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TC #5 The Beatdown

Ack, what an ugly little postscript to what had been a decent episode. How are we supposed to like any of these people after that?

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  1. That said, what would have done for the earth challenge? I'm thinking truffles, but perhaps they're not available at Whole Foods.

    7 Replies
    1. re: newhavener07

      I would have done something that involved root vegetables. I think the mushrooms would have been fine without the rosemary as a component, but frankly, "earth" screams vegetarian to me... though there are some rodents that live in the earth, technically ... that's just not what I'd be looking for in a dish that represents earth.

      I'm surprised the air team didn't whip anything on their plate.

      1. re: Adrienne

        I thought a roasted vegetable or mushroom dish with polenta would have been great. They could have done a shot of the soup as well. (Although I had to agree with Antonia that just one bowl of soup would have been weird). But soup and something else would have been great. Perhaps a trio of mushrooms---3 different arrangements and the soup could have been an earthy and delicious mushroom soup.

        1. re: Elyssa

          I had similar thoughts about the choice of dishes for Earth. Mushrooms in several guises would have been very earthy.

          1. re: ChefJune

            I think that if there's one lesson from this season, it is DON'T USE MUSHROOMS!

      2. re: newhavener07

        Actually, what about someting with one of those super-pungent French cheeses? Seems like the TC chefs don't use much cheese in their dishes, I wonder why.

        1. re: newhavener07

          Ya besides Sara from last season. I thought it was great how she used homemade cheese whenever possible. But then again, her whole dream was to open a cheese farm in Jamaica. :)

        2. re: newhavener07

          Definitely Truffles - Truffle oil - or Roasted Baby Root Veggies! They totally missed the concept of representing Earth - the Squash Soup did sound too simple - but would have better aligned with the theme.
          I think Johnny Depp wannabe, err, I mean Spike's days are numbered as it is - he's pretty consistently near the bottom and his attitude and ultra coolness are wearing thin.

        3. If that hadn't been right after the judging and after Zoi's elimination (as far as Jen's reactions), I would feel more inclined to agree. However, that just shows how much emotion can get invested in a competition of this nature. I wasn't surprised to see that sort of pissing contest going on, I'm sure its happened before. In the grand scheme of realit... oh, sorry, "unscripted" television... it was mild and not at all unsurprising, knowing the personalities. It certainly wasn't anywhere near as disrespectful and childish as anything I've seen on any number of other shows.

          However, I need to jump in with something totally shallow and superficial myself for once: Can we say that Nikki may have created a new hair look to rival the "faux-hawk" for TC styles? The "Bram Stoker's Dracula" 'do?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Scortch

            Hahahaha I was also totally obsessed with Nikki's "Amy Winehouse Giant Bump" do. I couldn't take my eyes off of it!

          2. I can't believe the judges wimped out and defaulted to the 'Crowd' decision, attacked the earth team, when Richard left scales on the fish... disappointing. If richard did not have potential, they would have jettisoned him in a heartbeat. Like I said, disappointing.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Mr Conlin

              Agreed. I really don't think they wanted to kick off Richard just yet. They say they judge the contestants challenge by challenge. For the most part, I agree. However, when it's really close I think they do take other factors into account -- like tonight's episode and when they kicked off Erick instead of Zoi. And I'm definitely sure they kicked off Ken in Season 1 for reasons other than his food.

              1. re: Mr Conlin

                At the table though they said overall the earth dish tasted the worst. And anyway, I am very pro-crowd, per the #4 thread, I think they don't take the crowd's opinion into account enough.

                1. re: Mr Conlin

                  I thought they agreed with the Crowd that it was the worst dish - i.e., independent of the Crowd's decision?

                  1. re: Mr Conlin

                    Chef Tom was pretty clear that lack of seasoning is a worse sin than just about anything else, which must include inadequate fish cleaning.

                    But also, team water's concept was there even if execution failed, but there was no earthiness in the team earth dish.

                    1. re: Mr Conlin

                      Well, they said the crowd's choice would figure in their decision. Plus, altho they judge each challenge on its own, they can't forget that they'd seen Zoi in the losers group EVERY SINGLE TIME so far! time for that whiner to hit the bricks.

                      Richard lucked out.

                    2. Can anyone answer the dispute over whether or not Antonia agreed to prepare soup even though she wasn't impressed with the choice? I absolutely can't reconstruct whether or not she merely criticized or adamantly refused.

                      16 Replies
                      1. re: Indy 67

                        Yes, I can. On first viewing I was right there with Spike. I thought she'd refused. Then I watched that part of the episode again and indeed she said (paraphrasing), "If you both really want to make butternut squash soup, then I'll make butternut squash soup."

                        1. re: MplsM ary

                          Yep, she sure did agree to make the soup. They vacillated, and, IIRC she didn't even push hard for the carpaccio. And who the hell is Spike to go off on her for that after his push to make a Vietnamese dish last week when Manuel clearly didn't put up a fuss?

                          I must give props to Jen for saying to Spike he was trashing his teammate when he went off on Antonia, despite how she must have been feeling at the moment. And I also have to say Zoi was much more gracious about losing than I thought she'd be.

                          1. re: phee

                            The post credits outburst made *much* more sense in time sequence than it did as teases in the show. Jen was one outburst, after her girl got sent home and that jerk Spike was still there and talking sh*t. Dale was a different outburst, because he was bitter about her miso-bacon and so sick of Lisa talking to him, ever. So her telling him anything about anything was his cue to vent.

                            Spike continues to be a super jerk, now a lying superjerk since Antonia clearly said she'd made a kickass soup with them if that's what they really really wanted. After pushing loser spring rolls last week, he shouldn't talk.

                            Pleased to see Zoi go, with overuse of restaurant-trite rosemary,
                            and The Hair was the most interesting thing I've seen from Nikki.
                            They totally found a way to keep Richard, cutting him slack based on previous performance. I think that's okay - one outrageous flub really shouldn't kill you at this early stage, if everything else has been in the top tier.

                            1. re: pitu

                              Dale was simmering with frustration and annoyance with Lisa so it is understandable that he was really mad when she ended up winning. His outburst was embarrassing though, and seemed fueled by alcohol to me. Note that the dish won because of Stephanie's perfect preparation and seasoning (again)...yet she was not angry at Lisa for getting the win. Stephanie is amazing, consistently excellent, we better see her in the finals. Dale's outburst shows his own insecurities more than anything else. It was impressive that (with Stephanie's low-key leadership) the team, with all its course-changing and conflicts, pulled off an excellent dish.

                              Richards mushy, scaly fish sounded awful but there must have been some redeeming qualites to the dish...I bet Mark's parsnips tasted great even though Colicchio found them irrelevant or whatever he was getting at when he was trashing Mark.

