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  1. Yes, and you're welcome! I am always struck by how devoted to him they are. Several of them have been with the restaurant since it opened 5 or so years ago and the people I know who work there glow about him which does say a lot. If I get the chance I will do that!
  2. I'm so glad you liked it! I was shocked that Tyler was there because my friend thought he was in Spain but I guess he got back in time. They had a few private parties going on upstairs and our friend the special events manager was running around tending to them all evening. We went early because Mr. Snarkle had a meeting (would you believe) that had to happen today of all days, so he had to get up early. Later on they had a 6 course menu with oysters on it that was even more exciting. Here's a couple of photos. I took one of the "pass" (which they don't use as a pass, it's just a big window into the kitchen) where you can see Tyler but it came out all washed out because I didn't use flash (oh well). Anyway, this is the beef tenderloin with foie gras on top. It looks small because the plate is large but it was so rich it might as well have fit the whole plate. The second photo is of the waterfall right outside our table. The entire wall on that side of the restaurant is windows overlooking the fall. This was once a real working mill. Our friend the waitress was commenting on how she'd never seen it so frozen over!
  3. I hear you, I started with Iron Chef Japan when it first aired on FN and in some ways ICA never really measured up for me for many reasons like you mention above. For some reason even though I knew it was campy fiction I still half believed in chairman Kaga. And where else would I ever have learned the pleasure of shark fin soup or raw trout ice cream? I'll never forget the episode maybe 20 years ago when Morimoto had just sawed up some huge sea creature and put its spine on a tray and my husband looked at me with big eyes and said, "He just put a spine in the oven. A SPINE!!" And it was HUGE! We never stopped laughing about that one!
  4. OK, I admit it, I feel the same way. He's one of those brilliant eccentric New Yorky people going back to a time I miss in my old hometown so for that I appreciate him. And I knew of him long before he ever appeared on Food Network, too!
  5. So anyway, Mr. Snarkle and I ate at Tyler's restaurant tonight and as we pulled into the parking lot, who do we see walking right in front of us on his way back to the kitchen from the dumpster but Tyler himself, LOL! Now mind you we're in the single digits here in CT today and he was out there in his usual chef garb with the short sleeves and tats showing. Mr. Snarkle opened the window and we waved as he ran in front of our car to get out of the cold! Maybe it was me, but I especially enjoyed the dinner tonight, even though Mr. Snarkle recounted other memorable dinners that we've had there in the past. For the first course we chose a parsnip soup with crispy fried onions (yum). For the second course we had quail which was boned and as good or better than I've had in any fine French restaurant. Our third course was a beef tenderloin with foie gras that was seriously like butter and to die for, and for dessert we had a passionfruit mousse cake with a neon orange icing that was a-ma-zing. My seat faced the kitchen and yes, Tyler is a very hands on kind of chef and I saw him very involved and hands on with the food. While we saw our friends that work there I didn't want to get too in depth about Tyler tonight except to say how disappointed I was that he was eliminated from Top Chef, which they of course agreed with most emphatically. His staff is very devoted to him and they are all very nice people and very professional. It is always a pleasure to dine there as they are fun to watch and always roll out the red carpet for us as their friends. It's mostly a local crowd of regulars there but they have seen an increase in business as a result of the press that Tyler has gotten from the show.
  6. Yeah, I don't agree with that about Tyler. I have known him to create dishes that are down home like chicken and dumplings, fish or brisket tacos, chicken wings, burgers, etc., etc., which are all on his tavern menu right now, and many of which I have had. I actually think he took the heritage challenge TOO seriously. The mistake he made was to look at what others were doing and think he had to copy them to compete with them instead of finding his own strategy. He saw others doing food that was very tied to their own ethnicity and thought that in order to compete with them he had to do the same thing. I think he was probably pissed that he let the show pressure him to do something that he didn't love doing, but in the end that was his mistake, and the same one that has tripped up other great chefs on this show in the past. I think there is a big difference between the talent it takes to be a great chef and the talent it takes to win a competition. Tyler has a lot of the former, but probably not enough of the latter to win a show like this. I think Tyler may have hoped that Top Chef would be about him being able to showcase his "chef-y" talent because that's where he probably feels he has the edge over others. But I've had his non-chefy food, which I think is marvelous and just as good as anything else he creates, so perhaps that's in his own mind. He has not even shied away from embracing the "down home" trend himself so I don't agree that he is not one to embrace that kind of cooking. In fact, this past fall he opened a BBQ restaurant in my area. I haven't tried it yet but it's on my culinary "bucket list" for the near future. So the fact that he didn't showcase that side of himself on this show is regrettable.
