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David Ross

Top Chef: Seattle

382 posts in this topic

Let us know how that Brown Butter Cake turns out. Over the various seasons, the recipes posted on Bravo's Top Chef website have been known to sometimes (even often) contain errors - sometimes small, sometimes significant, sometimes with entire steps or various ingredients missing, wrong quantities, etc etc. I for one would put more trust on what Michael Voltaggio presents in his recreation of winning recipes.



Nevertheless, what I was really referring to was what the show presented of how the cheftestants came over - their demeanor, their utterances, their behavior, their perceived personalities, etc etc - in response to what David Ross said about Brooke Williamson's character. Certainly there has been various comments made about the apparently less likeable folks - John Tesar, for example, seemingly based on what one saw as presented on the episodes as broadcast. :smile:

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What the heck is vanilla bean paste and where would you go to buy it?

That recipe sounds good, though. I'd like to hear how it turns out as well.

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What the heck is vanilla bean paste and where would you go to buy it?

That recipe sounds good, though. I'd like to hear how it turns out as well.

I buy vanilla bean paste at my local grocery store, although admittedly, it's a wonderful store with many difficult-to-find, upscale items. When I've lived places that didn't carry vanilla bean paste in my local market, I ordered it online.

Here's a good description: http://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-vanilla-extract-vanilla-bean-vanilla-paste-169336

ETA: And, Huiray, I've already noticed a small bit of that vague ambiguity that you mention in the Brown Butter Cake recipe. It calls for "flour" - doesn't mention what kind - cake flour, all-purpose, self-rising, etc.? Of course that's not too big a deal, but still, a very well-thought-out recipe is a little more definitive.


Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Thanks, Jaymes. I live in a tiny corner of East Egypt that does have a gourmet shop that is quite large. I'll see what they have and if they look puzzled, I can always order it.

Regarding vagueness in the recipe, Brooke (or whomever put the recipe together for Bravo) also doesn't specify the size of the pan you are to cook it in. The volume doesn't seem large, so it shouldn't be difficult to determine although I haven't bothered to figure it up since I'm not baking it today. I can imagine that alone would make some throw up their hands and say "forget it!"

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How about using whole vanilla beans? Good stuff can be obtained online (not from Amazon) for remarkably decent prices, and the more you buy the cheaper.

ETA: I've bought nice, plump, decently fresh beans from this place and this place before. I have not got stuff from this place yet although nice things have been said about it too.

Regarding those Top Chef recipes: y'all might be entertained by these weblinks below. There are more out there. :smile:

http://ajswordstochewby.blogspot.com/2008/04/top-chef-cookbook-or-recipes-to.html

http://www.thecreativityexchange.com/2011/02/spicy-tomato-soup-top-chef-recipes.html

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/592241 (The Chowhound TC threads have many posts about the unreliability of the posted recipes)

http://boards.bravotv.com/index.php?s=0e925f4cce699d4c6ea633ee383f834a&showtopic=184143&st=40#entry1486059


Edited by huiray (log)

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How about using whole vanilla beans? Good stuff can be obtained online (not from Amazon) for remarkably decent prices, and the more you buy the cheaper.

And even cheaper in the markets in Mexico. Especially in the number-one vanilla-growing state of Veracruz, where the Totonacs are credited as the world's first cultivators.

I always bring back several small sacks full.


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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As for Kristen Kish - she primarily does Frenchie stuff - yet no one has said anything about that.

Kristin's dishes:

Episode 1: Cooking a soup for Emeril to earn a spot, English pea broth with thrice-poached lemon peel, diced apple, and sea scallop.

Episode 2, QF: Fried and sashimi geoduck, with radish and bok choy salad, and yuzu chili vinaigrette.

Episode 2, EC: Crispy seared salmon, local veg, and spot prawn butter sauce.

Episode 3, QF: Nepalese Momo

Episode 3, EC: Assiete of root veg, parsnip truffle puree, crème fraiche.

Episode 4, QF: Sirloin tartare, mustard sabayone and carpaccio salad.

Episode 4, EC: French fried onions and mushrooms.

Episode 5, QF: Bacon and cinnamon waffles with syrup and jam.

Episode 5, EC: Cheese curds, 3 ways, béchamel, fried, raw.

Episode 6, QF: Gougere with sweat pear and marscapone, pickled fennel and yogurt.

Episode 6, EC: Délice de Bourgogne cheese tortellini.

Episode 7, QF: Almond and chocolate sponge cake.

Episode 7, EC: Matcha goat milk custard with berries.

