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S18.E13: Shellfishly Delicious

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I really wanted them to award Shota something for winning the challenge. I felt the "Sushi two ways" knock on him was manufactured to find a way to criticize him and make things seem less obvious for this particular episode. 

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Agreed - Shota's 2 dishes were the ONLY two dishes to receive 0 real criticism. Both Dawn and Gabe were at risk to go home because of their mistakes, and yet production gave them a pass. Was this on purpose bc they didn't want to send someone home (again for the 5th time) for something they could have easily gone home for?  

 

I'm confused by this position. Dawn failed to get a component on the plate that supposedly was very good and that would have improved a dish that all the judges loved and Kwame said might have been the best thing he ate all season..... and that is bad. On the other hand, Shota decided not to put a component out because it wasn't good or at least wasn't up to his standards. In other words Shota screwed up the cooking part of his dish and that's ok because he chose not to plate it, but Dawn faces criticism for screwing up her time management and not getting a well made component on the plate.....so, screwing up cooking is ok, but screwing up timing is bad??????? And I have a hunch Shota's dish would have gotten some "real criticism" if he had not elected not to plate part of what he advertised as sushi 2 ways.

Given the quality of the dishes and the minor errors that were made, along with the kinder and gentler season we have seen with all the cheftestants playing nicely in the sandbox, I get the thinking in not sending anyone home for really strong dishes....but they have made tough calls in the past and I am surprised that they didn't make one here. Perhaps it was the disagreement on the impact of the sunchokes and how superfluous Dawn's extra components were and the missing sushi that made it really an amuse and not a whole dish and whether Gabe's cold component was cold enough and forgetting a tortilla ....see each one had some blips that were very, very minor. By the way, why didn't Gabe just cut one of the tortilla's in half and give half to each!

I like all 3 as cheftestants and they are all appealing on the screen (without commenting on whatever Gabe's issues are) and Dawn's food is what I enjoy the most. All that being said, I would LOVE to try Shota's food since I have not had the chance to experience Japanese cuisine with that level of finesse and sophistication.

By the way, who did Brooke piss off-they had her out there clamming in the cold and rain at 6am and then standing under those see-thru umbrellas in the wind and rain a few hours later!

Edited by AriAu
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My pics from episode 1 to make it to the end were Shota and Dawn along with Gabriel, so two out of three ain't bad.

Based on the editing, it definitely felt like Dawn was leaving but I remember that they didn't bring anyone back from Last Chance Kitchen, so I guess that left room for everybody. (Even though I'm against the concept of Last Chance Kitchen, I would have liked to see Sasha come back, but Sara had to ruin that. SARA RUINS EVERYTHING!!!)

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15 minutes ago, WearyTraveler said:

So, at that point he had to decide whether to short-change all the diners by reducing their tortilla portions but making all plates consistent,  short-changed two diners by reducing one portion of tortilla in one plate and be dinged for consistency, or short-changed one diner who would probably get a piece of tortilla from a considerate neighboring diner (which is what happened) and still be dinged for consistency.

We know what he chose to do. His reasoning is not completely clear as to why he made that choice, but I suspect in the rush to plating, he didn't have much time to think about it.

I may have missed something, but I don’t think we saw Gabe making these deliberations, rather than lamenting that he was now a tortilla short. I'm not sure he really had or took the time to think through those other options. In an ideal scenario, he’d have made a few extra tortillas, but he was running behind in his prep and made all the tortillas at the last minute. 

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7 minutes ago, caitmcg said:

I may have missed something, but I don’t think we saw Gabe making these deliberations, rather than lamenting that he was now a tortilla short. I'm not sure he really had or took the time to think through those other options. In an ideal scenario, he’d have made a few extra tortillas, but he was running behind in his prep and made all the tortillas at the last minute. 

Which is why I said: 

28 minutes ago, WearyTraveler said:

His reasoning is not completely clear as to why he made that choice, but I suspect in the rush to plating, he didn't have much time to think about it.

 

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On 6/25/2021 at 10:00 AM, dleighg said:

In my experience a lobster roll ANYWHERE in those states is at least $15 or $20.

