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"Film Food" Official Discussion Thread (Spoilers)

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    layle1

    [1]Apr 2, 2008
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    Please use this thread for all discussion of the episode, "Film Food."


    "Talk amongst yourselves… " –Linda Richman
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    wingsabre

    [2]Apr 3, 2008
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    Good show, liked the quickfire, liked the elimination challenge. They all did well for the elimination in my opinion except one group. When I saw the pairing, I immediately knew that Momo was gonna go home.

    There's so many movie ideas, Good morning Vietnam was just a bad choice.

    Other movies that comes in my mind are Fried green tomato, Silence of the Lambs, Mystic Pizza, Ratatouille, Forest Gump, The Exorcist etc.
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    ebbydmp

    [3]Apr 3, 2008
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    The quickfire was kinda boring, but I really liked the elimination challenge. I was really impressed how the guys pulled off Willy Wonka and didn't make a mess. I'm glad Miguel went home because he was really boring and stupid. Why would he agree to cook Vietnamese if he didn't know what he was doing. Also to use Good Morning Vietnam as their inspiration was a really bad idea. They would have been better off using Full Metal Jacket, at least that movie is funny.
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    layle1

    [4]Apr 4, 2008
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    Or one like Indochine where they could have enhanced the already French-influenced Vietnamese cuisine, perhaps impressing Boulud.
    Edited on 04/04/2008 4:20am
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    combatjammer

    [5]Apr 4, 2008
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    I think they've been staying in the kitchen for waaaay too long and haven't been to any movies. I mean, how can Ryan not even know the name of The Christmas Story....
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    BrainMan820

    [6]Apr 4, 2008
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    This episode was singularly horrible. Never have I ever been so annoyed and turned off with an episode of Top Chef. To start with, the Quickfire. It was all about technique. When you're doing a show for food amateurs who may not know what different food techniques are, that's just lousy. Save that stuff for the Food network, where you can devote some good time to it.

    When the Elimination started, I was actually a little enthuisatic. Movies are something most everyone knows. But when they got to the food itself, I was turned off. More fine dining pretentiousness, it seemed. Chocolate and wasabi. That just turns me off. I loev Willy Wonka, and I loved their "fizzy-lifting drink, but the food turned me completely off. I thought the prize should have gone to "A Christmas Story." I love that movie, and they picked a very specific (and food-related) moment, and made it work. I love the fact that they improvised with quail, because, in A Christmas Story, it wasn't traditional food at all. Quail is certainly not traditional in my experience.

    But, of course, what set me off most was the Spanish food and the lamb. Vibrant colors were blah, the food made little sense, the whole woman pretentiousness. At the very least, Good morning Vietnam had something related, even if it made very little sense and was disjointed. I'm severely disillusioned with this show. It's acting better then it actually is.

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    boromirbeauty

    [7]Apr 4, 2008
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    I liked this episode, when it came to the elimination challenge. The whole movie/food combo was interesting. I'm sad to say I'm not a huge fan of Aisha Tyler and would have been just as happy if she didn't appear as a guest in the episode - but that's neither here nor there. I thought that the top two teams were good. I'm not sure if I would have put GMV in the bottom two, but then again, I didn't taste the food so at this point I'll just have to go with the judges. I do think, however, that I would have sent Zoi or Antonia home for not making the food relate better to the movie. The quickfire wasn't so interesting to watch this time, I agree with BrainMan. I'm hoping we get a few more single challenges soon, these team things are happening too often.
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    wingsabre

    [8]Apr 6, 2008
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    The thing about Spike's choice of Vietnamese was he could have chosen Forest Gump. At least the shrimp in the summer rolls would make more sense and reduce the fishy taste.

    BrainMan820, this show's goal is to help chefs open up a restaurant. More specifically it's designed to be in the mold of high end dining not burger bars, BBQ or any other mom and pop restaurant. When you have judges nitpick it's not being pretentious it's just taking the dish apart because most of them were good. Even the Spanish dish which ended up on the bottom was good, they just didn't deliver on what they sold it as. The more they nitpick, the better because the skill level of these chefs are better.

    Yes, I agree with the fact that the quickfire was kinda boring, but at the same time the concept of the quickfire was sound. The first thing you learn in cooking school is how to use a knife properly. Showing knife skills is just and extension of it and Dale won it because the level of knife work was fantastic.

    If you're disillusioned by this show, then don't watch. Drive-ins, Dinners and Dive might be a better alternative. There's nothing pretentious about burgers.
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    BrainMan820

    [9]Apr 7, 2008
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    The goal of this show on the contestant's side is to win a competition. Not to open up a restaurant. Remember, some chefs are already executive chefs of their own restaurants. That's money that would funnel into their own places.

