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Aug 15, 2007 06:47 PM

Top Chef Aug 15th.

While the show has not stared yet I am curios the see what brand new unknown secret friendship will be revealed early on. When this happens I'll spend the next 55 mins. knowing who get eliminated.

That being said I am looking forward to this weeks restaurant challenge.

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  1. anyone want to take bets?

    My bet is on howie - any kind of team challege spells disaster for the team with him on it, and all the weaker people have left by now.

    29 Replies
    1. re: Jeters

      OK, like this is chicken poop. They totally chickened out. I think that the Garage guys really lucked out because I would have dumped them. By the tease, it looks like they will attempt to surprise all, which to me means one of the April guys will go.

      The Garage menu did look like it weighed a ton. And Howie was Howie, again, stubburn and unyielding. Sarah I think tried to make her point to Howie with her statement about taking responsibility.

      1. re: Phaedrus

        I was holding my breath afraid that Tre would be sent home!!!! Over smoked potato is one thing but scented candles??? I would have walked out of that place the second I smelled it. The Garage team looked so happy by the do over and from the clips for next weeks show they have made the best of it. I am crossing my fingers for Tre....I think he is awesome and I felt for him tonight, in the weeds for sure. I hope team April pulls together and kicks butt next week.

        1. re: Phaedrus

          I think the "surprise twist" that nobody sees coming (but should) is that there is going to be a double-elimination next week.

          1. re: DanaB

            I agree. And it shouldn't be a surprise to the cheftestants. Of course, it doesn't really matter whether it's a surprise or not, since there's really nothing they can do about it (unlike, for example, being told you're going clubbing and then having to cook in a skimpy top, skirt and high heels -- I'd like to see Colicchio try it!).

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              Thanks for that visual Ruth, I think I just suffered permanent visual cortex damage!

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  The women were given clogs. You can see it on the close-ups and blogs.

                  1. re: mojoeater

                    I guess it was too much of a liability issue not to. Still, it's not the same as being able to wear your own shoes, the way the guys could.

          2. re: Phaedrus

            I was a bit surprised by the judges' harping on the heaviness of the meal. This is Florida, where if you went by the weather, you'd never be able to eat a heavy meal.

            1. re: queencru

              Amen to that. I didn't understand the criticism from the judges on that front.

              Tomorrow evening, it will be 110 F degrees in Phoenix and I can guarantee there will be plenty of Mexican restaurants churning out dishes of lard-laden bean, cheese enchiladas, stuffed burritos mounds of carne asada and rich mole sauces.

              If the majority of people were opposed to "heavy meals" in the summer, every Mexican, German, or Eastern European restaurant would close up shop between late May and early September.

              1. re: Seth Chadwick

                How many of those restaurants are not air-conditioned?

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  Of the ones abroad? I'd imagine quite a few since AC isn't quite as popular here as it is elsewhere. Outdoor eating also tends to be a lot more popular, even in places where it reaches well into the 90s with high humidity during the day (like Thailand).

                  1. re: queencru

                    I was replying to Seth Chadwick. Of the Phoenex restaurants he's talking about.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      more than you think. i live in phoenix, and there are still a ton of places that only have swamp coolers. and they cease being effective over 100 degrees. and during monsoon season.

                      even small restaurants WITH a/c can't keep up with the kitchen and the crowds in the summer. its still sweltering hot!!!!!

                      and pizzeria bianco, the famous spot here with the 4 hour waits - guess where you get to wait in summer for wood fired pizza?

                      you guessed it - outside....

                      1. re: winedubar

                        at least your pizza won't get cold

                  2. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Probably very few. But that doesn't stop people from sitting outside on the patios in 100+ degree temperatures eating items listed above as well as burgers, steaks, etc. Even with the misting systems, the temperature is only reduced by a few degrees, so we are still talking about people who are eating hearty/heavy meals in the summertime.

                    1. re: Seth Chadwick

                      Well this Phoenician wouldn't order risotto with foie gras(and CREAM?!), followed by braised lamb shank, and then that crepe with more rich heavy ingredients in 100+ weather so I thought the judges comments had validity.

                      Even beyond the season, locale, temperature issue the menu wasn't balanced! Ugh...I was feeling uncomfortable just thinking about eating all that with nothing offered to counterbalance any of the rich heavy food.

                      1. re: ziggylu

                        I'm not disagreeing that Howie's risotto was a bad idea, because it just sounded bad generally, but I do think that overall there is a different mindset in some areas about the richness of food.

                        However, Florida doesn't get that hot. I live in Tampa and it has never reached 100. Typically the temperatures top out in the low 90s while Miami is a little cooler in the warm months and tends to average in the high 80s in the summer. In April you're probably looking at average temperatures in the low 80s/high 70s.

                        1. re: queencru

                          The average maximum temperature in Miami this April was 83, and the maximum temperature was 91.

