Jump to content
Forums forums
PRIMETIMER
Rhondinella

Past Seasons Talk: The Stew Room

Recommended Posts

I am binge watching Top Chef Masters season 5 and I really hate the Battle of the Sous Chefs. I hate to think that it did influence the outcome.

 

I enjoyed Sang on his season. I thought that it was interesting that his father opened and supported some orphanages in Asia and the family didn't know until after his death.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Schedule listed a new show last night. It turned out to be a stupid episode of that stupid cut throat kitchen.  Anyone know what happened or when it will air?

Share this post


Link to post

Schedule listed a new show last night. It turned out to be a stupid episode of that stupid cut throat kitchen.  Anyone know what happened or when it will air?

 

I saw that too and the DVR didn't kick in, so I checked and the one they had scheduled for last night (with Jacques Pepin) is now set for next week.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

It's been so long since there was a new episode that I don't even remember who's still competing. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

HA! I've never been to Tweetsie, even when I was a kid. We lived closer to Maggie Valley so we'd go to Ghost Town there. But your story about your GPS reminded me of a similar experience a few years ago when we went to Boone to meet some paragliders who were flying in the area. We had booked a room at a hotel via Yahoo, and following the directions, it took us into a gated neighborhood. I thought, boy, this has to be wrong. Then we get to a gate that's closed and can barely see over a hill that there is indeed a large building down the other side of the hill. We call the hotel to verify that we're in the right place but the gate is closed and we can't drive in. They tell us they are not open because they have no power and no way to fix food for guests in the restaurant there. I call Yahoo, who doesn't want to give us a refund, but once he puts me on hold and calls the hotel and gets the same story, they finally agree to refund the money we'd already paid.

So we drive back through this neighborhood we'd come into, back past the fenced cow pasture, the dirt road, and finally get to town again. Every single hotel in the area was full, due to the fact it was a week before classes were starting and a lot of parents were there. We finally find a room at this little motel right near campus, Green's Motel. My friend's son, a teenager, asked "I hope they have room service." I pointed to the two vending machines sitting on the sidewalk outside the rooms and said "There's your room service." We ended up having a blast at this little place, what with the truck drivers who stayed there having some pretty interesting conversations out on the balcony/breezeway.

Share this post


Link to post

Noreaster, your assessment of Kristin is spot on, and I think it's probably why she's never opened her own restaurant. She would flounder. She also has yet to visit her homeland of Korea. something she said she wanted to do with her winnings.

Share this post


Link to post

_moved from the episode thread_

That's true. Tom suggested in his blog that the judges may not have eliminated Kristen had they seen the taped edit. I would take his words with a grain of salt though. Tom writes these blog posts when the episodes air, months after filming ended. Huge potential for revisionist history. Intentionally or not, Tom was likely trying to justify some of his decisions (eliminating Kristen, then bringing her back via LCK).  

 

And anyway, what happened to "we don't care what happens behind the scenes; we just care about the front of the house and what's on the plate"?  That particular blog post was pretty hypocritical. Maybe Tom just changes his tune when talking about his favorites or to appease viewers.

 

I maintain that Kristen was the right person to go home in that challenge. That decision was consistent with prior Restaurant Wars eliminations on this show. It doesn't matter that Josie had an obnoxious personality or was not as good of a cook as Kristen. In that particular challenge, Kristen failed.  She was an ineffective leader.  Not even the heavy-handed editing in that episode (such as splicing of Kristen's exasperated faces with Josie standing around or walking away) could mask that.

 

On the other hand, Josie just flat out refused to do her job. She was given a job, she was told how it needed to be done, and she did not do it. Either she's such a bad cook that she has no idea how to make stock, or she sabotaged her team, and there was no way that Kristen could have dealt with it without being able to fire her. I don't disagree that people have gone home for instances of mismanagement less serious than the mistakes Kristen made. I do think that Josie's performance was egregious enough that she deserved to go home far more (and bluntly, if it hadn't been that the other women on her team wanted to have Josie to compete with instead of Kristen, I think they would have spoken up about it). 

 

I can't argue with the results - Barbara Lynch gave Kristen her own place, while Josie is an asterisk. But I think there's a strong case to be made that while Kristen didn't do her job as well as it could have been done, in an actual restaurant situation, Josie would have been fired early on and, as Kristen said, the dishwashers would have stepped in and done a better job.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I'm basing this on memory, but I felt the editing was very suspect (as per the typical Top Chef MO). Josie didn't really refuse to do anything and I don't think she had bad intentions.  I remember these discussions on TWoP and then re-watching the episode myself to double-check. Josie wasn't insubordinate.  She was just slow and managed her time poorly.  Same as in prior challenges, and an issue that all the other contestants should have been aware of since Josie kept on landing in the bottom and getting called out for it.  

