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Top Chef All-Stars - Ep. #5 - 01/05/11 (Spoilers)

Yay, we're back! And it's a TC First - Chef Colicchio enters the competition. The QuickFire is a time challenge - the remaining cheftestants are to try and beat Chef Tom's time in creating a dish.

In the before-the-show, Antonia calls Angelo's penchant for putting his fingers into others' dishes "Chef's Tourette's". :-) And Richard's confessional yet again calls out Jamie for not cooking.

And we're on to the QF - before Tom C. starts, Angelo points out that Colicchio is sweating, and Tom replies "Yeah, I expected that!" Tiffany says to Tom "That's OK, take your time!" LOL

Tom's off and running - Fabio notes that every one of his movements is coordinated with the next one; everything *seems* to be going smoothly until Tom tosses part of a used fish into a bin...and the bin crashes to the floor next to Padma. "Sorry Padma!" he laughs! So how much time does Tom Colicchio take to make a simple but flavorful soup? 8 minutes, 37 seconds! Holy smokes!

Padma explains that the winner will get immunity AND a Toyota Prius - a HUGE prize! And they're off! Everyone runs towards the fridge...except Marcel, who runs to the bin and grabs the rest of Tom's fish. OK, that is REALLY SMART! And Angelo does crudo after Tom C. suggests they don't do something so simple and that they'll take into account a "degree of difficulty". Sheesh.

Time goes by VERY fast - and Dale Talde has virtually nothing to plate, as his noodles don't come out. Mike's dish looks great, and Marcel wonders if his flavors of his dish (which was served just before Mike's) was helping Mike's dish. Oh come ON, Marcel!

Low end - Dale, Jamie, and Angelo (glad Tom called out Angelo for the crudo!)
High end - Mike, Richard, and Marcel - and Mike Isabella wins!

For the Elimination Challenge, they head to Chinatown to serve up dim sum to locals. Based on previews, this could be a debacle! They have to work as a team to serve hundreds of dim sum diners at a major Chinatown restaurant.

They plan back at the house as to what to make...and WHAT a surprise - Jamie wants to do scallops! You can see everyone look at each other with a "REALLY?" In the confessional, Fabio starts up again with the "This is Top Chef, *not* Top Scallop!" Hopefully *this* is what sends her home! LOL

Carla and Casey take one for the team, and will work the floor bringing food out to the diners, relying on everyone else to prepare and get their dishes done. Dale, Angelo and Jamie will all do TWO dishes - really, Jamie? Several chefs say she's the slowest chef - how can she manage two dishes in a high pressure environment?

They go shopping, and Fabio is squicked out by the Chinese market guys cutting turtles up for soup - he used to have a turtle for a pet, so he's not happy with that!

They have to make 180 portions of dim sum dishes...it's hollered out that if you said you'd do two dishes, you *have* to do two dishes! Jamie's initial dish isn't working out, and when Antonia asks her to talk about the second dish, Jamie walks away saying "I don't have time!"

Hmmmm.....Jamie's getting a LOT of camera time - could this be IT for Miss Top Scallop, boys and girls? ::::Fingers crossed:::::

Susur Lee is the guest judge. Carla remembers how centered and zen-like he was on TCMasters. Mike Isabella is going to be the expeditor, while Carla and Casey are going to be wheeling the carts around.

They're now showing the dining room, and everyone's waiting for the dim sum...and they do NOT look happy! Some food comes out; and then it bogs down again. Everyone tries to pull together, but they're really falling apart. Antonia completely drops the ball on getting Casey's dish out, and yet is bitching about people standing around. Tom goes down to the kitchen, and tells them they have to move faster - diners are leaving! Some diners are actually getting up from their table and walking over to the dim sum carts to get their own plates or taking them out of the hands of those cheftestants who are bringing dishes up from the kitchen.

Comments from the diners: "I can't tell what I just ate - it was fried meat, but I don't know what type of meat!" And even more pointed: "Caucasian dim sum." Ouch. :-)

This Challenge was *no one's* finest moment. How are they going to pick a winner out of what was definitely a debacle? And there are a lot of unfavorable comments for not-so-good food. I guess it's figuring out which was *really* bad and which was just "meh".

It's time for JT - Padma comes into the Stew Room and asks to see Casey, Antonia, Carla, Tre, and Jamie. And these are the LEAST favorite dishes! They didn't get enough food up, and they weren't good dishes.

