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Top Chef : Season 8 - All Stars


KristiB50
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I was really routing for Antonia, but think she made a tactical mistake in her last supper meal. There's no way you're going to produce an authentic Japanese meal like Morimoto's mother would have made. I was hoping she would somehow try to essentially use his childhood dishes as an inspiration rather than as a template. I mean, there are soups you can use miso in that aren't the traditional Japanese miso soup. And there are ways to do sticky rice that aren't straight sushi rice. I'm not saying it would have been easy -- Mike had a much easier meal to make modifications to. But both Mike and Blais added their own personalities to those dishes, while Antonia played it very straight. Playing it straight might have been fine if she was cooking for someone whose last meal was Italian. But given what she was faced with, I think her only chance to win that challenge was to go pretty far afield from Japanese home cooking.

This is pretty much exactly what Collichio said in the extended judge's table video on the Bravo site.

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I really, really loved the "sudden death OT" rules: I wish they had the time to do those for every elimination. So that every week the bottom three would compete in a head-to-head challenge that didn't depend on the vagaries of team challenges, or luck of the draw, or whatever, but just cooking your best. Worst bite goes home every time. So you never get eliminated based on getting screwed by the challenge, it always comes down to who is making better food.

Earlier in the season, there's usually someone who has screwed up pretty blatantly — often, several of them. It may still be a close call as to which errant chef gets sent home, but it's usually at least clear they did something to deserve their fate.

The overtime makes more sense later on, where every chef remaining has long since proven that they belong, and you don't want someone losing because they got "screwed by the challenge".

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When Padma was saying "You are Top Chef" on the Next Time On Top Chef at the end. She was looking to her right when she said it.

Blais was on her right.

Just sayin'...

i noticed that too, but you have to think they know that a lot of people would focus on that.

Normally I would take dim view of these sorts of spoiler posts, but based on some other recent teaser fails, I think it's legitimate to bring it up.

I think I've made a few comments about them telegraphing results in this thread. They used to be really clever about this. But lately, I feel that they have been testing the limits and have often gone over the line.

Unfortunately, when someone analyzes the preview, it comes down to analyzing which side Padma is wearing her brooch on. Did they swap left and right to cover themselves?

I don't care. But I am absolutley certain that the producers are not taking the care that is demanded of the contestants.

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I don't think it's a spoiler when it's so blatant. I wasn't even watching it very closely. When it was over, my wife asked me who I thought will win, and I said I already know Blaise wins, and rewound it for her.

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I don't think it's a spoiler when it's so blatant. I wasn't even watching it very closely. When it was over, my wife asked me who I thought will win, and I said I already know Blaise wins, and rewound it for her.

That's basically what I was saying.

But I'll blame you if Blaise doesn't win. :raz:

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I don't think it's a spoiler when it's so blatant. I wasn't even watching it very closely. When it was over, my wife asked me who I thought will win, and I said I already know Blaise wins, and rewound it for her.

I recall at least one other season where it was apparent in the preview, based on the direction Padma was looking. For that NOT to be the case, they would have needed to tape an extra scene in which she deliberately looked the wrong way, just to fool the audience.

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Or when they sent them out of the room and called them back in they could have been standing in opposite spots.

Anyway, I make a point of not watching for that sort of thing, as it spoils the show for me.

Edited by Werdna (log)
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I think Mike wins based on the preview. Padma looking to the right when she makes the announcement and showing blais standing on the right. The preview also had a line where Blais' emotions were of happiness based on the reviews of challenge. All good things for Blais, Mike was barely in the preview.

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I was wondering about the strudel (dough). Having lived in Austria for over a decade in the '80s when Puck was up and coming I know that pulling srudel dough is non trivial.

But hey Blais (who I root for) has strudelteig hey presto...

I call foul.

