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SilverStormm

The Final Table

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I'm excited to hear what others thought of this show. I found it tolerable, and at times enjoyable, but it never really stuck the landing. It was nice to see some diversity in the cooking from our usual US-centric shows. And since everyone is basically a professional chef there were no major failures or meltdowns.

The judging felt mostly real and honest. The winner surprised me, as it never felt like it was scripted or that they had a "winner's edit" throughout the season.

The biggest plus was the lack of personal drama, although we did get the usual emotional backstories and had 1 or 2 revelatory character moments.

I was annoyed that they changed the format and the rules for the finale. 

All said, I would watch a season 2 but I won't be heart broken if it never happens. 

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Not bad, but I'll take Top Chef over this any day. I'm only on episode 5 , so I feel like they kind of rush through the cooking process (because they have to). They generally make very beautiful, interesting, plates.

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It was interesting in parts but overall left me cold.  I don't understand the purpose of an audience we never see in conjunction with the chefs.  All of those dark audience shots could have been cut in at a later date.

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47 minutes ago, dleighg said:

Not bad, but I'll take Top Chef over this any day. I'm only on episode 5 , so I feel like they kind of rush through the cooking process (because they have to). They generally make very beautiful, interesting, plates.

This is my problem with Final Table and nearly every other cooking show except Great British Bake Off. The cooking is almost never the focus. There were a few times during this show where they highlighted certain techniques, but most of the cooking happened during (somewhat unique and cool) overhead time-lapse montages.

(Admittedly, I've never watched Top Chef.)

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^To be fair, Top Chef does no better at really showing a lot of technique, but I just find it more entertaining. A lot of different settings in the "geography of the series," and a better chance to feel like you know the personalities of the chefs. Certainly the caliber of the chefs on this show is very high, but I'm not as confident I'll feel like seeking out their restaurants the way I actually have for Top Chef alums (to good results).

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2 hours ago, Quilt Fairy said:

I don't understand the purpose of an audience we never see in conjunction with the chefs.  All of those dark audience shots could have been cut in at a later date.

I have a very strong impression that the audience (as well as their cheering) is dubbed in.

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On 12/5/2018 at 1:40 PM, Quilt Fairy said:

It was interesting in parts but overall left me cold.  I don't understand the purpose of an audience we never see in conjunction with the chefs.  All of those dark audience shots could have been cut in at a later date.

 

On 12/5/2018 at 3:55 PM, dleighg said:

I have a very strong impression that the audience (as well as their cheering) is dubbed in.

I’d bet the farm-to-table on it.

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Why is Andrew Knowlton yelling at everyone?

The pacing was so sluggish. And the "up close and personals" made it even slower.

On 12/5/2018 at 4:55 PM, dleighg said:

I have a very strong impression that the audience (as well as their cheering) is dubbed in.

I agree. And the whole "We're traveling to X country next!' when it was clear they weren't traveling anywhere got really annoying.

It feels like the editors got their footing as the show was filmed. The later episodes were a lot more compelling than the first.

 

On the positive side,

The final table judges were incredibly accomplished and gave really good constructive criticism for the most part.

The presentation plates were gorgeously shot. 

As a group, I thought the Indian panel was easily the most entertaining. "What are you doing, praying?"

I was impressed in the equipment and pantry. Every station had smokers, pressure cookers, deep fryers etc. And the pantry contained apparently everything the chefs needed for the respective cuisines for each challenge.

It made me really want to branch out on what I cook at home. I think am going to make some butter chicken and naan tomorrow and paella might be next. Those are the kinds of dishes I've only had in restaurants. 

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10 minutes ago, xaxat said:

The final table judges were incredibly accomplished and gave really good constructive criticism for the most part.

The presentation plates were gorgeously shot. 

Yes-- I just watched the Japan episode and looked up the final table judge. He's a "big shot." I was glad to see the "conceptual" chef (Charles) come into his particular strengths and give his team the win there.

