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Top Chef : Season 7 - Washington, D.C.


Reignking
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Were these possibly the dumbest rules ever devised for an elimination challenge?

Quite possibly. Not only did the third worst team get a very valuable prize and the best teams not have a chance at it, but the third worst team is the one who got a recipe on the restaurant's menu. It would have made much more sense to give the early winners a chance to stay out with immunity, or continue on for a chance at the prize.

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I am pretty sure there were quotes that established that the best overall dish of the day would be the winner (i.e. it didn't have to come out of the dinner service). I think it just happened that way.

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I am almost angry about the elimination challenge. Without even going into how it turned out, a very strong contender with a weak partner would have a very good chance of going home (unless they hit him/her over the head with a frying pan and lock them in the cooler).

And I wish they'd stop running teasers that telegraph what's going to happen.

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Were these possibly the dumbest rules ever devised for an elimination challenge?

Quite possibly. Not only did the third worst team get a very valuable prize and the best teams not have a chance at it, but the third worst team is the one who got a recipe on the restaurant's menu. It would have made much more sense to give the early winners a chance to stay out with immunity, or continue on for a chance at the prize.

"Third worst" isn't quite it. All you know is that the three teams that had to cook dinner weren't in the top two at breakfast or lunch. Nobody said their dishes in the earlier rounds were poor, only that they weren't among the top two.

I am almost angry about the elimination challenge. Without even going into how it turned out, a very strong contender with a weak partner would have a very good chance of going home (unless they hit him/her over the head with a frying pan and lock them in the cooler).

I'm not quite ready to get angry at a TV show, but it really had the potential for being manifestly unfair. By the time dinner was served, each chef had a 1/3 chance of going home, instead of the usual 1/14th.

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The only thing remotely unfair about that is that they were eliminating a team, rather than a single person: it could easily have happened that a real loser dragged a contender out with them. But a) that didn't happen, and b) if the person were REALLY a contender for "Top Chef" shouldn't they have been able to deal with having a loser on their team?

The fact that at the end there were only three teams competing is not relevant if you view the contest as a whole unit.

Chris Hennes
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I'll miss Arnold, actually. And I do think that the dish was ill-conceived for the challenge, but to see that the major flaw pointed out was "undercooked", and that it was Lynne putting on the pressure? I think he was more trying not to engage in "throwing his partner under the bus".

I wish the partner choices had been random.

And as far as the babyfood challenge...I've been using the "babyled weaning" (not meaning cessation of nursing, but "introduction of solid foods") - neither of my kids have had any purees at all. I was actually disappointed to see both Tom and Padma advocating purees. (And Padma's baby is far too young for solids yet!)

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The only thing remotely unfair about that is that they were eliminating a team, rather than a single person: it could easily have happened that a real loser dragged a contender out with them. But a) that didn't happen, and b) if the person were REALLY a contender for "Top Chef" shouldn't they have been able to deal with having a loser on their team?

The fact that at the end there were only three teams competing is not relevant if you view the contest as a whole unit.

I agree with you in that eliminating a team is unfair. But I think that a) did happen. Arnold was an elimination challenge winner. He got sent packing for undercooked pasta that he he didn't do and was clearly fighting against (during the cooking, not the judging). As for b) are you you really expected to dispatch your teammate in order to win?

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The only thing remotely unfair about that is that they were eliminating a team, rather than a single person: it could easily have happened that a real loser dragged a contender out with them.

Here's what's unfair about it. If the competition is functioning correctly, then the chefs should be eliminated in reverse order of competence. This was the fourth episode of the season, so the fourth-worst chef of the original 17—assuming you can figure out who that is—should have been sent home.

That's not the way this challenge worked. The four chefs who cooked the best breakfast didn’t have to put their asses on the line for lunch or dinner. A much smaller sample of their work was on display, and hence, vulnerable to the kind of mistakes that get people sent home. The amount of time allotted for breakfast was about the same as a typical quickfire. If they gave four chefs immunity after a quickfire, wouldn't you think that was odd? What we had here amounted to two quickfires, with eight chefs getting immunity.

