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Top Chef : Season 8 - All Stars


KristiB50
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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.

If you go by performance when they were on the show originally, Spike is probably the least impressive "all-star". He made it to the final five in Season 4. But of the 12 episodes in which he appeared, he won just one elimination challenge, while being in the bottom three an astonishing six times. No other chef who has made it that deep into a season, had such a poor ratio of wins to near-losses.

The one thing Spike has done, to his credit, is to make the most of his Top Chef resume. I can't think of any other non-winning chef who has gotten more mileage out of having been on that show.

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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...

I don't blame her for wanting to not go first, if her beans were not cooked, and could be cooked if she delayed, then it only makes sense from a team perspective. But much, much more so from a personal perspective (go first with a guaranteed loss? psh, forget that.)

As for the game playing aspects, no strategy would work for that game. If you put your weakest player first and vs their strongest, that's a good idea... unless the other team does the same. Now you are trying to guess what they are thinking, only spying would have worked. To get to 4 wins first, you want to put your best dishes forward first, so Jamie going last with hard beans was the right move for her team, and she just got lucky.

I still enjoyed the format of the episode (being an avid game player, it was fun to think over)

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I've been trying to figure out what the motivations are for these Chefs to go back on Bravo for another iteration of "Top Chef." Surely the allure of money and the tug of further fame on a reality television show is the primary motivation for some, yet it also seems to beg the question of "why?" for others Cheftestants.

Some of these Chefs left the dramady of reality television long ago and established themselves in their own kitchens and other business ventures. So it seems to beg the question of why, other than money and fame, would they even agree to appear on Top Chef All Stars? One could argue that it is a set-up for failure since only one Chef will ultimately "win" this competition and the time commitment to the filming schedule certainly must have had an impact on the Chef's other responsibilities.

So in the end, do you think that taking the risk of losing, (and the inherent risk of knowing that you may be personally portrayed in a negative light), is worth appearing on "Top Chef All-Stars?"

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I think the challenge and "game aspect" of Top Chef has a great draw on many of the contestants. We as Chefs and Cooks are competitive by nature. The fact that they have other responsibilities, and obligations Im sure has been taken into account before they make the decission to go on the show. As far as being shown in a "bad light", if they go on and act as themselves and stick to that creedo then I suppose that it doesn't matter what other people think. These are mostly established professionals that are already know in the industry in one way, shape, or form and the appearance will only effect them by getting their name out even more. Weather good or Bad.

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I've been trying to figure out what the motivations are for these Chefs to go back on Bravo for another iteration of "Top Chef." Surely the allure of money and the tug of further fame on a reality television show is the primary motivation for some, yet it also seems to beg the question of "why?" for others Cheftestants.

Some of these Chefs left the dramady of reality television long ago and established themselves in their own kitchens and other business ventures. So it seems to beg the question of why, other than money and fame, would they even agree to appear on Top Chef All Stars? One could argue that it is a set-up for failure since only one Chef will ultimately "win" this competition and the time commitment to the filming schedule certainly must have had an impact on the Chef's other responsibilities.

So in the end, do you think that taking the risk of losing, (and the inherent risk of knowing that you may be personally portrayed in a negative light), is worth appearing on "Top Chef All-Stars?"

I think there is not a lot risk of not winning ("losing"). I'll have to dig it up, but there was a good interview with a contestant (Stephen Hopcraft) from Season 7 (D.C) who was chef at Seablue at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. He was eliminated mid-way through. But it didn't have any negative impact. The restaurant/hotel still promoted him and it seems to have generated extra attention and business. He has since moved from MGM Grand to the newly opened Cosmopolitan where he is exec. chef at STK.

Really, it seems any publicity is good publicity. Locally, Tre Wilcox became a bit of a "star" after his first appearance on Top Chef during season 3. He too got booted about midway through. But it didn't keep people from liking him. I dined at the restaurant just before the season aired. Before I even knew he was going to be on. Dined again AFTER the show had fully aired. On the second trip, he was out in the dining room, talking to guests, taking pictures with guests, etc. etc.

EDIT: Below is the link to the Stephen Hopcraft story

http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/news/2010/sep/22/stephen-hopcraft/

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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One would think that reputation would be vital to protect. But it appears that one would be wrong.

Things have changed in the past 20 years. As an example look at how the word "notoriety" is used today. It used to mean infamy and was clearly a negative. Now is it used as a synonym for fame.

One would think that being jacked around by some of the knucklehead judges would be beneath a serious chef's dignity. Jen whatshername has figured this out finally, but the rest haven't or don't care. I'd like to see the list of chefs who turned down the rematch.

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I suspect that it's a bit of different equation for each person. As noted, Kevin wan't interested in proving anything. Spike, on the other hand, has benefited from his participation in my eyes because of this very thread. When it was mentioned that he seemed to be doing well, I had to go look to see what he was doing.

