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S18.E01: First Impressions

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Fifteen of the country's best chefs compete in Portland, Ore.; for their first challenge, chefs combine their favorite ingredients into one cohesive dish; contestants must create a dish featuring one of Portland's iconic local birds.

 

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9 minutes ago, ChitChat said:

I missed it.  Who got voted off?

Roscoe and his murky broth.

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1 minute ago, tljgator said:

Roscoe and his murky broth.

Ok. Thanks!  

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Good start!  My heart was pounding because I did not want Avishar to be eliminated.  He is our hometown hero!  If he had been kicked out first no chef from Columbus would ever be invited back, though it is a great food town.  Our local produce and local farmers markets are amazing.

 

Happy for Sara.  I like her.  Dislike Gabriel, Tom's former employee.  I also like Shota and feel sure that I have seen him somewhere before.  Did he compete on Chopped?

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I also gave Dude Who Worked for Tom the side-eye.  Then I got him mixed up with another guy who looks like him.  
 

Richard Blais in Look At Me! hair.

Was Sara the winner?  I like her, too.

Edited by Thumper
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They have the former contestants back as tasters and judges... who was the dude with the glasses and pony tail? I've been a faithful TC viewer and I don't recall ever seeing him.

Blais -- that hair was ridiculous. Please just go away.

The Portland guy who worked for Tom turned me off within 20 seconds of speaking. He's going to annoy. So is the sound effects woman. 

I like the woman that won. Knew her polenta teammate would crash -- she was over confident. 

So happy TC is back! I needed my yearly dose. 

 

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8 minutes ago, geauxaway said:

Aside from Blais’ obnoxious hair, dude had some major bags under his eyes.  Looked like he hadn’t slept in ages.  Yikes!

One of the cheftestants worked for Tom?  Never heard it mentioned.  🙄

Yes! I noticed his eyes too. He looked awful. He’s aged and needs some sleep.

And a barber. If I were his wife, I’d tell him he looked like an idiot and to dial it back.

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22 minutes ago, susannot said:

Good start!  My heart was pounding because I did not want Avishar to be eliminated.  He is our hometown hero!  If he had been kicked out first no chef from Columbus would ever be invited back, though it is a great food town.  Our local produce and local farmers markets are amazing.

 

Happy for Sara.  I like her.  Dislike Gabriel, Tom's former employee.  I also like Shota and feel sure that I have seen him somewhere before.  Did he compete on Chopped?

Hello fellow Columbusite! I was worried Avishar would be first to go, but when they said his protein was cooked well and tasted good, I knew they wouldn’t cut him. 
Have you eaten at his restaurant? I’ve yet to try it, then again I haven’t set foot in a restaurant since February 2020!

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Hello!  No I have not and I feel bad about it.  But, like you, i haven't eaten at any local restaurant since...you know when.  We are doing our special occasions by ordering from The Refectory.  Delighted to hear from you!!

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22 minutes ago, jackjill89 said:

They have the former contestants back as tasters and judges... who was the dude with the glasses and pony tail? I've been a faithful TC viewer and I don't recall ever seeing him.

Blais -- that hair was ridiculous. Please just go away.

The Portland guy who worked for Tom turned me off within 20 seconds of speaking. He's going to annoy. So is the sound effects woman. 

I like the woman that won. Knew her polenta teammate would crash -- she was over confident. 

So happy TC is back! I needed my yearly dose. 

 

Was it Amar Santana? I also didn’t recognize him. He was on Season 13, but all I remember from that season is Kwame (and Philip Lee). 

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I don’t get why they constantly bring Richard Blais back on this show, what is his appeal? I don’t get it show. Please stop.

Glad Top Chef is back. I hope we are not constantly reminded Gabriel worked for Tom. I don’t know how Dawn got safe after not putting her peanut sauce on her dish. Padma seems different, nicer or something. 
 

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I'm behind you all because of being on the west coast.  I already have some favorites. Avishar maybe.

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I didn't realize this was on so early, so I had to wait for the repeat.

I can barely even stand to look at or listen to Richard Blais, he is so ridiculous.  I can't believe he's going to be at the table every freakin' episode.  (Love Padma snarking on his hair, though).  I don't remember Amar.

I'm so glad to have this show back, even though it's going to be sad watching people whose industry has been decimated and it'll be hard not to get distracted worrying that adequate COVID precautions are being taken.

