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S01.E08: Stephanie Izard vs. Kristen Kish

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A culinary showdown feathers Stephanie Izard and Kristen Kish.  Here, Kristin is tasked with preparing Thai cuisine, and Stephanie must plate an upscale pasta dish.

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I suspect they didn't put Stephanie against Blais, despite all the obvious High Drama and Good TV aspects of that pairing, because she would have kicked his ass all the way to Cleveland.  Unless they're saving that for the Dramatic Finale.

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I love them both, and I'd be perfectly happy watch either of them kick Blais all the way to Cleveland. I'm giving the edge to Kristen, though, since she's just starting out, and then he can whine about being robbed by both of them.

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Yippee!!! I still love calm and relaxed Stephanie and she can still bring it when it counts. I hated that they felt the need to segregate the two female winners. I cheered when Stephanie talked about just wanting to be known as a chef, not a female chef. But Michelle Bernstein and Hugh Acheson together on my tv? No.

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Running below the mutual respect and curiosity, there was a strange undercurrent of arch hostility coming from both of the chefs tonight.  Weird, the ones I would have least expected it from--they both seemed defensive, like it was Culinary Perspectives Showdown: Only One Can Survive.

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Huh, I remember liking Kristen during her season. I wonder what happened.

 

They should take Michelle Bernstein & Wolfgang Puck & lock them in a room together so they can tell each other their sexual innuendos & the rest of us don't have to deal with them.

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I hated that they felt the need to segregate the two female winners.

 

 

I initially thought this, too, but then I figured maybe they were hedging their bets to ensure there were women in the finale. I didn't like the match-up only because I really like both chefs so I hated to see one lose. Unlike some of the past cheftestants that they've touted as "emperors," Stephanie is genuinely successful. Girl and the Goat still remains a difficult reservation to get, even years after it opened. The last time I was there the food was really great.

 

I remember Michelle judging Kristen in Seattle....right? Is it fair to bring back judges who've already judged a TC contestant in the past?

 

 

I don't recall if Berstein did judge Kristen in her season, but even if this is so, it seems it happens a lot (though of course that's just my impression and I have a terrible memory). In any event, I don't think there's anything unfair about it. They've had situations where former employers were judging contestants, and that seems to me to be much more dodgy.

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I thought they both looked wildly uncomfortable with the forced trash talk. I also think it was kind of tacky to give the chef who just came out a challenge on the binary nature of sexuality. And, I don't think I like Michelle Bernstein any more. People who get all gleeful about how transgressive they are should really not talk about sex in casual conversation. Curtis Stone, on the other hand, should probably only talk to his wife about it.

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They should take Michelle Bernstein & Wolfgang Puck & lock them in a room together so they can tell each other their sexual innuendos & the rest of us don't have to deal with them.

 

Oh lordy no.  It's conceivable they could breed.

 

Steph apparently made a killer main course surrounded by two meh-to-ick courses, Kristen was solid all the way through, and i don't remember anyone actually disliking anything she made.  It really does make me think Steph vs. Blaise hangs heavy on the producer's minds.  I hope Kristen can whip the others in the aftershow.

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 I like to see variety in the judges, even if I don't particularly like their personalities.  They each bring a different perspective.  

 

The trash talking is definitely set up by production; they didn't look comfortable with it.  

 

I wanted to eat Stephanie's entree badly and, of course, there is no recipe on the site.  

 

I didn't have a doubt that Stephanie won before it was announced.  When they were talking, after the meal, they edited out any talk about the appetizer and since it was clear Stephanie walked away with the entree round. Though Kristin's was prettier, they preferred Stephanie's.  The dessert round is never a deciding factor with chef judges knowing it is not something in their skill set. 

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Well I thought that was fun, although I wish they hadn't put Kristen and Stephanie up against each other I was fine with the result. I thought the first course was closer to a tie, it wasn't even close on the second course and that whereas they clearly hated Stephanie's muddled dessert, Kristen's pseudo-sundae was just adequate. Curtis commented on her ice-cream being very velvety and smooth, but that was about the only actual praise. I think it was good and passable, but not anything truly wonderful in their eyes. Stephanie's second-course apparently was.

I'm assuming that Kristen will now proceed to march through all comers on The Knockout and return for the finale.