--edit also it looked pre made... really the gulash et al seemed easy but

the strudel I thought would become interesting

Edited by 6ppc (log)

Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

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I was really routing for Antonia, but think she made a tactical mistake in her last supper meal. There's no way you're going to produce an authentic Japanese meal like Morimoto's mother would have made. I was hoping she would somehow try to essentially use his childhood dishes as an inspiration rather than as a template. I mean, there are soups you can use miso in that aren't the traditional Japanese miso soup. And there are ways to do sticky rice that aren't straight sushi rice. I'm not saying it would have been easy -- Mike had a much easier meal to make modifications to. But both Mike and Blais added their own personalities to those dishes, while Antonia played it very straight. Playing it straight might have been fine if she was cooking for someone whose last meal was Italian. But given what she was faced with, I think her only chance to win that challenge was to go pretty far afield from Japanese home cooking.

I dunno. I feel like they made a big deal of Michelle Bernstein giving Mike license to do crazy things, but none of that for Antonia. I don't think she could have gotten away with anything interpreted to true Antonia style.

I really, really loved the "sudden death OT" rules: I wish they had the time to do those for every elimination. So that every week the bottom three would compete in a head-to-head challenge that didn't depend on the vagaries of team challenges, or luck of the draw, or whatever, but just cooking your best. Worst bite goes home every time. So you never get eliminated based on getting screwed by the challenge, it always comes down to who is making better food.

Absolutely! All in favor say "Aye!"

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I was wondering about the strudel (dough). Having lived in Austria for over a decade in the '80s when Puck was up and coming I know that pulling srudel dough is non trivial.

But hey Blais (who I root for) has strudelteig hey presto...

I call foul.

--edit also it looked pre made... really the gulash et al seemed easy but

the strudel I thought would become interesting

This was bugging me and I was googling for an answer. Finally, I watched Rick Moonen doing the goulash and despite the title, he also did the strudel. The dough came from a box. He called it strudel dough, but said you could also use Phyllo dough. It looked exactly like Phyllo dough to me and was treated in the exact same way.

Again, Moonen left off the interesting garnishes.

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I really, really loved the "sudden death OT" rules: I wish they had the time to do those for every elimination. So that every week the bottom three would compete in a head-to-head challenge that didn't depend on the vagaries of team challenges, or luck of the draw, or whatever, but just cooking your best. Worst bite goes home every time. So you never get eliminated based on getting screwed by the challenge, it always comes down to who is making better food.

Absolutely! All in favor say "Aye!"

Aye! - If they add another 30 minutes to each episode.

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I really, really loved the "sudden death OT" rules: I wish they had the time to do those for every elimination. So that every week the bottom three would compete in a head-to-head challenge that didn't depend on the vagaries of team challenges, or luck of the draw, or whatever, but just cooking your best. Worst bite goes home every time. So you never get eliminated based on getting screwed by the challenge, it always comes down to who is making better food.

Absolutely! All in favor say "Aye!"

Aye! - If they add another 30 minutes to each episode.

Touché.

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Well, since I said it would be between Blais and Jennifer C. before the season started and I was obviously very wrong about the Jennifer C. part, I hope Blais brings it home. Just so I don't have to be completely wrong. :raz:

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'm so thrilled, I feel as though one of my German Shepherds won a Shutzhund competition! When they announced Richard's name, I did such a happy dance, poor Zola thought I'd lost my mind!

Random thoughts (because I'm too excited to be coherent):

- Whatever I've said about Mike Isabella, a true "Bravo" for him. He was incredibly impressive -- and I would have said that even if *HE* had won. That Halibut dish will be in my dreams.

- I can't help it; I have a viscerally negative reaction whenever Jamie (Jaime?) comes on screen. But I was glad she didn't unintentionally sabotage Mike's chances and that she really worked for him.

-- I thought the way of determining the sous-chef challenge was really interesting, especially as it pertains to future episodes. It's a nice twist, but I can see how it can also come back and bite the choosing chefs on the ass.

-- I thought Richard's amuse bouche (as photographed) was visually gorgeous.

