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"12 Days of Christmas" Official Discussion Thread (Spoilers)

  • Avatar of layle1

    layle1

    [1]Dec 17, 2008
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    Please use this thread for all discussion of the episode, "12 Days of Christmas."


    "Conversation is food for the soul." –Mexican Proverb

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  • Avatar of BrainMan820

    BrainMan820

    [2]Dec 17, 2008
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    I could get behind the concept of the Quickfire, but honestly, that was the least amount of personality I ever saw out of Martha. The home cook whiz has a chance to show off her stuff and she just acts kinda stupid. Except, of course, when she's all chatty chatty with her fellow jersey girl Ariane. I don't think it colored her impression of her food, since Ariane did do the best, but honestly, she seemed downright rude. Maybe prison did change her.

    The Quickfire was awesome. 12 days of Christmas-themed dishes? Perfect. Why they brought in the Harlem choir was confusing. Maybe they just wanted to stretch out the time or something. But the challenge itself was pretty broad. Except for the french hen and the goose-a-laying, none of them are really about food, unless you're a cannibal. I just love these sorts of creative challenges.

    When the fridge wasn't shut, my first thought was "Isn't that the job of the techs or the interns?" Someone's getting fired. The fact that they were willing to step up and help Hosea and Radhika speaks volumes. Even cold Stefan helped. It's really a heartwarming scene.

    Although I'm on the fence about Stefan, since I couldn't get how pot pie was about drumming, even though it was delicious, the other three totally deserved it. Radhika's interpretation was spot on, and she was able to do something that isn't just Indian food. I'd like to see her take it another step. Jeff's dish was amazing. Plenty of cheese, yes, but that wasn't a bad thing. It was a nifty idea too, to island hop for leaping lords. Frog legs would have been better, but that's okay. Hosea's dish was another great interpretation. Smoked pork for something about pipes? Yeah, I can get behind that. Pipes meant flutes, but there's no food thing for flutes.

    As for the bottom, I was disappointed with Ariane most of all. I'm the first to criticize being pretentious, but too simple is too simple. It's not difficult to make deviled eggs. Jamie has lost a lot of ground with me for raw scallop (disgusting), and I'm not thrilled with Eugene. Melissa's dish had an error, but I don't think it was enough to stick her on the bottom.

    I was disgusted to see that snooty, arrogant, pretentious Michelle Bernstein back again. That woman is so in love with herself it's aggravating. The single line that the other guest judge said was more thoughtful then anything that came out of her mouth. I agree to fix a problem if there's a problem, but if Melissa was getting positive feedback, even if it wasn't the favorite, then what are you going to do?

    I'm not sure if I agree with the decision to not send anyone home, but I accept it because of the fridge error. Eugene and Jamie's problems weren't caused by that.

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    ebony_kunoichi

    [3]Dec 18, 2008
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    Martha Stewart has always been a stuck up, notty, cold fish, where have you been? Every show I have seen her in she acts the same. She can cook and is a successful person, but her personality seems a bit frosty with a tinge or naughtiness.

    I didnt thik Melissa was stuck up at all! She just seems like one of those deep artsy fartsy types. The other lady was dead on and Eugene should have left for sure. His attitude and taste in food seems a bit off to me. I wonder who left the fridge open and I agree that someone should have noticed. I didnt like how they all pulled together. This is a competition sheesh...This year the challenges are great, but the contestants really sux. They are way to nice to each other. I prefered the people that were on last year. They were out spoken and bold. This year we have deviled eggs and mushrooms?!?! Mostly all of the cooks were unimaginative again this week.

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    danharr

    [4]Dec 18, 2008
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    Fun challenges but as has been said earlier the chefs suck. Eugene is arrogant but so damn cool about it it's no fun, Stephan should be the super star but has yet to take it all the one but once maybe, and the rest are just odd and a mystery as to why they are still here. Surprise to see Fabio in the bottom for the quickfire and the middle of the road nobodies.
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  • Avatar of wingsabre

    wingsabre

    [5]Dec 19, 2008
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    Quickfire. Fair challenge, although only a few really stayed true to the challenge, and actually made a dish using one pot or one pan. As for Martha Stewart, she has always been pretentious, and has always been a picky eater. Elimination challenge. It was the usual party episode, and to make things easier, they just had to make one dish. A party like that usually has a bunch of dishes.

    Ariane, Deviled Eggs? Common, there's plenty of other things that could have been done with eggs. Although if you're really mad at someone you could deviled egg their car. That means you're really mad. She didn't even bother to fry some, I heard it's good.

