why assume vegetarians aren't into creativity as well? As long as the flavors back up the gimmicks, I'm fine with it. I mean, soy milk ice cream isn't ice cream but that sounds better on a menu than "frozen non-dairy soy product".

Fair enough and a good argument of the other side of the issue--especially as it pertains to the naming of dishes in a vegetarian menu.

At least I haven't harped on the "tomato confit" issue this year--until now. I seem to have heard one of the Cheftestant's using the term on one of this season's episodes. I'm not a big fan of tomatoes stewed in duck or goose fat, but I guess we live in times where anything can be called a "confit"--a liberal description of what is a specific form of cooking. Tomato "sashimi" or tomato "confit"--I suppose in the end what matters most is what the judges tasted.

The important bit in my argument agrees 100% with you though... the flavor has to be there. Cutesy or gimmicky word play or technique does not cover the sins of bad food. Food being equal, I personally tend to give the advantage to creativity but the best food should always win no matter how simple.

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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It's funny how the contest clearly changes some people. Jen is getting worn out, while Mike V actually seems to be improving under the pressure. Brother Bryan seems to be weakening a little bit, and Eli improving. Only Kevin seems the same, except every episode he seems more and more clear he's the winner. Thomas Keller judging might give Bryan V a shot, since I think he'd get the humor and play in his dishes. But even if he loses, it's clear this show has given Mike V a good platform from which to launch a restaurant. Too many people have called him Picasso. ;) I think in many ways, even if he went home next episode he's won.

I also agree about the strange lack of grains. I think they are mostly what keeps my sister alive. Then again, we'd all be more healthy if we ate what was served last episode. It looked fabulous and I'm a cow eater.

"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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.

At least I haven't harped on the "tomato confit" issue this year--until now. I seem to have heard one of the Cheftestant's using the term on one of this season's episodes. I'm not a big fan of tomatoes stewed in duck or goose fat, but I guess we live in times where anything can be called a "confit"--a liberal description of what is a specific form of cooking. Tomato "sashimi" or tomato "confit"--I suppose in the end what matters most is what the judges tasted.

I thought Eli's eggplant "confit" in this episode was basically slow-roasted eggplant with liberal amounts of olive oil, but I suppose "confit" works as shorthand.

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Unless you are a Euro and then you are actually expected to put both feet in the trough.

Wait.... are you claiming that Americans have better table manners than Europeans?

That's such a shocking inversion of the orthodox wisdom that I don't know where to start in rebutting it...

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No offense to people who argue this, but I like plays on wording. I agree with tri2cook, the flavor needs to be there... I mean, it's food, it has to taste good, but I always enjoy being a little playful. It makes eating a little more fun. Maybe it's just my nature - I don't like things being so set in stone, and I like to have fun. I kinda feel people who don't like that sort of thing are a little closed minded, and I couldn't live that way personally. As long as what they are playing with is similar is at least one aspect to the 'original', be it texture, or look, or whatever, I say go for it.

Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality.

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I'm pretty sure confit just means preserved, and I know it's applied to more than duck-- you can have fruit confited in sugar in france.

As for sashimi-- isn't nice that their are so many fancy ways to say I didn't cook it? crudo, carpaccio, ceviche...

It does seem to show an inconsistency (or growth?) in the judges... I recall them harping on someone who was playing with the idea of coq a vin, but used a hen, yet these kind of nouveau terms aren't fazing them much. I guess once you've whipped out the agar and the nitrogen, all bets are off.

"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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It does seem to show an inconsistency (or growth?) in the judges... I recall them harping on someone who was playing with the idea of coq a vin, but used a hen, yet these kind of nouveau terms aren't fazing them much. I guess once you've whipped out the agar and the nitrogen, all bets are off.

She wasn't playing with the idea of coq au vin, she said she had cooked coq au vin, which she hadn't.

Surely coq au vin, as the name of an individual dish, is in a different class to words like "confit" or "carpaccio" or "sashimi" that describe a technique or method of preparation.

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Sashimi is a method of preparation for proteins specifically (usually fish, but also chicken, horse "basashi"). To use the word "sashimi" with regards to tomatoes would be pretentious at best.

That being said, when borrowings of words occur in language, meanings can also change. In that sense, "tomato sashimi" could be acceptable, as could "coq au vin" made with a hen rather than a rooster.