Jamie's taken TWO hits for her scallop dumplings and the overcooked, oily long beans. Hmmm...but then Casey and Antonia also get hammered. I *hope* Tre's OK based on what we heard about Jamie, Antonia and Casey's dishes. The judges need to finish talking, so they're sent back to the Stew Room, and asked to send up....

Tiffany, Angelo, Dale, and Fabio. These are the favorite dishes! Susur Lee pays Fabio a big compliment re: his playfulness with his dish, and when asked, Fabio said he had zero experience with Chinese cooking. And Dale Talde wins the challenge.

Now the judges deliberate about who's outta there. Jamie, Casey and Tre all get slammed yet again. Can't figure out who it's going to be - PLEASE just make it Jamie and put us all out of our misery? PLEASE?

And we're back at JT - and it's Casey. Holy CRAP. Jamie actually gets to stay again???? Come ON, judges! Even Casey said she and EVERYONE expected to hear Jamie's name, even Jamie did! Jamie said in the Stew Room to everyone else "I'm shocked it was Casey! She didn't get the brunt of it from the judges; I did!" So everyone knows, including Jamie, that she should have been out of there!

Damn. I cannot BELIEVE all of these good chefs are leaving before Jamie!

Previews for next week - looks like Marcel's being an asshat yet again - he gets into Dale Talde's face on a boat, and Dale's previously seen anger could come out again if Marcel doesn't shut up!

:::Sigh:::: I cannot believe this has happened yet again. WHEN are the judges going to get Jamie OUT of there? She's skating, yet again! Will be an interesting read of the Bravo blogs!

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  1. Scallops again...<snort!>

    Marcel's comments on his flavors carrying over to the Mike I tasting...eye roll. Gag me.

    I hate that people need to work front of house and they best not get screwed by that.

    Loved watching Tom in action. Hate that I left my laptop at work and have to leave the TV room to read your updates on commercial.

    17 Replies
    1. re: debbiel

      Come on girls, Marcel was beeing cheeky, and I thought it was quite charming.
      I can't believe you took it seriously!!

      1. re: NellyNel

        I have difficulty with the words "Marcel" and "charming" in the same sentence.

        1. re: chicgail

          Sorry NellyNel, I don't believe he's being "cheeky" or charming whatsoever. He's a petulant little child, as I said below, who pouts when he doesn't get his own way (i.e., not winning a challenge). He makes continual demeaning comments about others and their food.

          Is this a "character" persona he's created? Quite possibly. But few people can act that way all the time - unless they *are* that way.

          1. re: LindaWhit

            I really think he suffers from harsh editing. In the extra scenes online, he talks about using msg (which I thought was purchased for the challenge) and that maybe that carried over to the other dish. They were all joking and laughing about it. Most surprising from the extra scenes, how funny and likeable Angelo was. He comes off to me as such a girl, I liked seeing him hang with the guys and be a normal guy.

            1. re: sommrluv

              I haven't had time to watch the extra scenes online yet. But yes, based on the silly dancing stuff from the Stew Room for the last episode, AND the bathroom & wrapping the toilet jokes played during Angelo's season, Angelo does seem more relaxed than we've seen broadcast.

              1. re: sommrluv

                Can you post a link to the extra scenes? Thanks in advance!

                1. re: Shrinkrap

                  Here's the various videos; various ways to filter to get bonus clips, exit interviews, extended judges' table.

                  http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/seaso...

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    Thank You! I saw Chef Rick Moonan cook Dale's dish on Top Recipe on "On Demand".

              2. re: LindaWhit

                I really strongly dissagree!

                He made that cute gesture with his hand flying over...

                And so far, I havent seen any continued demeaning remarks!
                In fact he has been praising the other chefs.
                When Mike won, he seemed genuinely happy for him and gave him a great big hug...

                I really (sorry Linda) think everyone was brainwashed by the people on his first season into believing he is a total tool.
                I've said it before - he may have an annoying character, but not a mean spirited one.

                1. re: NellyNel

                  I agree! He mostly talks about his own food, not other people's. So he talks it up, so what? He doesn't make nearly as many demeaning remarks about the others' foods as Mike I. or the widely-considered-to-be-charming Fabio.

                  1. re: NellyNel

                    I'm with you NellyNel and Ruth - I think Marcel learned how to be on TV! He gives sharp little soundbites, and doesn't come off as an egomaniacal baby/jerk anymore!

