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Top Chef Movie Challenge-- what would you have chosen?

Your picks? I admit-- the first thing that popped into my head was Pulp Fiction and the 'Royale with Cheese"...

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  1. I would have chosen Babe. Mmmm Pork.

    1 Reply
    1. re: oolah

      That just reminded me of a movie I do know... Chicken Run. Can do a riff on chicken pot pie. Also if you want a pork dish you can also do Charlotte's Web.

    2. Ryan mentioned Dumb and Dumber -- i was laughing thinking they could have made a Soup du Jour -- apparently Top Secret is inspirational... so why not?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Snaps

        I laughed out loud when Dumb and Dumber was mentioned. It would have been awesome if they made "Kick His Ass" Sea Bass (extra spicy - and then tie that into how the bad guy has a heart attack from eatting the hot pepper) and served it with some "beer".

      2. "Blazing Saddles" - Baked beans

        2 Replies
        1. re: KenWritez

          Man I wouldn't want to be in the judges room for that one! "Padma!"

          As for me, my honest to goodness fav film is King Kong. Big beefy "dinosaur ribs"? Something distinctly "New York"??

          1. My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

            I think Supersize Me would have been a fun opportunity to just made utterly greasy fast food.

            7 Replies
            1. re: craigcep

              MBFGW: With a drink that looks like Windex? ;-)

              1. re: craigcep

                Yeah, I would have liked to see a burger, especially with Daniel Boulud as one of the judges. My vote goes for Harold and Kumar goes to White Castle. They could have done an upscale slider served with potato crisps sandwiched with chives (showcased in Thomas Keller's French Laundry cookbook) and topped off with an alcoholic Baileys/kalhua type milkshake served in a makeshift bong made from the alcohol bottle. I think it would have scored points with Tom, Padma and Ted. They all look like they've done their fair share when they were younger.

                1. re: Miss Needle

                  Didn't they do a slider at the neighborhood challenge?

                  1. re: Phaedrus

                    Yeah, but it was a regular slider. They could have really showed their creativity with this one. Daniel's burger has got braised beef short ribs, truffles and foie gras (though I know foie is banned in Chicago). I would have loved to see what some of these people (particularly Richard) could have come up with.

                    And, Lizard, I agree about Padma -- she always speaks so sloooowly.

                    1. re: Miss Needle

                      One of Richard's signature dishes is a slider with a fois gras milk shake.

                      1. re: beteez

                        A foie gras milkshake sounds really interesting! If I'm ever in Atlanta, I know where I'm eating.

                  2. re: Miss Needle

                    I think Padma looks like she's done her fair share just before the show-- she is beautiful, but lit.

                2. For some reason I was thinking of the movie Psycho, one of my faves. It probably would have been way too subtle and probably only Roeper would have gotten it. I would have started with an "Arbogast-rique" after PI Arbogast who was murdered on the stairs. Then in recognition of the scene where Bates and Crane are sitting in his parlor amidst all the stuffed birds, I might have gone with some kind of stuffed quail or duck dish. I guess this is why I'm not on the show!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jackbauer

                    I actually think doing stuffed birds screams psycho. The bird theme throughout psycho is pretty strong.

                    Not really connected, but another movie I thought of is American Psycho, because there is hyper-stylized imagery of food that contributes to the unique and creepy feel of the movie.

                  2. I would have gone for 2 separate movies...Something like Big Night or Dinner Rush for Daniel, Ted, and Tom - once they fell asleep from the mounds of pasta, I would have done 9 1/2 weeks for Padma...

                    That dress...oh my...

                    4 Replies
                      1. re: harrison

                        Second on Big Night.

                        I'm also surprised no one went for Ratatouille!

                        1. re: chicgail

                          particularly the stay at home dad -

                          1. re: weinstein5

                            i think youre comfusing shows. the stay at home dad was on hells kitchen, this was top chef.

                      2. "The Big Lebowski"--White Russian Tiramisu or some riff on the In and Out Burger.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: empecot

                          The Freshman w/ Matthew Broderick

                          1. re: grant.cook

                            as long as we're speaking of Matthew Broderick.....

                            Ferris Bueller's Day Off.......

                            Serving an Abe Froman Sausage Dish - they are in Chicago after all..

                            1. re: grant.cook

                              Ugh, that movie made my physically ill. Could make for some great riffs on meat pies, however...

                              1. re: newhavener07

                                Better than using the movie "Waiting" as the source of inspiration. I can just picture the look on the judges' faces.