 

Kristen just didn't know how to lead.  Her inexperience was on full display in that episode. All Kristen did was occasionally ask Josie for updates and grimace inwardly. And then Kristen attempted to "fix" the dish, which resulted in a final product that the judges had issues with.  Not to mention, the judges noted a couple of other problems with Kristen's own dishes.  It was so clear to me that Kristen was the right person to go home.  Even though I personally disliked Josie and thought she was completely out of her league and should have been eliminated earlier. I also remember the judges in that episode arguing long and hard, making it pretty obvious that they were looking for ways to not eliminate Kristen and eliminate Josie instead.  Couldn't do it.  Kristen failed and deserved to go home. 

 

I will add that I think Restaurant Wars elimination decisions in general are somewhat problematic. The executive chefs bear a disproportionate amount of responsibility in these challenges.  But they have always been done this way. In the case of the Seattle season, I don't even feel that bad for Kristen as her attempts to "lead" were pretty pathetic. I guess it kind of sucked for her that she was forced into the executive chef role.  Had she been able to just play the role of line cook, maybe she would have lasted until the end and won anyway.  But based on the way things played out, the show couldn't hide that Kristen was not good at the executive chef role.  That makes her less worthy in my mind.  And then all the silly gimmicks that led to her win put a really bad taste in my mouth. Major asterisk for Kristen.  

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
And anyway, what happened to "we don't care what happens behind the scenes; we just care about the front of the house and what's on the plate"?

 

In team challenges, the judges try to determine who is responsible for what's on the plate.

Share this post


Link to post

In team challenges, the judges try to determine who is responsible for what's on the plate.

True, but the judges don't usually dwell on or take into consideration all the behind-the-scenes stuff.  The focus is on the direct contributors of what's on the plate.

 

Insufficient saucing of the dish was the judges' main complaint in that challenge. That was a Kristen decision. Obviously Josie's poor time management played a role and the dish wasn't coming out the way Kristen wanted. But Kristen made the decision to try and "fix" it. Her "fix" was the judges' main problem with the dish.

 

In my opinion, Kristen screwed up first by barely managing Josie and then by micromanaging the plating. How can the judges hold Josie accountable when Kristen took over the dish at the end?  Maybe Josie's dish would have been received just fine without the twist that Kristen wanted.  Or maybe the judges would still find the dish problematic but at least there would have been a more valid reason for laying the blame on Josie.  

 

On a side note, I also question whether the concept, even if executed as planned, would have been well-received by the judges anyway.  Remember they had problems with the concepts of Kristen's own two dishes.

Share this post


Link to post

See - and I should probably post this in the Everything Else forum under Unpopular Opinions - this is why I like LCK.

 

Everyone has a bad day now and then. I read both sides of the Kristen discussion, and they both have merit. To me, the situation boils down to Kristen having a bad day and Josie making it a lot worse. So the question becomes, could Kristen have performed better without the Josie situation, and the answer is yes. But could she have performed well enough to not be eliminated? And that I don't know. The fact is that Josie was there being a complete and utter jerk, and Kristen couldn't perform well enough to avoid elimination that day.

 

Still, I thought Kristen was one of the best chefs that season and belonged in the finale. LCK allowed that to occur.

 

I don't give her an asterisk for the win. Reality shows are constantly tinkering with their rules and formats, trying to correct things, keep it interesting, generate more online viewers, etc., etc. Kristen won according to the way the competition was run in her season. Every winner has won according to the way the competition was run in their season.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post

Yes, the game is the game, and Kristen rightfully won according to the rules of her season.  

 

But there were plenty of other contestants over the seasons that arguably just had a bad day and left too soon.  It doesn't seem quite fair to put Kristen at the same level as other winners who never had bad days (or at least weren't ones that ever had a "worst" day). I also think the LCK concept is heavily flawed. LCK contestants are playing by different rules compared to the regular contestants. Different skill sets are being tested. There's only one judge. For me, all LCK returnees deserve asterisks.