    Jamie, Raw scallop? Serves you right for being lazy and picking scallop. This is what, the 50th scallop dish from top chef? Pick a harder protein to work with. Jamie's nicer, especially around Ariane. Do all lesbians on this show have to be mean to cook well?

    Eugene, he should have learned from his mistake before. Don't served a dis-attached dish. Put the darn fish on the chip, at least the salt from the chip would lessen the sweet. Plus, he had rings, which could have been done easily. Squid civiche? Onion rings? He fell back on doing something he has done before, and played it safe.

    Melissa,weak, but this time it's not entirely her fault. Cheese went bad, and substituted with a stronger cheese. I think she's gonna get kicked out next. Either Melissa or Eugene.

    Stephan, not that tough of a dish to pull off. Doesn't remind me of drums either. Maybe chicken drum sticks would have been better. In honor of Michelle Bernstein, I would have added some type of fried skin like pork rind. A way to make drums is to take a hollow container and stretch skin/leather over it.

    Leah, even she agreed her dish was mediocre.

    BrainMan820 wrote:

    I was disgusted to see that snooty, arrogant, pretentious Michelle Bernstein back again. That woman is so in love with herself it's aggravating. The single line that the other guest judge said was more thoughtful then anything that came out of her mouth. I agree to fix a problem if there's a problem, but if Melissa was getting positive feedback, even if it wasn't the favorite, then what are you going to do?



    I disagree, Michelle Bernstein is not pretentious at all. Look at her restaurant Michy's; it's a casual dining bistro (no dress code), in one of the least pretentious part of Miami. It's like having a New York City restaurant in New Jersey. Plus, give her pork rind and she'll be happy. I think the whole reason she got mad at Eugene was simply because he pulled a Danny. I would be pissed too. He didn't take any input and was on a high horse. We gotta face it, the food this season has simply been sub par. No one's really gone out and wowed the judges, and it's episode 6. They even said, the people on top didn't really even deserve to be on top.
    Edited on 12/19/2008 3:47am
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  • Avatar of BrainMan820

    BrainMan820

    [6]Dec 19, 2008
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    I'm not talking about her getting mad at Eugene, I'm talking about her getting mad at everyone, even the chefs that did well. The guests were very happy with the food, and when it comes down to it, it's really all about the guests. She also kept talking about herself all the time, and she's been doing this ever since she came on the show (although she's been better than when she started, I admit) and gave everyone her first book as a holiday gift? If it was not for sale yet, like when Padma gave Hung her new one, I'd be okay with that, but if it's been released already? Her food might not be pretentious, but she is.
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    pearlyvictoria

    [7]Dec 19, 2008
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    I thought with the Lords Leaping, they would have done frog legs, lol. Personally, I don't know what else they could have done with the 12 Days of Christmas. What would you have done?
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    ebony_kunoichi

    [8]Dec 22, 2008
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    BrainMan820 wrote:
    I'm not talking about her getting mad at Eugene, I'm talking about her getting mad at everyone, even the chefs that did well. The guests were very happy with the food, and when it comes down to it, it's really all about the guests. She also kept talking about herself all the time, and she's been doing this ever since she came on the show (although she's been better than when she started, I admit) and gave everyone her first book as a holiday gift? If it was not for sale yet, like when Padma gave Hung her new one, I'd be okay with that, but if it's been released already? Her food might not be pretentious, but she is.


    sorry, but it is NOT all about the guest. This is a competition and the judges take the crowd reaction into consideration, but the final decision comes down to them and their tastes. And what was wrong with giving them her book. Didnt Rocco do the same thing or Martha? Last year guest chefs gave books too. I dont see how that is pretentious! Or is it you just don't like her. Your not really giving any valid reasons.

    To me none of the chefs really did that great and that is why Tom sat and talked with them that they need to step it up. This years bunch have not been creative or smart. I am sick of scallops, mushrooms are safe and so are devilled eggs. Chicken pot pie? umm...riiiight. Eugene with his too complicated dish and then he tries to get defensive? they all suck except stefan.
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  • Avatar of wingsabre

    wingsabre

    [9]Dec 23, 2008
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    Michelle is not pretentious. Everything she said was correct, and even the other guest judge gave the impression that some of the food tasted good, but wasn't great. Michelle's comments were essentially at the same level as Tom's. Look at Jamie's dish, both Michelle and Tom agreed that her scallop was raw, slimy, harsh, and served in the wrong temperature. Tom was even more harsh on the devil eggs.