I was glad to hear right away, via Gregory's opening remarks to the cheftestants, that they were going to embrace the fact this season's filming was happening amidst ongoing racial justice rebellions.  I hope there's a challenge where they cook for protestors.

I love the brown team being excited to be all women, so am glad they won the QF.

On the flip side, green team had either Gabe or Gabriel (don't like either one, and it takes me two or three episodes to get all the names down), who, teamed up with two women, apparently decided he was boss.  Jackass.

Dawn's eye roll when her teammate put sauce on the skin side of the fish was great; I love a good eye roll.  I wish she hadn't run out of time, as her dish sounded really great; she could have been in the top, I suspect.  She doesn't seem very familiar with the show, though.

And Sara not being all that comfortable with technology endeared her to me, too.  Then her EC dish looked fantastic!  I'm not at all surprised she won; it had incredible color and sounded as appetizing as it looked.  She has a Stephanie Cmar-like disconnect between her talent and her confidence.  I hope she has a similar experience in terms of gaining confidence.

I also like the chef (Chris?) who said he spent the last four weeks making bread (presumably meaning stuck at home) so it was nice to be back in a professional kitchen.

The taco chef from Tucson (Maria?) looks familiar to me.

Avishar seems to have a great personality, but his EC dish looked like shit, as he said.  I'm glad he's sticking around.

I liked Roscoe talking about cooking and art, saying he'd really like to be a rapper but it's too late for that, but his decision to make something he'd never done before in a tell us about yourself via food challenge was unwise.  The dish didn't even look good; that broth looked like vomit.

Jamie doesn't seem very strong a chef based on this introduction, so it will be interesting to see how she settles in.

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3 minutes ago, Bastet said:

She has a Stephanie Cmar-like disconnect between her talent and her confidence.  I hope she has a similar experience in terms of gaining confidence.

I hope so too!  I liked that the editing cut between Sara talking about how unsure she was and Tom commenting on her dish "This chef has a lot of confidence."  

I don't want to waste any more of my time looking him up, but does Blais even cook anymore?  It seems like he parlayed his initial TC appearances into an endless run of guest spots and judging panels.  I didn't like him as a contestant and I like him even less as an "expert".  Most everyone else they feature has a tangible love of food and cooking, but he just seems to love attention.

Both Gabes need to go ASAP, but I fear we may be stuck with them for a while.

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Am I the only one who loves Richard Blais?  I was happy to see him!  
 

 

48 minutes ago, jackjill89 said:

who was the dude with the glasses and pony tail?

I do not remember him at all. 
 

 

Edited by heatherchandler
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1 minute ago, heatherchandler said:

Am I the only one who loves Richard Blais?  I was happy to se him!  

I don't love him, but I don't mind him. 

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33 minutes ago, Bastet said:

Dawn's eye roll when her teammate put sauce on the skin side of the fish was great; I love a good eye roll.  I wish she hadn't run out of time, as her dish sounded really great

I thought that was rude to call her out like that.  We’ve seen chefs putting sauce on fish skin, right?  I know some people like it crispy but is that the rule?  I don’t know.  And then she pretended to not know if she could sauce after the buzzer.  We all know the answer to that!

I like Gabe, Kiki, Shota, Sara and Avishar.  

I felt bad for Roscoe and his sweating.. some people just get sweaty, especially when nervous.  

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1 hour ago, susannot said:

.  I also like Shota and feel sure that I have seen him somewhere before.  Did he compete on Chopped?

 He was on the most recent Next Iron Chef.  The season TC Stephanie won (although I still contend she had already been picked as an Iron Chef and the competition was just a way to hype her). 

 

30 minutes ago, heatherchandler said:

Am I the only one who loves Richard Blais?  I was happy to see him!  

 Yes.   I'm sorry but Blais is such an attention whore.  At one point Padma asks the cheftestants a question and he pops in and answers.  He just can't keep his gaping maw shut. 

 Watching people shop for groceries online and drive thru the pickup line is far less interesting than in store pandemonium and every so slightly more interesting than watching paint dry. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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57 minutes ago, Bastet said:

She has a Stephanie Cmar-like disconnect between her talent and her confidence.  I hope she has a similar experience in terms of gaining confidence.

She also reminded me of Eddie, a contestant a few seasons ago who looked like he was going to pass out from nerves any time someone looked in his general direction.

I think this is a good start to the show. No one struck me as unbearable (yet). I'm just so glad it's back.

