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Top Chef : Season 8 - All Stars


KristiB50
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Scroll to the third video to see/hear the food reasons why "Jenny" would still be there if Chef Ripert was at JT.

He makes a strong argument, but I'm not sure that I agree. Sure, the frittatas had a consistancy problem. Some may have even been inedible. But presumably some (if not most, or even possibly nearly all) were good. There were some scenes with enthusiastic conversations about which of the three varieties were the best.

On the other hand, Casey didn't seem to like the braised bacon before it went out - even without the much criticized eggs. To me, it didn't seem to work on any level.

I'm very glad that neither Ripert or Bourdain were judges for that one. Too many connections there.

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Having watched it again, her testimony that it was basically "perfect" borders on the irrational. There are too many variables between chef and diner in this context to be unable to acknowledge there might be a problem.

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In his blog, Tom Collichio has clarified that the undercooked frittatas were not raw. They were safe to eat, but undercooked.

On to this week, I just noticed that Rick Moonen is doing videos each week recreating the winning recipe. Dale's simply presented dish turns out to be suprisingly complex.

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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?

The judges made the correct decision. The show has an on-site medic, who has a role (not seen on camera) in deciding whether a cheftestant is fit to compete. The producers have liability issues to worry about. Although it turned out that she required only two stitches, it may at first have appeared to be more serious. Injuries are like that sometimes. I did not get the sense that she deliberately bailed out on the challenge.

If, as I suspect, the show's own medical staff determined that she needed to go to the E.R., it would have been perverse to send her home for that. It could also set a bad precedent — e.g., someone who really does need to go to the hospital, but insists on staying, because they don't want to lose that way.

So they sent home the chef who actually made bad food, rather than sending home Jamie, who (for reasons not within her control) wasn't able to make anything.

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Was it the medic's decision to take Jamie out? I doubt it; Fabio competed in the final with a broken finger!

I think the medic erred on the side of overcautious (liability issues!) and told Jamie that if she wanted, that was likely to need stitches.

Staying or going has to be the decision of the competitor. On the other hand, the producers are not interested in creating a situation where future competitors feel they need to forego medical care in order to stay, because this creates a dangerous precedent.

Jamie's lost herself a bunch of cred with her peers. Whether it's prudent or not, it's a part of kitchen culture to Get The Food Out No Matter What, and she opted against that. (Then again, I'm a big proponent of crazy glue in lieu of stitches.)

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Tom C said, in her defense, that she had never had to have stitches before. So when they said "You're going to need stitches" she probably just accepted that as meaning "now".

But now I know how I can get to the finals if I can ever get on. As soon as they start the timer, I'll grab a knife and give myself a whack. By the end I'll be bandaged up like a mummy, but I can challenge for the title with my fried bologna sandwich. :raz:

Edited by IndyRob (log)
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Having watched it again, her testimony that it was basically "perfect" borders on the irrational. There are too many variables between chef and diner in this context to be unable to acknowledge there might be a problem.

I agree--Jen's proclamation that her dish was spot on is seemingly hard to swallow. I mean, how could Collichio's tastes be that far off? In any case, after having watched that episode three times now, I'm glad she took her stinking attitude out the door.

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Was it the medic's decision to take Jamie out? I doubt it; Fabio competed in the final with a broken finger!

Not an apples-to-apples comparison: with a broken finger, all the hospital is going to do is splint it, the same thing as the show's own medic. With stitches, their efficacy is dramatically reduced the longer you wait. When you need stitches, you need them NOW. Plus, with modern stitches and various adhesives, it's hard to say how serious a cut is based on the number of stitches. In my opinion, what we are seeing here is a clear case of the Elves giving the "villain" edit: I strongly doubt Jamie had any real choice about going out to get those stitches. If she did, the producers and their lawyers are sleeping on the job.

Chris Hennes
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chennes@egullet.org

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Was it the medic's decision to take Jamie out? I doubt it; Fabio competed in the final with a broken finger!

Not an apples-to-apples comparison: with a broken finger, all the hospital is going to do is splint it, the same thing as the show's own medic. With stitches, their efficacy is dramatically reduced the longer you wait. When you need stitches, you need them NOW. Plus, with modern stitches and various adhesives, it's hard to say how serious a cut is based on the number of stitches. In my opinion, what we are seeing here is a clear case of the Elves giving the "villain" edit: I strongly doubt Jamie had any real choice about going out to get those stitches. If she did, the producers and their lawyers are sleeping on the job.

I think the lawyers are eyeing the potential liability of penalizing people for seeking medical treatment.

