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huiray

Top Chef: New Orleans

271 posts in this topic

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Too bad I recognized Bruni's prose right out of the gate. I despise Frank.

May I ask why?

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I don't mind his food writing.

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He's a poser. At least he didn't spend a paragraph describing the restrooms as he usually does.

His restaurant reviews aren't so bad, his politics are toxic.

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Your response is duly noted.

I like Frank Bruni. I find both his food writing/reviews and his politics to be agreeable in general.

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Glad to see Nina and Shirley make it to the finals. Nina's been my favorite all season so I'd love to see her get the win, but Shirley's really a close second. They have all the qualities of my favorite Top Chef contestants -- self-assured and confident without being overbearing, creative and resourceful under pressure, and most importantly they generally cook dishes that I would love to try. Would love to see those two in the final.

Between Nick and Carlos I didn't have a strong opinion but I'm not sure why so much vitriol is directed at Carlos. He pulled a bush league move complaining about the oven a couple of episodes back, but Nick basically did the same thing when he implied that someone turned his oven up buring the quinoa. Heck, he pulled the same move this week with the deep fryer. It's clear that by this point of the season neither Carlos or Nick was handling the pressure as well as Nina and Shirley. Nick in particular reminds me a little bit of Jen from the Vegas season -- she started so strong at the beginning and then just sort of cracked at the end. I empathize with these contestants quite a bit since I can only imagine how difficult it is to stay focused through several weeks of a reality competition series.

Anyway, it's been a pretty decent season overall and I'm hoping for a strong finale.

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GLAD to see whiny-ass Nicholas off. I wanted to step through the TV into the kitchen and move his damn pots around some more.

Completely agree about Nick. Constantly blaming others. Constantly on the bottom. Constantly just barely scraping by. I do not understand why they keep putting him through. The producers must think that something about him makes for "good TV."

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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 am content with Nick getting through to the last three.

Carlos Gaytan talked about his seafood (no masa) tamales being "risky" because they had probably never been seen (in [something], I could not make it out) and thought they were an innovation. Ditto the judges, who considered this non-masa steamed seafood tamal to be an innovation, something remarkable. I suppose all of them had never heard of or tasted something called otak-otak, wich has been around for a while. The Nyonyas would be surprised about it too.

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Regarding LCK and the preview of the next episode - it is very tempting to infer who the LCK winner is who joins the 'final three', based on the posture (arms akimbo in a certain way), the general proportion of hands/arms/body, skin tone of the left arm, appearance of the fingers, shown in what can be discerned in that preview as those ladies moved the palm leaves aside. (No actual head shot shown, of course). I found a photo of whom I suspect to be the LCK winner in another article about this person in which this posture etc appears to be almost identical...I shall see if I was mistaken next week.

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Aside from her cooking, I found Shirley to be a HUGE ass-kisser. The episode where she calls Emeril 'Uncle' and fawns all over him was really telling. Willing to do whatever it takes to get the win.

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Regarding LCK and the preview of the next episode - it is very tempting to infer who the LCK winner is who joins the 'final three', based on the posture (arms akimbo in a certain way), the general proportion of hands/arms/body, skin tone of the left arm, appearance of the fingers, shown in what can be discerned in that preview as those ladies moved the palm leaves aside. (No actual head shot shown, of course).  I found a photo of whom I suspect to be the LCK winner in another article about this person in which this posture etc appears to be almost identical...I shall see if I was mistaken next week.

Out of curiosity, how is this a secret? So far you were able to watch lck online right after the end of each episode. Isn't it the case this time?

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It's a secret because unlike the other LCK episodes they don't unveil the winner of the final LCK until next week's TC. They did the same last year.

With that, GO TEAM NINA! Who's with me?

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I am. Go team Nina. Although I do really like Louis as well.


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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That's good to know. Thanks.

I'm team Nina Nick Louis in no particular order. :-P

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I imagine you mean the fish tamal? As I indicated before, I don't think it is that different from a form of otak-otak. Not creative, except maybe within the realms of how tamales are normally made. Outside of "Mexican Food" (which is all he makes) the concept of steamed fish paste wrapped in banana leaf is not new. And steamed fish paste (with various additions) without the banana leaves is a very old dish in the E/SE Asian tradition.


