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KristiB50

Top Chef : Season 8 - All Stars

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Ok, surely this crowd is up for a debate about just how much risotto should spread on your plate? Anyone?

Yup. I don't think it's as clear as Tony/Tom/Padma seem to think. Different parts of Italy seem to have different ideas on this. I thought their criticism on this point was way over the top.

I agree Mike Isabella should have gone for undercooking the pasta. I didn't quite understand how that could happen, since fresh pasta should cook in a flash, but Tom mentioned something about the large number of eggs he used making it difficult to cook, which makes it a double screw up on his part.

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I was shocked to see Tre go, as it seemed to me that risotto made to a different standard was less of a crime than undercooked pasta.

I wasn't suprised. Mike knew his pasta was bad, but that was the only real problem. If Tre's risotto texture was all that was wrong, I would agree that it was a lesser sin. But there was the veg problem as well.

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Yup. I don't think it's as clear as Tony/Tom/Padma seem to think. Different parts of Italy seem to have different ideas on this. I thought their criticism on this point was way over the top.

I agree Mike Isabella should have gone for undercooking the pasta. I didn't quite understand how that could happen, since fresh pasta should cook in a flash, but Tom mentioned something about the large number of eggs he used making it difficult to cook, which makes it a double screw up on his part.

That was way over the top. As noted risotto texture varies quite a bit in Italy from almost soupy to a far firmer texture that is quite a bit like Tre's version from this episode.

Overgarnished perhaps yes but Isabella's pasta was a far greater transgression IMHO.


Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

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Yep and aside from the degree of creaminess/texture I have a feeling he would not have been judged so harshly had his veg been limited or plated separately. (And I too can confirm from recent travels to Northern Italy that risotto isn’t always or doesn’t have to be creamy/soupy).

Hey Fabio, welcome to the Americanized Italian food paradox where you get more points for triggering memories of overly simplified bastardized Italian cuisne than producing a dish which is technically superior and more authentically Italian.

Steamed mussels (a la Francais) anyone? Forgedaboutit


That wasn't chicken

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(And I too can confirm from recent travels to Northern Italy that risotto isn’t always or doesn’t have to be creamy/soupy).

And here I was about to point out that Tom mentioned that he's never been south of Rome and that he needed to get down there. Well, it was a good hypothesis while it lasted.

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I wasn't suprised. Mike knew his pasta was bad, but that was the only real problem. If Tre's risotto texture was all that was wrong, I would agree that it was a lesser sin. But there was the veg problem as well.

You've hit on something that I thought was a significant issue as well: Mike Isabella knew his pasta was bad and admitted it. Tre, in contrast, didn't seem to realise his "garnishes" were huge and, even worse, not really appropriate for risotto. The combination of that ignorance and the texture of the risotto seemed to be the kiss of death. If he'd done a mea culpa as Mike did, I think he would have stayed. Top Chef often seems to reward those who are forthright about flaws in their dishes over those who seem clueless in the judges' eyes.

On a separate note, I find contradictions in Tom C's reasoning regarding Antonia and Tre. In his blog, he essentially praises Antonia for following the old Italian-American tradition of adapting dishes for life in America (where, initially, truly authentic Italian ingredients weren't available). He seemed to focus on that even more than on the taste of her food. Yet, it seems to me as though Tre was slammed for not being true to supposedly "real" risotto as Tom thinks it's done in Italy. But couldn't Tre's risotto be seen as an example of the philosophy of adaptability and change that Tom C. claims is such a part of Italian-American cuisine? *Especially* as there doesn't seem to be uniform consensus on the texture?

I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised though, as I've often found contradictions in the judges' reasoning :rolleyes: but I so wanted Mike Isabella to go. I think he's an obnoxiously cocky, smug lout who was a real jerk on his season.

