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3-5: "Would You Like Fries with That" 2011.05.04 (recap)


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#61

Canmander

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Posted May 7, 2011 @ 3:24 AM

So the very first episode this season I found Hugh to be extremely creepy and kind of scary. Like bodies buried in the backyard scary. Now, I am scared because I find him strangely hot. His behaviour in the restaurant was very odd - but damn if he isn't just one strange dude all the time.

I looked up photos of him on google and I swear he does that eyebrow thing on purpose. It looks like he even grooms it to a weird point in the middle.

And yet... yeah, I'd do him. /shudder.

Oh my god, Stella Rose... I am right there with you! The unibrow and that Dexter voice! And yet still! Somehow! Strangely, inexplicably hot! Why?????

#62

Northwester

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Posted May 7, 2011 @ 4:03 AM

The thing that was ridiculously stupid is that Fast Food doesn't mean "no utensils" even in the drive thru. Seriously, utensils free dining seems to be an obsession lately with Magic Elves with the same thing coming up again and again on their America's Next Top Restaurant.


Maybe they believe that Americans are getting so dumbed down (thanks in part to watching reality TV) that we will eventually lose the brain power required to manipulate utensils.

TC Masters has definitely gone through a dumbing down process, given the emphasis on overly gimmicky challenges I could not see them having sprung on the likes of Keller/Bayless/Samuelson etc. Yes, there was the cooking in a dorm room challenge, but that was an exception, and for the most part the emphasis was actually on the art of cooking.

In this EC the cooking seemed almost an afterthought, lost amid all the extraneous nonsense about the ordering process, the drive-through line etc. Which took up a huge chunk of air time and in the end was completely meaningless, since the chefs were not judged on any of that.

Given the fuss made about Hugh slowing the line with his comedy act at the register, the problems George had with the ordering process etc., I expected how they handled these responsibilities to be factored into the judging, like on TC restaurant wars. Since it wasn't I can only assume we were meant to find all this entertaining. A big miscalculation, at least for me.

Even less entertaining was the flirting and bantering between the two teams of judges. When did the judges become the stars of this show? Why do The Elves think that everyone shares their strange fascination with Curtis Stone? (That line about how even he didn't look hot eating the wrap or whatever was just so forced and scripted.)

Both the chefs and the judges seem like a major step down from past seasons. The judges seem like the understudies, as someone posted, and while I don't think that the chefs have been given a fair chance to shine with their cooking, as personalities they're kind of a snooze. I recogize Chef Tio because she was on Next Iron Chef. I'm aware that there were two Indian guys and now there's one. There's the guy with the unibrow who fancies himself a great wit. Everyone else is just kind of blending together.

If the next episode features another silly challenge that doesn't give the chefs an opportunity to really showcase their skills then I think I'm done.

Edited by Northwester, May 7, 2011 @ 4:21 AM.


#63

kiki1234

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Posted May 7, 2011 @ 6:55 AM

Now Restaurant Girl on the other hand is AWFUL. I just realized that they must have cast her because she has a book coming out this month. Cause otherwise she is a complete joke as a food critic. Check out this thread from Chowhound from when she was the NY Daily News reviewer:

Howlers From Restaurant Girl


I was surprised when I read some of her reviews from the Daily News. On the show she doesn't seem to know any words longer than 4 letters.

Did anyone else laugh when the guest judge for the QF said the carrot soup felt like a hug on the inside?

Oh my god, Stella Rose... I am right there with you! The unibrow and that Dexter voice! And yet still! Somehow! Strangely, inexplicably hot! Why?????


Even more inexplicable. I thought he was hot until he clicked his tongue at Suvir after he told him he was wrong to make his speech right before Hugh served his meat dish. Bizarre.

Edited by kiki1234, May 7, 2011 @ 9:16 AM.


#64

RescueMom

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Posted May 7, 2011 @ 10:12 AM

Both the chefs and the judges seem like a major step down from past seasons.


I'm going to reply in the Seasons vs. Seasons thread.

