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Top Chef Masters Finale.....nobody is doing it?..... [SPOILERS!]

SPOILERS!!!!!!!!

So it's Chris.

The whole time I'm thinking...are they playing us? Chris' letters ( love, apology, to self, and....??? ) seem more authentic, but Kerry's food might be what most folks want to eat. The Saveur guy wants Kerry, but Ruth wants Chris. That gifttaste guy says best in thirty years, and he doesn't even look thirty years old. I want to know more about him. Maybe I will order something.

Wish I could do this justice, but it's pretty late here.

I'm impressed with how young Chris seems, looking for a res at Incanto, and digging his Boccalone pig jowls out of my freezer. But I don't want no babies. Husband says "Hell, no!", to the res, and probably the babies. Daughter says this is "edgy".

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  1. it appeared that everyone other than oseland of the judges were moved by how directly personal cosentino's food struck them, and how it reached higher and deeper : the oysters were lauded as that one taste in thirty years, and reichl appreciating that she ate something new and different after thousands of meals. at the dinner what richman said about how one meal revealed the cook and the other revealed the person was also pretty fair.

    there were probably the fewest words said by the kritiks about the tripa napolitana dish at the meal, but it might have been the single dish that all of them enjoyed unreservedly. no comments from the judges about it either at the conclusion and summary made it into the final edit.

    4 Replies
    1. re: moto

      I'm guessing that they didn't say anything about the tripe dish because it would have been obvious that Chris had won.

      I thought Kerry really lost it with that last dish. Bor-ing!

      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        " It is, hands down the best tripe I’ve ever eaten ..."

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

        "Love Letter: Dearest Tripe, when people ask what was the singular dish I connected with this season, I just keep coming back to you ..."

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

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Ruth raved about the tripe on her Bravo blog:

          "Chris’ tripe is something else. This is tripe so soft and sensuous it would make a tripe-lover out of the most fanatic offal-phobe. It is, hands down the best tripe I’ve ever eaten, and I know this: Wherever she is, Grandma Rosalie is smiling."

        2. re: moto

          Oseland apparently appreciated Cosentino's stuff as much as the others, they just didn't edit it that way. http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef-maste...

          Wow, they filmed this a year and a half ago, and Cosentino had to keep it to himself all that time? Damn. http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef-maste...

        3. I recorded it as we were at an anniversary dinner with friends last night.....I couldn't help but find out if my beloved (LOL!) won. So glad he did & I can't wait to watch it tonight.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Janet from Richmond

            Your crush on him is only going to intensify when you watch it. Which will make it that much harder on you when HE CHOOSES ME! :)

            1. re: debbiel

              In your dreams :-D

          2. That's what I was thinking - that Kerry was going to win it *because* Chris took it pretty far out there. But I like that he stayed true to himself and his cooking.

            Francis Lam seemed very taken back by Kerry's explanation about the food he cooked for the "Letter to Yourself." And I *LOVED* that Francis loved Chris's blood sausage and fried egg, whereas the guy from Eating Las Vegas was totally dismissive. In "Watch What Happens" after the finale, Chris said he was fully aware that that guy didn't like him.

            Very glad Chris won. When he chose to go to the butcher shop, I was thinking "he'll get the ingredients he *wants* vs. what Whole Foods carries" and thought that might carry him through for the win (although I was a bit nervous with his last minute plating on several courses). And what was Kerry thinking when he asked if WF had lobsters? They didn't "run out" as Kerry said - they haven't carried lobsters in at least a year.

            OH! And on Watch What Happens, the top two vote getters for Fan Favorite were Takashi and Lorena. (REALLY? Lorena was a fan favorite?) But Takashi pulls out the FF win.

            And Top Chef-Seattle starts November 7th.

            41 Replies
            1. re: LindaWhit

              I also noticed that Francis Lam seemed taken aback with Kerry's explanation. And by taken aback, I mean he looked unimpressed. I thought Eating LV dude was pretty rude. Obviously I was not there to eat the food, but could it really have been THAT bad to someone who apparently enjoys blood sausage?

              I was really impressed that Chris stayed true to himself. I am not suggesting that Kerry did not do so. It's just that Chris' self is a little less comfortable for many folks. Good on him. And of course, I know that at least one of his love letters was really to me; he just couldn't say so on television.

