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S18.E01: First Impressions

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33 minutes ago, dleighg said:

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

image.thumb.png.e06248e5c45d5a2a4936658770395d2b.png

He certainly looks different now.

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13 hours ago, avecsans said:

I know that Richard Blais thought to himself, “Gee, there will be a lot of contestants and judges on the set.  How can I stand out and make everyone pay attention to me?  I know! I will pile all my hair up on top of my head and look like an  asshole!!! Yay me!!!!”  I cannot stand that man.

I have disliked him for years. I was like "UGH" when he showed up on screen. I was happy to see Kwame, however. He was one of my favorites on his season and I read his memoir last year - he's really impressive.

3 hours ago, MartyQui said:

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. 🙂

Agreed - I actually did roll my eyes and raise my brows when I heard "sauce on fish skin."

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11 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!

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

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

No sauce on the skin. TC is all about "crispy" fish skin. And Ms. Olympian did not want to share that blunder!

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17 minutes ago, meep.meep said:

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

And what would be so terrible about putting their names on their chef's coats?

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29 minutes ago, cameron said:

He certainly looks different now.

I think Amar (last on the right, in that group photo above) looks exactly the same!

This article has a photo from his season and several pix from now. About the only change is Amar, like Blais, is sporting more hair. 

https://www.southcoastplaza.com/stories/2021/04/vaca-and-the-halls-chef-amar-santana-returns-to-bravos-top-chef/

Edited by LennieBriscoe
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26 minutes ago, LennieBriscoe said:

No sauce on the skin. TC is all about "crispy" fish skin. And Ms. Olympian did not want to share that blunder!

I started reading up on this, after the episode and I am just finding out that people want the skins to be crispy because they ...eat the skins.  I have heard the term "crispy skin" on TC before but I didn't realize they were eating it.  I always take the skin off (crispy or slimy) because I am gagging at the thought of eating it.  Apparently I am doing it wrong.  Even if the skin is edible, I will never eat it.  And I am an adventurous eater.  But this is where I draw the line I guess.

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55 minutes ago, meep.meep said:

But the thing he does is low and slow barbeque cooking. 

That's what he does now.  I think Roscoe was both very proud that he works at the <insert name of very famous BBQ place here>, but also very frustrated that he's completely restricted as a chef to that very specific and regimented cuisine.  He mentioned at the beginning that his preferred style was this but he was working for <insert name of very famous BBQ place here> so right now he does that.  He's worked with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, and with David Chang at Momofuku.  He's not a one note wonder, but he hasn't exercised those muscles in a long time.  I kind of feel bad that he left so early in the season, I thought his bio was interesting and wanted to see more from him.  Alas, that dish sucked and buh-bye.  Maybe he'll shine in LCK, but I think an earlier poster who called him "low energy" was right.  I don't see him having the legs for the long haul.

I, too, am very picky about crispy skin on fish.  I usually can't achieve that myself, and I don't like to eat crispy skin on scaly fish unless I have total trust that they've been scaled completely.  Skin is OK.  Scales?  <shudder>  Crispy skin on pan fried trout is lovely.

I like having past featured TC cheftestants back as tasters and guest judges, but only if they get off their manufactured "images" and really do the job.  Richard Blais, as we all know, won't be able to un-Blais himself.  At this point, he's completely gone full circle and I actually kind of dig his schtick as an embracement of a "total douchebag" character these days.  We'll see how the season progresses.  And while I'm talking about chefs leaning fully into their Top Chef persona and being annoying.......Melissa, you're starting to get on my nerves.  I loved you during your season, and I think you were robbed and misunderstood.  But last night you acted like you were the best gift to fine cuisine and I'm a little over you.

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Crispy fish skin can be delicious! I've made Gravlax, the Swedish cured salmon dish. You slice the cured fish flesh off the skin, and then you're left with the skin that's been cured with sugar, salt, pepper and dill. I cut that into strips, fry them in a pan and it's basically fish skin bacon. 