Yup...I've lived in Maine since 1998, which was about the only time I ever saw a lobster roll for less than 15.00 (American or Canadian. And since I live within 2 hours of the New Brunswick border crossing,  I hate to say that I've only had one Maine Lobster roll that equals what I've had in Canada in terms of taste, presentation and price. Sad, that. Side note - my DH's father, who was born in 1919 often told us how when he was a kid growing up on the coast of Maine, lobster were regarded as garbage bottom feeders and thrown away or used as bait for more desirable seafood. Funny how things change.

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2 minutes ago, becauseIsaidso said:

Yup...I've lived in Maine since 1998, which was about the only time I ever saw a lobster roll for less than 15.00 (American or Canadian. And since I live within 2 hours of the New Brunswick border crossing,  I hate to say that I've only had one Maine Lobster roll that equals what I've had in Canada in terms of taste, presentation and price. Sad, that. Side note - my DH's father, who was born in 1919 often told us how when he was a kid growing up on the coast of Maine, lobster were regarded as garbage bottom feeders and thrown away or used as bait for more desirable seafood. Funny how things change.

Yeah. If was fed to prisoners since it was so cheap.

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On 6/25/2021 at 1:12 PM, seacliffsal said:

Sigh-it appears to be just me, but I was disappointed that all three are moving on as it seems to lessen the importance of the challenge.  If the plan was that all three would move on, then make it a challenge for a prize (money or otherwise).  It also seems misleading to me as a viewer.  I know most competition shows have instances of "everyone's a winner, nobody is losing..." but it just seems to lessen my interest as a viewer (why was I on the edge of my seat for...nothing?).  It's not that I wanted a specific contestant to go home, it's just that I wanted the best two chefs to move on to the finale (and, no, I don't buy that there was no way to chose between Dawn and Gabe for elimination).  Okay, maybe I'm just being grumpy...

No, you're not being grumpy at all. I was looking forward to there being an actual elimination instead of a hype-fake-suspense-driven-announcement. I would have chosen Dawn over Gabe simply because her food, as another poster referred to and as the judges actually said, makes they happy! Gabe seems to have cooked some really good food, but his delivery just seems (to me) flat and somewhat mechanical.

Lately, I don't get to travel as much as I would like, but one of my prime reasons for venturing out to other cultures is the FOOD! I have learned more about Southern US (New Orleans) England, Ireland, Scotland( Haggis!), Wales, Italy, Spain (Catalan & otherwise), Thailand, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and have felt I gained a better sense of the people through the food I have enjoyed - not just main stream, but all those little out of the way mom and pop restaurants (Thailand!!!! so wonderful especially the busy street venders! and Sweden with a chef foraged nettle soup and jack-fruit main course with onion sauce - OUT OF THIS WORLD!; and the  Demi Luna restaurant in Mont Marte, Paris for my very first authentic beouf bourguignoin and the 'sandwich shop in Bergen which reminded us they were served open face - and were fantastic!). I believe I come to a better understanding of the culture through their food. And this season at least, I would LOVE to taste Shota's.

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27 minutes ago, gorgy said:

Yeah. If was fed to prisoners since it was so cheap.

I did not know that! Wow!

I can't help but wonder  how it was served. Knowing what I now know of the people here, it must have been as cheaply and simply as possible - ironic that such prep showcases the protein to it's best advantage. Makes me wonder HOW these self-righteous Mainers finally discovered how lovely a dish lobster makes!

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38 minutes ago, becauseIsaidso said:

Lately, I don't get to travel as much as I would like, but one of my prime reasons for venturing out to other cultures is the FOOD! I have learned more about Southern US (New Orleans) England, Ireland, Scotland( Haggis!), Wales, Italy, Spain (Catalan & otherwise), Thailand, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and have felt I gained a better sense of the people through the food I have enjoyed - not just main stream, but all those little out of the way mom and pop restaurants (Thailand!!!! so wonderful especially the busy street venders! and Sweden with a chef foraged nettle soup and jack-fruit main course with onion sauce - OUT OF THIS WORLD!; and the  Demi Luna restaurant in Mont Marte, Paris for my very first authentic beouf bourguignoin and the 'sandwich shop in Bergen which reminded us they were served open face - and were fantastic!). I believe I come to a better understanding of the culture through their food. And this season at least, I would LOVE to taste Shota's.

OK, you just made me salivate. 

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One of the biggest compliments to Dawn’s hot crab dish was when one of the guest judge’s mentioned how much James Beard himself would have loved Dawn’s food, and several judges murmured agreement. Since this episode was focused on honoring James Beard, having the judges note how much he would have loved the dish seems high praise indeed.