I think that Jen being sent home early-on pretty much removed any disgrace that might be felt by those eliminated. I could be wrong, but I don't see Jen as someone who wants to put herself out there commercially, but does in a professional sense. I think she was there to win - which only added to her disappointment.

Anyone from the earlier seasons that haven't found their final calling could only do well to get back into spotlight and claim the 'All Star' association.

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I didn't like seeing Jen go either but I do feel she made a poor choice in dishes. If I remember correctly from a past TC, a Scoth Egg off shoot was tried and not well received then either. My memory could be wrong but I do believe it was Jen then too in her previous TC. I think her "scoth egg" billing may have hurt as well unless it is such that any time you use a hard boiled egg you can use that reference.

Other than Mr. Somemlier the contestant I least looked forward to this year was Spike. In his original season I didn't feel he was that good as well as I found him totally obnoxious. Surprisingly, this season I felt he had reigned in the obnoxious attitude (hmmmm, maturity ya think?) and my perception of him was as a chef who had grown considerably in the time between then and now.

I strongly feel Spike got screwed over by Jamie. Yes, Spike had problems with his dish and he knew it. Both I felt knew they stood a good chance of being eliminated. Jamie, I think, knew her dish was the worst and that going up would be the end for her. One of them had to be the sacrificial lamb. I think on the heel of dodging one bullett due to her finger that she should have been the one to step up to the plate.

Charles a food and wine addict - "Just as magic can be black or white, so can addictions be good, bad or neither. As long as a habit enslaves it makes the grade, it need not be sinful as well." - Victor Mollo

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Embarrassingly chaotic in the Chinese kitchen. Amazing and disappointing that so few of the chefs had a feel for volume turnout. Too many chefs and no one in charge.

Production company decision to force some of the chefs to the front of the house was unfair and way too Hell's Kitcheny. Gave them a major disadvantage - relying on chefs already in the weeds to cook the servers' dim sum too.

Quickfire and Colicchio cooking (especially running back and forth) rocked.

Edited by Holly Moore (log)

Holly Moore

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I'm thoroughly bummed. Jamie keeps surviving at the expense of capable chefs. What are the judges thinking? How can they send Casey home when someone else screwed up her dish?

Injustice is frustrating for the viewer. Top chef produxers better watch their step. They are getting close to having a pointless show.

Sent from my Droid using Tapatalk

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Ironically, the all stars cast might have been their downfall in this challenge. Every one of the chefs comes from a fine dining restaurant and didn't have the experience to work in a turn & burn kitchen. Some of the weaker contestants for earlier seasons might have excelled at this one.

PS: I am a guy.

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Very impressive of Collichio answering the critics and contestants and competing at their own challenge. That was awesome.

Before we all bestow sainthood on Collichio, let's realize that he already knew what he was going to cook and already had all his ingredients ready to be picked up and worked with. That's probably 8 minutes worth of time right there.

Ironically, the all stars cast might have been their downfall in this challenge. Every one of the chefs comes from a fine dining restaurant and didn't have the experience to work in a turn & burn kitchen. Some of the weaker contestants for earlier seasons might have excelled at this one.

While a dim sum kitchen may indeed, in your opinion, be a turn and burn experience, don't skip over the fact that very few of the chefs picked a dish or two which might have been more easily cooked and plated in the quantities they were asking for.

Where were the baby spareribs in black bean sauce, a dish that takes little time to prep and even less than that to plate? Fabio's came closest, I guess. Or little bowls of exquisite fried rice?

Did everyone notice how customers were starting to just take things off the carts as they rolled by? Happens all the time at the local dim sum joints...at least they didn't rush the cart, which I've seen as well.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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Yeah, I know Tom knew what he was making and had practiced a few times, but that was still impressive to me. Gathering mise, cookware, fileting, cooking etc in 8 minutes when you have not worked a line in years......I honestly did not think he would do it that quickly.

and while none have worked in a turn and burn (except maybe as teens in the usual joints) they all own or aspire to high volume and the dollars they bring. Blais' place for instance is extremely high volume. Extremely.

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Collichio knew what he was cooking months ago. Hell, the producers of the show probably knew what Collichio was cooking months ago. Collichio knew exactly what was needed to cook his dish in terms of both ingredients and cookware. On the other hand, the Cheftestants had 8 minutes to figure out what they wanted to do and then they were sent on a scavenger hunt to find the ingredients they were looking for without the complete knowledge that what they would be looking for would even be there.

We all know Collichio can cook. Let Padma do it next time.

BTW, did anyone else catch the delightfully racist "Caucasian Dim Sum" commentary?

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This episode really soured me on the whole series. The producer's creative tank is clearly empty.

The farcical "speed challenge" where Colicchio A) already knows what he's going to make B) has all his mise already selected and set up C) Didn't have to fight for stove stop space. D) Didn't have to scrum for ingredients with 8 other people. Spare me. I wonder how many times he rehearsed this.

