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"Focus Group" Official Discussion Thread (Spoilers)

  • Avatar of layle1


    [1]Jan 7, 2009
    • member since: 05/22/06
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    Please use this thread for all discussion of the episode, "Focus Group."

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

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  • Avatar of d1zzymzl1zzy


    [2]Jan 7, 2009
    • member since: 09/14/05
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    C'mon, please, get rid of Eugene and Melissa.
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  • Avatar of BrainMan820


    [3]Jan 7, 2009
    • member since: 12/10/04
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    When I saw the "no-sugar"dessert challenge, I thought it was an amazing choice. With skinny fetishes, cosmetic surgery on demand, and everyone raging on the next danger of something they discover, it was going to be in for a fun ride. Jeff and Radhika gave some really good dishes, and, although I thought Jeff's was better, my stomach might have said Radhika too if I tasted it. Jamie really messed up. Making a sweet dessert like that and using cheese? Lastly, I appreciated Eugene and Melissa's playfulness with the food. It gives a chuckle and the dishes weren't bad. The only thing I didn't like was that they could still use natural sugars like honey. That's still like an added sweetener.

    As for the Elimination Challenge, I was behind it. The rules were so simple: Cook what defines you. That's it. Freeform challenges can be difficult without stringent requirements and it does push the chefs creatively, as well as show this new judge what they can do.

    Jamie did well, but honestly, I agree with Fabio. This is not Top Scallop, and I'm sick of seeing her do them. Okay, she redeemed herself, but honestly, she should have been chewed out for doing many times? 4? I liked Ariane's dish because it was different but still pretty cool. Stefan though, I do take issues with denseness of food. Maybe it tasted better when eaten all together, but if that's the case, why separate it?

    As for the bottom, Eugene deserved to go. He consistently has shown he's out there, but there is "innovative", "wild", and "weird", and weird isn't that great. I do like how he was called out for doing something he liked before then calling it taking a chance. I was more inclined to forgive Melissa then him, but neither of them deserved to stay over Carla. Her dish was salvagable, I just wish she salvaged it. I won't say Melissa's dish was uncreative, but it wasn't tasty. That's enough for me.

    Next week, we see the return of the berserk Hung. Maybe the next challenge is to see who can make a better unhygenic mess and blame it on your competitor.

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  • Avatar of danharr


    [4]Jan 7, 2009
    • member since: 04/30/05
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    Good episode the diet challenge was a surprise and the elimination was great. Toby wasn't that bad perhaps the English gentlemen is down playing his snark honestly Bourdain is worse imo. I'm glad Carla got to stay she's done well and to go because of one mistake on one dish would've been terrible.
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  • Avatar of NoNameia


    [5]Jan 8, 2009
    • member since: 09/10/08
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    Eugene and Melissa were the proper choices this week, they just didn't have the skill to compete with the chefs who remain. Carla needs to step it up, thus far her food has been amateurish, and she will be next on the chopping block if she doesn't realize this. Jamie needs to be called out on her scallop obsession, and I wouldn't be sorry to see Stephan pack up his knives (although the arrogant jerks tend to do well in this competition). I like Fabio and Radhika, I hope they end up in the top three.
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  • Avatar of wingsabre


    [6]Jan 9, 2009
    • member since: 06/15/05
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    I think most of us felt that Eugene and Melissa had their time coming. Other than the first few episodes Eugene has been on a down slope for a while already, and most likely would have been kicked out for his overly sweet dish last episode. Melissa, well she's been unimaginative since the start of the season.

    Carla, I enjoy her personality. She's just so crazy, but in a good way. She needs more confidence. If she had done that vegetarian dish, she could have done better. Of course this is top chef, and not top personality, so I don't think she'll win this unless she changes her attitudes. She's turning in to what Ariane was a few episodes back.

    Jamie has now shown that she knows how to cook scallop. But then this is only part of a growing problem. Lee Ann Wong has repeating said she stocks up the kitchen with plenty of other proteins, yet the one that chefs always fight over are scallops. All of them should be called out on it, but yeah Jamie should be called out on it just like Brian was called out for being a seafood chef.

    Stephan, a male combination of Tiff and Lisa(Season 4)... At least he's not Ken? =/

    Toby seems like he's trying to be too snark in his comments. Bourdain on the other hand looks like he means it. Since we're at the half way mark, I think the next three, most likely choice for elimination are Carla, Stephan, and Leah. Stephan may have been strong at the start, but restaurant war's coming up and he may damage his team. Either than that, there's been no clear top tear chef like season's past, which makes it hard to pick the bottom.
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  • Avatar of BrainMan820


    [7]Jan 9, 2009
    • member since: 12/10/04
    • level: 16
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    Toby's "nastiness" was definitely overhyped. He's certainly not as mean as several other guest judges, like Rocco. Maybe it's just because we had the delay and saw more commercials about his meanness, but that guy seems fairly tame, just some more direct metaphors (I still say any judge saying "It just didn't taste good" is worse then "cat food")

    I think Carla should have gone vegetarian too, although I can appreciate her wanting to do something difficult for the new judge. I'm not sure if he would have said "she can't cook protein" but he might have said "this seems like there was less put into it"

    Spot on about Stefan and Restaurant Wars, although I think Jamie might go first. Lack of imagination with her, and again, scallops. There's nine left, so we might get the one right after next as wars. Leah's been fading fast, and Fabio is right behind her. It's odd that Ariane, blasted twice in a row, is now a high contender.

    I've got the Top 4 as:


    Ariane's my dark horse candidate.

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  • Avatar of lovejoy232


    [8]Jan 10, 2009
    • member since: 07/26/06
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    I was glad to see Melissa go. She has been on the bottom a lot. As for Eugene & Carla, I didn't care who left & who stayed. I was glad to see Jamie finally win a challenge after being so close to winning them.

    As for the top 4, these are my choices:





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