Dawn is clearly a fantastic chef, and that is why she is going to the finals!

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I think Dawn's time management woes come down to her not being willing to compromise her flavors, which everyone seems to love. As she was saying to Gabe at the end of this episode, each of her components has a lot of elements/ingredients/techniques that take time even on a seemingly "simple" dish. She's not really cut out for timed competition, and the idea of editing her dishes to fit within the imposed parameters of Top Chef is hard. She probably did not realize how difficult this would be when she signed up, and I think she has actually improved a bit within this short time frame even though it's still a struggle for her.

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5 hours ago, WearyTraveler said:

I agree with the posters who theorize that they were planning for a final three all along, since they were expecting someone to come back from LCK, so this episode was supposed to have 4 competitors instead of 3. As I see it, they could have still chosen to go forward with only 2, but couldn't cut anyone on taste alone, and all 3 competitors had execution flaws:

1) Shota: portion size of his cold dish

2) Gabe: temperature of his cold dish and not making enough dough to replace the damaged tortilla

3) Dawn: not having a starch element for her hot dish sauce and rushed plating with splattered sauce as mentioned by the judges.

Gabe actually had a third issue in that several of the judges thought the Jerusalem Artichokes were bitter and overpowered the crab, which the chefs were specifically told to make the star of the dish.

5 hours ago, caitmcg said:

I may have missed something, but I don’t think we saw Gabe making these deliberations, rather than lamenting that he was now a tortilla short. I'm not sure he really had or took the time to think through those other options. In an ideal scenario, he’d have made a few extra tortillas, but he was running behind in his prep and made all the tortillas at the last minute. 

Hmm, sounds like a time management issue to me.

59 minutes ago, NYCFree said:

One of the biggest compliments to Dawn’s hot crab dish was when one of the guest judge’s mentioned how much James Beard himself would have loved Dawn’s food, and several judges murmured agreement. Since this episode was focused on honoring James Beard, having the judges note how much he would have loved the dish seems high praise indeed.

Dawn is clearly a fantastic chef, and that is why she is going to the finals!

In the Alice Waters video chat with Tom and the remaining cheftestants, Gabe asked Ms. Waters directly what James Beard's favorite way to enjoy Dungeness Crab was and she said that he'd tie on a bib and get his hands dirty. Dawn's dish followed her direction.

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On 6/25/2021 at 1:13 PM, biakbiak said:

You’re not serving hot rice in sushi, so he had time to rethink. At judges table he acknowledged it never occurred to him to try to flip the dish to meet the criteria that he had set for himself. 

Yup, for those who claim that the only person to criticize Shota for the cold dish seems to forget Padma started with him and pointed out how he was supposed to have two ways.  And I believe it was Nina who asked Shota about trying to pivot and do something without rice.  In other words the lack of a second item was something they did note and feel was a negative.  And for those claiming Kwame is jealous about Shota should also give Kwame an Oscar for his presentation of Shota as the winner, and giving pointed praise as to why.

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I don’t eat seafood so can’t comment on the dishes but I was VERY excited to see Cannon Beach.  I just watched the episode after getting back last night from a five day road trip all the way up I5 from San Diego to Seattle and back again.  I drove up with my son, and we detoured to Cannon Beach to wishfully see sunset at Haystack Rock.  It was misty and foggy, but way better than the weather during the taping!  We had dinner in Cannon Beach but not at that resort or restaurant.  Then we stayed the night in Astoria but didn’t go to the co op LOL.  It was so exciting to see the locations we had just been to.

 

Then I drove back south with my husband, and we stopped for lunch on Thursday at Willamette Valley Vineyards, where we had a lovely meal on the lawn overlooking the vineyard.  And now I know how to pronounce Willamette - if it really is correct to put the accent on the second syllable.

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Having family in Astoria Queens, it confused me to see the Astoria market and whatnot in Oregon. Astoria is in NY. 😀

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17 hours ago, hendersonrocks said:

The anti-Blackness is really jumping out in some of these comments about Dawn and Kwame. 

 

So ... are we only allowed to criticize certain people and not others? 

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On 6/24/2021 at 9:40 PM, Angeleyes said:

I just finished Kwame’s book Notes From a Young Black Chef. His dad and other aspects of his growing up really hardened his personality. 

