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S12.E04: 12 Chefs Walk Into A Bar...


Tara Ariano
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The chefs create a bar snack for actor George Wendt at the bar from TV's "Cheers." Later, they must produce a three-course Italian menu, but a twist comes via gluten-free demands. Appearing: Emmy Rossum and culinarian Michael Schlow.
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Italian food.  Snooze.  They will trot out Loraine Bracco and her wine again.  She will make constant references to Dr Melfi and being Italian. 

 

Italian food is on the bottom of my list, right above Chinese.  Tomato sauce on most everything.  Come on Gregory, Doug and Mei, I am counting on you to do something grand! 

Edited by wings707
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I don't mind Norm so much, but he needs his sidekick Cliff to really make it interesting. I'd love to hear Cliff expound upon the different dishes until Norm tells him to shutup.

 

I think Richard would be too threatened ;)

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Wasn't a fan of how the challenge was set up.  You win because people ordered your dish? I know they've done other ridiculous things, like when in Restaurant Wars you had to spend time decorating instead of cooking, and I know those things are important in real life, but it doesn't really thrill me as a tv viewer.  The elimination itself was done fairly, I think, but I like to see someone win on the actual food and not through some weird judging thing.

 

Also, Aaron? No, it's not clear now that you can work on a team.  We learned that your team can win despite you, not because of you.

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As much as I dislike Aaron, I do like Doug, and I think he may have been saved by the purple team's win.  Without the purple win, blue would have won and both Boston and Rebecca would have been safe.  With Katsuji still having immunity, I think Doug would have been on the block--even with good flavor, that presentation was shockingly atrocious.

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I'm always holding my breath during judging because I don't want to see my favorites go home and I did for Stacy as I'm liking her. Gregory on the winning team again which is good for him and Doug is safe so happy about that. I'm still on the fence with Adam as I like him to a degree but next week might cement on whether or not I dislike him.

 

Adam's pasta dish just looked so good, I wanted to eat it. I'm a sucker for good pasta dishes. Katsuji's just looked awful and don't know why people who win immunity always mess up during the next challenge? It's such a mystery. 

 

Aaron is such an ass, he can't work with anyone without sounding like a douche. He was so arrogant after his team won in his TH I wish someone would knock him out.

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What would they have done if the menu "sold," but the food that came out was absolute shite?  That wouldn't have been fair.  They should have asked the diners to answer "Based on your dining experience, would you order this menu again?" or something.  Highest percentage of affirmative answers wins?  Hmm, math.  That would have placed the burden on higher-selling menus to please a larger number of patrons, though.  Tricky.

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Padma's face when Aaron followed up "classic burger" with "peanut butter" was my highlight of the night.

 

"You're feeding Norm crudité?" was pretty good, too.  As was "That's okay, Woody is vegan, anyway" when Greg - who had a crush on Woody - was among the losers with his partial burger.  Lots of funny lines in the QF.

 

I love bar food, and the QF dishes I most wanted to eat were Keriann's and Stacy's.  Katsuji's looked and sounded tasty, too.

 

Poor Gregory in the EC, taking Stacy's place stuck between two bickering teammates.  It doesn't surprise me Aaron was less of a jerk with a male chef than he was with KeriAnn.

 

Had Katsuji not had immunity from the QF, the rules of the EC - where all members of the winning team were safe - would have really sucked, because I think his dish might very well have made him one of the two sent home.

 

James (?) didn't learn from Joy's mistake in acquiescing to a team that wants you to make something you don't think is right, but he still screwed up the execution on his own.  Rebecca's dish looked boring.  And I don't even remember seeing her before tonight.

 

Adam's pasta dish made me want to reach through the screen.

 

Radicchio is a tough sell to the general public?

Edited by Bastet
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James (?) didn't learn from Joy's mistake in acquiescing to a team that wants you to make something you don't think is right, but he still screwed up the execution on his own.  Rebecca's dish looked boring.  And I don't even remember seeing her before tonight.

 

Radicchio is a tough sell to the general public?

 

I have to agree about James not opening up. It's always best to go with your first instincts and he should have done that like Joy should have done. 

