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11-4: "Captain Vietnam" 2013.10.23


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#1

TWoP Nikita

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Posted Oct 21, 2013 @ 11:21 PM

From Zap2it:

The chefs get a crash course in Vietnamese culture.

 

This thread will open at 11:00pm EDT on October 23rd.



#2

aquarian1

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Posted Oct 23, 2013 @ 11:10 PM

I only half watched, but that one guy who kept insisting that he knew Vietnamese food and then didn't have lemon grass? I thought he was going to be the one to go.

Now I want to go to that Vietnamese bakery. But since I live in MN, I don't think that will be happening any time soon.
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#3

Bastet Esq

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Posted Oct 23, 2013 @ 11:26 PM

I'm a bit torn on tonight's elimination choice.  On the one hand, as Janine herself said, any fry cook at Hooters can make shrimp, so she deserves to go for screwing up something so fundamental.  But on the other hand, that dish wouldn't have worked even if she had executed the shrimp perfectly, because it was ill-conceived from jump and that was on Travis - who held himself out as the most knowledgeable of the team when it came to Vietnamese cuisine.  Plus, Travis screwed up the dipping sauce that accompanied another dish.  So while I can't necessarily cry foul on Janine's elimination, I think Travis should have been given the boot.
 
I can't believe they sent out rice they all knew was awful.
 
What were the editing monkeys trying to imply with the "lemongrass lost in translation" flashback footage -- that it had, indeed, been put in the cart and perhaps Sara had removed it?  Because I didn't see her do that in the footage they showed - and there's no indication she thought the dish didn't need lemongrass - but by showing her questioning of her teammates' selected ingredients rather than simply showing that Janine had put lemongrass in the cart they cast suspicion on her.
 
I felt like Tom was really reaching at Judges' Table to make it seem as if Stephanie was a contender for elimination alongside the rest of her team because that dessert - which everyone enjoyed - was not particularly innovative.
 
I'm rather surprised by the number of chefs who had little to no experience eating - not cooking, but just eating - Vietnamese food.  I love it, and suspect I might have felt like Tom -- anxious to go get some good Vietnamese food after eating so many lackluster offerings.

 

I heard a few chefs and judges pronounce pho the way it looks, with a long O (like foe), but I have only ever heard it pronounced "fuh."  I know English pronunciation of Vietnamese words can be tricky, so are both technically correct.

 

I liked the planking interstitial; it cracked me up when Shirley thrust her arms up in victory and then immediately grabbed her sore abs.


Edited by Bastet Esq, Oct 23, 2013 @ 11:51 PM.

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#4

wingsabre

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Posted Oct 23, 2013 @ 11:31 PM

I think Travis should have gone home, because it was all his idea.  I grew up eating Vietnamese dishes, and I've had a shrimp dish in tomato sauce before.  I think I know what he's thinking when he came up with that idea.  It's a very rare dish, and there are a lot of other Vietnamese shrimp dishes that are more common.  Overall the dish is not very Vietnamese, as much as it's more Burmese and Malaysian influenced.  The problem with that tomato sauce was it was made with canned tomatoes like most Italian sauces.  The dish should be made with fresh tomatoes.  It should be chopped, and cooked fast in garlic, onion, chilies, and black pepper, and the tomatoes should still retain a lot of it's shape.  This is like trying to make fried green tomatoes with over ripen tomatoes. 

 

Lemon grass is not paramount to Vietnamese cooking.  It's a common flavor, but not a deal breaker.  They kind of exaggerated it's importance, and Sarah should have just focused on her own dish and not on others.  If something's on someone's cart, don't take it off.  Additionally the dipping sauce Travis made would not normally have lemon grass anyway.  It's fermented fish sauce (different from regular fish sauce as it's not filtered and a lot more murky), crushed pineapple, chopped garlic, lime, sambal chili sauce, and sugar to taste.  The sauce was unbalanced because Travis messed up the balance, not because he didn't have all the ingredients.