Props to Marcel for taking Colicchio's leftover fish (and from his dish it looked like his leftover mise too)

Enough with the team challenges where there is no downside for screwing team mates as long as your food is OK

The whole dim sum thing was so convoluted; why did 2 chefs have to be on the floor? They clearly weren't missed when they went back to the kitchen. Note to Mike - Expediting is more than yelling on a phone to "get more food out". The cheftestants have obviously taken a pointer from the ghost of Jennifer and realized that since the diner's input no longer counts, who cares if they get fed or not, just cook for the judges.

Why do the cheftestants continue to try and make stuff they have no clue about (Casey)? As soon as she pick chicken feet I turned to the wife and said "she's toast" and they did look nasty.

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I liked everything about this episode with the exception of having to have contestants do front of house. If Casey had done her dish all the way through it may not have been inedible.

Regarding Tom's performance, his blog is particularly good this week. He only knew two days before the shoot that he would be doing this. He had only made a walk through of the kitchen prior to shooting.

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BTW, did anyone else catch the delightfully racist "Caucasian Dim Sum" commentary?

If a comment like "causasian dim sum" is racist, then pretty much everyone who has said "You know a [fill in ethnicity] restaurant is good because it's filled with [fill in ethnicity] people" is racist. It may show a prejudice, but it is certainly not racist.

[rant]As someone who has experienced racism, I find it very offensive when people throw that term around lightly. [/rant]

This comment about the episode from a food blogger is far more indicative of prejudice

As far as Chinese food experience, they've got Dale, who's Chinese and has worked at a dim sum place; Angelo, who specializes in Asian cuisine; and Tiffany from Beaumont, who... visited China for less than a month.

Dale is Filipino. But you know, we all look alike. :rolleyes:

[edited to fix poor editing]

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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You have to wonder what Casey was thinking going with chicken feet. Going that far out at this stage makes no sense and then knowing someone else would be cooking it seems like a sure recipe for failure.

Jamie's dishes once again were bad and once again she had lame excuses as to why. The day can't be too far off when the rest of the contestants avoid catastrophe and we wave bye bye to Jamie.

I found it rather nice seeing the chaos. All of us at home have had our chaotic moments so to see that large and well trained a crew have the kitchen from hell was kind of comforting in a perverse way.

As to the quickfire, who cares if TC had his dish planned and his ingredients ready. It was a chance to see TC in action and it was a good and equitable challenge for all.

Charles a food and wine addict - "Just as magic can be black or white, so can addictions be good, bad or neither. As long as a habit enslaves it makes the grade, it need not be sinful as well." - Victor Mollo

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i really have enjoyed casey on her seasons. i have NOT enjoyed jamie.

sorry to see casey go, especially while jamie is still standing. i started and stopped the tivo several times while watching this episode, to attend various tasks. doing so revealed several things i might not have noticed if i'd watched it straight through.

at one point during the "quick fire demo" (which i agree was not a true demonstration of tom c's skills, as clearly he had all his equipment, ingredients, etc. gathered for him ahead of time, and the dish conceptualized ahead), there is a shot of most of the cheftestants gathered around watching, and jamie is off to the side, seemingly with her back turned to the demo. almost looks like she was in "time out"--what's up with that??

also, i believe i noticed bandages and fingercots on both angelo and dale...but no mention of any injuries...in light of jamie's two-stitch drama, i'd think they would either show the injuries, and the chefs waving off the medics, or something.i'm just sayin'.

eta: one thing i did notice about casey's dish. i DID think it was a gutsy move, and could have paid off it it was successful. also, i think she should have been given a nod for stepping up and offering to take on FOH duties. BUT, when she went down to the kitchen to check on the progress of her dish, and antonia was deepfrying the feet, casey said they should be finished in a wok. in his commentary, susur lee mentioned the reasons why the feet should be finished by deepfrying. so that was on casey, not antonia (who was in the weeds on her own dish, and not apparently hustling that much, despite her mumblings about having any sense of urgency in the kitchen. )

Edited by chezcherie (log)

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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I just hate challenges that force the chefs into a front-of-house role. It's Top Chef, not Top Waiter.

On his blog, Colicchio says that the chicken feet were so bad that he doubts Casey could have rescued them, even if she'd prepared them herself. But she should, at least, have had that chance.

Anyhow, it was a very peculiar decision on her part, knowing at the time they went shopping that she would be putting her dish in another chef's hands. At this stage of the competition, it is practically never a good idea to take a big risk like that.

I agree that it's galling to see Jamie still there, but her food was at least edible; Casey's was not.

Edited by oakapple (log)
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If a comment like "causasian dim sum" is racist, then pretty much everyone who has said "You know a [fill in ethnicity] restaurant is good because it's filled with [fill in ethnicity] people" is racist. It may show a prejudice, but it is certainly not racist.

I don't think it's racist either, but think about it this way... if an old white couple in Babbo were overheard saying "African Spaghetti" about a black chef while making an "Ewww-Face" there'd be a shit storm...

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