                              Spike was just all over the place with hate--there's no reason why he couldn't have done a shooter of soup alongside the beef, squash is cheap, it was his fault (1) for not insisting and (2) for not telling Antonia, "you have immunity so we are going to make the decisions here". So attacking and blaming Antonia just seemed ridiculous. AND rubbing Zoi's elimination in Jen's face. Still, I don't mind at all that Zoi left...she has made bland tasteless pasta salad and now mushrooms. I am sure she's a good chef, but she couldn't hack it in the competition setting.

                              1. re: pitu

                                I actually agreed with Dale's outburst. Lisa was incredibly negative throughout the day. And if he's like me, that's a difficult person to work around and be around 24/7. Perhaps he shouldn't have butted his nose in but she seemed to have a million opinions and no mute button. If you work differently then that, you are bound to brew. I could see how he would be pissed that she was complaining the entire time and only smiled when she could take credit for something. I'm sure it was frustrating. But I didn't taste the dish, so I don't know if the bacon was really the star and most inovative thing on there or not. If so, she deserves the trip.

                                What I was a little confused about was Jen's reaction to Dale. It looked like she was almost cheering him on or something. A little strange.

                                Spike is a rable rouser and a bit of a jerk. He's been lucky. That being said--Zoi was bound to go eventually. She just hasn't been performing very strong.

                                I also agree that Stephanie is a rock star and I always look forward to see what she will create.

                                1. re: Elyssa

                                  Agree. While I didn't really agree with Dale's outburst, I understand why it happened. Even Gail noted on her blog that all the judges noticed Lisa's negativity. I've been in situations where I've been surrounded by people like that. It's not fun. I too have wanted to burst out like Dale but held it in. Ah, the self control ...

                                  Also was really confused with the Jen/Dale thing. Perhaps it was editing. Or perhaps Jen was so frustrated with the whole Zoi thing that she was looking for a fight, even if the fight didn't have to do with her at all.

                                  I never liked Spike. Can't stand how he says that he's too nice of a guy. He even said something like that when he was up on the chopping block last week with Memo -- that he's not that type of guy. People who generally say things like that usually aren't very nice and a big phony. They just like to hear themselves talk and pat themselves on the back.

                                  I'm glad that Zoi left. Her days were numbered and she seems like the biggest whiner -- how nothing is her fault and there's always an excuse. She can't take any responsibility. She seems like a nice person to know, but I probably wouldn't want to work with her professionally.

                                  And Stephanie is indeed the Lee Anne Wong of Season 4, perhaps with Steph being a better cook. She knows how to mediate the difficult personalities and get the work done. Lee Anne is a bit more assertive, but I think Steph can hold her own. She's A+ in my book.

                            2. re: MplsM ary

                              I believe she said "If you both really want to make butternut squash soup, then I'll make an f--'ing good butternut squash soup with you."

                              We never know what editing has done, but it seemed to me that she really explained her thinking to the team about why she wanted to do carpaccio and Spike didn't really do the same for his soup -- which I agree with him and the judges would have been a better idea, but I think he really needed to explain his thinking to engage Antonia about it. As far as her anti-soup comments, they definitely could have spruced it up a bit with flavored craime fraiche, some kind of fancy mandolined deep fried vegetable to garnish, floated brandy, etc, and it wouldn't have to have been "just soup."

                              1. re: Adrienne

                                Yes. I am now totally craving butternut squash soup, dagnabbit. With all the trimmings and nice biscuit sitting daintily beside it.

                                1. re: MplsM ary

                                  I guess I'm sick of butternut squash soup in general, find it bland and trite and definitely not something I want to eat in the summer--wasn't TC Chicago filmed in August?

                                  1. re: newhavener07

                                    I agree that the season was off for butternut squash soup but disagree on it being trite.

                                    Mushroom soup (as has been already suggested) was a proven winner, (Elia). Perhaps that would have been more in keeping with the season and the Earth theme. And, yes I've had soup in August. In Chicago.

                                    1. re: MplsM ary

                                      My first thought on hearing "butternut squash soup" was that it was trite. When there are several brands of tetrapak butternut squash soup out there, it's clearly gone well into the realm of "stuff that used to be innovative but is now mainstream." Plus, it's easy enough to make at home, so to wow a crowd at an upscale event they would have had to add some jazzy accompaniments and execute it perfectly.

                                      I thought mushrooms were a good idea for "earth" -- they just weren't executed well.

                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                        I agree on trite...and I was kind of mystified as to why butternut squash would be an "earth" vegetable. It's not a root!

                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                          I don't how you could jazz up something I buy at Trader Joe's in boxes to the point where it would be acceptable anywhere but at a coffee shop at this point. Perhaps a caviar foam in the form of a fog?

                                          1. re: newhavener07

                                            "Perhaps a caviar foam in the form of a fog?"

                                            Sorry, but you're firmly in air territory there!

                              2. re: Indy 67

                                If you read Gail's blog, Antonia says in front of Spike that she would agree to do the soup. It was done in quite a passive manner. I remember that part. Gail also mentions that during an interview, Antonia said that she won't make the soup. I don't remember seeing that part (though it could have been there). Bravo may have edited it out.

                                1. re: Indy 67

                                  She didn't adamantly refuse. She said if they wanted to make soup she would make the best damn soup she could, or whatever she said. Root vegetables would have more sense, as others have said.

                                2. 15 minutes??? 15 Minutes??? Are you f-ing kidding me?

                                  15 minutes to conceptualize a 1st course for 80 people? Never mind trying to figure out how to execute it - geez!

                                  H#ll - I'm bringing the appetizer to Dinner Club on Friday and I've spent a week and a couple of trial dishes trying to decide on my dish - and the stakes aren't nearly as high (actually there are no stakes at Dinner Club) - but still!!

                                  I know in past seasons the judges have talked about how a chef sometimes find themselves in a situation where they need to think on their feet, adapt, work on the fly, blah, blah, blah - and that's why these "timed" challenges happen - but the keyword is SOMETIMES - let them cook!! Grrr...I'm annoyed.

                                  That being said...the team that won required the least amount of time to prepare - so what the h#ll do I know?

                                  11 Replies
                                  1. re: Mushroom

                                    Yes, 15 minutes is all you get when you sign on to do a game show.

                                    1. re: Herm

                                      Sometimes you don't get much more in real life. I can't even tell you how many times when I was still working for hotels some one would drop the ball and I'd find out the same day I had a function. It's part of the territory and an excellent test of a chefs skill to think fast and execute well.
                                      At least one team didn't finalize until shopping so I'd say in reality they had a lot more than 15 minutes.

                                      1. re: Docsknotinn

                                        I'd say in reality they all had the same exact amount of time. Team Fire just used it more productively by conceptualizing 2 (or 3?) different dishes before settling on their winning dish. The others all had the oppurtunity to do the same.

                                        In regards to "real life" - I'm not in the food service industry so I probably have no business commenting on timeliness issues. My husband says I'm not happy unless I'm fired up about something - if that's the case - I was delirious on Wednesday night.