 

Janine should not have double fried her shrimp, especially since the sauce should be able to warm her dish.  The first episode where she's able to control her bowels and she goes home.  Thought she would go farther.  However the judges got it wrong when they said there's no double fried shrimp.  They have double fried shrimp and double fried calamari in Vietnamese cuisine.  The shrimp is basically dredged and fried.  Then in a separate wok, garlic, diced chili peppers, salt, sugar, +/- msg are fried in butter and then the fried shrimp is tossed in and fried for a few seconds.  There's also another version of head on shrimp where they dry fry it a second time with toasted rice flour.

 

They messed up rice, not even from scratch.  They messed up rice cooker rice.  At that point, they should have just given up on the shrimp and made shrimp congee.

 

Shirley got it right with the butter.  I kind of liked how she was protecting Patty through the whole challenge.  Maybe Patty really is the weakest competitor so far, but either way it's nice to see a teammate actually look out for her teammate.

 

Now I'm going to vent.  I HATE Andy Cohen, and I've never liked him.  He was basically a producer who wanted to be seen on TV and injected himself every opportunity he could.  It started when he insisted that he host the reunion episodes of Top Chef, and he's been insufferable ever since.  Now why am I venting on Andy?  He kinda spoiled the ending in the Watch what happens live promo a minute before it ended by saying a Top Chef contestant from this season will be on the show, "and it's a hot one."  He had Jason on the show, but Janine is also hot, and she got eliminated.  He should have just said Jason will be on his poor excuse of a show.


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#5

Sourire

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Posted Oct 23, 2013 @ 11:53 PM

 

He kinda spoiled the ending in the Watch what happens live promo a minute before it ended by saying a Top Chef contestant from this season will be on the show, "and it's a hot one."  He had Jason on the show, but Janine is also hot, and she got eliminated.  He should have just said Jason will be on his poor excuse of a show.

 

That is annoying, but in my opinion there is quite a bit of eye-candy this season. (I'm not complaining at all, mind you). I actually think both Justin and Bret are pretty darn cute. Heck, I even think Ramon is more attractive than Jason, but that may be personal preference. Bret reminds me very much of Laura Linney's love interest Karl in Love Actually - is it just me? And as for the girls, I think Carrie is just as gorgeous as Janine, but in a different way.

 

Okay, back to food --- Travis absolutely should have gone. You don't exert so much influence over a team and then shrink away from the responsibility. If they can auf Kristen over Josie in restaurant wars, they can certainly give Travis the ax for his performance.


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#6

Maddingcrowd

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:26 AM

I think Travis bragged a bit too much, but I don't think he had all that much influence. It looked to me like little miss head scarf/Betty Page was running the group and she put the lemongrass back because she didn't want it. Travis didn't know that of course, but we saw him put it in the cart and then it was mysteriously gone. I also thought Tom C was being a bit of a dick to him.

 

Travis didn't say he went to an Italian restaurant in Vietnam, he said he went to some Vietnamese ones that served tomato based dishes. The judges complain if ethnic dishes are too literal copies, so why complain about something because it isn't served at every Vietnamese restaurant?

Now, if the taste of the dish itself was bad, then that would be another matter. 


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#7

Butch718

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:38 AM

A few random thoughts....

 

I'm kind of surprised that so many of them were unfamiliar with Vietnamese food and flavors. Vietnamese restaurants are as common as Thai places these days.

 

Was Tom overly-critical of Stephanie's dish for the mere fact that her team was on the bottom? It seemed like all the judges really liked it when they showed the video footage to the contestants. Then you have Tom putting it down because he felt it was a tad bit pedestrian. Damn editing monkeys.

 

Count me among those that thought Travis should have gone home. Even if the shrimp were cooked correctly, his concept for the dish was a complete disaster. 

 

Michael continues to be extremely annoying. I agree with Nina when she labelled him as a kiss ass. I know he lives in New Orleans now, but I get the feeling that he loves pointing his knowledge of the city for the mere purpose of showing off. It comes of as extremely pretentious. Justin has been living in the New Orleans for quite some time as well, but you don't  see him constantly showcasing his familiarity of the area. 

