Top Chef Forums

Wednesday 10:00 PM on BravoBetween Seasons

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

  • Avatar of wingsabre

    wingsabre

    [21]Jan 9, 2009
    • member since: 06/15/05
    • level: 13
    • rank: Regal Beagle
    • posts: 761
    I disagree, if you can use something, it is useful. You contradicted yourself. A cookbook is useful, it may not be used as frequently as a new kitchen, grills, and knives but it's useful. It's very pretentious and rude of you to deduct pretense from a gift. A gift's a gift.

    You haven't discussed Anthony Bourdain, but he is in no way different compared to Michelle when you look at their comments. In fact his may be more snark and pretentious in contrast. It would seem that you're isolating your criticism at Michelle just because you don't like her and are deprived of any consistent logic.

    So what if Rick integrates other factors into his judgment of food other than taste. There's more to food than taste. Texture, color and many other factors influence the condition in which someone eats food. The Japanese are very focused the visual aspect of food. Additionally nutritionist are advocating the consumption of a variety of colorful foods to increase nutritive values. Taste is one aspect of a whole. Not just that but the quick fire challenge required Rick Bayless to put emphasis on visual over taste, and you're confusing challenge requirements with the judge's personal opinions. For someone who criticizes others for assuming, you sure make a lot of fact less assumptions yourself.

    You're the one who brought up what Michelle said in season 2, so why don't you restraint your comments about this episode first? If you read the Bravo Q&A session with her, you would understand her logic as to why she did not like the season 5 chefs. The winner in her opinion was the best of the worst, and the other judges for the most part agreed. As I've said before, it doesn't matter what the diners think in the end. They give the ribbons, but the judges decide who wins in the end. They may have thought the food was good but there was no answer as to whether they would pay for the dish at a restaurant if they had a choice. The judges determine this.

    You don't have to say "I'm playing it safe" to have a safe dish. Look at Danny's chicken salad, it wasn't safe. Sam and Elia played it safe because they didn't push their horizon. Being unimaginative is inherently safe since they're not pushing their horizon. They did what they could do outside of Hawaii and that was not safe. I already gave an example of what is not safe. Howie's first elimination challenge dish. He was put on the bottom, but his dish was not safe and was memorable. Another example of being not safe is what Richard did during the whole pork challenge. He used an ingredient he doesn't usually use, maltose soda, and incorporated it with what he normally does.

    Potassium is not used as a cooking ingredient, unless it's low sodium salt. It's mainly found in food. In the majority of the case, people don't add potassium to their food. Additionally Ca++, Mg++, and I- are ions but are not used in cooking, but is found in ingredients. The only true ions added to food are sodium and chloride. Furthermore, you're forgetting that the concentration of a brine can be lowered to reduce the taste of salt.

    Actually I made a mistake, it was a 3 part challenge. They had prep time the day before, and in the day of they had prep time before the event at the kitchens and they have time to prepare their dish at the event. Yeah she probably tasted her whole dish the day before the event, and portioned out the cheese she had, but when she switched cheese, she didn't taste her dish. She had time to do so, since others had time to redo their dish with a greater disadvantage.

    No, 20% is not that much, plus he used it appropriately and smartly. Look at the last two times he used it. Both times he had multiple components to his dish, or had multiple courses. All he had to do was put protein in a bag, throw some herbs, vacuum it, throw it in a boiling pot of water and forget it. He then spent time working on other stuff. As for the first time he used that technique, it was for black chicken. I've grown up eating black chicken and it's an extremity tough and dry protein. This technique is a great way to cook it, since sauteing, grilling, or roasting would not make it taste good.

    Yeah, contestants shouldn't have to cook based on arbitrary requirements based on what the judges like, but I'm simply saying they would be smart to do so. It's about $300,000, and a new kitchen we're talking about here. Kissing ass is fine with me if they win since that's being smart.

    Again Bayless had to base his judgment based on the rules, and the rules required a high end taco. Protein matters in that case. You're confusing the challenge with the judge.

    I brought Tom's dislike of truffle vinaigrette since Stephanie would have benefited if she removed that ingredient. Plus, it would benefit them to not knowingly induce a gag reflex. For example, if Jeff had known that Kathy Lee doesn't eat shell fish, and that she was a judge on Today, he probably would have used a different protein.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of BrainMan820

    BrainMan820

    [22]Jan 9, 2009
    • member since: 12/10/04
    • level: 16
    • rank: Church Lady
    • posts: 808

    "Has a use" and "useful" are not the same word. Baking soda has a use to neutralize odors, but it is not necessarily "useful" that way (honestly, I don't think it works too well.) It's "useful" when used on your teeth because it does help whiten them. Therein lies the difference.