                                        I would just enjoy the show more (even though I still absolutely love it) if some of the challenges weren't so ridiculous - at least ridiculous to me. These team competitions are also getting on my nerves. My favorite episodes are the ones with individual competitions and with as few "rules" as possible. Just my opinion. And....I still religiously watch the darn show - even when it annoys the heck out of me.

                                        1. re: Mushroom

                                          well the ability to think and cook "on the fly" is probably the intangible thing that makes some people great chefs and not having it is what makes others just good cooks. the challenges do seem to test for "on the fly" decision making and execution, and the bonus is that it makes for good viewing. the team challenges also make sense to me because in real kitchens you have to work with others, and maybe they suck as human beings, but they can really sling pans. . .

                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                            I completely understand why there are Team challanges (and actually enjoyed the heck out of the zoo team challenge). It just seems like there have been an awful lot of 'em and I'm ready for some individual creativity.

                                            1. re: Mushroom

                                              i hear you. i actually wasn't sure if we were agreeing or disagreeing. re: chefs getting time to shine individually--i think it's still early on and they're not done ejecting baggage yet :)

                                            2. re: soupkitten

                                              I'm OK with the cooking on the fly and with team competitions, but I decided after watching this show that there are some challenges that I don't think are interesting, and don't indicate to me what makes a "top chef". One of those is catering challenges--it seems like it takes certain skills to get 80 servings of something ready at the exact same time. In previous years when they've had people with catering experience, they do better at this type of challenge (I'm thinking CJ last year was in this category, but it doesn't seem like there are cheftestants with as much catering experience this year). I don't think that those skills tell me that person would be a top chef; it just tells me that they would be a top caterer.

                                      2. re: Mushroom

                                        Agreed about the absurdity of time with a conceptual earth-air-wind-fire idea to work out. But those with the best skills - Stephanie - manage to pull off whatever they do.

                                        1. re: pitu

                                          Agreed. I continue to be impressed by both Stephanie's skills and her demeanor.

                                        2. re: Mushroom

                                          Didn't the fire team actually take the most time to decide having worked it out as they were shopping (initially thinking carpaccio and scrapping that b/c Earth was doing it)? So, IIRC, 15 minutes was NOT enough time for the winning team to conceptualize their dish. BUT, they clearly showed the ability to think on their feet and revise their plan as they gained insight into the other teams' plans.

                                          1. re: Mushroom

                                            As a side note to my original posting...and a bit off topic....I decided on a marinated goat cheese appetizer for Dinner Club. I didn't try it out before hand because I've made similar dishes before. I made it last night and marinated it overnight...however something wasn't quite right about it...but I was too busy to worry about it much. About 4:30 tonight (2 1/2 hours before I leave) I suddenly realized I had made the dang thing with feta cheese not a soft goat cheese like I was suppose to! My attempt to fix it has resulted in a crostini spread with all the appearance of wet dog food - it is a disaster.

                                            The moral of the story......the fact - that in 15 minutes - these Top Chef contestants can come up with an idea (and execute it) at all - let alone do it well - fills me with awe - I can't even do it in a freaking week!

                                            I'm going to pack my knives and go.....

                                          2. I missed the beatdown at the end...

                                            Great episode. Kudos to Lisa for being stubborn and her team for navigating a winning dish despite their conflicting wills. More kudos to Lisa for making the most of her bacon, unlike Zoi who goes AWOL on team challenges, always finding a way to rationalize away her duty and excellence. You could just see her going through the motions on the mushrooms, never seasoning or caring. Good riddance. Dale's pickled peppers is likely very common as a Southeast Asian preparation and not unique compared to Lisa's miso glazed bacon. I'm happy Ming Tsai appreciated it. The dish really seemed to resonate with a whole range of people. Padma and Ming Tsai with their ethnic Asian palates were obvious candidates to like it, but so did Gail and Tom and a range of Chicagoans. Great show. Should I not watch for the beatdown at end of reruns??

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: Minger

                                              The "beatdown" was within the 60 minutes, and after a preview of it during every promo and commercial break, I'd be very surprised to see it disappear from reruns.

                                              1. re: Minger

                                                NO! Skip it. I would advise anyone TIVOing to turn it off after the elimination. The whole scene showed everyone at their worst and took away from my appreciation of the show. This crew of chefs seems much more immature and nasty than previous bunches, and there's an ugly strain of misogyny in this crew, in my opinion.

                                                1. re: newhavener07

                                                  I really had trouble figuring out why certain people were yelling at each other, other than Spike and Antonia.

                                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                                    I think Dale was really upset that Zoi was eliminated and when he expressed it Lisa must have said something to him about it. Given how he had previously expressed frustration with Lisa being negative I think he just "lost it" when she criticized him for being negative.

                                                    And I can obviously understand why Jen(?) was upset that her SO had been eliminated. She took it out on Spike for his venting at Antonia - it was a lot of misdirected frustration all around I think.

                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                      It looked to me that there were at least two separate arguments going on. I thought that perhaps they had occurred at different time and that were all edited together to make it look like one big free for all.

                                                    2. re: newhavener07

                                                      The "beatdown" sequence, edited beyond recognition, was nothing less than ridiculous.

                                                  2. OK, my first post of the season. Here are a few thoughts:

                                                    Stephanie has to be the clear frontrunner at this point. She played a major part in the winning team in the elimination challenge this week, was among the best last week, and won two of the first three weeks, if I recall correctly. Despite finishing last in the quickfire this week, she is quiet, consistent, professional, and appears not only to be easy to work with but a real asset to a team.

                                                    Regarding the quickfire, I agree with the cheftestant who remarked that the blindfolded taste competition is a favorite test. But my goodness, could they have chosen any way to conduct and edit it to make it less interesting? A quick shot of most doing only one or two comparisons, with no sense of how they were doing or how they were ranking. Suggestion -- if there were 15 items, do a flight of five, narrow down the field, do five more to determine finalists, then do a taste-off of the final five to determine a dramatic, tension-filled winner that us fans could create brackets and bet on!

                                                    C'mon, Judge Tom C. -- Bland food is not nearly as big a sin as scaly fish. That's why they put salt on the table, for cripes sake. Underseasoned carpaccio may be dull, but scales on the salmon is downright spit-it-out gag-me disgusting. And as the tape clearly shows, it was brought to Richard's attention that there were scales on the fish, and he STILL couldn't be bothered to check for them, being so concerned with plating at the last moment to conserve heat in the salmon. I do not believe for one minute that the judging is solely on the elimination performance and prior weeks and potential don't play a major role... Or else he'd be gone.

                                                    Butternut squash soup was a stupid idea. Especially when Judge Tom C. was so inquisitive to the losers last week about whether and how they had expended their entire budget. I still don't quite understand the challenge -- they made 80 dishes, but the task was introduced as cooking for 320. Clearly the judges got all four starters, and they kept commenting that "earth" was the guests' least favorite, implying that they tasted more than one. Can you imagine being a guest, the person on your right gets a duck breast, the one on your left gets shrimp over bacon, and you get one of those little expresso cups of butternut squash soup?!? What a ripoff.