I didn't know he wrote I book (and I shouldn't be surprised as this seems to be a job requirement for any reality star), so I took a peek at the synopsis on Amazon.

{quote} "
By the time he was twenty-seven years old, Kwame Onwuachi (winner of the 2019 James Beard Foundation Award for Rising Star Chef of the Year) had opened—and closed—one of the most talked about restaurants in America. He had launched his own catering company with twenty thousand dollars that he made from selling candy on the subway, yet he’d been told he would never make it on television because his cooking wasn’t “Southern” enough. In this inspiring memoir about the intersection of race, fame, and food, he shares the remarkable story of his culinary coming-of-age." {end quote}

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Selling candy?? His own creation ??? Tax free?? Goodness , I didn't know working the subways was so lucrative...I.m partly jealous and partly want to be an investor💰

the authoritative powers here stopped peddling on the transit trains ( so the sign says), but a 20k side or main hustle, can really hurt a long term dream..

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6 hours ago, The Solution said:

Having family in Astoria Queens, it confused me to see the Astoria market and whatnot in Oregon. Astoria is in NY. 😀

Same Astor - John Jacob got around.

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On 6/24/2021 at 10:32 PM, marybennet said:

I’ve been having a mixed response to Kwame this season, too, and remember really liking him in his first season. Remember his crush on Padma and his fantasy of wooing her by buying her a dog?  Charming. He’s not funny the way he was sometimes then, and I miss that. But I read him as having a full of himself moment because of his successes—respected restaurant, good and well-regarded book, film adaptation, being played by Lakeith Stanfield. It can be hard to figure out for a while how to handle success. For me, it’s forgivable. YMMV. But I predict he’ll figure it out. 

What film/movie?? He starred in a film , or the film was about him? 

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Just now, sATL said:
On 6/24/2021 at 7:32 PM, marybennet said:

What film/movie?? He starred in a film , or the film was about him? 

They are making his memoir into a movie, it hasn’t started filming yet.

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On 6/25/2021 at 1:52 AM, Irlandesa said:

I'm glad all three are advancing because they all make food I'd like to try so I think the finale will be interesting.

If he doesn't win, it's because he's not Top Chef when it counts--the finale.

The true Top Chef shouldn't need an advantage going into the finale.  That's why they don't give out an advantage to the penultimate winner.

I thought when they go into the final, the last winner gets to pick sous chef first, or draw the knives first.

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On 6/26/2021 at 12:30 AM, Fukui San said:

On a different note, the Pacific Northwest is supposed to have 110 degree weather tomorrow and they are not set up for it and are not used to it. It could get bad for this place that looks so nice and lush and cool during this season. 

Is the hot weather good or bad for the crabs - being near the shoreline..? And then the water temp?

I have to be very careful eating all fish, so I found this episode educational. I didn't know what "going crabbing" really meant. digging 3 feet down a hole ( that didn't appear to be easy noticeable) , just to get one? Thinking maybe I should go get retested @ the dr, ie 2nd opinion, as I would love to taste a crab dish.

With that said, I wish the chefs had an helper, if only for 30 minutes to shell out the meat, if needed be for the main challenge. The challenge was to cook the crabs, two ways, not how fast one can shell. Dawn's dish had an advantage in that she left most of  the time consuming labor of cracking,  to the diners. I was ok with leaving off a fried sweet potato, as I thought crab boils had boiled white potatoes. bread/biscuit would have been a nice touch.

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19 hours ago, becauseIsaidso said:

Yup...I've lived in Maine since 1998, which was about the only time I ever saw a lobster roll for less than 15.00 (American or Canadian. And since I live within 2 hours of the New Brunswick border crossing,  I hate to say that I've only had one Maine Lobster roll that equals what I've had in Canada in terms of taste, presentation and price. Sad, that. Side note - my DH's father, who was born in 1919 often told us how when he was a kid growing up on the coast of Maine, lobster were regarded as garbage bottom feeders and thrown away or used as bait for more desirable seafood. Funny how things change.

My BiL is from Maine, and he said that it marked you as a "poor kid" if you had lobster in your lunch box. Were you in Presque Isle by any chance???

 

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11 hours ago, CatWarmer said:

And now I know how to pronounce Willamette - if it really is correct to put the accent on the second syllable.

Yep, that’s exactly right! 