 

Also, I have mixed feelings about Eddie Huang as a judge. There's no doubt that he's extremely knowledgeable about Asian cuisine and culture. I just don't care much for his shtick or personality. I wish they could have gotten a reputable local chef from the area to the judge this episode. Not some mediocre cook that owns an incredibly overrated Bao spot in NYC. 


Edited by Butch718, Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:40 AM.

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#8

Defcon

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:53 AM

The finale should be between Shirley and Justin, the 2 most talented chefs, as well as being nice, humble and above any drama.
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#9

wingsabre

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 1:02 AM

Also, I have mixed feelings about Eddie Huang as a judge. There's no doubt that he's extremely knowledgeable about Asian cuisine and culture. I just don't care much for his shtick or personality. I wish they could have gotten a reputable local chef from the area to the judge this episode. Not some mediocre cook that owns an incredibly overrated Bao spot in NYC.

 

I completely agree about Eddie.  I think he had nothing to add.  He doesn't even cook Vietnamese food.  Now I remember him from, I think, Anthony Bourdain's Layover New York episode.  What was most annoying thing to me was how he emphasized lemongrass so much when that's just a fraction of Vietnamese cooking.  It sounded very ignorant, like someone say all Chinese and Japanese food has to have soy sauce.  They could have gotten a Vietnamese chef that could actually teach these contestants about the flavors.  Instead it was like the blind leading the blind.


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#10

biakbiak

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 1:06 AM

I actually didn't mind that Travis not going home because they seemed to actually like his dish, though Gail thought the sauce was too sharp but she wasn't on the panel. Sara seemed more in control of the team than Travis and he isn't wrong about tomato based dishes in some parts of Vietnam, I think the main issue was that he didn't articulate it well to Bene who was actually making the sauce. I thought it would have made more sense for Bene to go home than Janine.

Stephanie's dish might have been tasty but I don't get how it was Vietnamese other than the sauce that sounded amazing. It's was a macaroon not a macaron.

What was most annoying thing to me was how he emphasized lemongrass so much when that's just a fraction


To be fair he only criticized that team and Travis told him his plan was to make a lemongrass pork sausage and that is why he seemed to harp on it. He appeared to actually like the sausage and say he didn't know if it would be improved by lemongrass.

Edited by biakbiak, Oct 24, 2013 @ 1:09 AM.

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#11

GaT

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 1:20 AM

One thing I realized when I watched this episode was that I have never had Vietnamese food. I've had Thai, Chinese, a little Japanese, but never Vietnamese and I would really like to go to that bakery, everything looked pretty awesome. Also, Pho, I would like some of that too. I was also surprised by how many of the chefs were not familiar with Vietnamese food, I always expect chefs to have eaten a large variety of foods, but maybe that's not realistic of me, do cooking schools teach different kinds of food? Or do they teach the basics, & it's up to the individual chef to educate their palette? 


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#12

Butch718

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 1:24 AM

You guys should read Hugh Acheson's blog on this episode on Bravo's website. He takes a lot of shots at Huang. 

 

For those of you that don't know, the two had a bit of a falling out over Twitter this summer when Huang claimed that Hugh was defending Paula Deen. It got to the point where they both challenged each other to a fight. And no, I'm not kidding.

 

Anyway, I don't want to get too off topic. It's just one of the main reasons why I wish Eddie Huang wasn't a guest judge. 

 


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#13

Gajic

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 1:33 AM

Nooo my eye candy. I guess Janine won't need to doll up for her talking heads anymore.

 

Travis was absolutely insufferable tonight. His boyfriend is Vietnamese. He is not Vietnamese. Yet he was speaking like it was his culture. He's just some guy from the states. It reminded me of The Apprentice years ago when one of the female contestants insisted on directing their TV commercial because her boyfriend was a director. And that McDonalds in Paris dig was hilarlous.

 

Sara was awful as well. So controlling and know-it-all because she works at an asian restaurant. Then she screws up cooking rice.  Her stupid hair and fake crying can't cover up her lack of basic cooking skills.


