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2-10: "Top Chef Master" 2010.06.09


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#61

michigan man

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Posted Jun 10, 2010 @ 8:08 PM

Am I right, did Marcus win by 1/2 a star and Rick and Susur each had 17 stars? So very very close - it really could have been a three-way tie and split the proceeds. But that would seem like taking the easy way out for the judges, maybe.


After two seasons of TCM, I think it's evident that the judges (or producers) collaborate to prevent ties. We've seen 20 elimination challenges, many (most?) of them decided by 1/2 or 1 point, and not a single tie. If the judges came up with their scores independently (ie they wrote down their scores on a piece of paper and handed it to Kelly), then surely we'd have seen multiple ties by now.

It's interesting to speculate how this collaboration takes place. At the end of their discussions, do they announce their scores in some predetermined order, and the last person to vote is told "if you give him 4 stars, we'll have a tie; you can give him 3.5 or 4.5, but not 4"? If so, the last judge to announce his/her score would have greater voting power.

#62

Zackster

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Posted Jun 10, 2010 @ 9:01 PM

Moonen's "not a tree hugger" comment cost him the title, as if he could have framed the issue better he probably could have gotten at least another 1/2 star out of Raynor.

I totally agree, sbs401. He could have defended his venison choice better than that. As it was, Rick seemed to be discarding his "sustainable" persona when it didn't suit him, and Raynor didn't like it one bit.

My crush on Hubert Keller, born during the first episode of Top Chef season one, only gets stronger. What a lovely man!


Wasn't it nice to see him again? I'm not sure why I find him so appealing, but he seems to have a certain twinkle in his eye.

Bring on Top Chef! And Eric Ripert!

I'd never have thought I'd go for the French guys, but Ripert and Keller are my favorites out of all the chefs on these Top Chef shows. Oh wait, add in Bourdain. Another Frenchy!


Sorry you didn't win, Rick. I was a bit surprised by Marcus' win since I've never really yearned to eat any of his food, and I know I wouldn't have liked his mushy fish dish. I expected Susur to win, especially after the heartbreaking backstory and his rebirth with the 2nd wife and adorable kids. But that tuna bomb did him in for sure.

Edited by Zackster, Jun 10, 2010 @ 9:01 PM.


#63

celestial605

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Posted Jun 11, 2010 @ 12:32 AM

I expected Susur to win, especially after the heartbreaking backstory and his rebirth with the 2nd wife and adorable kids. But that tuna bomb did him in for sure.

I agree; I could tell it was going to do him in as soon as Jay was visibly startled by the appearance of the dish. It made me really sad because I'm a huge Susur fan; I feel like he really came to understand the challenges and the show, and I love his crassness mixed with the honesty and thoughtfulness that he showed towards the end. I also almost started crying when he talked about his personal life.

#64

jen222

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Posted Jun 11, 2010 @ 3:23 AM

As has been noted, the sustainability of seafood has less to do with the transportation costs to bring them and much more to do with how the fish are raised, etc. FWIW, that is also somewhat true of other kinds of protein. While I like Jay, I really thought that was kind of a ridiculous question - sustainable agricultural practices are not the same as sustainable transportation practices. He conflated two different issues, IMO.

Essential, sustainable seafood is about rebuilding depleted fishing stocks. If Rick uses fish that come from such practices, he has every right to brand his business that way, IMO. "Sustainable" does not equal "earthy crunchy environmentalist."


On the one hand, I think this is a fair point, in that Rick does brand himself as someone who is sustainable specifically with regards to fish. On the other hand, I really think that all these issues are ultimately kind of connected and that sustainability is sort of all or nothing - if you are careful about the fish but ignore other issues/are wasteful elsewhere, ultimately those other issues are going to kill the fishies anyway (yes, I realize that is incredibly simplistic).

Now, had the assignment for the third dish simply been "make us something awesome," I think that Raynor's criticism would have been out of line. But it wasn't - it was "make a dish that represents you as a chef" and Rick did not really do that. He discarded the central element of his professional persona and defended himself poorly. So I think it was fair to criticize Rick for not embodying the chef that he so often claims to be in a challenge where you were supposed to embody yourself as a chef on the plate. I don't mean to be so hard on Rick - I have no doubt that in everyday life/career he is devoted to sustainable fishing practices - but in the context of this specific task, I think Raynor's criticism was fair game.