Going back to the food, what do you guys think about Antonia's mussels not being Italian, as Fabio claims? I think he's is mistaken. I've had mussels in a marinara sauce in Southern Italy; Anthony Bourdain says it's common in Sicily (though whether he's talking about mussel dishes in general or Antonia's specific version, I have no idea); and Eric Ripert says Antonia's dish wasn't French. Given how big regional differences in Italian food can be, it doesn't seem fair for either Tom C. or Fabio to claim there is one set Italian way of doing things.


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

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I've been watching the show since the outset (season 1) and was also shocked that Tre was eliminated, particularly since Chef Tom had several times gone out of his way in the past to praise Tre since he was eliminated in his original season. Thought Mike was a goner for sure.


Maybe I would have more friends if I didn't eat so much garlic?

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Last week they cooked at RAO's restaurant and this week Whole Foods, a Top Chef sponsor, is prominently displaying and placed on sale RAO's pasta sauce.

Coincidence?


"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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Hate to see Fabio go, but he really ought to know how to make a hamboorger. I could see him overworking it and predicted a meatloafy texture. Without bread crumbs etc, that must've been like a little hockey puck.

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Last week they cooked at RAO's restaurant and this week Whole Foods, a Top Chef sponsor, is prominently displaying and placed on sale RAO's pasta sauce.

Coincidence?

Product placement is the show's bread and butter.

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Last week they cooked at RAO's restaurant and this week Whole Foods, a Top Chef sponsor, is prominently displaying and placed on sale RAO's pasta sauce.

Coincidence?

Product placement is the show's bread and butter.

Product placement is the show's Pepperage Farm and Land o'Lakes.

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Did anyone catch the details of Carla's chicken pot pie? She mentioned something about putting a crust underneath it, but I didn't quite follow what that was about. And also there was something about a pea powder that I didn't understand either.

I wish they'd spend at least as much time discussing the winning dishes as they do the losing ones.

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They have actually posted the recipe on the BravoTV website. Though through initial first glance, the recipes are as bad as the show with product placement (1st step mentions a KitchenAid mixer). :hmmm:

The discussion on the bottom crust was how some restaurants make a pot pie by just covering the top of the container with crust; hence there's only a crust on the top. The old Swanson Pot Pies I remember in my youth always had a full layer of crust all around the chicken, veggies, and gravy. The bottom never quite cooked, which in some ways maed it the best part.

They also talked about the pea salt, which I also had never heard of before this episode. That's one of the things I like about being a total neophyte and watching these shows -- I learn something that may be of use in a future recipe or experiment. :laugh:


Edited by stomsf (log)

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They have actually posted the recipe on the BravoTV website. Though through initial first glance, the recipes are as bad as the show with product placement (1st step mentions a KitchenAid mixer). :hmmm:

Just watched Rick Moonen's video recreating the dish. No crust on the bottom, no pea salt, I don't think the herbs were fried. I'd never even thought to question these videos before.

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Last week they cooked at RAO's restaurant and this week Whole Foods, a Top Chef sponsor, is prominently displaying and placed on sale RAO's pasta sauce.

Coincidence?

Product placement is the show's bread and butter.

Product placement is the show's Pepperage Farm and Land o'Lakes.

Za-zing!

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I didn't want to see any of the bottom three eliminated but I don't think, from what we were shown, that Fabio was the worst. We were told that Dale's sandwich was so salty as to be inedible and Tiffany's chicken and dumplings were called a tortilla soup. I'll miss Fabio.


Edited by robirdstx (log)

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I've forgotten who said it (Tom maybe?) that chicken and dumplings were big fluffy dumplings. Not here in chicken and dumpling land. They are called slickers and are more of a thick noodle, not a puffy bisquick kind of thing.

Hey, if they can get snotty about Italian food and it being authentic, so can I about dumplings being authenti :laugh: c.

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I didn't want to see any of the bottom three eliminated but I don't think, from what we were shown, that Fabio was the worst.

I think the edit is always designed to be ambiguous, or even downright deceptive, so that the elimination will remain in doubt until the very end.