    I think you just don't like her because you're still sour over her valid comment towards Elia in season 2. Elia never did clean those kidneys, the filter of urine, and it's not pretentious to expect proper cleaning or mask the taste of urine with a sauce.
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  • Avatar of BrainMan820

    BrainMan820

    [10]Jan 5, 2009
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    Actually, it is all about the guests. This is a competition, true, but the chefs do not cook for judges 24/7. They cook for their customers. I've given plenty of valid reasons why Michelle is pretentious for giving her book out: Because the book is already for sale, and has been for quite some time now. It's not pretentious to give away a book when Padma did it to Hung because her book was not for sale at the time. Advance copy, little gift, I'm cool with that. Did she even bother to ask if they already had it?

    As for Jamie, her dish was criticized, fairly so. Other cheftestants were criticized. But she's blasting people who created food that pleased their guests and recieved rave reviews. If she wants them to step up, that's fine, but when someone wins and the customer goes home happy, that's what the entire point of running a restaurant is. It's a business these chefs run, not an exhibition.

    I'm actually not sour that Michelle said to clean the kidneys, I'm sour about her comment later on in the show, how she wasn't getting what she wanted and was getting angry, but the chefs did, in fact, address the challenge.

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  • Avatar of wingsabre

    wingsabre

    [11]Jan 5, 2009
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    No, Tony Bourdain, Eric Ribert, Hubert Keller, and a bunch of other chefs gave out books of theirs. Some of which the chefs already have. A gift's a gift. It sounds very pretentious and ungrateful when it comes to criticizing gifts. Plus I checked, and she did give them an advanced copy. The published date in Amazon was in November, while filming took place in August. It was also her first book, so I'm assuming an autographed advanced copy on ebay will produce some sizable return if they choose to sell it.

    As for the criticism, this is top chef, they're suppose to pick on every detail. Look at the first episode of season 3, Brian had snake and eel as ingredients, and he essentially fried both ingredients. The judges said it was perfectly fine and tasted good, but they heavily criticized him since it was unoriginal, and anyone could fry something and make it taste good. In Michelle's appearance in Season 2, she criticized the contestants for playing it safe and not trying their dishes also. When the kitchen is filled with fantastic products like kobe beef, duck confit, purple artichoke, etc, and we see spoiled pomegranate juice, bad salad/ pepto-bismol that apparently took them 5 hours to make, overcooked duck paired with undercooked puff pastry, over used scallop and everyday tartar; it does make you mad that the chefs where wasting production time. Plus the guest weren't happy.

    Look at the criticism of the people on top, Radika had too much bread, Stephan was criticized for making something too simple, while Jeff was criticized for making his dish too complicated. All the criticism were correct, and it pointed out that even the people on top didn't rock it.

    Also, it's an exhibition! Remember this is top chef, not who can play to the crowd the best. They expect the best techniques, the best ideas, the best flavors from each chef. If they want okay chefs and have them please the crowd then they should try out for Hells Kitchen. The whole point of this show is to please the judges.
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  • Avatar of BrainMan820

    BrainMan820

    [12]Jan 5, 2009
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    I see. I understand about the book, and it's not pretentious there. But I'll still hold that it is pretentious for a judge to give a book when it's already for sale elsewhere. How is it pretentious to criticize a gift? Ungrateful, perhaps, but pretentious means something else. Pretentious is to have the assumption of importance.

    Picking on every detail doesn't make a chef pretentious, it's when she goes outside of the challenge and picks on them for not giving her what "she" wants. She is not the challenge. That type of behavior is only acceptable when there is a concern such as it being raw. There is nothing wrong with "safe" dishes, by themselves, provided they are executed correctly. An execution error is not what Michelle faulted them with, she faulted them for not giving her what she wanted. Planning and execution was what Tom was criticizing them for.

    As for what ingredients they used, she is again, going on what "she" wants. It's the exact same thing as Rocco's "I like my breakfast savory" comment. She wanted something, they gave another, she faulted them on that, and that's not right. Feel free to pick apart what someone gave you because it tastes bad, not because it isn't what you want. If you only want certain things, stock the fridge with that.

    This is Top Chef, not Top "kiss my ass." Remember that "the best ideas" are constrained by the challenges. If they really wanted that, they wouldn't give such strigent and surprise requirements. It's also not about this knife technique or that one, there's only some of that. Otherwise, they'd only have the classically trained chefs. Jeff had to do the two different cheeses because that was part of the challenge. Melissa's dish was overpowered because she had to switch cheese due to the fridge error. Radhika used bread because it's difficult to eat the duck without utensils and used it to carry, again, part of the challenge. The challenge does not end with the judges. The judges pick who the "Top Chef" is supposed to be because of their performance all around, not because they kiss ass.

    Edited on 01/05/2009 9:48pm
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    wingsabre

    [13]Jan 6, 2009
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    Again, it wasn't for sale elsewhere when they were filming. It was published in November 2008, filming occurred in August. She gave them an advanced copy. It's kind of pretentious to say that the only proper gift are rare ones. It's like applying some assumption of importance on something that doesn't really matter.