#65

Rickster

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Posted Jun 11, 2010 @ 9:14 AM

He discarded the central element of his professional persona


I agree, and I think you could argue that he has made seafood a central element of his persona as well, so swapping that for a meat protein was probably a mistake too. I'm sure he was worried that the judges would think him too "one note", but his range was something to show them on a different dish or point in the season, not this one.

#66

tgd

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Posted Jun 11, 2010 @ 10:37 AM

Susur was consistently scoring higher than Marcus or Rick. Susur's average number of stars across the 7 episodes (qualifying ep, plus eps 5-10) was 16.93, with little variation around that average (minimum 15 stars, maximum 19.5 stars). Marcus and Rick were much more inconsistent.

Marcus average=14.93 stars, minimum 11.5, maximum 17.5
Rick average=13.50 stars, minimum 13.5, maximum 18
Susur average=16.93 stars, minimum 15, maximum 19.5

Assuming all elimination challenges were comparable in their ability to gauge a chef's talent, and given the importance of a chef (and his/her restaurant) being able to produce good food consistently, Susur is the master to me.


Edited to note that I made a typo in Rick's average, but I didn't save my Excel sheet so my apologies to Rick and his fans for the lack of accuracy!

Edited by tgd, Jun 11, 2010 @ 10:45 AM.


#67

noisack

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Posted Jun 11, 2010 @ 11:40 AM

I'm sure he was worried that the judges would think him too "one note"

If so, he didn't pay attention to last year's finale when Bayless won thanks in great part to a mole.

#68

HeavenLy

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Posted Jun 11, 2010 @ 2:04 PM

Susur was consistently scoring higher than Marcus or Rick. Susur's average number of stars across the 7 episodes (qualifying ep, plus eps 5-10) was 16.93, with little variation around that average (minimum 15 stars, maximum 19.5 stars). Marcus and Rick were much more inconsistent.

Marcus average=14.93 stars, minimum 11.5, maximum 17.5
Rick average=13.50 stars, minimum 13.5, maximum 18
Susur average=16.93 stars, minimum 15, maximum 19.5

Assuming all elimination challenges were comparable in their ability to gauge a chef's talent, and given the importance of a chef (and his/her restaurant) being able to produce good food consistently, Susur is the master to me.



I'm a Susur fan and appreciate that he dominated the regular season but that's why the finals are a different story. Last year, I fully expected Hubert to win. In basketball, the Cavs had the best record during the regular season but didn't even make the finals. It happens.

Scoring aside, given the lavish praise he has received from the likes of James Oseland, Gael Greene, and Jay Rayner, speaks highly of his talent. They don't give out those high scores easily.

I'm sure he would have liked to win, but the goal, I think, was for him to increase his profile and gain exposure for him and his restaurants, which I think he has succeeded.

Edited by HeavenLy, Jun 11, 2010 @ 2:13 PM.


#69

walkingguide

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Posted Jun 11, 2010 @ 6:35 PM

I was rooting for Moonen, I met him at Vegas Uncorked, along with Susan Feniger.
I would just wish the recapper to change the wording about Susur's wife dying in a plane crash. What happened with KAL 007 is far beyond a plane crash. It was a big-time tragedy of the Cold War. It is exactly like having you wife die on Sept. 11 in the WTC.
Maybe 1983 is before many readers were born, but I remember it well.

#70

ToothbrushFence

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Posted Jun 12, 2010 @ 12:09 AM

Great season--and nice misdirection, Bravo, since it seemed from the comments that Marcus didn't have a chance in hell.

Actually, I completely disagree with this. From the judges' and diners' comments I was pretty sure that Marcus was going to win. The glowing reviews they gave his first two dishes far exceeded those of Susur or Rick. True, they did not go wild over Marcus' final course, but there was one course for each chef that was problematic. The editing also emphasized that the tasters' difficulty with the dish may have largely been cultural, as highlighted by Gail's and Marcus' comments, which further seemed to point to a Marcus win.

Finally, the juxtaposition of Rick's essentially selling out on the sustainability issue - at least in Raynor's eyes - with Marcus's preparing something very unsafe in the interests of brining African cuisine to the global stage. Just all seemed to point towards a Marcus victory.

#71

TeresaDee

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Posted Jun 12, 2010 @ 7:35 AM

I didn't like what a SLOB Susur is in the kitchen. I don't like when chefs aren't neat---makes me think that the kitchen is dirty or they expect someone to follow them around & clean up.


...and one of my pet peeves--he tasted with his fingers! Tasting spoon, anyone?Between that and RMs nose sweat (most likely) dripping into his food, I was more than distracted at times. Yuck.