 

Radicchio isn't a tough sell, so I don't know what Richard was talking about.

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I am loving these challenges so far-they're both taking in the history of Boston and its famous cuisine (and characters), and they're pretty straight forward "cook good food" challenges with no real gimmicks.  Some might see the gluten free thing as a gimmick, but any chef tonight that was unprepared for the possibility of gluten free is an idiot.

 

Norm!  I was jealous they got to serve him across that bar.  Also, this:  "Do you like beer?"  "No one's that good of an actor."

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If the Bravo producers followed us here from TWOP and are still lurking, re: the whole Richard Blais thing: No. It's not happening. Until someone invents Punch-o-Vision, I don't want to see him again.

 

On the other hand, Emmy Rossum should be on every show. Yes.

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ugh....I watched twice tonight but must have stepped away each time that James presented his dish. Does anyone remember what it was? I'm assuming it was Italian, involved seafood & had a vinaigrette that lacked oil.

I know he should have stuck to his guns regarding wanting to serve a lamb dish, but with his background he should have been able to pull off an amazing Italian dish.

Edited by BravaBravo
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Radicchio is a tough sell because NONE of us have palates as classy as Dick's. He knows we only want carrot and raisin salad from the cafeteria. And green jello cubes. He is the only one who can see the vision of radicchio. Give us our Punch-o-vision NOW (TM The Solution).

 

I know this might sound terrible but the chef from Boston? I was really hoping she would leave instead of grey team guy. She always looks like she has been dipped in oil and I would be horrified that I had eaten something she cooked if I saw her later.

 

Aaron = douche douche douchey douche. So we know he's in it for the long haul.

Edited by PepperMonkey
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Since I have no memory of either of the eliminated chefs from previous episodes, I'm fine with them both being gone. Though I wouldn't have minded if the Mexican guy with the Asian name (which I can never remember) who served the bad ravioli was eliminated.

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I wonder if Emmy Rossum has Celiac disease.  Padma mentioned to Emmy that she'd been gluten free for 15 years or more which is long long before gluten free became a thing.  It made me think that she has a truly serious problem with gluten, rather than just being gluten free as a fad.  It was a good test for the chefs who should be able to accommodate special orders for people with food allergies.  

 

The two dishes I would have liked to try from tonight's episode were Katsujis ceviche tacos and Adam's pasta dish.  I rarely eat pasta, but that looked yummy!  I don't have an opinion about the two who were let go because I had barely noticed them at all prior to tonight.  

 

I really hated the elimination challenge because creating a good menu doesn't equate to creating good food.  Nevertheless, I'm glad Gregory is safe.  So far, he's my favorite to win it all.

Edited by RealityCreator
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Richard's sleaze factor rose even higher tonight.  He held his nose high, and some of his comments were straight-out rude.  He even had the audacity to smile broadly while delivering his put-downs, undoubtedly pleased by his own cleverness.  What's more, I think Tom adores his little Dick.

 

I was very, very sorry to see James go.  He has great creds, but he remained stubborn in serving the food that was the healthiest, even though I think a voice inside him told him he was in danger.  Crudites do not make traditional bar food that would impress judges on a show like this one.  I, too, hoped that Stacy would leave.

 

It looks like viewers are going to be stuck with Aaron and Keriann for an eternity.  If they're going to plant a couple of losers for dramatic effect, couldn't they eliminate them sooner? 

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I wonder if Emmy Rossum has Celiac disease.  Padma mentioned to Emmy that she'd been gluten free for 15 years or more which is long long before gluten free became a thing.  It made me think that she has a truly serious problem with gluten, rather than just being gluten free as a fad.  It was a good test for the chefs who should be able to accommodate special orders for people with food allergies.  

 

I hope she does, because there is nothing unhealthy about gluten unless you do have an allergy.  But I am pretty sure that Padma told one of the servers that Emmy does in fact have an allergy, so I assume Celiac.

 

Except for Katsuji, everyone actually did okay with the twist of gluten-free.  It's a good thing he had immunity because even through the screen, his dish did not look good.

 

The person I ended up really liking was Michael Schlow - he kept control of the kitchen and was also really encouraging to all of the chefs.

