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Top Chef : Season 8 - All Stars


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It's generally the chef who makes something bad but doesn't know it -- can't tell -- insists it is good when it isn't -- who goes home when there is more than one bad dish. It's not so much the arguing with the judges as it is the underlying question: "Can you really not taste that this is crap?"

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Brought to mind the Mary Tyler Moore episode where Mary talked back to Lou Grant. He replied, "You know what, you've got spunk. I hate spunk."

I'm wondering if Jen decided that Top Chef wasn't for her and opted for the reality TV equivalent of "suicide by cop."

It's going to be a long season for the judges, if the judging table hostilities continue throughout the season.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

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Richard and Jen are my top picks too. My top picks to lose were in the bottom three. But I wish Stephen had gone first. Glad Fabio didn't. He's fun to listen to!

Although I like Jen, when she was on the show the first time, she really started to crumble towards the end of the season. This time, the competition is tougher. She's really going to need to demonstrate that she can keep a level head as the season goes on.

I didn't realize quite how prophetic this would be when I wrote it a few days ago.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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I think the emotional stakes have been raised in All Stars. Originally I imagined that the first chefs to be eliminated would be especially crushed. Everyone has a history of going far in the series. But additionally, Colicchio has blogged that it's tougher even on the judges who now have personal relationships with the contestants. And this probably makes the contestants more willing to speak out.

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Jen's meltdown was just tragic. Her comments about what her dad thinks about 2nd place pretty much said it all about what's been going through her head since season 6 (imagine what he thinks about 4th place.)

I think she thought she'd figured out how to win (cook to the judges; picks braised bacon to impress Tom like it did when they cooked it in Season 6) and then when it failed she just couldn't process it.

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I think this is better to have more experienced chefs. Keeps the judges honest to a degree. I'm tired of hearing some of the more petty-type criticism found in previous episodes. The judges need to remember, esp with this crowd, that there isn't that much difference in ability between judge and chef. In some cases. eg Padma, I'm not sure how her resume qualifies her as a judge at all.

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I will quantify this comment by saying I may agree with the fritata being worse but 2 improperly cooked proteins? And saying she thought their food was CLEARLY better that the other teams, and just a dismissive attitude about any criticism? I really don't know what to think. I've had bad days in my time and acted worse I'm sure,.....but never with so much at stake. She much more talented than this I'm sure.

Just a shame.

Edited by GordonCooks (log)
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I will quantify this comment by saying I may agree with the fritata being worse but 2 improperly cooked proteins? And saying she their food was CLEARLY better that the other teams, and just a dismissive attitude about any criticism? I really don't know what to think. I've had bad days in my time and acted worse I'm sure,.....but never with so much at stake. She much more talented than this I'm sure.

Just a shame.

They keep her up all night to do a challenge that had to suck in the chefs' minds. No time to think about what you're cooking since you don't know what's in the kitchen till you get there. I bet she felt like "I've had it with this crap!"

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It's generally the chef who makes something bad but doesn't know it -- can't tell -- insists it is good when it isn't -- who goes home when there is more than one bad dish. It's not so much the arguing with the judges as it is the underlying question: "Can you really not taste that this is crap?"

On the Bravo blogs, Colicchio & Simmons both said that Jen's dish was the worst by a considerable margin, and therefore the interaction (and Jen's attitude) at Judges' Table basically didn't matter.

I do agree that in a close case, insisting there was nothing wrong with your dish is a great way to get sent home.

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Whether it's a villain edit or actually a difference in attitude, the first two to go this season seem to share a "my food don't stink!" attitude that clouds their perceptions to the point where they're sabotaging themselves. (Tre, watch out!) That stew room scene where Jen talks about cooking to please the judges, and no one else? After having witnessed the Quickfire judging going entirely to the vote of children? Hello, message to Jen...maybe that's not a winning strategy. (Easy to snark from here, but I suspect it's hard to shift gears under that much stress.)

Looked like a fascinating division in approaches to food, by team selection. I don't know all 17 cheftestants' styles well, but it seemed to break down into the classicists and the innovators. Too simplistic? More-or-less right? (I note that this is probably flawed, as Fabio strikes me as more on the classic side.) I am fond of TiffanyD., and Carla, and Tre; emotionally, I want them

Team T-rex just imploded, evidently. I imagine if the tables were turned, Marcel and Richard and Angelo (among others) would have been dreaming up wild approaches to all-animal breakfast. Bacon strata, using ham or bacon? Eggs in a ham-cup, with a bacon garnish? Chawan-mushi with an all-meat base? Paper-thin omelettes used like crepes?

And what say you, eGulleteers - would you have gone for the flashlight stroll, or tried to make the most of 45 minutes of sleep? Me, I would have gone romping, because 45 minutes is basically just long enough to get grouchy.

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Oh, I think I would have definitely been on the stroll. It could lead to ideas that might get me hyped. Hyped would be better than semi-rested.

I think the carnivore menu was tougher than originally thought. I don't buy into Tiffany's reaction that she thought she could use anything, but no pantry items? That's a severe limitation.

In retrospect I can think of some killer options (egg omelettes/crepes is a good one, KTO), but could I think of these upon entering the coolers? Maybe not so much.

My favorite bit about this episode was seeing Marcel, Richard and Angelo work together (even if there was some minor quibbling in the commentary).

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LOL.

But with those particular conditions who would make an award winning dish? Limited supplies, no vegetable matter allowed, little time to conceive.

Is the contention here that the winning team was a foregone conclusion?`No way for Team T-rex to win? I find that hard to believe, but I think it would make a fascinating discussion here.

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No that wasn't the point I was trying to make. My point was that an award winning dish is not coming out of that particular process.

But I do agree with you. And in fact said when what'shername picked meat that it would be very hard indeed to get creative with only protein to play with.

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I just wanted to add the fact that some people can handle lack of sleep way better than others. I know that if I was up all night, I don't think that I could punch my way out of a paper bag the next day. Wouldn't have missed the flashlight tour though!

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I just went back and reviewed the dishes. I don't think either team did very good job of considering their options and working together. I think the problem was time. If they got to think about it overnight, I think it would've been much better.

After thinking for a while about the T-Rex challenges I think that, yes, you are very limited, but having meat, eggs and dairy is huge. The eggs alone can do many things.

I think if I were doing this I'd do...

An omelette or other straight up egg dish

A steak with a hollandaise* and bits of cooked seasoned egg whites

A flourless cheese souffle

Some chicharrones in some form to get some crunch

* No citrus for the hollandaise, but perhaps some acid could come by making butter and using the buttermilk.

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And Jen had a "helper" who took off because of a two-stitch cut. Give me a break; she's the one who should've been sent home...or the fritata sisters.

It really was a bad call, the person who cooked nothing stayed over the person who cooked something poorly. Right, get a cut and pass? Lets see, that 2 stichs per elimination challange if you don't like what you are presented with, and you are allowed to cut yourself.

I saw going to the hospital for a little cut as basically saying 'I give up completly on this challange'. I mean, what other way could you interpret it?

And if the teams had been switched, it would have been more fun. Some shrimp noodles from the M.G.s, some quick-cured meats, so much potential.

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I got the impression that they didn't have the usual assortment of M.G. chemical tricks on hand...?

Right, they wouldn't have. They had to use only what they found in the Museum's kitchen.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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That was ugly and I am hearing some rumors that the tirade that Jen went on was actually after the scene where the departing chef literally packs their knives, but the mic was still hot. And the editors then pasted it onto her departure from the stew room. If true, I say that is pretty low.

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