    What did she want specifically? You're saying that she wanted somethign specific, but you never said she wanted a specific thing. She never said she wanted a specific kind of ingredient like Rocco did. She expected a certain level of standard, just like Tom, Padma, and Gail. This is Top Chef, the expectation is the contestants are on the show because they want to win it. They got there over hundreds of applicants, so there's expectation that they didn't waste their position. Safe dishes is not a winning dish, it's going for the middle, and plenty of past contestants have been kicked out for playing it safe. Look at Miguel, Michael, Josey, Carlos, Sam, Elia, etc... If they want to play it safe and cook the same dish over and over, then they should have applied to Hells Kitchen.

    Honestly, Jeff didn't have to do two cheeses, it's not part of the challenge that he had to use the same type of ingredients from different area. It was his conceptual interpretation of the challenge. He could have done a cheese from one island, and some olive or sausage from another. They allowed very liberal interpretations of abstract challenges like such, so I believe they were valid to criticize his conception of the dish.

    Melissa had to switch cheese due to the fridge error, but if she had tasted the dish, she could have reduced the amount of cheese. It also looked like she did not point out that the cheese was switched.

    Radhika used bread, but she used too much. Proportion is important.

    The judges decide who wins, so if they wanted to kiss the judges ass to win, they should. This doesn't mean that they're going to suck up to the judges, but they have to make dishes that wow the judges. Padma and Tom made it very clear in season 4's block party challenge, they're here to win the prize, and the people who decide who wins it are the judges. If they please the judges they should be able to please the public. The public doesn't expect the best from them, the judges do. Not just that, but they've tasted almost all of the dishes presented by the contestants, they know when they've had their 10th dish with foam from the same guy, or their 5th dish with foux caviar. They know when a contestant has potential, and when one is over their head.
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  • Avatar of BrainMan820

    BrainMan820

    [14]Jan 6, 2009
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    When did I say a gift is only acceptable when it's rare? Now you're putting words into my mouth. I said that it is pretentious to give someone your cookbook as a gift when it's been out for sale for a while and the chef might already have it. A cookbook isn't really essential to a chef's repetiore, unlike some of the other gifts given (can never have too many sharp knives)

    I didn't say Michelle wanted something specifically, but she did state in the episode that they were not giving her what she wanted, and it was "making her a little bit angry." That is pretense, pretense of the extreme kind. Rocco stated that he liked bacon, according to the chefs, but he docked the guy on the bottom not because it lacked bacon, but because it was sweet, and Rocco preferred a savory breakfast. Savory isn't just bacon.

    Actually, all of those contestants you've listed were not kicked out for playing it safe, except for Carlos. Miguel and Elia were kicked out because they were treating this as "Top Cook" and not Chef. Michael did plenty of outlandish dishes, but he messed up because he had no initiative in obtaining what the restaurant needed. Josie made an awful dish, and Sam's dish just wasn't as good as Ilan's (which Tom admitted, safety had nothing to do with it.) I think you're confusing "safe" with "lack of initiative."

    If you had put an olive or sausage on Jeff's dish, I would actually worry more about it than the cheese. It would taste rather salty. I do think Melissa should have reduced the amount of cheese, but when you're catering an event like that, there really isn't a whole lot of time. Radhika also needed enough bread to hold her dish since it was a functional dish.

    If you recall at the block party, the one team merely had fun with the crowd, the crowd voted, and the other team was the one they chose. I agree that if they can please the judges, they can please the crowd, but that does not involve kissing ass. The judges also judge each individual challenge, and blasts like Marcel's foam are rare. We never saw them blast Hung for all of his sous-vides.

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  • Avatar of wingsabre

    wingsabre

    [15]Jan 6, 2009
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    Yes, you did say something equal to an acceptable gift had to be rare. You said it when you said the gift had to be an advanced copy. By the way, it was an advanced copy, meaning it wasn't even out for sale while they filmed it. It really does show that you have a thing against her for no real reason, since the published date for her book was November 2008, and filming occurred in August.

    I'd hate to break this to you but, most of the contestants did not give her what she wanted, and this was also the case for Tom, Padma, and Natasha. They wanted something memorable. They wanted to be impressed, and instead they had slimy, harsh, warm, raw scallop, and deviled eggs. She should be angry, just like Gail always gets angry when she sees poorly done eggs. The judges represent clients, and clients would also be mad if they had to pay for poorly done food.