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The person I ended up really liking was Michael Schlow - he kept control of the kitchen and was also really encouraging to all of the chefs.

He was a revelation to me. It's not often that I've seen such a calm and happy presence in my tv kitchens, lol. I think his presence calmed everybody down, partly because they probably wanted to impress him, but also because he just seems to be that kind of person whose mere presence has a good effect on people. He was so crisp and clear, and yet never negative, never mean, always encouraging and positive (when deserved). Of course the editing monkeys could have deleted times he screamed at people (Aaron), but I kind of doubt it. I'll bet his name comes up when people who've worked for him talk about their Favorite Bosses.

 

I can't wait for next week, just to hear Hugh's snarky comeback to whoever it was he was talking to. I didn't particularly care for Hugh in his season, but I love him now. Emily was a good judge, I thought.

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I am almost to the point where I feel sorry for Aaron. He comes across as so insecure and unhappy which manifests itself in his extreme unpleasantness. That is not to say I don't want to see him PYKAGed because I really,really do.

And take Blais and his ridiculous hipster jacket with you.

Does anyone else think that Katsuji looks like he could be Rosie O'Donnell's twin brother?

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Kerianne actually did really well this week. She was second in the QF challenge, and the judges loved her plate in the E.C. I think she needs to talk to her family more often! They seemed to take her out of her Aaron spin and put her back fully into cooking well. Good job, family!

 

Stacy, Stacy. Not your finest moment on the show so far. I can see why a chef who has watched this series would absorb the idea that she has to "stand up for" her food, but she missed the corollary lesson that Tom hates it when a chef won't own up to mistakes. Pride and humility--a delicately blended dish!

 

Added: Blais's radicchio comment insulted the audience, which is something Top Chef is usually good at avoiding. He is doing his new show no favors, either, and now I don't even want to give it a try. I've gone rapidly from liking him okay to tolerating him to agreeing that he really is kind of a douche. More Schlow, less Blais, please.

Edited by picklesprite
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God Blais is gross and his smug is strong. Has he been at JT every episode? Cuz I thought we were spared his repeated opinions and prouncements at JT?

The editing was a bit weird tonite. The restaurant guy was wonderful but if a team wins based on writing a menu show people making the decision. It was hard for me to understand exactly what was going on at first.

Food looked delish tonite. The dress Padma wore into the restaurant had a triangular patch of design over her private area. Weird

Edited by novhappy
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I think DickBla was absent from judging last week. 

 

I absolutely want to try a take on Kerianne's dish, a crab cake topped onion ring.  Sounds awesome!

 

Emmy Rossum was a really good judge.  She's also been a judge on Project Runway, and was excellent.  Thoughtful and well-spoken. 

 

The only crudite' acceptable with bar food is the celery sticks that come with an order of Buffalo Wings.  That's it.

Edited by leighdear
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I loved Michael Schlow saying, purple team, I want it quiet so things go smoothly.   We didn't see it but you know Katsuji and Aaron were at each other. 

 

A gluten free dish is easy to make if you don't try to make it resemble a dish that focuses on pasta.  Meat, vegetables and fruit, easy.  Katsuji should have gone home.  Dang. 

 

The highlight for me was the preview.  Hugh (I like him) talking to Aaron.  Very funny.  

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In Swayze's defense on the hummus -- it actually is super common bar food here in Michigan (at least in craft beer bars, gastropubs and breweries, which I would bet is more his comfort zone than dive bars). Some of it is mediocre and placed on the menu just to pacify vegetarians, but some is sublime. I'm a big fan of the hummus at New Holland, for example. They used to have a super smooth extra tahini version (I suspect they removed the skins from the chickpeas) which was amazing, and now they do a black bean version which is zippy and delightful. Someplace I'm forgetting had a white bean and rosemary version earlier this summer that was served with a dollop of really good olive oil on top along with some celery, carrots, and house made pita bread. OMG, so good.