                            2. SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE! ITS PEEEOPLLEE!

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: grant.cook

                                Waitress might be a good one, of course, you'd be stuck with nothing other than tons of pie recipes - have to be a baking guru

                                1. re: grant.cook

                                  My first thought was "The Godfather." Maybe a kick-ass red-sauce Italian dish (not fancy enough?)?

                                  Another movie I like is "Spinal Tap." Maybe something with bone marrow?

                                  1. re: jaydreb

                                    That was my first thought too--Godfather seems obvious but maybe these folk are bit young for that. Spinal Tap would be great--Andrew could whip up a tasty "Stonehenge" using squid ink and gelatin.

                                    1. re: jaydreb

                                      Leave the gun, take the cannolis

                                      1. re: nosoup4u

                                        Now I'm thinking about Goodfellas and slicing garlic! LOL

                                  2. It's too bad the Christmas Story team couldn't buy birds with the heads still on so they could chop them off table side. "It's a beautiful bird, but, you see, it's smiling at me!"

                                    But, I would have made Uncle Buck pancakes, and be promptly eliminated. It would so be worth it.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: jtpeters

                                      I wonder if the budget would have afforded them a snow shovel so they could flip the pancakes.

                                    2. With this suggestion I'm betraying my age, but the lusty eating scene in TOM JONES would have allowed the chefs to make decadent lobster dishes, oyster dishes, or pear dishes. Sensory intensive and sensual recipes required!

                                      If you've never seen the movie, here's a link to the YouTube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1zHzb...

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Indy 67

                                        Oh, I remember seeing something similar in Third Rock from the Sun. Guess this is where they got their inspiration from.

                                      2. The Adventures of Robin Hood: The King's deer (could it be poached and still taste good? Vegetarian cluelessness I'm afraid), with broccoli to represent Sherwood Forest.

                                        1. Caviar and a duck l'orange served Magic Christian style, complete with restraints.

                                          1. I had a bunch of thoughts around this challenge (those guys should have been able to access the huge Chowhound thread re: food and movies http://www.chowhound.com/topics/302328), and in general was a little disappointed by some of their choices. I thought Willy Wonka was great because they didn't do dessert.

                                            Some of my thoughts:

                                            * Forrest Gump--some sort of southern shrimp dish
                                            *Goodfellas-Classic American red Italian, done classy with thinly sliced garlic :
                                            )*An American in Paris-pretty much any french bistro-inspired dish.
                                            *Ratatoille-ummm the obvious
                                            *Chocolat-Duck with a mole sauce
                                            *My Big Fat Greek Wedding- Roasted leg of lamb
                                            *Under the Tuscan Sun-a delicious, rustic Tuscan dish
                                            *The Birds-It would have been great if they made squab or something along those lines

                                            There are just so many options for them. I think this would be one of my favorite challenges.

                                            1. I was thinking Scarface, perhaps some Cuban pork in a bloody red sauce. I also liked someone's suggestion of Soylent Green, with a Dumb and Dumber mustard sauce on the side...Wouldn't it be cool if someone did a Babel-like smorgasbord, or a "memory plate" inspired by Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: The server could put something on the plate and then take it off before you have a chance to take a bite...Or a Groundhog Day plate where an identical dish is plopped in front of you as soon as you're done? A There Will Be Blood gusher of gravy over --what was DDLewis eating in that last scene?

                                              6 Replies
                                                1. re: Lizard

                                                  Blues Brothers Fried chicken & dry white toast.

                                                  1. re: beteez

                                                    beteez, you win, that's the one! And this is so funny, I checked your profile before I posted, and I was born and raised on St. Simons. I live in CA now. small world, eh!

                                                    1. re: beteez

                                                      Dang it!! You took my choice!

                                                      How about the weiners from Blazing Saddles with Madeline Kahn and Cleavon Little.

                                                      1. re: Phaedrus


                                                        15 is my limit on schnitzengruben!

                                                  2. re: newhavener07

                                                    My first thought was Soylent Green. Make a nice meat terrine or a pate... And with that marquis they had up, the judges would have to sit there and wonder until the course was served.

                                                  3. My first thought was The Little Mermaid and a fabulous seafood dish!

                                                    1. I can't believe nobody said Silence of the Lambs. Liver with fava beans, and a nice Chianti!

                                                      I would have picked Cinema Paradiso and told of how the boy grew up, but never forgot his roots. Since he was Sicilian i would have done a veal marsala and/or a caponata playing off the classic Sicilian and roots theme.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: jhopp217

                                                        Actually, ahem, I mentioned Silence in the other Top Chef thread, thank you very much...