    Miguel, Elia, Mike, Sam, and Josie were kicked out for playing it safe. Elia cooked what she knew instead of using Hawaiian ingredients. Mike and Miguel chose to play it safe by not really contributing to their challenge. They instead to played it safe by letting others lead, since if the leaders screw up, it would be the leaders fault. Sam didn't cook anything, and Josie made salad. I consider that doing something safe.

    I don't know what type of olives or sausages you've been eating but not all olives and suasages are salty. There's plenty of pickling methods that would add acid when it comes to olives, and plenty of people eat cheese with salumi.

    Radhika doesn't need all that bread. She just needed a base. She could have easily slicked the piece of bread, then toast it to give it structure.

    I don't buy your excuse for Melissa either. Yeah, it's that hard to make one sample, taste it, correct it, taste it again, and then duplicate it 60 time. It's not like she had a limited supply of cheese. Either she didn't taste her food, or there's something wrong with her pallet.

    winning means you please the judges. If you know Tom doesn't like truffle vinaigrette, you don't use that ingredient. If that's kissing ass then go ahead. Others would call it being smart. It's like saying, the concept of the dish is so important that the opinions of the judges are not important. What if a chef decides the nuts are vital to a dish, and insist on serving nuts to someone with nut allergies. Marcel had over 10 foam dishes, while Andrew made over 5 different flavored tapioca balls. They put it on everything, even when it wasn't appropriate. Remember when Marcel's foam turned into a pool of spit when it got hot? As I recalled, sous-vides is a cooking technique, and Hung used it when it was necessary. Specifically, he used it to cook food under low heat to prevent it from over cooking. He wasn't called out on it, becuase he didn't use it too much, and didn't use it inappropriately. Richard on the other hand was in season 4 for doing that to salmon because the technique didn't help make the dish taste better.
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  • Avatar of BrainMan820

    BrainMan820

    [16]Jan 7, 2009
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    I never said the gift had to be an advanced copy of a cookbook, neither did I mention anything about rarity. I said that it is pretentious to give the challenge winner your cookbook when they might already have it. An advanced copy does mitigate this problem, but that doesn't mean a rare gift is the only acceptable gift. Look at the other gifts the chefs were given that weren't cookbooks. Wine, cutlery, all of those gifts were not pretentious. I ask you again, do not put words into my mouth or put your interpretation of my words and then bash your interpretation calling it my words. Stick to what is written.

    And I'm waiting for the "hating her for no real reason." I accept that the book was advanced, and thus, Michelle giving that was not pretentious of her. However, that doesn't make her unpretentious, as she was pretentious before that and hasn't changed that impression with her attitude. Kind of her to give a gift (since I assume giving gifts is optional), but unpretentious? That's something else.

    As for what happened: Jamie and Ariane were bashed for their stupid mistakes, Leah accepted responsibility for her "throwaway." But the food was still quite delicious and the judges have no right to tell the contestants what they can and can't cook when it's not in the context of the challenge just because they "want" kobe beef. If it's tasty and answers the challenge, there is nothing more a chef needs to qualify. That is pretense, to insist they use a certain technique that isn't part of the challenge, or to use a certain ingredient.

    Perhaps you have an odd definition of "safe." Safe is doing something easy deliberately to avoid attention. Carlos did that. Elia did not, she didn't address the challenge (cooking what you know is not safe, that's the point of this whole competition. Elia tried to stand out) Miguel did not take the initiative to be anything other then a sous-chef, which isn't about safety, that's a staple of this competition (again, no Top Cook) Michael made a stupid mistake and was sumarily booted for it, safety wasn't a concern, it was just a basic knowledge that he blew. Sam not cooking is again, not safe. In fact, that's quite a risky move. Safe would be if Sam just made traditional Hawaiian dishes without creating a spin on them. Same with Josie, her dish was ridiculously out there, it was just bad. If you want an example of what safe is, that obnoxious re-creation challenge was safe. No changes to the dish, no spins, no flavors. Just do the exact same thing. That's a safe challenge.

    You're aware that pickling makes things salty, right? Even if you add acid rather then brine, a lower pH is the mark of a salt and a salty taste. And I'm not sure what you're talking about when it comes to the sausages. You said they eat cheese with sausages, but that doesn't mean it isn't going to be salty. Radhika's dish also had a very large piece of duck with it, and balancing that constantly would take a lot of time. For Melissa, you must not be aware of how much time there is to cater. She would have already sliced her cheese and done the cooking she needed to do before going to the event. Making and tasting a dish six or seven times takes time. You can't just make it again in a second like it's bad sushi rice.

    Hung used a lot of sous-vides. You see it in at least three challenges. Whether it's a cooking technique, a specific ingreident, or what have you, always doing it is always doing it. While Marcel used foams inappropriately, he was also called out for constantly doing it in addition to doing it in the wrong dishes. ("There's a time and a place for it. It's not on every dish in your menu.")

