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Top Chef Masters "Episode 6: Thai One On" (8/29/12) [*SPOILERS*]

From Playboys to Burlesque ...

Aphrodisiacs for the Quickfire. Takashi wins with oyster, uni and yuzu!

The famed LoS of Vegas makes an appearance at Critics' Table.

Chris Cosentino wins with Laab.

And for Art, well, we hardly knew ye.

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  1. Lorena thought she had the right to put Patricia in her place. I think Lorena should stay in a Taco Bell kitchen.

    1. I actually thought that Dita von Tease was a very good judge for the quickfire challenge. She was quite amusing. The elimination challenge was sort of a Masters version of restaurant wars, and you could really appreciate how very difficult it is. But it was just one of many times that Art said something like, "I know that they want X or Y, but I'm just going to do Z," i.e. not really follow the challenge. It's worked out really well for him until now, but no dice this week. His dish didn't look like it came even close to what was asked of them. I am not familiar with Las Vegas, so I had never heard of this restaurant, but it seemed very unfair to have a Thai woman comment on Thai-inspired dishes when she is so clearly a master of her cuisine. I had to laugh when she was asked if this were a restaurant, would she eat there, and the answer was basically, "I make the best Thai food in the world, so why would I want to eat the ersatz version of my food."

      All in all, an enjoyable episode for me.

      17 Replies
      1. re: roxlet

        I only know about Lotus of Siam from reading Chowhound, roxlet.

        And while it looks a wee bit hokey, I'm interesting to see the Let's Get Ready to Sauté! Rumble next week.

        1. re: roxlet

          Side note: We went to Lotus on our visit with friends who had come back from a honeymoon to Thailand not too long ago and said the food there was on par with the best they had in Thailand.

          It was very, very good and worth a trip to Vegas in itself. I'm still thinking about a couple of the dishes we had.

          1. re: Jeserf

            LoS is the best. I've not been there in 10 years but it was spectacular then. Learned all about it here.

            I thought Chris' dish looked spectacular and I would have thoroughly enjoyed it. Kerry's dish looked good as well. Would loved to have judged this episode!

          2. re: roxlet

            but it seemed very unfair to have a Thai woman comment on Thai-inspired dishes when she is so clearly a master of her cuisine.
            _______________________________

            Why is that unfair?

            TC and TCM often has masters or culinary savants of a particular cuisine judge their specialty, e.g. Eric Ripert for seafood or Frank Pellegrino of Rao's for Italian.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              It seems quite different to me. She appears to be a woman who cooks her cuisine and doesn't venture far outside it, evidenced by the fact that she has run this restaurant in the US for years, and still is not comfortable speaking English. That's not a bad thing, and may be why her restaurant is considered to be so authentic-- she stays within her cuisine and there are no outside influences. Eric Ripert or Frank Pellegrino would seem to be far more involved with food culture outside of their specialties than she. Just my opinion.

              1. re: roxlet

                I think it would be incorrect to suggest that someone who answer "Gagnaire in France" when asked "If you could eat at any restaurant in the world tonight, where would it be?" is living in some kind of Asian food bubble oblivious to other cuisines.

                See http://www.bonappetit.com/blogsandfor...

                for that and other questions.

                She may cook only her cuisine, but she certainly ventures outside of it when eating.

                http://www.lasvegasweekly.com/news/20...

                1. re: FoodPopulist

                  But I think it would be very difficult for her to get behind an "influenced by" Thai cuisine. It's my opinion, and, it's ok -- you don't have to agree. :)

                2. re: roxlet

                  I had a similar thought. She seemed to be judging using the criterion "Does it taste like something I would make?" And if the answer is "No, I would not make it" she feels it is "not good". And the challenge was slightly different.

              2. re: roxlet

                I have no idea who Dita is but she was a good judge. I'm a woman and agree a/ Patricia that she does ooze sensuality. Lorena, OTOH, doesn't, as much as she thinks she does.

                1. re: chowser

                  I'm also a straight woman, but I did not "get" her. She seemed to be forcing the whole "sensuality" thing.

                  1. re: DGresh

                    I think that was her job on the show given the challenge was on foods that were aphrodisiacs..