                                                        For that, discretion, you get eaten first!

                                                        1. re: Scortch

                                                          Babette's Feast, The Chinese Banquet or Chocolat. :)

                                                      2. Timpano from Big Night
                                                        Meatballs from the Godfather

                                                        But I do like how some tried to make food around a movie even if the movie didn't touch on food (Good Morning Vietnam).

                                                        It was really wide open creativity-wise. Spanish/Morrocan for Casablanca, KC BBQ for Wiz of OZ (no place like home - cooked Q). GWTW - Frankly my dear I don't give a yam. They could have done a bunch of offbeat Japanese fare and claimed, "Lost in Translation."

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: tastyjon

                                                          The judges certainly didn't share you opinion of using GOOD MORNING VIETNAM. My recall is that the judges criticized the team for deciding to make a Vietnamese dish and, then, selecting a movie that would allow them to do so. Certainly, a movie touching on food wasn't required. I recall that the judges had a huge positive response to the WILLIE WONKA dish because the chefs had focused on the spirit of the movie rather than any literal connection to the movie. (It didn't hurt that the dish tasted wonderful.)

                                                        2. I like the Chicago film ideas like Blues Brothers or Ferris Bueller's Day Off - some others -

                                                          Uncle Buck - giant pancakes
                                                          Only the Lonely - Irish food or ball park food
                                                          Barbershop - some good Chicago Baebecue -

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: weinstein5

                                                            I'd say with Only the Lonely, donuts, 'cause "It's good to be a cop".

                                                          2. this might be a bit pedestrian, but i was hoping someone would use chocolat as their inspiration...every time i see that movie, i feel like going into my kitchen and experimenting with some prawns in a nice chocolate sauce...:o)

                                                            1. When we were watching the episode, and the two guys (who eventually ended up going with A Christmas Story, I think) were at a loss, I thought they should have gone with some kid movie, like maybe Lady and the Tramp...they could have made spaghetti.

                                                              Mike thought someone should have chosen Babette's Feast, then they could have done about anything, so long as it was fancy and French.

                                                              1. I can't take credit for this, but someone @ eG mentioned Fatal Attraction and a nice poached bunny dish. I think that is genius!

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: dockhl

                                                                  Hassenpfeffer !!! That is genius!! You can also do it with Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd in the woods.

                                                                2. 9 1/2 weeks. Something sensual and sexy you could eat with your hands.

                                                                  1. "Brazil" - Feojada would be great!
                                                                    "Jaws" - Shark sushi rolls or steaks
                                                                    "Deep Throat" - 12" pieces of kielbasa on sauerkraut with spicy sour cream dipping sauce. (Awrightawright, I apologize for that one. But I know you laughed anyway.)
                                                                    "Open Range" - Grilled ribeye steaks

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: KenWritez

                                                                      Keep in mind they were limited by what they could buy at Whole Foods - so I'm not sure shark would have been available there.

                                                                    2. Because it's been on my mind, I thought of No Reservations (or Mostly Martha for those who are anti-remakes). That scene where Kate walks out of the kitchen with the steak on a grill fork (knife?), plunges it down on the table in front of the diner, and asks him if that was rare enough is great. I'd make beef carppagio (or some other raw beef dish OR the dish that said diner kept sending back) to suit the scene.

                                                                      The suggestions of Ratatouille are good, but I'm betting that one of the judges would've called them on not recreating the confit bayaldi (or whatever that wretched name is) and asked why they made a ratatouille instead.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Ali

                                                                        Heh heh, they could have gone the other way by making roast rats for Ratatouille. I don't think that would have gone over too well though.

                                                                        1. re: Ali

                                                                          I think any French food would have been in the spirit of Ratatouille -- or maybe grilled mushrooms a la the scene on the roof during the lightning storm

                                                                            1. re: jcattles

                                                                              Or simply any dish that celebrated food pairing-- possibly unexpected pairings since that seemed to be the excitement they could translate.

                                                                          1. re: jcattles

                                                                            OK, so continuing in the spirit of the nasty:

                                                                            Fargo and chipped beef?

                                                                              1. re: Lizard

                                                                                Rocky Horror Picture Show and Meat Loaf, served with a bandana under the plate.

                                                                                Fried Green Tomatoes and barbecue.