-- That said, I was really, REALLY surprised by some of his comments about the "Pearls and Oysters." Many people know that is the name of Chef Keller's break-out, signature dish at French Laundry. Wasn't Richard one of the ones who commented on eG long ago about plagiarism? Sure, the dish isn't precisely identical to Chef Keller's in form, but the name and overall concept.....?

-- Regardless, we all know that today's multimedia world is so connected that it's hard to avoid some overlap, and Richard's dish was certainly different enough in presentation from Keller's tapioca-centered dish. That should be enough. We are all influenced by outside sources, so ultimately no biggie in the long run, SO LONG as Blais never comments on some other chef taking his or any other chef's overall ideas for a successful dish. (That said, I still think Mike Isabella stole Blais' oyster idea pretty much verbatim. And the verbatim part is the key, for me.)

Edited to add: with regard to the prior conversation about the length of Top Chef and possible extensions due to adjustments in challenges: I'm probably in the minority, but I would gladly and most enthusiastically watch Top Chef if it were 90 minutes each week. Honestly, it would still be my "must see" TV, up there with Mad Men, Breaking Bad, The Borgias, and other more serious fare. If an extended Top Chef would have that "Wild Card" option more frequently, I say "Bring it on," no matter how long the episode.

Edited by Kafka Zola (log)

"There are dogs, and then there are German Shepherds.... "- Unknown

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After watching last night's finale, my wife and I both came to the same conclusion. That Richard was picked because of his story. For coming so close before. Because if you go by what the judges were saying about the food, it seemed to me that they preferred Mike's food and made more negative comments about Richard's. Sure, it was close but... Richard's Foie ice cream was basically described as a crumbly mess that the first judges could not even tell what it was. They didn't make such strong negative comments about Mike's food.

Edited by Elrushbo (log)
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Congrats to Blais. He really earned it.

Does anyone know of a running tally of the prizes by chef this season? If I'm not mistaken, they gave close to $400k in prizes.

Dan

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

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While I wasn't thrilled with the outcome (I was rooting for M.I.), both chefs did an admirable job. And they both ran their restaurants superbly.

I kind of agree about the first batch of foie ice cream. What if Tom had gotten that? One of the contributing factors in deciding whether a chef went home was always whether the dish was serve-able or not - that first batch of foie ice cream was apparently not. And Richard's "entree" was fairly boring both in plating and evidently in taste.

I especially liked the scene where the chefs were choosing their sous chefs. I believe it was Isabella who was trying to discern which dish was Marcel's, so that he could be absolutely sure NOT to choose him.

Spike would be my front-of-the-house guy in a fancy restaurant, don't you think? He'd have to get a new hat though.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

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Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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After watching last night's finale, my wife and I both came to the same conclusion. That Richard was picked because of his story. For coming so close before. Because if you go by what the judges were saying about the food, it seemed to me that they preferred Mike's food and made more negative comments about Richard's. Sure, it was close but... Richard's Foie ice cream was basically described as a crumbly mess that the first judges could not even tell what it was. They didn't make such strong negative comments about Mike's food.

It must always be stressed: the show is edited selectively to put the outcome in doubt until the last minute. Since they know Richard won, they deliberately choose a few more comments favoring Michael, to make the outcome more of a surprise. Colicchio explains the decision on his blog.

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-- That said, I was really, REALLY surprised by some of his comments about the "Pearls and Oysters." Many people know that is the name of Chef Keller's break-out, signature dish at French Laundry. Wasn't Richard one of the ones who commented on eG long ago about plagiarism? Sure, the dish isn't precisely identical to Chef Keller's in form, but the name and overall concept.....?

Blais's dish was essentially nothing at all like Keller's: the name is an obviously playful homage, in my opinion, and the dish clearly Richard's own. At least, to the extent that serving a raw oyster with some small accent can be said to be one's own. Apparently Richard's "Pearls" really rocked the house.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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