              I liked Frances Lam as a judge. I hope they have him back.

              1. re: debbiel

                He might need to have certain procedures done if he is to return as Frances Lam. ;-P

                1. re: huiray

                  Hah!

                  1. re: huiray

                    Oops! :-)

                    1. re: huiray

                      BWAH!!!

                  2. re: LindaWhit

                    I am so glad Takashi won FF. I wanted him to take the whole thing. I missed that part on WWHL.

                    But last night I was very glad Chris won. And when I go to San Francisco in April I HAVE to eat at Incanto!

                    1. re: ChefJune

                      Does Takashi get more money for his charity for winning FF?

                      ~TDQ

                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        Yes, Andy said that he'd get a donation, but didn't say how much.

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          I think FF gets 10k

                      2. re: ChefJune

                        Ditto my next trip to San Francisco. And on being glad that Chris won. They really edited it so that I thought Kerry was going to win.

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          That's funny because I had the exact opposite reaction. The editing made me think that Chris was going to win.

                          1. re: Miss Needle

                            In the judges' last discussion I counted Reichl, Lam, and Simmons for Cosentino, so was pretty sure he was the winner.

                            1. re: Miss Needle

                              I was pretty sure from the editing Chris was going to win as well -- especially the clips of him telling Kerry he was sure Kerry was going to win.

                          2. re: ChefJune

                            I really like Chris and his approach to food - despite the fact that as a vegetarian, I will never be able to eat anything he makes. Which says something about his on-screen charisma.

                            1. re: piccola

                              Not necessarily true, the late summer sample menu from his restaurant in SF shows lots of vegetable options.

                              http://incanto.biz/food-wine/sample-m...

                              1. re: pamf

                                Sorry, I should have been more clear -- I meant the stuff he makes on the show. :)

                                1. re: piccola

                                  He did at least five vegetarian dishes this season.

                                  http://www.bravotv.com/foodies/recipe...
                                  http://www.bravotv.com/foodies/recipe...
                                  http://www.bravotv.com/foodies/recipe...
                                  http://www.bravotv.com/foodies/recipe...
                                  http://www.bravotv.com/foodies/recipe...

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    Hey, thanks - I'd forgotten those in all his offal talk. Although the zabaglione doesn't really count, since dessert doesn't normally have meat :)

                                    1. re: piccola

                                      I've had a number of non-vegetarian desserts at Incanto, though most if not all were part of special head-to-tail / quinto quarto dinners.

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        Did they all involve bacon?

                                        ~TDQ

                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          Not that I recall. He's made candied coxcombs, chocolate-pork blood gelato and panna cotta, chocolate pork liver ganache, mincemeat pie, suet pudding, candied beef tendon, and foie gras panna cotta.

                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                            Wow! Were they all good and truly dessert-y?

                                            ~TDQ

                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              Yeah. Most of them I might not have known they weren't vegetarian if the menu hadn't said what they were made from. The very meaty mincemeat pie was an exception.

                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                Interesting!

                                                ~TDQ

                                            2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                              Didn't Andrew Zimmern make some sort of blood dessert at his LA popup dinner?
                                              http://www.travelchannel.com/video/l-...
                                              (a warm chocolate pudding, at 2:20)

                                          2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                            Well now he's just being contrary. :)

                                  2. re: piccola

                                    Where did you get that idea? Vegetarian dishes have been highlights of many of my meals there. I took a vegetarian to Incanto and she said it was the best meal of her life.

                                    http://incanto.biz/food-wine/sample-m...

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      Yeah, as I said above, I meant what he cooked on the show. I'm glad to see he takes veg as seriously as he does offal! I wish more people realized loving meat and loving veg aren't mutually exclusive.

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        How about that

                                        " Seared foie gras, copy of California Penal Code 422 & dry oats  AQ"!

                                        How does that work? I guess I have to read the link.

                                      2. re: piccola

                                        I've read that half of the recipes in his new cookbook Beginnings are vegetarian and that he only has one offal dish there.

                                        1. re: FoodPopulist

                                          I'll keep an eye out, thanks!