Episode 8, QF: Oysters with caramelized honey, tomato broth, celery leaves and chilis.

Episode 8, EC: Corn puree, chicken liver, sunny side up egg.

Episode 9, QF: Knife skills

Episode 9, EC: Poached chicken, carrot puree, and a garlic and tofu emulsion.

Episode 10, QF: Shaved fennel and ginger salad, brie and tomatoes.

Episode 10, EC: Onsen egg, camembert mustard sauce, and buttered radishes.

Episode 11, QF: None

Episode 11, EC: All the dishes from her restaurant: deconstructed chicken/rabbit rillettes soup, boullabaise, beef bourguignon, cheese course, macaroons.

Finale 1: Dishes: First course, chestnut veloute’, duck rillettes, Brussels sprouts; Second course, seared ahi with veal mustard jus and meyer lemon puree; third course, curry chocolate with cashews.

To say she cooks primarily french stuff isn't accurate? French influences, sure, especially in the descriptions, but she shows a lot more range than that. In the restaurant war, several of her dings at her hybrid french restaurant concept were that she was using descriptions that didn't match the preparations and that was off-putting to the judges -- the dishes weren't french enough,in other words.

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Not "Classic French" stuff with all those traditional heavy cream sauces and barrels of butter, but heavily French-influenced most of the time or "nouvelle" French-derived stuff with whiffs of East Asian influences on occasion. The list you give above seems that way to me for the majority of her dishes. I do not consider those dishes which she had no choice in (e.g. the momos) or the challenges when working in a team (the Pike Place stuff, for example). I seem to recall that she has said herself that she does French cooking. She even said in one of those LCK episodes that she wanted to try to do something different to get away from the idea that she only did one kind of cuisine [and what would that be, other than French? ;-) ]. Even the judges have said (I believe) that her signature & style is "French".

By the same token, why should Sheldon Simeon be accused then of "cooking Asian" all the time when a similar review of his dishes shows a great range with influences across both the Eastern/E/SE Asian Hemisphere and the Western Hemisphere?

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I think Kristin like Emeril and many others, is classically French trained. Such training is certainly going to have an influence in any style of cooking she may choose to do. If nothing else, it is going to influence the way she sets up her mise en place, builds sauces and all technique she brings to cooking meat and fish. She has a very clean style that isn't rustic (which often reads messy on the plate) and shows much attention to detail.

She keeps a very clean station, too. I appreciate that after suffering through Josie sloshing food all over the place.

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I've never hidden the fact that I'm rooting for Kristen to win the title, and I do agree she cooks in a French-style, but certainly has much more range and depth. I thought her take on a classic chicken pot pie was genius-substituting the traditional cream sauce with a sauce made of silken tofu. My one criticism of Kristen is that she was going too far in the earlier episodes in terms of creativity--too many garnishes, too many elements, one too many sauces on the plate. Now she has to just find that precise line and not cross it--the exact balance between creativity and simplicity. That's my failing mark against a lot of Chefs today--and not many ever achieve that perfect balance.

I can understand how people may get confused by the Judges comments in terms of pushing a Chef to break out of their standard, but then criticize them for abandoning their "style." Sheldon was a perfect example. It seems that his perception of their criticism, (and Brooke's snarky comments), was that he should try and venture out of his comfort zone. That's not how I see it or viewed it. Sheldon was very good at seafood and soups, (albeit the salty broth last week notwithstanding). I say stay with what you know Sheldon, do dishes that speak to who you are.....but.....find that small little technique, that creative flair, that ingredient, (which might not be "Asian"), that brings your dish up to "Top Chef" level. That's my recommedation. Stay true to who you are, (i.e. French or Asian), but find your inner voice that gives your cooking soul, regardless of what someone else tells you that you must do.

I offer a perfect example of what I'm talking about, (but of course, I'm not a Judge on Top Chef). People think of Joel Robuchon as a Master of French cuisine. That he is. But if you taste his food, you'll see that he tests the boundaries of what the old-guard would call French cuisine. It's an example any young Chef could learn from.

The current 16-course "Menu Degustation" at Robuchon at the MGM Grand runs $435 per person, wines, cocktails and service not included. The caviar course probably surprises diners with Asian ingredients found in a dish at a haute French restaurant:

Le Caviar-

Red turnip and carrot leaves with yellowtail carpaccio, delicate veloute of corn, salmon tartar with shiso sprouts

Robuchon uses lots of Asian and North African ingredients, but he's a French Chef.