    There is a difference between allergies and other concerns (religious, etc.) and just making what the judges like. Did we not just blast Rocco for telling the chefs to use bacon? So, why would we give Tom a by simply because he doesn't like skin on bell peppers? Both Tom and Rocco are judges. Doesn't seem consistent.

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    wingsabre

    [17]Jan 7, 2009
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    Giving a cookbook is not pretentious. We've seen that from other guest in the past. Speaking of wine, and cutlery, look at Sam's Global knife set that he won. It was given to him by someone from Global. By your definition it's pretentious to give that gift, since it's placing importance for one brand of knives over another. Plenty of chefs have given cookbooks in the past. Tony Bourdaine specifically gave a complete set of his books, but you don't seem to really care about that. This only shows that there's no logic in your argument, instead you just hate Michelle Bernstein and make up some arguments against it. She was not pretentious before. All her past comments were valid. You haven't once mentioned a specific situation in the past where she was pretentious.

    But the food was still quite delicious and the judges have no right to tell the contestants what they can and can't cook when it's not in the context of the challenge just because they "want" kobe beef.

    I disagreed that the food was that good. The judges have said that the deviled eggs weren't that good. The lopsided number of ribbons shows that the food wasn't delicious. Not just that, but having delicious isn't good enough. They want something memorable, and unique. It doesn't matter if kobe beef was used or not. Look at Dale's reinterpretation of ratatouille, it was unique and memorable. Howie's uni rissotto was memorable enough to save him elimination even though his dish was incomplete. The chefs are expected to cook memorable food, not something "delicious" but forgetful and generic like what one would expect from Hometown Buffet, or Fridays.

    Those past chefs were kicked out because they were being safe. Making salad was safe, not risky. It was a failure at conception, just like the others I mentioned. For example, Sam didn't cook, but he also didn't use an Hawaiian ingredients he was not used to. Instead he made what he knew look Hawaiian. In contrast, Richard's Puerto Rico pork dish, was a combination of his own style with Puerto Rican Ingredients.

    Pickling doesn't make things salty. There's numerous ways to pickle, including acid methods and salt methods. They contrast each other. Not just that but there's olives that are marinated in oil, vinegar, and a touch of salt. You are aware that a low pH is a mark of acidity, and not salt? I'm a biochemist so I should know my chemistry. You can dump a bunch of salt in water, and measure the pH, and it'll be around 7. Additionally, yes, you can eat cheese with sausages and it can be salty, but it doesn't mean that it will be. It really depends on what cheese is used, and if he added other ingredients.

    Radhika used shredded duck thigh meat. It's not that hard to portion it, since she did it already. Melissa had prep time before the challenge like everyone else. I don't buy your excuse, since she could have cut a piece of beef, a piece of bread, and a piece of cheese before she portioned it all out. I would expect her to taste her food while she's prepping it. She most likely tasted each component separately, but did not taste them composed.

    Yeah, Hung used sous-vides about 3 times, out of more than 20 challenges. I wouldn't consider it always doing it. Grilling and Sauteing is a cooking technique also, and we don't see contestants being called out for it. Hung used it appropriately. He used it first with black chicken, a rather tough cut of meat, to allow a tender texture. He used it again with chicken, in substitute for poaching, to avoid waterlogging it, and again for duck to avoid it from over cooking.

    Yes, Rocco was wrong for telling the contestants that he likes bacon. The reason is simple, Rocco produced an arbitrary requirement. My argument is not contrary to that. The contestants that gave him bacon were smart. They knew what he liked and gave it to him, and that's how they win. Sometimes it's not what the chefs want, it's doing what the guest wants, and although I disliked what Rocco did, I commend the contestants that used bacon. They were smart. Additionally, the contestants can use an ingredient that the judges dislike, but the contestants would have to make it taste good and be memorable. Look at what Mark did with his Vegemite deep dish pizza, it surprised Rocco. Stephanie on the other hand got a different reaction with her truffle vinaigrette during the finale, and it was universal with every judge, not just Tom.
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  • Avatar of BrainMan820

    BrainMan820

    [18]Jan 7, 2009
    • member since: 12/10/04
    • level: 16
    • rank: Church Lady
    • posts: 808

    Actually, all you've done is made yourself sound ridiculously argumentative. Sam's Global knife set was given to him by someone from Global. Where does the pretense come in? A chef needs knives, already making it more important than a cookbook (there are too many things a chef needs knives for) and nowhere, by either Sam or the guest, did they say that Global's knives were better than other knives. Neither does it mean that Michelle is stating she's better than another famous chef simply by giving her book. It is pretentious to give a chef a cookbook (which they don't really need) when you're unsure if they already have it. For that matter, why are we still discussing this? All you're doing is proving you can make incorrect assumptions, but we already know that.