    Here's a thought: I criticized Michelle instead of Tony on this challenge, because, lo and behold, she was here this challenge. Again, would you care for my criticism of Anthony Bourdain? I'm a huge fan of his, but honestly, he's stuck up as hell. He'd probably agree with me, too.

    It is not the color in which nutritionists advocate, but the nutrition gained from foods of that color. How often do we hear comments about dark green leafy vegetables? It's not that they are dark green, it's that they contain different nutritents then carrots or corn. And there really wasn't an aspect of "visual" in the challenge. It was to create an upscale taco. That's all. Serve it on a plate instead of in a wrapper, but no one did that.

    I did restrict my comments to this episode in the beginning. She was pretentious here (exclusively to this episode), but not as much. You blasted, I returned and elaborated. That's all. Why, exactly, should I have to read something supplemental? If it's important, it belongs in the episode. And actually, it is what the diners think in the end, because it is the diners, not the judges, who would be paying for a meal.

    I agree, people don't have to admit to playing it safe, but, just because they aren't like Carlos and say they're okay with middle doesn't mean they are. Being unimaginative is not inherently safe, as it could still address the challenge. It's just that imagination is riskier. Safe is when one aims for the middle and just wants to scoot by. Howie's dish, indeed, was not safe, but what's the point of bringing that up. He was on the bottom because he didn't address the challenge, as he should have.

    I think you misunderstood about potassium. It's not that it is added to food, it's that it is present in food, and can contribute to a salty taste.

    I understand your points about sous-vides, but we're not arguing whether or not Hung used the technique improperly, it's that he was repeating the technique rather then showcasing his skills. "Playing it safe."

    Why are you still talking about kissing ass and arbitrary arguments? We're agreeing on that.

    My criticism of Bayless didn't have to do with the proteins used. It did with things he didn't like that were irrelevant to the challenge.

    It does benefit to not induce a gag reflex, but are you even sure Stephanie was aware Tom disliked such a dish? Jeff's dish was cooked with no knowledge of the judges, and faulting him would be incorrect. For Stephanie, it's the same.

    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of wingsabre

    wingsabre

    [23]Jan 10, 2009
    • member since: 06/15/05
    • level: 13
    • rank: Regal Beagle
    • posts: 761
    Baking soda is useful as a levening agent. It's useful to eliminate odors but only for a specific time. I used carbon granules/coal commonly found in aquarium filters. There's greater surface areas, and the basic nature of the coal neutralizes the odors which are commonly acidic in nature.

    I think Anthony Bourdain is stuck up and pretentious, more so than Michelle. I like them both. It would seem unfair to dislike someone for one reason, but like someone else even though they exemplify that reason.

    I know it's the nutrition gained in colorful food, but to simplify for the public, it's colorful food since they, in addition, carry flavinoids not seen in other foods which reduces the risk of cancer. I disagree that just serving something on a plate makes it fancy. If you're expected to pay ~$14 for three tacos, I'd expect more than a plate or garnish. Otherwise I go to the nearest street cart with the longest line, where I could get three tacos for ~$5. You should read something supplemental since it adds more to the whole experience. They have webisodes to elaborate on the plots of shows. Top Chef has extended interviews, clips and blogs to elaborate on why things were done. Plus, some shows have extra bits that end up on the cutting room floor, and the logic behind some of the more controversial chopped chefs are explained.

    Again, diners don't matter, if the judges like it, the diners should. In no way should judges settle for decent.

    Exactly, no one really aimed to produce winning dishes in this episode. They've all seem to play for the middle, and hence, they're playing it safe. Howie didn't play it safe, and ended up on the bottom because he didn't meet the rules of the challenge, but he was not executed. The judges have commonly allowed contestants a pass if they took a risk and the dish was palatable, even if they didn't meet all of the rules.

