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Top Chef: Seattle


David Ross
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Tom has outlived his useful life on Top Chef. He's always been a little too cool for school, but the past couple of years? Get lost and let Emeril fill your shoes at least he has constructive criticisms.

Re: Fried chicken. I make fantastic fried chicken. Soak it in a buttermilk and kosher salt brine overnight. Rinse, shake in seasoned flour twice, fry in a covered Dutch oven, turn once, drain on paper towels and voila. It's not some mystical fiddly thing like a terrine or a mille fleur pastry, for Pete's sake.

Of course, my fried chicken would have been dissed for being too pedestrian. But hey, it isn't greasy.

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It seems like Padma and Tom have become a bit too comfortable - like it's their own playground now.

After watching this latest episode I was surprised to see how many people are finding problems with them.

Presumably, the rest of the episodes for this season are in the can and the die is cast. But I wonder if Bravo might send the editors back in to try to salvage the rest of the episodes.

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I'm intrigued my Tom's method for fried chicken. Remove the skin?? Really? And fry it twice. need more details. Especially on temp of oil, type of fry (deep fry? pan fry?) and the size of chicken (this is important and ties into oil temp)

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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Padma does seem to be more assertive and outspoken at judge's table so I'm wondering; is this on her own initiative, has she been told/asked to speak out more or is it editing? She's probably the reason I started watching the show in the first place and she's still major hot IMO (and will always be younger than I am!) but maybe it would be better if she just stuck to the sympathetic T & A role? I kinda have to disagree with the poster(s) who questioned her credentials; I mean, after ten seasons, even if you spend most of the time in the salon and on the phone with your agent while practicing your poses in front of mirrors, I would think she should have learned something about food by now. Maybe not.

I like Chef Tom, maybe he boozed it up a little too much this episode or his chef friends brought out another side of him. His cryptic and skeptical comments on his walk throughs in the kitchen while the chefs are prepping or cooking are what I enjoy most, he didn't do that this episode. Maybe he was busy scouting locations for a new sandwich shop.

Stephan thought that Kristen should've stuck up for herself more at judge's table, I still wonder if it would've made a difference.

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'm intrigued my Tom's method for fried chicken. Remove the skin?? Really? And fry it twice. need more details. Especially on temp of oil, type of fry (deep fry? pan fry?) and the size of chicken (this is important and ties into oil temp)

Yes. Although I've never gotten into frying chicken (try not to eat or cook a lot of fried foods and excellent chicken is available at many restaurants), I can still hear my grandmother saying that if you're going to bake a chicken, get a fat one. But if you're going to fry it, get a skinny one so it will cook through more evenly and help keep the oil hot.

As far as Padma's "food creds" go, while she might not be the Indian Julia Child, Top Chef isn't her first foray into gastronomy, either.

From Wiki:

"Her first cookbook Easy Exotic, a compilation of international recipes, was awarded Best First Book at the 1999 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards at Versailles. She was host of the Food Network series Padma's Passport, which was part of the larger series Melting Pot in 2001, where Lakshmi cooked primarily vegetarian cuisines. She also hosted two one-hour specials on South India and Spain for the British culinary tourism show Planet Food broadcast on the Food Network in the U.S. and internationally on the Discovery Channels. Her second cookbook, Tangy, Tart, Hot and Sweet, was released October 2, 2007."

I like her fine. And although, as a woman, I don't care if she's "hot" or not, I do find her fascinating to watch.

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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Retracing a bit to Restaurant Wars, Kristin did make a fatal mistake early on--she didn't rein in Josie and strongly remind her that she, (Kristin), was the Executive Chef. It immediately went downhill when Josie remarked that she wasn't going to make the stock for the Bouilliabase until the day of service, not the day before during prep. Instead of shaking her head and rolling her eyes and walking away, Kristin should have given Josie a choice-make the stock now or go polish glasses. I'm sure she'll learn how to lead a team more strongly as she matures as a Chef.

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Retracing a bit to Restaurant Wars, Kristin did make a fatal mistake early on--she didn't rein in Josie and strongly remind her that she, (Kristin), was the Executive Chef. It immediately went downhill when Josie remarked that she wasn't going to make the stock for the Bouilliabase until the day of service, not the day before during prep. Instead of shaking her head and rolling her eyes and walking away, Kristin should have given Josie a choice-make the stock now or go polish glasses. I'm sure she'll learn how to lead a team more strongly as she matures as a Chef.