7 hours ago, The Solution said:

Having family in Astoria Queens, it confused me to see the Astoria market and whatnot in Oregon. Astoria is in NY. 😀

 

1 hour ago, CatWarmer said:

Same Astor - John Jacob got around.

There’s an interesting book called Astoria by Peter Stark. It gets a little too editorial at times (with more supposition than I like in a historical narrative), but it does tell a rather nail-biting story of the spectacular failure of Astor’s venture to set up an empire out here on the Pacific coast. 

51 minutes ago, sATL said:

I thought when they go into the final, the last winner gets to pick sous chef first, or draw the knives first.

I thought so too. 

8 minutes ago, sATL said:

I have to be very careful eating all fish, so I found this episode educational. I didn't know what "going crabbing" really meant. digging 3 feet down a hole ( that didn't appear to be easy noticeable) , just to get one? Thinking maybe I should go get retested @ the dr, ie 2nd opinion, as I would love to taste a crab dish.

The crabbing was when they were in the boats pulling up traps. The digging part was for the QF (clams).

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On 6/25/2021 at 8:25 PM, Bastet said:

You're right, the diners had no idea the dish had been planned to include potatoes.  When the judges raved about it, but noted they'd have loved to have a biscuit or something to sop up more of that sauce, she told them she'd made potatoes to go with it, but didn't have time to plate them.

So she didn't have to out herself for running out of time again, but telling them about the planned potatoes told them she conceptualized the dish with a starchy element like they were hoping for, so I understand her thought process.  

A cheftestant will always be "outed" if she/he does not admit to leaving out an ingredient.  It's right there in the filmed tape and I'd think that Padma or Tom would surely have gotten that info in advance.  Honesty seems the ONLY policy at the dinner table.  No options, really.  🙃

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1 hour ago, sATL said:

I thought when they go into the final, the last winner gets to pick sous chef first, or draw the knives first.

That may very well be true.  But that's pretty much it. No major prize or extra time, I don't think.

38 minutes ago, TzuShih said:

Honesty seems the ONLY policy at the dinner table.  No options, really. 

Yep.  Because it's a TV show, they need drama.  So leaving something off of a plate, even if they would otherwise not expect it, will get mentioned.  But I also think they recognize what they would and would not know if it weren't for the fact that they're on a TV show.

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1 hour ago, TzuShih said:

A cheftestant will always be "outed" if she/he does not admit to leaving out an ingredient.  It's right there in the filmed tape and I'd think that Padma or Tom would surely have gotten that info in advance.  Honesty seems the ONLY policy at the dinner table.  No options, really.  🙃

Option: "I had cooked and planned on serving sweet potatoes with the crab, but when I tasted them, I realized that the flavor was strong and possibly too sweet.

I worried they would overpower the flavor of the crab. I wanted the crab and the sauce I prepared for you to shine, so I opted not to serve the sweet potatoes."

But, as I said much earlier in the thread, Dawn's a good person and volunteered that she just wasn't able to plate them in time.

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45 minutes ago, ProudMary said:

Option: "I had cooked and planned on serving sweet potatoes with the crab, but when I tasted them, I realized that the flavor was strong and possibly too sweet.

I worried they would overpower the flavor of the crab. I wanted the crab and the sauce I prepared for you to shine, so I opted not to serve the sweet potatoes."

But, as I said much earlier in the thread, Dawn's a good person and volunteered that she just wasn't able to plate them in time.

The same way she didn't say the sauce splatters on the plate were a purposeful homage to Jackson Pollock.  😉

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Aren't Padma & Tom executive producers of the show?  So they are going to be told everything that happens & probably view the footage. Contestants lying to them isn't going to work well, LOL.

Still, it was amusing hearing Padma try to cover for Dawn though, telling the others that her messy plates were surely intentional, even though just a quick look around and it was obvious that not all the plates were messy; some were quite clean.

Next week, will Padma say yet again to Dawn sheepishly for the 6th time regarding Dawn's missing items, "Oh, you've got to work on that. BUT YOU ARE TOP CHEF!!!"

Totally what's going to happen. Still think this season is a joke. 😄

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3 hours ago, SemiCharmedLife said:

The same way she didn't say the sauce splatters on the plate were a purposeful homage to Jackson Pollock.  😉

Remember that time when a chef put out a scrumptious plate of food but the judges sent them packing because the presentation was somewhat messy?

Yeah, me neither.

