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"Block Party" Official Discussion Thread (Spoilers)

Did the Right Chef Pack His Knives?

  • Avatar of layle1

    layle1

    [1]Mar 26, 2008
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    Please use this thread for all discussion of the episode, "Block Party."


    "Talk amongst yourselves… " –Linda Richman
    Edited on 03/26/2008 8:25pm
    Edited 2 total times.
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  • Avatar of BrainMan820

    BrainMan820

    [2]Mar 26, 2008
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    I gotta say, I was ready to walk out on this episode. And surprisingly, the Elimination Challenge was one of my favorites. I love parties, I love the idea of catering a block party, and I like the idea of getting the food from the people going to the party.

    What really grinded my gears was the Quickfire, but most of all the snooty guest judge. I love tacos, and I like changing things up with tacos, but honestly, make an upscale taco? Wasn't exactly my idea of a stretch. But I could get behind it. Until this pretentious chef started coming around. Fine dining this, fine dining that, Jesus Christ, take a pill. His smug sense of "what is fine dining" just turned me off to him. I'd never eat at his restaurant, knowing the chef had such a pretentious personality.

    As for the Challenge itself, I thought who the Red Team was jovial and had fun with the block party folks was just great. Just as personality slammed that horrible guest judge that I hope I never see again, so has it turned me on to Spike. From the fun guy being dunked into the bin to his cheerfulness to his playful headlock of Andrew in the bedroom (I think it was Greek he was saying.) The guy's a lot of fun, and he does decently in the challenges as well.

    And of course, the whole woman thing in the beginning was just dreadful. Can we go one season of some competition show without the women getting their panties in a bunch about the whole female thing? Concentrate on your cooking, not what's between your legs. Your cooking is what's going to win.

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    Chrissytd

    [3]Mar 27, 2008
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    Where was Antonia in this episode?
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    rickibobbi

    [4]Mar 27, 2008
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    the dismissive, punitive judge statements are starting to irk me, particularly Pahdma, just because she has model looks doesn't give her any other real claim. Her droll attitude, fake knowing intonations are about what one expects of an air head who has pretensions to more. Collichio is strange too, they give the chef's difficult challenges and then they rip them to pieces, like pulling wings off flies. I know its TV, but its still overly melodramatic. The immaturity of the chef's doesn't help, but I got a kick out of Alex and Spike speaking back to the judges.

    In terms of the chef's, it looks like that one chef, the slightly overweight one, forgot her name is the class of the competition, she easily and casually cooks really tasty imaginative dishes. She's already won two of three eliminations, easily. Probably not going to be a real competition this year, notwithstanding the personalities.
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  • Avatar of layle1

    layle1

    [5]Mar 27, 2008
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    What I found really sort of depressing is that, out of all those houses, no one had any real cheese -- or at least none was shown.
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  • Avatar of starwolf99

    starwolf99

    [6]Mar 27, 2008
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    Re: Velveeta. It could have been an issue of quantity since Nikki probably found the large quantities of pasta first.

    The guest judge threw me off, though I can understand the potential of the Quickfire. The purpose was to bring out a dish like Richard's in which he used a slice of jicama instead of a tortilla. It's about finding out who can think outside the box, and it worked.

    Before I thought that there would be a rivalry between Andrew and Richard. After watching this episode, the real rivalry is between Richard (already scoring two Quickfire wins) and Stephanie (already scoring two Elimination wins). They can be creative and serious about the challenge.

    I actually liked the concept of the Elimination Challenge; however, it was poorly executed. Velveeta? Corn dogs? Pasta salad? Mac & Cheese? In the case of Nikki, Zoi, and Erik, they should have known better. They knew about the issues of transporting food and working on a dish they are not 100% on, AND YET THEY STILL DID IT! The Red Team should have taken lessons from Hung last year: Cater to the judges and make the food taste good regardless of the competition. Forget that it was a Block Party. They should have thought of it was it was designed--a catering challenge in which they need to use ingredients from other people's homes.

    Three random notes: (1) Mark improving on a didgeridoo [sic] was funny. (2)Spike needs to lose the K-Fed look/attitude/yellow hat. (3) I'm picky when paella is poorly planned and prepared.

