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


Reignking
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Ahh, I see now. I wasn't paying close enough attention (a constant this season) and didn't realize that the cauliflower was so finely chopped. I still don't get why the judges would get their knickers in a twist about it, though. That's just how they are. I can just as easily imagine them getting huffy about NOT washing it and wasting food as I can them getting huffy about feeding them food that had been on the ground.

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Who is the red headed guy who was guest judging and how long did he have to wear that fugly sport coat until the bet was off?

He's Chef Patrick O'connel, from the Inn at Little Washington. And idk about the sport coat, it was pretty bad though.

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Who is the red headed guy who was guest judging and how long did he have to wear that fugly sport coat until the bet was off?

I told my wife that it was nice of the Blue Fairy to grant Howdy Doody humanhood too. :rolleyes:

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He reminded us more of a caricature or the cartoon version of Dick Van Dyke

Anyway, I didn't get to last week's episode until last night. Was thinking pretty much the same as Holly above. The judges are too informed to what's happening during the challenge giving way to predictablity. (Was it always like this?). You know exactly who's going to be in the bottom. Thankfully, a bit tougher to guess who'll be on top. If I were a contestant I'd try not to show any insecurities or say anything negative about my food. Less fuel to reinforce the judges comments.

I can't tell you how disappointed I am in the talent this season. I feel any of last season's bottom half (not even including Kevin and the brothers) would have crushed this crew save maybe for Angelo. Ehh, there's always next year (?)

That wasn't chicken

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I personally don't feel the same way about this year's talent: I think that last year was a fantastic year talent-wise, but that this year may be the second-best. Remember those early seasons where the first half-dozen or so contestants were eliminated for completely horribly screwing even simple things up? Not just running out of time or not having the greatest idea, but really truly producing things that were awful? I don't think we're really seeing that this year: even the losers' food is edible.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Really? Besides Angelo and maybe Kelly, who do you think has a chance to win? The talent is pretty skewed. If you see the coming attractions for tonight Angelo is flat out mentoring 2 other contestants. When has that ever happened?

Even say 2 seasons back when Hosea won, which as well wasn't a great, you had many more contestants showing potential to win i.e Stephan, Jamie, Fabio, Jeff, Carla. So far this sesaon I'm seeing little creativity and dated recipes/technique. A lot of it looks like 80's food - again, except for Angelo and maybe Kelly. I mean Kenny won the last challenge for curried eggplant for g-sake and he didn't do much with it. Am I nutz? Is anyone watching the same show as me?

That wasn't chicken

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My point is not that this year's crew is not lopsided: it's that the bottom of this year would kick the crap out of the bottom of, say, two years ago. Seriously, go back and watch the ridiculous mistakes the bottom half was making in any season but last. And I think there are several people this year (Kelly, Angelo, Kenny) all of whom could have beaten the top three from two years ago. I don't see what the problem with curried eggplant is at this stage of the competition, they are still waiting for the losers to wash out: when the only competition left is real competition, then we'll see the top start to shine.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Re mistakes that could well be true. But from an overall talent perspective I'm not following you based on the poorly executed simplistic dishes they've attempted and the knowledge base they've shown so far.

Aside from Angelo/Kelly no one is making inventive food let alone talking about what they can or have made. I'm not hearing them talk like talented present day chefs. Kenny being the perfect example. Strong prep guy and probably good at what he knows but inventive? I don't think so.

In fact I'd argue they gave him the last win to beef up the rivalary with Angelo. They're making this season more about personalities and rivalries than season's past because the cooking is not impressing anyone.

That wasn't chicken

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Just watched a few on DVR recorded when I was away. A question: What did Colicchio say about cutting up vegetables in even dice? I thought it was something along the lines of "they cook at the same rate," a patently wrong statement, especially regarding carrots. (Want to test it out? Sauté diced onions, celery, and carrots on high for five minutes and eat each one.) Or was I hearing things?

