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No Reservations-Technique

Oh lordy, this is awesome.

Beef bourguinon, check.
Lobster, check
Spaghetti, check.
Omelet with Jacque Pepin. Are you kidding me?
Roast chicken with Thomas Keller? OY! If I remember correctly, this is what he made for his dad.

This is inspiring,and so simple and unadorned.

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  1. I don't have a clue what you're talking about. Please explain.

    11 Replies
    1. re: c oliver

      He/she means tonight's No Reservations episode; instead of being about a country it's about some basic cooking skills.

      1. re: kleine mocha

        Thanks. Did you think it was awesome?

        1. re: c oliver

          I didn't think it was awesome. But it was informative on a basic level, v. un-Bourdain-like in comparison to the rest of this series, and a refreshing break for me. In fact--and I'm sure Bourdain would hate to hear this--but when he was teaching basic knife skills and using the onion as an example, I immediately thought of Rachael Ray, who has done the same on her show.

          1. re: gloriousfood

            I may be wrong, but my perception is that he would not be annoyed that Rachael Ray teaches people how to cut an onion- it seems he dislikes her recipes and the fact that she basically assembles a lot of pre-prepped food.

            About the episode- I was inspired by Jacques and Thomas K. and went off to practice my omelet technique with great results. Will be roasting chicken later Keller's way- without my usual butter baste! Can't wait to dig in.

          2. re: c oliver

            Awesome would be an exaggeration. It was interesting to watch Julia Child explain the boeuf bourguignon on her old show the morning after I watched NR; she also tasted and pointed out it would taste bad right after you have added the wine. Wonder if Tony was taking notes. She also demonstrates removing the wishbone before roasting a chicken, which prior to the Keller segment I had never heard of.

            Maybe pointing out that you need to let the steak rest for a bit made the whole show worthwhile for those who don't hang on Alton Brown's every word. ;-)

            1. re: kleine mocha

              Oh and I must say Jacques Pepin was making me crazy stirring his egg with a metal fork in the nonstick pan.

              1. re: kleine mocha

                I LOVE Jacques Pepin, and I tivo his "Fast Food My Way" show and watch every episode. I've learned so much from his shows.
                But yes, the metal utensils in the nonstick pan bother me.
                Also, he licks his fingers A LOT. I wonder who is eating that food after he prepares it for the show?

                1. re: kleine mocha

                  omg, i thought the exact same thing. plus i've never seen anyone mess around with an omelette like that. my omelettes come out just fine if i let the egg settle a bit and don't futz around with them so much.

                  1. re: kleine mocha

                    We finally watched this last night. It didn't look to me that JP was touching the bottom on the skillet but rather just stirring in the eggs themselves.

                    I agree with others here that from a CH standpoint I probably didn't learn anything other than Keller's removal of the wishbone and his trussing technique. But I think for the average Trave Channel/No Reservations viewer, it at least piqued their curiosity about techniques.

                    Someone also mentioned here "well, he's not a chef anymore." I'd say that has nothing to do with anything. Look at these celebrity TV people. I'd guess most AREN'T chefs anymore. But still....

                    1. re: kleine mocha

                      That was driving me crazy as well. I turned to my wife and told her to never do that.

                      1. re: kleine mocha

                        (the fork on the non-stick pan) That was driving me crazy as well. I turned to my wife and told her to never do that.

              2. It was really great, and has inspired me to do a proper boeuf bourguignon this weekend as a last hurrah before it gets hot. I've had two not-so-great ones this winter, so I'm gonna try my hand.

                If only we had home deep-fryers that made fries practical. Well, and if only I felt it was nutritionally sound to make fries at home...

                1. This 2-stage French fry technique intrigues me. Gotta try that.
                  Great episode. I'm gonna make my own tomato sauce this weekend, just to try it.
                  How the hell did Keller get that bird so perfectly golden brown?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: pacheeseguy

                    I've used Keller's simple roast chicken recipe before, it really works, though the method he described was slightly different than the one I've used--on that he specifies that nothing else can be in the oven-veggies, taters, whatnot, as they create steam. That said, it turns out crispy, brown and PERFECT

                  2. I loved it! For the life of me though, I cannot hold an onion like that without the little sucker slipping out from under my fingers every time. Sigh.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Jen76

                      I think Tony is very good in the cooking instructor role and the show was entertaining. I've done the 2-stage french fries (it's in the Les Halles cookbook if you want to see it written out) and I think it's worthwhile to take the extra step.
                      Probably most home cooks who take cooking somewhat seriously knew most of what was presented but for people looking to move past the microwave I think this episode provided a good start in a fun, non-intimidating way.

                      1. re: Jen76

                        Jen, I don't have cable so I haven't seen what specifically was done, but discovered this trick years before the America's Test Kitchen people mentioned it: halve the onion from pole to pole. Peel back toward the root end, but leave the peel attached. You will then be able to anchor the onion to the cutting board by pressing down on the peel with your left hand (if you are right-handed) where it meets the root. Slice away with the knife in your right hand - your left hand is not on the onion at all.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          Oh, that sounds like a great idea! Thanks! I will give it a try this weekend.

                          1. re: greygarious

                            GG - It worked beautifully! Thank you so much. Much easier.

                        2. Funny how everyone here seems to have liked the show. I had maybe too high expectations, but not only did I not learn anything new about techniques (those are basics, no?), AB also seemed bored to death by his own show. Probably one of the weakest shows this season, in my opinion -- lackluster, and no revelations for anyone who can cook.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: linguafood

                            linguafood, his audience here was the Travel Channel audience, not Chowhounds. It wasn't for us. It was for people who tune it to watch Andrew Zimmern mug for the camera while he eats perfectly ordinary foods around the world.

                            1. re: dmd_kc

                              Yah, I guess so. Didn't mean to come across as a know-it-all (cause I'm decidedly not)... but I couldn't shake the impression that AB seemed exasperated by the whole concept. Which is why his gushing blog entry surprises me even more.

                              Ah, who knows. Maybe I just had one of those bitchy days '-)

                            2. re: linguafood

                              I also wasn't too big of a fan of this show either. It was great to see some Class A chefs show off some techniques. But I didn't learn anything new from this show either. I do think this was probably very informative for the vast majority of his audience. It's kind of like Chowhounders complaining about Food Network cooking shows -- may not be new to them, but it is to a lot of people.

                              My take is that Bourdain wants to stay at home more often because of his family and that he will do more of these types of shows (food techniques, food obsessives). I think he's also taking his family more into consideration when picking new locations -- trying to pick places where he is more comfortable bringing them along. It's his show and he can do what he wants, and I respect that he wants to be closer to his family. But overall I am finding myself very disappointed with this season.

                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                Yep. Lackluster. I think he's getting tired of his own show. Maybe time to stop...