#65

thenameless

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Posted May 7, 2011 @ 2:51 PM

What bother me most about this show wasn't the fast food aspect or the not telling them in advance aspect. It was the "no utensils part" of it. Fast food doesn't mean "no utensils", it may mean plastic utensils but they are going to have them. After thinking about it buggs me for a lot of reasons:

1) It a needless twist after in a challenge that tough enough as is.
2) It feels misleading, to the chefs they know any fast food restaurant in NotaRealityTvShow has utensils, your mind isn't logically going to go there after hearing the challenge parameters.
3) It makes all those comment about the "fast food" environment silly, this is not a fast food environment this is the America Next Great Restaurant/ TCM bizzaro "everything must be hand held" version of a fast food environment.
4) The judges saying contestants where looking down on "fast food", this whole concept of fast food not having utensils is what really looking down on fast food. It feels condescending like some one who never actually been in a fast food restaurant is humoring us commoners and our utensils free way of eating.
5) Curtis calling it "fast causal" makes it even worse as I expect no utensils even less in a fast casual place.
6) Curtis ironically makes fast causal look bad based on this ep it is basically fast food only we don't have forks because you might poke your eye out.

Edited by thenameless, May 7, 2011 @ 2:52 PM.


#66

milhomie

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Posted May 7, 2011 @ 4:54 PM

I've never even heard the term "fast casual".

#67

Former Nun

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Posted May 7, 2011 @ 8:10 PM

I've never even heard the term "fast casual".

That's the business model NBC's "America's Next Great Restaurant" is based on. Supposedly the food is of a higher quality/price than "fast food," and interiors and employee uniforms should be a bit nicer. One orders and picks up at the counter...although there could be some serving. Think Chipotle (created by one of the judges on the NBC show).

#68

ratgirlagogo

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Posted May 8, 2011 @ 3:14 PM

What bother me most about this show wasn't the fast food aspect or the not telling them in advance aspect. It was the "no utensils part" of it. Fast food doesn't mean "no utensils", it may mean plastic utensils but they are going to have them.

I've never even heard the term "fast casual".

Think Chipotle.


You know what they have at every Chipotle? Utensils.

#69

nanobabes

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Posted May 8, 2011 @ 9:30 PM

It's still a stupid reason, but maybe the reason they required a no-utensils dish was because the "judges" wanted to be able to eat it in the car after they went through the drive-thru?

#70

JTMacc99

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Posted May 9, 2011 @ 9:52 AM

I think the No Utensils rule was nothing more or less than a way of mitigating the idiocy of not just TELLING these master chefs that the challenge will be to make and serve fast food.

If the challenge had been constructed more intelligently, the chefs could have come up with their ideas of fast food before they got to the restaurant. They could have chosen to make food that could be eaten with a crappy little plastic fork and spoon if they wanted, but I'd guess they still would have made utensil free food. It just would have made more sense and been more practical to eat in a car.

#71

potatoradio

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Posted May 9, 2011 @ 11:03 AM

Howlers From Restaurant Girl


Ratgirlagogo - thanks so much for linking those! Those were more entertaining than this whole dismal season.

#72

VirginiBound

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Posted May 9, 2011 @ 11:27 AM

I totally agree. I thought this one was just stupid. Regardless of the questionable decision to have Masters work fast food, why disguise it? Let them at least be prepared. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I agree with the other posters that the chefs should have been told they were going to be working in a fast food location. All these "twists" are annoying - not entertaining.

I am loving this season of Master Chef. I think a master chef is someone who is at the top of their professional game, not on top of a pedestal. One of the definitions of a master is "d (1) : an artist, performer, or player of consummate skill ". I would expect part of the master chefs consummate skill sets to be, finding the solution to any problem as quickly as possible. In the QF, the problem was, make a great appetizer for $1.00, or less. In the EC, the problem was, make a great entree and side, quickly. I think incredible food is incredible food, no matter how it is served or how fast it can be made.

They all had the same parameters. They all knew, no utensils could be used. They all found out at the same time that it was fast food service. Some managed to do extremely well, and make incredible food with those parameters, some did not. That's called entertainment. Which is also a big part of the what Top Chef franchise.

I would have been less irritated with the EC if it had not included the service aspect. Just have regular people (as they do waitstaff) do the order taking and running, and let the Chefs cook 4 at a time. Ditch the stupid drive-thru window bit. The reason why your meal is ready in the time it takes to get from window one to window two at Burger King is that you're eating pre-cooked, microwaved crap.