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This seemed to me to be the most cordial semi-finale ever. I thought it was kind of refreshing. There were no head games and little drama (other than the chefs worrying about their own dishes). I think this was a redeeming episode for this season.

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This seemed to me to be the most cordial semi-finale ever. I thought it was kind of refreshing. There were no head games and little drama (other than the chefs worrying about their own dishes). I think this was a redeeming episode for this season.

Agreed, and quite refreshing.

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Sheldon's list. Its hard to see this as balanced as Kristin's. Even in the team challenges...

fried Brussels
sprouts salad with a burnt orange Thai vinaigrette;



geoduck sashimi,
ponzu, apple, and cucumber; chili-oil poached cod with dashi, and spot
prawn shabu shabu



Chinese jiaozi, a
pork and shrimp filling with shitake mushrooms; braised greens with ham
hocks



kalbi round steak
with tomato cardamom broth and fennel salad; Hawaiian mahi mahi



green forest
breakfast sandwich with eggs, cheese, pancetta, bacon and spinach; candied
salmon with sweet and sour salad



banana lumpia with
peanut butter mousse, coconut, and pineapple; Okinawan pork belly with
seared scallop and rice congee



lemongrass smoked
scallops with tomato shallot salad; ahi summer roll, ahi poke,
strawberries, and sweet chili sauce



oysters with
chilled Old Bay broth and ginger scallion pesto; tempura yuzu curd with
dollops of shiso, Fresno chili, sweet potato, and vanilla



beef Carpaccio with
poi aioli, mizuna and mushroom salad and silken tofu foam



wok fried ginger
skirt steak with ginger and oranges; sour
tamarind soup with pork belly, shrimp and snapper



Restaurant wars traditional
Filipino dishes



hamachi sashimi
with fresh ponzo, mitsuba, and lemon charcoal; Umami drumsticks and
thighs, wings with usukuchi and grapeseed oil (a la Momofuku)



Vietnamese pork
lettuce wrap; Korean BBQ filet mignon, tempura lobster, sesame cabbage
kimchi, and teriyaki sauce.



King crab,
Dungeness crab "miso", pine-smoked asparagus and charred corn;
green tea and chive sourdough with smoked salmon and pea soup



pan-roasted halibut
with tomato sauce, sesame bok choy, and pickled radish; pan-roasted halibut with tomato sauce,
sesame bok choy, and pickled radish



sashimi spot prawns, court bouillon, radish and Asian herbs; roasted quail, pine nut purée, garam masala
and tangerine; white
chocolate mousse with apple and fennel

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This seemed to me to be the most cordial semi-finale ever. I thought it was kind of refreshing. There were no head games and little drama (other than the chefs worrying about their own dishes). I think this was a redeeming episode for this season.Agreed, and quite refreshing.

Agreed. Do we really need the pseudo drama?

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Dignan, that may be because you may be seeing "Asian" as a monolithic thing. Many Westerners do - which is why I have been asking all along what "Asian" even meant, as commonly used and so cavalierly bandied around in the West. I, being Cantonese-Hakka, see Vietnamese, Filipino, Thai, an undefined "Chinese" (more Cantonese than other regionalities), a quasi-Northern Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Native Hawaiian, Italian, New American, and Korean-American cuisines/influences in that list of dishes. The cuisines are distinct. There is even a touch of Indian/Pan-Asian in there. Compare that with "French-influenced".

If I said "so-and-so only cooked European" (let alone "only cooked French") I could imagine the outcry from folks saying that "European" encompassed such a panoply of cuisines - like French (Provençal, Parisian, Brittany, etc etc), Italian (Venetian, Tuscan, Emilio-Romagna, Calabrian, Sicilian, etc etc), Polish, Spanish (Basque, Catalan, etc etc), German (need I go on about regions?), Greek (ditto), Hungarian, etc etc etc.

BTW, the term "Asian" cuisine by rights also includes Turkish, Persian, Tamil, Bengali, Punjabi. Uzbekistani, Siberian/Russian, Israeli, Maharashtrian, Sindhi, Tibetan, etc etc etc cuisines.

Here's a useful listing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_cuisine


Edited by huiray (log)

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No, I'm not.

Dignan, that may be because you may be seeing "Asian" as a monolithic thing. Many Westerners do - which is why I have been asking all along what "Asian" even meant, as commonly used and so cavalierly bandied around in the West. I, being Cantonese-Hakka, see Vietnamese, Filipino, Thai, an undefined "Chinese" (more Cantonese than other regionalities), a quasi-Northern Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Native Hawaiian, Italian, New American, and Korean-American cuisines/influences in that list of dishes. The cuisines are distinct. There is even a touch of Indian/Pan-Asian in there. Compare that with "French-influenced".

