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3-2: "Everything Old is New Again" 2011.04.13


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#31

farishta

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Posted Apr 14, 2011 @ 7:44 AM

Suvir's dish didn't even get damned with faint praise, it just got damned.



I thought one of the judges--the woman, whose name I don't know--said it was bold and contemporary in concept. Not so much in execution. It sounded as though it tasted much worse than Sue's, but it had that one thing to redeem it.

They run short of burners and what not on quite a few of these Top Chef shows. Why do they never have enough burners and equipment? Are they judging chefs for cooking or wanting to see how grabby they can get?

#32

RescueMom

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Posted Apr 14, 2011 @ 8:15 AM

I decided to approach this episode pretending it was a regular episode of Top Chef, just with different judges/host, and playing for charity. I actually enjoyed it a lot more than the first now that I have resigned myself to the fact that the things I loved about the first two seasons are gone.

Dagnabit. Why do the chefs with the charities nearest to my heart (animal-based charities) always get eliminated first in TCM? Has happened twice in a row now. Iím dying inside to see those charities get cut first, and I really liked Sue besides.


Me too, SpeciousLogic, me too. I was so hoping to see her win a ton of money to help the LA SPCA, as rescue is dear to my heart.

#33

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Posted Apr 14, 2011 @ 8:34 AM

They run short of burners and what not on quite a few of these Top Chef shows. Why do they never have enough burners and equipment? Are they judging chefs for cooking or wanting to see how grabby they can get?


It seems like a logistical oversight. They want to stage the event at a nice restaurant, which they did. But maybe the mix of dishes required too many people to use burners at the same time rather than ovens or stockpots. Or if they space out platings over another half hour, they would not have had these problems.

Of course, on The Next Iron Chef they routinely format things specifically to cause conflict between the chefs. They make them sprint and tussle for equipment and ingredients. They have them judge each other resulting in advantages and disadvantages. Let's be thankful they haven't gone that route here.

It's too bad Jonathan Sedlar had to go. I would've liked to have seen him bust out the same wacky plating that he did during his episode of Iron Chef America.

I don't know Selis, but let's remember this show has had Real Housewives and Flipping Out people judge quickfires. Bring back the girl scouts!

It's pretty hard to fathom a chef cooking meat but never able to taste it because of being a vegetarian. And apparently he does it well.

#34

RescueMom

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Posted Apr 14, 2011 @ 8:43 AM

It's pretty hard to fathom a chef cooking meat but never able to taste it because of being a vegetarian. And apparently he does it well.


No kidding! I may have missed it - did he say that he usually has a sous chef taste it or something? I think he must in his day-to-day life.

Edited by RescueMom, Apr 14, 2011 @ 8:44 AM.


#35

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Posted Apr 14, 2011 @ 9:01 AM

So even though Mary Sue won, if I as a diner found out that she plated them so close to the ground, under a counter, I would be grossed out. So boo to the producers for forcing a lack of cooking space.

#36

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Posted Apr 14, 2011 @ 9:20 AM

Am I the only one that didn't regard the classic 60's meals to be as disgusting as Christina was describing them to be. I mean really, it's not like Beef Wellington is on the same level as tuna casserole....and it's hard to beat a traditional deviled egg. I didn't really get why the thought of them disgusted her so much.

#37

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Posted Apr 14, 2011 @ 9:51 AM

Am I the only one that didn't regard the classic 60's meals to be as disgusting as Christina was describing them to be. I mean really, it's not like Beef Wellington is on the same level as tuna casserole....and it's hard to beat a traditional deviled egg. I didn't really get why the thought of them disgusted her so much.


I got the impression it was more of an issue w/ eating them all the time during filming which, depending on how many times they shoot a particular scene, can end up causing diet fatigue(for lack of a better term).

Technically Kelis is a 2-hit wonder. Her first hit song was Caught Out There aka I Hate You So Much Right Now. Here's the youtube link for it.

Overall I liked the ep though I share the same concern about the EC setup. Hopefully we won't see too many more instances of bad challenge planning.

I have to admit that my biggest surprise was seeing who Hendricks' spouse is. It was nice to see guest stars from shows i'm familiar with though.

