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Top Chef: Seattle


David Ross
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Might I suggest that crunchy and crispy are not the same things?

I agree, related, but not the same. Crispy is thin and brittle and shatters easily - potato chips, tuile cookies. Crunchy is thicker, denser, and takes more work to eat - peanut brittle, carrot sticks.

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Might I suggest that crunchy and crispy are not the same things?

I agree, related, but not the same. Crispy is thin and brittle and shatters easily - potato chips, tuile cookies. Crunchy is thicker, denser, and takes more work to eat - peanut brittle, carrot sticks.

I suppose that could be a valid delineation between the two.

FWIW Colicchio did go on about "crispiness" and "crispy pork" and how Richter's was not, to him. Ditto in his blog where he described HIS preferred way of making it. Acheson also made comments about the too-hard-for-him nature of the pork skin, of course. However, Stefan Richter also described his pork as "crispy", saying at Judges' Table that he likes his pork "very crispy" but obviously his notion of "crispy" differed from that of the (US) judges. Certainly it seemed to come out the way he expected it to and wanted it to, and both he and Josh Valentine were enjoying it in the kitchen, as annabelle pointed out above in this thread. The extra CRUNCHINESS (per your delineation) of the pork skin was no surprise to Curtis Stone, as has been mentioned several times here, and (again) he said he loved it this way which reminded him of what he would get in Australia and GB (Great Britain) and pointed out the "cultural aspect" of it, even though he did say later at JT that Richter's was pushing the "crispiness" level.

I looked again at the pictures of Stefan Richter's pork belly and the pieces of pork on the presented dish - the skin layer was clearly finely crossed-cut into small squares, so that it wasn't a "continuous sheet" (such as "regular" crackling on roast pork belly might be) and the layer of skin did not seem thick at all, at least from what I could make out from the pictures of it. Even if it was *really* hard per what Colicchio and Acheson said (yes, we all heard the loud crunching sounds they made), it did not seem like it would be that armor plating that it was made out to be. But then again, I did not actually taste it. It's also possible that the delay between the pork belly coming out of the oven and its being served to the judges might have hardened the skin very appreciably as it cooled all the way down? Yet again Curtis Stone liked it as described above so it couldn't have hardened that much if it did at all. I for one would think Curtis Stone knows a thing or two about cuisine in Australia and GB, more than Colicchio and Acheson. (Would eGulleteers based in GB or Australia have different experiences?)

I still raise my eyebrows a bit at Hugh Acheson's snark about Curtis Stone and his perfect teeth. :blink:

Heh, in a way this also reminds me why this game show really should be called "Who Wants To Cook For Tom Colicchio & Co." (Win Money!!! Win Prizes!!!) rather than "Top Chef". :wink:

Edited by huiray (log)
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FWIW, one of my sons was a Film Major at University and those sounds of Tom's 'tooth-breaking' chewing are very easily dubbed in. That and the terrible continuity issues with filming/editing make this show less watchable every season.

"this game show really should be called "Who Wants To Cook For Tom Colicchio & Co." (Win Money!!! Win Prizes!!!) rather than "Top Chef". :wink:"

Excellent discription. Heh.

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I was very impressed with Sheldon's crab dish in the Quickfire Challenge. When Padma commented that the "broth" was "a bit thick" I thought, uh-oh. But it really was creative to use the innards of the Dungeness to create a base with a play on miso. I didn't really like the black bowls, and it made his broth look like a thick sauce, but regardless, it sounded unique and delicious--the essence of crab.

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Too bad Joshua Valentine is still on the show.

Sad about Lizzie Binder leaving.

Brooke Williamson should stop saying Sheldon Simeon's "cooking Asian again/using Asian ingredients again" and curb her snideness about it. Why, doesn't she cook almost wholly European herself and use European ingredients almost exclusively? (and Sheldon S should be proud of what he does)

Beautiful looking salmon - on the docks - and such fresh red flesh!

I wonder (again) about the outcome of LCK...

Edited by huiray (log)
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I'm not feeling the Sheldon love. He bugs me. I think it's his accent which doesn't sound Hawaiian to me, but more like Cheech Marin.

Foodwise, his bread got the thumbs down and who wants to eat sled dog salmon? The quickfire dish was nice, though.

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I'm not feeling the Sheldon love. He bugs me. I think it's his accent which doesn't sound Hawaiian to me, but more like Cheech Marin.

Foodwise, his bread got the thumbs down and who wants to eat sled dog salmon? The quickfire dish was nice, though.