                                                                            1. Sadly, I'm still thinking about this. Something easy that could have had a wonderful presentation would to have been serving 7 different types of sushi for the Seven Samurai. Maybe Alien and do a little spin on turducken. Or the Deer HUnter and serve it with a toy gun. Gandhi - serve nothing (Sorry, I couldn't resist). A macabre twist could have been to do Harvey and serve rabbit. Duck Soup - although I think you'd most likely be on the chopping block for that one.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                "Maybe Alien and do a little spin on turducken"
                                                                                wow, that would be great. Perhaps one of the molecular gastrognomes could have rigged up a little explosive charge to propel each bird out of the previous carcass...

                                                                                1. re: jhopp217

                                                                                  The Alien idea is great...so creative!!

                                                                                2. how about the movie no reservations and make a killer saffron sauce?

                                                                                  I thought of the god father as well or good fellas.

                                                                                  maybe chocolate and do some spices in there.

                                                                                  there are so many to chose from why was it so hard for them to think of one?

                                                                                  here is a few more Big Night, Tom Jones ( sexy chicken), Dinner Rush , Tortilla Soup, Eat Drink Man Woman and last but not least Sideways

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves...Braised short ribs with an apple chutney.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. Surprised no one did Tampopo.

                                                                                      Also, the Wedding Banquet features some awesome Chinese food.

                                                                                      1. I suppose Whole Foods doesn't carry the live snakes required for the feast in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, or anything much resembling monkey brains...

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: momjamin

                                                                                          And you would want either on any pizza?

                                                                                        2. Some Like it Hot - so many possibilities - spicy French?
                                                                                          Casablanca - Moroccan anyone?
                                                                                          Treasure of the Sierra Madre - Truffles? - Tex Mex?

                                                                                          you could go on and on...

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: tbear

                                                                                            Well, you can serve a capon recipe for Some Like it Hot too.....

                                                                                          2. I would have chosen Arsenic and Old Lace... made some very retro "old-lady" dishes (violet sorbet if I could have) and I would have centered the courses around tomatoes, which were once considered to be poisonous.

                                                                                              1. Another obvious choice, but one with lots of possibilities, would be Soul Food.

                                                                                                A more esoteric option, given the ages of the contestants, would be Crossing Delancey. It's one of my favorite movies. I don't TC has ever featured a nice matzo ball soup...

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: mercyteapot

                                                                                                  I loved Crossing Delancey as well..I always crave pickles when I think of it.

                                                                                                2. It may not be a "favorite" movie, but it wasn't bad -- Last Holiday, with a take on "Poulet Tchoupitoulas".

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                    I finally made my attempt at Poulet Tchoupitoulas. It turned out pretty good. My 7 year old liked it too!

                                                                                                    1. re: MsPraline

                                                                                                      If your 7yo is like my 5yo, it's just fun to say ;-)

                                                                                                  2. Face Off.
                                                                                                    I would have braised some pork cheeks with cloves and carrots then a spicy pork saute on the other parts of the face.

                                                                                                    1. "When Harry Met Sally" - A diner plate of pickle spear, potato salad scoop, and a REALLY GOOD pastrami sandwich on rye.


                                                                                                      1. Just saw this episode for the third time and it came to me. "Jaws". Leg of lamb. Wrapped in seaweed. Served...on a license plate. With a wine from a Long Island vineyard.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                                          I was thinking I would have done A River Runs Through It with some sort of flying fish presentation.

                                                                                                        2. Water, Gandhi.
                                                                                                          Roast rabbit with some kind of coconut dessert. Monty Python's Holy Grail.

                                                                                                          1. Supersize me! Just kidding...I probably would have gone with Memento because it's one of my favorite movies and then I could have made something with a strong smell that you associate with memory and maybe childhood.

                                                                                                            1. One of the best books and food movies nobody has mentioned - Like Water for Chocolate. There are so many ways you could go with this - the book is in 12 chapters, one for each month of the year, each with a recipe. And then there's the passion of Tita and her sister Gertrudis, so strong that it erupts into flames.

                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Lisachocoholic

                                                                                                                IIRC, Manuel suggested it in the challenge itself, but Spike had never heard of it, then Richard's team was doing Willy Wonka, so they didn't want to double-up the chocolate theme.

                                                                                                                1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                  Like Water for Chocolate is not really chocolate themed.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                    I understand, but then again, Top Secret is not really beef themed ;-) Many of the movie connections were tenuous, and I'm just reporting what I remember from the episode and later interviews with Manuel.

                                                                                                                    1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                      I agree with you. I just meant that it wouldn't be hard to avoid using chocolate as a theme if one wanted to be true to that story. I read it several times and I don't even recall what the relevance of chocolate was, if any.