Hugh's return was a pleasant surprise. I wanted to see Sedlar go far enough to bust out the crazy plating but Mr. Monobrow's commentary is entertaining enough.

#38

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Posted Apr 14, 2011 @ 10:24 AM

I had no idea who Kelis was (thank you for the links), but I really enjoyed her judging. She was firm without being nasty, even when challenged by one of the chefs, "I was hoping you would eat it with the bread." "I understand that, but each component should be able to stand on its own." I thought that was a very valid criticism about over seasoning something without become barbed about it. I don't know about the appeal of her milkshake, but this is how it went for me: Who is that? Never mind. I like her!

Christina Hendricks is pretty, but that husband of hers? Bleecch. Talk about Beauty and the Beast. How in the world did this coupling happen?


I confess, the first time I ever saw Christina Hendricks' husband, I had a vaguely similar reaction, in that Henricks is so very pretty. Then I listened to him in an interview and again here tonight, thereby ending any confusion. He seems like such neat, fun man. I get the attraction there. After all, sooner or later, no matter how beautiful someone is, it's their personality that has to be ultimately appealing. So at first it was "Whoa! What a plain looking man!" and within five minutes? "You know, I can see a geeky kind of cuteness in him..." They seem really well matched to me other than that first, "Okay that was not what I was expecting to see."

I continue to enjoy this show. Sure, Suvir made some comments at the critics' table that I did not enjoy, but otherwise, I enjoy the guy's natural goofiness. Besides, one thing I did like about him? He was so kind to Sue, even when he had no idea about whether or not she was going home. He defended her as she was presenting, in a really kind way.

Fun to have Hugh back, I do enjoy his personality. It took me all of a week to just basically learn to really like and appreciate these chefs, so I'm having a great time with the show. Part of what went on with Sue was that she wasn't calling out for help. One of the chefs helping her put some lung power into, "Does anyone have time to help Sue?" and two others chefs seemingly popped up through the floorboards to lend a hand. If she'd given a shout earlier, I think it would have been fine. So it wasn't the "I was so busy helping other people ..." as much it was, "I didn't call for help when I was in the weeds."

Suvir truly lucked the hell out there, because deep fried veal? Veal turned into "shoe-leather"? Yup, that was going to send him home if Sue hadn't had a time constraint problem. At least, I think so. That seems like a pretty big culinary sin, tough veal.

Oh hey and on the "that was an unsettling image" the picture of the chef holding a dead pig like a baby was not what I was expecting to see. I eat meat, I'm not objecting to it on those grounds. But it was like one of those old Death Portraits. "Oh look, they took a picture of a sleeping....Okay, so NOT sleeping. Eek."

Edited by stillshimpy, Apr 14, 2011 @ 10:56 AM.


#39

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Posted Apr 14, 2011 @ 10:36 AM

I didn't mind Kelis, especially since she was only judging the QF. She certainly seemed knowledgeable enough about food to do that,

Apparently not knowledgeable enough to be able to tell dill from fennel. I know they look similar because I frequently mistake one for the other when I'm buying garden plants in the spring, but tastewise there's a lot of difference.

#40

meanteeth

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Posted Apr 14, 2011 @ 10:49 AM

Apparently not knowledgeable enough to be able to tell dill from fennel. I know they look similar because I frequently mistake one for the other when I'm buying garden plants in the spring, but tastewise there's a lot of difference.


I believe she was saying that the taste wasn't coming through-- so she was looking at the herb and thought it was dill. As a fan of her music and style I was surprised to find out she was a chef, and even more surprised that she came to judge in such a conservative outfit and hairstyle. She is usually really out there in a very cool way.

I liked the Mad Men challenge, however, I too was upset by the lack of space and timing in the kitchen. I actually like that the Masters have to do the QF & EC the same way that regular cheftestants do. One of my favorite Allstars moments was watching Colicchio do a quickfire. In addition to being smart about his time, ingredients and composition, he was also really sweating because he wasn't used to having to get things done so quickly. So I like the new format.

#41

2dogs2parakeets

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Posted Apr 14, 2011 @ 11:19 AM

Good God, this show is dull.

#42

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Posted Apr 14, 2011 @ 11:48 AM

The "face the critics" for the bottom three made me miss the stars. I think it's more interesting to see three different opinions on each chef, rather than a homogenized, er, consensus decision.

