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Batali/Ray vs. Flay/di Laurentiis

Funny how Rachael and Giada couldn't just describe their dishes last night when they got to the judges' table - they had to run through the entire recipes! ("First I fried the onions...")

It was interesting to see their technique (or lack of it!) for what it really was - not that either of them claimed to be pro chefs. Wonder why the judges went so easy on them, though.

I think Batali & Ray deserved to win, even though Rachael's bucatini looked really dry and unpalatable - like it needed a huge splash of, uh, EVOO. The other team's cranberry risotto seemed like a terrible idea.

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  1. I enjoyed the show last night, and found a new respect for Mario. I had never watched his shows in the past, (I dont care for Italian Food)... but I enjoyed seeing him last night.

    As for those who rip on Giada, she is a chef, she graduated from I believe the Codon Bleu in France, I feel most of the dislike for her is jealousy.. get over it.

    Bobby Flay is still my favorite chef on Food Network, If one of his shows are on Ill watch.

    1 Reply
    1. re: swsidejim

      Dude, The Cordon Bleu in France is a school that accepts money for admission. Anyone can get in. Having the Cordon Bleu on your resume and saying you are a chef is like saying you have a basic drivers license so you should be able to tackle the Monaco Grand Prix. American Culinary Institute, it is not.

      Oh, Im not jealous, I really cant watch her show. That huge unnecessary smile as she looks at the camera (every time) drives me nuts!

    2. Alton Brown's deadpan line about the cranberry polenta had me on the floor: "Isn't that an interesting color."

      1. I thought the show had great entertainment value, but I found the concept a bit sexist and demeaning: gosh, everyone, let's help out these two poor women who obviously have no clue (although they've managed to create an empire by themselves, thank you) by surrounding them with two male chefts. I loved it when Flay asked Giada, "Do you know what you are doing?" and she shot him a look and said, "No, I don't--of course I do!" Duh!

        Also, did anyone notice how hard Giada seem to take the defeat? I could've sworn I saw tears in her eyes whenever the judges either criticized or complimented her dishes. Maybe she was just being dramatic but otherwise, Giada, take it easy!

        I would've liked to have seen more collaboration and interaction between the chefs on each teams. It was like watching four chefs square off rather than two teams.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gloriousfood

          When I was watching the judging I couldn't help but feel sorry for Giada because she looked so nervous and uncomfortable whenever one of the judges criticized her. And when Mo complemented her on one of her dishes, she immediately hugged him.

        2. "I think Batali & Ray deserved to win."

          I agree; no contest (IMHO). As for the rest, a few assorted thoughts/comments . . .

          "As for those who rip on Giada, she is a chef, she graduated from I believe the Codon [sic] Bleu in France, I feel most of the dislike for her is jealousy.. get over it."

          It's not jealousy at all. I actually like many of her dishes. It's simply a disbelief that any chef can be THAT skinny! ;^)

          "Alton Brown's deadpan line about the cranberry polenta had me on the floor: 'Isn't that an interesting color'."

          Best line of the night!

          "[DeLaurentis/Flay's] cranberry risotto seemed like a terrible idea."

          The second ugliest risotto I've ever seen . . . the first was at the Beverly Hills Hotel, when they used purple potatoes that turned into something resembling gray wallpaper paste after cooking.

          3 Replies
          1. re: zin1953

            Further on the risotto front -

            She should have made a sweet rice pudding with cranberries and pistachios or something, that way at least the colour would have seemed more in keeping. Ugh; I don't want to eat anything savoury that is the colour of pepto bismol - which is also why I can't bring myself to put sour cream in my borsch.

            1. re: frenetica

              Yea, that risotta really turned me off as well. Frenetica, I'm with you on that pink/white thing too - it's a hold over from my childhood - I can't even put whipped cream on jello LOL.

            2. re: zin1953

              Sorry, I have to object. The ugliest (and scariest) risotto I've ever seen was the beet risotto I had to test while working in a magazine test kitchen.

            3. I was just getting sick watching Giada lick her fingers. Gross. And not to taste (which wouldn't be very sanitary, either), but more just to clean stuff off her fingers. Yuck.

              1 Reply
              1. re: CookingGirl

                Me too, that was such a turn-off. I doubt they teach that at Cordon Bleu! (although they caught RR licking her fingers, too.)

