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S18.E02: Trouble Brewing

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The chefs enter the kitchen to find Padma and seven hungry all-star chefs -- Amar Santana, Melissa King, Kwame Onwuachi, Dale Talde, Gregory Gourdet, Carrie Baird and Richard Blais -- and find they have 30 minutes to serve eight plates of breakfast.

Original air date: April 8, 2021

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Bringing my post over from the live chat thread.  And oops, sorry Sasha.

As much as I hate to say it, I don’t care for any of the female cheftestants so far personality wise.  I don’t know why but each one of them just irritate me for one reason or another.  The most tolerable is the one who just spoke about her drinking.  Sasha?  Still working on names here.

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2020 was a super unlikable year, but somehow Top Chef managed to assemble a lot of very likable chefs. 
 

Hate to see Sasha go, but looking forward to the rest of this season. 

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Did they give DoucheBlais a timeout by not inviting him to the elimination challenge after his obnoxious QF order? I hope so.

Ironic Chef Chris was dinged on pasta; I ate at his place just a little while ago and my cavattelle was perfect. 

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Last week Dawn was bugging a bit. This week, I’m #TeamDawn. Chefsplaining! Glad her ribs, with the right amount of pepper, got raves.

STFU, Blais. I wonder if the other judges and Padma told him what a douche he was to make him apologize. Loved that he wasn’t at the EC meal. More of that, please.

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45 minutes ago, The Solution said:

Loved Maria and Nelson realizing they were speaking Spanish and feeling comfortable.

I liked when she hugged him afterwards and said "It was an honor" - such a kind thing to say to someone you barely know.

I laughed when Avishar said he looked down and saw Shota - dude's about a half an inch taller!

I thought Byron was going to go when he said he gave up about 90% of his dish. Then I thought Chris was going home for the pasta. Did not think Toni Collette Sasha was going.

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2 hours ago, The Solution said:

I'm really liking this group of chefs. They seem to like each other pretty well too. Loved Maria and Nelson realizing they were speaking Spanish and feeling comfortable. I can relate.

I thought it was awesome that Dawn could stand up to Gabriel and do it without a dramatic scene. Her food always looks good to me. (Not that Gabriel's doesn't).

I'm already annoyed by Jamie's sound effects. Just put your hair in a pompadour like Blais if you need the attention that badly.

I agree! These chefs really do seem to get along spectacularly with the exception of whoever has to be paired with knowitall Gabriel on team challenges. I think I'm going to be fans of most of these people by the end of this. It's sad that we lost Sasha who had delightful energy in the kitchen. Their dish seemed to be a B- in a week full of A's.

I laughed when Carrie ordered Fancy Toast. She won or was on top for challenges with Fancy Toast how many times her season? And I also laughed when they all avoided Dim Sum and just looked at the Asian contestants. They all remember the All Stars dim sum challenge, I bet. I know everyone is all about Richard's obnoxious order, but imagine if they saved dim sum for last?

The Quickfire judges had some sort of eating feat there eating 14 goddamn dishes. That is a LOT.

The Covid measures seem less impressive this week. I imagine they got through filming OK since we didn't hear about any kerfuffle, but are judges separated from the contestants? No, they're presenting and no one's wearing a mask. Are judges separated from one another? No, they're all shoulder to shoulder indoors at Elimination Challenge. The Kitchen is bigger and they're sending grocery orders out, which is fine, but, doing things this half-assed and expecting it to be fine is symptomatic of us as a whole being unable to solve it through behavior. If one of the people in this bubble get it, they all might.

The pasta might have been too dry (somehow? I need a food scientist to explain that to me), but damn that technique he used to make striped pasta was impressive. 

The twist was fun and I'm glad that they let them choose their partners rather than doing a knife draw or something.

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11 hours ago, buttersister said:

Glad her ribs, with the right amount of pepper, got raves.

I couldn't tell-- did she add the pepper, or not? I thought it was funny that with all their bickering, their dish was a favorite.

They certainly telegraphed Sasha's exit. After she got so much air time earlier, when their dish was on the bottom I knew she was a goner.

I also wanted the mushroom toast -- and cute that "fancy toast" what Carrie asked for.