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On 6/25/2021 at 9:30 PM, Fukui San said:

On a different note, the Pacific Northwest is supposed to have 110 degree weather tomorrow and they are not set up for it and are not used to it. It could get bad for this place that looks so nice and lush and cool during this season. 

I live near Seattle, and it's miserable today!  We will break several records, including hottest day in June, probably three days in a row.  We have only had two 100+ days here in 80 years.  Tomorrow will almost certainly set an new all-time record.  One local weather blogger made the comment he never thought he'd see such temps in his lifetime here.  My cats look like throw rugs!  And most of us don't have AC.

I spent a lot of time at the beach, both Washington and Oregon coast, and have dug clams.  So this episode brought back great memories and I liked seeing the rain and fog.  Made me feel a bit cooler for the hour.

Wanting some fried clams.  We got razor claims, Grandma would dredge in cornmeal and pan fry 'em.

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11 hours ago, Figster said:

Aren't Padma & Tom executive producers of the show?  So they are going to be told everything that happens & probably view the footage. 

They may be told things by the producers, but I seriously doubt they’re seeing any same-day footage. The cameras get hours and hours of footage, and it’s not going to be edited on the fly.

Besides, executive producer credit is usually more about financial arrangements than hands-on production. 

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On 6/25/2021 at 9:30 PM, Fukui San said:

On a different note, the Pacific Northwest is supposed to have 110 degree weather tomorrow and they are not set up for it and are not used to it. It could get bad for this place that looks so nice and lush and cool during this season. 

We had close to 110 degree weather yesterday.  Today it's already hit 111 in my Portland suburb.  Tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer - maybe as high as 115.  Some people have a/c, but a lot do not.  It's still lush and green with gorgeous blue skies (check out the last day of coverage of US Olympic Track & Field Trials from Eugene to see just how beautiful it looks) but no one is going outside unless they're hitting the rivers, lakes and reservoirs to float and boat.  It's supposed to drop next week and the high temps might only be in the low/mid 90s for the holiday weekend, lol.
 

9 hours ago, CatWarmer said:

Same Astor - John Jacob got around.

 

8 hours ago, sharifa70 said:

There’s an interesting book called Astoria by Peter Stark. It gets a little too editorial at times (with more supposition than I like in a historical narrative), but it does tell a rather nail-biting story of the spectacular failure of Astor’s venture to set up an empire out here on the Pacific coast. 

Heh.  Let's be fair here.  He was in competition with the juggernaut that was the North West Company.  

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13 hours ago, sATL said:

I didn't know he wrote I book (and I shouldn't be surprised as this seems to be a job requirement for any reality star), so I took a peek at the synopsis on Amazon.

{quote} "
By the time he was twenty-seven years old, Kwame Onwuachi (winner of the 2019 James Beard Foundation Award for Rising Star Chef of the Year) had opened—and closed—one of the most talked about restaurants in America. He had launched his own catering company with twenty thousand dollars that he made from selling candy on the subway, yet he’d been told he would never make it on television because his cooking wasn’t “Southern” enough. In this inspiring memoir about the intersection of race, fame, and food, he shares the remarkable story of his culinary coming-of-age." {end quote}

-----------

Selling candy?? His own creation ??? Tax free?? Goodness , I didn't know working the subways was so lucrative...I.m partly jealous and partly want to be an investor💰

the authoritative powers here stopped peddling on the transit trains ( so the sign says), but a 20k side or main hustle, can really hurt a long term dream..

I don’t want to spoil too much of the book, but he only sold candy a short time and mostly made his money in other ways. Trust me, you do not want to go into the candy on the subway business as Kwame soon found out. 

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On 6/25/2021 at 4:11 PM, Ellee said:

I’m beginning to wonder if I’m the only one that likes these people and the personalities. 

You are not. I found it adorable when Shota was joking about the sound of Padma’s heels clicking as she walked to the stew room, and then when she showed up, all three chefs burst into giggles. I can’t remember the last time I described a final three on this show as “adorable”!

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I know I'm late on this so no one will read my brilliant irritation, but I thought Gabe clearly deserved to go.  Maybe I'm biased.  He made two critical errors, neither of which singly would have sent him home but together should have in this top three elimination.