              2. See, I thought RR seemed much more nervous in the cut show than Giada. And I agree, it was very humanizing to see to two on the show. From the opening credits to the end, RR kept claiming she was NOT a chef and had no clue what she was doing, just in case anyone had any questions about it. I just felt bad for her...I don't don't she's even worked a line before, and to just be thrown into kitchen stadium, well, it took some balls. I still don't think she needs four different shows on FN, but that's another thread for another time.
                It was interesting how Mario and Bobby instantly took over the kitchen too...it was almost like RR and Giada were just sous chefs. I did love how Mario and Alton kept teasing RR about how long it took her to do things. The general feeling I got from the show was that they all knew it was not a true battle, since Giada and RR are not real chefs, so everyone was just having fun with it.

                2 Replies
                1. re: foodrocks

                  for the first time, I didn't hate watching those two women on tv

                  RR and Batali had chemistry, and RR looked like she had just given birth by the end of it
                  Giada and BF were a perfect match -- both creepy in their own way and so uptight. The painfully bright smile, the grimace of Flay, cut by the play of MB and the earnest sweat of RR.
                  It was entertaining, sorta

                  1. re: foodrocks

                    Yeah, she honestly looked overwhelemed and INTENSE... notice the almost chily response she gave Alton when he mentioned "Yummo". At the end of it, she looked like she ran a marathon... but when the judges complimented her dishes, her smile just GREW AND GREW... I honestly was happy for her... that was a PERFECT example on why she IS so popular... :)

                    I did enjoy the show, the tartness of Cranberry can be quite a thing to tame in dishes (Which I think did Bobby and Giada in). But I maybe trying that Cranberry in Ragu trick... that DOES sound just TOO good... :)


                  2. I thought it was terribly boring and I didn't even it make it to the end. There was so little dialogue or interaction between the cooks, and I agree that the Iron Chefs were running the show, which was disappointing.
                    Mario running around handing out bellinis was funny.
                    Also, did you notice Mario slip over to Giada for a good morning kiss and a piece of panettone?

                    1. It sounds like all are RR & GL bashing proved to be realistic?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Eat_Nopal

                        This show was worse than I thought it would be. Obviously, Mario thought it was a big joke too. GL & RR cannot compete with the likes of Kat Cora. Kitchen Stadium is no place for these amateurs!

                      2. Well,,,this was a sub-standard Iron Chef America, obviously, to boost ratings, or something - who knows. Both Giada and Rachael Ray,,,out of their controlled elements; did not bode well. Entertaining perhaps, that's about it. Food Network - not a good idea -- try try again !!!

                        2 Replies
                          1. re: amkirkland

                            Yeah, they sure did, it's like an accident on the side of the road, you don't want to look, but feel compelled to ;) much like a train wreck.

                        1. Part of me wanted to smack Giadia when she started whining and jumping up and down about her water not boiling.

                          And crumbled cookies on the ravioli? What the...?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Grubbjunkie

                            At Batali's restaurants he crumbles amaretto cookies on the pumpkin lune pasta dishes with brown butter and sage. It's fantastic. Giada does that in her recipes too.

                          2. Show was OK, I was pulling for Giadia, yes because she's hot. Flay made a Tamale...what a surprise. I'm seriously getting sick of the shock and awe bombardment of my retinas with images of Rachel's giant head from every media sourc

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: stevuchan

                              I personally think Flay screwed her up with the tamale! He knew she would probably go the Italian route with the rest of her dishes and encouraged her to do so, so how does a tamale fit in with the rest of the menu?!

                              1. re: stevuchan

                                Hot for sure. As there ever been anyone as cute as Giada in that chef's tunic she wore??

                              2. I like Giada on her regular "Everyday Italian" show but she was definitely out of her element here, as was RR.

                                I must admit, though, I love watching Bobby Flay (I call him "Flavor-Flay") ;-)

                                But Mario Batali has to be the worst! He drones on and on about the history of every ingredient on his show - where it came from, how it was discovered, etc, etc ... drives me nuts!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: BabyBee

                                  On Mario, I am pretty ambivalent. I like his information, but your right-- its the manner ['drone'] in which he conveys it that makes me crazy.