Edited by Gajic, Oct 24, 2013 @ 1:35 AM.

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#14

wingsabre

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 2:07 AM

Sara was awful as well. So controlling and know-it-all because she works at an asian restaurant. Then she screws up cooking rice.  Her stupid hair and fake crying can't cover up her lack of basic cooking skills.

 

"Asian Restaurant."  She used to work for a German chef who made some Asian fusion dishes.  It's like going to China and expecting to see General Tsao's chicken on the menu, or thinking avocado egg rolls or Chinese chicken salad are Chinese.   It's not even close to authentic.  So far, from what I've seen from her, her style of Asian food is a fancier version of Panda Express.  Some of the food at Panda is as addictive as crack, but in the end of the day, it's still Panda, and Sarah just think too much of her self to realize that.  She couldn't even make rice in a rice cooker.  Not rice from scratch, but a device that basically does all the work for her.  It's essentially equal parts rice to equal parts water.  I don't expect to see her go that far in the competition.  However she'll probably last a few more episodes, because there are a lot weaker chefs remaining. 


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#15

cooksdelight

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 4:55 AM

Sara is starting to get on my nerves. Don't cry when you were earlier saying you'd be a bitch when you got all bossy in the grocery store. It wasn't shown (was it?) but I'm betting she ditched the lemongrass when she was telling them what to do, what to get rid of, etc. And didn't admit it, just let Travis take a hit.

Justin is my new love interest, er, I mean, favorite chef. He's smart, obviously good chef and when he smiles I would go just about anywhere with him. :)

This season is still meh to me.
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#16

avecsans

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 7:06 AM

I didn't like Eddie Huang as a guest judge, but anybody who wants to fight the evil that is Hugh Acheson is all right by me. 

 

I thought it was kind of unfair that Janine (or Carrie Downunderwood, as we call her in my house) was eliminated when Travis put himself out on that limb and then sawed it off.  I also felt that he was trying to represent himself as an expert on all things Vietnamese when all he really did was visit there with his boyfriend.


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#17

Mrs Bee

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 7:59 AM

 

avecsans

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Carrie Downunderwood

 

 

And there goes my last cup of coffee, out my nose, all over my screen.

 

 

Thanks, show, for telegraphing the team that is over-confident and will surely lose. However, the idea of shrimp in a tomato sauce posing as any kind of Asian dish just does not compute. But hey, I've never been to Viet Nam, or Asia for that matter. And when one team member starts making decisions to put things away that other members have chosen without any sort of consultation (ie, we already have 4 jars of fish sauce, do we really need another 4? sort of thing), you know that there are going to be issues with missing ingredients.

 

I wanted to see and hear more from the chefs who created better dishes. Although I love the "I have plenty of lemongrass, if they would ask, I would give it to them".


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#18

AriAU

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 9:24 AM

 

Nooo my eye candy. I guess Janine won't need to doll up for her talking heads anymore.

Well that should kill off the conspiracy theory that the producers keep people just for their looks or to create a storyline because having a hot chef is certainly a storyline they could have played up.

 

It was hard to tell, and obviously very edited, but did the judges really like anything other than Jason's Pho and Shirley's shrimp-everything else seemed to get "meh" reviews at best.


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#19

mike

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 9:30 AM

I felt like Tom was really reaching at Judges' Table to make it seem as if Stephanie was a contender for elimination alongside the rest of her team because that dessert - which everyone enjoyed - was not particularly innovative.

 

Yeah, especially since her dish was the only one of the green team's that wasn't panned during service. When Tom started putting it down, I actually started thinking that maybe they would just axe the whole team! That would have been cool with me; I don't think anyone from that team could end up winning the whole thing, plus there are still too many damn chefs to keep track of! But it probably wouldn't have worked out numbers-wise for the show...
 


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#20

Jersey09

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 9:43 AM

Carrie DownUnderWood. Love it!

 

Reading this thread is so helpful. I have never eaten Vietnamese cuisine, and it's so interesting to hear all of your takes on this epi.