Edited by huiray (log)
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Aside from her cooking, I found Shirley to be a HUGE ass-kisser. The episode where she calls Emeril 'Uncle' and fawns all over him was really telling. Willing to do whatever it takes to get the win.

She does seem to be a bit of a brown-noser, yes. I'm sure she has also read "The Mind of a Chef" by Colicchio (the book as mentioned by gfweb) and appears to try to appeal to the judges' (and Colicchio's) predilections, certainly in how she keeps harping on how she (supposedly) draws upon her family, her heritage, her this-and-that in making dishes that call out how soulful her food is, blah blah. After all, remember that Colicchio (in)famously accused Hung Huynh of "lacking soul" because he cooked French food rather than the familial-draped Vietnamese food he (Colicchio) thought he (Hung) should be putting out - apparently *because* Hung was Vietnamese in heritage, never mind that he (Hung) chose to train in French cuisine.**

**Even though I personally, myself, wished that he had not chosen to do so.


Edited by huiray (log)

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Hung was raised in the US. He can cook whatever he likes and Tom can keep his stereotyping in his back pocket where he can sit on it.

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It has seemed to me that the supposedly damming accusation that he/she "only" makes Asian/Mexican/Caribbean/Whatever food only comes into play when folks don't like that cheftestant for other reasons.

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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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"Only"? I don't think that is really so; even if there may be something like disliking the personality or whatnot of the cheftestant at play. There are other factors at work and there is also the bias for Western/French-derived cuisine built into the issue/show/general audience. Certainly on my part I've objected before to the "cooking only Asian" meme from cheftestants (and commentators) thrown at particular cheftestants. You left out "European" - why aren't cheftestants accused of cooking "only European" food?

I presume you are including commentary from the cheftestants as well in your post?

We've talked about this general area before, I think. Accusations of "cooking only Asian" (whatever one means by "Asian") has tended to arise from the cheftestants themselves (let alone commentators like us) directed at another cheftestant more than any other accusations of culinary "narrowness" - think of Angelo Sosa, Beverly Kim, Sheldon Simeon, etc in past seasons, let alone this one. I think Sheldon was well-liked by all the cheftestants - even by Brooke Williamson, who was the one who most frequently accused him of cooking "Asian" - although I can't say if he was universally liked by the viewing audience. Angelo Sosa certainly did not cook "only "Asian"" dishes if one actually looks at the recipes and reviews what he put out yet just the whiff of soy sauce near one of his dishes would provoke another "only Asian" sneer from one cheftestant in particular.

Even with French cooking, Kristen Kish, who was well-liked by everybody, was tagged with "cooking French food" and she herself said in one of the LCK episodes that she wanted to cook a Japanese/Chinese-derived dish to get away from the idea that people had that she cooked only French food. Ilan Hall *was* accused of cooking "only Spanish" but in his case it was true that he wasn't liked by the other cheftestants too. Sarah Grueneberg was not well-liked, yet she wasn't accused of cooking "only Italian", but of cooking variation after variation of risotto (including arancini)...until towards the end, by commentators especially, true.

I think it ought not to be automatically a "slur" when one calls out the style of one's cuisine - in most cases it ought to be a simple statement of the situation.

In this current season, it just is true that Carlos Gaytan cooks Mexican food when he is not otherwise forced to do something else. Certainly "Mexican food" is very broad-ranging and encompasses many regional styles, of course. Nina Compton has not been accused of cooking "only Caribbean" by anyone in this thread, I think - while external recaps (e.g. in the Grubstreet ones I've linked to) state that aspect in a matter-of-course manner as a way to characterize her style. Shirley Chung has not been accused of cooking "only Asian" by anyone, myself included, in this thread - my objections have to do with her harping on doing so and dragging her family into it repeatedly.

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"Only"? I don't think that is really so; even if there may be something like disliking the personality or whatnot of the cheftestant at play. There are other factors at work and there is also the bias for Western/French-derived cuisine built into the issue/show/general audience. Certainly on my part I've objected before to the "cooking only Asian" meme from cheftestants (and commentators) thrown at particular cheftestants. You left out "European" - why aren't cheftestants accused of cooking "only European" food?

I presume you are including commentary from the cheftestants as well in your post?

