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Top Chef : Season 8 - All Stars


KristiB50
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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.

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.

I perceived this differently and it is actually one of the reasons I think Blais beat out Isabella. I don't think the first batch of ice cream was unservable. But rather, it just didn't work the way Blais had intended it to. Blais took the feedback and was able to re-work the ice cream for the next round of judges while still running his kitchen and putting out the other plates. For someone to re-work their dish during service based off of feeback received just minutes before takes a lot of guts and a lot of skill and I'll give credit to Blais for that.

I'll also give credit to Spike for giving Blais feedback and keeping him centered. If it wasn't for him, I'm not so sure Blais would have come out on top.

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I'm not sure if this season of Top Chef will ever be topped. Great, close finale, and my guy won. But once again, how can you go into a Top Chef finale without killer dessert? I think one very good (not even necessarily remarkable) might have won the day.

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Glazing when braising -- how much extra time does this take? I've never done this at home, but I assume it's a matter of removing most of the cooking liquid, basting and then putting back in the oven? I might have to give this a try.

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Congrats to Blais. They both did a really fine job. I'm just glad they left them both alone and let them just cook, instead of putting some twist on it all. Tom's blog gives some great insight into why Richard won. Very reasonable explanation. He also mentioned that the oyster dish got no points because it was not a part of the dishes upon which Richard was judged. I don't recall them ever saying that during the course of the show. Hmm.

Anyway, Mike really showed himself to have grown as a chef, and it was actually a pleasure to watch him do so well, even though his personality can be a bit grating at times. HUGE KUDOS TO SPIKE. The maturity level he showed in the way he stepped up to the plate for Richard was phenomenal. The look on Spike's face when he was chosen sort of scared me a bit for Richard. But Spike really poured it on, and really helped Richard incredibly well. He was truly looking out for Richard's best interests. And kudos to Angelo as well. It did not appear he was trying to change anything Richard was doing. It was all about Richard's food, rather than Richard's food with an Angelo twist. And kudos to Mike.....when all of his sous chefs were trying to give their input, he batted them back and was only willing to do his own thing....Mike's food. That was really important for him. He didn't allow them to pressure him. Kudos to Jamie for not being the selfish little brat she's always seemed to be, and stepping up for Mike the way she should have.

All in all, it was a great finale. For me, the best yet.

--- KensethFan

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I'm not sure if this season of Top Chef will ever be topped.

I think the only way it'll be topped is if they do another All-Stars in a few years. The bottom-rung chefs in this season were all (or mostly all) top-rung chefs from past seasons. Besides being better chefs, they'd all been through it before, and knew some of the pitfalls to avoid. There's no way they could assemble that level of talent when they bring in 17 or 18 brand new people.

Congrats to Blais. They both did a really fine job. I'm just glad they left them both alone and let them just cook, instead of putting some twist on it all. Tom's blog gives some great insight into why Richard won. Very reasonable explanation. He also mentioned that the oyster dish got no points because it was not a part of the dishes upon which Richard was judged. I don't recall them ever saying that during the course of the show. Hmm.

I could swear there've been challenges in the past where chefs made an extra dish not required by the challenge, and then were penalized when that dish turned out poorly. If Richard's amuse had been terrible, it's hard to imagine that it wouldn't have counted against him. Even Colicchio acknowledged that, although they may not have put his amuse through the formal judging process, it had an intangible role in "setting the stage" for the meal to come.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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Amazing hour of television, probably a new high-water mark for the cooking genre. All the plates looked sick, as did the production. Nice focus on the food. Obviously (to me) if you spend more money per ep, you can get these results consistently.

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This edition was almost like a TV novel. The main character was Mike, who clearly developed as a chef and as a man throughout the series. He matured and became sympathetic as the show wound on. Dramatically, the Blaise redemption story was subordinate to the Mike maturation story.

I wonder if it was intentional.

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- 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.

Mike should have had her do scallops instead of salad...might have made the difference last night. :biggrin:

I thought the episode was the absolute best ever and am very happy that Richard won!

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Did anyone else notice the positive-energy music in this episode?

I don't think they have done this in the past, or at least I don't remember it happening before, but the music... I had this incredible feeling of "wow, this is going to be great!!" especially when the judges went to their second seatings... it made it feel less like brutal competition and more like two extremely lucky and talented chefs given the opportunity and honor to cook for some awesome people. I kinda liked it :biggrin:

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[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.

I would also watch an extra 30 minutes - I'd love to see more of the judges table and why they make the decisions they do.

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I think the only way it'll be topped is if they do another All-Stars in a few years.

I'd be ok with watching an all-stars with other chefs from past seasons. There were plenty of people who did not do this all stars that would have been worthy contenders. Maybe every other year to get a really good cast?

Bravo to Richard for winning, and to Mike, Carla, and all the other chefs who really made a great show and name for themselves, I have a hard time believing any of them are losers even if they did not take the grand prize.

Also, the challenges are getting better.

If I watched it for 90 instead of 60 minutes though, I'd vote for the lion's share of that extra time devoted to discussing/watching the cooking. Especially in earlier episodes where there are just so many people.

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I think the only way it'll be topped is if they do another All-Stars in a few years.

I'd be ok with watching an all-stars with other chefs from past seasons. There were plenty of people who did not do this all stars that would have been worthy contenders. Maybe every other year to get a really good cast?

Bravo to Richard for winning, and to Mike, Carla, and all the other chefs who really made a great show and name for themselves, I have a hard time believing any of them are losers even if they did not take the grand prize.

Also, the challenges are getting better.

If I watched it for 90 instead of 60 minutes though, I'd vote for the lion's share of that extra time devoted to discussing/watching the cooking. Especially in earlier episodes where there are just so many people.

maybe if the show was 90 instead of 60 it can have a little bit of an iron chef aspect. where a commentator is on site during cooking and discusses cooking techniques that are being used.

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maybe if the show was 90 instead of 60 it can have a little bit of an iron chef aspect. where a commentator is on site during cooking and discusses cooking techniques that are being used.

That would actually be awesome. I would totally go for that!

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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.

My feeling is that neither dessert was a tie. Padma & co liked Mike's and Tom & co likes Richards. So it was a tie. Then Mike lost the first two course and won the third. Richard won the first two and the title. I also think Richard prepared something more interesting than just food done really really well.

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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.

My feeling is that neither dessert was a tie. Padma & co liked Mike's and Tom & co likes Richards. So it was a tie. Then Mike lost the first two course and won the third. Richard won the first two and the title. I also think Richard prepared something more interesting than just food done really really well.

I'm glad Richard won. However, Mike was quite the contender, and I don't think his bravado stemmed from arrogance. I think it stemmed from a sincere love of the food and wanting to cook things great (and wanting to provide for his family). I loved both of them. Carla, yeah, I liked her, too, but I think she was her own worst enemy. It's great to be humble, but never be so humble that you don't believe in yourself, and (at least for me) that was her great fault.

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Tom used to wander around comenting on dishs more, he was good at it and I miss that. The time's now used for extra shots of the chefs in their underware and smoking cigarettes.

I miss it as well. One of the blogs I used to read called it "the sniff and sneer." He would ask about the plan/intent of the dish and give some feedback to the viewers.

Edited by Dignan (log)
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