                                2. I too noticed Giada lick her finger, which REALLY grossed me out, as I never even do that when I'm cooking alone, with no witnesses (I always use a spoon even if I have to wash 10 by the time I'm done). Rachel licked her finger later, but it seemed like it was to taste and she wasn't rolling ravioli at the time like Giada was.

                                  Was it me or did it seem like Bobby really didn't like Giada? And did it seem like he was totally floating their team? I swear she was working on her ravioli for at least 20 mins and then she forgot to put the cranberry sauce/garnish on top. The only other things I saw her make were the zeppole.

                                  I thought Rachael might win just because, though I enjoy watching Giada's show more than Rachael's, I think Rachael is more creative than Giada and these matches are all about creativity. And, of course, working on a time limit, so Rachael had the advantage there, too.

                                  Oh and Mario annoys me too with his air of superiority on his show, but he seemed cool on the Iron Chef competition. Bobby Flay can do no wrong in my book, though I know he rubs some people the wrong way.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: silverlakelisa

                                    Nigella's a "licker" as well, but then that's part of her charm.


                                  2. "...Giada and RR are not real chefs."

                                    There are plenty of self-taught professional chefs working out there, but GdL graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in France and ran her own catering business before joining FoodTV. Jeez, how much more "real" does she have to be?? She probably works out like a demon to maintain her figure, and I suspect most of the whining about her appearance is from women who look nothing like her, and men who know she'd never look at them twice. Flay's arrogance bothers me a little, but I like most of his recipes. I thought everybody was very focused.

                                    1. Caught the repeat of this show today. I couldn't believe they dragged it out for 90 min! It was kind of boring, but I wanted to see what happened.

                                      Made sense that Mario and Rachael prevailed; their dishes looked much tastier to me. They also seemed to work better as a team. Mario's dishes really shined.

                                      Agree w/ the comment that it was a bit sexist--like Bobby and Mario had to swoop in to rescue these two helpless ladies. I would have liked to have seen what they could have done as head chef and not sous chef. Getting "help" from Iron Chefs could even be more nerve-wracking w/ all the egos/ideas in the kitchen.

                                      I gotta say that I found Rachael more appealing than Giada on this show. Giada's obvious disappointment at receiving any criticism made the judging awkward and stilted; Rachael seemed to be more receptive to feedback in general. Giada strikes me as someone who can do well in a setting which she has much control over, and Kitchen Stadium is def. not that place.

                                      Ok, now I'm ready for Sandra Lee vs. Paula Deen! Now THAT would be entertaining...

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: Carb Lover

                                        I'm no Paul Deen fan, but I think she'd squash Sandra Lee. There is nothing in the kitchen at Iron Chef which is even remotely "semi-homemade" already. I think she'd crumble within minutes, unless she's hit the vodka bottle first :-)

                                        1. re: sivyaleah

                                          As far as I understand, chefs have use of the standard pantry but are allowed to bring in outside ingredients (like Giada bringing prepared ravioli sheets). Sandra could cart in lots of processed items. Oh, and it would be too funny if she did one of her tablescapes for the judges' table!

                                        2. re: Carb Lover

                                          I was hoping that some of the FN "stars" would be judges... that would have made a much better show! And I actually like Rachael and Giada most of the time, but I would have loved to see Geoffrey Steingarten judge!

                                          1. re: Katie Nell

                                            I think he would've been too harsh on those two. But it certainly would've been interesting. I was surprised that RR did as well as she did, (and the teamwork with Mario certainly helped) but I agreed with the decision.

                                          2. re: Carb Lover

                                            Lee vs Deen, that is just too mean!!

                                          3. I was surprised at how poorly Giada did, she did have professional training and did work as a caterer so pressure should not be a problem. RR did what I thought she would do: be exposed as a one trick pony in the heat of battle.

                                            And this was a horrible idea. There is a point when cheesy and fun becomes boring and hackneyed, they crossed it with this show.

                                            As for Sandra Lee and Paula? Paula owns a real restaurant, Sandra Lee seemingly owns a lingerie store, who do YOU think would win?

                                            1. Oh, Giada's fake smiles drove me nuts. She was posing for the camera mixing that batter like she was whipping cream.