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"Manhattan Project" Official Discussion Thread (Spoilers)

  • Avatar of layle1

    layle1

    [1]Sep 19, 2007
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    Please use this thread for all discussion of the episode, "Manhattan Project."


    "Talk amongst yourselves… " –Linda Richman
    Edited on 09/19/2007 8:38am
    Edited 2 total times.
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  • Avatar of BrainMan820

    BrainMan820

    [2]Sep 20, 2007
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    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.

    Edited on 09/20/2007 5:24pm
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  • Avatar of wingsabre

    wingsabre

    [3]Sep 21, 2007
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    I disagree with your assessment of the quickfire challenge. I think it was a great challenge to test their technical skill. Being a top chef is not just being creative and innovative; it is also about being able to have the technical skill to understand how a dish works. One must be able to deconstruct a dish perfectly so they can innovate. Like I've said before, you can't be a top chef if you don't know your fundamentals, and this was about understanding the techniques needed to make that dish. Ego-stroking is come to my backyard and see me cook my steak, and I'll teach you how to cook it properly. Replicating a very good dish is just credit well deserved.

    The pretentiousness of fine dining is in other words the quality and consistency of the food. Think of your favorite restaurant and why it's good. I doubt it's not just their flavors and taste but their consistency of offering that all the time. The pretentiousness is just all of that, only they expect the food to not just taste good but it should not look like ****. That's where the knife technique comes in. There are foods where you need fine knife technique like sushi. As for the "random" European language used it's sometimes used to describe how a food is made, or the expectation one should get. If you sauté something there should be some cartelization, and if you brulee something, there should be a burnt surface some where on the plate. For example, cream brulee brings on certain expectations, if you were to simply label it burnt cream on a menu it makes no sense that anyone would buy such dish. There is a purpose sometimes and to generalize everything is just a little too paresseux au enfantin.

    Hung's pomme dauphine, also known as potato dauphine is not blah blah, too ignorant to understand. Pomme dauphine is mashed potatoes combined with a choux pastry, and then made into a croquet. When fried it should be like a potato puff, light and airy. Pommes Lorette is when you add parmesan cheese to the mix, then you have a light, puff of cheesy potato. Pommes duchesse on the other hand is simply a mix of mashed potato, parmesan and eggs, and then browned. All three has different names but describes a certain preparation and expectation. Naming your dish a certain way describes what you should expect, and this time naming his potato, a dauphine it cost him some points. If he had simply described his potato as a croquet he would not have lost points. Either way, if he had offered his potato dauphine in the perfect consistency, it would have blown the judges away.

    You're defiantly right about Casey's coq au vin. Traditionally you cook it with a rooster but since she used chicken it should not be as gamey. Personally I'd like to eat both a young chicken and an old rooster; they both have their own perks. Rooster's has more flavor.

    Brian's dish was ok. It was a little too green. If he wanted to use ramps he should have used the bottom, it's less green, and would give the mashed potato a lighter green hue. Then used the top of the ramps as a garnish, like sautéing it and sprinkling specks of the green ramps tops or incorporating the specks into the mashed potato. As a textural contrast, he could have crisped some onion and stacked it on top so there would be this stew on the bottom, soft fluffy mashed potato on top, and a crispy topping. The textural contrast would be nice. Also he used a fowl sausage apparently overwhelmed the chicken. Instead of using some other ingredient, he should have done the French thing and used some innards to add richer flavors. Some ground up liver would add this rich meaty taste. The problem with Brian is the detail, he could have done more and executed better.

    Sarah, if you know anything, I am in no way fine with rare chicken, medium chicken, or even medium well chicken. The slightest bit of salmonella could kill someone, depending on the sensitivity of the person. So I will simply say pool of faces. Dale, Dale, Dale, might does he have balls. Guess he likes balls. I'd have to say, doing a duo is typical, I wouldn't be surprise if he had done a trio. Honestly, if he was really ballsy and really wanted to show off, he should have used offal. Chicken liver and crisp onions, over a roasted garlic potato mashed would have been a clear stand out. A braised cocks comb over potato latke and micro greens would have also been an interesting and probably the most unique dish in the series. The cocks comb would provide a gelatinous chicken flavor, coupled with the crispy latke and a different fresh crisp from the micro greens. I'm not sure what type of budget they had in this challenge but if they had enough money, he could have afforded cocks comb, since there's only one per chicken.

    All in all, Hung has the technical skills, Casey has impeccable taste buds. Hung just acts like a dick some times but I'm un-sure how much that is gamesmanship and show for the camera, and how much of that is actually him. I believe top chefs require the basics before imagination and creativity, and both Hung and Casey have the basics apparent, especially if you ignore that onion chopping abnormality.

