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David Ross

Top Chef: Seattle

382 posts in this topic

Seattle is a city with a unique geographical setting that naturally gives a cook a bounty of wonderful ingredients. I know I'll be chewing my fingernails in frustration over ridiculous challenges that will have no relationship to the Pacific Northwest. And of course, they'll traipse off to some far-away location for the finale. (Remember, the finale for Top Chef Texas was British Columbia, and I love British Columbia but they could have kept it in the Lone Star State).

Seattle is much more than Salmon and Dungeness Crab, but oh is that seafood delicious.

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So a twist this season. Rather than start in Texas and end far North, we'll start in cities across the country, say cooking with Chef Colicchio at Craft, then the fortunate few will end up in Seattle. A different concept from the past. This should be interesting.

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I've been around Chef Carla Pellegrino a number of times in Las Vegas. What you saw on Top Chef last night is the real Carla--wacky, outspoken, pasionnate and emotional. But in the end, Carla is incredibly likeable and a good Chef. Is she the "Top" Chef of Italian cuisine in America today? Probably not, but shes a very good Chef.

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She looks like a manic Charo.

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That seemed a very disparate set of challenges. I always like to imagine what/how I would do and I think Colicchio would've sent me packing in minutes - while, on the other hand, I think I'd have a fighting chance at making it through if given 45 minutes to make an omelette.

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Those omelets were pretty gross. Amazing a potential TC can't do a decent looking omelet. In their slight defense it looked like they were given steel pans to cook them in. If you expect teflon, that'd be a big adjustment and would account for the brown eggs.

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Those omelets were pretty gross. Amazing a potential TC can't do a decent looking omelet. In their slight defense it looked like they were given steel pans to cook them in. If you expect teflon, that'd be a big adjustment and would account for the brown eggs.

I concur, and I even thought the master omelet that Chef Puck pounded out looked a little marginal.

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The Good: I really loved the first episode challenges -- all were solid tests of a cook's skill and no b.s. gimmicks.

The Bad: Still seems like the caliber of cooks is down a little from prior years, and with some irritating personalities thrown in for extra flavor. Did I actually hear one of the losing chefs refer to his Asian competitor as "origami." Classy!

The Ugly: Team omelette. If they only had 15 minutes I might understand, but 45? I particularly loved the steak omelette which consisted of a burnt omelette with a steak slapped on top and looked like something I'd whip up as a hangover cure. Even Puck's omelette looked sketchy.

Lastly, I'm really tired of Top Chef completely ignoring the Southeast, other than the insult of holding the Season 5 finale in New Orleans. What gives? No offense to Seattle, which is one of my favorite places in the world, but to not have a season based in New Orleans or somehwere else in the Southeast after 10 years is insulting.

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I'm wiggling in my seat watching these Chefs put fresh Northwest seafood in front of Tom Douglas. I was in their shoes about 12 years ago. Chef Douglas judged me on MasterChef USA on PBS. Thankfully, he liked my Salt and Pepper Prawns with Sugared Walnuts. But that was a competition of amateur cooks, not professionals like Top Chef. When I saw one team over-cook their halibut tonight, I felt sick. It was like flushing gold down a toilet.

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Salmon demands gentle poaching. Everything else is risky.

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The overcooked halibut actually made me mad. Why on earth would you pan saute Halibut -- on both sides no less! -- 15 minutes before service? With 47 minutes to cook, oil poaching was an option and I was surprised only one team went that route.

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Made me want to poach cod in chili oil. Every once in awhile you actually learn something from top chef

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That does sound tasty.

I am pleased to see the return of Stefan who was robbed last time around. And CJ, the world's tallest chef. Josie, not so much. She still laughs like a donkey. And the Texan with the elaborate facial hair can hit the road anytime soon. He's grouchy, bitchy and curses too much even for this crew.

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I've said it before so I'll add it for the flavor of Season 10 of Top Chef--it's especially egregious that apparently talented, experienced Chefs don't demonstrate the skills on Top Chef that one would think they have to display every night during service in their restaurant. I mean really, how difficult is it for a team of three Chefs to put together an entree in less than one hour? Sauce-Chef #1. Fish-Chef-#2. Vegetables/Garnishes/Plating-Chef #3.

Has anyone ever heard or used a #2 pencil? Wouldn't that be the simplest tool to use to write down your timing? Think of it as reversing the clock. Just take a deep breath and resist the temptation to start romping through the kitchen like a delirious idiot. Hmm. Let's see. We have 45 min. to prepare our dish. So if we serve at 7pm, we get the green light at 615pm. So writing down and all agreeing to the timing, working as a team, with one leader calling out the instructions and overseeing the dish, we should be able to do it, right? Right? If we serve at 7p? When should we call out firing the fish? And should we make accomodation for the few minutes from plating to walk the plates into the dining room? Gosh, that's a good idea. Oh yeah, it's not that hard, we do it every night, don't we?

I've seen far better planning, execution and timing at a Heartland Gathering of eGullet Members than I sometimes see on Top Chef. Get it together Cheftestants.

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John Tesar is in this thing. Kinda surprising to see someone like that in this show. He's pretty much reached the levels most of the typical Top Chef contestant dreams of reaching. Oh, sure, he's had his issues. But still, I don't really get why he things he needs to prove something in this manner.


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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So Jeff, being from Dallas, did the local community really once call Tesar the most-hated Chef in Dallas? And what could the guy have done that was so egregious that it earned him that woeful title?

D Magazine gave him that dubious title in cover story. I suppose he is most noted for taking over at the Mansion On Turtle Creek after Dean Fearing left, totally revamped the place, and won rave reviews. (he left RM Seafood in Las Vegas to take the gig). That didn't last long. But I think most of the hate comes from other chefs, cooks, waiters, etc. and restaurant owners, and probably less from the general public (though I suppose some hated that he changed the Mansion in a major way). He even gets mentioned by Anthony Bourdain in 'Kitchen Confidential'.

Anyway... whole story is here.

http://www.dmagazine...in_Dallas.aspx?


Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"
jmeeker@eGullet.org

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Of the 6 chefs who cooked an omelette for Wolfgang Puck, 4 have already been eliminated and Tyler is holding on by a fingernail. Wolfgang was way too generous to his omelette chefs, the only one he should have passed is Kumiko.


PS: I am a guy.

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I hope CJ gets the axe.....and he will judging by his cooking.

How did he get so pompous?

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I'm glad Carla is gone. Passion is one thing. Psychosis is another.

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