                          Whatever it was like outside, they were eating in a garage with TV lights and no cross-ventilation, let alone air-conditioning. April's host was sweating like a pig and not just from nervousness. The cooks may have been somewhat oblivious to that since they were in the air-conditioned studio.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            This is a really valid point. One of the stations in one of the kitchens I manage is impossible to adequately ventilate. Unforutnately, this particular station has 4 fryers, 8' flat top and 2 refrigeration units, all of which add even more heat to whatever the ambient temperature is. When it's hot, that space is not unlike working in a sauna. My employees sweat profusely, as do I if I need to jump in and help during peak periods. The station is serviced by a swamp cooler, which is completely useless in combating both the heat and humidity. I do have some great employees working in that area, but when the station is just too hot their product and service does suffer because they are so extremely uncomfortable.

                        2. re: ziggylu

                          I wouldn't order that menu ANY time! It would be heavy as lead... it was really very unbalanced. Where were the vegetables? Did they really expect ANYONE to be able to get through that much meat and starch at one sitting? They really weren't thinking about the eating experience as a whole when they made that menu...

                          1. re: Kajikit

                            I ate that much meat and starch last night.

                  3. re: queencru

                    Did Padma or whoever specifically say the restaurant should reflect the local environment etc or is that just assumed?

                    1. re: Elyssa

                      A competent chef should recognize that most people won't want to eat a heavy winter meal on a hot day while sitting in an unairconditioned garage. As Bourdain put it in his blog:

                      "Sara M. ... demonstrated as 'chef' of the Garage ... complete obliviousness to the season, the locale, and even the all-too painfully obvious fact that it was bloody hot. First mention of Howie's utterly boneheaded idea for a Wild Mushroom Risotto with Foie Gras should have been met with peals of derisive laughter and comments like, 'No WAY!! Are you OUT of your MIND!!?? That's about as heavy and wintery a dish as you can find on the planet! It'll sit in their bellies like quick drying cement in this heat. Now un-**** yourself and think of something light and seasonal!'"


                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        I think his blog just highlights the differences between a NYC mentality and a Florida mentality. Floridians don't want something light and seasonal 12 months out of the year so we'll eat lamb or other heavy dishes whenever we feel like it. April is actually a dry month for Florida.

                      2. re: Elyssa

                        I don't believe she did say that.

                      3. re: queencru

                        It wasn't just the risotto (overly richened with cream to gild this overly caloric lily), but also the pairing--lamb shanks and (altho this wasn't made too much of during the show) crepes for dessert--that would have made this a heavy meal for a January day in Helsinki. And by the way, did Sara really have enough time to prepare lamb shanks (which usually require slow braising for the best effect--an overnight sit and a reheat does it no harm either)? No wonder they were as tough as nails. Whoever was responsible for this menu should have gotten the boot.

                        1. re: jbw

                          Yeah, that was my exact thought--four hours for braised lamb shanks? Where was her pressure cooker?

                          Sara was the chef, she was responsible for the menu. Barring random strokes of good and bad luck, she and Howie will be the next to go.

                  4. Lame show. Nobody did great. Nobody completely sucked. At least the judges did say one thing with which all Chowhounds would agree: It should come down to the food.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: mojoeater

                      This whole season has been LAME, right? Am I wrong, or is the whole concept of this show done/over?
                      I don't love anyone this round.
                      CJ, a bit, but (Tall guy, right ? see, so uninteresting!) for his person-ability/leadership not his food, per se...remember tuna casserole?
                      Its great that BRAVO upped the ante of chef "quality" but the boredom factor is off the chain.
                      I miss sommelier Stephen and yep, shamefully, rappin' Marcel.

                      Why is hippie sugar McBooty, sari sari(sorry sorry) Sara still on? OUCH. Such a bad chef.

                      And BOOOOOOO to the no kicking anyone off tonight!! You should damn well be able to communicate and run the front of the house. its the same as the back, communication and teamwork. doyee. same business, same pressure, just more polite and no stink candles.
                      Customer service is just as important to a managing chef as "cheffery."

                      1. re: mmerino

                        Re your last paragraph - I agree that ideally one person would have all of those skills, but it immediately reminded me of past seasons where contestants were told things like this isn't "Top Sommelier" or "Top Maitre d'" etc. And, as in any business, different people have different strengths, as I was reminded when I saw a piece about Anita Lo, of Annisa, and her partner. They met at a place where they were both cooking, but when they decided to open their own place, after initially contemplating that they would both be cooking, they decided it made more sense for Anita to cook, and her partner to be charge of the front of the house. Apparently Anita is not nearly as outgoing as her partner - as she herself said.

                        So, I actually think it was the right call not to boot Dale or Brian b/c of the front of the house mishaps, much as I abhor vanilla candles anywhere.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          I totally agree...and btw I LOOOOVE Annissa! :)

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            precisely. it would have been completely unfair to boot either one of them for foh issues. all i kept thinking about was how many times the judges said during the first two seasons that this isn't "top sous-chef" or "top sommelier"...well, it's also not "top maitre d," and their respective inadequacies this week had nothing to do with food.