Really really true. We all sat there watching and knew when Josie said she hadn't gotten around to making the stock, even though she had been told to and it was clearly the right thing to do, that trouble was on the horizon. It's not like Josie's time management and procrastination and over-confidence issues were a big surprise to Kristen. She should have decided what she was going to do about it as soon as she knew Josie was on her team.

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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I watched the Fried Chicken challenge again. Boy how I wish I would have been there. How about-

Poussin or Game Hen

Brined 6 hours-10 hours

Dredge in fine flour with baking powder and spices

Evaporated Milk-that's right, not buttermilk

Dredge again

Deep-Fry, at 325. Too low you say? Well, look at how some of the Chefs couldn't control, nor did they understand, the correct oil temperature.

People have gotten all tied up in this drama over double-frying-cause that's what Chang does, cause that's how you make crispy French fries. Do a lower temp, fry about 7-8 min., and you will have juicy chicken and a golden, not burned, crust. And by the way, you leave the skin on. It's not the skin that makes fried chicken greasy. It's not knowing how to fry chicken.

And if you are a Top Chef--manage your time.

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Good idea, David. Lower temp would've been safer.

I tried Tom's skinless method and compared to with skin. Perhaps a little less greasy without skin, but both ways were fine. Shown below with hushpuppies prior to maple syrup application.

2013-01-26_17-50-55_442.jpg

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I actually am a big fan of both Tom and Padma. It's obvious that Padma has appeal, but if there was a total lack of substance the show wouldn't be successful.

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The best fried chicken I have made has been T. Keller's recipe from Ad Hoc. Hands down the best recipe. I am sure he would disagree about the whole soggy skin thing.

John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Yes, but she pisses me off.

What are the principles of your fried chicken recipe? How's it differ from the standard?

Part of my recipe is based on Keller's Ad Hoc recipe, but then I modify the brine and I don't use buttermilk. He uses all-purpose flour and I use finely milled cake flour.

I use either game hens or chickens 3lbs. or under. The brine uses honey instead of sugar, then lots of lemon and bay leaves. Sometimes I'll add juniper berries along with the peppercorns. I use cake flour instead of all-purpose flour, and I use evaporated milk instead of buttermilk. Finally, I fry at a low temp.

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How about Korean fried chicken, a.k.a. KFC? ;-)

p.s. The skin is left on.

Some links:

http://www.nytimes.c...ng/07fried.html

http://www.seriousea...ed-chicken.html

http://www.saveur.co...n-Fried-Chicken

http://en.wikipedia....n_fried_chicken

ETA: p.p.s. Don't forget David Chang is Korean.

Edited by huiray (log)
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I wish I could eat fried chicken but I used to be really chunky so I gotta be careful... :unsure:

Oh, I forgot about that REALLY irritating woman who hosted season one so I should've given Padma credit for having done nine seasons so far.

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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This episode was upsetting for so many reasons, but in my mind the biggest dissapointment was that really none of them, even Josh, didn't do a traditional fried chicken. It was either ignorance or stubborness, but the Judge's just wanted good fried chicken. They could have been much more creative with their garnishes and side dishes--and let the fried chicken star. How disappointing. Stefan is the new unlikeable Josie.

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I have a little sympathy for Stefan. He's a grownup amongst kids. I can only imagine t he nonsense that goes on. Yes,he can be an ass in his own right too, but I think that the editors magnify it.

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Stefan is a Finn. Finn's tend to be taciturn, in my experience. Also, he has a strong accent and is being edited as the Seigfred (re: "Get Smart") of this season.

Dave, no one told the chef's they just wanted fried chicken, no matter what Tom said at Judges' Table. I suspect if that had been made clear, there would have been the usual number of interpretive chicken dishes, but the Judges would have gotten a different product.

I have to say that I did not like David Chang or the other chefs who were at Tom's dinner, excepting Emeril. Rick Bayless and Jonathan Waxman would never have made the snotty remarks these fellow and Michelle made.

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I wish I could eat fried chicken but I used to be really chunky so I gotta be careful... :unsure:

Oh, I forgot about that REALLY irritating woman who hosted season one so I should've given Padma credit for having done nine seasons so far.

Joe, that was Kathy Joel. Billy Joel's now ex-wife who is also a cookbook author and chef, but not an aging fashion model.

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Stefan is a Finn. Finn's tend to be taciturn, in my experience. Also, he has a strong accent and is being edited as the Seigfred (re: "Get Smart") of this season.

Dave, no one told the chef's they just wanted fried chicken, no matter what Tom said at Judges' Table. I suspect if that had been made clear, there would have been the usual number of interpretive chicken dishes, but the Judges would have gotten a different product.