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I think when Jose Andres did it on No Reservations he called it "tomato caviar" which is a closer approximation since it was just the seeds and surrounding jelly... but it's obviously not caviar either. If the diner enjoys eating it, who really cares what I call it? Let me have my fun. Some of the names kids get stuck with from parents trying to be "unique" or "original" are pretty ridiculous but I don't get my knickers in a twist over that either. :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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Haven't read the comments in this thread but I'm pulling for Kevin. He has showed skill and class and the brother rivalry is really getting old for me personally. I think it was very poor form for (can't remember which brother) got his ass in a twist over the Kale dish that Kevin made.

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Unless you are a Euro and then you are actually expected to put both feet in the trough.

Wait.... are you claiming that Americans have better table manners than Europeans?

That's such a shocking inversion of the orthodox wisdom that I don't know where to start in rebutting it...

Australians count as Euros. Canadians don't.

LOL

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Those thrown by scheduling irregularities, prepare to have kittens. It appears competition is suspended this week in favor of a "Dinner Party at Fabio's" reunion special. Then next week we'll get a visit from Nigella.

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It appears Toby took a great deal of offense to his pronunciation of paella.

My link

How come they get on Laurine for her 'rilette' not being a rilette, but condoning or overlooking a slice of raw tomato being sashimi? I just find it odd what is and isn't okay with them. Toby is right however about the snobbery.

Charles a food and wine addict - "Just as magic can be black or white, so can addictions be good, bad or neither. As long as a habit enslaves it makes the grade, it need not be sinful as well." - Victor Mollo

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It appears Toby took a great deal of offense to his pronunciation of paella.

My link

How come they get on Laurine for her 'rilette' not being a rilette, but condoning or overlooking a slice of raw tomato being sashimi? I just find it odd what is and isn't okay with them. Toby is right however about the snobbery.

Because Laurine thought she was making rillettes, but she wasn't because she didn't know how to? The tomato sashimi wasn't meant to be "sashimi," but the pork rillettes were intended to be "rillettes." It was a play on the word and style of preparation, while the other was a lapse of knowledge/technique.

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Perhaps a bad choice since her 'rilette' didn't taste good, the heart of my complaint though is that at varying times in the past there are some dishes that when presented they take exception to for what they are called, while with others they just shine it on. Same with Robin and the beet carpaccio, carpaccio is meat. Perhaps it is that they accept the absurd as playful, but if something is similar to what they are calling a dish but is not precisely that dish they seem to take offense. Laurine's rilette was a bad choice since she was apparently trying to make a rilette and also it was bad, but I do think that had it tasted good and had she chose to simply call it that as a play on the dish, that they still would have taken offense.

Charles a food and wine addict - "Just as magic can be black or white, so can addictions be good, bad or neither. As long as a habit enslaves it makes the grade, it need not be sinful as well." - Victor Mollo

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Perhaps a bad choice since her 'rilette' didn't taste good, the heart of my complaint though is that at varying times in the past there are some dishes that when presented they take exception to for what they are called, while with others they just shine it on. Same with Robin and the beet carpaccio, carpaccio is meat. Perhaps it is that they accept the absurd as playful, but if something is similar to what they are calling a dish but is not precisely that dish they seem to take offense. Laurine's rilette was a bad choice since she was apparently trying to make a rilette and also it was bad, but I do think that had it tasted good and had she chose to simply call it that as a play on the dish, that they still would have taken offense.

I think it had to do with two large factors. One: She had no idea what a rilette was. The only thing that it had similar to a rilette was that it was pork - I mean, rilette is basically two things, fat, and pork, and missing 50% of the ingredients doesn't exactly work. Two: It was horrible in both taste and texture, and I think that is the big one that they busted her on.

Eli did a play on rilettes on an earlier episode, the deconstruction episode, and they liked it a lot. His was a play on them, certainly not a pure rilette in the classic sense, but it was done well, and it tasted good. So it would seem to be in this case, if she had actually done a good job coming even close to what it was, they would have been ok with it.

This whole play on word thing I think does have a set of rules, and I think it seems a little hazy with some people. To me, as long as it's similar in at least a way to the original, I think they can go ahead and play around. Robin's beet carpaccio to me was ok to call it that, because it was shaped and sliced in a way to mimic the original. The tomato sashimi I think was ok to do since it was really thinly sliced and made to mimic the original. The 'rilette' laurine tried to do, from what I can tell, wasn't near it in taste, texture, and even the appearance looked off, so i don't think even if it tasted well she could call it a play on a rilette since it was so far off. People do plays on rilettes all the time using other forms of protein, but at least those have a similar texture.

Bottom line is she got called out on making something shitty.

Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality.

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