    As for the "chick" thing, I truly do believe that women has it harder than men in general. Not only do they have to run a house hold on a budget but must work. A long time ago women only had a place at home but now are expected to do that and carry a job. It is interesting to note that studies have shown that a married women lives shorter than a single one, since the husband and family adds additional stress; on the contrary married men lives longer than single men. The cooking industry is still very much a men's world, and though there are a fine slew of very fine women chefs out there, there are still kitchens where some chefs look down at "chicks" in the kitchen. In essence they have to work harder to overcome stereotypes.
    Edited on 09/21/2007 5:37am
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  • Avatar of boromirbeauty

    boromirbeauty

    [4]Sep 21, 2007
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    Just one comment at this time. As good a chef as Hung is, I don't really like his attitude toward things, which makes it hard to root for him. I do think he can take it, but if he does I won't truly be happy.
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  • Avatar of gabfan31

    gabfan31

    [5]Sep 21, 2007
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    Okay, here's my two cents worth. I liked the Quickfire. It was something new, and it held a challenge that they face every day as a chef. Chefs are always trying their peers' restaurants and comparing, and contrasting what they have to offer vs their own. No, of course they don't want to copy someone else's dish and call it their own. But the ability to remake something on the fly calls for creativity and ingenuity, and almost all the contestants showed that today. And when you can deconstruct a dish like that, you can play around with variations the next time around, which is what they will probably be doing in the future, at least for their family or friends who will never get the chance to try the original.

    As far as the Elimination Challenge, again, I thought it was a winner. Chicken is actually my favorite protein to work with and eat because it's so versatile. And potatoes and onions are the staples of many, many cuisines as well. So there was an entire world of choices to make, and some of them made great ones. Hung's very classic approach was appropriate to the venue, and I think he picked a winner. I was rooting for Casey, and coming in second in both the Quickfire and the Elimination is not to be dismissed. Brian seemed to make a great tasting dish, but I thought it looked like hell, and the fact that he used pheasant sausage as such an important ingredient really disappointed me. I know he didn't have time to make something similar with chicken, but I agree with a previous poster, using some organ meat would have been a good way to go. Personally, I absolutely love steak and kidney pie, so doing a chickeny twist on that classic would have been far more intriguing with me. Still, you can't knock a dish that everyone loved to eat, so he belongs in the final. Dale really blew it with the lack of sauce, and I can't believe he skated on that one. Sara's undercooked chicken was also unforgivable, but not enough to get her knocked out, as Marcel could have told her from last season. I think her poor showing in the Quickfire did her a real disservice in the Elimination Challenge. I can't say I disagree with the decision to knock Sara out rather than Dale. I think his constant need to take risks is getting him into more trouble than he should be taking at this stage, but if he manages to pull one off in the finals it could be the edge he needs to win. It really seems like a two horse race between Casey and Hung at this point, but all the finalists have had their day at one time or another, so I'm not predicting that they are a synch for the finals.

    Oh, and while I agree that the whole gender issue is one best left alone, I did have some negative feelings when Sirio Maccione said he wished he could give the Quickfire to Casey as a beautiful woman, but had to go with Hung. Yes, I know he was just being Old World Charming, and he didn't mean anything by it. But I still didn't like hearing him say that he valued her more for her looks as a woman than as a chef. Maybe I'm just being oversensitive. But you know how we women get sometimes...
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  • Avatar of boromirbeauty

    boromirbeauty

    [6]Sep 21, 2007
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    Well stated gabfan. On a side note, someone please remind me, but did the Elimination Challenge say that the three ingredients had to be the most flavorful in the dish? Layle, do you know?
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  • Avatar of gabfan31

    gabfan31

    [7]Sep 21, 2007
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    No, they didn't say that they had to be the most flavorful, which is a good thing for Brian. But I don't think they should have to say that, they said that these three ingredients needed to be the major components of the dish, so why would you want to lose any of them in the shuffle? You can add great flavor with a sauce or by cooking them sous vide without masking them with other ingredients. But as I said, while I don't think Brian's dish deserved to win since he downplayed the chicken so much using that pheasant, you can't kick him out when everyone was raving about how great it tasted. He used all his ingredients, he just didn't use the chicken well in my book. But I look forward to seeing what he does in the next round, as well as Dale, Casey and Hung.
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  • Avatar of boromirbeauty

    boromirbeauty

    [8]Sep 21, 2007
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    Okay, I was wondering because they had pointed out several times how the sausage overpowered the chicken. I didn't think he deserved to win, Hung was rightfully picked, but I wasn't sure if they would send Brian packing for not making the chicken taste more "known" in the dish. That is assuming that Sara and Dale didn't do so badly. Know what I mean?
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  • Avatar of BrainMan820

    BrainMan820

    [9]Sep 21, 2007
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    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.