I've also had crispy fish skin on Chinese whole fried fish treatments. We eat the battered fried fins, believe it or not. On a whole steamed fish I usually eat the skin along with the meat for convenience's sake, but it's not a featured part of the dish.  It's just there.

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1 hour ago, heatherchandler said:

I started reading up on this, after the episode and I am just finding out that people want the skins to be crispy because they ...eat the skins.  I have heard the term "crispy skin" on TC before but I didn't realize they were eating it.  I always take the skin off (crispy or slimy) because I am gagging at the thought of eating it.  Apparently I am doing it wrong.  Even if the skin is edible, I will never eat it.  And I am an adventurous eater.  But this is where I draw the line I guess.

I love crispy skin on fish! Soggy skin, no; crispy skin, absolutely.

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4 hours ago, BusyOctober said:

What the hell is Alpine cooking? Lots of cheese, sausage and chocolate?  (Wait a minute...that actually doesn’t sound too bad.)

If Alpine cooking is what I had in Cortina, it's lots of mushrooms, foraged produce, grass fed meat and wine...yum yum!  And cheese and wonderful bread and dried meats.

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I didn't recognize Amar at all....until he started to talk. Then, I did recognize him.

Enough said about Blaise. 

I also had a Stephanie vibe with Sara. I like her, but agree that she should buck up at bit. The woebegone look is not a good one.

Lots of great looking dishes in both rounds. Looks to be a good season. I'm ignoring I-Worked-for-Tom -- I figure he'll probably be around for a while, so I don't want him dragging down the whole show for me.

Padma looks like she's had a little work done, but it was good work.

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Fuck Blais and his stupid hair.  He can't deal with anyone else getting attention.  Fucking toddler.

 

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15 hours ago, leocadia said:

I don't want to waste any more of my time looking him up, but does Blais even cook anymore?  

He just opened a new restaurant here in San Diego, Ember & Rye. I think he is in the kitchen, at least for now. I haven't been yet, but in my opinion his other place here, Juniper & Ivy, got much much better after he stopped cooking there 🙂 When he was there, he was super standoffish and acted like he was above talking to guests and whatnot.  His fast food chicken place next door, The Crack Shack, is OK. 

I did enjoy some of his more out-there dishes because we don't have a lot of that in SD and he comes up with some fun things, but as a person he grates.  The hair last night was absurd. Why does San Diego end up with him AND Malarkey?

My fave so far this season is Sara. She's, like, the epitome of Portland in human form, haha.

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1 hour ago, worleybird said:

I was surprised Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was on this show. Not surprised he was eliminated first!

I'm pretty sure it was former HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson. 

Edited by dleighg
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3 hours ago, Gracie123 said:

Fuck Blais and his stupid hair.  He can't deal with anyone else getting attention.  Fucking toddler.

 

When you have to resort to hair as being one of your salient personality traits things have taken a turn.

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I didn’t quite understand why they would do a blind taste test on the first challenge, when judges haven’t yet had any of their food and don’t know them yet?  

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10 hours ago, dleighg said:

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.

He reminded me of Eeyore. Low energy and low self esteem. That's not going to win Top Chef. 

8 hours ago, OoogleEyes said:

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 

He looks like a low rent Tim Tebow. 

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7 minutes ago, novhappy said:

I didn’t quite understand why they would do a blind taste test on the first challenge, when judges haven’t yet had any of their food and don’t know them yet?

I liked it. A chef can be "the guy who made that pristine duck and plum" or "that chef who made that amazing peanut something-or-other" (you can tell I was overwhelmed by too many dishes). I think it's a better way to "remember" them than "the indian guy from cleveland" or "that guy who worked for who-was-it????"

 

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13 minutes ago, dleighg said:

I liked it. A chef can be "the guy who made that pristine duck and plum" or "that chef who made that amazing peanut something-or-other" (you can tell I was overwhelmed by too many dishes). I think it's a better way to "remember" them than "the indian guy from cleveland" or "that guy who worked for who-was-it????"

 

Yeah, I like them doing a blind tasting for the first challenge. It's nice to do it before all the judges have formed opinions one way or the other.