We have been trained to eat the fast food garbage that is out there, because that was all that was offered. I think there is a real market for good, fresh, fast foods, that is reasonably priced, and can still be in the gourmet category. I thought this challenge was particularly prescient. Just look at all the gourmet food trucks hitting the street. Ludo Lefebvre, a Top Chef Master on both season 1 and 2, was one of the first.

http://thebeatofyoun...ludo-truck.html

I think that was the point of this challenge, and the QF. To push the masters out of their comfort zones, of high end dining, without sacrificing the high end quality. This challenged forced them to make, good fresh, fast food, that could be gotten just as quickly, as bad, NOT fresh, fast food. They did not go to a BK or a Wendy's. They went to Farmer Boys. A chain that prides itself on fresh, made to order, fast food. Those who did well, and there were quite a few, thought seriously about foods you can eat with just your hands. Those who did well, also adapted the food for this kind of service. Those who stayed in their comfort zones, did not do well.

#73

IttyBittyFlavur

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Posted May 9, 2011 @ 3:05 PM

Some managed to do extremely well, and make incredible food with those parameters, some did not.


If you have several people managing to do well, then the challenge isn't all that unreasonable. Convoluted, maybe, but not unreasonable.

What I'm curious about is how they handled the prep time for the second team. Most restaurants don't essentially shut down for 20 minutes during the lunch rush so the chefs can prep.

It would have been nice to have a couple for regular staffers on hand to coach people on the cash registers. That, at least, is not something you can expect a chef to pick up right off the bat.

#74

michaelp1

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Posted May 11, 2011 @ 5:24 AM

Given Restauant Girl's criticism of one dish was that the other judge "couldn't look hot eating it" and the link above to the Howlers by Restaurant Girl it made me think of a great new challenge. Each chef cooks a dish. Then, in a group, they watch in another room as Restaurant Girl critiques their work. At the end they take a vote. The winner is not who cooked the best dish, but the chef whose dish produced the most incoherent review from Restaurant Girl.

They could also do a similar challenge for the other judges where the winner would be (although its probably near impossible) the chef whose dish produces an articulate review from one of those judges.

[Edited for typos :)]

Edited by michaelp1, May 11, 2011 @ 5:25 AM.


#75

Myles

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Posted May 15, 2011 @ 11:45 PM

In advance, I know that this isn't necessarily about this specific episode.

I am answering a question that came about from this episode about kitchen slang, in depth, so that the answer makes sense in context.

Excuse my ignorance but I've never worked in the food industry. Why did some of the chefs say "all day long" when calling out an order, such as: "Five tacos, all day long"?



"All day" is restaurant slang meaning "in total" or "the total amount". So when Celina was using it in the episode, if I recall correctly, she was confirming the number that was required at that time. I hope that helps.


Yep, kitchen cant, slang. Many terms are only found in commercial kitchens: "all day", "walking in", "flying", "sandbagging", "corner", "behind", "hot and heavy", "sharp", "weeds", etc. There is a whole vocabulary specific to a working kitchen. Every industry has it's own lingo. If you are not in the industry, most of the time, they do not mean what you think it means. Even the different slangs from FOH and BOH can lead to accidents should a server walk behind the line at the wrong moment. There is a rhythm to working in a functioning kitchen that is there for both expediency and safety.

Instead of the expo (the expeditor, working the window, or pass) saying, "I need 1 trout on ticket 7, 2 trout on ticket 8, and 1 trout with the sauce on the side, please, on ticket 10," they will simply say, amongst other food calls, "I need 4 trout all day - 1 SOS, 3 chicken picattas, 1 no pasta, sub spinach, 4 catch, 2 veal oscars, and 1 liver, set 4 spinach, 3 asparagus, 1 duck sauce! GRILL!: I need 4 strips all day - 2 midrare, 1 medium, 1 midwell, 5 filets all day - 1 rare, 2 medium, 2 petite-medium - 1 blackened snapper, 2 salmon, 1 daffy, fire 2 ahi apps, set 3 dirty sanchez and a 6 on a stick (every kitchen will even have it's own sub-language for their own dishes)" Then each station member will call back, "Heard!" and recite back the orders, both in progress and being added and the current status of each dish, while moving extremely quickly and handling sizzling pans and potentially dangerous utensils in one or both hands, nonstop, hopefully not burning or slicing yourself or co-workers.

The expeditor is god, and you listen and remember, and do it. A great expeditor ranks even higher.

Edited by Myles, May 16, 2011 @ 12:10 AM.