    Where did I say that Anthony Bourdain is not pretentious? You really have a problem with assumptions, and yet, you keep doing it. Why is it so difficult for you to just stick to what is written? The discussion was whether or not Michelle Bernstein is pretentious. What does Anthony Bourdain have to do with it?

    I've provided quite a number of examples as to why Michelle Bernstein is pretentious and full of herself. You either can't read very well or just don't want to listen. I despise repeating myself, but it seems I have no choice. Michelle Bernstein is pretentious because, when the chefs performed the challenge to it's specifications, she was angry that they weren't giving her what she wanted, despite the fact that they performed to the rules.

    Lopsided number of ribbons? There were plenty of ribbons on the winner's plate. Do you mean for those that did badly? We've been over this. Chefs like Ariane and Jamie did badly, I've agreed to this. The chefs are expected to cook delicious food, first and foremost. How many times have we heard Tom say "It just didn't taste that good" or equivalent words? Plenty. Taste is what destroyed the chefs on practically every challenge.

    When it comes to safety, it seems you are lacking proof, yet again. I've already provided reasons as to why things were not "safe", and you just say it's safe for no other reason than your assertion. Salad is not safe. It is boring, but not safe. It's certainly a risk when others are making three different potato dishes. You surely must be aware that this entire show is built on twisting, not recreating, the classics. Sam, Elia, and everyone else was supposed to cook a Hawaiian-style meal with their own flavors, showing to the judges that they both understand fundamentals and can improve upon things already created.

    I did post an error in my post about pH, but I will still hold that pickling, even when an acid is used, gives things a salty taste. It's a matter of what the ions bond too. The cheese that Jeff used as a result of the challenge were quite saltier cheeses. Changing those would change the island-hopping. Radhika portioned out her meat so that she would have enough for everyone and still give them enough food. Sara N was blasted before for making small portions, after all. Melissa was using her prep time to prepare for the guests, as one would expect her to. Remember the catering challenge, where there was no food on the table? Melissa was most likely trying to avoid that.

    Please recall about Hung that very few of the challenges that called for a sous-vide would require them. Cereal aisle challenge, grilling, and such. Also, the sous-vide is a slower technique, and wouldn't be the most applicable in a Quickfire. He used it far more times then was necessary to show he knew it.

    I see that you have missed the point about Rocco. If you hold that it is wrong for Rocco to introduce an arbitrary requirement based on what "he" wants rather then the challenge, you should not be allowing other judges, like Tom, that courtesy. And you've contradicted yourself yet again. If Stephanie's truffle was disliked by all judges, what does it matter whether Tom has a personal displeasure for it? Or do the judges share taste buds?

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  • Avatar of wingsabre

    wingsabre

    [19]Jan 8, 2009
    • member since: 06/15/05
    • level: 13
    • rank: Regal Beagle
    • posts: 761
    It's not pretentious to give a chef a cookbook. In fact most chefs purchase cook books from others to learn about new ideas and techniques to be inspired from. Some books like that of Michael Ruhlman have stories and historical accounts of food. It's arrogant and ignorant to assume that giving cookbooks are pretentious. It's like saying it's pretentious to give a book to an author/writer. Chefs don't need cookbooks to cook, but it doesn't mean cook books are useless to them, and have no use to them. Chefs and cooks who think "my food's the best and I don't need to learn anymore" are very ignorant.

    Anthony Bourdain's been on several times, and you haven't said he's pretentious. I see no difference from his comments and Michelle's so it seems that you're critique of her is simply becuase you don't like her, and is deprived of any consistency. It's like you saying Rick Bayless is pretentious when he was guest judge in a challenge that required a fancy taco. Michelle saying the chefs not giving her what she wants was not pretentious since what she wanted was to be impressed. Bravo interviewed her and blogged about her opinions and it was clear what she expected. Her opinions were universal, and it's partly why Tom had to give a locker room talk. You really do have a problem in judging people on very little evidence.

    I think our differing opinions on what is safe is based on semantics. I personally think salad is safe, and a filler. For example in the Hawaiian episode, Sam and Elia were expected to cook a Hawaiian inspired meal. Both of them didn't use Hawaiian ingredients, and I think that's playing it safe. We can agree to disagree on this since it's clear that we have are on an in pass because we have different definitions of safe.