    Edited on 03/27/2008 2:10pm
    Edited 2 total times.
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  • Avatar of gabfan31

    gabfan31

    [7]Mar 27, 2008
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    Okay, Rick Bayless has proven that upscale Mexican food is not an oxymoron, so attitude aside (he didn't irk me, but I guess I'm in the minority here), the challenge is the challenge, and like it or lump it, you've got to do it. Just remember what they had to do in season one in the gas station challenge, or season two with the vending machine challenge- none of those contestants were stoked with the idea of creating gourmet food from such plebian ingredients, but most of the contestants managed to come through (forget Mikey's snickers "statement"). If you don't want to listen to the rules of the challenge, you've got no business being upset when you don't win! Spike needs to lose the attitude and listen, because every episode so far the Judges are trying to tell him something that will help him in the competition, and his response is incredulous disbelief and a raised finger! He seems like a fun, interesting guy, but not the ultimate winner of this year's Top Chef!

    Yes, you need to play to the crowd, but ultimately it's up to the Judges. If this had been a challenge where they let the crowd decide, Team Red might have prevailed. But they had to satisfy the Judges, and I didn't see Ted or Rick at the dunking booth, so I doubt they were impressed. I'm really liking Stephanie and Mark so far, Richard and Dale I think have potential, as does Antonia and Jennifer. Spike and Andrew are both obviously talented chefs, but I'm afraid their attitude is going to get in their way. I see Zoi, Ryan, Lisa, and Nikki as the weak links. Manuel is a nice guy, but nice guys don't often have the staying power, though perhaps he'll prove me wrong. All in all, I'll be hoping for something better next episode.
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  • Avatar of starwolf99

    starwolf99

    [8]Mar 28, 2008
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    gabfan31 wrote:
    Okay, Rick Bayless has proven that upscale Mexican food is not an oxymoron, so attitude aside (he didn't irk me, but I guess I'm in the minority here), the challenge is the challenge, and like it or lump it, you've got to do it. Just remember what they had to do in season one in the gas station challenge, or season two with the vending machine challenge- none of those contestants were stoked with the idea of creating gourmet food from such plebian ingredients, but most of the contestants managed to come through (forget Mikey's snickers "statement"). If you don't want to listen to the rules of the challenge, you've got no business being upset when you don't win! Spike needs to lose the attitude and listen, because every episode so far the Judges are trying to tell him something that will help him in the competition, and his response is incredulous disbelief and a raised finger! He seems like a fun, interesting guy, but not the ultimate winner of this year's Top Chef!

    Yes, you need to play to the crowd, but ultimately it's up to the Judges. If this had been a challenge where they let the crowd decide, Team Red might have prevailed. But they had to satisfy the Judges, and I didn't see Ted or Rick at the dunking booth, so I doubt they were impressed. I'm really liking Stephanie and Mark so far, Richard and Dale I think have potential, as does Antonia and Jennifer. Spike and Andrew are both obviously talented chefs, but I'm afraid their attitude is going to get in their way. I see Zoi, Ryan, Lisa, and Nikki as the weak links. Manuel is a nice guy, but nice guys don't often have the staying power, though perhaps he'll prove me wrong. All in all, I'll be hoping for something better next episode.

    Zoi is definitely becoming the weak link. The question is whether the show will stress that with her dynamic with Jennifer. (It's not as much fun when only one person is doing good in a competition.)
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  • Avatar of ebbydmp

    ebbydmp

    [9]Mar 29, 2008
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    starwolf99 wrote:

    (2)Spike needs to lose the K-Fed look/attitude/yellow hat.

    I thought it was just me who thought he looked like K-Fed.

    This season the unifying theme seems to be if you cook something that you KNOW can't sit around for awhile then you WILL go home, no matter how bad someone else's dish is. So I understand why they sent Erik home. But I think they should have sent home Zoi and Nikki because they messed up to of the world's easiest dishes, since a bowl of cereal. I learned how to cook mac&cheese and pasta salad when I was 8. They should have gone home for being idiots.

    Edited on 03/29/2008 11:00am
    Edited 2 total times.
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  • Avatar of bookworm1460

    bookworm1460

    [10]Mar 29, 2008
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    I agree with expressing your opinion but some of the contestants blatantly ignored the QuickFire Challenge and made a street taco. It doesn't matter if you don't think a taco should be upscale or not. It's a competition and they should do whatever it takes to win. What did they think was going to happen? The judges 't going to reward food that doesn't meet the requirements.