    Edited on 09/21/2007 7:12pm
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  • Avatar of gabfan31

    gabfan31

    [10]Sep 21, 2007
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    Casey has displayed no more (and arguably less) arrogance than many of her male peers on Top Chef seasons past and present. And Howie's quote referring to Sara really doesn't apply. I'm not singing the same old, "poor misunderstood women are always being shot down by the man" card here, at least not much. Yes, I'm personally rooting for Casey. And yes, part of that is because as a woman, I want to see a woman win this competition. But that's not why I think should be in the finals, nor will it blind me to her mistakes when she makes them Lately she's really been on a roll, and I'm glad to see it. I thought her attitude was appallingly bad when she was with Howie and Joey for the trio challenge. I also thought she put her head down a bit too much and just did her own thing during the other team challenges. But even then, during the Restaurant Wars I & II she stepped in to help as soon as someone said they needed her to act, so I think it was more a case of lack of vision than a lack of team spirit. But she definitely has the talent to win, and I hope she continues to display the skill to get her there. I won't give her a pass if she blows it, I just give her the benefit of the doubt until she does. May the best man or woman win!
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  • Avatar of BrainMan820

    BrainMan820

    [11]Sep 21, 2007
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    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.

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    gabfan31

    [12]Sep 22, 2007
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    She and Dale made a great team for the pasta challenge. But you're right, that's her weak spot. But she wasn't in a leadership role for any of them, so I'm not as convinced as you are that she can't step up.

    And as far as Brian's creativity is concerned, I have only one word to say: seafood! Yes, he has used other ingredients, but it took three quarters of the season to do it, and he got reemed for it too many times before he left it alone. And no, he didn't learn from his mistakes there (boring, badly prepared even at times), he just decided Tom was picking on him and set it aside for a moment. Casey isn't a broken record with her ingredients, so she has him greatly outclassed there!
    Edited on 09/22/2007 2:09am
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  • Avatar of BrainMan820

    BrainMan820

    [13]Sep 22, 2007
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    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.

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  • Avatar of wingsabre

    wingsabre

    [14]Sep 22, 2007
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    Yes, you don't need to recreate a dish to show fundamentals of how to cook, but you do need to recreate a dish to demonstrate that you have the fundamentals to understand how the dish is made. You don't have to recreate a dish to show your knife skills, but then some people have better knife skills than others and by choosing your own technique to use, you'll most likely use the knife skill you're best at. Testing them to replicate something they haven't made before pulls them out of their comfort zone and truly testes them. Like what gabfan31 said "the ability to remake something on the fly calls for creativity and ingenuity." Not only that but you have to be able to recreate a dish in order to improve it because you have to understand how it's made first. Sure, I'm ok with recanting my definition of pretentiousness of fine dining, but food should not look good no matter if it's from a fast food joint or the French restaurant. Some of the best meals I've had are from food that looks like ****. Think about stews, sloppy joes, stinky tofu, dirty rice, etc. Refined dining are usually expensive because of the quality of ingriedients, and dining experience. Simply put some foods are simply better than other types of food, and you can't argue with that. The only variability is that different people have different definitions of what's good. There is no real best food out there, because people have different pallets, but it's clear that some food will taste like something from a diaper. You mention pretentiousness of French food, and other European cuisine, but this also goes for the pretentiousness of the backyard cook who brings others over for a BBQ.

    I know pomme means apple, not potato. FYI, I've taken French before, but sometimes people drop words from a name. The proper name is pomme dauphin, and that's how I named it. I'm not a food anthropologist but I'm assuming that there's no English definition for Dauphin, and it was named after Louis XVI's son. If I'm right, I'm assuming that Pomme Dauphin. Lots of dishes are named to honor others, think about pizza Margherita, named to honor Margaret of Savoy. Plus, to attach earth to someone's name, also equivalent to dirt may not be the wises move to brown nose.

    As a side note, sous-chefs are expected to be able to take instruction. Solid cooking is preferred but the primary purpose of a sous-chef is to work under the chef, and many are there to train under them. Yes, a Top Chef needs more then that, and creativity is part of it, but that comes second to skills. Once you're able to make something you can be creative with it. They first must be able to execute. Hung's first dish of the season was very imaginative in my mind. Using innards for a sauce was something no one has done since. His tuna tartar was a great take on a classic, and I liked his portion in the trio competition. At least he's not a one act pony and did foam every episode. For that, I'm satisfied with all the contestants this season.