                            i hope it is a double elimination next week...they really just need to get rid of howie AND sara already!

                            i'm with 'bubbles4me'...fingers crossed for tre. my money's on him [or brian] to win the whole thing.

                      2. I can't decide if the conclusion of this Restaurant War episode was totally awesome or a total cop out!

                        I was just hoping Sara M or Howie would mess up and get sent home. I was really freaked out they were going to ax Brian MALARKY!! While I think he messed up I kind of feel that its not right to send people home for front of the house issues. I know some people will disagree but this is Top CHEF not Top Restaurater. If you are a kick-ass chef you will hire someone really amazing to deal with the front of the house stuff if you can't handle it yourself. Plenty of chefs...and good this.

                        And um...I know we always discuss the lame sponsor tie in..but Round Robin!? Really? Hmmmmm.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Elyssa

                          we went from bombay coldstone red robin. seems to be getting worse by the week.

                          what's next? waffle house? cracker barrel? white castle?

                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              No, Waffle House was Hell's Kitchen. :-)

                          1. When they brought Dale and Brian in, I thought both would go...interesting that they're allowing a do-over. Wonder if Boulud will be there again for that one?

                            I agree with Phaedrus with the heaviness of the Garage menu. Risotto and then lamb shank was too much. And Howie's risotto just didn't look good - a gloopy mess that clumped together! Both Chef Tom and Ted Allen pointed out that they had noticed Howie's pigheadedness re: his risotto - this is the way Howie makes it and that's that.

                            And WTH was up with scented candles? Yikes. Talk about a taste killer.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              This episode was something of a letdown... Just not that interesting, from either a drama or a food perspective. I'm wondering if the 24 hours just isn't enough time. The theme each year in the restaurant challenge is that each team is scrambling to get everything done, and I always think that the flaws end up being more time pressure than "ability" related. Maybe 36 hours should be provided?

                              Given that Casey is teary in front of the judging table in previews for next week, I'm guessing she will be the one to go from Team April...

                              1. re: Garris

                                Look out for the next friendship revelation.

                                1. re: Garris

                                  You never know. She gets teary quite a bit it seems.

                                  1. re: Garris

                                    i wouldn't jump to any conclusions based on those tears. they get sneaky with the editing purposely to throw you off like that.

                                2. What I am curious about is why a few weeks before they promoted the fact that Rocco was on. Love him or hate him he is a controversial chef.

                                  This week the had Daniel Boulud with out a doubt one the best and most respected chefs in the country. Do they in anyway promote his appearance in anyway? NO!!

                                  I don't get why they wouldn't let the viewers know that a a strong culinary personality will be judging.


                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: Withnail42

                                    Quite simply, because Rocco is now all about the "drama" - which translates to ratings. Rocco's been on national TV, and in the newspapers, and in the gossip columns. Good or bad, people know about him. Get more people to watch when he's on (and now blogging at Bravo's website), the ratings are higher.

                                    Daniel Boulud is all about the food - GOOD food - and most of the U.S. doesn't know who he is. Yes, it would make sense to promote the fact that such a highly respected chef would be on the show for those of us who do know of him or have had the good fortune to have dined in one of his restaurants.

                                    But I guess we know where the promotional marketing heads are at.

                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                      All very valid points. I was just was surprised that they didn't even show his face, even briefly, on the promos. At least give us who like him something to look forward too.

                                      On a side note it was funny to see Hung giggling like a school girl around Boulud.


                                      1. re: Withnail42

                                        Yes, he was a simpering fool, wasn't he?

                                        And Bourdain's blog, as always, is so brilliantly pithy and dead on.

                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                        Because Boulud doesn't have a frozen food line.

                                      3. re: Withnail42

                                        The funny part was comparing the reaction of the cheftestants when they walked in and saw Boulud vs. when they walked in and saw Rocco. I thought some of them were going to jump out of their skin from excitment just to be in the same room as Daniel Boulud. Not so much with Rocco. lol

                                        1. re: Elyssa

                                          Definitely. Hung in particular looked like a love-struck teenybopper at a Justin Timberlake concert. And who can blame him?

                                          1. re: mordacity

                                            Hey...I would probably have a similar face if I were him! :)

                                        2. re: Withnail42

                                          No idea why they DIDN'T promote DB, but as for RS, I feel as though he's going to have a show on Bravo in the not-too-distant future, so he may get more promotion as one of "their own."

                                          1. re: heathermb

                                            You don't have to "feel" as if RS is going to have a Bravo show - he IS going to have a Bravo show. Can't get away from the damn ads on Bravo TV or website.

                                          2. re: Withnail42

                                            Becuase middle America has never heard of Daniel Boulud. If they pimped Daniel Boulud, 50 foodies would go "Awesome" and 500k joe sixpacks would go "Danielle Boo-WHO? Nah, I'll stick "Singing Bee.""