    These contestants are disappointing. I like Stephanie, but the rest of them are arrogant, and over confident. Hopefully, they'll get the hang of things and impress us.

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  • Avatar of ebbydmp

    ebbydmp

    [11]Mar 29, 2008
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    bookworm1460 wrote:

    I agree with expressing your opinion but some of the contestants blatantly ignored the QuickFire Challenge and made a street taco. It doesn't matter if you don't think a taco should be upscale or not. It's a competition and they should do whatever it takes to win. What did they think was going to happen? The judges 't going to reward food that doesn't meet the requirements.



    I think a taco could be upscale, but I don't think wrapping meat and stuff in jicama makes an upscale taco. It's just a wrap at that point. And I think that's what most of the people were thinking is that taking it out of the traditional type shell took away from it being a taco of any kind and made it just a wrapped sandwich.
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  • Avatar of KCMask

    KCMask

    [12]Mar 30, 2008
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    Who else wanted Tom to B-slap whiteboywannabeganstah when he said "This is my House"?? what an idiot. I hate him. This was one of my least fave episodes. I mean, not being able to grill or cook there? Why not? Is transport now a giant potential thing to being a chef? Shopping at houses where they were OBVIOUSLY STOCKED UP for them??
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    screechmoe2000

    [13]Mar 30, 2008
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    I thought it was really rude when that one guy told the other team that they cleaned out the house and there wasn't much left. And then admits to the camera that they took a lot but there was stil a lot left. Not like the others aren't gonna see the tape later.
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    Finnegan77

    [14]Mar 31, 2008
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    Most of the thoughts here mirror my own. This seemed to be another lame attempt to limit the number of ingredients available to the chefs for the challenge, and, just like the last one, it fell flat. And I have to agree that I don't see that this elimination challenge actually focused on a skill or talent that a top chef needs - this isn't Top Caterer, is it? Two challenges in a row have been determined by which foods travel well. In the kitchen of a top restaurant, that is not really an issue.

    Of course some of the chefs made terrible choices, and many could have been eliminated. Could Nikki not find some real cheese for her mac and cheese? Did Spike's team really think food that any one of the neighbors could have made themselves would wow the judges?

    The QuickFire didn't thrill me either - I don't have a problem with the idea of fine dining Mexican food, but you can wrap anything up in some sort of shell and call it a taco, just as you can throw some seafood, sausage, and rice together and call it paella. Some consistancy would be nice.

    Andrew's outburst? Weird, but I'd like to see the unedited episode to see what really went on there, and when he said that.
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    ebbydmp

    [15]Mar 31, 2008
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    KCMask wrote:
    not being able to grill or cook there? Why not? Is transport now a giant potential thing to being a chef? Shopping at houses where they were OBVIOUSLY STOCKED UP for them??


    It didn't make sense that they couldn't cook on site becasue I've been to many a block party and the side dishes are pre cooked, but there is ALWAYS grilling and frying at the party. And I found it strange that houses that had no kids had all that food in it.

    I wanna know where was the bbq? What kind of casual outdoor party doesn't have bbq?
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    Finnegan77

    [16]Apr 1, 2008
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    ebbydmp wrote:
    KCMask wrote:
    not being able to grill or cook there? Why not? Is transport now a giant potential thing to being a chef? Shopping at houses where they were OBVIOUSLY STOCKED UP for them??


    It didn't make sense that they couldn't cook on site becasue I've been to many a block party and the side dishes are pre cooked, but there is ALWAYS grilling and frying at the party. And I found it strange that houses that had no kids had all that food in it.

    I wanna know where was the bbq? What kind of casual outdoor party doesn't have bbq?


    I agree - and since we saw shots of some of the neighbors firing up their grills, why weren't the chefs allowed to use grills? What were the neighbors cooking if the entire event was catered by Top Chef? Maybe they tasted the food and decided to make some of their own?
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    layle1

    [17]Apr 1, 2008
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    Finnegan77 wrote:
    What were the neighbors cooking if the entire event was catered by Top Chef? Maybe they tasted the food and decided to make some of their own?

    That's my vote. Sorry, that was mean.