                    I don't understand the appeal of Mike at all, except good on him for winning that challenge! He seems like a slob most of the time. Do people identify with him or something?

                    1. re: pitu

                      I love Mike.. I think he's hilarious and a talented chef.. I'm hoping to see him in the finals with Angelo, Marcel, and Dale..

              3. re: NellyNel

                In agreement. Marcel seemed to be joking around when he was saying that. He certainly didn't look serious. It seems with him people tend to look for things to hold against him.

              4. re: debbiel

                I'm replying to you so it will be at the top and it concerns both of your comments. I saw part of this episode tonight and had a couple of additional thoughts.

                Jamie said she didn't want to be in the front of the house pushing the dim sum cart because she wouldn't feel comfortable trusting others in the kitchen with her dish. Hell, Jamie, if somebody else in the kitchen prepared your dish you might have won the elimination challenge.

                Marcel thought the flavors from his dish made the judges like Mike's dish since they tasted Mike's dish immediately after tasting Marcel's dish. What if the reason they liked Marcel's dish is because of the lingering flavors from Casey's dish which they tasted immediately prior to tasting Marcel's dish?

                1. re: John E.

                  "Marcel thought the flavors from his dish made the judges like Mike's dish since they tasted Mike's dish immediately after tasting Marcel's dish. What if the reason they liked Marcel's dish is because of the lingering flavors from Casey's dish which they tasted immediately prior to tasting Marcel's dish?"
                  ____
                  I think Marcel might have been speaking about a more specific effect though. Basically, the umami from his dashi could have conceivably carried over and made the next dish taste more full. The clean but umami-laden taste of a good dashi broth tends to make later dishes taste better, at least in theory - that's partly why it's traditionally served at the beginning of a Japanese meal.

                  That said, it's an interesting theoretical point, but Marcel should probably have shut up about it.

                  1. re: cowboyardee

                    "...but Marcel should probably have shut up about it."
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

                    Yeah. Like THAT'S gonna happen. :-)

                    1. re: cowboyardee

                      I was actually trying to be funny, but sometimes my attempt at humor is a little too subtle.
                      I was also trying to be funny when I said Jamie could have won the dim sum challenge if she would have worked the front of the house and let someone else cook her food.

                2. I really don't want Casey to go home for the chicken feet. Even if she did cook them improperly. That was just a MESS of a service. A mess. Best outcome in my opinion? Either Marcel or Jamie goes home. At least neither of them had a great success of a dish.

                  1. Wow. Casey. You know what? They need to just stop having anyone be responsible for anything but there cooking. If they were terrible chicken feet she was cooking? Okay. But she's got a different assignment? Grrr. And Jamie? Two bad dishes?You finally cooked and you made two bad dishes? I'm starting to think she'll make the finals.

                    Congrats to Dale. Really glad he won. Hope he stomps on Marcel next week.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: debbiel

                      God help the show if Jamie makes the finale. Seriously. I think there will be a LOT of viewers who will just see that as jumping the shark allowing her to get that far when we're in the fifth episode, and she's only cooked in 60% of them.

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        she's only cooked in 60% of them.
                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                        not even! remember, Tom said in the QF that her clam was only a half on the half shell ;)

                      2. re: debbiel

                        Based on the previews, it's not clear if Dale stomps on Marcel, but it looks like they get into it. And, based on what we saw, Marcel looks a lot like his old self.

                        1. re: debbiel

                          Dales got a bit of a mouth. During his season he was always threatening to do something to someone or another.

                        2. WTH??? First off, this was almost painful to watch. You were spot on, Linda, when you said this challenge was no one's finest moment. But why is Jamie still there?!? While I think I would have dinged her for doing two dishes and not doing either well, the judges seemed to give her more credit for doing two dishes.

                          47 Replies
                          1. re: phee

                            First, credit for doing no dishes. Now, credit for doing two crappy dishes. Why, it all makes sense! Argh...

                            Yes, it does seem that Casey's dish was bad, but...but...JAMIE!!! (And the unfairness of not being able to make your own dish.)

                            1. re: debbiel

                              I thought Jamie or Tre would be going but they did say the chicken feet were inedible and the diners wouldn't eat them. I don't think Antonia is at fault either, I think she did her best with everything else she had going on and the chicken feet were just a bad idea.

                              1. re: tofuburrito

                                Good point. If I had to come up with a dim sum dish, chicken feet is probably one of the LAST things I would attempt!

