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Top Chef : Season 8 - All Stars


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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...

I hope they put that old woman on the next judges panel.

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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...

But it wasn't said because of the ethnicity of the person/people cooking, but because of the quality/style of the food.

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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...

But it wasn't said because of the ethnicity of the person/people cooking, but because of the quality/style of the food.

I was unaware “Caucasian” was synonymous with “poor quality.”

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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...

But it wasn't said because of the ethnicity of the person/people cooking, but because of the quality/style of the food.

I was unaware “Caucasian” was synonymous with “poor quality.”

Jeez...here we go getting all too sensitive. The old lady could hate all white people and she might be a racist, but we do not know that. Her comment was not a recist comment at all. From the look of the food and the way it was executed, I took it that she was refering to the style of the Dim Sum. It was not traditional Chinese like she was used to. We can even assume she was cracking a joke and was at the same time pissed that it was bad and took forever to get to her table. But to brand her comment as racist is absurd! I hear Mexican coworkers/friedns of mine call some "Mexican" food in town "Mexican food for white people". Is that racist too? They don't usually mean it is bad (tho lots of times it is), they mean it is not traditional Mexican food.

On another note, this challenge was very difficult and made for a fun episode. Making them cook Dim Sum for a hundred or so guests was nuts. It was cool to see Fabbio rank as one of the top three on an episode where the challenge was so foreign to him.

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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...

But it wasn't said because of the ethnicity of the person/people cooking, but because of the quality/style of the food.

I was unaware “Caucasian” was synonymous with “poor quality.”

Considering the context, I've never met a Caucasian cook who made better dim sum than a Chinese cook. How many dim sum places do you frequent that have awesome Caucasian cooks in the kitchen? For that matter, given the choice between entering a dim sum place filled with Chinese patrons, or a dim sum place filled with Caucasian patrons, which would you choose? Which would you assume is more "authentic"? And I noticed you ignored the "style" half of what I wrote. And the part about the misuse of the word "racism".

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Colicchio was simultaneously setting a time standard and giving a good demonstration as to how the contestants might go about preparing their quick fire dish. Anyone who knows what it really takes to be at his level as a chef knows he has major cooking chops. It was good entertainment to see him walk the walk while all the contestants craned their necks watch one of the masters at work.

The old lady's "racist" comment was appropriate and amusing. It made me chuckle. Having had dim sum at that particular place and many others I'll bet most all the first generation Chinese patrons were thinking something similar. Even though they're told why the cameras were there, "WTF is going on here?"

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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. )

Glad someone else caught that. What I don't understand is why she didn't test the dish before service - sure seemed like she had time if she was showing how she wanted the dish plated. She seemed shocked to hear they were inedible. If they were good, that crowd would have given here the win. Maybe not the judges though.

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Regarding Jamie: After the stitches incident, I read that she tweeted that she was getting the "asshole edit" (her words, not mine), and I was willing to give her some benefit of the doubt. Or, at least, I wanted to try to do so. After all, it's reality television and one sees just a tiny portion of the filming. But it became harder as the show progressed, esp. after she was shown LITERALLY hiding behind a table in the Tennis challenge, rather than be called up to serve her food.

Again, she explained it away. In other tweets, she's said (I'm pretty sure it's with regard to the Tennis challenge and the chickpeas, given the date of the tweets):

--"actually, ppl are hating on me, but its fine. I DID cook. My dish didn't get served. It's a game. Thats how we chose to play..."

--"trust me. It felt shitty to me to not serve that dish. It was a great dish....but its the way the cards were dealt that day..."

-- "I know!! It's not my fault...its just the way my "story" is being played out...its not like I didnt cook! "

--"not watching. But I imagine I am...not surprised. I think I did something to piss off the producers...oh well."

But, as things have progressed, I find it impossible to justify things on malicious editing elves. I certainly don't buy her excuses or Tweet explanations about the chickpeas, no matter what she says. And, at this point in -- almost 4 episodes showing totally lackadaisical effort, interest and effort -- there's no way she can blame this on the distorting editing.