                                                    I do agree with Tom C. about the little drinks being overdone. Aren't the judges and the guests drinking wine with their dinners?

                                                    Finally, was anyone thinking like I was that "air" should have been a souffle? Or something else that would have risen, inflated, or maybe even a foam? Marcel, where are you when we need you?!?

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: nosh

                                                      Uh…I don’t see any one here as talented as Marcel, or Hung, or Ilan, or a lot of the previous years TC contestants that never even made the final cut.

                                                      Bitter Dale grinding his teeth and finally losing it– and he was on the winning team! I’d like to see a majority of these guys get thrown into Hells Kitchen. I imagine Ramsey reducing Richard to a blubbering mess for the scales incident. The TC judges didn’t even hit him hard on it. They didn’t even show his response, he just kind of looked mystified. Way worse than unseasoned food.

                                                      It was an uneventful episode in a boring season. Which is exactly why they had to show the blow-up at the end. The only thing that can possibly happen to make this season have any drama now, is Jen starting a new relationship with another girl in the group, and to have Zoi come back and aid in an elimination challenge. Now that would be reality in the kitchen.

                                                      Try to make it about food if you’d like, but it started as a reality show and is one now (it’s why the lesbian couple theme persists).

                                                      It’s just a boring one.

                                                      1. re: SDMike

                                                        The show was awesome, perhaps boring if one expects drama like teammates trying to shave one another's hair. The drama of the individual personalties working together is delicious. Yummy, may I please have another serving.

                                                        The only thing I found awkward about this episode was Ming Tsai's passive role in the blind tasting. The tasting is a legitimate QuickFire but how do you make a celebrity chef's participation interesting without having play a Gordon Ramsay belittling bully? Have Ming Tsai establish cred by doing the taste test himself before anybody else??

                                                      2. re: nosh

                                                        When I heard Spike wanted a butternut squash soup, I thought it would have been a terrible idea too. I get that soup at a local chain over here in NY, I don't want to be served that at a $$$ per plate dinner. I want something expensive... the point of the quickfire was to get the highest quality ingredients and use it. Spike and his stupid hats did the same thing the last episode and was asked if he used his whole budget to make a generic summer roll. He didn't learn his lesson as he wanted to use his whole budget to make a squash soup. I only wish he got kicked off for folllowing Zoi and the other girls blindly similarly to Manuel the previous week.

                                                      3. I missed the blow up at the end.for the earth challenge they could have done a soup
                                                        as Spike suggested,but dressed it up like a poster suggested. They could have even done a soup with a clear chicken broth or just used the broth they made by simmering the veggies.Used squash, turnips,rutabaga,etc cut into juline strips with some seasoning,
                                                        and maybe a mixed mushroom salad on the side.Or some kind of roast veggie dish.
                                                        Hey,they could have used turnip or jimaca sliced thin,with a tomato veggies sauce.Do like a lasgana but strictly vegetarian.
                                                        Heard Chef Tom say he wanted to send both Zoi and Spike home,but they had to pick one,so it was Zoi.I do think however Spike's days are numbered.
                                                        They should have scaled the salmon and then rinsed it under water to make sure all scales were off. Or go and cut the meat from the skin and again,wash it lightly to get rid of the scales. I don't recall ever encountering that problem when eating fish in a restaurant before. The souffle idea wasn't bad. Don't know why they didn't do quail,or squab,unless they couldn't get any.Pheasant would have been something too.
                                                        I think Dale was just jealous because Lisa won.Her bacon was different with the way she made it and seasoned it.It was inovated, and Ming liked it.Dale's well,Ming probablt felt you can get that anyday.
                                                        I loved to watch his show on the FoodNetwork. I can't wait to catch it on PBS.
                                                        As someone said.I think because Richard has preformed well so far,he stayed despite the fish scale fiasco.Even the best chefs can have an off day.

                                                        7 Replies
                                                        1. re: HollyDolly

                                                          Congrats to lisa, but there's no way after watching that episode I could work with/for her. I can sympathize with Dale's frustration from being so close to her constant negativity in the kitchen. It almost seems like that Stephanie (who's been paired with her the previous 3 times) just lets her make all the decisions.

                                                          As for Richard and the scales...I recall in the previous episode when Dale was on their team, they had requested 'scales off' from the fish monger at Whole Foods, is this something he merely overlooked this time? I can't imagine trying to sous-vide 80 salmons with the time they were given. Perhaps he became a bit too ambitious from his previous elimination win.

                                                          1. re: attractivekid

                                                            I disagree that Stephanie lets Lisa make the decisions - wasn't it Stephanie who suggested shrimp in the supermarket after finding out another team was doing carpaccio? And it was Dale that suggested Lisa go get the thick-sliced bacon.

                                                            Stephanie's a mediator - at least on last night's show she did a wonderful job of doing so between the two of them.

                                                          2. re: HollyDolly

                                                            First of all, why would you even leave the skin on a poached or sous vide salmon? Even without the scales the texture of the skin and the membrane beneath it would be soft and rubbery. Also did anyone else notice the salmon had the indented impression of the sous vide bag pressed into it? As far as the outburst, i heard that the chefs are actually sequestered in the "stew room" for around 8 hours, the heat is turned up and they are supplied alcohol. That's an interesting recipe designed by the producers. A good TC drinking game thusfar would have been based on how many times Jen would either say "spot on" or Zoi is a "talented chef".

                                                            1. re: nosoup4u

                                                              I was actually shocked when the judges questioned if it's even a good idea to sous-vide salmon. It's a common dish to sous vide and you can even find it at Per Se and the French Laundry (which Richard happened to have worked at).

                                                              I assume the reason salmon sous-vide is kept with the skin on is to keep it together since the meat becomes super delicate after the process

                                                              1. re: attractivekid

                                                                Exactly. "Delicate" can become "mushy" if not done exactly right, and trying to do 80 servings at once clearly -- as demonstrated by the scales -- meant they couldn't pay as much attention to detail as they needed to. The TFL or Per Se, they would never do more than a couple of pieces at a time, and there would be someone detailed just for that task (there are more people working in the kitchen at the French Laundry than there are seats in the restaurant -- that's what you're paying for, that kind of personal attention to every tiny detail).

                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                  There's probably one person assigned to each SCALE on the salmon at the French Laundry--that place is wacky and wasteful bordering on the criminal. I love how they use literally tens of gallons of water to blanch vegetables, something like 1 cup of vegetables per stockpot of boiling water. The FL Cookbook will be required reading one day in a course entitled "The Decline and Fall of the American Empire."

                                                                  1. re: newhavener07

                                                                    > The FL Cookbook will be required reading one day in a course entitled "The Decline and Fall of the American Empire."

                                                                    Haha, that gets the prize.

                                                          3. There are some I still like - Stephanie remains my favorite and I hope she keeps moving forward on the winning teams. She seems to remain the quiet, confident one. She knew the Lisa/Dale disagreement in WF was going to be an issue and she tried hard to resolve it.