As far as the comparison - it all depends on how the finger was broken. And stitches ... http://www.glenn.cockwell.com/scouting/Stitch.html - basically backs up what I've seen as far as when to get stitches - knife wounds aren't really a big thing, they're clean cuts that just need to be held together somehow. And up to 18 hours...

Again, I think the producers pretty much don't have a good choice when it comes to a competitor with a potential need for medical attention. Unless they are clearly unfit to continue competing, in which case if they do *not* take that person out, they're going to be liable (Seth Caro?). If they create an environment where one is penalized for getting medical care, that's huge can of worms, liability-wise. I'm assuming from reading all the blogs that the issue was, "we will not stop you from getting immediate medical attention to this; if you do not get immediate medical attention, you are responsible for that decision (i.e. we cannot be sued if you don't go to the hospital)".

We've seen other competitors cut themselves and glove up to keep going, haven't we?

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If they create an environment where one is penalized for getting medical care, that's huge can of worms, liability-wise.

That's why I am very comfortable that the judges made the correct decision.

We've seen other competitors cut themselves and glove up to keep going, haven't we?

From the limited edit that we get to see (5 percent or less of the footage that was shot, to say nothing fo what was not shot), I am not prepared to say that Jamie faked or exaggerated the seriousness of her injury. We simply don't know how it compares to that of other chefs who've been cut, but stayed in the game.

I certainly don't see any evidence that Jamie feigned an excuse to get out of the challenge. If she legitimately thought she needed medical attention and/or was advised to do so by the show's own medical staff, I don't feel like we have enough information to second-guess that decision.

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i think this has been the best season of top chef so far. i was shocked when jen went home. talent wise shes in the top half. and i loved the last ep. since i live in nyc and have been to 3 quarters of those places it was very cool.

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Dramatically, Jen going home so early was quite the plot twist. Caused a mighty a stir. As another reality show puts it, "Expect the unexpected." Nothing is certain in the Top Chef kitchen. Must watch every episode lest I miss the next shocking turn of events.

Holly Moore

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Well, Jamie is "in it to win it"—when she saw that her dish was a failure, and realized that she could potentially escape the situation by continuously claiming she "just needed more time," she went for it. I think the set-up of the challenge was stupid for allowing that sort of behavior, but I find it hard to fault Jamie for not throwing herself in front of the bus (to use the conventional Top Chef metaphor). She sure didn't make any friends that day, though.

Chris Hennes
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chennes@egullet.org

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Well, Jamie is "in it to win it"—when she saw that her dish was a failure, and realized that she could potentially escape the situation by continuously claiming she "just needed more time," she went for it. I think the set-up of the challenge was stupid for allowing that sort of behavior, but I find it hard to fault Jamie for not throwing herself in front of the bus (to use the conventional Top Chef metaphor). She sure didn't make any friends that day, though.

You're omitting one crucial fact. Since the team wins or loses as a whole, it was in everyone's interest to hold back Jamie's dish, if other chefs' dishes had a better chance of winning. If the rest of the team had cooked better food (or the opponents had cooked worse food), that could have been the right strategy.

Besides that, I don't think Jamie's "claim" was a strategic move to reduce her chances of elimination. I didn't get any sense that she had figured that out. If so, she put on an amazingly good act. I do agree that the challenge design was poor, but I'd say that Jamie lucked into her situation, not that she planned it.

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Spike outstrategized himself. Early on I noted that there was an unusual focus on the strategy of putting out the weakest dish first to neutralize the other teams' strongest dish (normally, what strategies and tactics there may be are closely held). But I was never clear on why the other team would necessarily put their strongest dish first (presumably, everyone would think their dish the strongest). Why give a point away right off the bat? Anyway, I figured the strategy would play prominantly in the results somehow.

Regarding the challenge, Collichio is pondering the same thing. As a game, this was a fun twist. As a serious competition, not tasting everyone's food was lame.

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Besides that, I don't think Jamie's "claim" was a strategic move to reduce her chances of elimination. I didn't get any sense that she had figured that out. If so, she put on an amazingly good act. I do agree that the challenge design was poor, but I'd say that Jamie lucked into her situation, not that she planned it.

I'd buy that. Obviously, we'll probably never know...

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Bottom line is Spike couldn't even cook shrimp properly. And those were a redo.

As someone who has had the unfortunate pleasure of dining at one of his fast-food joints, that doesn't surprise me one bit.

And, he comes off as a bit of a d-bag, dontcha think? Trying to make it look like everyone else on his team "made him do it that way."

At least he's good at making money.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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