    Potassium is present in all foods. It's a basic electrolyte, yet you don't say, I think my banana is salty. For example, look at a hard boiled egg, is it salty when you eat it? Eggs have salt in them, just like all organisms. I for one think it's bland and needs to be dipped in some salt and pepper. I think you're confused that if a salt is present, it must be salty. That's just not the case, and it really depends on how much is present. The salty taste that you're talking about is due to people adding salt to food.

    In terms of Hung, I think he was using it when it was necessary, and not because he was showing it off. It's really not a hard technique to do, all you need is a vacuum bag, some seasonings, and a boiling pot of water. I don't think it's showing off since the difficulty level is quite low. Look at his black chicken dish, he would never have been able to do it without sous-vides under the time restrains of the challenge. It's commonly stewed like a rooster.

    Kissing ass is not an arbitrary argument. If they can kiss ass and win, then they should because that would be smart. Wouldn't you be pissed at yourself if you knew you could have won $300,000 but didn't because you used an ingredient that could have subconsciously hurt your dish? The contestants shouldn't have to kiss ass, but if they have an opportunity to do so, they should.

    Bayless didn't like things that were relevant to the challenge. Just because you think some tings are irrelevant to the challenge doesn't mean it's irrelevant to the judges or the rules of the challenges.

    I'm not faulting Stephanie or Jeff. It's clear that both of them didn't know, but all I'm saying is if they did know they should act accordingly. If you know Rocco likes bacon, then yeah, add some bacon. Don't be so unflexible so that the client is not pleased.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of BrainMan820

    BrainMan820

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

    Baking soda was just an example. The point of that was to provide an example of the difference between "has a use" and "useful." I've found something better to help cut down on food odors. Eating it before they spoil.

    I said I liked Bourdain and that he was stuck-up, I didn't say I liked him because he was stuck-up. I like him because he's funny, but he's still a stuck-up jerk.

    As for the upscale challenge, the upscale aspect was already there in the food, and the ingredients used. That's what fine dining is. Nothing else matters.

    How did the winners play it safe? They addressed the challenge in perfect ways. It's not as if Radhika could buy patridge, and Jeff had to change his dish on the fly, while Hosea had to drastically change his dish. Only Stefan played it safe, and honestly, I wouldn't even say that was safe. I'd say it didn't really address the challenge.

    Howie was kept on because Clay made something that was inedible. That's a serious issue. That doesn't mean Howie took a risk; he didn't plan on not serving his "turf."

    I think you're missing the point about salt. The point that you're straying from is that Jeff's other options for adding to his dish that you provided would have made it saltier, because of the pickling or the meat. You're providing your personal opinion about eggs isn't going to change that.

    As for Hung, you're just repeating yourself. I've already answered that point: He wasn't demonstrating his range of skills by constantly doing them. Stop saying that you think he used them properly on black chicken. You said it several times.

    I think you've also missed the point about arbitrary arguments. We're actually agreeing on this topic. Why are you still bringing it up?

    Rocco has already proven that judges can set arbitrary requirements unrelated to the challenge and judge on them. Why are you giving Bayless a by simply because he said so?

    You can please a client without giving them the arbitrary requirements they ask for. There's no reason to follow them, especially when it's not going to showcase your skills to their best ability.

    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of wingsabre

    wingsabre

    [25]Jan 12, 2009
    • member since: 06/15/05
    • level: 13
    • rank: Regal Beagle
    • posts: 761
    Sometimes things taste best when they're a little spoiled. Cheese comes to mind. Plus there's food that smell even if it's not spoiled. Indian food and fish stews can have strong odors that spread onto other food.

    As for the upscale dining, the aspect was not already there in the food. Taco is not upscale, and your primary complaint was that Spike had a better tasting taco, but he didn't win. It was because he didn't make it upscale, and didn't follow the rules. That was the whole point of the challenge.

    I didn't say the winners played it safe. For someone who complains about having words put in their mouth, you're doing it yourself. Although I have to agree that Stephan really played it safe. Seriously chicken pot pie is not hard at all. It's just a thick chicken soup, with puff pastry on top. Do them separately and combine them at the last minute. What I do think is, the guys on top did not give the best dish they could have made.