I was hoping someone would make "coffee dirt" which is something I will always remember from a meal at Bryan V's Volt restaurant ages ago-- roasted carrots on coffee dirt. I've even fairly successfully reproduced that dish myself.

And I swear that Richard Blais pronounced "immunity" as "Ammunity." 

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Gabriel and Dawn were an interesting pair for me, because in these challenges, Tom is always like, "If you compromise just to make your partner happy, you're not going to make good food." Neither of them backed down, but it all got on the plate, and then was lauded. I'm glad Dawn stuck to her guns. I presume Gabriel does know what he's doing too, but my god, I would be cool with him flaming out dramatically (he won't).

Despite his rocky start, I like Avoshar. I don't have high hopes for him overall, but I always enjoy a witty talking head on the show. He and Shota were delightful, and when the judges talked about how wholly original their dish was, it seemed like the clear winner.

I don't know everyone's names yet, which is unusual for me, but a good group all the same! I'm impressed at the high level of cooking on display already. Sarah, girl, don't do yogurt every time though. Gail's noted it, so give it a rest for a challenge or two now.

I don't mind Jaime. She's pretty authentic in her awkwardness, which I can relate, and if she makes sound effects to cope, I understand. Richard, on the other hand, OMG. He's the one exhausting note in this whole thing.

More Maria, please! I at least know her name and I love her attitude. It was really nice that she and Nelson got to have that comfort moment as teammates.

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Avishar and Shota were adorable together and seemed like they had so much fun. 

I've just had ribs but I really want to eat that rib and watermelon dish 😋

I really like the chefs this season, even high strung Gabriel. It breaks my heart to know that they're all probably not doing that great career/business wise due to Covid.

Blais really sticks out like a fungal infected thumb amongst the group of very likeable guest judges. I cringe whenever he's mugging at the camera. I wonder if they do too. I've always given him leeway (I try to file him under Quirky 😑) but he's insufferable this season and down right embarrassing.

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11 hours ago, Nordly Beaumont said:

. Did not think Toni Collette Sasha was going.

She does look like Toni Collette!

I loved Avishar and Shota. Team Asia!

Is foam still a thing? It always reminds me of spit, so I guess it was better that it was more of a puree. 

I like everyone, so far; Gabriel remains on the fence.

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Just now, OoogleEyes said:

I loved Avishar and Shota. Team Asia!

The Asian Sensation!

So many likable chefs this season, just what the doctor ordered.  Even the asshole who worked for Tom didn't mention it once this episode.

The talking head segments look off to me and I don't know why.

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9 minutes ago, OoogleEyes said:

She does look like Toni Collette!

I'll have to look at that more closely in Last Chance Kitchen.  I was too busy trying to figure out who I think Sarah looked like, and I think I finally got it.  For anyone who watches Grey's Anatomy, to me, she looks like Caterina Scorsone, who plays Amelia Shepherd.

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2 hours ago, dleighg said:

I couldn't tell-- did she add the pepper, or not? I thought it was funny that with all their bickering, their dish was a favorite.

Yes, she ignored him and added it.

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38 minutes ago, OoogleEyes said:

She does look like Toni Collette!

 

Toni Collette Reaction GIF by IMDb

 

Quote

Yes, she ignored him and added it.

I wish they would have followed up on the pepper.  Did the guy ever admit he was wrong?

Edited by Irlandesa
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#TeamAsianSensation!!!

I didn't understand their dish but the judges loved it, so that's fine.

Gabe, Gabriel, Shota, and Sara have been on the top both episodes.  Right now they would have to be considered the front runners.

 

I'm enjoying Amar as a guest judge.  He has a jolly laugh and he likes to eat.  I laughed when he referred to himself (devouring Dawn's ribs) as a "professional eater."

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4 minutes ago, susannot said:

I didn't understand their dish but the judges loved it, so that's fine

yeah looking at it on the plate, even with it being described, I had *no clue* what it was.

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I assumed that production had given the judges their orders.  If you waited until the end, then you'd get stuck making the order from hell.  I'll rag on Blais for mispronouncing "immunity" but not for the corned beef hash and hollandaise order.