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I'm from the Seattle area so rooting for Shota.  I've never eaten it, but chukkar is a little game bird like a partridge (I volunteer in wildlife rehab, and the first one of those came through last summer).  Very cute, and pronounced "chu-KKAR".

Otherwise, I'm already liking how the group seems to have bonded, and pitches in to help each other.  Blais every week, though?  Ugh.

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Whose revealing photos does Blais have to get him at a table every week? I stopped watching Rachael Ray @home when she practically drooled love on him during a Zoom call. “And you’re going to COOK?!” she screeched. Peace out.

He’s always so needy on my TV.

OTOH, weekly Melissa is great. Promising crew, I think.

 

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2 hours ago, susannot said:

Happy for Sara.  I like her.  Dislike Gabriel, Tom's former employee.  I also like Shota and feel sure that I have seen him somewhere before.  Did he compete on Chopped?

I liked Sara from the very first time we saw her.  I hope her win gives her confidence.  Most of the chefs seem quite congenial so far.  Even Padma seemed nicer than usual.  Tom looked bored.

Is this the first season in which they've sent people to LCK right away?  I could be remembering wrong but it seems to me that they've started that about half way through in the past.

I was sure I recognized Shota but couldn't think from where.  I'm glad the poster above recalled that he'd been on Next Iron Chef so I can stop trying to remember.

I don't dislike Richard Blais but his hair was even more ridiculous than usual.  He has to know that people make fun of it but he's so desperate for attention that he keeps making himself look silly. It's kind of sad really.

 

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The woman who didn't get out the peanut sauce was saved because they really liked the components I think. Missing item beats out bad cooking.

Judges: Show us who you are!

Roscoe: This dish is not who I am.

Me: *bangs head on desk*

It drives me absolutely crazy on any competition show, be it cooking, fashion or singing, when the eliminated contestant says they didn't get to show what they could really do. Well then why didn't you? It's not like you didn't get the chance.

Not sure why they couldn't bring in the usual guest judges. These All-Stars have to commit to be in the bubble for at least 6 weeks, they've all got lives, careers, families. Anyone as judges would all be under the same constraints. These were the only ones willing to put their lives on hold?

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I really like Sara and her anti-confidence. It's adorable. Good bunch so far.

Sound effects chef, it's cute but don't overdo it.

I've been waiting for Portland to host Top Chef for years. It's such a great food city. It's just too bad they won't be able to mingle as much as usual, though we did see them do field trips in the season previews.

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5 hours ago, Bastet said:

The taco chef from Tucson (Maria?) looks familiar to me.

She was on Chopped.

1 hour ago, eyelash said:

Why make such a big deal about having the largest kitchen ever due to safety considerations during the pandemic, but then crowd them into a kitchen at a museum for the elimination challenge?

I know!

Yay to the blind tasting.

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9 hours ago, tljgator said:

Roscoe and his murky broth.

I won't miss him. He seemed so "low energy" to borrow a phrase. He stood out to me from the beginning, and not in a good way.

I thought the second place team in the QF perhaps should have gotten the win. The degree of difficulty of their ingredients was off the chart compared to the winning team.

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8 hours ago, heatherchandler said:

I thought that was rude to call her out like that.  We’ve seen chefs putting sauce on fish skin, right?  I know some people like it crispy but is that the rule?  I don’t know.  And then she pretended to not know if she could sauce after the buzzer.  We all know the answer to that!

The only reason to have fish skin on a dish is to have it as a crispy element (limp cooked fish skin is a turn-off), so I don't know that I would have called out the other chef, but I would have definitely rolled my eyes. 🙂

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First impression of Portland native “I worked for Tom” is he is a DB.  Not as annoying as Blair’s or that attention whore, Malarkey, but he seems to have potential to rise to their level.  “I can’t live without caul fat.” Is as much a cry for attention as Blais’ hair-don’t.

Roscoe’s goose/duck/turkey was cooked as soon as he announced he would cook something he’d never done before. Hello??? Bird + BBQ is a no-brainer!

I like Shota, the taco chef and the woman who cooks West African food so far.  Sound effect chef and “Alpine” chef are on the bubble.  What the hell is Alpine cooking? Lots of cheese, sausage and chocolate?  (Wait a minute...that actually doesn’t sound too bad.)

Edited by BusyOctober
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8 hours ago, mlp said:

Is this the first season in which they've sent people to LCK right away?  I could be remembering wrong but it seems to me that they've started that about half way through in the past.