                                1. re: tofuburrito

                                  I agree that it looked like the chicken feet were probably the worst dish. I have just always disliked challenges that take some away from their own cooking. I'd be much more comfortable with her elimination if she was in the kitchen with her chicken feet.

                                  1. re: debbiel

                                    Again this was a poorly designed challanege.

                                    Really enjoyed the episode. Watching Tom cook was a gas. I wondered if after the challenge was explained if they had a chance to walk around the kitchen, see where there items were and then assemble back at the table for the "ready set go"?

                                    That said having someone go home for a dish they didn't make is bad, but it's bad design of the challenge. I suppose if it was me and I knew someone else was going to cook my dish I'd go over the specifics very carefully. It seemed when Casey went down to check on it, Antonio wasn't aware of how Casey wanted it prepared. Still, no one should cook and not get judged and no one should go home when they didn't cook.

                                    jb

                                    1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                      Best I was able to tell from the comments and blogs, the problems with Casey's dish were Casey's fault, not Antonia's. The big issue it seems was that it was so grisly that it was impossible to eat, and that would be because she didn't braise them long enough. Final cooking wouldn't have made much difference.

                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                        I have to wonder why she asked Antonia to begin with since she was already involved with two dishes whereas as Tre, Marcel, and Blais only had one with no additional responsibilities.

                                        1. re: tofuburrito

                                          I get the impression (and I know this is based mainly on her edit, which can be misleading) that Antonia has a lot of integrity. She has been the only outspoken voice at times she felt other chefs were being unfairly shafted ("that's harsh" after Dale L's comments about Elia's fish, defense of Jennifer Carroll's contribution to her team), she did not throw Casey under the bus at judge's table (to be fair, Casey returned the favor), she seemed to be the only one hustling in the kitchen this week as things got ugly (again, could have been the edit).

                                          Given that, it would make sense that another chef would ask for her help rather than others'.

                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                            I am liking Antonia now...but I remember she did something snake-like that really annoyed me on her season.
                                            I can't remember what it was, but I was incredulous - and I really hated her after that...
                                            Anyone recall?
                                            My memory is pretty bad

                                            1. re: NellyNel

                                              I don't remember anything snake-like from Antonia. I remember Ming sided with Spike over Antonia in a dispute that was funny rather than controversial and I think she was a good sport when Spike rubbed it in.

                                              1. re: NellyNel

                                                Maybe it wasn't a snake like move, bu I do remember she did something to cause me to dislike her!
                                                Who knows what is was!?
                                                I like her now though

                                                1. re: NellyNel

                                                  She got into it big time with Spike. I just don't remember exactly how it played out. Spike wanted to make soup and she didn't and the judges said soup would've been good. Or something. And they blew up at each other.

                                                  But Spike was a bit of a mischief maker and instigator that season and it didn't make much sense to me to hold another contestant's arguments with Spike (Antonia, Dale T.) against them. Still, can't remember all the details.

                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                    I wasn't an antonia fan before either, but I have to admit, I like what's she's putting out now. (attitude wise).

                                                    On a somewhat related note, I noticed she and all the female chefs seem to be groomed a bit better, attractive, makeup, nice outfits under those coats...not seeing a lot of bed head and under eye circles. Not that I care, but as a fellow chick I have to wonder if they didn't like what they looked like on tv in their season.

                                                    1. re: sommrluv

                                                      Or, maybe they didn't like how they appeared on camera and made some changes/got some advice.

                                                      I only started watching last season (late comer, I am) but I like Antonia, too. She seems pretty cool.

                                                      It's unfortunate they have to throw each other under the bus. On Survivor (and even Amazing Race), the crew updates Jeff (Phil) on anything that was particularly interesting or nasty. If it doesn't come out naturally at Tribal Council (finish mat), then Jeff (Phil) will just ask: I understand someone threw someone's socks in the fire (or whatever) to force it out into the open. It would be nice if the judges on TC already knew who had helped whom with prep, etc.

                                                      ~TDQ

                                                  2. re: NellyNel

                                                    There was a challenge where Antonia and Spike working together with Zoi. Spike wanted to make butternut squash soup and Antonia resisted even though she had immunity. They made some kind of beef carpaccio and ended up in the bottom and Zoi got PPYKAG. At JT Spike mentioned the soup and they said it sounded good and that's what they should have made.

                                                    I posed this question before...does anybody here eat all that much raw beef and raw fish? It just doesn't appeal to me. I'm not quite the hayseed that makes me seem to be, but I don't get it.