                                                            I think it was very fortuitous that they heard the Earth team was doing carpaccio, forcing them to change their main meat choice....the shrimp with spices and heat was a great choice for Fire.

                                                            However, Dale gets bent out of shape that he was not chosen over Lisa? Wow - way to throw a tantrum, Dale!

                                                            Spike is a moron. Plain and simple. Chef Tom's right in his blog - he allows Antonia, who had immunity, to direct the way they were going with their dish. He should have fought more, instead of pitching a fit after Zoi got bounced (for which I was thankful - but quite frankly, either Zoi or Spike could go and I would have been happy!) Although serving butternut squash soup in and of itself would have bored me to tears. Other suggestions here such as an earthy mushroom soup with various garnishments along the same theme of "earth" would have done much better. If ya want it, Spike, fight for it. You just lay down and let it happen to you and Zoi.

                                                            I'm also glad to read Tom's blog where he's going to ask the producers for upcoming seasons to ask the cheftestants to watch their language.

                                                            As for the Water team - does anyone else feel that sous vide of salmon just doesn't make sense? I don't know much about the process, but with something as soft as salmon, it just seems like it would go to mush - which is what several of the judges said. And scales? Richard was told there were scales...and seemed to do nothing about it. Seemed like he was right - the love for Richard Blais is gone from Chef Tom. :-)

                                                            The blow-up at the end was childish. Spike taking it out on Antonia when he should have looked in a mirror. And Dale? Yet again, pissed off because he didn't win, so he screams at Lisa. Wonder what he thinks when he read blogs by the judges re: WHY Lisa's bacon won over his deviled egg idea?

                                                            Overall - I liked the show. I really, REALLY hope the drama just goes away and they concentrate on the food.

                                                            1. I didn't really think about this until now. Didn't Team Fire go right before Team Earth? Maybe all that spice made Earth's dish seem blander than it was. Although I have to agree, there was nothing "earthy" about that dish anyway.

                                                              1. Dale needs to grow up. Carrying on like that when Lisa won the trip... even if he had deserved the win, which he didn't, his reaction was conduct unbecoming. He wanted to serve deviled eggs for pity's sake!!! That team is lucky Lisa has a strong voice and chose to use it, unlike Spike, who went along to get along, even though he knew better.

                                                                No big surprise to see Zoi gone... again this week, talk of "big bold flavors" from her and then talk of "bland" from the judges, other the overpowering rosemary. I keep hearing that she's a great chef; if that's true, this show clearly didn't showcase her talents.

                                                                The salmon looked like the judges said it tasted. Richard is lucky the earth team dropped the ball or he may have been gone.

                                                                1. Am I the only one frustrated by the unfair elimination prizes? One week you win a trip to Italy. The next week you win a cookbook. The next week you get to spend a week staging with Eric Ripert. The next week you get zilch. The arbitrary nature of the prizes is bound to create resentment amongst the cheftestants. And if they're going to give out a big prize, it should be limited to individual challenges where the winner is indisputable, or it should go to the entire team (as it did last season).

                                                                  Lisa definitely didn't deserve the trip. She had no say in envisioning the dish. All she did was execute bacon well, and the bacon wasn't even her idea. No wonder Dale was bitter. I'm sure he would have been fine if Stephanie had won it, and he wouldn't have lost it if there was no trip involved.

                                                                  I find the conflict entertaining. Conflict-free reality TV = game show. And don't judge the chefs' character by these alcohol and stress fueled, selectively edited outbursts. Any of us could have an a$$hole moment under the circumstances.

                                                                  Glad to see Zoi go home. This was her third time in the bottom in five episodes. She may be a fine chef, but she can't perform under competitive pressure.

                                                                  Richard deserved a pass. He's one of the top cheftestants, and it's not his time. Yes, he should have asked someone to help clean the salmon, but by the time his teammates noticed the scales it was way too late to do anything about it. His stellar performance thus far has earned him another shot.

                                                                  Next on the chopping block: Spike, Ryan, Nikki.

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Morton the Mousse

                                                                    "The arbitrary nature of the prizes is bound to create resentment amongst the cheftestants"
                                                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                                    I'm trying to remember if any of the judges have discussed this subject. I agree - it does seem to stink that sometimes they get nothing. Would it be intentional to get them to perform their best in the hopes there's a prize in the offing?

                                                                    1. re: Morton the Mousse

                                                                      The prizes are a bonus, and no cheftestant should expect anything. That said, they shouldn't give out really high-end prizes for one person in a team challenge -- it really negates the whole concept of working as a team to single one person out and reward them extravagently. How about a prize that can be shared by the whole team, like everyone getting a set of autographed cookbooks?

                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                        True, the prizes are a bonus, but last season there was one period where someone got a laptop, someone got a cookbook, and someone got nothing, and it just seemed totally unfair. Especially, as you said Ruth, in a team challenge, where it's not like doing the bacon was measurably that much greater than the shrimp (which the judges loved).

                                                                        1. re: JasmineG

                                                                          I think last year that one week Sarah got nothing (for the restaurant challenge where she was the lead), and Casey got a laptop for an individual effort the next week. I think that Tre and CJ won the contest about reheating frozen food, and they both got to go to Italy.

                                                                          I'm sort of annoyed with myself that information like this is taking up space in my head!

                                                                          1. re: Nettie

                                                                            Sara did get something. She said it in an interview. But it wasn't aired.

                                                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                              I'm sure it depends on the sponsor of the prize whether or not they make a big deal about it.

                                                                    2. No loss that Zoi is gone she was lucky she lasted as long as she did. And I was getting sick of the whole 'couple' thing. It does seem like an unfair advantage.

                                                                      1. last week's winning trio was richard, andrew, dale, with their willy wonka salmon, tapioca faux caviar, wasabi-white chocolate composition--

                                                                        turns to this week's losing trio of richard, andrew, mark--with their sous vide salmon, tapioca faux caviar, parsnip sauce entry.

                                                                        almost the same concept on the plate, just a different (bungled) execution. interesting.

                                                                        the blow-up at the end seemed like it was at least 2 different arguments, jerkily edited to look as if it was a single progression. we'll probably never know who had the right to yell etc. but if i were in dale's position with lisa's negativity i probably would have yelled too. when you're working in hot kitchens in each other's armpits, completely dependent on each team member, you can't necessarily mince words and avoid interpersonal conflict the way you can in other lines of work. i think most chefs are very direct with each other because it's usually better to get things out in the open if there's a problem-- if you can't handle an argument or a personal insult you'll never make it in a pro kitchen. i think that everyone in the argument was tired and frustrated-- they obviously were manipulated by the controlled environment of the "stew room" and it's no surprise that bravo could get a good minute and a half of people snapping on each other out of 8 hours of footage.

                                                                        the most satisfactory word i can come up with for spike is. . . cad. what a cad.

                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                          My word(s) for Spike are "nasty 12-year-old boy on a hormonal surge." Yuck, I really hope he's next to go.