    I've said nothing about nitpicking about this episode. If you're referring to last week's pretentious chef, then perhaps you can tell me why nitpicking a piece of paper and the appearance in front of taste is not pretentious?

    Also, please recall that the people here are chefs, but this a show meant for people who are not chefs. BRAVO's audience are not going to all be chefs. I'm not saying dumb things down, but one must respond to their audience. How, exactly, does showing knife skills no one has ever heard of work for that sort of audience.

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    wingsabre

    [10]Apr 7, 2008
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    Some contestants own restaurants, many of them are sous chefs or chef the cuisine. If they win the show, they can funnel money into their own places, or most likely spend it on travel and publicity. Either way the goal is to help chefs get some attention and open up restaurants. Even the executive producer of Top Chef in response from Tushmen of Food Network's comments about TNFNS said that the show's goal is to help chefs open up restaurants and not host shows on tv.

    You may say that what you see is pretentious, I see it as nitpicking. Taste should be the overall quality, but keep in mind that that paper had no place being there. It's like unnecessary garnish. Plus if were to refer to last week's episode, then I would have commented on last week's episode's thread. I was referring to the quick fire and the elimination challenge. The show's for people who aren't chefs and for chefs/cooks everywhere. Culinary school students watch it, and average college students watch it. I believe that dumbing down is the worst thing they could do. This show has credibility because the chefs are challenged, they are encouraged to push. The show rewards challengers to take risk, even if they failed they tend to do better by making bold moves. Spike was not eliminated because he took charge while Momo was eliminated because he took a back seat. Showing knife skills no one has ever heard of does not hurt the audience number, it actually helps. Look at shows like ER, they did very well in the beginning because each show was about the ER, the fast paste style and the surgeries. The stories were important, but the environment it was set in was rich and felt accurate. Not it's just a fanciful soap opera set inside a hospital. Also keep in mind that these chefs weren't just ask to show their best knife skills, but the dishes present were also expected to taste good. The top three dishes was there because they had good technique and tasted good.
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  • Avatar of BrainMan820

    BrainMan820

    [11]Apr 8, 2008
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    Yes, the chef's goal is not to host on TV. However, the goal is not to open up their own restaurant, even if they are sous-chefs. It's quite likely that a sous-chef might spend the money on education or training as well as opening up a restaurant.

    If you weren't commenting on last week's episode, then I'm not sure where your complaints are coming from. The only thing I said was pretentious was chocolate and wasabi. Other then the chocolate, what part of that was Willy Wonka? And putting that on a plate? Even the other chefs on the show didn't like that idea.

    And please recall I specifically said not to dumb the show down. I said respect your audience. One can respect your audience and, at the same time, push the chefs. New ice cream? New TGIF entree, airline food? All of these things are things people understand, and they still push the chefs. Limiting it to fine dining and judging based on whether it's fine dining or not? That has no bearing on the individual.

    Showing things no one has heard of does not hurt the audience member if it loses him. One can be real and understandable at the same time. This is the reason why the French Culinary institute challenge was so great. Not because some hoity-toity pretentious fine-diners said it's the greatest, but because practically everyone I've ever cooked for and ate with has used chicken, onions, and potatoes. It's relatable.

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    Finnegan77

    [12]Apr 8, 2008
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    The QuickFire didn't bother me because of the technical skills it showcased, after all, Nikki was reprimanded for not seasoning her zucchini properly, so it was about cooking as well. I suppose I just found it uninspiring. I totally disagreed with Chef Boulud's choice of Richard as one of the top dishes - right after he complimented Zoi because she actually presented a complete dish that could be served. Richard's offering was a number of lines of prepared vegetables which looked very similar to what many of the other chefs served. I'm sure his preparation was terrific, but how was it especially, well, special? Granted, I'm not the expert he is, but maybe we could have had a bit more explanation about its superiority? Great mushrooms? Dale's win was nice to see - I have high hopes for him.