    I think everyone's making really good points. There have been storage/travel issues before, but usually it relates to the prep, how it survives the travel to the cooking site, and then performs in the reheat or cooking part. Think of season one's "Food on the Fly" and three's "Freezer Burn."
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    IdiotsloveBoxes

    [18]Apr 1, 2008
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    I knew that top chef contestants all had sticks up their pipes, but this episode really drove the point home. Yeah Erik, Mexican food is total slop food and all those unsophisticates in "Middle America" love soggy hot dogs. I'm glad he's gone.
    Edited on 04/01/2008 3:46pm
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    wingsabre

    [19]Apr 3, 2008
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    BrainMan820 wrote:

    I gotta say, I was ready to walk out on this episode. And surprisingly, the Elimination Challenge was one of my favorites. I love parties, I love the idea of catering a block party, and I like the idea of getting the food from the people going to the party.

    What really grinded my gears was the Quickfire, but most of all the snooty guest judge. I love tacos, and I like changing things up with tacos, but honestly, make an upscale taco? Wasn't exactly my idea of a stretch. But I could get behind it. Until this pretentious chef started coming around. Fine dining this, fine dining that, Jesus Christ, take a pill. His smug sense of "what is fine dining" just turned me off to him. I'd never eat at his restaurant, knowing the chef had such a pretentious personality.

    As for the Challenge itself, I thought who the Red Team was jovial and had fun with the block party folks was just great. Just as personality slammed that horrible guest judge that I hope I never see again, so has it turned me on to Spike. From the fun guy being dunked into the bin to his cheerfulness to his playful headlock of Andrew in the bedroom (I think it was Greek he was saying.) The guy's a lot of fun, and he does decently in the challenges as well.

    And of course, the whole woman thing in the beginning was just dreadful. Can we go one season of some competition show without the women getting their panties in a bunch about the whole female thing? Concentrate on your cooking, not what's between your legs. Your cooking is what's going to win.



    Don't blame the judge, blame the producers and the writers. The judge does not decide what they are supposed to do, they just judge based on the rules/taste. Rick Bayless is in no way pretentious. He goes to Mexico and eats street food, and he makes street food, and humble food like stew all the time on his PBS show. His job though, for this competition was the pick a taco that's high end. Yeah, you don't think Mexican food is high end, so we shouldn't even have this type of a competition. The contestants are suppose to stretch themselves why have this show to begin with if we don't expect these chefs to be imaginative and stretch themselves. If you look at the blogs Lee Anne said that she stuffed the kitchen with high end materials, most of the contestants didn't use it. She even had other starch options like taro root, in case the chefs wanted to slice it thin, fry it and make a hard shell taco.

    Rick Bayless was one of the founders of Mexican cuisine in Chicago. As more Mexicans immigrated towards the windy city his restaurant had to logically move towards the upscale side of the market to compete.

    As for Richard, I'm not really a big fan of him, but look at his quickfire taco. In my mind it works. Jicama is very Mexican, and can be found as a salsa, on top of some tacos, and a cool, refreshing, textural counterpoint to dishes. It's like apples and pork, and what he used the jicama for was sound. Richard essentially made a low carb, reduced fat taco, which in my mind sounds upscale. Not just that but it sounds like something you could find on the street also.

    Also, my opinion of Spike is he will be no top chef. He's on the bottom too much, and I find him as dense as Ryan. When Tom, Padma, Ted, and Rick says it's not good, it's just not good. Take their advice, learn from it and do better.

    Zoi also has to up her game. If she didn't want pasta salad, say it. Or else make that the best pasta salad she can make.

    Erik, this season's Mikey. Can't really hate him. Looks scary, but most likely a nice guy.
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    rlh20907

    [20]Apr 3, 2008
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    I was disappointed in the Red team this episode. Usually the quickfire and elimination challenge are related in some way and the red team completely ignored it! What did the quickfire do, take street food and try to make it more upscale and what is block party food...street food! I thought all of their dishes were completely average and that the blue team tried to bring more refined food to the block party although it was that much more refined. The red team has to realize that the crowd doesn't choose the winners the judges do. And the rif about the judges having more refined palates, what a joke! If the judges like it then people with "less" developed palates would enjoy it even more. I think the contest will be between Richard, Stephanie, and another contestant that starts to rise cause it always seems like someone who is shaky at the beginning comes out of nowhere and makes a huge impact (like Dale). I was real excited to see Richard on this show because of his Iron Chef battle against Mario Batali. He did some crazy things with Garbonzo Beans.
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