We've talked about this general area before, I think. Accusations of "cooking only Asian" (whatever one means by "Asian") has tended to arise from the cheftestants themselves (let alone commentators like us) directed at another cheftestant more than any other accusations of culinary "narrowness" - think of Angelo Sosa, Beverly Kim, Sheldon Simeon, etc in past seasons, let alone this one. I think Sheldon was well-liked by all the cheftestants - even by Brooke Williamson, who was the one who most frequently accused him of cooking "Asian" - although I can't say if he was universally liked by the viewing audience. Angelo Sosa certainly did not cook "only "Asian"" dishes if one actually looks at the recipes and reviews what he put out yet just the whiff of soy sauce near one of his dishes would provoke another "only Asian" sneer from one cheftestant in particular.

Even with French cooking, Kristen Kish, who was well-liked by everybody, was tagged with "cooking French food" and she herself said in one of the LCK episodes that she wanted to cook a Japanese/Chinese-derived dish to get away from the idea that people had that she cooked only French food. Ilan Hall *was* accused of cooking "only Spanish" but in his case it was true that he wasn't liked by the other cheftestants too. Sarah Grueneberg was not well-liked, yet she wasn't accused of cooking "only Italian", but of cooking variation after variation of risotto (including arancini)...until towards the end, by commentators especially, true.

I think it ought not to be automatically a "slur" when one calls out the style of one's cuisine - in most cases it ought to be a simple statement of the situation.

In this current season, it just is true that Carlos Gaytan cooks Mexican food when he is not otherwise forced to do something else. Certainly "Mexican food" is very broad-ranging and encompasses many regional styles, of course. Nina Compton has not been accused of cooking "only Caribbean" by anyone in this thread, I think - while external recaps (e.g. in the Grubstreet ones I've linked to) state that aspect in a matter-of-course manner as a way to characterize her style. Shirley Chung has not been accused of cooking "only Asian" by anyone, myself included, in this thread - my objections have to do with her harping on doing so and dragging her family into it repeatedly.

Um...wow.

I am speaking in general terms, and am referring ONLY to the cheftestants in their "confessionals." It has seemed to me that that particular indictment has only arisen when another cheftestant is angry, jealous, miffed, etc., about something else the supposed offender has done.


Edited by Jaymes (log)
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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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The only person who I see as ethnocentric and hypocritical is T.Collichio,who will happily criticize an ethnic chef for cooking something other than his native cuisine and almost simultaneously criticize him for not branching out. Its good to be the king.

Like Tom only cooks Italian food...

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He and Scott Conant.

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Well, just to make myself clear, which I suppose I didn't before, I'm not saying that I think it's a bad thing for a cheftestant to cook foods with which he/she is most familiar, no matter how that familiarity was achieved - whether through education or heritage.

In fact, I'm saying just the opposite.

I'm saying that it doesn't seem to be a big deal to the other cheftestants either until somebody consistently wins, or becomes a pain in the chinois, or otherwise irritates the complainants. Then suddenly, it's "he/she only cooks scallops, or gnocchi, or Asian, or whatever."

I enjoy watching Shirley add her Chinese/Asian ingredients. I like it when Nina talks about what they have in St. Lucia or the Caribbean. I eagerly anticipated whatever Mexican-influenced dish Carlos would make, and loved it when he said it was from his mama or papa or abuelita. I LIKE that. And it only makes sense. Those people are on the show because they're good at something. So they've already been through an elimination process making whatever that is. The grand prize on the show is easily life-changing, so of course those chefs are going to stick with things they know how to do. Carlos, for example, has a Mexican background. He has a Mexican restaurant. It would be ridiculous for him to get to that show and suddenly decide to explore Moroccan cuisine. And that was one reason why I admired Chef "Let's stick with what you know how to do and win this thing" Serrano.

However, versatility and variety are also good, of course, so I'm sure that's why so many of the challenges make the chefs incorporate other styles, ingredients, etc. If they didn't, everybody would just show up and do nothing else, other than what they're already good at.

But, I didn't mean my comments as a criticism to imply I care if they cook only one style. I don't really care either way. As long as it seems to be tasty, and I learn a little something, whatever they cook is fine with me.


Edited by Jaymes (log)
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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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