I think Sasha and Brittany were bottom two because even if they'd made what they originally intended, the separate dishes would have been terrible.  The hazelnuts would have been burned and the romesco would have been spongy and neither coffee or beer would have been celebrated. 

I hate challenges like this where they don't have the ability to shop for more ingredients to make two separate dishes more cohesive when combined.

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When Dawn didn't get her eggs on the plate in the QC I was thinking this was going to be an ongoing issue for her and her downfall--but she redeemed herself in the EC.  Those ribs looked great and I'm glad she didn't let Gabriel talk her into not using the pepper.

Love, love, love Avishar and Shota--they both seem delightful. 

That restaurant they're going to next week looked amazing--I'm envious I can only look at what they get to eat.

And, lastly, Blais pulled such a dick move in the QC.  He did everything short of asking them to butcher a pig for from scratch bacon.  I think Padma was annoyed with him, too.

ETA: I was surprised none of the judges picked something like french toast for the the QB.  All savory dishes (I'm a sweet breakfast person!).

Edited by Cheyanne11
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 At a minimum, the QF dishes were planned in advance.   They had to make sure they had the proper ingredients stocked to complete a specific dish.   Most likely they were given the dishes to order by Production.  Maybe they asked the judges to suggest a dish and made tweaks/alternate suggestions.  I do think they intentionally put Blais last and gave him the most obnoxious order.   

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I hope you realize that the judges didn't pick the breakfast dishes to make.  Production told them each what to say and saved the hardest for last. I don't like Blaise, but I don't put the blame on him for the tough last order.

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4 hours ago, Rai said:

Gabriel and Dawn were an interesting pair for me, because in these challenges, Tom is always like, "If you compromise just to make your partner happy, you're not going to make good food." Neither of them backed down, but it all got on the plate, and then was lauded.

We said the same thing. I was glad Dawn didn't back down. Gabriel wasn't too douchy.

All the food in both rounds looked awesome to me.

I was interested in the sotto voce conversation Jamie had with her partner (who?) where she said she'd take credit for anything the judges didn't like. Knowing she said that, I was wondering if she'd have been dinged for it if they ended up in front of the judges. 'Cause that's kinda sorta cheating?

Love Shota and Avishar! I wanted all three top EC dishes so bad.

Edited by carrps · Reason: Misspelled Shota's name!
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Blais was a douche but ok with me - you waited til last you get the hardest one, ok... until he asked for corned beef hash AND hash browns. you're getting two potato sides?

Then again those two guys got everything on the plate vs some folks with easier dishes.

Sasha looked like Michelle Wolf to me.

ETA: my husband was all impressed with Chef "I Worked for Tom" giving up his protein to work with Dawn's and I was like: just wait, he did because he didn't like his own dish, not to cooperate. 

Edited by RockShrimp
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11 hours ago, RockShrimp said:

Blais was a douche but ok with me - you waited til last you get the hardest one, ok... until he asked for corned beef hash AND hash browns. you're getting two potato sides?

Then again those two guys got everything on the plate vs some folks with easier dishes.

That used to be my late night diner order! Never breakfast, but at midnight or 2a? Absolutely. Hash browns and corned beef hash for the win!

ETA: I remembered I HAVE ordered that for breakfast! A little embarrassing but the heart wants what it wants.

Edited by snarktini
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35 minutes ago, Maverick said:

At a minimum, the QF dishes were planned in advance.   They had to make sure they had the proper ingredients stocked to complete a specific dish.   Most likely they were given the dishes to order by Production.  Maybe they asked the judges to suggest a dish and made tweaks/alternate suggestions.  I do think they intentionally put Blais last and gave him the most obnoxious order. 

100% agree.  The Blais dish was producer-driven. 

Gabriel doesn't bother me either.  

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1 hour ago, Maverick said:

 At a minimum, the QF dishes were planned in advance.   They had to make sure they had the proper ingredients stocked to complete a specific dish.   Most likely they were given the dishes to order by Production.  Maybe they asked the judges to suggest a dish and made tweaks/alternate suggestions.  I do think they intentionally put Blais last and gave him the most obnoxious order.   