 

I must say that I have really enjoyed this season, but this epi was not exactly my favorite. I think it's because so many of the chefs did so well in the previous challenges and in this one, based on what we've been shown and from what the judges have said, many of them missed the mark.

 

This epi also showed a lot of snarkiness on the part of the cheftestants AND the judges.

 

I feel like the chefs who put so much trust in other chefs will end up losing the competition. CarrieDownUnderwood has been misguided for a few of the rounds. Wasn't she on the team with the spice rub situation last week? I feel like in previous seasons so many chefs were control freaks, kinda like Sara. SO  NOT COOL how she was removing items from others' shopping carts. I don't buy that she ditched the lemongrass. I need to hear that from her own mouth. Hopefully that's a reunion question.

 

So far, the challenges have been really interesting and I love seeing New Orleans. 


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#21

seltzer4

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 10:32 AM

Wouldn't say Janine didn't deserve to go, but I definitely thought Travis or Beni should have gone.  Kind of sucked for both Janine and Beni, because they thought they were following the right guy, but Travis just led them off a cliff.  Lol at Beni making an Italian tomato sauce.

Does anyone think that the orange team should have been brought to judges table as well?  I thought they did just as bad if not worse than the green team.  If the judges slammed 4 of the 5 chefs dishes, you would think that team would be considered up for elimination.  This was probably a good time for another double elimination.

We have a lot of fodder (Patty, Louis, Beni, Travis) to knock off still.  Louis dodged another bullet.  I actually thought he should have gone home.  Bad pho= instant elimination in a Vietnamese challenge.
 
Patty and the creepy new orleans chef not even making a dish and just doing prep.  Way to hide behind your teammates guys.  You know that is purely strategy on their parts so they wouldn't get sent home.

Edited by seltzer4, Oct 24, 2013 @ 10:34 AM.

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#22

some1105

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 11:13 AM

aquarian1--have you been to Trung Nam bakery at 739 University, in St. Paul? They make the very best croissants in the Twin Cities. Whenever I'm in town, my mom and I drive over there to buy a bag. They also make a very nice bao, and I know at least serve banh mi for lunch. Obviously, there are several Vietnamese restaurants in the Cities, but for a pure bakery, Trung Nam is awesome. Their selection is nowhere near as broad as the bakery on the show, but the people who work there are friendly, Vietnamese, and could probably let you know if there's another place you could check out for a wider array, as they hand you your Vietnamese coffee and bao. mmmmmmmmmmm....

Edited by some1105, Oct 24, 2013 @ 11:14 AM.

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#23

cooksdelight

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 11:30 AM

Is Stephanie the best friend of Kristin who didn't make the cut last time? She looks familiar.

 

I don't like Michael at all. He's the curly-haired one who thinks he knows it all and didn't do a dish, right? Can't wait for him to find out he doesn't.


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#24

moys

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 11:46 AM

Travis came off as a creepy fetishizing white guy.  In the first episode he mentioned that he ONLY dates asian guys.  Then he mentioned "this feels like home" and "this is MY food" in relation to Vietnamese food.  Dude, you're not Vietnamese, can you please express your love for Vietnamese culture without claiming it as your own and appointing yourself as an authority?  When you consider Vietnam's history with colonialism and foreign intervention coupled with the concept of "yellow fever" that exists among some white guys, this attitude makes me very uneasy.  He also got unnecessarily defensive when Eddie Huang called him out on the lemongrass and questioned Eddie's "asianness", this made me gag.  I'm so happy Eddie did call him out.  Travis made me super uncomfortable and his arrogance was very off putting.


Edited by moys, Oct 24, 2013 @ 11:54 AM.

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#25

aquarian1

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 11:49 AM

Thanks, some1105! I've been to Vietnamese restaurants in the Twin Cities, but I didn't know about that bakery. I'll have to check it out.
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#26

Oscem

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 11:52 AM

Okay, I was just watching last night's episode so I rewound to the 'flashback'. You can clearly see Janine put the lemongrass in the cart after asking Travis if one package is enough - it's a thin rectangular yellow package of lemongrass. Then when we see Sara pull stuff out of the cart, she clearly pulls the package of lemongrass from the cart, says "We don't need this.", and puts it back in the produce (not where it came from). So yeah...she put it back. Unless someone grabbed it afterwards and put it BACK in the cart, that was on Sara.

