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S18.E09: Portland-ia

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On 5/29/2021 at 2:22 PM, CatWarmer said:

While reading this discussion, I was thinking of Julia Child in The French Chef cooking on an electric stove top and not complaining (well, hardly ever).  I read up a little on why she did so and learned that (1) it would have been too difficult to get gas lines into the TV studio and (2) she was cooking for the home chef and they primarily had electric stoves in homes at that time.  So if Julia could comfortably cook great food on electric burners while simultaneously explaining to viewers how to do what she was doing, it should have been no big deal for the cheftestants.

I don't think Julia would have complained too much about electric stoves because her main focus was to make French cooking look approachable to the home cook.  If she admitted that she found electric stoves inferior or in some way not up to the task that might discourage home cooks, not encourage them that they too could produce great food with the tools they have at home.  We don't know how she really felt, LOL.

On 5/29/2021 at 6:03 PM, LennieBriscoe said:

Gas lines aren't available everywhere, FWIW.

Yes, and unfortunately not where I live.  I live on a sort-of mountain and the excuse was that it would be an issue to get gas lines up here.  I'm also on well water in spite of not living in the boonies.  I recently got a new stove and looked into converting to gas by way of propane, etc. but every option was expensive and not really that simple or feasible.  I also thought about induction but didn't want to get rid of all my precious pans or have to use a converter.  So I chose to stay with electric.  I'm OK with it because I know how to work around its shortcomings after so many years.

On 5/29/2021 at 7:43 PM, Ms Blue Jay said:

They tried to do this on Guy's Grocery Games and the chefs just DESCRIBED what they made at home to the judges and the judges had to judge the meals based on the video and how it looked and the judges' descriptions.  It didn't go well and I'm sorry to say that I couldn't bear to watch it again.  

Me too, exactly.  I can't watch pretty much the same small group of chefs cook at home every week out of a box and the judges can't even taste their food.  And then he started having some of the chef judges over to his house but they were still not cooking or tasting the food, still only watching the cooks on video.  So ridiculous.  Even "Chopped" found a way to film during Covid and have judges taste the food.

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9 hours ago, meep.meep said:

I bet people who may be on TV will linger forever.

nothing wrong with giving them electric stoves to work on for the QF.  Did they not give each of them a stove?  It seemed like some people had to share.  Not fair.

Asking a chef to give you a recipe is common.  My brother in the wine industry does it all the time.  Give me a dish that will pair well with this Pinot noir.  It s good publicity for the winery and the chef.  No cookbook editor involved.

That sounds like an example of mutual professional courtesy rather than Joe Schmoe at Table 5 asking for the chef's attention, time, knowledge, and possibly his (or her) "trade secret."  

Edited by LennieBriscoe
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I had an electric stove when I bought my house; converted to gas by running a line out to a 60lb propane tank under my deck and it was fairly inexpensive IIRC .

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I'm always amazed what becomes a hot topic each episode. I grew up with electric stoves and was sort of afraid of the whole gas stove thing -- lighting the burners, leaving the gas on but not the heat, etc. Then I moved to NYC which is nothing but old gas stoves in their apartments. (Maybe the newer developments don't have gas stoves as much? IDK, don't come for me.) Anyway, much like how I learned to drive an automatic transmission car before I jumped over to manual, I now am a full-fledged devotee of gas stoves and resent cooking on electric whenever I have to. My mom is an insanely good cook, so she's made electric work for her for decades, so no shade against electric. But I personally feel way more attuned to gas stoves and felt for the chefs on that one. Once you get used to it, it's like cooking with handcuffs on or something. Just like an automatic transmission feels like you're driving with safety wheels.

In short, if I wasn't so terribly out of shape and hate being filmed, especially during sleep deprivation, I could totally do Amazing Race! .. Minus anything having to do with heights as well.

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21 hours ago, Msample said:

I had an electric stove when I bought my house; converted to gas by running a line out to a 60lb propane tank under my deck and it was fairly inexpensive IIRC .

The problem in my house is where the kitchen is relative to where the tank would have to go, and that made it more expensive.  It would have been much easier if the kitchen were in the back of the house like most houses and the stove was on that back wall, but that's nowhere near the case for me, unfortunately.  I don't even have a water line to my fridge for the same reason.  Running a water line to where the fridge is would be a major undertaking and even our trusted plumber didn't recommend it.  This house was completely renovated 15 years ago and the kitchen is not where it was originally.

5 hours ago, Rai said:

I'm always amazed what becomes a hot topic each episode. I grew up with electric stoves and was sort of afraid of the whole gas stove thing -- lighting the burners, leaving the gas on but not the heat, etc. Then I moved to NYC which is nothing but old gas stoves in their apartments. (Maybe the newer developments don't have gas stoves as much? IDK, don't come for me.)

What I have found after decades of looking at real estate is that it depends on whether an area has gas lines as to what the default generally is.  Because NYC has gas and people that cook actually prefer gas, that's what is most common.  Some areas don't have gas lines, especially out in the country so the default is electric.

Edited by Yeah No
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I know on HGTV everyone is always freaking out that they need a gas stove but I don't think I've ever used one in my life.  I'm definitely not a chef, though.  

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On 5/28/2021 at 3:18 PM, Ms Blue Jay said:

 Fred and Carrie have no known expertise in food, they were purely brought on for their Portlandia connection.

As interviews indicate they both are pretty into food and a lot of the sketches of Portlandia were focused on food. Fred also wasn’t the credited writer, that was Seth Meyers, but he was deeply involved in the writing and starred in the hysterical and spot on tribute to Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Juan Likes Rice and Chicken, on his other critically acclaimed show Documentary Now! 