                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                      I finally got round to watching that WWHL episode (on the bravo.com site; in two parts plus the FF winner announcement). I thought Colicchio didn't seem much into it and seemed to try to distance himself somewhat from Cosentino and Heffernan.

                                      1. re: huiray

                                        That's a little odd about the distancing (I didn't see WWHL so I don't have any personal perspective on this), especially after we heard about Tom being best man and caterer, etc. at Hefferman's wedding.

                                        ~TDQ

                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          I thought perhaps he was more trying to distance himself from Andy Cohen.

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            I agree - the distancing was more from AC (whom, unlike you, I love).

                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                              In small doses, I can deal with him. In earlier shows, he was always schnockered (or seemed it) at the start of the show...and it would get worse as the half hour went on. He seems to have toned that back a bit.

                                              I guess I just more dislike his interruptions and "over-command" of the airtime. Yeah, I know it's his show. But let your guests talk a little bit.

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                Totally get your point. I guess I see it more as being a fly on the wall at a cocktail party. I love how toasted they get. That episode with Cloris Leachman about a week ago was jaw dropping.

                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                  OK, now *THAT* one I might have to go find on Bravo's website. :-)

                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                              That could be - I should have mentioned that too. Perhaps his "distancing" from AC spilled over into the interactions he had with CC and KH, perhaps. What did come over to me was his sort-of reluctance to be on that episode.

                                            3. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              I've seen Colicchio on WWHL before and he seemed to be having fun. Maybe, if he's close friends with Kerry, he was disappointed, and also was trying not to be all chummy with Kerry and leave Chris out.

                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                Good point. Could be one of many things, or maybe he was just not feeling well or something. You just never know.

                                                ~TDQ

                                        2. No complaints about Cosentino's win, although I would have been fine with Heffernan too.

                                          I thought Cosentino did put more of himself into the food, as others have commented on; whereas Heffernan's food was perhaps "sleeker" but closer to the surface, if that makes sense. In both cases what they presented almost seemed like a continuation of the ethos and approach that came over to I as the viewer from the penultimate episode when they were coaching and driving their charges.

                                          1. The whole episode was refreshingly civilized, without the major screw-ups and over the top personality grumbling/shouting. Happy with the winner, he deserved it more, and all the food looked and sounded incredible but I would be more interested in eating at Kerry's restaurant than Chris's. Going to google a fennel gratin recipe after I finish this post.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Berheenia

                                              We split a discussion of how to prepare fennel to the Home Cooking board, here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/871013 . Enjoy.

                                            2. Hugh Acheson's blog contains the wonderful phrases "... just a simple four-course dinner for a bunch of sanctimonious paid yelpers. I think you call them dining critics."

                                              Hee! I think there are quite a number of those here on CH too except they do it for free. :-)

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

                                              33 Replies
                                              1. re: huiray

                                                I just broke out laughing at his letter to himself:

                                                “Dear Hugh,

                                                You are rocking a good hair day today. I want you to put this moment in a snuggly. Keep on keeping on.

                                                Sincerely,
                                                Hugh

                                                P.S. Your fly is open.”

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  He made me laugh with that. He's a really funny guy.

                                                  1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                    His entire blog was a joy to read. :-) And it looks like he's back as a judge on TC-Seattle. YAY!

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      Hugh is hilarious. And way to go Chris. And I'm thrilled Takashi won the Fan Favorite!

                                                      ~TDQ

                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                        I am so glad to hear this!

                                                        1. re: Janet from Richmond

                                                          Ditto that, Janet. I'm hoping for some great comments from him at Judges Table.

                                                  2. re: huiray

                                                    I'm sorry but I must repeat myself. I love Hugh Acheson! I mean I love, Love, LOVE Hugh! There's nothing sexier than a man with a quick wit, a way with words and some serious cooking skills.

                                                    Overall, this season turned out more or less as I had hoped. I would have preferred Takashi in the final over Kerry but at least he won fan fave. Chris won, which was the outcome I was hoping for.

                                                    Kerry's meal looked delicious but pretty safe. I mean, steak and potatoes? Really? I agree with the critic who said that Chris' food was more challenging. That's what I'm looking for. You can go to lots of fine dining places and get Kerry's style of food. I don't want to seem jaded but I need something more challenging than a perfectly prepared steak and potato.

