"Talk amongst yourselves " Linda Richman
Edited 2 total times.
Wednesday 10:00 PM on BravoBetween Seasons
I loathed the Quickfire. I've always thought people wanting others to recreate dishes is just a lot of ego-stroking. Being a Top Chef is about creativity and innovation, and you don't do that with direct copies. That's why I like challenges like updating childhood classics. Take what you know and make it better, don't just make someone else's thing.
As much as I hated the Quickfire, I loved the Elimination Challenge. If you read my posts, you'll know I hate the pretentiousness of fine dining. I don't need a word in a random European language or some fancy knife technique, I just need food that won't make me sick. So giving the cooks the simplest of ingredients was to die for. How many parents make chicken and potatoes in some fashion? That was Tuesday night for me growing up.
As much as I loved her, I've got to agree with Sara's elimination. I wasn't at the table, so I don't know if Gail's chicken was raw or not, but it certainly was really rare. I never eat my meat lower then medium well, so I would've called her out on that too.
Hung's dish was ho-hum. French cooking school, blah blah, pomme dauphin, more French words, more blahs. I would've eaten it and enjoyed it, but nothing else. But that's all food is supposed to do. I thought Casey's dish was a nice twist, and honestly, I'd rather eat a young chicken than an old rooster anyday. I've had coq au vin before and don't particularly care for it (it's gamey). I think her dish would have solved that problem for me. Brian's dish was playful, but I'm a huge sheperd's pie fan so I think it would have sold me. Dale and Sara screwed up. I am a firm believer that chefs should only make one dish in these types of challenges unless they must make more. Lack of focus is going to cause problems. But Sara's rare food was enough to send her over Dale's screwed up plans.
The million dollar question becomes: Who is going to be Top Chef? I look at the contestants and I'm not sure I see one. Hung is far too careless, nearly stabbing Casey, leaving that crawfish on the floor, and spilling that oil. Plus, when he uses his imagination, he ends up creating things like that blue cereal river that just made me wonder if Hung missed his medication that morning or switched it with drugs. He's a good cook, but good cooking is the mark only of a sous-chef. Top Chefs require imagination and creativity, and Hung has failed at that. It also requires hygenic practices, which he has shown to neglect.
Casey, though better then Hung, shows her own blend of horrible attitude. And, for Casey, it's all about the "chick" thing. You do not deserve respect because you are a woman working in a kitchen, so get over yourself. If you've worked in a kitchen where you are the only girl, fine. It really doesn't matter. You do not work harder then a man just because you are a woman. Seems to me like Casey thinks she deserves respect, but she spoek of the men in that kitchen with such disdain.
Brian is my favorite, especially this night, when he said "It isn't about putting dots on a plate", and, you know what, he's right. While I do not knock good presentation, it is secondary to good food. and he's a fun, easy-going guy whose great to watch, but his cooking talents aren't extraordinary. He does a decent job, but he makes a lot of errors. Dale has all of the things a Top Chef wants, but he just doesn't have enough of it.
Wingsabre, you don't need to recreate a dish to show fundamentals, you do that with what you cook regularly. Come now, think about it. Do I need to recreate a dish to show my knife skills? No, I can do that with any dish, even an original one, if I can do it properly.
No, the pretentiousness of fine dining is not the consistency and quality of food. Where on Earth did you get that assessment from? Food should look good no matter if it's the fast food joint or the French restaurant. That has nothing to do with pretentiousness. The pretentiousness comes from the thought that this type of food is better then other types of food, and that it's somehow better to serve to these folks, as Collichio mentioned.
"Pomme" is actually French for "apple", not "potato". "Pomme de terre" (apple of the earth) is potato. Just FYI. I'm not sure if "Dauphin" has an appropriate English translation, since it was a title given to Louis XVI's son.
I'm actually not "too ignorant to understand" why Hung's pomme dauphin are blah blah. I know exactly what they are. I've not only had them before, I've made them before. I didn't call them blah because of his faux pas in naming, I called them blah because they didn't look all that good.
I do agree that basics are fundamental to a Top Chef, however, they've been quizzed on the basics before. They have had other challenges, after all. As I've said, solid cooking is not enough to be a Top Chef, that's the job of a sous-chef. A Top Chef needs more then that. Of the four, Hung has shown the least imagination. His imagination has gotten him called into the bottom. Casey's had a few (like that French toast for the gin challenge), but ultimately, Brian and Dale have that. However, the two of them have faltered on other things.