The first was letting the root overrule the taste of the crab.  I mean, FFS, they went on and on and on and on about James Beard's love of the crab and how he'd practically marry a crab.  It doesn't matter how much you may have liked the root, it curb-stomped the purpose of the challenge, and not just MY purpose of the challenge, the purpose they set out at the start.

Second was of course leaving something off the plate.  I mean, I know they'd let Dawn go for this prior, but it was definitely earlier in the competition than TO GET INTO THE FINAL.

To Dawn: 

On 6/25/2021 at 4:31 AM, PackYourKnives said:

and her second dish to be sloppy and lacking a starch component to offset it. 

I'm sorry, this is simply not accurate.  They described it as sloppy as they very happily ate the dish.  They did not complain about it being sloppy, and we know the judges LOOOOOVE to complain.

Also, not one judge was looking for the starch component to "offset" anything, they were basically whining that they couldn't mop up the sauce like biscuits and gravy, because they loved the sauce.  It was - even before reading this thread - an irritating and honestly a bit of a fake complaint, IMO.  My wife said at the time "Ask your waitress for more bread, then."  The fact that Dawn didn't think that fast on her feet and had said in response "You know, I was going to add a potato, but I decided to just let the crab stand on its own." is an easy complaint for me to make, but if she had, the judges wouldn't have said boo.

It was pretty clear from the edit no one was going, and I have really loved this season (the complaints about Dawn and the show's credibility are somewhat... operatic), but a three-person final has been my first demerit so far.

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On 6/26/2021 at 1:57 PM, WearyTraveler said:

As anyone who cooks tortillas knows, they are the last thing you cook before plating, so we can be relatively sure that at the point that tortilla got ruined, he couldn't have made extra dough to replace it.

I guess I was sorta wondering if the melting was the entire flat surface and ruined literally the ENTIRE tortilla.  Like, if he had maybe melted linen on one-half the tortilla, just cut that part out and send it off.  Maybe one of the more airheaded judges would have gotten it!

Of course, that may not have been possible, but I did wonder.

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Late to this party this week - It took me an hour or more to catch up on this thread, but it was worth it from the thoughtfulness of the posts.

I think the judges have had a hard time this season because Dawn's food is spectacular and in light of that they feel like a few technical errors are not enough to warrant sending her home.  Saying her food would have been loved by James Beard is an extremely high compliment.  I am still firmly on Team Dawn even though I acknowledge that she's got time management issues.  In the real world she would never be leaving food off the pate, so I'm having a hard time holding any of it against her as a chef.

Also, I agree with the assessment that the chefs were simply not given enough time for this challenge because of the time involved in prepping the crab.  That's why all three of them had time management issues.  Each of them manifested those issues differently.  If they had had more time they wouldn't have had their specific issues and would have found a way to correct them before they had to present their dishes.

To the anti-blackness issue, I'm not seeing it here.  I love Dawn but have to acknowledge her shortcomings.  If Shota won this season I would see it as fair.  I don't know what's up with Kwame but I am one person who loved him during his season but is having a hard time loving him in this one.  So I'm just not seeing anti-blackness here.

As to this episode in general, it touched me in a very personal way because my mother, a brilliant cook and reader of all things culinary related died 20 years ago this month.  She was a huge James Beard fan since day one and her absolute favorite seafood other than lobster was Dungeness Crab.  I only wish she could have seen this episode.  I picture her, James Beard and Julia Child watching it from heaven.  I inherited some of his books from her and cut-outs of his column from the New York Times.

As to Maine lobster roll, I have actually never been impressed with it when having it in Maine itself, and I've had enough of them to finally reach that conclusion.  The locals seem to take letting the seafood itself shine to the extent of pretty much not adding any seasoning to it whatsoever.  While I love letting the seafood be the star, I do think it should be seasoned to some extent.  I prefer the lobster rolls here in CT.  I am a big fan of the hot buttered lobster roll, although the mayo kind can be good too.

This challenge made me and my husband decide to go down to the shore for some seafood this week, LOL.

Just one more comment - I am struck by how humble and congenial the cast was this season and what a stark contrast that is to some other seasons.  We need more seasons like this one and more chefs like these.  After the horrible year we all had this is for sure a breath of fresh air.

 

 

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For those of you concerned about the high temperatures,  don't worry,  they filmed last September/October.  (If you like, you can send your concern my way - it's currently 5:30 am and 90 degrees in my un-airconditioned apartment here in Portland.)