I have to say that I did not like David Chang or the other chefs who were at Tom's dinner, excepting Emeril. Rick Bayless and Jonathan Waxman would never have made the snotty remarks these fellow and Michelle made.

In the judges' defense, they were a bit drunk at the time.

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That would make them obnoxious drunks, no? :wink::biggrin:

Commentators on Tom Colicchio's blog on this fried chicken episode have repeatedly pointed out that the instructions given by Colicchio were really not that explicit or blindingly clear. If he had wanted Southern Fried Chicken he should have said so. He had also penalized cheftestants before for giving him dishes that were "too simple" or "too straightforward" ("This is Top Chef, give me innovative and chef-like dishes!") then at other times penalizing them for not being simple or straightforwards enough. Perhaps depending on which side of the bed Colicchio got up on that day or the Phase Of The Moon that day. So, one could hardly fault the cheftestants for trying to avoid another "CJ situation" in the present case. They and Annabelle have a good point.

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I've never been confused by the directives of a challenge, regardless of who presents the instructions-Padma, Tom or a guest Judge, but I get the point that if it's not explicitly clear, the contestants could wander and present something they honestly thought was appropriate. However, I think it's a pitfall when a contestant comes back and over-analyzes what the instructions were. At the end of the day, as Tom has said over and over and over for years, if it's a bad dish, it's bad. Fry the chicken on the bone with skin-on, fry a cutlet, fry a boneless, skinless breast, fry the chicken oyster or fry the gizzards, deep-fry chicken feet. If it's bad, it's bad.

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I've never been confused by the directives of a challenge, regardless of who presents the instructions-Padma, Tom or a guest Judge, but I get the point that if it's not explicitly clear, the contestants could wander and present something they honestly thought was appropriate. However, I think it's a pitfall when a contestant comes back and over-analyzes what the instructions were. At the end of the day, as Tom has said over and over and over for years, if it's a bad dish, it's bad. Fry the chicken on the bone with skin-on, fry a cutlet, fry a boneless, skinless breast, fry the chicken oyster or fry the gizzards, deep-fry chicken feet. If it's bad, it's bad.

Heh.

I think it makes a difference if one is or is not born and raised in the US with regards to the request "make me fried chicken". Is it possible that "Fried Chicken" means something specific to one because one *is* born and bred in the US? Or that one has been acculturated to US cuisine for so long that one assumes one means "US Southern Fried Chicken" or equivalent when simply asked for "Fried Chicken"? (Which IMO would plausibly apply to all the judges there) What does "Fried Chicken" even mean? With or without skin, "just make it crisp" (applies to many kinds of fried chicken in many different cuisines), bone-on, bone-off, etc.

Certainly if a dish is bad, it's bad - as you say, correctly - and one should be penalized for that.** But to mock versions of "fried chicken", as the judges did (whether it was properly done or not), that did not correspond basically to "US Southern Fried Chicken" or its equivalent without explicitly having it specified from the get-go, is not cool.

Heh, I suppose you would not mind whatever chicken parts are made into "fried chicken" in this context, then? I imagine you would have no objection to Chicken 65, or Cantonese Fried Chicken (replete with the requisite prawn crackers), or Ayam Goreng Jogja, or any number of other "Fried Chicken" dishes from around the world being presented by the cheftestants, then, if they had the wit and the skills to do so? I wonder what Colicchio's face would have looked like (or Lakshmi's) if presented with one of these... :rolleyes:

** ETA: On the other hand, I'm not sanguine about Colicchio's competence to judge anything outside of his limited range of USAmerican and Italian-American food. Certainly his opinions on "Chinese food" (like how roast duck should be like - especially the skin - as one example; or the spicing profiles) have given me pause.

Edited by huiray (log)
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So what was the complaint with Stefan's chicken cordon bleu? It's fried chicken. Was it horrible? They said it wasn't great, but no one spit it out and said it was crap. Tom called the dish itself what he thinks of as "bad banquet food". I've eaten at a lot of banquets and I'd be thrilled to get a cordon bleu. In fact, he made a bigger deal out of the CCB than Brooke's dried up skinless chicken breast.

Re: all the boozing by the judges. Are they sober enough to make a judgement call that isn't clouded by their personal prejudice toward a particular chef? I've seen Padma get so plastered that she had to have her voice dubbed in later. Bourdain and Tom were sitting around Judges' Table drinking gin out of a flask a few seasons ago, as revealed by one of them in an interview. No wonder so many of the contestants have bad things to say about Top Chef.

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