I imagine it was actually pretty funny while they were planning it out:

Producers: Okay, what would you order for breakfast in this challenge? 

Chefs/judges: Steak and Eggs, Fancy toast, Dim Sum, Fried Rice...

Producers: Perfect! Some of those are challenging and people would choose to wait for something easier.

Producers: We should definitely make the last one harder for the people who didn't choose one.

Blaise: Ooh, can I have that one?!

Everyone: LOL! Yes, that makes sense.

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Production may have chosen the QF dishes or the judges were allowed to preview the pantry beforehand. None of the dishes were particularly exotic or required rare ingredients I'm still giving Blais the stink eye for his order because he's a DB. 

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Going into JT, I thought Chris was the one most likely to be knifed for his pasta. Dry, undercooked, thick pasta is usually a deal killer. And not even filled enough! When he was rolling it out I saw the excess flour on the dough, which Tom correctly called, and cringed. My parents make their own and that's not a good thing. But, geez, they really hated Sasha's components even more! And even one thing they went after Brittany for -- not enough vinaigrette -- was also Sasha's call even though they didn't know that. Brittany thought there wasn't enough but Sasha talked her out of adding more.

Really impressed by the teams in this challenge. I thought this was an impossible challenge, a tough combination + surprise team + being stuck with the ingredients you already had on hand. They were set up to fail and except for two teams they knocked it out! B&S thought they had it easy by not having to create a new dish from scratch but that's what doomed them.

Interesting to hear about their challenges with alcohol. This has been a big drinking time, on top of an industry that's known for it. Is Gregory sober as well? Not sure. My partner stopped drinking a couple years ago so I'm always interested in how open people are, how permanently they view it, and how they describe it. Sasha said she has gotten sober, whereas Shota is "not drinking right now". All valid!

 

 

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Richard Blais needs to have liquid nitrogen poured on his lap for that QF order among countless other things.

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33 minutes ago, snarktini said:

Is Gregory sober as well?

Very; he abstains from a whole bunch of stuff in addition to alcohol.  He's one of those ultra-healthy living people, in both diet and exercise.  Yet not obnoxious about it.  I like him for so many reasons, including that.

 

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49 minutes ago, snarktini said:

When he was rolling it out I saw the excess flour on the dough, which Tom correctly called, and cringed

Yeah, I didn't even recognize it as pasta when I first saw it!

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I really love the chef's this year, except PDX Gabe, but I have to hand it to the other, specifically women chefs, he's tried to roll over, they've stayed calm, and stuck to their guns. The really weird thing about his saying no pepper it's too "aggressive" is that Tom's deepest disgust is for under seasoned bland food. That it came from the "I worked with Tom Collichio y'know!" guy was so ironic. I loved the way Dawn tried to calm him down, when he explained he just wanted to be represented on the plate. "It's okay boo boo." Just the right amount of genuine soothing to shade. 

So glad the Asian Sensation won, I really love ATX Gabe, but I'm already tired of Sarah, aw shucks who me schtick, and her yogurt. I would eat her food for sho, but she had already been in every top three over two shows, and to me Shota is a BALLER and his food has consistently been the one I'd want to eat.

I have kind of been surprised by the intensity of the challenges, I don't think I've seen so many people not plate food in multiple challenges. I kind of am one who would prefer they be less intense and just let these people COOK. They aren't wizards like that challenge at the camp where they had to use the limited commissary. C'MON.

I think top four are Sara, Shota, ATX Gabe, PDX Diva Gabe (unfortunately the man can cook). The floaters I'm rooting for are Maria, Kiki, and Nelson.

I think they made the right choice in bouncing Sasha, who bitter food and didn't seem to notice, but I just don't think Brittany is the better chef overall, so maybe Sash hangs tough in LCK.

Edited by blixie
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I'm okay with Blais.  He's a weirdo--kind of dances to a different beat--but I don't see the malicious intent that people are accusing him of.