To me, it really seems that she hates being there and sees no value in it at all. Her attitude is truly beyond abysmal, even apart from the controversial issues as her stitches or the tennis challenge. Just in the last episode she was giving some snotty, disdainful remark during the Dim Sum challenge about service and servicing the customers.

All this makes me wonder why she bothered to sign up in the first place? She just recently moved to become the head chef of a new LA place and if I remember her interview correctly, the owners told her that she was hired because of "her name" (which she reads as her Top Chef performance and resumé). But Harold Dieterle also obviously hated being involved in the past shows and, once he was no longer contractually required to show up or could afford not to, stayed as far the hell away as he could. (Have you ever seen a more miserable face than Harold's on the Intra-seasonal, reunion dinner hosted by Fabio about 18 months ago??!?) And Kevin S. turned down the All-Stars, even though he's a much stronger chef (IMO) than Jamie Scallops. So, why the hell did she go on when she is clearly so disinterested, aloof and contemptuous?

Anyway, Jamie may think she is getting the unfair villain edit but the producers can only work (or tamper) with what they have. And she seems to have given them plenty at this point. So if she's getting hired because of her performance and image from the prior Top Chef season, what will the image she's unfortunately cultivated in the All-Stars season do to her career? Like another poster up above, I caught the shot of her with her back totally turned for a while to Tom Colicchio as he was doing his Quick Fire Challenge, and it's hard not to pick up on her disdainful Laissez-Faire attitude throughout the competition as a whole. I may have been open to buying the magic, malicious, editing Elves once, possibly even twice if I had a lot of wine <snort>, but at this point, I think she's destroying her professional reputation all on her own.

EDITED TO ADD:

If anyone is interested, I found the articles I referenced up above. Here is a link to an interview with her where she discusses the psychiatric test required for Top Chef contestants, among other things: LA Weekly Article

The article where she talks about Top Chef, LA vs SF in terms of the food, and says how her Top Chef credentials influenced her hiring for her brand new, recently opened place in LA: Jamie Interview re Top Chef/ La vs SF., etc

Edited by Kafka Zola (log)

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Ding dong the witch is dead.

I'm perfectly willing to believe she was cast to be a villain. But it was insightful because she lived up to the part. Ive had employees like her. They avoid the job, weasel out at every chance, and never take responsibility. They make terrible bosses btw. Her new employers will soon see.

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I'll be honest, I first thought it was going to be Jamie and Marcel packing their knives and leaving. When they mentioned Tiffani's name, I was damn outraged and was pretty sure Jaime would be saved -- yet again -- because I didn't expect (for whatever weird reason) that the two being kicked off would be from the same team. Also, to be honest, I really started to think that Jaime was the John Gotti of Top Chef.

I'll spare you the incredibly excited, almost embrassing outpourings of joy that I shrieked out when Jamie was actually told "to pack your knives and go." Or how thrilled I was for Carla, the perpetually underestimated dark horse. I adore her, but, that said, I really want Richard Blais to win. You have NO idea how relieved I was that he wasn't eliminated.

Totally random thoughts:

-- Marcel was damn lucky. Also, he needs to stop channel GaNgStA rappers so much. Marcel, you're a white boy and far from the projects.

--So... "angry Dale" has had Anger Management courses. Huh. I'm not sure they totally worked. Although.... if he managed to stay calm in the face of Marcel's "Vanilla Ice" rendition, maybe he should get some sort of award from his sponsor.

-- If Angelo has some sort of weird Russian mail order bride, should he be trying to hit on customers? Also: is it possible for Angelo to get weirder? Ever time I think "Not," lo' and behold... he does.

-- I was strangely and unexpectedly moved by Tiffani's goodbye speech regarding how she's changed. And I truly wish her a huge amount of success.

Edited by Kafka Zola (log)

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

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I too, thought Jamie had been saved when Tiffani's name was announced first, and was not happy. That said.....