                                                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                                                            Is it just me or has Andrew made the tapioca faux caviar 3 times already? In the two fish dishes mentioned above and the squid ceviche had them as well.

                                                                            TFC is this seasons foam.

                                                                            1. re: Dave O

                                                                              He only did it 2x. Once he made the caviar as a hyrdocolloid with calcium chloride and sodium alginate.

                                                                              1. re: vanillagorilla

                                                                                Don't know if it was editing but did you see Colichio rolling his eyes when Gail asked Andrew that question?

                                                                                1. re: vanillagorilla

                                                                                  I have no idea what any of those are, but I was refering to this recipe. He calls them soy-balsamic tapioca, but they're the same as the TFC.

                                                                                  http://recipes.mt.bravotv.com/top_che...

                                                                                  1. re: Dave O

                                                                                    right... He's made them twice, both times when partnered with richard. The other time was a different faux caviar technique.

                                                                                    1. re: vanillagorilla

                                                                                      It was tapioca all three times.

                                                                                      http://recipes.mt.bravotv.com/top_che...

                                                                                      http://recipes.mt.bravotv.com/top_che...

                                                                                  2. re: vanillagorilla

                                                                                    are you sure? I think it was tapioca all three times. Balsamic with the squid, soy with the white chocolate-wasabi salmon, and then whatever the flavor was with the sous-vide salmon. I don't recall that he did the calcium-alginate thing.

                                                                                    He better not try it again, it will be too ridiculous. And enough with the freaking salmon!! Is there a more boring fish?

                                                                                    1. re: kenito799

                                                                                      IT will become as ridiculous as Marcel's infamous foam!

                                                                              2. I just want to agree with all of the Stephanie-lovers! I think she's amazing and should certainly make it into the final few... I am so impressed by her creativity, execution, personality, quiet leadership, etc...

                                                                                And, for full disclosure, I had the pleasure of dining at her Chicago restaurant, Scylla, last year and it was literally one of the most memorable meals I've had (and we even sat at the bar!). I caught a glimpse of her working in the kitchen (en route to the restroom) and just stood there, stunned! The way she was working was like nothing I've seen IRL...

                                                                                Go Stephanie!!

                                                                                1. Dale is a complete sore loser. If it wasn't for Lisa sticking to her guns & changing their minds about their original dish..would they have won at all? So I say good for Lisa that she won that trip. Is she negative..sure. But ultimately it was her that got them to change their minds & win.

                                                                                  Antonia should have backed off a little. Yes, she should make her voice heard but seeing as she had immunity she knew she would stay regardless if they won or lost.

                                                                                  I was thinking truffles the whole time for Earth..and what finds the truffles? pigs! Pork & truffles or even truffle oil is easy to find at Whole Foods. Done with some nice root veggies..it would have been nice.
                                                                                  For Air I thought they would definitely have gone with some type of savory mousse.
                                                                                  For Water..of course a fish ..but there are so many things in the sea to choose from..why salmon? They could've gone the Japanese route with some seaweed, miso & some seared tuna or something like that
                                                                                  Fire team chose a perfect dish, I thought. all the elements of fire were incorporated nicely.

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: sugarbuzz

                                                                                    Antonia was riding the high of "best palate," and Spike's strong commentary ego was AWOL in the moment and helpless to counter her confidence.

                                                                                    1. re: sugarbuzz

                                                                                      I would swear that Jen said duck mousse for air early on but got shot down by her team. I remember thinking that it sounded like a good idea.

                                                                                      1. re: AMFM

                                                                                        I too thought that it would have been a great idea, but you're right - she was totally shot down.

                                                                                    2. I was having a flashback to last night's silliness just now and can't believe no one has mentioned the best part: Dale distinctly grabbing his, ahem, frank and beans, at the climax of the spat. Must be some tough hood, that Buddakan kitchen! Priceless.

                                                                                      22 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                        Yeah, I'm getting tired with the whole Spike/Andrew/Dale how-baddass-I-am-look-at-my-gangsta-lean posturing. They reveal themselves, no matter how talented, as the spoiled little petulant boys that they are.

                                                                                        1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                          I totally missed that. Got to watch it again. I'm sure it was hysterical.

                                                                                          Dale doesn't bother me much as Spike because Dale is a self-proclaimed a**hole while Spike thinks he's so enlightened. Don't want to necessarily hang out with Dale but at least he's self-aware.

                                                                                          1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                            Thank you....I didn't want to be the one to bring that up...but what was that all about?? At the time I pointed it out to my husband and we just shook our heads laughing. Maybe they were locked up there so long drinking that he had to go to the bathroom!

                                                                                            1. re: sibeats

                                                                                              all i have to say about this episode is that dale is really arrogant and an incredibly sore loser he reminds me of hung except for the fact that hung could back up his arrogance. if there were three front-runners right now it would proboly be mark richard and stephanie(not in that order) and andrew in a close 4th. but dale is DEFINTELY not the best chef there and shouldnt be complaining to the person that helped them win the challenge in the first place >=D

                                                                                              1. re: ChefPapaloma

                                                                                                I agree except I'd swap Mark and Andrew.

                                                                                              2. re: sibeats

                                                                                                I found it funny but kind of agressive as well as he was arguing with Lisa. As a woman I would be pretty taken aback by someone brandishing his package at me. But then in Dale's case, judging by his behavior, it's probably wouldn't be that scary--more snowpea and lentils than frank and beans, if you catch my drift.

                                                                                                1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                  I just watched a repeat and although Dale's hand was in the vicinity I don't think he was "grabbing his package".

                                                                                                  1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                    I agree - have to confess "I kept looking" b/c I couldn't quite believe it.

                                                                                                    1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                      The whole argument was ridiculous. Editing aside, Spike is yelling at Antonia for being too domineering in a team challenge where she already has immunity and I agree with him in that if you already have immunity than you should let your teammates dictate and you should take a back seat (I really am not saying she would not have made the soup, I don't have an opinion on that issue). Next thing you know, Jen starts yelling at Spike, presumably because she is angry that Zoi was sent home instead of Spike. Dale says, something, like, "that's weak", to Jen and his teammate who's name I can't recall quietly tells him, something to the effect of, "that's enough." Dale than flips out on her.

                                                                                                      This is exactly the kind of drama the producers were looking for when they put a couple on the show. The argument escalated because Jen was steamed her girlfriend had just been sent home. If the casting was like in other seasons and there were no couples the argument would probably have been contained to Spike and Antonia. Once Jen piped in and attacked Spike then Dale jumped in and things got out of hand.

                                                                                                      I find it comical that Jen says in the teaser that she is, "doing this for Zoi." Please, what has she done in any previous episode to lead us to believe that she has the chops to win the show much less a challenge?