                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                      "does anybody here eat all that much raw beef and raw fish?"
                                                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                      at home, no. but when i eat out, absolutely...and bear in mind that for these challenges the chefs are making dishes they'd serve in a restaurant, not something they'd necessarily throw together for a quick meal at home on a random Tuesday.

                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                        raw meat and fish is really well suited to restaurants, because restaurants can get really spankin'-fresh stuff, moreso than the home cook, and the equipment is better suited to keep food at optimum freshness-- commercial refrigerators cool foods faster and keep them colder, for example, than home fridges. so these foods make sense at a restaurant where there is quick turnover of a very delicate fresh food product. customers do like to order these dishes at restaurants for these reasons rather than making them at home, it's much better from a food safety standpoint imo & i don't blame them!

                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                          Of course I realize this is about restaurant chefs. I just don't order this type of food even when the opportunity arises.

                                                          1. re: John E.

                                                            "I just don't order this type of food even when the opportunity arises."
                                                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                                            and that's certainly your prerogative, but why do you find it puzzling or surprising that some of us do? one could just as easily turn it around and question why you don't order these things. it's just a matter of preference, like with anything else.

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              I'm not ridiculing anyone for ordering and/or eating this food. I simply asked if anyone did order it. I didn't indicate any surprise, I simply expressed an opinion and it seemed as if I was getting a lecture (bear in mind) from you in response. That's the only reason for that reply.

                                                              And it seems there seems to be a disproportionate amount of this type of food being prepared on TC. I suppose that's the question I had. I also think there is a lot of fish on this show but I do understand that I live in the middle of the country but more than that it can be prepared quickly.

                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                Is there really a disproportionate number of raw beef and fish dishes on TC?

                                                                Last night QC had only one raw fish dish -- Angelo's crudo.

                                                                The EC challenge, best I can recall, had no raw food (although the chicken feet might come pretty close).

                                                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                  not last night, but this season it seems like they've been heavy on the raw - crudo, carpaccio, gazpacho...

                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                    and there was last years big thing - Ceviche (I know it's not considered "raw", but....)

                                                                2. re: John E.

                                                                  @John E., where did i say you were ridiculing anyone? i think you took my earlier response too personally, but i apologize if i offended you somehow.

                                                                  and yes, they have been putting up too many raw preparations this season. i think it came up in last week's thread...? or maybe i was just thinking it in the ongoing Top Chef discourse in my head :)

                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                    "and yes, they have been putting up too many raw preparations this season."
                                                                    _____
                                                                    I don't get that impression. Of course, that's harder to verify this season since the Bravo site doesn't have all the recipes from this season clumped together. But still I haven't noticed anything too egregious in terms of raw preparations. Angelo likes them - that's his style. Maybe it's because his dishes have been prominent this season?

                                                                    What else has set off raw-food-alarms in your head? It seems to me that the other contestants are only rarely putting up raw proteins.

                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                      it's not just angelo. gazpacho has been done at least three times, if not more. in the relay/team challenge with lamb two of the teams did carpaccio. there's also been cured salmon, raw uni w/caviar, pickled scallops, several crudo dishes, sashimi...that's a lot of uncooked meat & fish in only 5 episodes.

                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                        Seems as if lots of raw foods - ceviches, crudos, carpaccios, tartares - has been a constant for the past three seasons or so, starting with season 5.

                                                                  2. re: John E.

                                                                    Can't speak for others but I love a good beef carpaccio and it's too much trouble to make at home. Same for sushi. The one semi-raw thing I *could* make is a tuna steak, and the inside of that will definitely be raw, too. I guess it's just a matter of taste--I find these things super delicious and hard to make at home. If it were cheaper and easier to make (and easier to find "politically correct" sources for) I'd probably have fish (or shrimp or scallops) 3-4 times a week.

                                                                    One of my criteria for ordering food in a restaurant is to pick something I can't easily make at home. So though I love a good steak or lamb chop, those are easy peasy to make and thus I look at the carpaccio. the grilled halibut, the scallops.

                                                                    1. re: John E.

                                                                      Exactly -- the use a lot of fish (especially in quickfires) because it can be cooked quickly. And in San Francisco (and probably other place with similar restaurant scenes), not only has sushi/sashimi been very popular for many years now, but other places have jumped on the raw fish bandwagon with "crudo" (Italian raw fish). Of course ceviche has always been popular in Latin American restaurants, especially the Peruvian restaurants that have been trendy in SF for several years now.