I like both chefs, agree that the faux-trash-talk didn't come easily to either, but it also was so soundly lacking in any real venom it just came off as jokey and pretend. It was at least a little lead-footed that the only two female winners of Top Chef were asked to do something with Phallus Aplenty, but that's the production team for you.

It was clearly very close and I had a lot of fun seeing them both. I do love Stephanie's personality though and want to see her roll forward, and directly over Blais for all time.

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I really adored Kristin on her original season, but her personality seemed a bit off or different on this show.  I was really disappointed and ended up switching to Team Stephanie.  Maybe this show isn't as heavily edited or something?  Anyway, I've enjoyed this series over all and like being able to focus on just two chefs.  I also like the quality of the chefs overall.

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When the masculine/feminine part of the challenge was announced I didn't interpret it as anything sexual. In fact I thought the chefs might prepare something with a flowery element and a rougher element, or something incorporating typically feminine and masculine colors. I was surprised that both of the chefs leaned more towards the reproductive organs.

 

I found it odd that Kristen plates every single dish with tweezers. Is this normal?

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Running below the mutual respect and curiosity, there was a strange undercurrent of arch hostility coming from both of the chefs tonight.

 

It's funny, I didn't sense this. On the other hand, I did sense that neither of them were really comfortable with the bull shitting and trash talking that the editing monkeys seemed to want and I have no doubt created from little snippets of taped conversation.

 

I'm a big Stephanie and I do enjoy her food very much-very accessible and I don't feel a real need to eat any dish that needed tweezers to be plated. I liked Kristen a lot from Seattle and again on this show, but I think she does not have the creativity and clear vision that Stephanie has.

 

The Magic Elves LOOOOOVVVVEEEE MIchelle Bernstein and I have never understood why. Her restaurants are not that highly regarded, but she has certainly made a name for herself and that huge grin has taken her far.

Edited by AriAu
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I could not love Stephanie more. She's quietly successful, Girl and the Goat is absolutely fabulous (going to Chicago next weekend, hoping to try Little Goat!), and she's a fellow Michigan alum.  I like Kristen too, but Stephanie's personality is very lovable and knowing first hand that her food is really special helps my opinion of her.  And she's right, though G&tG is extremely popular and always packed, it's also very cosy, friendly, and reasonably priced, especially for the quality.

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A bit of forced drama here.  Kristen is a solid chef, but she was facing a multiple award winning chef, who might even qualify for Top Chef Masters these days.  Even with the dessert round I bet Stephanie's result wasn't as bad as they made it sound--they milked those comments a bit to create the drama.  I think it was two rounds to one with most of the judges, with only a few actually insisting Kristen won round one (which frankly, while we can't taste the food, Stephanie's round 1 dish looked much more solid than Kristen's--which just looked kind of overly froofy).

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I didn't care much for Kristen during her season.  I found her self-centered, rigid and somehow off-putting but I liked her better than I liked Brooke so I ended up rooting for her to win.  This time around, I'm hoping Stephanie takes down everyone currently in the Knockout kitchen because I don't like any of them.  I also like Stephanie's ideas about what to feed people better than the idea of anything that has to be arranged with tweezers.

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I didn't care much for Kristen during her season.  I found her self-centered, rigid and somehow off-putting but I liked her better than I liked Brooke so I ended up rooting for her to win.  This time around, I'm hoping Stephanie takes down everyone currently in the Knockout kitchen because I don't like any of them.  I also like Stephanie's ideas about what to feed people better than the idea of anything that has to be arranged with tweezers.

The only person in the Knockout Kitchen Stephanie potentially could face is the one winner who leaves from it.  The rules of both the Knockout finale and the actual Duels finale are still pretty damn vague, but that one detail at the very least seems clear.

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The only person in the Knockout Kitchen Stephanie potentially could face is the one winner who leaves from it.  The rules of both the Knockout finale and the actual Duels finale are still pretty damn vague, but that one detail at the very least seems clear.

 

I guess I don't entirely understand.  I thought that Stephanie has to face whoever wins the next (and final) match and then all the people in KK would compete against each other for a place in the finals against the duel winners.  What am I missing?

 

Never mind.  I saw my error as soon as I read back what I'd written.  Duh.

Edited by mlp

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Am I the only one who thinks they're setting up Izard/Blais? Because TFN has been sniffing Blais' crotch and this and the judge's spot could be what it takes to hold on to him.

Edited by Julia

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