 

Don't get me wrong.  Certainly Kristen appears to be a great cook. Her skill sets are very well suited to the Top Chef style of challenges.  The restaurant where Kristen worked was all about cooking things quickly and improvising in front of diners. There was an interview somewhere where Barbara Lynch talks about that.  But is Kristen a great chef?  I know Top Chef is just a game show and doesn't reflect real life most of the time.  But the one challenge that most resembles real life and tests real life skills is restaurant wars.  Kristen failed at the one challenge that would suggest she is a great chef and not just a great Top Chef cook.  

 

Then I think the thing that really annoyed me that season was the design of the final challenge.  Rather than make it a restaurant-like challenge like in most seasons, the show went an incredibly gimmicky route.  It was a hybrid Iron Chef/banquet dining challenge.  So again, Kristen wasn't tested on the one thing that would make me feel that these winners are legitimate chefs that really deserve the title.  That challenge was more about testing quickfire and catering skills.  

 

I know I sound very negative on Kristen and I'm probably being a little unfair.  But her win just didn't sit well with me.  My personal preference is to see strong leadership skills along with good cooking. It's partly why I don't feel compelled to root for Gregory and Mei this season. The leadership part of the equation is missing for me.  

 

And as I think about it, can you imagine if Gregory was eliminated for that Thanksgiving challenge? He was winning so much before that.  Viewers would probably claim that he was one of the best chefs ever and deserved to win and wish he would come back via LCK. They wouldn't see him stumbling after that in the regular competition.  Top Chef is largely about endurance. And now that we got to see Gregory compete in many more challenges, he no longer seems like such a great Top Chef contestant after all. At least not compared to earlier seasons.  

 

ETA: Here is the article that I mentioned above: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/30/magazine/a-womans-place-is-running-the-kitchen.html?_r=0 .  I think it's an interesting read and provides a great deal of background on Barbara Lynch and her push to increase the visibility of female chefs.  Some good background on Kristen Kish too.  

Edited by Noreaster
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Bravo is rerunning this season and for the first time I noticed how much Melissa looks like she could be Edward Lee's younger sister, she even has that slightly sideways jaw thing going on when she talks, like he does. It hit me when they showed a photo of her with her dad, when she was little. Dead-ringer for Ed.

Share this post


Link to post

Bravo is rerunning this season and for the first time I noticed how much Melissa looks like she could be Edward Lee's younger sister, she even has that slightly sideways jaw thing going on when she talks, like he does. It hit me when they showed a photo of her with her dad, when she was little. Dead-ringer for Ed.

 

How has he avoided coming back on the show? He is one of the most accomplished guys ever to appear on this show (up there with Blais and both Volts as to pre-show notoriety/awards/reputation) yet I don't recall him ever being back on the show.

Share this post


Link to post

How has he avoided coming back on the show? He is one of the most accomplished guys ever to appear on this show (up there with Blais and both Volts as to pre-show notoriety/awards/reputation) yet I don't recall him ever being back on the show.

 

 

He probably has been asked but doesn't want to do it.  He is a busy guy. 

 

http://chefedwardlee.com/bio/

Share this post


Link to post

How has he avoided coming back on the show? He is one of the most accomplished guys ever to appear on this show (up there with Blais and both Volts as to pre-show notoriety/awards/reputation) yet I don't recall him ever being back on the show.

 

I agree, he's awesome. He's probably pretty busy, though. He starred in most of the current season of Mind of a Chef (which is on pbs.org if you haven't ever seen it. Previous seasons are on Netflix).

 

He was one of the few people I saw comment on the Paula Deen mess who said something really useful.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

I agree, he's awesome. He's probably pretty busy, though. He starred in most of the current season of Mind of a Chef (which is on pbs.org if you haven't ever seen it. Previous seasons are on Netflix).

 

He was one of the few people I saw comment on the Paula Deen mess who said something really useful.

 

 

He articulated the truth of that mess very well, indeed.  

Share this post


Link to post

Edward's restaurant is impossible to get into unless you make a reservation way, way far in advance. A friend of mine who's a cookbook author and food blogger couldn't get in a week ahead of heading to KY. If she can't, nobody can. :)

Share this post


Link to post

In addition to Richard Blais, FN is using a few TC contestants either as judges or talking heads on favorite things shows. I have seen Antonia, Fabio and Marcel. Fabio can finally pronounce burger.

Share this post


Link to post

Antonia has been brought in to help with the new Joe Bastanich show. I'm hoping the exposure leads to better things. Tiffany D was doing a restaurant show with John Besh and John Taffer, but I'm not sure it was renewed.

Share this post


Link to post

Antonia has been brought in to help with the new Joe Bastanich show. I'm hoping the exposure leads to better things. Tiffany D was doing a restaurant show with John Besh and John Taffer, but I'm not sure it was renewed.