    No my other options for Jeff would not have been different from what he had. For one, Jeff used two very salty cheese on his dish. My other options would not have added that much salt. Additionally pickling does not require salt as I have said before, and dried meat does not mean it will over salt the dish. I've had sweet olives, sour olives, salty olives, oily, minty, and spicy olives. Not all olives taste like the stuff you get in a martini. Dried meat can be sliced very thin. Not just that but the theme in itself is leaping, meaning he had the most liberal theme to choose from. He could have used flying fish roe, or some form of salmon which leap over barriers to return to their mating site. Sauteing's literal translation means to jump, he could have cooked any dish which required sauteing and that would have suffice. Hung doesn't have to display a new skill or technique in every challenge. Additionally to conscientiously choose an inferior skill to use for an ingredient that requires a specific skill is stupid. I don't know about you but I would much rather use the right technique than show off with a non-necessary technique that would hurt his dish. I said black chicken several times, becuase it appears you never got the point, since you repeatedly said he used a technique when it wasn't necessary. In my view, it was necessary.

    Bayless didn't have an arbitrary requirement. His requirements were set based on the rules. I didn't give him a by because he didn't apply arbitrary requirements.

    You can please a client without giving them the arbitrary requirements they ask for, and there's no need to follow them, but they don't always care if you can showcase a specific skill. Sometimes they just want their needs met, and it's very anal to lack flexibility. So what if someone said, I like bacon? Make the best damn bacon dish you can make. It doesn't mean you're demeaning yourself, it just means you are willing to please the guest. Daniel Boulud didn't have rague on the menu when he was working at Le Cirque but he'll make it upon request. The same goes for his current restaurant. This is a service industry first, meaning the client must be served.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of BrainMan820

    BrainMan820

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

    Some foods do, most foods don't. And we're discussing how to cut down on odors. Why do you just try to get a useless one-up?

    Actually, my criticism wasn't that Spike didn't win (although he should have), it was that Bayless criticized aspects of the dish that had nothing to do with the challenge (there's a paper on the plate)

    You expressly stated that no one aimed to win, and that's exactly what safe is. They aimed for the middle to scoot by, you said. That is safe. And they didn't even do that. As for "could it be the best thing ever" that's a little ridiculous to assume since they are constrained by the challenge requirements.

    It is true that Jeff did have a wide variety of options to choose from, but, if Jeff didn't know "saute" meant in French, he wouldn't have done that. Also, your salmon idea is a little too forced, like Fabio's crab. And fish roe? That can be pretty pricey to make enough for 200 people.

    You've been repeating yourself about black chicken constantly for no point at all. I heard you. What you have said is that he used a technique that helps it. My response was that he didn't need to use it as there are other techniques available. Who is to say sous-vide is the best technique? It's certainly possible that it's the first thing Hung thought of and just did it.

    In a restaurant, I'll agree that making things the clients like is paramount. However, this isn't a restaurant, these are challenges. They're designed to throw curveballs and showcase different techniques. The arbitrary requirements of the judges shouldn't even be brought up, and not factored in if they are.

    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of wingsabre

    wingsabre

    [27]Jan 13, 2009
    • member since: 06/15/05
    • level: 13
    • rank: Regal Beagle
    • posts: 761
    Was the paper necessary? No. There was a plate. That was the point of the criticism. Plus he should have been on the bottom simply because he didn't follow the rules.

    It's not ridiculous to expect the chef to take the constrains of the challenge and make use of it to produce the best thing ever.

    Jeff graduated from Johnson & Wales University. Definitions for food terms should have been covered. Eh the whole salmon thing sounded forced, but so was some of the other's interpretations. Stephan and Jamie comes to mind. Plus Mike's envy dish from season 2 sounded force, but then again, if it taste good, the judges will forgive the liberal interpretation. Flying fish roe is not expensive, it's very ubiquitous. It's those tiny orange, sometimes red, sometimes green caviar found on sushi. For 200 people it shouldn't me over $50. There were other techniques available, but none of them would have worked under the time constrains of the challenge or would have produced the same quality result. Confit, or braising would not have fit the time constrains. It didn't look like the kitchen had a presser cooker since none have used one so far. Additionally the challenge had two proteins, meaning he had twice the load of work. Sous-vide is not the best technique out there, but it looked like it was the best for that protein in the constrains of the challenge.