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5 minutes ago, carrps said:

Yeah, I like them doing a blind tasting for the first challenge. It's nice to do it before all the judges have formed opinions one way or the other.

But isn’t it kinda blind for the first challenge anyway. Blind taste tests seem more relevant to me when they have opinions and impressions of the judges already. 

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1 minute ago, novhappy said:

But isn’t it kinda blind for the first challenge anyway. Blind taste tests seem more relevant to me when they have opinions and impressions of the judges already. 

Duh. You're right. 

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11 minutes ago, novhappy said:

But isn’t it kinda blind for the first challenge anyway. Blind taste tests seem more relevant to me when they have opinions and impressions of the judges already

I still think it's better to "set" their ideas on that dish in the first elimination challenge, than how they "present themselves" in the first episode.

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To dleighg’s point, at least the already blind, blind taste test spared us from their opening round of food and life stories to the judges. 

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There are still 7 chefs who they don't know by dish.  They pulled a top 4 and a bottom 4.  The rest are still unknown to the judges.

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Blind tasting also might be a nod to social distancing.

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I got the impression that the entire season was going to be blind tasting. No?

I like that idea truthfully. I could be wrong but I thought I heard one of the cheftestants worked for Tom ... or knows Tom ... or something. 🙂...😀...😁

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20 hours ago, Bastet said:

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.

Following TV norms, that we were shown so much about him -- that he has a master's from SCAD, a piece of his art, a pic his partner and baby, his desire to be a rapper -- indicated early on he'd be out. Which is a shame! I thought he was charming. Low-key funny.

16 hours ago, eyelash said:

Questions:  Why give the winning Quickfire team members immunity and an advantage in the elimination challenge?  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?

Agree it was dumb. However, the bigger kitchen seems to be intended to protect / space out the crew, who can't be bubbled properly, not our chefs. Maybe they were able to do the smaller kitchen with a smaller crew? Or maybe they're just minimizing risks when they can to reduce the overall levels even if it's imperfect.

But, honestly, I don't know why they make them crowd and cook in tiny kitchens. There has to be a better way.

7 hours ago, HurricaneVal said:

That's what he does now.  I think Roscoe was both very proud that he works at the <insert name of very famous BBQ place here>, but also very frustrated that he's completely restricted as a chef to that very specific and regimented cuisine.  He mentioned at the beginning that his preferred style was this but he was working for <insert name of very famous BBQ place here> so right now he does that.  He's worked with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, and with David Chang at Momofuku.  He's not a one note wonder, but he hasn't exercised those muscles in a long time. 

He made the worst possible choice of dish with those restaurants behind him! And while BBQ is impossible in that time frame, but we've seen them creatively smoke birds before so it wasn't totally out. He chose a family meal to define him, not one that's about him as a chef, now or before. Killer misstep.

Happy to have it back!

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6 minutes ago, snarktini said:

Following TV norms, that we were shown so much about him -- that he has a master's from SCAD, a piece of his art, a pic his partner and baby, his desire to be a rapper -- indicated early on he'd be out. Which is a shame! I thought he was charming. Low-key funny.

I was watching with my sister, and, at judges' table, I told her that if Roscoe was eliminated, it was bad editing. His knifing was telegraphed (to mix my metaphors) all during the show.

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10 hours ago, LennieBriscoe said:

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

I listened to the audio version of her book, which she read, and it was soooooo painful with lack of and/or wrong inflections and pronunciations.

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  • It takes me like three episodes before I figure out all the cheftestants, so I don't have too much to say on that front. It didn't bode well when Padma said none of them were sous chefs. It's like they're all a little too professional, which may make so-so tv characters. There is the annoying gay guy (it's okay I'm an annoying gay guy, I can say that) and an awful lot of people that tend to speak in monotone. Also, I'm entirely over the unconfident underdog. It's annoying and childish. "Oh my god, what am I doing here?!?." I don't know, you sent the tape in and were probably interviewed multiple times and made plans to appear on television, you tell me why you're here. 
  • My blood temperature raised like 200 degrees the second I saw Blaise and his dumbass hair. We all know what you're doing and we're all unimpressed. I like the rotating former Top Chef as judges, but they added little to the tasting segment. I hope they relax and get into it a bit more.
  • I found the green screen when doing talking heads was really distracting. Did they always do this? Is my tv acting up?
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I’m just so happy the show is back!  First show I’ve watched live since, well, a long time ago. 