                                                    Also agree with Debbiel above - Francis Lam has been a wonderful addition to the judging panel. I hope he's invited back for next season.

                                                    1. re: chefhound

                                                      "There's nothing sexier than a man with a quick wit, a way with words and some serious cooking skills."

                                                      Yup.....and this is why I married my husband! ;-)

                                                      Great finale....hands down the best one yet. I loved Francis' comment about the oyster. Now I'm not a fan of offal and mollusks but I would have tried both of meals in a heartbeat.

                                                    2. re: huiray

                                                      i wonder if hugh has ever taken the time to read the posts on yelp or chowhound, and then the writing of, say, ruth reichl or francis lam?

                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                        I thought the episode was gently making fun of food critics. The editing seemed to purposely put wildly divergent opinions next to one another. "worst thing I ever ate" "a pig giving me a back massage" (that's a good thing?) "And that gal who seemed to have a one track mind? (second base, make-up sex).

                                                        And did anyone try to imagine Padma cooking dinner for the final two. Ha! I don't know much about Curtis, but apparently he really can put food on a plate.

                                                        1. re: DGresh

                                                          I can definitely picture Padma cooking dinner before Kelly Choi.

                                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                                            I guess I meant my original comment as much as in "can she cook" (which I didn't know she could) but her personality as displayed on screen doesn't often come across as warm and welcoming.

                                                          2. re: DGresh

                                                            Curtis Stone worked as a chef for Marco Pierre White before going into TV.

                                                            1. re: DGresh

                                                              padma has published two cookbooks and hosted programs on the food network, including ones where she cooked.

                                                              1. re: linus

                                                                I wish they would show her cooking more often, instead of emphasizing her other attributes. It would give her more cred as a judge.

                                                                1. re: piccola

                                                                  but cooking on that show isn't her job. you don't see gail simmons or colicchio (well, maybe once or twice) cook on the show, either.

                                                                  1. re: linus

                                                                    No, I know, but when they do the "get to know the host/judge" bits, they rarely give her a chance to show off her food knowledge in a concrete way. Her appreciation of food is clear, but I sometimes feel like her cooking cred isn't as showcased as much as the others.

                                                                    I feel like Gail gets her cred more from the magazine than from actual cooking, while Tom does get hands-on once in a while.

                                                                    1. re: piccola

                                                                      I actually don't have a problem with the critics not being chefs or even cooks -- 95 percent of their paying customers aren't food professionals either, and those are the people they're serving day in and day out.

                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                        No, I don't think it's necessary for critics, either. What I meant is, given that Padma seems to have cooking credentials, why are they not showcased more? Tom and some of the others who cook seem to get more opportunities to show their skills.

                                                                        1. re: piccola

                                                                          because the show isn't about padma/colicchio/simmons/michelle obama/judge ted du jour cooking.
                                                                          the contestants cook. the judges judge. hijinks ensue.

                                                                          1. re: linus

                                                                            So then have none of the judges cook.

                                                                            1. re: piccola

                                                                              i remember colicchio cooking once. how long has this show been on?

                                                                              1. re: linus

                                                                                There have been 9 broadcasted seasons spanning March 2006 to March 2012.

                                                                                Colicchio cooked the "lead dish" to establish a time for cooking that the contestants could not go over when it was their turn, in the Quickfire in Episode 5 Season 8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_Chef...

                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                  as someone once said, exactly my point.

                                                                      2. re: piccola

                                                                        I personally don't think Tom Colicchio has much expertise outside of American and Italian-American cooking. His "pronouncements" on E/SE Asian cuisines for example is cringe-inducing and sometimes just plain wrong.

                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                          Indeed!

                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                            True. I don't think being a good cook necessarily makes you a good critic, I'm just wondering why we see some judges cook and not others.

                                                                            1. re: piccola

                                                                              Colicchio is a chef, or ex-chef, and has spent his life working in, running, and owning professional kitchens. Lakshmi is an ex-model and actress who has written a couple of cookbooks.

                                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                and they're both on a t.v. show.