Agreed. Chum salmon was either a brilliant chef move to use trash fish well..or it was a chum p move. I think the latter.

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I'm not feeling the Sheldon love. He bugs me. I think it's his accent which doesn't sound Hawaiian to me, but more like Cheech Marin.

Foodwise, his bread got the thumbs down and who wants to eat sled dog salmon? The quickfire dish was nice, though.

Agreed. Chum salmon was either a brilliant chef move to use trash fish well..or it was a chum p move. I think the latter.

Hmm. The judges (such as they are) seemed to like it and that diner who was interviewed said it was time to reconsider favorably the position of chum salmon in their food pecking order.

Edited by huiray (log)
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What are the diners going to say? They're on Top Chef!!

Sheldon's salmon was not good: the judges all complained that it was bitter from the pine needle (I guess) smoke. Chum salmon is going to taste crappy anyway. His bread was spongy, soft and weird with the green tea. Several of them complained about the texture. But, he was thinking outside the box, they said. Aren't they supposed to at this stage, if not before?

Lizzie: Perfect bread, well-cooked salmon, lack of seasoning. The horror!

I call shenanigans. I knew she was a dead chef walking when they kept showing her talking about her Da' and tearing up, though.

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What are the diners going to say? They're on Top Chef!!

Sheldon's salmon was not good: the judges all complained that it was bitter from the pine needle (I guess) smoke. Chum salmon is going to taste crappy anyway. His bread was spongy, soft and weird with the green tea. Several of them complained about the texture. But, he was thinking outside the box, they said. Aren't they supposed to at this stage, if not before?

Lizzie: Perfect bread, well-cooked salmon, lack of seasoning. The horror!

I call shenanigans. I knew she was a dead chef walking when they kept showing her talking about her Da' and tearing up, though.

Perhaps. Yet by the same token Lizzie Binder was thought to have "just made a sandwich" by the judges (Yes, simple can be great but it needs to be perfect, we are constantly told,no? :wink: ) and there was supposedly too much bread in relation to the salmon which "disappeared" (let alone not seasoned enough to stand up to the amount of bread) in the overall dish. In any case that diner did not have to say positive things about chum salmon. TC has shown plenty of diners before who said decidedly uncomplimentary things about what they were eating. I'm not sure why it is expected *now* that a diner *has* to say nice things about the food simply because "They're on Top Chef!!".

I suppose last week's elimination of Stefan Richter was not shenanigans, then? :unsure:

FWIW in her blog Gail Simmons said Simeon's bread didn't quite work because of the matcha he used although it was "made very well" but she praised the soup and the flavors, was positive about the use of chum and said she "really enjoyed eating that dish". FWIW2 in his blog Hugh Acheson also disliked the bread but found the soup very tasty and said (the salmon) was the best catfood ever, and he seemed not to be joking. :smile:

(((Shrug)))

In this case I really don't care if Sheldon Simeon had been sent off rather than Lizzie Binder, and am not sure why you appear to think I am saying that his food was superb. I wonder if you are concluding this from my previous comment that he should be proud of what he does? I had said that in the context of his making Chinese/Japanese/Filipino-inflected food - that's what he should be proud of, that is what he does, that is his style; he should stop worrying so much about it; and as I said previously Brooke Williamson ought to stop sneering at his "Asian food/ingredients" (what does "Asian" mean? :hmmm:) as she basically cooks just "European" and uses "European ingredients" anyway. :rolleyes:

Edited by huiray (log)
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Padma blew the chum salmon out of the water with the comment that it's fed to the dogs. To be fair, chum salmon is typically used for canning, and canned salmon is a very valuable commodity. It has a place for human consumption other than feed for sled dogs.

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One of the most delicious king crab dishes I ever tasted was at a reception at Prime Steakhouse at Bellagio a few years back. It was fresh king crab, (a thick section of the leg, not chopped-up), wrapped with a layer of cucumber and served with pickled crab apples. Simple and delicious, as a dish should be that showcases king crab. And by the way, avoid the king crab legs on Las Vegas buffets, it's frozen and thawed more times than you want to know.

I've got to watch the episode again and look at the online recipes to get a better idea of what the Chefs did. And honestly, on first glance, I was disappointed at what they did with the salmon. I was surprised the Chefs didn't venture into preparing the salmon over alderwood or one of the traditional Northwest techniques. It would be hard to believe that the venue didn't have some alderwood planks in the kitchen.