    Brian and Dale has imagination but they have the problem of creating great ideas on paper, but those ideas are better on paper than brought out. As a whole, Dale is the dark horse. He has never won and elimination challenge. Brian has been innovative, but he's also been lazy and unimaginative. In the burger battle he even said, I'll remake the same exact sausage I made for the BBQ challenge only in burger form. Just because the judges are different doesn't mean he should have settled. His Sheppard's pie tasted good and that's why he is there in the final, but truth be told, chicken was the main ingredient, and using a pheasant sausage wasn't needed. I thought he was lazy for doing that, since he could have developed flavor without using it, it's like Lee Ann's mistake in season 1 during the napa's finest challenge. Amiture mistakes are to add to many components. Tre made that same mistake. Also, for a seafood guy, he's been called out too many times for cooking lobster. That's something that he shouldn't be called out for. Sara knows cheese, but she doesn't try to put cheese in every dish. Brian said, "Collichio thinks you can only make fish," but it looks like he realized that too far into the game, Collichio said that during the third episode, and Brian said that in the 10th. As for the Casey not putting out more than the other three men, honestly, I don't see them putting out more than her either. Her beef carpaccio dish was the most innovative in that episode, and I thought she did a great job with the sloppy joe dish. The only problem with that dish was the fact that she used a fatty cut of meat. Yeah, she hasn't had much leadership experience but at least she bailed Brian out in the restaurant challenge, and she didn't let bad food go out like Brian did in the chef overboard challenge. He was pretty laid back in that challenge.
    Edited on 09/22/2007 3:59pm
    Edited 2 total times.
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  • Avatar of gabfan31

    gabfan31

    [15]Sep 22, 2007
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    I think we're far enough to be able to say that any of the chefs left have enough skills and creativity to win the competition. Yes, some may be better than others at certain things. Everybody has their strength and weakness. But they only have a couple more challenges to go. All it takes is one good or bad day, and they will either go on or get knocked out of the finale. I've liked Brian from the beginning, as well as Casey. I really respect Hung's skill. Dale has the ability and the willingness to take risks that might just put him over the top. I may be rooting for Casey, but I won't be surprised if any of those four make it to the final showdown.
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    BrainMan820

    [16]Sep 22, 2007
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    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.

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    wingsabre

    [17]Sep 22, 2007
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    No, I didn't contradict myself on Brian. He is imaginative, but on many occasion he failes to execute. Then there are times where he is simply lazy, or attempts to be simple, but over does it and does not execute it properly. It's one of those things where we know what he's capable of, yet he's flaky. People are complex, and you can't just generalize them with one trait. I wouldn't be surprised if he makes it to the final two, but i wouldn't be surprised if he didn't either.

    As for the first time he was called out on cholesterol present in the lobster, he didn't argue with them. The truth is lobster doesn't have a lot of cholesterol, it's what you cook it with or eat with it that has the cholesterol. If Howie or Dale was there and they knew about the cholesterol levels of lobster they would have called out the judges on that. I recalled that he used lobster to show that eating high cholesterol food was fine, but only in modest amounts.

    As for the quickfire challenge, none of the previous competitions tested their ability to recreate flavor, texture, and plating to 100% accuracy. This competition was designed to test their palate first and then their ability to break down how a dish that took 20 years to perfect was made, and then duplicate it in 20 minutes. In the end, the field was leveled and their dish was expected to be of a certain quality so it could be used to compare each person's skill. Those past competitions tested their skills but others skid by on what they knew and replicated it. Is this what you might expect from a sous chef, yes, but you should expect the same ability from a chef.
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  • Avatar of BrainMan820

    BrainMan820

    [18]Sep 23, 2007
    • member since: 12/10/04
    • level: 16
    • rank: Church Lady
    • posts: 808

    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.

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  • Avatar of wingsabre

    wingsabre

    [19]Sep 23, 2007
    • member since: 06/15/05
    • level: 13
    • rank: Regal Beagle
    • posts: 761
    Well Casey wasn't classically trained, but she came in a close second. Dale also knew how to use a mandolin, but he just had a brain fart. Sara just had timing issues.

    It's interesting though, a top chef doesn't need to recreate flavors but we all know that top chefs all do that. So many chefs go out to eat, and if the item was extremely good would then take what their experience was and attempt to replicate the dish. Afterwards they adapt and impart their own spin on it. I've done that before, where I follow a recipe, and then make it again with my own ideas. That's usually what is done if you don't have culinary training, but I would expect chefs to replicate the flavors handily.

    It would be nice to have a three way finale instead, but that may be hard on the judges, and impractical, because there'll be 15 dishes, if the teams had to do a 5 course meal. If they had to do a 4 course meal, I don't think it would be tough enough. Either that or they can do a multiple day judging, but the advantage might be the last person cooking.
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  • Avatar of gabfan31

    gabfan31

    [20]Sep 23, 2007
    • member since: 11/09/06
    • level: 100
    • rank: Master of the Universe
    • posts: 1,218
    An interesting idea, but I agree, one that would be tough to pull off. Actually, I was hoping they'd lose two people before going with three in Aspen, the way they went with three in season one. But it's all good.
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