Suvir's diva comments were a little disappointing, but I enjoy his Zen 'tude.

#43

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Posted Apr 14, 2011 @ 11:59 AM

I believe she was saying that the taste wasn't coming through-- so she was looking at the herb and thought it was dill. As a fan of her music and style I was surprised to find out she was a chef, and even more surprised that she came to judge in such a conservative outfit and hairstyle. She is usually really out there in a very cool way.

She did make a mistake between the dill and the fennel. And she chose not to eat the salty meatball with the bread, making some comment about how each element should stand on its own. Which I understand in concept, but isn't a dish an entire composition meant to be eaten together? Her Wiki entry states that she is trying to get a reality show and is shopping the networks. So I'm not surprised that she would end up as the pseudo-celebrity quickfire judge. I'm wondering what the discussion was. "Well, you're not really a big enough name to put on Top Chef. But we have this other show called Top Chef Masters, where you'll get less market share exposure but you'll still get your fame whoring ass on tv." I suspect a lot of celebrities that come on this show get there because they are fans of the show and initiated contact first.

I thought we were going to get to see Christina Hendricks' home. After all, she said it was a cocktail party for 40 people. Surely she lives in some big Beverly Hills or Hollywood house that could accommodate this size of party? I was expecting to see the chefs cook in the TC kitchen and then cart over their stuff and set-up. So I was surprised that they had it in Suzanne Tracht's Jar restaurant, which is quite a small space. Maybe Christina didn't want the party at her home. Or maybe the producers pulled some strings and got Tracht to give up her restaurant for a night, seeing as how she was a former TC Master contestant. Agree with all the comments that it is ridiculous to have the chefs plate 40 dishes each when the kitchen is so small.

#44

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Posted Apr 14, 2011 @ 12:09 PM

was anybody else tempted to make their own '60's dishes list? Looking at my mother's old cookbooks and remembering my own childhood I came up with:


chicken chow mien
meatloaf, (was gonna mention Hamburger Helper, but that came out in 1971
sweet and sour meatballs
all those Jello and jellied salads
quiche lorraine (or this more '70's?)
chicken cacciatore
lobster newburgh
cherries jubilee
Chex party mix

Edited by Artistictype, Apr 14, 2011 @ 12:12 PM.


#45

Fukui San

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Posted Apr 14, 2011 @ 12:10 PM

Wouldn't a private home's kitchen be even less able to handle 9 people cooking at the same time than even a small restaurant? Even if they broke out the hot plates and portable burners, a private home wouldn't have industrial equipment.

#46

Bungalow Joy

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Posted Apr 14, 2011 @ 12:42 PM

Curtis Stone is pretty leaden keeps the show from floating. Could it be that a female host, even one that's not a chef, gives the show more levity? The intensity should come from the critics (and, of course, from the chefs' efforts), but I think it's Curtis that's making it seem more by-the-numbers than diverting. He seems like a nice man, and on paper this would seem a good fit. But the show is very inert with him hosting it.

ETA: There are some great mid-century modern venues in L.A. but I imagine a lot of their kitchens would have had the same size problems. (Actually, Foxtail where Antonia Lofaso cheffed would have rocked, but it's tiny tiny tiny; it's closed now--I would have linked pics.) I think the Century Plaza Hotel would have been the best choice, with a large enough kitchen for all the chefs.

Edited by Bungalow Joy, Apr 14, 2011 @ 1:10 PM.


#47

farishta

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Posted Apr 14, 2011 @ 12:56 PM

It's pretty hard to fathom a chef cooking meat but never able to taste it because of being a vegetarian. And apparently he does it well.


I can see why it would sound strange. But I'm from that part of the world, where it sometimes happens that a few people in he family eat meat and a few don't, but there's a limited number of cooks. So I know folks who can make exquisite meat dishes without ever having tasted the meat/fish part.

The meat might be the main ingredient, but as far as the art of North Indian meat cooking is concerned, it's the spices and sauces and flavors that matter. Getting those right is the most important and the most complicated part, so it's possible that Suvir is able to taste the latter before they are mixed with the meat. That's my guess.

My mother and I are vegetarians (though I did eat meat during some periods of my life and she's never tasted it) and my father and brother were meat eaters. All four of us can both make pretty good meat dishes, I think, if we choose to--and I'm talking of average homecooking here.