 

That said, Travis annoyed the CRAP out of me with his 'expert' opinion, and I really wish he had gone. It could have gone either way, but he screwed up as much as Janine did, and when you throw in his assy behavior and obviously, NO ONE ELSE knew Vietnamese food like he did (except Sara, who was almost as bad), he would have been my preference. I like Janine, but I've had the feeling that her days were numbered.

 

Shirley is all kinds of awesome.


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#27

IckiVicki

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:01 PM

Wow, I had no clue about the Acheson-Huang feud. I had no real opinion of Huang one way or another, but after reading those tweets -- what a douche. Who brags about pleading guilty to a felony? Loved Hugh's blog!

 

Is Travis' boyfriend Asian? I couldn't tell from this episode, he didn't really mention it. GAH! What an idiot. If your "expertise" is in a certain area, I would think the right strategy would be to keep it rather quiet. The more you pound your chest at how awesome you are with certain dishes, the higher the expectations, and the more likely you are to end up on the bottom. Janine wasn't particularly my favorite, but she shouldn't have gone home for Travis' mistake.

 

Was disappointed that Carols didn't pull off his soup. I really like him and thought the initial thumbs-up by Emeril and Eddie meant he might do well, but alas.

 

Carrie, Nina or Justin for the win!


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#28

luckyduck

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:29 PM

This was one of the weirdest episodes of Top Chef in recent memory, to me. It felt very padded and "Next Food Network Star" with the shrimping trip and the cuisine exposition.

 

No quickfire was odd.  They skip the quickfire from time to time, but usually because it's some big, all encompassing challenge, like Restaurant Wars or something.  There was really no reason why this challenge couldn't have been limited to the latter 2/3 of the episode.

 

I was a little surprised that Travis just put out an APB in the kitchen for lemongrass.  The bearded dude wanted said he wanted to be asked of course, but for a challenge like this, it doesn't hurt to shout out "Does anyone have any lemongrass they can spare?" 

 

From a visual standpoint, the orange aprons were way too similar a hue to the red aprons and I kept getting them confused, even when they were right next to each other.  I thought "wow, there are a TON of people on that red team!" That's like a huge production mistake.  Not sure why they weren't the Blue Team, or the Yellow Team.

 

I also thought it was kind of a cheap shot for Tom to make the McDonald's crack to Travis.  I wasn't a big fan of Travis in this episode, but clearly he wasn't eating at an Italian restaurant in Vietnam.

 

 

 

I HATE Andy Cohen, and I've never liked him.  He was basically a producer who wanted to be seen on TV and injected himself every opportunity he could.  It started when he insisted that he host the reunion episodes of Top Chef, and he's been insufferable ever since.

YES!!! I thought I was the only one who couldn't stand him!!


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#29

Jersey09

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:31 PM

I really like Shirley too. She had good energy. I feel like Stephanie could push through to the top of the charts, too. She's kinda neurotic, which I like. 

 

 

I'm loving Emeril on Top Chef. 

 

Off to dig into Acheson-Huang feud. I love foodie/chefy gossip.

 

Also, I too thought Andy Cohan's promo for WWHL was a dead giveaway for Janine getting the boot. She is this season's resident hottie, although I must say the cast overall is quite goodlookin' compared to other seasons, IMHO.


Edited by Jersey09, Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:32 PM.

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#30

bodielovesbetty

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Posted Oct 24, 2013 @ 12:35 PM

Janine wasn't particularly my favorite, but she shouldn't have gone home for Travis' mistake.

 

If she had cooked the shrimp correctly, then the tomato sauce would have come into play as the main thing wrong.  Unless Travis told Janine exactly how to cook those shrimp, I don't think it's on him.

 

All the food at those Vietnamese places looked awesome.  So did Shirley's.


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