                                                                          2. re: piccola

                                                                            I don't think working long hours in a restaurant kitchen doesn't given you much as much perspective for judging food as editorial jobs where you get to eat out all the time.

                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                              I'm not sure I agree - I think both jobs can be equally useful in teaching someone to evaluate food. I just meant that Padma, who apparently can cook, doesn't get the chance to show her skills -- unlike some of her colleagues. She sometimes talks about her food experiences and her book, but that's it.

                                                                            2. re: piccola

                                                                              top chef is an entertainment program. i don't get overly concerned about the "cred" of the judges. as long as they're articulate, funny and support what they say with some thought, it's enough for me.

                                                                              1. re: linus

                                                                                Well, I'm not losing sleep over it, let's put it that way. :) But I find it interesting.

                                                                  2. I was reading about this finale on another forum and I found it noteworthy how many posters there were doing the "ick etc routine" about Cosentino's offal offerings, his raw meat, and blood sausage. Yet further exemplification of the general USAmerican public's squickiness with such stuff?

                                                                    I have to wonder if none of them had ever eaten German sausages/"lunch meats/head cheese/sausages" etc. No one had ever eaten Zungenwurst, say, or black pudding or other blood sausages?

                                                                    18 Replies
                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                      I've had blood sausage in Ireland twice. One was downright bad - I think it was way overcooked. The other wasn't bad.

                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                        You should try Korean blood sausage. It's really delicious. It's a bit more accessible to the non-blood sausage lover because the blood is tempered by the vermicelli (I think that's what it is).

                                                                        1. re: chefhound

                                                                          I'd have to go to the large Asian market a few towns over (H-Mart) to find this, I suspect. As I just said to huiray, I'm not as adventurous as many hounds, and probably wouldn't go out of my way to either buy this for myself or order it for myself. However, if someone else ordered it at a restaurant and I was able to try it, I'd probably give it a go.

                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                            Maybe at this place? http://incanto.biz/

                                                                            I would like very much to try that place myself and meet with the chef if he was in the house.

                                                                            (Blood sausage is not on the sample menu http://incanto.biz/food-wine/sample-m... although I remember reading somewhere that it was (?). But note the second-from-bottom item in the "Starters" section. Heh.)

                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                              Incanto's menu changes daily and blood sausage turns up occasionally. In addition to the printed menu there's also a chalkboard with limited-quantity items, often including offal.

                                                                              You don't have to eat offal or even meat to eat well there.

                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                I was at Incanto 5 years ago and we had a photo taken in front of the case filled with meats and random stuff, w/ my vegetarian friend haha. It was a fun meal, little did I know what a big deal that place would be. With that said, I really had no idea who would win and thought it could very well go to Kerry (as I think Kerry did too). Kind of wish I'd taped What Happens Next, just saw the first few minutes but it seemed better than usual.

                                                                                 
                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                  A bit far for me to travel for blood sausage. :-)

                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                  Linda, <However, if someone else ordered it at a restaurant and I was able to try it, I'd probably give it a go> that's how I "got into" sweetbreads years ago. It was ab Biba. and I've loved them ever since.

                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                    I think Padma would be in your camp, LindaWHit-- as I am. Ironically, I saw a brief interview with Padma on the red carpet at the Emmys, and the interview asked her if there would be anything she'd be unhappy eating on Top Chef. Her answer? Tripe! Good thing she wasn't the judge in this TCM finale!

                                                                                  2. re: chefhound

                                                                                    i find european blood sausages infinitely more accessible than korean blood sausage. soon dae, i think it's called, has a weird funk i don't dig. french and spanish blood sausages are less "different" tasting and highly spiced, in a warm (not hot) way.

                                                                                    1. re: chefhound

                                                                                      All blood sausage is 'tempered' in the sense that sense that there's a lot of filler, or non-blood ingredients. There's a lot of variation from country to country. The Korean sausage that I've had, used a rice and cellophane noodle filling. Swedish is somewhat sweet, Mexican some heat.

                                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                      What about curdled ("set"/solidified) blood? (Blocks of "set" pig or chicken blood are not uncommon ingredients in various Chinese/SE Asian dishes and soups)

                                                                                      ETA: Some images...
                                                                                      https://www.google.com/search?q=%22%E...