                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                        As somebody who lives within 300 yards of three sushi restaurants, and eats sushi a minimum of once per week, I can vouch for the facts that both raw food and sushi are incredibly common, bordering on mundane.

                                                                        1. re: LaPomme

                                                                          I totally agree with you. I live in a very big city that is also a food destination city and raw fish (including sushi) is very common - as is raw food, frankly.

                                                                          But if John E. does not live in that kind of metropolitan area, he might find it to be much less prevalent, and therefore, disproportionate on TC. It's all a matter of perspective and familiarity.

                                                                          1. re: chicgail

                                                                            I live in a Twin Cities suburb and there is a Japanese sushi bar fewer than two miles from my house. My whole question was really about the carpaccio/crudo raw beef, fish and scallops. These dishes seem to be prepared a great deal on TC and I just don't see them that often. If it's common in a lot of the restaurants here I haven't noticed it. Then again we don't go to the real high-end restaurants all that often. I'd have to get a recommendation from someone before I'd order it. I'm an adventurous eater, it's my brothers who would refer to sushi as bait. (Just don't eat crudo of walleye unless you want to get tapeworms).

                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                              In NYC, it is common to have those things in higher end places. Even in some mid-range places you will see these often. I'm going to a small plates restaurant tomorrow and I see 3 dishes out of 22 plates have crudo and scallops. And this restaurant isn't even considered higher end -- the prices range from $6-$18.

                                                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                i think it's also a matter of trends in different cities. out of curiosity, i just did searches for the terms "crudo" and "carpaccio" on the MSP & NYC boards as well as several other cities around the country for results in the past year:
                                                                                - MSP: crudo = 1; carpaccio = 5
                                                                                - NYC: crudo = 57; carpaccio = 29
                                                                                - LA: crudo = 19; carpaccio = 38
                                                                                - SF: crudo = 106; carpaccio = 22
                                                                                - Boston: crudo = 23; carpaccio = 22
                                                                                - Chicago: crudo = 4; carpaccio = 6
                                                                                - DC: crudo = 4; carpaccio = 21
                                                                                - Austin: crudo = 3; carpaccio = 6

                                                                                you get the idea. i know we also have to account somewhat for population density or # of CHers in each city, but judging by those numbers it makes sense that those of us who have been living in NY & SF might be more inclined to think of the raw dishes as standard & expected.

                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                  In SF there's a restaurant called Bar Crudo which probably accounts for the huge number of "crudo" hits. But yeah, it's all over the place -- it fits in very nicely with the "fresh, local ingredients simply prepared" ethos. I'd be interested in a search that included "ceviche/cebiche" as well. Remember in Top Chef season 2 on of the things that got Sam eliminated was that he was always making some variant on crudo/ceviche and at his last challenge the judges complained that he wasn't actually *cooking* anything.

                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                    The fresh, local, SEASONAL(super important here), and simply prepared ethos is pretty big in MSP, actually, which makes sense given the importance of agriculture to the local economy.

                                                                                    But seafood will never be "local" to MSP, alas, unless there's a major rearranging of the continent. We can get it flown in *relatively* fresh because we are an airline hub, but nevertheless, restaurants that truly adhere to the fresh/local/seasonal thing (of which there are many) will NOT serve it.

                                                                                    I'm not surprised that carpaccio got more hits on MSP than crudo did.

                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                      yes, but Minneapolis is the Walleye capital of the world! ;-D

                                                                          2. re: LaPomme

                                                                            This reply is not directed to LaPomme only; rather, it is a general comment about raw food/raw fish/raw beef (John E's original query):

                                                                            Raw food is uncommon in traditional Chinese cuisine. It used to be considered 'barbaric' to eat raw food. Salads in the Western sense are largely 'foreign' to a traditional Chinese diet, ditto raw veggies. There are exceptions like raw lettuce leaves (somewhat like green leaf or Boston lettuce) served with certain kinds of wraps or with fried rice, fried noodles, some kinds of chicken etc. When I was growing up it was a bit of a stir when we were served a dish with raw lettuce leaves at a banquet - especially if it was more than just a garnish - and people would make a big deal about eating a few of the lettuce leaves ('sang choy'). My mother would not even allow me to eat any of them for a time while I was growing up. In most cases, both veggies and meat or almost any other thing needed to be cooked in some way, even if briefly. A stir fry, even if it furnished still crispy veggies, still had those veggies meet with heat and hot oil.