                    1. re: roxlet

                      Yeah, I know. She just didn't seem "sexy" to me. Just playing a role....

                      1. re: DGresh

                        Yes, I believer her whole personal is playing a role. I mean, look at her name: Dita Von Tease. I suppose it must work with some men though, otherwise she wouldn't have a career!

                        1. re: roxlet

                          Dita Von Teese is a noted, old-school burlesque artist. She's in great demand, as they say, worldwide - I have to say that this type of role is not to my taste, but I kind of have to admire a woman who sets a goal and meets it, you know?. And she is the former wife, for what it's worth, of Marilyn Manson.

                          1. re: nikkihwood

                            The things you learn on Chowhound! I'm impressed!

                            1. re: Berheenia

                              Heh, for something I work on, I have to look at all the gossip websites on a semi-regular basis. Dita is definitely out there!

                2. re: roxlet

                  When Art made the comment about doing what he knows, I smiled a bit, thinking he'd be going home. Had a bit of a panic when Patricia's duck went out undercooked.

                  I thought it totally appropriate to have the Thai restaurant owner judge.

                3. I really thought they were going to give the EC win to Kerry, which would have been a major sting for Patricia. I'm at least glad that Kerry realized his error. He does this for a living; how can he not be able to communicate with another chef to ensure the dishes are plated at the same time for delivery to the table? And geez - the comparison between Kerry and Chris as expediter - night and day. Patricia was right - Cosentino should have been the expediter from the start.

                  Lorena was a PITA in the kitchen - Patricia Yeo was right - keep your station clean and don't take up 6 of the 12 burners on the stove! Had to agree with Dita von Teese as well - Lorena's QF dish didn't scream sensuous or romantic to me at all.

                  The minute I heard what Art was making, I figured he would be going home. It was time. And yay for Takashi with another QF win.

                  16 Replies
                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    Yes, I agree that Patricia was right, but I was surprised that she was as aggressive to Lorena as she was. For someone who works the line (and I know that this was a special and difficult case), she seemed very frantic. I don't get a lot from Kerry though. He always seems to be in his own world a bit. Either that or he has no personality.

                    1. re: roxlet

                      Well, Kerry showed some animation while going goggle-eyed over Dita. :-)

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        Hahahaha. I guess you're right about that!

                    2. re: LindaWhit

                      I am continuing to love Patricia and am so glad she didn't go home. She cracks me up- 'bend over' lol

                      1. re: Berheenia

                        She and her restaurant, Moksa, were featured on "Chronicle" last night as well, Berheenia (repeated from earlier in the year).

                          1. re: roxlet

                            Mass Ave, Central Square in Cambridge.

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              Caught her on Chronicle but too late I'm afraid. I read that she was leaving in August to pursue a career in the corporate world.

                              http://boston.eater.com/tags/patricia...

                              1. re: Berheenia

                                July's follow-up link in that one you gave confirms she's leaving/has left Moksa. Interesting statement from her since she touted last night about "always working the line":

                                "I'm getting too old to work in a kitchen."

                          2. re: Berheenia

                            I thought Patricia was rude and out of line. I Saw her in an entirely different light last night. On the way to shop, it wasn't right of her to get the other two to agree that Art and Lorena should be kept off the line. Totally wrong of her. Art and Lorena were pushed into front of the house positions which put them into a disadvantage as far as their food. That was the catalyst for the problems with Lorena.

                            1. re: SusieQQ

                              I guess hogging 6 burners is not an issue to you. I think that is stupid and inconsiderate - I believe Patricia responded appropriately. As for Lorena then claiming she has to put Patricia in her place - I don't buy it. Stupid people don't put their betters in their place.

                              1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                And, I can understand Patricia being frustrated when Lorena had no clue what else to do so she didn't hog up half the burners. Patricia's response was more along the lines of "You don't belong here if you can't figure out what to do because it's line cook 101" when she gave her the solution. The problem w/ Lorena took place way before she got to the front of the house. Even the other chefs were taken aback by her actions.

                                1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                  So, it was appropriate for Patricia to go behind Art and Lorena's back and kick them out of the kitchen during service? That is what set Lorena off. Patricia started the animosity with that action.