                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                        I'm definitely not as adventurous as many hounds. The thought of "curdled blood" doesn't sit well with my tummy, I'm afraid.

                                                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                        I think it all depends upon the Blood sausage (and probably who made it!) I've had some that was delicious and others that were off-putting. I'd eat Chris' though!

                                                                                      3. re: huiray

                                                                                        The first time I had blood sausage was in France. It's hard to understand where the American squickiness about innards comes from. The Brits are famous for their innards as well (steak and kidney pie, and kidneys seem to have been a standard part of an English country-house breakfast).

                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                          When the sausage was leaking a bit, and the sous chef described it as "out the ass"...yeah, that helped....

                                                                                          1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                            That was "...coming out the ass..."; which Cosentino went on to refer to as "spoog[ing]" in the follow-on chit-chat they exchanged. :-) I'm sure you know the, uh, common meaning of that word. ;-)

                                                                                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                              "I learned a lot about myself throughout this process [such as] why you shouldn't refer to Sriracha as 'cock sauce' when taping for a major network ..."

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

                                                                                          2. By the way, is anyone familiar with Gilt Taste? It seems like mostly a catalogue to me, but it does apparently have some food writing too. (It describes itself as "a groundbreaking digital-magazine-catalog hybrid"). Ruth Reichl is listed as Editorial Advisor and Francis Lam is listed as Features Editor. I wonder if the writing is any good?

                                                                                            http://www.gilttaste.com/company/abou...

                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                              It's part of Gilt Groupe, an online retailer that specializes in high-ticket luxury items. I guess the hope is that the magazine part will draw people to the site.

                                                                                              http://www.gilt.com

                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                Oops! I called him the "giftatse" guy, because that's how I think of it. I "subscribe" to it, and get emails about great things to buy. I have probably read a bit of their stuff as well.

                                                                                                1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                  I don't subscribe to any of their emails, but I like their recipes section, where the three main writers are Lam, Reichl and Whitney Chen, who I gather was once a contestant on Food Network, but more importantly ex-Per Se. I remembered reading about this corn pudding from the TFL cookbook, but didn't try it until Chen wrote about it: it's a must-do during corn season.
                                                                                                  http://www.gilttaste.com/stories/5659...

                                                                                              2. Look at any art and you'll see a defining moment when fresh young winds swept in and blew the old guys away. In painting, when the stuffy academics of 1860 rejected the Impressionists and those young guys set up their own show. Or film, when Godard's "Breathless", which looks as fresh now as it did 55 years ago, first hit the screens and began the New Wave. Or music, when Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry first hit the airwaves and a snoozing young generation turned on their radios and woke up.

                                                                                                Most of the judges viewed this show as one of those moments. And perhaps they are right (though Kerry isn't much older than Chris). But the thing is... Kerry cooked better food!! They called him safe, calming, soothing... but if I'm looking for a food to take me to the heights of epiphany and ecstasy, if I'm wanting a meal to prove that Gael Greene was wrong when she said sex is better than food, well then I'll go with Kerry's cooking style, thank you very much. Yes Chris is flamboyant and he would have cut a brash and brazen swathe through, say, the Paris of Picasso and Hemingway... but blood sausage and an egg? I can get better blood sausage in any joint in Newark's Ironbound neighborhood.

                                                                                                19 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Brian S

                                                                                                  I can certainly see how you could say you would prefer to try Kerry's food, but I'm not sure how you would know that he cooked better food. Or that you could get better blood sausage at any joint in Ironbound. You didn't taste it, did you? The editing sure suggested that pretty much all of the food--Kerry's and Chris'--was very, very well received. As in delicious.

                                                                                                  1. re: debbiel

                                                                                                    I agree -- you can't know what it tasted like, so you can't compare it to anything else. You can't even tell from the editing. For example, the show included very few comments about Chris's tripe dish, but if you read the judge's blogs, they all raved about it. The editors underplayed the success of this dish to make it less obvious who was going to win (although I thought Chris was getting a "winners edit" from very early on).