                                                                            The only raw fish dish I can think of is a Cantonese dish (yu sang, 魚生) served on the 7th day of the New Year (Yun Yat; "mankind's birthday") which comprises slices of a kind of carp, raw, arranged with shredded raw veggies (mostly root veggies) on a huge plate, drizzled liberally with a savory, tangy sauce and tossed to make a kind of salad. Everyone at the table had to join in when tossing the ingredients - it was considered unpropitious if someone did not.

                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                              I've had this raw fish salad at a couple of Chinese restaurants in San Francisco that was incredibly delicious. It's available all year, not only at New Year's. This ancient chowhound post was the first time I heard of it: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/16941

                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                Really? Available all year? Please tell me in which restaurants and the next time I'm in SF I'll head for them! (But then I also haven't actively searched for it here...)

                                                                                When I was talking about it above it was in the context of 'when I was growing up' in SE Asia and it was traditionally served only at Chinese New Year from the 7th day onwards for a few days. I haven't had this dish or seen it in a very long time. Mind you, the description of the ingredients in that interesting old thread you linked to seem a little different from what I remember was typically served in my part of the world back then...it also included lots of shredded carrots, jicama (I think), sometimes shredded 'wong nga pak' (Napa), but I don't remember hot peppers or chillies being included...or perhaps they were set aside as something you could add to your own plate if you wanted to after the main part was tossed. The traditional fish was carp (fiddly deboning, it needed skilled chefs) but I now remember that a more expensive reddish-fleshed fish was also available [probably tuna, on reflection] and it was an indulgence to have both kinds of fish on the plate.

                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                  I've had it at two different restaurants (Bow Hun, as described in that post) and Kirin. There have also been reports on that dish at, of all places, Sam Wo (I say of all places, because Sam Wo is mostly known for a (now deceased) famously rude waiter by the name of Edsel Ford Fong). More info in this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/443206

                                                                                2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                  Ruth, have you been to Bow Hun more recently and had that salad?

                                                                                  1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                    I haven't had it in several years, but as far as I know they still serve it (see my other post), although more recent reports suggest it might have to be ordered in advance.

                                                                    2. re: John E.

                                                                      I think the necessity for speed makes raw food an attractive choice for the chefestants.

                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                        Thanks for the re-fresh- I was no Spike fan, but, I do remember I didnt like her attitude about it..

                                                              2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                From what Susur was saying, Casey's plan for cooking it was further off the mark than what Antonia actually did. I think she deserved to go. And kind of poetic justice that she was eliminated when someone else was involved in her cooking (right, Carla?).

                                                    2. Heartbreak for Casey, but she didn't take her own advice from last episode - you have to be responsible for your own dish. As soon as I saw that Antonia was ignoring Casey's dish, I knew Casey was done for.

                                                      What a fun quickfire challenge! Did anyone else notice how Padma threw the keys to Mike, as if to keep him from giving her a hug? Looks like that's where he was headed, and she didn't want that again!

                                                      Good for Dale on the win - his dishes looked tasty. Angelo seemed disappointed at the win, but he was also gracious about it.

                                                      Service WAS a disaster, but I don't think they should have been responsible for running the food. That seemed to put the runners at a real disadvantage, and it would seem unnecessary, as the restaurant's regular runners would seem better equipped to handle service, and just let the chefs COOK. That's what they are there for.

                                                      Exciting episode all in all!

                                                      Richard does not seem to be at the top of the pack as everyone expected. His performance overall so far has been lackluster - two QF wins and one Elimination win, all as part of a team win. No individual wins at all.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: lisavf

                                                        I hate that they make people work front of house AND responsible for dishes. If they made everyone do it, fine, but this way makes it so unfair to the people who aren't able to put out their own food.

                                                        1. re: Nettie

                                                          I also don't agree with that. This is where Carla was smart serving a dish that didn't need to be cooked (even though it was on the bottom).

                                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                                            Yes, she prepared a dish that didn't have to be cooked, but, in theory, all servings had to be 100% completed and plated before service started in order for her to successfully provide trolley service, while everyone else was able to continue to complete and plate dishes throughout service. So it did place additional restrictions on her, which I do think is unfair (although I agree she was smarter about it than Casey). But then again, she volunteered to do service (they both did), so they had to deal with the consequences.