  7. Mr. Snarkle and I thought the same thing about Vincent Pastore (the actor's name). And we complained in the other thread about the "food authority" of the judges on "IC Showdown", but this reminded me that even from the beginning the show had issues with that! I remember even when I first watched this episode thinking that he was not the best choice for a judge. I think FN has actually learned a lot about who to choose since then. Jeffrey Steingarten may be a food authority and all that, but as a person I think he's a boor and full of himself and that's probably one of his effete "affectations" done specifically to make the rest of us feel inferior somehow.
  8. I don't think it matters why the comment was made. I don't think race, gender, age or sexual orientation should have any part in wins or goes home on this show. I think it should be about the best talent winning. If I think the deck is stacked for or against anyone on the basis of any of those things, I will speak out against it, but to say one is happy about someone going home based on any of those personal characteristics is just prejudiced and insulting to the contestants, IMO.
  9. I know a little about Tyler because I eat at his restaurant often and know people that work with him. I've had brief conversations here and there with him and hear about what he's up to from my connections to him. I do know that he spends enough time cooking and in the kitchen in both his restaurants so I don't really think he's rusty. He just opened a BBQ restaurant with a partner in W. Hartford (called "The Cook and the Bear") and I've known him to do a lot of special dinners and events so he's always creating and innovating. In fact, he and the other "bears" from Top Chef are doing a James Beard dinner in NYC in January called "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" (he's done several other James Beard dinners in the past too). His 4 James Beard nominations are all within the past few years and he was nominated even this year. Right now I hear he's in Spain, a place I don't doubt he went to in part for culinary inspiration. But as far as him personally, I've heard he's got his good and bad points like anyone else, no better or worse. I agree that he's come off a bit on the egotistical side on this show and I wonder what's causing that. I might have to check with my sources to see if they can shed some light on it. I know that he and the other "bears" from Top Chef (Joe Flamm and Bruce Kallman) hit it off and have kept in touch enough to do the James Beard dinner, so that's pretty cool. I'll be dining at Millwright's tomorrow night so that should be interesting! Speaking of him possibly having taken the So Cal route in this challenge, he does a mean fish taco that I love and have had several times. If he did that he would definitely have survived to cook another day. Too bad!
  10. I know, I thought the same thing! This was back when they often pulled out the "power tools" and the show was more of a spectacle like the original Japanese version. It really made me nostalgic as back in those days I caught every single episode including this one. I'm actually enjoying this show more than "Showdown". I haven't seen some of these old episodes in eons and it's fun to see them again with Alton's commentary.
  11. I agree with you but ay, there's the rub! I think the show gets into their heads as much as they get into their own heads and semi-deliberately confounds them in challenges like this and then often anyone with any insecurity about the challenge ends up trying too hard and missing the mark. But as someone so aptly reminded us with the Kwame example, on this show it can happen to anyone for any reason. I remember when Kwame got too into his head about his father and bombed. I was rooting for him and very disappointed when he went home. This stuff happens so often I have to think that the show is responsible for some of the pressure and winning becomes more about how well you can weather the way they fuck with your head than with how good a chef you are.
  12. I don't even know what to say about this comment either. I was responding to someone that was snarking on how happy they were that 3 fat white guys were up for elimination and that one of them would go home. Why make it about them being white or fat for that matter? I find it highly offensively prejudiced to make such a comment and I would never make one like it had the tables been reversed. The fact that a comment like that could be made and slip through without the post being removed or reprimanded is reason enough for a complex, IMO.
  13. An interview with Tyler in Parade after his elimination.
  14. See my edit which crossed in the mail with your post. I agree with you that he could have done that but under the circumstances and given the amount of chefs that had a strong culinary background from childhood, I think it's understandable that he got in his head over the stiff competition in that challenge.
  15. For sure he did get into his head too much, but my point is that the reason he got into his head that much is that he knew he had no real emotional connection to the food of either his place of birth or his background, and that he was competing with a lot of people that did, which put him at a disadvantage Coming from a Sicilian family full of wonderful home cooks I feel first hand the love and emotional connection with the food I grew up with and that others would have if they came from that kind of culinary tradition. Tyler did not have that emotional connection at all through no fault of his own and he anticipated being outclassed because of that no matter what he did. Of course it turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy. P.S. On thinking it over, I think he should have done French cooking since Julia Child was his idol as a kid. He certainly has plenty of emotional connection with her cooking going back to childhood.
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