    I disagree with your assessment of salt. It doesn't matter what ions bond since when it comes to cooking the ions that matter are sodium, chloride, and ascorbic acid (which isn't an ion btw). It also depends on the concentration of pickling. Jeff used salty cheeses (Halloumi & Kasseri), so aren't you contradicting yourself? Two salty cheeses should make it salty, but it wasn't salty because he balanced it by tasting his dish. Using other ingredients from those islands can still fit his island leaping theme.

    Remember this challenge was two part, there was prep time, and then at the even there was set up time, and they could continue to cook the dish at the event. I don't buy your argument. Melissa had 3 components, bread, steak and cheese. She should have tasted a complete dish before she portioned out the cheese. After re-watching it, she said the cheese was the main component of her dish, and it looks like she swapped the cheese without tasting the cheese. There's no excuse for not tasting one's dish.

    OK, ignoring all quickfire challenges, Hung made 3 sous-vide out of ~15 elimination, counting dishes alone, the final challenge had 5 dishes. That's 20% of eliminations, and 15.6% out of total elimination dishes. That's not excessive, and he used it when he felt it was necessary. The first time was useful to prevent a tough cut of meat to be chewy. The second was to keep the chicken flavorful and not waterlogged, while he removed the skin. The last time was to not over cook the duck. Not just that but he was very smart in doing so in his last two challenges since he just vacuumed packed the meat, dropped it in boiling water, and was able to work on other components of his dish(s) without worrying about the main protein.

    I didn't say Tom should be allowed that courtesy. I think you too are putting words in others mouth. I said the contestants should cook to the likings of the judges since it would be smart. The contestants shouldn't have to, and the judges shouldn't judge against it, but they are smart to simply do it since it's one less thing to worry about. I didn't contradict myself. Tom didn't judge his dislike of truffle vinaigrette against Stephanie, but some judges judge against a dish because they dislike an ingredient. The contestants should be smart about this. For example, if someone doesn't like spicy food in a restaurant, the cook should reduce the heat level of the dish. It's being flexible and pleasing the client.
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  • Avatar of BrainMan820

    BrainMan820

    [20]Jan 8, 2009
    • member since: 12/10/04
    • level: 16
    • rank: Church Lady
    • posts: 808

    What, exactly, are you arguing? A chef can, indeed, use a cookbook. They can use a bottle of wine, too. That doesn't make it useful. I'm quite aware that "my food is the best it is" is a terrible view. It's been the basis of my criticism for Eugene. However, that doesn't mean a cookbook is useful.

    I haven't discussed Anthony Bourdain, true. Would you care for my opinion on him, or are you just going to assume incorrectly as normal. You have already been called out constantly for just assuming whatever you please as the truth, and yet, you still do it. I'll stand by the decision that Michelle is full of herself, just as I'll stand by Rick Bayless judging food on something that isn't it's taste.

    We are now discussing two separate challenges, and you're blanketing Michelle's statement to apply to all of them, and using it to blast me when it's not even the case here, a severe lack in logic. The comment made by Michelle, when she appeared in Season 2, was that the chefs weren't giving her what she wanted. She never made this statement in Season 5, so applying it to the 12 days of Christmas challenge just shows me you really aren't using your brain. The criticism made against Michelle here was that she was blasting the winners when the diners, for whom the event was about, loved it.

    Our impasse can come to a close very easily. You have provided examples of dishes that aren't safe. The only one who claimed he was playing it safe was Carlos. Sam and Elia didn't make traditional Hawaiian food, they tried to put their own spin on the food, which is really part of the challenge. Where they made their mistakes wasn't in imagination, but, as Tom said, Marcel and Ilan did it better.

    Actually, many different ions matter in cooking and in food, especially in relation to your body. If you'd like me to name one more, how about potassium?

    The two-part argument of your assertion is negated because of the fridge error. Melissa, more then likely, would have tasted her dish to know what proportions she would have to use, but the switch in cheese changed that. As for Jeff, there is no contradiction. Jeff used two salty cheese, but he balanced it using other portions. True, fair enough. However, your assertion was that he should have used other ingreidents, like sausage or olives. Those taste different than the cheese, and have differing salt contents.

    Considering how often the chefs are pushed to do different things, even 20% of the time is too much. Hung is no Marcel when it comes to repetitiveness, but he's certainly no paragon.

    I've not put words in anyone's mouth, that is your purview. What we are actually doing is arguing two different points, and you're treating them as mutually exclusive. My argument is that it is wrong for the chefs to cook based on arbitrary restrictions set by the judges (kissing ass) that have no bearing on the challenge (kobe beef) or even cooking in general (Bayless again). Your argument is that cooking what the judges like is smart. You still agree with me, that the judges shouldn't be setting such things.

    If you don't think that Tom was judging Stephanie based on his personal taste buds, then why bring it up? That was the point of the argument.

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