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They have actually posted the recipe on the BravoTV website. Though through initial first glance, the recipes are as bad as the show with product placement (1st step mentions a KitchenAid mixer). :hmmm:

Just watched Rick Moonen's video recreating the dish. No crust on the bottom, no pea salt, I don't think the herbs were fried. I'd never even thought to question these videos before.

Thanks IndyRob. I didn't take the time to watch Rick Moonen's video and you're right, he didn't use any pea salt nor crust on the bottom.

Carla did a good demo with some good techniques thrown in on Jimmy Fallon last night. Can see the crust pieces she means to include on the bottom and she actually has Jimmy grind up her pea salt.

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Having watched Anthony Bourdain's process for selecting a 'local' to go around with him in the Phillipines in 'No Reservations', I came to the conclusion that Jimmy Fallon chose Carla for her zany personality, but I'm sure that the Chicken Pot Pie was good too.

Did anyone notice a couple episodes ago that Antonia complimented Mike for teaching her a new technique, but they didn't actually show the technique? That kinda irks me. Maybe it was obvious (I figured it out pretty quick so it must be) that he taught her how to do gnocci with a fork (for those times you don't have a gnocci board around) but I wish they would concentrate on the food and cooking techniques more than the drama and back-biting comments.

Speaking of which, I really have to hand it to Mike; he was very gracious regarding his comments post-Marcel getting the ax (when he easily and justifiably could have torn him a new one). I would think that that's the key being on a show like this; always being diplomatic because you have no control over your sound bites.


Maybe I would have more friends if I didn't eat so much garlic?

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... but I wish they would concentrate on the food and cooking techniques more than the drama and back-biting comments.

Well, in a sense it's not that sort of show. But I agree with you. But I've been thinking about all the footage they haven't used and hope that someone may come along and re-cut it and put a clever narrative over it. Maybe Bourdain and Ripert watching preparations and arguing about whether the dish is going to work or not.

Or maybe Fabio and Stefan ("I'm a tellinGah you NOW, my friend, thees eez goinGah to be sheet!").


Edited by IndyRob (log)

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Or maybe Fabio and Stefan ("I'm a tellinGah you NOW, my friend, thees eez goinGah to be sheet!").

That's funny. It's worth watching just for Padma in my opinion. Maybe they could start a cooking contest show with some of her and her model friends in bikinis. Picking up cooking tips wouldn't be such a priority then! I should be a producer, whatdayathink?


Edited by Big Joe the Pro (log)

Maybe I would have more friends if I didn't eat so much garlic?

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I really have to hand it to Mike; he was very gracious regarding his comments post-Marcel getting the ax (when he easily and justifiably could have torn him a new one). I would think that that's the key being on a show like this; always being diplomatic because you have no control over your sound bites.

When do you think Mike Isabella was so gracious with regard to Marcel? Are you referring to his comments at Judges' Table or, subsequently, in the bar as shown at the beginning of the next episode?

Personally, and speaking only for myself, "gracious" is not a word I would associate with Mike. IMO, *TRE* was very diplomatic and gracious regarding Marcel after his departure.

Back to the last episode, I have to say, I think it was one of the funniest Top Chef episodes I've ever seen. I laughed my head off almost nonstop, from Dale's comments about Angelo's prettiness (followed by his tight, anger-management cackle and smirk- a segment I replayed a few times to ever increasing laughter), to Carla's bouyant and infectious joy throughout the hour. She really is a delight to watch, as well as a refreshing change from some of the chefs' surliness or cockiness.


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

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Wow. This is one crappy episode. I've defended product placement before, sort of. This is just rediculous though! I mean the whole thing is a Target commercial. It's beyond silly and pisses me off. I'm not sure I want to finish watching honestly.


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Such wasted talent on silly "challenges." Sometimes a season of Top Chef (or derivative thereof), presents us with a third-rate stable of cooks and interesting challenges, or, as we have here, a bevy of talent being wasted on innocuous games.

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