                              2. re: Berheenia

                                I didn't catch the bend over comment, and as my daughter pointed out, I've already watched 2.5 times. When was THAT part?

                                1. re: Shrinkrap

                                  During the quick fire when Dita was making double entendre remarks about the food. Just before Dita tries the foie gras

                            2. Two questions:

                              Did anyone catch what Patricia said at the beginning-- something about how the the guest judge for the QF was going to be refreshing after all the girls in vegas .... wearing ......
                              I tried twice but couldn't figure out what she was saying.

                              Is cumin really a traditional Thai spice (as James said)? I think of it as more Indian. But I'm no expert. Certainly fish sauce and cilantro I get.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: DGresh

                                I was curious about the cumin claim as well, definitely not a flavor I associate with SE Asia.

                                1. re: babette feasts

                                  Cumin is used as one of many spices in curry pastes, but in my experience isn't featured as a primary flavor, the way it is in Hunan cuisine, for example.

                                  1. re: babette feasts

                                    you'd need to go deeper into the components of Thai curries to ascertain whether cumin is used or not. like many ethnic cuisines in the u.s., the americain-ized version of Thai cuisine popularized for the u.s. consumer doesn't represent the diversity of cooking styles in the place of origin. northern Thai food is not what many yanquis are familiar with.

                                    1. re: babette feasts

                                      Cumin is widely and extensively used in many SE Asian cuisines. It is a vital spice in Malay, Indonesian, Peranakan, Malaysian-Indian/Singaporean-Indian cuisines; of lesser importance but still used in Thai, Malaysian-Chinese cuisines; there are even Vietnamese recipes with cumin in it.

                                      http://www.thaifoodandtravel.com/ingr...
                                      http://northernthailand.com/cm/recipe...
                                      http://www.belindo.com/indonesia/indo...
                                      http://www.indochef.com/indo_ingredie...
                                      http://www.malaysianfood.net/glossary... (see: "jintan putih")
                                      http://www.destination-asia.com/malay...
                                      http://www.asiankitchenrecipes.com/ma...
                                      http://singapore.thinkexpats.com/rest...
                                      http://www.squidoo.com/malaysian-cuis...
                                      etc etc

                                      I certainly use cumin when I make Malaysian-Indian or Malay style curries.

                                  2. I hope someone at judges' table praised Cosentino for his expediting. Job well done. I'm fine with several remaining chefs but think I'll now declare for him. Yet relieved that Yeo is still in it.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: debbiel

                                      Chris has been really impressive overall. As I said before, I had no idea he was a "real" chef, as much as he played one on TV.

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        Also "declaring" for Chris. I like Patricia and Takari a lot, but declaring for Chris.

                                        1. re: Shrinkrap

                                          Am I the only one who's not a Patricia fan? Something about her rubs me the wrong way.

                                          1. re: Joanie

                                            Joanie,

                                            Go back and read my two posts. I dislike Patricia.

                                            1. re: SusieQQ

                                              I know you thought she was out of line in that instance, didn't know it was a general dislike.

                                              1. re: Joanie

                                                I didn't dislike her until then. Just thought she was a little strange. Now, I dislike her. Let's see how she acts on the next show.

                                            2. re: Joanie

                                              She seems to be a little socially awkward and uncomfortable and I don't have the sense that she's a knock-your-socks-off chef.

                                      2. Did it bug anyone else that the "open a restaurant" aspect of this challenge seemed to be a complete throwaway? If it were a Restaurant Wars-like week with 2 competing restaurants, it would be a different story.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Dave Feldman

                                          No.

                                          The "open a restaurant" theme was to make all the remaining chefs work as a collective team.

                                        2. Thought this was a fun episode - liked seeing Curtis blush during the quick-fire and was impressed by the accountability of both Patriciha and Kerry for the duck snafu. I did not want to see Patricia go home - I enjoy watching her cook. All in all, this particular series seems to be getting better with each episode.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: SFLisa

                                            Yes, the dialog re the duck was refreshing, wasn't it.

                                            1. re: DGresh

                                              No one whining and throwing the other under the bus.