                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                      I based it on what the Las Vegas critic said... that he'd had better blood sausage. I still remember when Jonathan Waxman, guru of California cuisine, got sent home in a Top Chef Masters round. He was famous for roast chicken and he presented a perfect roast chicken. When they sent him home, the critics said that it takes more than a perfect roast chicken to win one of the later rounds in Top Chef Masters. Evidently a blood sausage is better than a chicken.

                                                                                                      1. re: Brian S

                                                                                                        What conclusion do you come to when one critic is positive and another negative about the same dish? If you were paying attention, there was at least one dish from each chef that garnered both kudos and criticism from different critics. How do you interpret a critic saying that Kerry's branzino was one of the least expressive dishes he has ever seen?

                                                                                                        1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                          Just remember, the Elves edit everything so that we will hear what THEY want us to hear. and some of it CAN be taken out of context. Could it be?

                                                                                                        2. re: Brian S

                                                                                                          Curtas didn't get a vote. Oseland described the blood sausage as "flawless" in his blog, Reichl said it was "a joy to eat."

                                                                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                            Nor did the critics eating at the table with them. The votes were from Ruth Reichl, James Oseland, Francis Lam, and Krista Simmons.

                                                                                                          2. re: Brian S

                                                                                                            That's one critic out of all of them plus the judges at the table.

                                                                                                            1. re: Brian S

                                                                                                              But you didn't say the judge said he'd had better blood sausage. You said YOU could get better blood sausage "in any joint in Newark's Ironbound neighborhood." How can you know that? You have no idea where in the universe of blood sausage Chris's fell. For all you know, the Las Vegas critic hates blood sausage. He clearly didn't like the *concept* of the dish, which may not have had anything to do with the relative worth of the blood sausage.

                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                It always goes back to the fact that we, the viewers, cannot taste the food presented.

                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                  That's exactly what I was thinking, too. Based on the edited comments of one critic, that's a big jump. Francis Lam absolutely loved it, as did the others. The one critique just said that it didn't seem to be a stretch for a finale, as the type of food goes--that could be said for Kerry's entire meal. Chris failed to stretch for one course. Kerry failed to stretch for the whole dinner.

                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                    Cosentino's blood sausage failed to impress one non-judge who was at the table during dinner. That guy just "reviewed" a restaurant that hasn't even opened yet.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                      Really? I wonder if he tasted the blood sausage first... As Hugh Acheson put it:

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

                                                                                                                      "John Curtas continues the trend of men as critics being complete douchebags when he rails against Chris’ egg dish but don’t you worry, Lam has is playing contrarian and gives Chris’ dish a resounding thumbs up as a retort to the douchebag’s comments. We like Francis. I like the egg dish. Gutsy."

                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                        Two articles about Curtas, by way of a poster on TWoP (http://forums.televisionwithoutpity.c...):
                                                                                                                        http://eater.com/archives/2012/07/17/...
                                                                                                                        http://www.vegaschatter.com/story/201...
                                                                                                                        The second one is a hoot, with many embedded links too. :-)

                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                          I liked the last article, and article in the link that Francis Lam wrote about whether critics should be trained chefs. I didn't know he'd gone to culinary school but that explains his cooking skills in the blind challenge. His knife skills were very impressive. I hope we see more of him.

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

                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                            I can imagine a Top Chef challenge where the contestants pick assistants based on a blind taste test of dishes and they turn out to be cooked by critics.

                                                                                                                2. re: Brian S

                                                                                                                  How is beef tenderloin and potato gratin -- no matter how perfect -- not almost the exact equivalent of a perfect roast chicken?

                                                                                                            2. re: Brian S

                                                                                                              The judges liked the blood sausage per se, but I think they were also impressed by the fact that he made it from scratch in the limited time allowed.

                                                                                                              1. re: Brian S

                                                                                                                From Oseland:

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

                                                                                                                "It was a flawless sausage, an exquisitely fried egg, oysters that were the very essence of oysterness, and a bright green salad that spoke to everything else on the plate and brought it all together. Was it bold, was it a crazy leap of faith, was it a strange and potentially alienating last supper to serve to the critics? Yes, but I'll take it. It was perfect, and it was brave. It was the ideal finale to the finale."

                                                                                                                If you can get better blood sausage in any joint in the Newark area, I need to pay a visit!