    Arbitrary requirements of the judges shouldn't be brought up, but the curve balls thrown at them from the judges or the producers are no different from curve balls thrown at them in a restaurant. It's just more frequent and more exceptional. The judges are the clients, and judges who factor in arbitrary requirements have one vote in a group of 4. If challengers are aware of an arbitrary requirement then they should treat it as a requirement and proceed because that would be smart of them.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of BrainMan820

    BrainMan820

    [28]Jan 14, 2009
    • member since: 12/10/04
    • level: 16
    • rank: Church Lady
    • posts: 808

    I agree that putting that on the paper was useless. It's just like when Betty/Mia served it on a puff pastry. But to put one in the bottom because of that with no discussion of taste? At least Betty and Mia had an overcooked issue.

    When you constrain something by setting such weird challenge requirements, quality is always going to be sacrificed. It does help people focus, but it sacrifices on what they can do.

    The definition of food terms such as saute would also be a little forced, don't you think? Less forced then the salmon, but not as natural as Radhika's partridge. I agree that quite a few of them were forced, but Hosea's wasn't and he won the challenge. Ariane's wasn't forced, it was just flat. Fabio's was really forced. And depending on how much roe you use, and the other ingridents, there's certainly is a price concern. I'm aware of what roe are, thank you.

    Hung, being a chef, would know quite a number of techniques, that he didn't decide to use. Thus, I fault him for no imagination.

    We already have curveballs from the judges: they come in the challenge requirements. Time gets cut down, the contestants aren't aware of what materials they'll be using to cook with, and et cetera. Why should they bring their personal issues into it?

    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of wingsabre

    wingsabre

    [29]Jan 14, 2009
    • member since: 06/15/05
    • level: 13
    • rank: Regal Beagle
    • posts: 761
    Spike wasn't on the bottom. He was on top because of taste, he just didn't win because he didn't follow the rules of the quickfire.

    Quality doesn't have to be sacrificed even with "weird" challenge requirements. The person has to be able to conceptualized the dish.

    You can force a definition, as long as it taste good. What was wrong with Ariane's dish and Fabio's dish was that it wasn't just forced but it was something you'd expect from Fridays. It wasn't special.

    Ok... What type of technique should he have used instead that would have kept proteins tender and quick fast enough to meet the constrains of the challenge? If you're so insistent that he should have used another technique what should he use? You don't have to be innovate by having new techniques, you could be innovative by applying new flavors and ingredients.

    So there should only be one curve ball per episode? No. Life's not that easy. If they have a difficult judge or a difficult client, they'll have to deal with it. Sometime it doesn't matter if its fair or not fair as long as all the contestants are judged based on the same requirements, even if it's arbitrary.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of BrainMan820

    BrainMan820

    [30]Jan 14, 2009
    • member since: 12/10/04
    • level: 16
    • rank: Church Lady
    • posts: 808

    I wasn't talking about Spike for the Quickfire, I was talking about the bottom. I thought Spike should have won, but the discussion of the bottom is a separate issue.

    The judges do expect innovation from the judges (as well they should), and Ariane's was flat and uninspired, in addition to fove of them not being good. Fabio's interpretation was forced.

    I am not a chef, and am not familiar with techniques. However, I can count, and there are plenty of techniques that a classically trained chef can do. You're just defending his uninnovative decisions. Yes, a chef can be innovative with ingriedents, but he can also be innovative with technique. Fabio proved this with his olives.

    Who said anything about one curve ball per episode? No, there are plenty of examples of multiple curveballs. The argument is that the judges should not get personal. Judges can be difficult without bringing their personal opinion into it.

    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.
  • Avatar of wingsabre

    wingsabre

    [31]Jan 15, 2009
    • member since: 06/15/05
    • level: 13
    • rank: Regal Beagle
    • posts: 761
    Technique is important, but it's not always necessary. Fabio was innovative with his olives, but you just can't do that on any dish, it was specifically useful for that one dish. You can't always make a technique work, and sometimes using a technique to show off is simply misguided. Look at Marcel ad his droplet of vinaigrette in the finale. What if it had worked out, then there would be a pool of vinaigrette and undressed salad. My assessment was Hung's use of sous-vide was necessary for the time constrains of his dishes. 3 out of 18 elimination dishes was not excessive. It's like complaining that 3/18 dishes were braised or fried. Judges shouldn't get personal, but it's human nature to, and the contestants should think ahead and prepare for judges that do get personal. It would be smart of them to do so, just like it would be smart of them to know dessert recipes ahead of time. Rocco did get personal, but so what, he tasted the food and he liked one dish more. Food is subjective, and for this episode none of the judges forced an arbitrary requirement.
    You must be registered and logged in to post a message.