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Really? Besides Angelo and maybe Kelly, who do you think has a chance to win? The talent is pretty skewed. If you see the coming attractions for tonight Angelo is flat out mentoring 2 other contestants. When has that ever happened?

I think it's due, more to Angelo's personality than deficiencies of the other chefs. Chris Hennes has it right. This is probably the most evenly balanced group of chefs they've ever had. Nobody seems to be as good as the Voltaggio brothers; but by the same token, nobody seems to be nearly as bad as the bottom-half chefs of seasons past.

So far this sesaon I'm seeing little creativity and dated recipes/technique. A lot of it looks like 80's food - again, except for Angelo and maybe Kelly. I mean Kenny won the last challenge for curried eggplant for g-sake and he didn't do much with it. Am I nutz?

"Datedness" in food is an ill-defined notion. Most people use it to describe food they never liked in the first place. I mean, who wrote the rule that says, if something is good, after X years you can no longer serve it? Of course, if it's NOT good, or if it doesn't take much skill, that's a whole other issue, having nothing to do with being "dated".

Re mistakes that could well be true. But from an overall talent perspective I'm not following you based on the poorly executed simplistic dishes they've attempted and the knowledge base they've shown so far.

Aside from Angelo/Kelly no one is making inventive food let alone talking about what they can or have made. I'm not hearing them talk like talented present day chefs. Kenny being the perfect example. Strong prep guy and probably good at what he knows but inventive?

You're taking "inventiveness" much too far. Even at La Grenouille (three-star French restaurant in New York that hasn't changed its menu since 1962), the chef is more than just a prep guy, even though he is not inventing anything. Indeed, any chef who can do classics extremely well would go very far on this show, particularly given Colicchio's own style.

In fact I'd argue they gave him the last win to beef up the rivalary with Angelo. They're making this season more about personalities and rivalries than season's past because the cooking is not impressing anyone.

I don't buy the idea that they "fix" the winners just to create manufactured drama.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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So Angelo's able to convince two other chefs to follow his lead because of his strong personality not his superior talent? Aren't all contestants to believe they could win the competion? What does this do for their confidence and how they're perceived by the judges?

As for "datedness" I have zero problem with well executed classics. Hell, I grew up eating food made by a classicaly trained french cook (my mom). It's the creativity they're displaying or lack of and moreso mediocore execution. Playing it safer than usual. That’s why they appear so evenly balanced to me.

As for fixing the show, that might be a stretch. But I bet I wasn't the only one wondering how he won with a stewed (grilled?) eggplant with all those meat dishes. Btw, can you recall any challenge won with a sole veggie when proteins were on hand?

That wasn't chicken

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I thought last night's elimination was ridiculous: what is this, Survivor: Top Chef Edition? Now we're voting people off the island...

That said, I don't buy into Kenny's conspiracy theory because I don't think you could get all the contestants to agree, in front of the judges, that food that was not at least bad, if not actually the worst, should be at the bottom. I think that having the judges present moderated their tendency to kick off a strong competitor, because if Kenny's dish had actually been good I don't believe any of them would have risked looking so foolish in front of the real judges as to say they not only didn't like it, but thought it was the worst.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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So Angelo's able to convince two other chefs to follow his lead because of his strong personality not his superior talent? Aren't all contestants to believe they could win the competion? What does this do for their confidence and how they're perceived by the judges?

Sorry, I didn't express that clearly enough. Every season has had at least one chef that was, from the beginning, noticeably better than most of the others. The fact that Angelo is serving as a de facto "mentor," when they didn't in past seasons, is (I suspect) primarily due to Angelo's personality.

Yes, of course the chefs are there to win, but plenty of past chefs have acknowledged that they realized some of their fellow competitors were better. Most professionals (in any field), unless they are totally self-absorbed, have at least SOME ability to recognize that others are better than they are.

Most of the back-stage drama we are discussing is not seen by the judges. But last season, one of the chefs admitted at Judges' Table that Michael Voltaggio had taken the lead on a challenge, and when asked why, said something like: "When you're working with Picasso, you're happy just to be able to hold his paint brushes."