                                                                                                      1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                        I think Antonia was letting them dictate, but that she was going to make her opinion known. She told them that she thought soup might not appear high end enough, but that if they chose to make it she would make them an effing excellent soup. They struck it from the menu based on her doubts, but she did not tell them to do so. Spike could have responded with suggestions to make it high end; he could have stood his ground and explained why it was the best choice. He didn't-- possibly because he was still a little shaken by the last challenge in which he was accused of not thinking high end enough.

                                                                                                        And, as all judges have written in the blogs: it was not the choice of dish, it was the execution. And honestly, if it were tasteless, then Zoi had to go: the pasta salad, the girls in a coma lamb chops, and this. I'm sure she's a great chef (better than I, but this underseasoning appeared to be a thing on the show).

                                                                                                        Speaking of underseasoning: I thought Tom C was the most problematic one this episode. TWoP used to refer to his visits as the Sniff and Sneer, and this one was no exception, especially as he accused what would be the top dish of being too spicy, both in the kitchen and at the table (where he was shot down).

                                                                                                        Dale came off as really bitter and arrogant. Seriously, his salad was recognised as good, but I have a feeling that if it hadn't been the bacon (which sounds amazing, and yes, I think the technique combined with the miso-honey glaze was something that elevated this component) the winning component would have been Stephanie's shrimp since they were cooked and seasoned perfectly. His outrage was obnoxious, although I sympathise with the frustration over Lisa-- she can sound negative as there are people whose default position is one of criticism and complaint and they don't realise how it affects others around them. But his rudeness is ongoing, I find, and more troubling than Lisa's negativity

                                                                                                        And as for those suggesting that they had more than 15 minutes because they changed their mind in the market: They had the same time as everyone else. Everyone else could have rethought in the market-- Spike could have had a soup epiphany and thought about how to elevate what is viewed as a pedestrian dish. But no other group did that. They had that time, they simply chose to use it for shopping.

                                                                                                        1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                          thought it was miso-maple, not miso-honey, on the bacon?

                                                                                                          "miso-honey"-- maybe you're thinking of a song, Lizard-- lmao ;)

                                                                                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                            Or a line from the movie Platoon! LOL

                                                                                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                              Hah! You're right. My bad-- in so many ways.

                                                                                                            2. re: Lizard

                                                                                                              > Dale came off as really bitter and arrogant. Seriously, his salad was recognised as good, but I have a feeling that if it hadn't been the bacon (which sounds amazing,

                                                                                                              My first thought was that Dale was entirely serious, but then upon seeing his comment again, I realized he was being dramatic for effect -- something about the way he said, "I am bitter."

                                                                                                              1. re: Minger

                                                                                                                Totally agree Minger -- Dale *was* being funny when it phrased it that way...
                                                                                                                although it's no less true for his deadpan wit about it

                                                                                                                1. re: Minger

                                                                                                                  Fair play: he makes the comment, possibly to save himself. But that pissy-face he made at the announcement was something else. Looked like the outrage born of entitlement. (Although could be the outrage born out of hatred and fury-- he clearly doesn't like Lisa.)

                                                                                                                  1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                    'the pissy face' if it is the one I am thinking of was a cut away shot and could have been taken at any point and then just places in as needed.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                      Yes, you're right. Seemed to be a repeated image as well. Wonder what was happening that brought that on, then.

                                                                                                                  2. re: Minger

                                                                                                                    Fair play, but as Pitu also notes: stating the fact doesn't change the appearance of this. Plus, that pissy face he made when Lisa's win was announced? That was some outrage born of entitlement or dislike for Lisa or a combination of both.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                      I no longer take reaction shots as reflective of what is happening at that moment and generally assume that it is editing done to increase the drama. Especially when it is done to look like a chef just stares agape when they are asked a direct question. Editing, editing, editing...

                                                                                                          2. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                            I finally caught the episode... the argument between dale and lisa was interesting. Dale must have grown up in the 'hood. He was definitely posturing.

                                                                                                            I do see his point though... Lisa talking smack and he just had it with her.

                                                                                                            I'm sure Dale feels that Lisa has been lucking out and riding the coattails of the other Cheftestants.

                                                                                                            Wasn't Lisa the one that made the taco with the unchewable flank steak?

                                                                                                            1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                              Nah, Dale grew up watching too many Eminem videos...

                                                                                                      2. What was Dale's actual comment at the end (before he went off)? I didn't quite catch it.

                                                                                                        1. Did it bother anyone else during the taste challenge that the assumption was that the more expensive ingredient was necessarily superior? If they were testing for types or brands, I could understand it, but here they were asked to discriminate based on expense.

                                                                                                          25 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                                                            i thought it would have been far more instructive & valid to have each person rank the two samples as better/worse, then compile the results and compare to see who fared best & worst against the group concensus.

                                                                                                            they could have had the judges do the same separately to establish a baseline (or serve as the basis for a tie-breaker, if neccessary), or they could have lumped the judges tasting in with the contestants to skew the reults a bit to the judges palates.

                                                                                                            had they done so (or something similar) we could've learned something about the people on the show, and it would give the judges & contestants good info about one another.

                                                                                                            1. re: Dave Feldman

                                                                                                              Yeah, that bothered me, too. Price does not always equal quality, and there are also differences in style and personal preference (especially in things like olive oil, where some people prefer more grassy, some more peppery, some more buttery, etc.). I hope they had Ming Tsai select the ingredients and personally vouch for the quality differential.

                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                Lee Anne's got her blog up now. If you read it, she does mention that she went through the list with Ming Tsai to make sure that there was a discernable difference.

                                                                                                                http://www.bravotv.com/Top_Chef/seaso...

                                                                                                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                  that's good to know! i saw a similar demonstration (butter taste test) where 6 different butters were tested by 3 blindfolded chefs. at the end of the demo, many people were shocked to find out that the high end irish artisan butter ranked lowest, below land-o-lakes etc. turned out the irish butter had gone off and nobody caught it before the taste test. embarrassing for all!

                                                                                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                    He he. I've had a lot of sommeliers tell me that in a blind tasting, Americans tend to prefer the Californias as opposed to the more expensive French and Italian wines. It took a blind tasting to convince DH that our filtered water tasted better than Fiji. Our bottled water bill was so high. Do you know how expensive Fiji is (and wasteful as well)?

                                                                                                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                      In blind tastings, many people have been preferring the Calfornian wines, not just Americans.

                                                                                                                      This has been a great pain to the French: The New World (US, AUSTRALIA, NZ) wines have been excelling and winning the prizes. (I have vague memories of the first time it happened-- the response was not unlike Dale and the bacon comment.)

                                                                                                                      1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                        I also remember that in blind tastings the best tasting product very often doesn't win. In small doses humans tend to prefer sweeter and less acidic flavors, however, those products tend to be less desirable when drinking a full serving. That's how Pepsi was able to win the Pepsi challenge for so long.

                                                                                                                        1. re: vanillagorilla

                                                                                                                          Right. In addition, if you're drinking wines in isolation (like a tasting) rather than drinking them with food, you're going to get a different response. I'd pick different wine for a drinking-type event than a food-centric event.