 

And even when I order things like the crazy crack-like buffalo chicken dip at Short's (which is smothered in blue cheese and just hard to stop putting in your mouth) I order it with celery and carrots in place of the crostini. "Bar food" is not just fried things any more, and there is a pretty large percentage of craft beer drinkers who actually prefer healthy(ish) snacks with our beer. I mean, the fewer calories I eat in bread, the more I can drink, right?

Edited by kakiphony
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It was a good test for the chefs who should be able to accommodate special orders for people with food allergies.

 

 

They should?  I thought it was up to the diner to order a gluten-free dish.  I can't imagine a restaurant patron ordering a pasta dish and asking the server to tell the chef they're gluten-free.  That would be like ordering a filet mignon and telling the chef you're a vegetarian.

Edited by sugarbaker design
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I like how three of the four chefs really took the trouble to create a good alternative dish for someone who is gluten-free.  All three of those dishes looked good!  Emmy was so delighted with her polenta cake.  My niece has celiac's and I might, too.  I'm glad Keriann did better tonight; in a Keriann vs. Aaron throwdown I'd much rather see Keriann the victor!  I was also glad to see Katie do well.  She might have won if the challenge had been structured differently.  I would have like to see a winner from each category: antipasto, pasta, entree and last course.

 

I especially liked Michael Schlow as expediter.  I couldn't help think of Gordon Ramsay when he does it on Masterchef in the restaurant challenge - hysterics, profanity, berating.  I guess you can tell who's the real pro in the kitchen.  I suppose it helped to have real restaurant chefs preparing the food, but still, he just ruled that kitchen and I loved seeing it.

 

kakiphony, on 06 Nov 2014 - 08:44 AM, said:

"Bar food" is not just fried things any more, and there is a pretty large percentage of craft beer drinkers who actually prefer healthy(ish) snacks with our beer. I mean, the fewer calories I eat in bread, the more I can drink, right?

Of course!!

Edited by Lamb18
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Except for Katsuji, everyone actually did okay with the twist of gluten-free.  It's a good thing he had immunity because even through the screen, his dish did not look good.

When he was making the pea filling for the ravioli, they showed him pouring a bag of frozen peas into the food processor.  So that means the whole peas he served Emmy on the side of the puree were frozen peas...heated up.  Gross.

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The person I ended up really liking was Michael Schlow - he kept control of the kitchen and was also really encouraging to all of the chefs.

He was delightful!  Whoever highlighted the contrast between him and Ramsay is spot-on, though admittedly I've only seen Ramsay expedite on Hell's Kitchen, and those bozos deserve to be screamed at ;)

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What I didn't get about Michael Schlow was when he came out to the judges and said that everyone had worked well together. Clearly, we had just seen that the Purple Team had not and he had to chastise them. I really expected him to mention that since the show focused on it. Odd.

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Question about the Cheers bar — How were George and Padma able to sit in front of those windows that featured trees and moving cars, etc. when the bar is in a basement? Am I missing something?

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I wonder if Top Chef would ever get Gordon Ramsay to be expediter, probably would have some hilarious moments and funny phrases from Ramsay.  Since these people know what they're doing mostly in the kitchen, we won't see the Ramsay that's about to have a stroke during dinner service.

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They should?  I thought it was up to the diner to order a gluten-free dish.  I can't imagine a restaurant patron ordering a pasta dish and asking the server to tell the chef they're gluten-free.  That would be like ordering a filet mignon and telling the chef you're a vegetarian.

The diners were forced to pick a menu, and all of them had pasta.  There are so many ways to make gluten free pasta, or just a gluten free dish in lieu of pasta, that the chefs should have been prepared.

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Jesus, did Blais run over everyone's puppies or something?

 

He's a judge. Sometimes, his insight is useful, sometimes it isn't. It's not worth getting an aneurism over, and I don't see him as being any worse than the other judges. 

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I was surprised that Gregory got stuck with Aaron and, to some extent, Katsuji who's been kind of up and down in his performance.  I would have thought Gregory would have been a no-brainer for the other front-runners to want to team with.

 

ETA, I agree with MangoFed.  Blais wasn't even a blip on my radar last night.  I was really surprised to see all the negative comments.