Edited by biakbiak
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On 5/28/2021 at 10:39 AM, vb68 said:

Padma was so annoyed by him and Carrie. I don't think she's a fan. The way she cleared her throat and semi-glared was hilarious. I have never seen her be less than chummy with celebrity guest judges before now.

That was a scripted comedy bit. She wasn’t actually annoyed by them… 

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6 hours ago, Cotypubby said:

That was a scripted comedy bit. She wasn’t actually annoyed by them… 

Regarding Padma not being chummy: anyone remember cute and useless Logan Paul, or whatever his name was?

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10 hours ago, biakbiak said:

As interviews indicate they both are pretty into food and a lot of the sketches of Portlandia were focused on food. Fred also wasn’t the credited writer, that was Seth Meyers, but he was deeply involved in the writing and starred in the hysterical and spot on tribute to Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Juan Likes Rice and Chicken, on his other critically acclaimed show Documentary Now! 

Almost everyone is into food.  I just meant that they're not chefs.  They're known as comedians.  So, it makes sense for them to do "schtick".  My post was in response to someone being upset that they were doing a comedic bit.

Edited by Ms Blue Jay
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Oh! Juan Likes Rice and Chicken is so funny. My husband and I are big Documentary Now fans. I forgot about that one.

So-this episode was really boring to me. This one, and the drive in movie episode, and the feeding first responders. All three episodes made me zone out. Maybe not enough food porn or backgrounds? I think I like the episodes where they make beautiful food and film somewhere gorgeous or interesting.

I do appreciate that these are nice chefs, and there is not a lot of producer shenanigans going on to create drama...but maybe I wouldn't mind a tiny bit of drama. I truly like all of these people and will be sad to see any of them go.

Chris seems like a lovely fellow-just like the rest of the cast-but what on earth is wrong with him that he keeps making crappy pasta? Dude, the judges do not think highly of your pasta skills. Move on! Wow us and them with something else. He richly deserved to go. He literally frustrated me like a child who persists in doing something stupid after you warn them MORE THAN ONCE. Don't make me pull this car over, Chris. Cook something else!

Top Chef is my relaxing happy place. And I guess I need relaxing and happy more this year than most so I'm not complaining that some of the episodes are boring this season. But I am going to pay attention to see what makes me really engage more than this last episode. Chef's table episode was great.

 

Edited by Heathrowe
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1 hour ago, Heathrowe said:

Oh! Juan Likes Rice and Chicken is so funny. My husband and I are big Documentary Now fans. I forgot about that one.

That's immediately what I thought of when Fred showed up.  I think it deserved a shout out.  It's an almost perfect 30 minutes of TV.  By far my favorite thing Fred has ever done.

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This was probably my favorite episode of Top Chef ever!!! I loved the Elimination Challenge and hope they keep it in the future like Restaurant Wars. I said it a few episodes but it bears repeating, the Alumni Cheftestants are really making this season a delight to watch and I hope they're utilized much more in the future. Even Blais seems more chilled out with his fellow alumni there. 

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On 5/28/2021 at 8:47 AM, OoogleEyes said:

I'm kind of insulted by this "recipe" challenge. We home cooks are not THAT stupid.  ...

 

Yes.  I'm watching it now and I feel somewhat insulted.  Richard Blais says it has to be something simple enough that the home chef can handle it.  So arrogant.  No, you write that recipe well enough and even I, a lowly ignorant home chef, can execute it.  See Child, Julia.  Mastering the Art of French Cooking.   

Dawn thinks I need to be told to grab a bowl, grab a spoon.  Right, 'cause usually I just pour the stuff on the counter and swirl it around with my hand.

 

Mmmph.

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21 hours ago, candall said:

So arrogant.

I don't think it's arrogant. I think it's realistic.  I remember reading a recipe online from The Chew for a soup which called for white kidney beans.  In the Facebook comments section, there were questions about what you could substitute for white beans.  Could you use black beans?  Garbanzo beans?  Navy beans?  Cannellini beans (even though they're the same thing)?  All of this consternation about what beans to put in a soup which is the most basic "anything goes" type of dish.

I point that out because it showed me just how nervous people were about cooking in general even if it was about something I saw as very basic. 

That's why Richard was explaining that they needed to keep it simple and explicit.  To be that explicit for experienced cooks will cost the recipe writer nothing.  It will cost the experienced cooks nothing. They'll get good results regardless. The poor to mediocre cook will not. 

Plus, there are types of equipment, techniques, and feel that come with cooking that a lot that most home cooks will not have developed. 

 

Edited by Irlandesa
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19 hours ago, Irlandesa said:

Plus, there are types of equipment, techniques, and feel that come with cooking with a lot that most home cooks will not have developed. 

Or not want to buy a gazillion different ingredients for one dish. 

Also, I do have to say as someone who used to routinely read the comments sections on a variety of different food websites and cooking communities a ton of home chefs* do in fact have issues with recipes that aren’t explicit at every step.
 

*not all home cooks, I am a home cook, but many, many, many, many home cooks and those that have issues with a recipe send the complaints.

eta: a fun podcast for home cooks is David Chang’s Recipe Club podcast where he and chef/recipe writers use googleable recipes for a ton of ingredients/dishes from spam to okra to biscuits in a can and see how they all deal with written recipes! 

Last edit I promise but the latest episode of RC, which is Spam, includes a recipe from Sheldon’s cookbook (spoiler alert they all thought it was a well written recipe, the other two not so much)!

https://overcast.fm/+l0weTl-LU

Edited by biakbiak
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