If I said "so-and-so only cooked European" (let alone "only cooked French") I could imagine the outcry from folks saying that "European" encompassed such a panoply of cuisines - like French (Provençal, Parisian, Brittany, etc etc), Italian (Venetian, Tuscan, Emilio-Romagna, Calabrian, Sicilian, etc etc), Polish, Spanish (Basque, Catalan, etc etc), German (need I go on about regions?), Greek (ditto), Hungarian, etc etc etc.

BTW, the term "Asian" cuisine by rights also includes Turkish, Persian, Tamil, Bengali, Punjabi. Uzbekistani, Siberian/Russian, Israeli, Maharashtrian, Sindhi, Tibetan, etc etc etc cuisines.

Here's a useful listing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_cuisine

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Here's a particularly good piece on Food TV and TC in particular

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8965587/top-chef-taste-state-food-tv

Good article, thanks.

I agree with the assessment of Emeril, his presense on Top Chef is enjoyable.


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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Here's a particularly good piece on Food TV and TC in particular

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8965587/top-chef-taste-state-food-tv

Good article, thanks.

I agree with the assessment of Emeril, his presense on Top Chef is enjoyable.

I really like Emeril on TC. He's very kind and insightful. The Emeril we first grew to love before being transformed into cartoon character

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Huiray, your last paragraph of your reply to Dignan regarding Asian food is perhaps broadly correct, but a bit loose in interpretation. I have several Middle Eastern cookbooks and quite a few of those countries are considered ME according to Paula Wolfert. Asia is vast, but I don't believe includes the ME and the Balkans. I can see many of them getting their backs up about that.

Just my 2¢.

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Huiray, your last paragraph of your reply to Dignan regarding Asian food is perhaps broadly correct, but a bit loose in interpretation. I have several Middle Eastern cookbooks and quite a few of those countries are considered ME according to Paula Wolfert. Asia is vast, but I don't believe includes the ME and the Balkans. I can see many of them getting their backs up about that.

Just my 2¢.

Annabelle,

Officially, the "Middle East" is considered to be essentially "Western Asia". Whether folks prefer to call it the "Middle East" as an entirely separate area non-contiguous with any larger region depends both on semantics and where one stands, one imagines.

FWIW here are the UN definitions of Asia, and some related links.

http://esa.un.org/unpd/wup/CD-ROM_2009/WPP2009_DEFINITION_OF_MAJOR_AREAS_AND_REGIONS.pdf

http://unstats.un.org/unsd/methods/m49/m49regin.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_East

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Asia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_cuisine

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Eh the UN can define anything it wants by any criteria....tectonic plates if they want. But culturally, Arab is not Asian. We can all elaborate the differences in the cuisines.

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Really, huiray. Who is being monolithic now? Claiming the better part of a continent and the upper half of another is perhaps a pipe-dream of the ROC. I believe the Russians, Arabs, Persians and Jews would take issue with that definition.

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A pipe dream of the ROC? Really? Wow. I wonder where you are coming from. The definition of of what constitutes "Asia" is not a "pipe dream" of the ROC - and if you think that it is, I wonder about what else you think about the global makeup of the Earth and its accepted political and geographical entities.

You seem to simply dismiss out of hand the official definitions of "Asia" to suit some purpose of yours which I cannot discover at the moment. Do you have citations to prove the governments of the countries you cite have officially rejected the notion that they are classified as countries within the geographical entity called "Asia"?


Edited by huiray (log)

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If we are taking about food, which we were, and if the word "Asian" is what has your panties in a twist, let's substitute "pan-Asian," which is an accepted term for an Asian fusion style of cooking. That's what Sheldon does, and he's good at it. And it's really all he's done on the show. Look at the list. Pedantry aside, i don't think Sheldon himself would go to these tortured lengths to dissect what is really a pretty simple observation. On the cruise, and i paraphrase, Sheldon said to Brooke, "I don't want them to think i can only cook Asian food." Brooke: "Then stop cooking Asian food."

Haysoos.

Edit for fat finger phone writing...


Edited by Dignan (log)

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I believe I meant the PRC, not ROC which is Taiwan, yes? Anyway, land mass(es) and food styles are separate things no matter what the UN may decide to toss on the table.

Pan-Asian was the term that was eluding me. Thanks, Dignan.

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