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Gorgy, is Byron the annoying gay guy?  Why was he annoying to you?

 

I found Gabriel every bit as annoying as all of you but he did have one great moment when Blais waltzed in and Gabriel said "Jesus.  That is some hair."  I applauded and hooted!

Edited by susannot
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23 hours ago, susannot said:

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!!

If you ever do, please report back! And I’ll do the same! 
My in laws always bring us some of the bread from the Refectory any time they get a meal from there. To die for! 
 

 

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37 minutes ago, NYCFree said:

Is it possible they have a giant team of judges as a way of getting a paycheck to people who own restaurants that may be closed? Tom Collicchio has been pretty active in trying to help the restaurant industry this past year.

I thinks it's more of them keeping the concept of guest judges but having them able to quarantine. This was filmed in the fall, so keeping as many of the on camera crew gathered in one place so they can be regularly tested was a bigger concern. 

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Finally watched tonight.  Oh, I’m so happy Top Chef is back and Portland should be a great spot for TC. 

I say big thumbs up to the blind taste testing and I hope it continues all season.  Love the anonymity of it.

I was so sorry for Roscoe getting eliminated — such an interesting guy and it sucks to be the first out.  The poster above said it well - he has such experience with sophisticated dishes but my gosh, the dish he served was just the opposite.  Now, I’d love to try his Rodney Scott BBQ...

Sara needs to cool it pronto with the hands over eyes, “who me, I’m so shocked, I feel stupid” bit.  I have no doubt that’s her personality but that will get real old, real quick with me.  Also the chef who speaks in jibberish / wacky sounds when she tries to describe something — stop it.

Couple of chefs from Houston, my hometown — enjoyed seeing them.  Dawn Burrell’s Olympic history is WOW (as is her brother’s).  

I am not in the loathe-Blais camp.  I actually get a kick out of him.  That hair!

Padma looked stunning.  Great to see several old favorites of mine like Gregory and Kwame.  

 

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On 4/1/2021 at 11:45 PM, heatherchandler said:

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

I like him as well- always have, ever since his original season.

This doesn't mean I can't make fun of him (that hair!), but I find the endless Blais hate to be a real turn-off. I think he's just a BEC for a lot of people, but I prefer good-natured teasing to the kind of maliciousness that seems more appropriate to, say, Mike Isabella.

I was also thrilled to see Dale, one of my OG favorites.

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Growing annoyances:  *bleep* *bloop* *blomp* chef.   

That was Jamie Tran, of the Black Sheep in Las Vegas. Her restaurant is literally down the block from my house, but I've not eaten there. Her prices are a bit higher than I like to spend and her menu is like 9/10s seafood. I loathe seafood and fish. She survived by takeout when dining rooms were shut down for months, so full props for that. She was also featured on Hubert Keller's last series. She came off as confident and self assured there, so something about having a time limit seems to really throw her off? Or she's just not good in a competitive situation.

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12 hours ago, glitterpussy said:

He just opened a new restaurant here in San Diego, Ember & Rye. I think he is in the kitchen, at least for now. I haven't been yet, but in my opinion his other place here, Juniper & Ivy, got much much better after he stopped cooking there 🙂 When he was there, he was super standoffish and acted like he was above talking to guests and whatnot.  His fast food chicken place next door, The Crack Shack, is OK. 

I did enjoy some of his more out-there dishes because we don't have a lot of that in SD and he comes up with some fun things, but as a person he grates.  The hair last night was absurd. Why does San Diego end up with him AND Malarkey?

My fave so far this season is Sara. She's, like, the epitome of Portland in human form, haha.