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I was glad to see a bread making requirement in the latest episode. But wasn't there a perfectly good Kitchenaid mixer visible in the background of some of those kneading shots?

I'm sorry, but the mustache/cap dude actually said, in re: sourdough that the starter is made with yeast. Wrong, zippy.

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huiray, I was just commenting on the declining quality of the Top Chef franchise, not on anything you said.

Sorry if it came off that way. It wasn't intentional.

Dave, people routinely put down canned salmon. (I happen to like it, but I was raised poor.) Sock-eye or Chum? Tough choice, not.

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I was glad to see a bread making requirement in the latest episode. But wasn't there a perfectly good Kitchenaid mixer visible in the background of some of those kneading shots?

I'm sorry, but the mustache/cap dude actually said, in re: sourdough that the starter is made with yeast. Wrong, zippy.

I didn't hear the reference in the program, but isn't this a question of definition? Certainly sourdough starter begins with yeast - naturally occurring yeast. But yeah, if he meant SAF instant yeast, he was wrong.

My guess is that the quantity of dough they needed to make exceeded the capacity of a Kitchenaid - or would break it.

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I'm no fan of Josh, but I am sure he knows what sourdough starter is. It's a staple in Oklahoma just as much as it is in Alaska. We were a frontier, and still are in many ways, as well.

Agreed on the KitchenAid not being sufficient for the amounts of dough needed. If they had access to an industrial Hobart, that would be a different story.

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huiray, I was just commenting on the declining quality of the Top Chef franchise, not on anything you said.

Sorry if it came off that way. It wasn't intentional.

Dave, people routinely put down canned salmon. (I happen to like it, but I was raised poor.) Sock-eye or Chum? Tough choice, not.

Canned salmon is perfectly fine in lots of dishes, like salads or casseroles. But I agree with the choice. I would never choose fresh chum over sockeye. In fact, I prefer sockeye over chinook, (commonly called king salmon).

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Did anyone else notice the disaster in waiting when the Chefs put their dough in similar bowl to rise? I saw three large metal bowls with dough in them, all covered by plastic wrap and all placed on top of the stove. I kept thinking "they're going to label their bowl of dough aren't they, aren't they?" Then I anticipated one of them snarking at Judges table that someone took their dough.

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The Copper River salmon are of course well-known. If they can get it fresh, most people choose the Copper River Chinook. It's terribly expensive and the fish are huge. But the Copper River Sockeye are so much better. Deep-red, oily flesh and incredible when it's smoked and candied. And while spendy, less so than the Chinook.

I was surprised the Chefs didn't try a quick-cure/smoke on their salmon dishes. I think the flavors would work very well with a tangy sourdough.

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I just wish the chefs could cook in a proper kitchen. We're down to the final three and the last two competitions have been in a galley kitchen, albeit on a cruise ship and this one had a quickfire at a Crab Shack and an elimination challenge in the great outdoors. Next, they'll have to forage for berries, start a campfire and bring down an elk to serve at a four course dinner. All by sundown.

I think it's enough pressure to cook for elimination, without the added pressures of wind and weather and being told to make X number of portions in an hour on three hours sleep. It's not realistic and isn't going to be representative of how thoughtful they can be with the ingredients.

The dishes in the last challenge, other than Lizzie's bread which I would totally pay for, didn't do anything for me. Same deal with the surf and turf on the ship. Maybe I'm just jaded.

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Some links regarding chum salmon:

http://www.seafoodch..._salmonchum.php

http://www.alaskasea...salmon_keta.htm

http://www.alaskasea...keta/index.html

http://www.alaskasea...mon/index5.html

http://cybersalmon.fws.gov/chum.htm

I think one of the issues with Sheldon Simeon's choice of chum is that he didn't have preconceptions about what the fish should be used for and simply treated it as a fish with certain characteristics that he wanted. He said in a "Talking Head" that he thought (knew?) that it would smoke well (which the Alaska Seafood Council says is true) and the "profile" of the smoked fish he was intending to make would go well with his pea soup, he thought. (He did also use sockeye, not just chum)

I also wonder if taste perceptions have a "cultural" or racial phenotype aspect... :wink: even apart from variation between individual people. True, one could say that he wasn't cooking for his audience - but he apparently didn't know that the plentiful chum was used to feed the dogs there.

On a related note, lobster was once not so well regarded at one time too (Gail Simmons mentioned it also) albeit many folks still regard it as mere bugs (and "dirty bugs" at that) even nowadays and also dislike the taste of it (aside from those who are allergic to it). :smile:

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