    I found it hilarious that just as Zoi and Spike were denigrating the Willy Wonka team's choice of flavors in walks Richard as the winner. Funny! Again, just as in the QuickFire challenge, I would have liked to have heard more of the judges' reasons for choosing Manuel to go home. Spike was the one in charge, and Vietnamese food was his decision - Manuel wanted to cook Mexican originally. Did they really send Manuel home because he was boring? If so, I'm disappointed.
    Edited on 04/08/2008 9:15pm
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    ebony_kunoichi

    [13]Apr 9, 2008
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    I totally agree with Brainman. I dont mind the fine dining, but this is the second season I have watched and it totally bored me to death. The quick fire challenge lost my attention . The competition should push the Chefs, but by doing that it shouldn't leave the audience behind. I would love more explaination as to why people are eliminated. I know they only have one hour, but you could cut out some of the other unnecessary stuff.
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    wingsabre

    [14]Apr 9, 2008
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    BrainMan820 wrote:

    Yes, the chef's goal is not to host on TV. However, the goal is not to open up their own restaurant, even if they are sous-chefs. It's quite likely that a sous-chef might spend the money on education or training as well as opening up a restaurant.

    If you weren't commenting on last week's episode, then I'm not sure where your complaints are coming from. The only thing I said was pretentious was chocolate and wasabi. Other then the chocolate, what part of that was Willy Wonka? And putting that on a plate? Even the other chefs on the show didn't like that idea.

    And please recall I specifically said not to dumb the show down. I said respect your audience. One can respect your audience and, at the same time, push the chefs. New ice cream? New TGIF entree, airline food? All of these things are things people understand, and they still push the chefs. Limiting it to fine dining and judging based on whether it's fine dining or not? That has no bearing on the individual.



    Yeah, I don't think chocolate and wasabi works together, but it did. The judges said so, and they did taste the dish. It's not pretentious at all to use new and interesting combination that might not work and make it work. It's actually very skillful. Chocolate covered bugs aren't thought of as a great flavor combination but apparently it's a good combination. Richard pulled off a hard flavor combination, and although I don't think he's that great just because he's all smokes and mirror I think he won it fair and square. The other chefs were just bitter.

    When it comes to having new TGIF entree or new ice cream flavors, or even a new difficult ingredients each week, I think the main complaint will be, how boring. They should be tested on basic skills, and basic technique once in a while. If the basics aren't there then they have no duty being top chef. Fine dinning, bbq, foreign food of all kinds, not all of these chefs know everything but these challenges are also supposed to push their thinking. There are good examples of fine dinning, and just really bad examples that are overly pretentious. They're not asked to be pretentious, many times upscale dining is just really expensive produce cooked in a simple manner. Also, when you're a top chef, it's most likely that you're not going to "sell out" and do an ads for burger king or applebee, like Bayles, and Tylor Florence.


    BrainMan820 wrote:

    Showing things no one has heard of does not hurt the audience member if it loses him. One can be real and understandable at the same time. This is the reason why the French Culinary institute challenge was so great. Not because some hoity-toity pretentious fine-diners said it's the greatest, but because practically everyone I've ever cooked for and ate with has used chicken, onions, and potatoes. It's relatable.



    I think you're expectations of the audience is low, we're a lot smarter than that. I didn't know what a tornade was but after seeing it, i thought it was kinda cool, and I learned a new term. I appreciate that. Yeah, I understand what you're saying. Take everyday ingredients that we all know and love and have these chefs have their spin on them. Keep in mind that all these chefs are already expected to know how to do them well. It would be quite boring if all we see each episode is omelet and fried chicken. Part of the appeal of this series is the audience looking at the food made and telling themselves, "I don't think I can do that."

    Keep in mind that I don't think fine dining is the best form of food. I like street food much more, but I don't like the close minded mentality of automatically calling fine dinning pretentious and then shutting everything out. For example, coq au vin can be thought of as fine dinning but it was fist a peasant dish. It's considered fine dinning because of the wine, and the use of a rooster which may be hard to source just because factory farming has no need for roosters. Fine dinning restaurants usually work with farmers and source their produce from the source, and so they can have access to produces that are hard to fine roosters or heirloom pork.

    Ebony_kunoichi, yeah agree about more explanation. Sometimes people are eliminated and it would feel that the reason for it was not as good. It would probably be better if they had an extended webcast of the judges table, after all they do end up talking deep into the night.

    Finnegan77, Momo went home because he essentially made salad. He took a back seat and allowed Spike to direct his actions. A chef's supposed to be a leader, he wasn't.
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  • Avatar of starwolf99

    starwolf99

    [15]Apr 9, 2008
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    As a die-hard movie fan, I liked the Elimination Challenge more than the Quickfire. In this episode, we are seeing consistency with some of the chefs. Richard and Stephanie continue to be strong contenders for diametrically opposite reasons. Whereas Stephanie takes traditional flavors and execute them well, Richard is bold to experiment. It's interesting how Andrew and Richard team up frequently. Zoi is becoming a weak link of all of the chefs. I have a funny feeling that she will not last long.
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  • Avatar of BrainMan820