Edited by farishta, Apr 14, 2011 @ 12:59 PM.


#48

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Posted Apr 14, 2011 @ 1:29 PM

Cringeworthy, but hysterical moment: Kelly's (I think it was Kelly) TH trying to sound sincere as she says, "I really liked Kelis and, you know, my millkshake brings all the boys to the yard". Chef is missing her calling as an actress being able to get that line out without howling with laughter. Off topic, but I just have to say that song was seriously vile.

I miss the stars, I miss the respect of giving the chefs a chance to shine by cooking, not surviving. I even kinda miss Kelly Choi, that's how badly they've redone this version of TC. The amusement of seeing the other Hot Tamale back in action is about the high point so far. Sad.

And what the heck is so wrong with grasshopper pie? And, oh, yes, did I want to see someone have to struggle with yellow Jell-O and carrots! Yum!!

#49

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Posted Apr 14, 2011 @ 1:56 PM

It's so disappointing to watch this season of what was once a compelling show. The fun of Masters, like Allstars, used to be that we get to see legendary chefs competing on a level playing field to plan, prepare, and present their food. This season, Masters has given us chefs we've barely (or never) heard of, whose skills seem to be somewhat sketchy since many produce food that's then judged "inedible." Then the producers have them scramble in game-show scenarios to grab basic necessities in kitchens that are not equipped for all to work at once. Yes, I know this is a competition, but it's supposed to be a cooking competition, not musical chairs. It's one thing to make everybody cook without utensils, and another to have too few utensils for everyone to use. They're taking the emphasis away from the cooking and putting it -- I don't know, someplace weird. I'm not getting nearly enough of the parts where the chefs talk about the choices they've made, readjust as problems develop, and explain why they're doing what they're doing. In other words, the cooking part.

The choice of judges baffled me this week. I was reminded of the episodes of Iron Chef America where the judging panel is, say, a 94-pound actress, a political analyst, and a singer, and one of them tells Morimoto or Bobby Flay that their flavor profiles aren't on point, and you can just see from the look on the Iron Chef's face that he's not taking this amateur's opinion seriously. The opinions of non-professionals do have their place on this kind of show. But it's one thing to have the majority opinion of a room full of diners, and another to have the decision lie in the hands of someone who used to almost be a chef, but then wasn't, way back before they used to almost be a star (and then weren't). And yes, I can see where a person would have trouble distinguishing fennel fronds from dill, just like italian parsley vs cilantro, but then you're supposed to taste it. Just like you're supposed to taste the whole dish, not just a single component. Come on, a chef made a soup and was judged by someone who couldn't be bothered to sample the broth?

Edited by FineWashables, Apr 14, 2011 @ 1:58 PM.


#50

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Posted Apr 14, 2011 @ 4:54 PM

So, each of the judges had 22 appetizers?! That's a lot of food.

At least the Quickfire is anonymous. Regular Top Chef producers---note that good idea.

#51

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Posted Apr 14, 2011 @ 6:58 PM

carmelized wrote:

But she wasn't even the biggest celebrity in this episode. I daresay many more people who who Christina Hendricks is, so I doubt if the show is having trouble getting stars. I didn't mind Kelis, especially since she was only judging the QF. She certainly seemed knowledgeable enough about food to do that, and I like seeing a mixture of people.

Christina Hendricks is YoSaffBridge!

#52

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Posted Apr 14, 2011 @ 10:53 PM

I know I'm not on the cutting edge of pop culture, LOL, but who in the world was that music person tasting the quick fire dishes? Have never heard of her! It didn't seem like the chefs felt like she knew what she was talking about even though she is supposedly a chef herself.


This.

She made 2 blunders. First she identified fennel as dill. Trained chef??

Secondly she excused her tasting malpractice on the meatball sandwich by saying each component has to stand on it own. Uh, NO. Cooking is about the combination of flavors. You can have 6 components that individually taste lousy yet they make a delicious dish in combination.

Good thing that judge can sing, because I don't think she'd make it as a chef.