 

Antonia is great on the JB show (Restaurant Start-Up, which is really kind of interesting). Very straightforward and businesslike.

Share this post


Link to post

I know that I tend to fixate on how the show never recognizes dietary restrictions, self imposed and necessary, outside of the occasional no-meat challenges, but a recent rewatch of the crawfish Quickfire in Stephanie's season brought up some new concerns.  Stephanie mentioned in her Talking Head that she's allergic to red shellfish, hence being careful to not touch or, most importantly, eat any of what she was making.  I'm wondering if the show knew about her allergy before filming.  I know that I should assume that they ask the chefs if they have any food allergies or medical conditions that could cause issues in the kitchen but the fact that this Quickfire happened when one of the chefs could have had a serious, hospital necessary, reaction to the ingredient makes me wonder.  I get that Besh was the specific judge and they like keeping the theme connected to either the judge, the location, or both but I don't think it was necessary. Thankfully, Stephanie didn't have a reaction and it didn't hurt her overall chances at advancement but I am honestly surprised that the show would take such a risk.  Also, I hate that her allergy didn't get taken into consideration.  I know it was only a Quickfire, but I actually think it was a dick move to put her on the bottom when Besh was shown asking her if she had an allergy that was then confirmed.  She confirmed she couldn't taste the dish, that another chef helped her out, and then ended up on the bottom.  It felt like she was being punished for not being able to taste the dish and that didn't work for me.  Now, there really wasn't a way to win in this situation, short of the show coming up with a new Quickfire, as I could see the other chefs disputing a win had it all worked out, but I just didn't like this small part of the season.  I am thankful that cooking with red shellfish wasn't ever an elimination challenge (which may be the show's compromise if they did ask about allergies when the cast was confirmed), because I would hate to see her go home for being unable to eat the food. And I fully believe that we would have been subject to some lame lecture about how, in the real world, chefs taste each others dishes for feedback all the time and there was no reason she couldn't do the same so her being unable to eat her dish wasn't a good excuse.  While simultaneously ignoring the fact that, in real life, if a chef is allergic to any kind of food (e.g., shellfish or peanuts), they would do their best not to work with them as their priority would be their own health.

 

I think the moral of this is for me to not watch the old episodes as much as it keeps raising questions and concerns.

Share this post


Link to post

While simultaneously ignoring the fact that, in real life, if a chef is allergic to any kind of food (e.g., shellfish or peanuts), they would do their best not to work with them as their priority would be their own health.

 

As a chef, Stephanie would be used to working in kitchens that would have shellfish, as would any chef with an allergy. I imagine proper medical staff is at hand for emergencies. 

Share this post


Link to post

I would have put this in the thread for tonight's episode but I didn't see one opened yet.

Just a heads up that tonight's TC episode, "Back in the Day" is airing an hour earlier than normal, at 9:00 p.m. EST. I wasn't aware of the time change and I'm assuming others may not be either. Glad I checked the guide in advance!

Share this post


Link to post

I can't believe we're stuck with Richard as a judge and they're wasting Jonathan Waxman on that ridiculous lying show they gave the regular slot to.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

congrats to Harold

Top Chef Alum Harold Dieterle Is Officially a Dad

 Now we know why he was busy, ha ha . 

 

Big mazel to Top Chef Season 1 winner Harold Dieterle, who welcomed his first child this week. The chef revealed his baby news on Instagram, sharing that his son arrived ahead of schedule — and during some pretty tricky weather conditions. "Someone tried to show up early during the blizzard before Dad got back from his fishing trip. 5 weeks early #HD4 #barelymadeit fishing buddy for life," he wrote on Instagram.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I presume most folks are aware by now that Season 14 will be coming along. If not, here's the relevant bravo webpage:

http://www.bravotv.com/the-daily-dish/top-chef-is-renewed-for-season-14-casting-call

Of course, it's too late now for aspiring cheftestants to attend the casting calls.

 

However, the application is interesting to read through.

http://bravo-video.nbcuni.com/misc/tc14_casting_application.pdf

Many details on the process, the questions, and an indication of when season 14 will start filming is included. ("

on or around March 2016

") The many pages of legal stuff is also interesting, including some questions (like if you have legal actions taken against you etc) that I wonder might have been toughened up because of past cheftestants (like Aaron Grissom? Just wondering), as well as the penalties you face and the detailed surrendering of various legal rights you agree to if you even attended the casting calls let alone be chosen as a cheftestant.