 

The person who rubbed me wrong was the no-pepper dude.  Gabe?   It was harmless and kind of cute when he and Dawn said everyone paired up and they more or less ended up partners by default.   But then Tom came in and asked if everyone was happy with his/her partner and the only person who didn't nod yes was Gabe.  He indicated "meh."  Really?  Your skillset doesn't include the capacity to be gracious?  I'm keeping my eye on you, buddy.

 

 

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  • I really enjoyed this week's Quick Fire. It's exactly what I want from this type of challenge. Quick on your feet, show skill under reasonable limitations, and no obnoxious product placement. Now, obviously I can pick apart Richard Blais' choice, but taking him out of the equation, I think the last team to go should have a bit more of a challenge. They had the same amount of time to cook, but they also had a greater opportunity to pre-plan. Overall, good stuff.
  • I thought the judge's comments were a lot clearer this week in explaining why a dish succeeded or failed during the tasting. Last week was a bit too much "you can really taste the love" and other platitudes.
  • It's clear these chefs know their stuff, because combining beer and coffee forward flavors sounds like a tough act, so kudos to all. 
Edited by gorgy
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I am somewhat of a picky eater, and I despise coffee. I can taste a hint of coffee in anything and that food must come out of my mouth NOW. I will actually ask at restaurants if the dessert has any coffee in it. I’ve had places that will bring me samples of the fudge sauce so I can be sure. 

So this elimination challenge was a NO for me on the food, and I paid more attention to the interaction between chefs, who spoke out, who got rolled over, etc. Sasha and Brittany were just liking themselves too much instead of working on making great food. Much of the friction between Gabe and Dawn seemed in the editing. They had a few minor disagreements over the course of two hours, but otherwise worked well.

I worry that Dawn is going to get offed in the surprise elimination quick fire they usually have because of her inability to get the food on the plate.

I really want them to have a “picky eater challenge.” Like, “Make a three course meal with no coffee, no strawberries/cherries/watermelon, no beans (including the green variety), no potatoes (including sweet), no corn, no red fish, no carrots, no cooked pineapple, no curry.” Partially because the minute you say those things, chefs are going to struggle to make a dish without them. 

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8 minutes ago, BlackberryJam said:

I am somewhat of a picky eater, and I despise coffee. I can taste a hint of coffee in anything and that food must come out of my mouth NOW. I will actually ask at restaurants if the dessert has any coffee in it. I’ve had places that will bring me samples of the fudge sauce so I can be sure. 

So this elimination challenge was a NO for me on the food, and I paid more attention to the interaction between chefs, who spoke out, who got rolled over, etc. Sasha and Brittany were just liking themselves too much instead of working on making great food. Much of the friction between Gabe and Dawn seemed in the editing. They had a few minor disagreements over the course of two hours, but otherwise worked well.

I worry that Dawn is going to get offed in the surprise elimination quick fire they usually have because of her inability to get the food on the plate.

I really want them to have a “picky eater challenge.” Like, “Make a three course meal with no coffee, no strawberries/cherries/watermelon, no beans (including the green variety), no potatoes (including sweet), no corn, no red fish, no carrots, no cooked pineapple, no curry.” Partially because the minute you say those things, chefs are going to struggle to make a dish without them. 

I love the picky eater idea... even if it's not that restrictive, taking out a few elements that are common but also commonly disliked would be interesting- no onion, mushroom or seafood....  I'm with you on the coffee thing, so no coffee either! My kid always has to eat the "coffee" flavored chocolates, which are usually very mild, but also gross to me.

 

I hate that we have already seen so many instances of people missing food on their plates. even if it was a ridiculous quickfire. The eggs were cooked, just not on the plate vs completely forgetting the eggs.... but got judged the same and "yogurt looks like a poached egg" despite not even trying to cook eggs in the allotted time then gets the win... It's just annoying. I get that there has to be a time limit and they can't just make random exceptions but I wish they had an extra few minutes or something.... or at least really good warnings that you have to have everything on the plate in 3 minutes etc. Which maybe they do... and hopefully the contestants will get used to the time limits as a little more time goes on...

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I don’t for a second think that Richard made up that request on the fly, those orders were all obviously created and OKed by the producers ahead of time. I think it’s a bit weird that everyone is getting angry at him specifically for just saying something written for him.

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