Regarding RM and the sustainability issue, my points have been better made by others. I just wanted to add that that is where Rick's "ADD" (quotes because I'm not sure if he's serious about the diagnosis) comes in. He should have thought through his response for a moment and engaged his filter--if he has one.

#72

screamapiller

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Posted Jun 12, 2010 @ 12:45 PM

Regarding RM and the sustainability issue, my points have been better made by others. I just wanted to add that that is where Rick's "ADD" (quotes because I'm not sure if he's serious about the diagnosis) comes in. He should have thought through his response for a moment and engaged his filter--if he has one.

While I've never discussed this with him (I'm of the opinion that if someone wants to share something like this with me they will but I'm not going to prod them for details) I would say that if he hasn't had an official diagnosis, Rick displays classic ADHD symptoms and he does frequently lack a filter - when he was involved in a panel discussion on sustainable seafood with Roger Berkowitz of Legal Seafood, I was sure there was going to be a fist fight because of the back and forth between them and the things that Rick said probably not realize how it sounded.

He is totally hyperactive, and when I've watched him in the kitchen he does clean his workstation to the point of being able to eat off the tables/floor. It's pretty amazing.

Edited by screamapiller, Jun 12, 2010 @ 12:45 PM.


#73

PMS Babe

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Posted Jun 12, 2010 @ 3:12 PM

Marcus's dish, despite Gail's description, is not a flan. It's called a "Foie Gras Ganache" I've had it many times over the years at Aquavit (although I don't see it on the online menu now) -- it's one of my favorite dishes I've ever had at any restaurant. It's truly lovely, what with the almond flour mixing with the foie. Marcus also serves a lot of char and steak tartare in the restaurant.

I thought this finale was wonderful. The personal stories were so moving and really illustrated so much about who the chefs are and why they do what they do. I LOVED Susar's personality and I'd really like to try his food.

TCM has made me like Top Chef less. I love seeing these Masters really focussed on their cooking, and not spending half their time being controversial to try to get camera time.

#74

Lamb18

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Posted Jun 12, 2010 @ 9:16 PM

I started out like this season less than the first season but ended up liking it better. At the beginning of this season I missed the camaraderie of last season, but as this one progressed I liked that the chefs were more competitive than last season's. I like watching the drama of competition when the chefs just don't want to outdo each other, but outdo their own previous performances. I especially enjoyed the final two episodes and who ended up being the final 3 chefs. These three are so different from each other--racially, personalities, styles, backgrounds--it was truly a diverse final 3 and I think it made the show better.

I ended by cheering for Marcus although I like Rick and Susur pretty well. I missed the first episode showing Marcus, but read the posts here. As I watched the championship round episodes he grew on me and I guess I just like who he is. The next time I'm in New York I definitely want to go to his restaurant. And I'd like to try Susur's.

Now I can't wait for TC to start again.

#75

CassandraRedux

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Posted Jun 13, 2010 @ 10:27 AM

I was rooting for either Rick or Susar, so I was slightly disappointed that Marcus won. Overall, though, a highly entertaining season, and I have really positive feelings about all three finalists, and all the Master Cheftestants this season. It was also great to see the three finalists from last season, too.

I find TCM to be such an uplifting show, and this finale was no exception. What great stories and food. Bravo. (heh)

#76

dirtyhippiegirl

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Posted Jun 13, 2010 @ 3:19 PM

I have to admit that I was pretty much rooting for Marcus only because I agree the most with his charity of choice.

Pretty disappointed that only the first twenty minutes or so showed any sort of planning or cooking, which are my favorite parts of the show. I didn't want thirty minutes of judging table and fast-forwarded through it all.

#77

Chyromaniac

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Posted Jun 14, 2010 @ 12:04 AM

This exchange:

RICK: There are no losers here, really...

SUSER: Well, there will be two right?

Cracked me up for a good ten minutes.

#78

celestial605

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Posted Jun 14, 2010 @ 12:28 AM

RICK: There are no losers here, really...

SUSER: Well, there will be two right?


HAHA! I actually missed this quote - I will have to watch again and listen for it! Susur is full of gems... I think he is extra endearing to me because my parents are immigrants from Asia.

#79

AheadofStraight

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Posted Oct 3, 2010 @ 5:33 PM

I had this show on the DVR and just got around to watching it and came here to read the comments. I'm very interested in reading Jay's blog that was mentioned a few pages back but it has been removed. Did it cause too much controversy? If you go to this page, you can see where it should be available at the bottom of the existing blog with a title of "We are the World". However, it is a dead link.