As for the men vs. women thing, your post hasn't answered my point. If anyone wants to win, they have to give it their all. In no way does Casey put out more then the other three men because she's a woman. There are plenty of female kitchens and female-run establishments that penalize men simply for being men (I'd know, I've worked in a few). Her sheer arrogance, coupled with the disdain she had for those chefs working with her, convince me to never work under her. To quote Howie, I wouldn't even wash dishes in her kitchen.
You're right, there are contestants on this show more arrogant then Casey. Hung, definitely. Dale, too. Howie without a doubt. However, you cannot deny that Casey is indeed quite arrogant, and not only that, she's arrogant for two things that aren't related and putting them together.
I don't believe Casey has the qualities of a Top Chef. She is inferior to Brian in imagination and Hung in technical skill. While I agree her imagination is superior to Hung's, I'm really hampered by her earlier failures, which didn't seem to be connected. Brian has recongnized his faults and saw he was trying to overly present things. Casey, as much as I appreciate her growth, hasn't seemed to do that. I still see her as that girl who didn't try because she had immunity. Although I'm glad she said immunity wasn't worth it if she couldn't be punished for her faults, I still see that utter disregard for team, and, throughout the team challenges, she's never stepped up. We've never seen her work well on a team, she's only worked passably on the catering challenge, and that wasn't really teamwork.
Even in team challenges, or in duos like the pasta challenge; there is always someone who leads. Dale drove the team in that challenge.
I think you are contradicting yourself when it comes to Brian's creativity. He came right out and said "Collichio thinks you can only make fish" in the aisle challenge, and he won that Quickfire. He also did chicken in the pasta challenge.
Variety, though, is not as important as you are making it out to be. Restaurants often specialize in one type of food they serve, and all of the chefs have shown they have enough recipes to fill a menu. What's more important then that type of variety is the ability to innovate on those ideas. To take a creative liberty and serve something no one has had, but everyone will want. Of all the chefs, Brian did this the most (followed by Casey, Dale, and Hung). However, Brian's had some executions while, not poor, produced only mediocre food.
Again, the things you have described do not need to be tested by recreating a dish. Pulling people out of their comfort zone is what the different challenges are all about. None of the chefs were Latin-food chefs. None of them were caterers, either. They still did those challenges. Those things were not recreations.
Even stews, sloppy joes, and all of that don't actually look that bad: that is how they are supposed to look. A bad-looking stew is one that looks incorrectly made. Perhaps I wasn't clear about that.
Some foods are better then other types of foods, but that relates more to personal taste than anything else. It does not explain why those foods are somehow better (expense is irrelevant in this case; the chefs aren't paying for the meal)
I know what the proper name of the dish is, I was just calling out labelling pomme as potato when it isn't.
As I've mentioned before, skills have already been tested. Both Top Chefs and sous-chefs need skills, but we are not looking for a sous-chef. The Top Chef needs something the sous-chef does not have, and that is inspiration and creativity. These chefs are already able to make things. If they couldn't make things, they wouldn't be in the competition.
I think you are contradicting yourself on Brian. You say he is innovative, but that he also lacks imagination. The two are related.
Also, Brian was only called out for using lobster once. The other time was not because of the lobster, it was because of the cholesterol in the lobster. Of course, he also had immunity, so, even for being called out, he wasn't going to be kicked off for it.
As for Casey, I must remind you about the time she coasted in the trio challenge, and her failure in the Latin challenge. Some of the other things she made were quite bad. Her sloppy joe had a fatty meat, and she didn't have immunity to bail her out.
Despite this, I do believe that both Brian and Casey should be the final two. Most of their failures were team challenges in which they were called out because their team did the worst. The restaurant challenge had Brian listening to criticism and devoting himself to front of the house.
Very well, then. I think it's any man's game right here. Though I still think Brian and Casey are the most deserving. I wouldn't be surprised if they twist and make it a four-man finale.
And you are right: none of the challenges before this asked them to recreate flavor. However, a Top Chef doesn't need to recreate flavor. It isn't really a level-playing field persay, because of the techniques used. Hung was classically trained; Casey had a French grandmother, but was not classically trained, and Sara had no training at all. If we want to see if the field was level, we need to look at those who were braised (Hung, Casey, and Brian, although the latter two made a tiny error), and those who weren't (Dale and Sara) and see if their pasts and experiences vary greatly.
As for skidding on what they know; I won't deny that some chefs do that. That is why we've had so many varied challenges.