Edited by tobeannounced
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I was surprised that Gregory got stuck with Aaron and, to some extent, Katsuji who's been kind of up and down in his performance.  I would have thought Gregory would have been a no-brainer for the other front-runners to want to team with.

 

ETA, I agree with MangoFed.  Blais wasn't even a blip on my radar last night.  I was really surprised to see all the negative comments.

 

 

I wondered about no one leaping to choose Gregory, too.  He is very quiet and not created any tight friendships yet, maybe.  Aloof? Distant?  It was clear that Adam, Mei and Doug are tight.  So the three who would be last chosen ended up together.  In choosing teams you want those who click with you.  I think automatically the more skilled hang together in the house.  

 

I have no problem with Blais either. 

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I could be that I'm not understanding the challenge - weren't they told to cook pasta? And weren't they then told to make a gluten-free version of specifically the pasta entree? Because with the severity of real gluten allergies, and the increasing number of undiagnosed people who think it's fashionable to decide to have one, it makes sense that they should be able to accommodate gluten-free diners. I just can't think of a practical reason why they should have to accommodate them with a pasta course.

I can see Katsuji in the Carlos role of Guy who provokes his opponents by deliberately violating boundaries while pretending that he's too ignorant of food etiquette and basic good manners to know he's violating boundaries. Having seen that, I now want him to at least outstay Aaron, because Aaron fell for it so beautifully that he's clearly officially Katsuji's Kerriann now.

I say they screw with each other from now on and let the grownups cook unmolested.

Edited by Julia
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I hate when chefs that have immunity don't actually try. Katsuji didn't care what he was doing with that pasta for Emmy because he knew he was safe. He had to have known that was the special guest at the judges table. Everyone else seemed to figure it out. And even if she wasn't the special guest eh should have done more than just throw the insides of his poorly cooked ravioli on a plate and call it a day. At least the other chefs with the pasta course was able to come up with something pretty good on the fly.

 

Katsuji, Aaron, and Kerriane can go at any time.

 

At first I thought James was falling into the same trap that Joy did, not cooking the way she wanted but the way the team wanted. But her biggest fault was not cutting down the lamb. He just couldn't get past the fact that he wasn't going to do lamb that he crapped out on his dish. He's the big Italian expert, right? According to himself anyway. So he should have had a backup dish ready to go or executed the dish he came up with on his own better.

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Question about the Cheers bar — How were George and Padma able to sit in front of those windows that featured trees and moving cars, etc. when the bar is in a basement? Am I missing something?

You are right, the Cheers windows are small sidewalk level, while the bar is below ground level. I'm guessing they used an upstairs room in the Hampshire House. They have gorgeous function rooms on all 3 floors and the 1st floor "Oak Room" has street level windows facing Brimmer & Beacon St's.

 

Nice to see "Norm" again, but do tourists still go to Cheers?

 

I thought Kerriann would get the boot once she was shown making the "phone call of doom" to her loved one. Again we get a reality/competition show contestant weeping over the "sacrifice" she's made to be there.  When she auditioned, did she not understand the show wouldn't be filmed in her backyard?  And her husband and children would not be allowed to come along?  Enough with the boo-hooing about "everything I left behind". You VOLUNTARILY left everything behind (unless Top Chef production crew is running a cheftestant slave trade organization & the poor woman was kidnapped).

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I wonder if Emmy Rossum has Celiac disease.  Padma mentioned to Emmy that she'd been gluten free for 15 years or more which is long long before gluten free became a thing.  It made me think that she has a truly serious problem with gluten, rather than just being gluten free as a fad.  It was a good test for the chefs who should be able to accommodate special orders for people with food allergies.  

I disagree. The vast majority of high end restaurants never accommodate any allergies. They may have a gluten free option, but they often don't remake existing dishes to accommodate a single diner. Anthony Bourdain, true it's Bourdain, sneered about accommodating allergies and special orders in Kitchen Confidential. My brother who has a deadly tree nut allergy has received exasperated sighs when he's ordered things without nuts and often they'll ignore him and just make it with nuts. He's been at some restaurants of some of the judges where the latter has happened. Emmy Rossum the celebrity might be able to pull this shit, but a random regular person would be redirected to the menu items that are gluten free.

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