On his blog, Tom Colicchio mentioned that none of the three final dishes was actually bad. At this early stage of the season, if all seven teams had cooked dinner, there's a pretty good chance that the losing dish would have been far worse, and that it would have been someone else's. (Remember, we never found out who cooked the WORST dishes at breakfast or lunch; only who cooked the best ones.)

if the person were REALLY a contender for "Top Chef" shouldn't they have been able to deal with having a loser on their team?

In a time-constrained competition, having one poor team member, of two total, definitely could sink the whole team. If the one were VASTLY better, maybe it wouldn't matter, but there aren't VAST differences in talent between most of these people.

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I was confused about something: when Tom got all pissy about using canned beans he says something to the effect of "they couldn't cook a bag of beans". They had 45 minutes, right? So, NO Tom, they couldn't cook a bag of beans. Even in a pressure cooker the beans have to be presoaked. He didn't seem to be suggesting that the beans were a bad choice, just that they should have cooked from dried rather than canned. But they couldn't have been with the time constraints. I'd expect a chef of his caliber to know that. So - what am I missing? IS there a way to cook a bag of dried beans in 45 minutes?

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I thought the same thing. In what parallel universe does an unsoaked bag of beans cook within those time constraints? They'd have had to be clairvoyant and started before the challenge was announced. Where's that psychic chef chick when you really need her?

Katie M. Loeb
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Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
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I'm beginning to think that the judges are a bit FOS (or at least half drunk). Last week there's the guy who is quibbling over the taxonomic classification of tomatoes as a fruit...this week Big Tom is pissing and moaning about canned beans.

One wonders what kind of nonsense gets edited out if this stuff is included.

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Pheh, they're probably editing out the real discussion so that the casual viewers aren't confused by complicated "food" stuff.

Not only that, they are trying to introduce as much suspense as possible. The editing is deliberately skewed to make the decision look extremely close, even when it isn't.

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I didn't see it mentioned, but could this have been the time when the producers did take a part in the decision making so that Kenny (whom I'm glad is still in) stayed in the competition? Initially that was my thought, and then they seemed to put the disclaimer in (about the producers having input) much sooner than they typically do, or at least that was my perception. Only Eric Ripert's comment in his video blog about the pasta being nearly raw sways me from taking that view.

I found Arnold to be a bit too over the top and that grated on me a bit but cooking wise I thought he was actually in the top half of the competitors at the very least. In any close decision though, with Kenny being as popular, and as good as he is, that the producers would play that trump card.

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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Despite whoever has what input, I just want Kenny gone. If I hear 'Alpha male' one more time, i'm going to throw my knives at the tv. Plus the fact he can't seem to back up whatever puffed up BS he'll be spouting. I think a key thing that makes me so angry with him other than 'ALPHA MALE', was his statement last week, when he said he hit 'taste, temp, texture, etc on the highest level', and couldn't understand why he was on the bottom. I mean come on Kenny, get it through your thick head - if you really hit everything that high, why were you on the bottom, and not just that, why didn't you win? Hmm? Every dish has something that could have gone better. Every dish. To think he is that good, while barely ever being in the top 4, shows he's far more arrogant than Angelo.

Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality.

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Interesting show. Herpe girl survived again, but just barely. Clueless Tim is gone finally. Two or three more weeks of weeding out the undeserving and then we are down to the serious shows. I think Kenny is being done a disservice by the editors/interviewers; they are making him sound like an ass, which I don't think he is. Kelly, who is no slouch and a bit alpha herself, spoke highly of him and how he conducts himself.

The noodle/minestrone sin was a bit silly. WTF, Eric, you can't find a more important thing to comment on?

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The noodle/minestrone sin was a bit silly. WTF, Eric, you can't find a more important thing to comment on?

Especially when a lot of minestrones don't have pasta anyway. Maybe he needs to stick to critiquing French food.

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The noodle/minestrone sin was a bit silly. WTF, Eric, you can't find a more important thing to comment on?

All three of the judges noted it sucked. In more ways than one. Something about the carrot being undercooked really seemed to grate on Collichio while another indicated it didn't remind them of a minestrone.

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Is it just me? I can't seem to get attached to any of the chefs this year. Last year I had favorites from day one - this season...eh. I am probably one of the only people that likes Angelo, though!

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