The first time we went to Juniper & Ivy, we had recently moved to San Diego and it was my birthday.  I mentioned that to the waitress and that I enjoyed Top Chef.  A little while later, Richard Blaise came to our table, wished me happy birthday, and sat next to me for a picture.  He was very polite so I’ve felt favorable ever since.  I don’t think his hair is any more attention grabbing than Padma’s low cut dresses!  Maybe they filmed when the barber shops were closed and he was just trying to deal with long hair LOL.

We moved from Chicago with all its great restaurants, so it’s been fun seeing San Diego cuisine grow in even the last few years.  Sara the winner actually grew up in the area, although she didn’t start cooking until after she left.

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I didn’t watch last season and probably won’t continue to watch this season after the first episode...boring. I’m so tired of Padma, Tom, Gail and Richard Blaise (ugh). This show needs to freshen up and replace these people...and the format is tired and predictable. Too many other great shows to watch on Netflix, Apple TV and other streaming services. I’m out.

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I liked Roscoe and was sorry to see him go so soon.  I didn't think he was "too low energy" for TC.  When I hear things like that I automatically suspect ageism since he is 43 and that seems to be considered "old" on this show.  Sheldon Simeon was pretty low key and people LOVED him.  I just think Roscoe was rusty at doing any other kind of cooking but barbecue since he's been doing mostly that for a while.  And that's regrettable.

From my perspective, Blais was sporting pandemic lockdown hair ala Conan O'Brien, but then realized it would make him stand out and as usual he has to be the fame and attention whore.  I'm not surprised to see him here as he manages to turn up on every cooking competition and often on Rachael Ray's show.  

I guess I'm one of the only people to recognize Amar.  I think he also had "pandemic hair" and that's one reason he looked different.

So douchebag chef that worked for Tom - I'm wondering if the blind taste testing was to "prove" to the audience that there is no bias and that he's the real deal since they absolutely LOVED his dish.

I was LOL at the woman of Sicilian descent's photo of her as a little bitty with a face full of spaghetti and meatballs.  I am Sicilian on my mother's side and there's a photo of me like that taken at around the same age.

Am I the only person to be super annoyed at the herky-jerky camera style through most of this episode?  Did they have problems getting real camera people and had to use novices instead or is this just some kind of attempt at being artsy fartsy to give a "you are there" feeling?  Honestly, I could have done a better job with my Go Pro.  On top of that they kept flitting so fast from one clip to the next that I couldn't even follow what was going on in some cases.  Plus the name banner with other identifying information on the talking heads went on and off in about a sixteenth of a second, making me have to freeze the frame to see it.  Seriously, show?  

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On 4/1/2021 at 9:45 PM, CSunshine76 said:

As usual, Richard Blaise is a DB with his obnoxious comments and hair.

Dude that worked for Tom? Please stop telling us every time the camera is on you. We get it, you think that means something. Tom will likely be harder on you, so good luck with that bro.

Honestly, that guy was arrogant.  I hope he isn't going to be a contender. 

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11 hours ago, susannot said:

Gorgy, is Byron the annoying gay guy?  Why was he annoying to you?

 

I found Gabriel every bit as annoying as all of you but he did have one great moment when Blais waltzed in and Gabriel said "Jesus.  That is some hair."  I applauded and hooted!

I think it was Gabriel. That one had a lot to say about everything. I don't even know who Byron is. Give me two more episodes to figure that out.

Edited by gorgy
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22 hours ago, cameron said:

He certainly looks different now.

I had no idea who he was,  I might be mixed up about seasons, but I usually can remember chefs that lasted thru the competition, but Amar completely mystified me.    

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16 minutes ago, jrzy said:

I had no idea who he was,  I might be mixed up about seasons, but I usually can remember chefs that lasted thru the competition, but Amar completely mystified me.    

Me too. I know my cheftestants -- especially the end ones. I Googled him and was shocked to learn he came in second on his season! Huh? I still don't remember him. Looked at photos from the season... nothing.  I must have found him completely unremarkable. 

Edited by jackjill89
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