As for "datedness" I have zero problem with well executed classics. Hell, I grew up eating food made by a classicaly trained french cook (my mom).

I guess I don't understand, then, if you are happy to eat recipes that are centuries old, why would you have an issue with those that are only a couple of decades old—assuming they are well-executed?

As for fixing the show, that might be a stretch. But I bet I wasn't the only one wondering how he won with a stewed (grilled?) eggplant with all those meat dishes. Btw, can you recall any challenge won with a sole veggie when proteins were on hand?

It has probably happened, but I agree it is surely a rarity.

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I thought last night's elimination was ridiculous: what is this, Survivor: Top Chef Edition? Now we're voting people off the island...

I agree completely. I can't know if the two worst dishes voted were actually the two worst, because I can't taste the food. That's why the integrity of the judging process is important. You couldn't make up a judging process with more built-in bias than this one. I really don't even care if Collichio says that the correct calls were made (gonna go look for his blog just tosee). This has me seriously wondering if I want to follow the rest of the season.

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The comparison to Survivor is apt but not because they nominated who would be voted off. Actually for that it would be more similar to The Apprentice or Hells Kitchen. It is apt because they are trying to create conflict between chefs which I think is absolutely ridiculous for this show. Yes, relationships have always been important on Top Chef but this is blatantly trying to make them resent one another. I am not a happy viewer.

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Hahah...his Dalmations wear pearls. : ) They are better dressed (and fed) than I am. ; )

“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
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Purloined pea puree? It may be one thing to 'misplace' a component of a competitor's dish. But to put it on your plate? That would be pretty brazen.

At least the judging procedure was free of irregularities this time.

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Alex may have stolen the pea puree but there's no visual evidence. Which is also suspect. Did he buy peas? Can they check his receipt? If he were whirling peas in a blender wouldn't someone notice? And Tom was in the kitchen a lot when they were cooking. He really didn't know until the show aired? Also Kenny made a comment about not having enough time to make a pea puree. Besides cooking, pureeing and seasoning how much time could it take?

I thought it was funny that Kelly would rather over-salt her slab of beef than share. That was karmic.

Tiffany's boyfriend has nothing to worry about from what I could see. She and Ed sitting 4 feet apart talking about food is flirting?

Padma really dismissed Andrea at the end with her, "thank you that will be all." Sounded kinda harsh to me. i think Andrea was ready to go though.

Edited by KristiB50 (log)
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Alex may have stolen the pea puree but there's no visual evidence. Which is also suspect. Did he buy peas? Can they check his receipt? If he were whirling peas in a blender wouldn't someone notice? And Tom was in the kitchen a lot when they were cooking.

As I understand, Ed claimed he had prepped a pea puree beforehand, and Tom wasn't present during prep. In any case, I think the editing made Tom's presence appear more substantial than it really was. They spend several hours cooking, of which only a few minutes make it into the show.

I don't know what evidence you would require. Checking receipts at this late date is clearly impossible. Ed is unlikely to have just invented the memory of having prepared a pea puree, and other chefs noted that Alex seemed to make up his dish at the last moment. If the pea puree Alex used wasn't Ed's, then where did Ed's go?

Incidentally, Eric Ripert posted on twitter to the effect that he understood Alex to have stolen Ed's puree.

Padma really dismissed Andrea at the end with her, "thank you that will be all." Sounded kinda harsh to me. i think Andrea was ready to go though.

I agree, it came across as unusually and unnecessarily harsh. The only explanation I can think of is that it went on much longer than what we saw.

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I don't know what evidence you would require.

I just have a hard time believing there's no footage of Alex buying peas or making his puree. I guess the speculation makes a better show.

I also find it odd the other chefs didn't raise more of a stink about it. Especially Ed. Not necessarily on camera but if it were me I would definitely go to the producers. They kicked Cliff off for what he did to Marcel and I think if Alex stole the puree he should get the boot too.

At least Alex didn't win a nice trip or money. And I doubt he'll win so maybe it's no big deal after all.

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