I think Tiffani should have stayed while Wolverine Boy (Marcel) packed his knives. He was very, very lucky that Tiffani made the boneheaded mistake to not take out that bloodline.

I am totally surprised at how poorly Richard Blais is doing. He's not impressing me at all this round, unlike how he blew me out of the water the first time.

And I am thrilled for Carla, I loved her in her first round and I still love her now. I would LOVE to see her win it, or Antonia, who I also think is under-rated and under-respected, and who I wasn't tremendously impressed by the first time, and now just kicks butt.

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Fabio didn't exactly rock the house last night either.

But it's obvious that the two "worst" cooks went home.

I find it hard to believe, as much and as often as they tell us, that past performance doesn't in any way, shape or form affect the decisions the "judges" make.

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The participants seem to have backed off challenging the judges - none of the confrontations of the first two judges' tables. Wonder if they mellowed, decided such scenes were futile or were told by the producers to be more respectful.

I guess if you join the circus you ought to respect the ringmasters.

I'm a little less tolerant of Tom's at-times condescending judgments. He doesn't need to be so arch and superior. A little gentle humility is in order, I think. These are pretty competent people who are working under silly conditions. I've eaten in his restaurants. They aren't perfect either.

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I found it kind of irritating when Tom was giving the chefs grief over what fish they were cooking. It's one thing to say they did it improperly (Tiffany vs. Carla) but when he was going the walkthrough and gauging what they were cooking it seemed unnecessary. That's what they caught!

Good riddance Jamie.

Dale's consistency and different attitude this season have been quite surprising.

Also surprising is Richard's underperformance so far.

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My thoughts

  • According to his blog, this was Colicchio's pet script idea - Tom, please pack your typewriter and go
  • Richard/Marcel/Fabio's strategy worked. If they were eliminating 3 people that whole team would have gone but the judges seemed unwilling to single anyone out
  • LOL at Colicchio's comment "Fabio didn't contribute" - he did all the scut work
  • Colicchio's fishing buddy as the guest judge? Seriously?
  • The editing and camera work was very disjointed - I had a hard time following who's dish was who's
  • The last two episodes have been pretty meh, hope it picks up with Restaurant Wars next week

The Colicchio effect was in full force this episode. From the edits, I'd have sent Marcel and Richard packing, but Tiffany ran head first into Colicchio's "my way or the highway" philosophy with her bluefish; Jamie might as well have been wearing a red chef's jacket for the last two episodes. Richard was spared because he's the likable front runner and it's obvious that Marcel is now getting the ***hole edit (although it looks like there would be plenty to choose from if he left). If all the front runners go early who's going to watch or care about the finale?

Lastly it seems that it's really true that getting teamed with Antonia is truly the black hand of death as every single one of her teammates has been eliminated while teamed with her.

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My thoughts

(snip)

[*]LOL at Colicchio's comment "Fabio didn't contribute" - he did all the scut work

(snip)

The Colicchio effect was in full force this episode. From the edits, I'd have sent Marcel and Richard packing, but Tiffany ran head first into Colicchio's "my way or the highway" philosophy with her bluefish; Jamie might as well have been wearing a red chef's jacket for the last two episodes. Richard was spared because he's the likable front runner and it's obvious that Marcel is now getting the ***hole edit (although it looks like there would be plenty to choose from if he left). If all the front runners go early who's going to watch or care about the finale?

Lastly it seems that it's really true that getting teamed with Antonia is truly the black hand of death as every single one of her teammates has been eliminated while teamed with her.

At least Fabio didn't get eliminated for having done the scut work. I understand why he wouldn't get equal credit for conceptualizing the dish, but it isn't like his contribution wasn't necessary/important.

