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S01.E05: Fine Dining Brunch

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2 observations:

  • this is the coffee table book equivalent of a cooking show - all pretty pictures, no recipes
  • everything goes with brunch. It feels like food truck challenge dishes, but with white tablecloths and proper silverware. And booze.
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Every cooking competition show inevitably runs into the problem that if everyone cooks at the same time and stops at the same time, then some of the food will be cold or at least old by the time the judges can get to it. But it struck me as somehow worse this episode when they're divided into teams and making three course meals. (As far as I know, every show just quietly agrees to judge as if the food was hot??? Seems suboptimal to me.)

Mason definitely seemed like the weakest cheftestant left, both for the dishes this ep as well as previous performance. Specifically for the arancini amuse, I think the problem is that arancini are typically larger and shrinking it to fit the one-bite mandate means the breading to rice ball ratio is thrown off as a natural consequence of making the whole thing smaller.

I feel like a raw oyster and some caviar is definitely in the "you shopped, rather than cooked" vein of criticism that sank Daniel in an earlier episode. Like, it's not like a cooked oyster is better and I guess shucking an oyster demands a little more skill than slicing a bagel. But still. A raw oyster dish basically lives and dies on its garnishes, which J did cook.

I guess Dan is the most famous of the three hosts, but I wish they'd send Will or Sohla in to the kitchen interviews more often. Both just know food more.

The losing team's lack of concept -- with the excuse that the food was a decrescendo -- was a shame. Even after setting expectations, it seems like the judges didn't like the concept of dishes getting more subtle sequentially.

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