Am I the only one that didn't regard the classic 60's meals to be as disgusting as Christina was describing them to be. I mean really, it's not like Beef Wellington is on the same level as tuna casserole....and it's hard to beat a traditional deviled egg. I didn't really get why the thought of them disgusted her so much.


This.

When people talk the way these people did about these dishes (sorry, most of those dishes have been around a lot longer than the 60's and some of them are classics) and then describe themselves as foodies I think they should just have PRETENTIOUS tattooed on their foreheads and be done with it.

#53

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Posted Apr 15, 2011 @ 9:39 AM

She made 2 blunders. First she identified fennel as dill. Trained chef??

Secondly she excused her tasting malpractice on the meatball sandwich by saying each component has to stand on it own. Uh, NO. Cooking is about the combination of flavors. You can have 6 components that individually taste lousy yet they make a delicious dish in combination.


I agree with you on the second blunder, but on first, a sprig of fennel frond doesn't look much different than dill IMHO. If she tasted it and thought it was dill, then it would be pretty weak. I think it was just her first impression looking at the dish, so I would give her a break on that.

It's pretty hard to fathom a chef cooking meat but never able to taste it because of being a vegetarian. And apparently he does it well.


I was thinking the same thing. Also, if he's strict about it, a lot of sauces and side dishes use stock as a base, so I guess he doesn't taste those? Or doesn't use meat stock at all?


I agree it was very annoying to see chefs handicapped by the lack of burners on a Masters show, especially since it affected only two of them.

I was also confused by the updating concept. At what point does an "update" just become a completely different dish that happens to use the same raw ingredients? Seems to me that the tartare, for example, was one that had no relation to the original dish.

#54

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Posted Apr 15, 2011 @ 10:16 AM

This show is nothing like it was during the first 2 seasons, and I hate that TPTB felt they had to make such sweeping changes. I was no fan of Kelly Chou (sp.?), but the new host does nothing for the show. I miss the old judges, especially Jay Rayner. I miss the camaraderie among the masters that we saw in earlier seasons. I miss the old judging methodology. This feels like a regular edition of Top Chef, with older and more experienced chefs, but it's boring. I don't care enough to keep watching it.

#55

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Posted Apr 15, 2011 @ 10:25 AM

I totally agree with earlier sentiments about this season being off. This feels like another season of Top Chef rather than Top Chef Masters. It was ridiculous for Sue to be eliminated last night for not being given her needed space to cook. If these are supposed to be the masters, then let them compete on an even playing field and don't penalize someone for not being given adequate resources. It also makes me sad because the ASPCA or my local no-kill shelter are always on the top of my charity lists and I would've liked to see more money go to them.

I'm not sad to see the old host go, her voice was incredibly annoying. Particularly the way her tone would rise then fall at the end of every sentence she said. Almost as if everything she was saying was going to be a question, but then she changed her mind.

#56

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Posted Apr 15, 2011 @ 10:31 AM

She made 2 blunders. First she identified fennel as dill. Trained chef??


I had no idea who she was, but yeah. How do you mess that up if you're a trained chef? The flavors are nowhere near each other.

#57

Rickster

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Posted Apr 15, 2011 @ 10:46 AM

I had no idea who she was, but yeah. How do you mess that up if you're a trained chef? The flavors are nowhere near each other.


She hadn't tasted it when she made the comment. She was going by visuals.

#58

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Posted Apr 15, 2011 @ 11:02 AM

I hope we see some of these dishes in Season 5 of Mad Men when Joan Holloway hosts her next dinner party. I saw Michael Gladis ("Paul Kinsey") but didn't see anyone else from the Mad Men cast.

Crocodile Dundee adds nothing to this show and should have never been made the host.

#59

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Posted Apr 15, 2011 @ 11:22 AM

They have fairly distinct smells too. If you're going to judge the food, you should be tasting it too. All of it.

#60

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Posted Apr 15, 2011 @ 2:48 PM

Curtis Stone just sucks the life out of this show. He overly directed milkshake girls comments on the food. While I thought she was a terrible guest judge, at least let her judge. If she's looking for a show of her own, she may need a personality injection. She came off as flat, with no affect.

I've got to agree that staggering the cooking would have made so much more sense. I didn't see any diva bahavior, just chefs who worked their way into the space available. Maybe something happened that we didn't see, but Bravo usually pushes the drama so I doubt it.