I disagree that it looked like all the front runner's could have potentially gone home. For me, the current frontunners are Angelo, Blais, Carla and then either Dale or Antonia. Angelo hasn't really put a foot wrong yet, Carla has two wins under her belt, and Antoni and Dale have been very strong. Blais is the only frontrunner who seems to be under-performing to me. And Marcel talks a good game, but I don't see him as final four material. Of course, it could just be because he annoys the heck out of me! :biggrin:

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LOL at Colicchio's comment "Fabio didn't contribute" - he did all the scut work

Actually, I think Colicchio's comment was that he "didn't see much of Fabio's personality" in the dish. It was basically Blais/Marcel's concept, to which Fabio contributed mostly prep work. I can't fault that assessment. At the same time, I knew there was no way he would get sent home for that, when there were much more specific faults with other chefs' work.

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Lastly it seems that it's really true that getting teamed with Antonia is truly the black hand of death as every single one of her teammates has been eliminated while teamed with her.

I think you're forgetting the museum episode, where people were outraged that Antonia's undercooked/overcooked egg team didn't result in a PYKAG, instead of JenC's pork belly. It's the killer Jamie factor - pork belly (JenC), "tennis" (Spike), and now fish (Tiffani).

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I'll be honest, I first thought it was going to be Jamie and Marcel packing their knives and leaving. When they mentioned Tiffani's name, I was damn outraged and was pretty sure Jaime would be saved -- yet again -- because I didn't expect (for whatever weird reason) that the two being kicked off would be from the same team. Also, to be honest, I really started to think that Jaime was the John Gotti of Top Chef.

I'll spare you the incredibly excited, almost embrassing outpourings of joy that I shrieked out when Jamie was actually told "to pack your knives and go." Or how thrilled I was for Carla, the perpetually underestimated dark horse. I adore her, but, that said, I really want Richard Blais to win. You have NO idea how relieved I was that he wasn't eliminated.

Totally random thoughts:

-- Marcel was damn lucky. Also, he needs to stop channel GaNgStA rappers so much. Marcel, you're a white boy and far from the projects.

--So... "angry Dale" has had Anger Management courses. Huh. I'm not sure they totally worked. Although.... if he managed to stay calm in the face of Marcel's "Vanilla Ice" rendition, maybe he should get some sort of award from his sponsor.

-- If Angelo has some sort of weird Russian mail order bride, should he be trying to hit on customers? Also: is it possible for Angelo to get weirder? Ever time I think "Not," lo' and behold... he does.

-- I was strangely and unexpectedly moved by Tiffani's goodbye speech regarding how she's changed. And I truly wish her a huge amount of success.

I can't believe you just said almost exactly what I said to my husband as we watched this episode right down to Angelo and his Russian fiance. I stood up and cheered for Carla - even said Hooty Hoo and applauded and cheered as Jamie was told to pack her knives. I too love Carla but am rooting for Richard.

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And I am thrilled for Carla, I loved her in her first round and I still love her now. I would LOVE to see her win it, or Antonia, who I also think is under-rated and under-respected, and who I wasn't tremendously impressed by the first time, and now just kicks butt.

I was very impressed by Antonia at judges table. She did not throw her teammates under the bus and was clearly not happy that they asked her to.

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They've got to stop letting the departing female competitors glamorize before their interviews. I suspected Casey was going home last week well before the writing was on the wall, because her hair and makeup were completely overdone in the interviews. Same with big-hair Tiffani this week.

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Yes, glad to see Jamie go. I too am surprised by Richard's underachievement so far. It seems with Richard, that he can't resist going over the top or doing some other twist. He is the one overcomplicating the dishes. Were we perhaps enthralled on his first go round with his style? Has Richard's act leveled out? I hope not, I still like him but I think he is just trying to do too much and shooting himself in the foot.

Contrast Carla to Richard. Carla has been, as she was her first season, coming through with good flavors and clever, but understated variations. Carla's twists seem to be more subtle, not as fancy, but quite effective, a simple approach as opposed to the dazzle of Richard.

My secret hope for this season though is that Dale T will have an off night, have his temper show, and that the guest judge that night will be Michael Chiarello. Now THAT would be priceless.

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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My secret hope for this season though is that Dale T will have an off night, have his temper show, and that the guest judge that night will be Michael Chiarello. Now THAT would be priceless.

HA! That would be great!

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