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I'm astonished more people haven't found this show.  Maybe because it dropped right before Thanksgiving?  Or maybe it's the name.  With Top Chef  or Iron Chef you know it's a cooking competition.   With Somebody Feed Phil or I'll Have What Phil's Having you know it's at least about food.  The Final Table, if you even make a connection to food,  sounds like it's what your last meal would be before they executed you.

Edited by Quilt Fairy
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On 12/9/2018 at 6:38 AM, xaxat said:

I agree. And the whole "We're traveling to X country next!' when it was clear they weren't traveling anywhere got really annoying.

It feels like the editors got their footing as the show was filmed. The later episodes were a lot more compelling than the first.

...

I was impressed in the equipment and pantry. Every station had smokers, pressure cookers, deep fryers etc. And the pantry contained apparently everything the chefs needed for the respective cuisines for each challenge.

I never thought the "we're traveling to X country" as anything more than metaphorical. It wasn't so much annoying to me as extremely cheesy.

Agreed completely about the editing! Some of the problems I noted in the first few episodes were fixed later on. I hope that (assuming we get more seasons) this is able to carry over, and that it didn't get better simply because there were fewer contestants and thus more time to focus.

In most cooking competition shows I have assumed contestants generally have recipes submitted before the actual filming so the ingredients are on hand. Especially on Masterchef when they are cooking somewhere remotely as a team, and they "make up recipes" and magically all the ingredients for X many people are available. But the narration in FT very deliberately says that the contestants must "conceive and cook" the recipe in the time allowed. Some of the ingredients they used were so obscure that I just have a hard time believing they happened to be on-hand.

I've always wondered what happens to those well-stocked pantries after filming!

Does anyone know where they filmed this?

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Every cooking competition makes me miss The Taste.  Other than one round in three in TGBBS, no other show does blind tasting, so the judges will have biases based on what they think of the chefs as well as what they think of the food.   This one is OK, but still not blind.

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I guess it’s because I had heard of them but I guessed the final four would be from the introduction of the chefs.

20 minutes ago, jhlipton said:

Every cooking competition makes me miss The Taste.  Other than one round in three in TGBBS, no other show does blind tasting, so the judges will have biases based on what they think of the chefs as well as what they think of the food.   This one is OK, but still not blind.

I hated The Taste, except for when it showed the judges ignorance by them not being able to tell the proteins sometimes because typically the judges knew who did the dish even if it was “blind” because because people have styles. 

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I thought the first episode seemed really ridiculous and over the top, everything seemed so grandiose and dramatic for no reason. But I stuck with it and am liking it a lot better in ep 4. I wish they showed the cooking more. The chefs are all very likeable and seem super accomplished and the judging so far has been really fair. The bottom three dishes are often more interesting IMO than the previous plates.

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9 hours ago, jhlipton said:

Every cooking competition makes me miss The Taste.  Other than one round in three in TGBBS, no other show does blind tasting, so the judges will have biases based on what they think of the chefs as well as what they think of the food.   This one is OK, but still not blind.

I also loved and miss The Taste. It wasn't perfect but it was leagues ahead of most shows.

Still, since the judges change each episode (and each round) on this show, there isn't nearly as much time to build up bias toward the contestants. Although Martha Higareda seemed to have the hots for the taco guy (Ochoa?).

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I was meh on this show, not really memorable. When they got to the US, I had no idea who the "famous" chef was, & why would they pick Colin Hanks & Dax Shepard for this?

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50 minutes ago, GaT said:

I was meh on this show, not really memorable. When they got to the US, I had no idea who the "famous" chef was, & why would they pick Colin Hanks & Dax Shepard for this?

Grant Achatz is most definitely famous and extremely respected in the culinary world. His restaurant Alinea is the only three starred Michelin in Chicago and considered one of the top 10 in the world. His episode of Chef’s Table (season 2 ep 1) is very good. As for Dax I imagine it’s corpetate synergy with him having replaced Masterson on the Netflix show The Ranch, never seen it so I don’t know if he is still on it or if their are new episodes.