Share this post


Link to post

I have a stupid question.

 

When is it bad etiquette to touch food, and when it's not? I've seen contestants getting the stink-eye when they stick their finger to the sauce to taste, but then on the other hand they use their had to rub steaks, bread etc. and people don't seem to mind.

Share this post


Link to post

I have a stupid question.

 

When is it bad etiquette to touch food, and when it's not? I've seen contestants getting the stink-eye when they stick their finger to the sauce to taste, but then on the other hand they use their had to rub steaks, bread etc. and people don't seem to mind.

 

 

Chefs use their bare hands with almost everything and presumably have clean hands.  Sticking your finger in something to taste must be frowned upon by some but it is done so frequently that I don't think that is a big deal.   I know if it happens on Chopped they are not called out on it so it isn't a huge gaff like double dipping a spoon.  

Edited by wings707

Share this post


Link to post

I think the real issue is putting your finger in your mouth and then back in the food, more than touching the food with your (impeccably clean!) hands.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post

I have a stupid question.

 

When is it bad etiquette to touch food, and when it's not? I've seen contestants getting the stink-eye when they stick their finger to the sauce to taste, but then on the other hand they use their had to rub steaks, bread etc. and people don't seem to mind.

 

There's a difference between touching food and slobbering on it. It's standard to prepare food with bare hands because it will be cooked at a high enough temperature to kill the cooties. The same goes for tasting something that will continue to simmer/boil. Still, there's always a risk. Plating is often done by hand but I would hope the chef isn't licking his fingers as he plates. That's what dish towels are for.

Share this post


Link to post

I just put in my 40 votes for Karen.  Can we vote everyday?  Did not find that detail on the site. 

Share this post


Link to post

Sweet & spicy pickled grapes. I'll take a stab at it since I pickle anything and everything.

For a pound of grapes, try this:

Equal parts apple cider vinegar and water - I'd start with a cup each and see if that's enough to cover the grapes

Half the amount of sugar

Candied crystalized ginger.... I'd say about a dozen pieces

For this, assume you've used a cup of vinegar and a cup of water:

4 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon whole allspice berries

Bring your liquids and spices to a boil, drop in the grapes and allow to return to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool down while still sitting in the liquid. Drain and chill.

I've used this to pickle hard nectarine slices, stuff like that.

 

Moved from episode thread:

Cooksdelight-- I am no pickler so thanks! for this. Do you think grapes, as delicate as their skin is, will retain texture once boiled and pickled in this manner? Or are you only keeping them at boiling for a moment then immersing in a ice bath or whatnot to stop the cooking?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Moved from episode thread:

Cooksdelight-- I am no pickler so thanks! for this. Do you think grapes, as delicate as their skin is, will retain texture once boiled and pickled in this manner? Or are you only keeping them at boiling for a moment then immersing in a ice bath or whatnot to stop the cooking?

I've never done grapes, so I don't know. That's my basic pickling recipe for a lot of fruity things. If I am doing beets or onions, I omit the allspice. Always use a 1=1 ratio of water to vinegar, with half as much sugar.

Share this post


Link to post

I've never done grapes, so I don't know. That's my basic pickling recipe for a lot of fruity things. If I am doing beets or onions, I omit the allspice. Always use a 1=1 ratio of water to vinegar, with half as much sugar.

 

OK, that interests me - what about beets makes allspice a bad idea?

Share this post


Link to post

Here's how I like to make them, super easy. It deviates from the 1=1 measurements, but that's because of using the beet juice. This is one of several recipes I have on Food.com:

2 (15 ounce) cans of sliced beets

1 - 1/2 cups beet juice

1 large vidalia onion

1 cup sugar

1 cup apple cider vinegar

6 whole cloves (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Drain beets, saving the juice. Add water if necessary to make 1-1/2 cups of juice. Set aside.

Slice onion and combine with the beets in a glass or non-reactive bowl.

In a sauce pan, heat the beet juice and the vinegar until steaming (not boiling) then add the sugar.

Stir to dissolve the sugar and heat just to a boil.

Pour the hot juice over the beets and onions, stir and let cool.

When cool, cover and refrigerate. They taste best when they have sat for 24 hours.

Share this post


Link to post

Charleston? That's a REALLY good location. Really inspired.

 

I still hold out hope that they do Providence (aka Providence Metro Area which includes parts of Bristol County, MA and the entire state of Ri in a sense) some season if only because I'm biased for my home state and also RI has a very interesting food/flavor profile that I'd love to see get some representation. 

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Customize font-size