 

 

I can't remember how they've done it when it first started, since I hate the whole concept, but I think last season they started it right away but did two rounds of it and someone came back earlier in the season and then LCK went again with someone else coming back later in the season as well.... 

Watched this episode in pieces since I missed the earlier start time (will it always be on early this season?) so missed some of the quickfire and all of the "this is how things are different this year" as far as judges and stuff... but that's okay. I mostly care about the cooking. 

It was a good start to the season. I like it when they have a chance to just kind of cook their food. The game bird thing wasn't too specific of a challenge that would limit their cooking much, so it wasn't a bad way to start. 

I don't know who anybody is and that's okay... I'll figure it out later when there are less people!! 

Add me to the ugh blais crowd... I don't hate him, but don't need to see him either...

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Gabriel (who did he work for? I don't think that they mentioned it) looks very familiar to me as well. Some Food Network show, probably 

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10 hours ago, hula-la said:

Was it Amar Santana? I also didn’t recognize him. He was on Season 13, but all I remember from that season is Kwame (and Philip Lee). 

Amar has changed his hair style.  Didn't recognize him last night; had to look up season 13 and how he looked back then.  Did remember him then.

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9 hours ago, Maverick said:

 Watching people shop for groceries online and drive thru the pickup line is far less interesting than in store pandemonium and every so slightly more interesting than watching paint dry. 

But I do like that due to the no shopping thing, we got to see them in the hotel and relaxing and bonding. If that continues I'll be happy.

 

4 hours ago, Harry24 said:

Yay to the blind tasting.

I loved that too. I hope they keep it up, although assume they won't. 

The one thing for me is that if I have to spend the whole season being hit over the head about how the restaurant industry has suffered I may be out. I know they've suffered. I can't hear about it weekly. 

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42 minutes ago, cameron said:

Amar has changed his hair style.  Didn't recognize him last night; had to look up season 13 and how he looked back then.  Did remember him then.

Here's a pic from that season. Now I *kinda* remember him. 

image.thumb.png.e06248e5c45d5a2a4936658770395d2b.png

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Roscoe looked like he got in his own head from the beginning and could never get out.

I’m always wary of making any decision based on the first few episodes, I liked Blais for the first few weeks, but I don’t know if Roscoe is built for this show. Their energies don’t seem to fit.

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11 hours ago, Bastet said:

Dawn's eye roll when her teammate put sauce on the skin side of the fish was great; I love a good eye roll.  I wish she hadn't run out of time, as her dish sounded really great; she could have been in the top, I suspect.  She doesn't seem very familiar with the show, though.

She should've binged seasons 1-17, she then may have realized you can't sauce your plate after time has run out, and she may have known that Padma always asks the top and bottom contenders to judge's table.

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9 hours ago, Vermicious Knid said:

 

It drives me absolutely crazy on any competition show, be it cooking, fashion or singing, when the eliminated contestant says they didn't get to show what they could really do. Well then why didn't you? It's not like you didn't get the chance.

But the thing he does is low and slow barbeque cooking.  He would have needed many many hours to do that right.  He just didn't choose a good substitute.

I see that I am not the only one who didn't remember Amar. 

Whoever in production chose the font and color to display the contestant's names should be fired immediately.

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3 minutes ago, meep.meep said:

But the thing he does is low and slow barbeque cooking.  He would have needed many many hours to do that right.  He just didn't choose a good substitute.

but he must know some killer sauces or rubs he could have put on a roasted bird. This is a time-limited competition. He's probably *never* going to get time to do "his" thing, if that's the only thing he's good at.

Edited by dleighg
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11 hours ago, Straycat80 said:

I don’t get why they constantly bring Richard Blais back on this show, what is his appeal? I don’t get it show. Please stop.

Glad Top Chef is back. I hope we are not constantly reminded Gabriel worked for Tom. I don’t know how Dawn got safe after not putting her peanut sauce on her dish. Padma seems different, nicer or something. 
 

Re: Padma. I think she's finally discovered voice inflection. 

Sorry, Columbusians (?!), but your guy is my new (after the ejected BBQ drone) Least Favorite. 

My two favorites (this week, anyway) are Alpine Gal and the Winner (although her "I won? ME? With THIS dish?!" shtick had better be nipped right fast). 

I will never like either Richard Blais or Tom Colicchio. 

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