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4 hours ago, GaT said:

When they got to the US, I had no idea who the "famous" chef was, & why would they pick Colin Hanks & Dax Shepard for this?

I agree with @biakbiak; I certainly am very aware of Grant Achatz and I have never been near Chicago. And the first round "ambassadors" from *every* country were not food experts (except for the one critic in each bunch-- here the critic for the NY Times). They were soccer players, actresses, boxers (!), etc. They were supposed to be more "regular people" from the culture-- just famous :)

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I watch a lot of reality cooking shows (like...too many, definitely) so one thing I really liked about this one was that it featured some new-to-me chefs who were clearly big deals in the culinary world but haven’t necessarily made the rounds on Food Network/Bravo, etc. 

I think my favorite part of many of the episodes was the profile of the chef guest judge - super interesting, pretty food shots. I’m sold! 

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I hadn't heard of Grant Achatz before the show but now I kinda dislike him cause I thought he obviously tried hard to sway the judges in the finale to reward the IMO least interesting dish (and his fellow American). Nothing against Timothy but I felt like he played it really safe the whole show long, and Shane and Mark were a much more interesting team and took more risks with more pay-off too.

The later episodes were definitely wayyy better than the first. I hope we get a second season, I really enjoyed it in the end, even with some room for improvement.

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9 hours ago, KatWay said:

I hadn't heard of Grant Achatz before the show but now I kinda dislike him cause I thought he obviously tried hard to sway the judges in the finale to reward the IMO least interesting dish (and his fellow American). Nothing against Timothy but I felt like he played it really safe the whole show long, and Shane and Mark were a much more interesting team and took more risks with more pay-off too.

ITA.  I think the judges were swayed as much by the "He worked at The French Laundry" comment as by his dish.

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I wrote this in a Top Chef thread - I liked that the limitation was just the time and ingredient and that creates the drama.  I liked that besides something like needing to use a paella pan, they really didn’t have weird limitation.  Cook with no knives!  Use only food from a 7-11! Only have a toaster oven! That stuff is the stuff I can’t stand. 

 

The host bugged me and it took me to realize he was from the next iron chef (where he also amnoyed me).  Didn’t recognize him with the short hair. 

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On 12/18/2018 at 2:27 AM, KatWay said:

I hadn't heard of Grant Achatz before the show but now I kinda dislike him cause I thought he obviously tried hard to sway the judges in the finale to reward the IMO least interesting dish (and his fellow American). Nothing against Timothy but I felt like he played it really safe the whole show long, and Shane and Mark were a much more interesting team and took more risks with more pay-off too.

The later episodes were definitely wayyy better than the first. I hope we get a second season, I really enjoyed it in the end, even with some room for improvement.

See I think Grant was the voice of reason during the judging. The other chef/judges were getting too hung up on who took the biggest risk rather than who made the best dish. Grant reminded them that it was about delivering a great plate. Darren, Tim’s Canadian chef partner, was outspoken and a bit of a drama king throughout the whole competition. He was also one of the most inexperienced chefs in the competition.  Looking back at the earlier episodes , it seems clear that it was quiet Tim who was the consistent chef who was keeping them in the competition. They were only in the bottom a couple of times and were top team several times. While I really liked the Australian chefs and loved Aaron and Graham, I was happy with Tim as the winner.

I would also like to see a second season! I live in Chicago suburbs, and although I was aware of Alinea, I never wanted to eat there. Now I want to try the edible helium balloons. If I only had an extra $300 for one meal!

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On 12/10/2018 at 11:59 AM, ae2 said:

Does anyone know where they filmed this?

Sound stage in Culver City. Apparently, they were filming a Star Trek Discovery there before this show. 

Andrew Knowlton is on the latest Bon Appetite podcast, they mostly talk about his new restaurant but they touch on the show, the above fact and that there will be a season two are mentioned. 

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Sorry, I can't  help it.

Fish heads music video.  (Ear worm advisory).

Edited by kirklandia

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