    BrainMan820

    [16]Apr 10, 2008
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    wingsabre wrote:
    Yeah, I don't think chocolate and wasabi works together, but it did. The judges said so, and they did taste the dish. It's not pretentious at all to use new and interesting combination that might not work and make it work. It's actually very skillful. Chocolate covered bugs aren't thought of as a great flavor combination but apparently it's a good combination. Richard pulled off a hard flavor combination, and although I don't think he's that great just because he's all smokes and mirror I think he won it fair and square. The other chefs were just bitter. When it comes to having new TGIF entree or new ice cream flavors, or even a new difficult ingredients each week, I think the main complaint will be, how boring. They should be tested on basic skills, and basic technique once in a while. If the basics aren't there then they have no duty being top chef. Fine dinning, bbq, foreign food of all kinds, not all of these chefs know everything but these challenges are also supposed to push their thinking. There are good examples of fine dinning, and just really bad examples that are overly pretentious. They're not asked to be pretentious, many times upscale dining is just really expensive produce cooked in a simple manner. Also, when you're a top chef, it's most likely that you're not going to "sell out" and do an ads for burger king or applebee, like Bayles, and Tylor Florence.

    I don't think you're getting what I'm trying to say. Things will not be boring if they do not repeat themselves. And I agree that being tested on the basics is fine. That's what the very first challenge was. I'm saying that one can do this and not get hung up on the fine-dining pretense that we have been seeing. You don't need to make coq au vin to prove that you're a talented chef, you just need to make food that's good.

    I said nothing about selling out either. I'm just certain most of us know what TGIF is. That's why I mentioned it. It's something people know, even if they don't eat there.

    [QUOTE= "wingsabre"] I think you're expectations of the audience is low, we're a lot smarter than that. I didn't know what a tornade was but after seeing it, i thought it was kinda cool, and I learned a new term. I appreciate that. Yeah, I understand what you're saying. Take everyday ingredients that we all know and love and have these chefs have their spin on them. Keep in mind that all these chefs are already expected to know how to do them well. It would be quite boring if all we see each episode is omelet and fried chicken. Part of the appeal of this series is the audience looking at the food made and telling themselves, "I don't think I can do that." Keep in mind that I don't think fine dining is the best form of food. I like street food much more, but I don't like the close minded mentality of automatically calling fine dinning pretentious and then shutting everything out. For example, coq au vin can be thought of as fine dinning but it was fist a peasant dish. It's considered fine dinning because of the wine, and the use of a rooster which may be hard to source just because factory farming has no need for roosters. Fine dinning restaurants usually work with farmers and source their produce from the source, and so they can have access to produces that are hard to fine roosters or heirloom pork. Ebony_kunoichi, yeah agree about more explanation. Sometimes people are eliminated and it would feel that the reason for it was not as good. It would probably be better if they had an extended webcast of the judges table, after all they do end up talking deep into the night. Finnegan77, Momo went home because he essentially made salad. He took a back seat and allowed Spike to direct his actions. A chef's supposed to be a leader, he wasn't.[/QUOTE]

    You're twisting my words. I didn't say the audience was stupid, I said don't lose them, especially when you don't need to. Everyone eats. Eating never goes out of style. Simply spinning the ingredients, and the standard twists (like new, unusual ingredients, or limits to test creativity) is enough. It's about taste in the tongue sense, and that is plenty. It's not all fried chicken and omlettes, but, let's face it. We eat more fried chicken and omlettes then we eat coq au vin.

    I'm no stranger to fine-dining either. I'm willing to bet I know more about it then you. However, fine-dining is very pretentious. Preparing things certain ways do not make them better, and that is the attitude of many a chef in a fine-dining restaurant.

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    wingsabre

    [17]Apr 10, 2008
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    Yeah, I bet you do know more about fine dining, but from my perspective, I see that the chefs of fine-dining is trying to provide high quality food, that's freshest it can be and etc. I think our perspective or our definition of fine dining is different. Yes, some chefs are just overly pretentious, and some are just testing their water with new and innovative techniques. I don't think it's fair at all though to just say, fine dining = pretentious, chef during that competition is pretentious prick It's kind of absent minded logic, since the guest judges don't decide the competition, the producers and writers do, and the judges judge based on the rules set by the writers. Mine is preparation of a clear, composed dish with good, high end ingredients. Key word, high end ingredients. Technique is not as important since it's expected that technique is applied in all forms of food, it's just some are more prevalent in fine dining.