                                                                                                                          1. re: vanillagorilla

                                                                                                                            Sorry, I'm confused. Are you suggesting the New World wine wins are not deserved because they couldn't hold up in the long run? Because of some Pepsi challenge manipulations?

                                                                                                                            1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                              new world wines tend to be sweeter and do better in quick tastings, especially with Americans who grew up drinking soda...Yellow Tail wines taste a lot like Coca-cola, for instance...

                                                                                                                              1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                                I don't believe it's correct to say New World wines are sweeter. They're *fruitier* which creates an illusion of sweetness, but I don't believe, varietal-to-varietal, that they have more residual sugar.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                  many DO have sugar added, Ruth.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                    I said varietal-for-varietal. Wine that you can buy for $6 at Trader Joe's is not representative of all "New World wines" any more than Thunderbird is. And there are plenty of cheap European wines that are sweet and have stuff added to them -- they're for the low-end local market and not export, and people who are interested in wine don't drink them, anymore than they drink Thunderbird.

                                                                                                                                    Australian wines are "New World wines" -- if they're different in Australia, then that proves that New World wines aren't inherently sweeter than Old World wines. I'll have to look at the Yellowtail label -- if it does have sugar added, it would have to be listed as an ingredient under US labelling laws, wouldn't it?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                      Nutritional info from the Yellowtail USA site:

                                                                                                                                      http://www.yellowtailwineusa.com/wine...

                                                                                                                                      But I would assume those are natural sugars in that list.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                        <But I would assume those are natural sugars in that list.>
                                                                                                                                        why would you assume that?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                          Wine's made from grapes. Grapes have a natural sugar in them. Perhaps my assumptions are wrong. But until someone proves it that what's listed is added sugar by the vintner, I'll go with that assumption.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                            Chaptalization is allowed on a region-by-region basis. It is not allowed in Australia, but the problem there is usually a natural sugar level that is very high due to the growing conditions and often results in a wine with both high alcohol and residual sugar levels.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: PorkButt

                                                                                                                                              Thanks for the info, PorkButt. (Love that name! LOL)

                                                                                                                                      2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                        Alcoholic beverages don't have to list their ingredients.

                                                                                                                                      3. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                        Add sugar as in sucrose? Or the wine is not fermented as long so there's more residual sugar?

                                                                                                                                      4. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                        it's a generalization about styles of wine...obviously there are wines from the US or Australia that are dry as a bone, and super-fruity wines from Europe.

                                                                                                                                        Yellowtail and their ilk, as sold in the US, may have the same amount of sugar (whether residual from the grapes or added) as an "old world" styled wine, but they taste sweeter because they lack balance from acid (sour) and tannins (bitter). This style may appeal to some people because they like fruity wine and don't like the sour/bitter aspects. Another word is "flabby".

                                                                                                                                      5. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                                        Yellowtail wines have SUGAR added to them for the US market. A good friend who just spent the past 6 months in Australia said they are a totally different product there!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                          From the experts on the Wine board:

                                                                                                                                          Chaptilization can add both alcohol and sweetness depending on when you stall fermentation. Never the less [yellowtail] is not in the business of sweetening up wine. The initial post was off base infering that [yellowtail] added sugar for the American market as the entire brand was designed for the American market and only recently has been sold outside the US

                                                                                                                                          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/454739

                                                                                                                          2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                            When Stephanie made a *yuck* face after tasting the real crab, I really REALY wanted Ming Tsai to do a little quality control checking.
                                                                                                                            It would have been fun if he and Padma did the test too...if they flopped, they could have not used it on the show
                                                                                                                            : )

                                                                                                                            1. re: pitu

                                                                                                                              Agreed, I wish they had tasted it! It seemed like there was something wrong with that crab for that kind of face.

                                                                                                                        2. Like other people, I totally disgree with Collichio's statement that Salmon doesn't go well with Sous Vide. Salmon is one of the few items that Sous Vide does best! There's only 2 ways I eat salmon: raw or SV. I thought it was funny how you could tell it was SV because you could see the ugly "bag marks" on the surface of the fish. I put a piece of parchment paper on top of the salmon to keep that from happening.

                                                                                                                          And I don't understand all the talk about butternut squash soup not being high class enough. There are a bunch of things you can do to make the dish fine and elegant. A few drops of truffle oil, some expensive mushrooms, and a Parmesan crisp on top would make the dish just as fine and elegant as any of the other dishes. That's how Gordon Ramsey does it in his Michelin starred restaurant.

                                                                                                                          It seems that a big part of the show is not necessarily about making astounding food, but by acknowledging your constraints and knowing what works and what doesn't. Hung totally killed the competition last season by sticking with his mastery of basic French technique and being aware of his constraints. He would rather make perfect cheese macaroni than attempt a 20-ingredient dish he's never done before. This was a guy who was not going to F-up under any circumstance, and I think I see a lot of this in Stephanie. She just puts out good food and does not screw around, especially considering you've got only 1 shot to get it right. And really, not screwing up is the mark of a top chef.

                                                                                                                          1. I find it interesting that the "holding area" seems to be well stocked with alcohol at all times. almost as if the producers put it there to help instigate some drama when they all have a few and lose a little self control.

                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: EastRocker

                                                                                                                              I find it interesting that its so well stocked with Glad products.

                                                                                                                              1. re: EastRocker

                                                                                                                                Actually that was what some of the contestants accused Bravo of doing when Season one had the reunion show where everyone went off on Tiffany. I think Stephen said he was totally trashed by the time they brought the final two out for the interview. So it would not surpise me.

                                                                                                                              2. Just watched Zoi's exit interview. I can't help but wonder if she had ever watched the show before becoming a contestant. She talks about how everything the show is about is not her and how if she had more time perhaps the judges would understand her better (just like all her friends who happen to think she is a great cook.)

                                                                                                                                In short she came across as self absorbed, arrogant and the eternal 'misunderstood' victim/martyr making excuses all the way to the end.

                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                  Agreed. She really annoyed me for the last couple of episodes. This isn't a lovefest -- it's a competition. That's why I kind of got annoyed at Season 3's Dale with saying how Hung wasn't a team player because he refused to divulge his technique in a solo challenge at the French Culinary Institute.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                    what network is topchef on

                                                                                                                                    i dont watch much tv
                                                                                                                                    tyvm

                                                                                                                                    1. re: sugarsnapp

                                                                                                                                      It's on bravo. If you don't get that channel, you can go to bravo.com, click on Top Chef, and then click on video. You can see entire episodes from the website.

                                                                                                                                      And then you can join these crazy discussions on Top Chef or at least have some idea of what we're obsessing about. Actually, I don't watch too much TV either -- when people are talking about American Idol, I'm always drawing a blank.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                        For the record, to save sugarsnapp a search, it's bravotv.com ;-)

                                                                                                                                2. I agree - it seemed a bit unnecessary and childish. I mean I don't get how it was Spike's fault that Zoi went home, none of it made any sense to me!