Nice to see them celebrating with an Oregon "champagne" at the end - Argyle.

I was curious as to where Shota got some of his more esoteric ingredients. Then I noticed in the credits they have a "culinary shopper".

 

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1 hour ago, Lassus said:

Like, if he had maybe melted linen on one-half the tortilla, just cut that part out and send it off. 

I have wondered more than once how the hell LINEN MELTS???? (And I have this nifty tortilla warmer/keeper than I got from Amazon for under ten bucks. Maybe Gabe outta invest in one)

 

57 minutes ago, Yeah No said:

As to Maine lobster roll, I have actually never been impressed with it when having it in Maine itself, and I've had enough of them to finally reach that conclusion. 

I just had an awesome hot lobster roll in Massachusetts, in a touristy town north of Boston two weeks ago. $28! But very yummy. This was at a sit down restaurant, but I noticed that the same company was selling them for the same price at a walk-up "shack" just up the road. I definitely prefer hot, on a toasted roll with butter. Yum.

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Yeah I actually felt that the challenge was pretty difficult especially with the time management with the crab.

I was actually surprised none of them cut themselves.  I guess I'm pretty accident prone, but shelling crab is a nightmare.

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15 hours ago, dleighg said:

I have wondered more than once how the hell LINEN MELTS???? 

I’ve been thinking about this, too, since I don’t think of linen as a melting fabric. I think he’s using “linen” not to refer to the specific fabric but to the word as it means household cloth goods (as in linen closet, a space in which not everything is made of linen). A napkin with polyester in it might melt. (Okay. I thought about this way too hard.)

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2 hours ago, marybennet said:

I’ve been thinking about this, too, since I don’t think of linen as a melting fabric. I think he’s using “linen” not to refer to the specific fabric but to the word as it means household cloth goods (as in linen closet, a space in which not everything is made of linen). A napkin with polyester in it might melt. (Okay. I thought about this way too hard.)

Have you never burned a hot pad or seen a dishtowel catch fire from a burner?  

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2 minutes ago, HighQueenEB said:

Have you never burned a hot pad or seen a dishtowel catch fire from a burner?  

I think it's the weird wording of "melting linen" that is causing head scratching.

(By the way, it's almost 1am in Oregon.  Why are you still up?  :-)  Come to think of it, why am I?)

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We had close to 110 degree weather yesterday.  Today it's already hit 111 in my Portland suburb.  Tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer - maybe as high as 115. 

Somebody at the DoT had too much time at work:

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On 6/24/2021 at 8:22 PM, rlc said:

Was Kwame always this much of a dick? I remember liking him on his season. Not so much anymore…

I’m okay with them not sending anyone home. It would have been unfair to penalize someone for not getting something on the plate when passes were given all season. Apart from being deathly allergic to crab, I would have happily eaten any of those dishes.

About Kwame, I actually see his obnoxious behaviour having more to do with his personal failures, and maybe some level of youthful immaturity, one hopes. Does anyone rememember when he was funded by BIG-money restauranteurs to open a tasting-menu restaurant in DC, shortly after his first season on Top Chef? It failed terribly, and they made desparate moves to change the menu in the two weeks before it closed, less than a couple months after it opened. It was one of the worst big-money failures on a new chef in modern history. And he tried to walk it off in the press like he was a black man being made to cook the white man's food. Nothing on his menu ever read that way. He was a liar and an insecure loser. And I think that is the same annoying personality we're being forced to see as a judge this season on Top Chef. He straight-up has an axe to grind, and it's totally unfounded.

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If you're not going to invite Marcel to be a judge this season, then let's please not have to watch a child like Kwame be unpleasant in my home on my TV. We don't want his vibes in here. I don't want Marcel, either. That's the point. Kwame, stay at home and throw a tantrum with your toys. We don't want to see it while the adults interract.

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On 6/25/2021 at 7:00 PM, mlp said:

The difference is that Shota leaving something off wasn't an error.  It was a deliberate decision on his part.  He had the smarts to not plate something he knew wouldn't pass muster.  

It still was an error; it just wasn't an error due to time.  Shota's error could actually be considered worse.  The judges loved Gabe's tortilla's.  Unsure how Dawn's potatoes tasted, but it's probably hard to screw up a potato and I don't think the judges once ever said they disliked the flavor of any of her dishes.  Shota prepared a dish that he said didn't taste good which is why it was left off.

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