    Preparing things certain ways can make or break a dish in my opinion. Cutting veggies to a certain size, and cooking it to a certain degree can change it's flavor, texture, amount of time it takes to cook with the dish and the mouth feel. Look at street food, it's defiantly not pretentious but the meat on a taco are chopped up for a good reason. It's usually cheap cuts of meat that's either cooked a long time and shredded, or grilled and chopped up. Cheap cuts are usually tougher and requires some of it to be broken down so the eater does not over use their masseter while chewing.

    Preparation is in many ways subjective. For example wrapping a bass in thin potato strips may not make it better, and is not practical at all, but if I go out to eat, I rather have that than make it myself. Plus, crispy potato, with tender juicy fish. It just sounds yummy, and the technique to get it to work can be quite hard. It's a reason why Hung won that quick fire challenge last season.

    Also, if the food taste good, it's good, no matter how it's prepared. Flavor alone can't really carry a dish, and technique can't do it alone either. It's both that works together to make a dish work.
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    BrainMan820

    [18]Apr 12, 2008
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    Fresh ingredients are not a required component of fine dining. Neither is meticulous preparation. I've been to many a fine-dining restaurant where I've had to speak to the manager. Using expensive, higher quality ingredients works just as well in causal food. It might not be practical to serve considering the cost, but that's not the issue in Top Chef.

    Oh, changing the way one cooks and prepares an item can indeed change a dish. However, this is not fine-dining, that's just innovation.

    The reason why Hung won the ridiculously pretentiosness Quickfire was because he replicated the dish the best. That's all. This wasn't innovation on his part. There was precedent and, rather then take it and make it better, he just did it the same way. Boring, especially considering this type of meal wouldn't even be served to the "common people", it's not on the menu, it's only for "VIP's"

    Flavor can carry a dish by itself. Technique can be used to bring out that flavor, but ultimately, it's all about the taste.

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    danharr

    [19]Apr 13, 2008
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    Watching some of the insane choices was worth the price of admission. Just because a movie has Vietnam in the title doesn't make your appetizer worth anything and I too was glad Miguel was gone. He was a bore and didn't bring anything to the show.
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    wingsabre

    [20]Apr 13, 2008
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    BrainMan820 wrote:

    Fresh ingredients are not a required component of fine dining. Neither is meticulous preparation. I've been to many a fine-dining restaurant where I've had to speak to the manager. Using expensive, higher quality ingredients works just as well in causal food. It might not be practical to serve considering the cost, but that's not the issue in Top Chef.



    Frankly that's how I see it, and we can agree to disagree. To me there's a difference between Berkshire and factory farmed pork, free ranged chicken and factory farmed chicken, grass fed cattle and corn fed cattle. There's a lot of fine dining restaurants out there who don't do this, and who are pretentious and silly. They are essentially over the top, like they do things which looks like Frank's Smurf village from season 2. The well known ones with built in respect tends to cook simple food and make it taste very good by highlighting the ingredients. Think French Laundry, Fleur de Lys, Krafts. I'm not talking about a wanna be place you'd fine on Ramsey's kitchen nightmare.

    BrianMan820 wrote:

    Oh, changing the way one cooks and prepares an item can indeed change a dish. However, this is not fine-dining, that's just innovation.

    Flavor can carry a dish by itself. Technique can be used to bring out that flavor, but ultimately, it's all about the taste.



    It's both. This is not a black and white issue. What makes a dish taste great, flavor or texture? Both. You can mash up everything make it textureless, and it could be sickening after a few bite. Think baby food. Same thing with fried foods. It make have a crunchy texture, and a soft interior, but many times that's just too fatty and it requires acid to cut the fat. When it comes to fine dinning, yeah, technique isn't everything, but in many ways they use technique so they can replicate a dish the same way every time they serve it.

    BrianMan820 wrote:

    The reason why Hung won the ridiculously pretentiosness Quickfire was because he replicated the dish the best. That's all. This wasn't innovation on his part. There was precedent and, rather then take it and make it better, he just did it the same way. Boring, especially considering this type of meal wouldn't even be served to the "common people", it's not on the menu, it's only for "VIP's"



    That challenge wasn't just to test the skills of Hung, it was to test his taste buds. Look at the tasting challenge we see in seasons past, and that test was essentially the same thing. Chefs reinvent things all the time, but you can't innovate unless you understand the concept of the dish in itself. Essentially, you can't make a souffle better unless you understand how to make one to begin with. It's why a common test in the kitchen is to make a perfect omelet. To a certain extent, I think the dish is for VIP because of the time it takes to prepare the dish. A restaurant can't put something in their menu that will put them in the weeds. It's an economical decision, especially if it causes a delay in orders that will effect the rest of the house.
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