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Top Chef Seattle - Ep. #5 - 12/05/12 (Spoilers)

And we're back. They review the previouslies from Canlis and the issues some have with John Tesar. So what's happening this week? They show them back at the house with only 14 chefestants. Stefan waves bye-bye to Chrissy and Carla in a confessional. Tyler notes that being on top means nothing - both Kuniko and Carla were gone right after they were on top.

Alarm goes off at 3:45 a.m in the suite, and everyone wishes Stefan a happy 40th birthday. When Stefan was on TC-New York, several cheftestants got booted on their birthday...so he's nervous.

Off to Pike Place Market, and Padma meets them with their guest judge, Daisley Gordon, chef/owner of Marché and Café Campagne. Their Quickfire Challenge is to divide into teams of two. Funnily, who gets paired together? Josh and John - neither are none too happy about it. Padma tells them that they'll be making breakfast to go - on a stick! - for the Pike Place Market vendors. Daisley tells them that the vendors work with food all day - so they won't be able to pull the wool over their eyes. A sausage on a stick won't cut it. Daisley brought down a pantry from his restaurant and Sur la Table has provided equipment. They have 1 hour to set up their entire kitchen and cook before the market workers show up.

They rush to get the food - and Josh breaks a bottle of what looks to be cream out of Eliza's arm. Some run over to Sur la Table to get the equipment they need - they have $500 to shop at Sur la Table. Bart tries to rush past C.J. as C.J. is trying to put on an apron IN the aisle (get out of the way, C.J.!). C.J. takes a griddle from someone else.

They get back to cooking. Josh and John seem to be getting along OK with making their dish. John is deferring to Josh, as Josh does breakfast every day. Bart falls and drops his press and hopes that it will work. But it dies halfway through cooking.

John & Josh - Chilaquiles - Tortilla, Salsa, Quail Egg, Avocado-Heirloom Tomato Relish. Good flavors and seasoning.

Eliza & Josie - Ricotta, Raspberry & Sausage Pancake with Jalapeno Maple Syrup. Padma ends up dropping her on-the-stick meal, but catches it. Daisley says it is a dessert & breakfast combo.

Micah & Kristen - Bacon & Cinnamon Waffle with Cantaloupe marinated in Pecan Maple Syrup, Boysenberry & Strawberry Jam.

C.J. and Tyler - Salmon and Cream Cheese Crepe with Arugula - Padma was amazed at how hers stayed together.

Bart & Sheldon - Green Forest Breakfast Sandwich: Eggs, Cheese, Pancetta, Bacon & Spinach. Daisley said the spinach was a clever addition.

Danyele & Lizzie - Summer Berries with Crispy Pancetta. The blackberries were drizzled with blackberry honey and the strawberries had some cracked black pepper. Daisley said the berries were amazing.

Brooke & Stefan - Croque Monsieur: Pressed Ham & Cheese Sandwich with Toasted Fig. (This dish looked really good!)

Bottom group - Danyele & Lizzie's berries; Josie & Eliza's ricotta pancake.
Top group - Sheldon & Bart's breakfast sandwich; Josh & John's chilaquiles

And the winner? Sheldon & Bart. They now have immunity for the Elimination Challenge. And for that challenge? They'll stay in the same teams of two for this challenge, and they drawn knives.

Bart/Sheldon - Salmon Candy
Josh & John - Truffle Popcorn
Stefan & Brooke - Rose Petal Jelly
CJ and Tyler - Spicy Dill Pickles
Josie & Eliza - Cardamom Bitters
Danyele & Lizzie - Coconut Curry Chocolate
Kristen & Micah - Cheese Curds

They are to make a dish that highlights the product they picked. Daisley has invited the the artisans who makes the products to lunch. The winning team splits $10,000, and Padma tells them lunch is to be served in two hours.

They all go taste their product, and get their other ingredients. Off to Marché to prepare the meals. The judges and artisans arrive, and include Hugh Acheson and Gail Simmons. Interestingly, both Josh and John aren't saying anything to each other about what they're individually making for their combined dish, as they each think that if they discuss, nothing will get finished.

Josh & John (Truffle Popcorn) - Pan-seared Pork Tenderloin with Truffle Popcorn Grits - The artisan would have preferred that they add some other flavors than just the truffle; Hugh said "As someone who makes grits everyday, those grits suck." :-D Tom also thinks the meat was poorly cooked, and the sauce was a gloppy mess.

Kristen & Micah (Cheese Curds) - Cheese Curds Three Ways: Béchamel, Raw & Fried - The artisan liked each individual component, but thought there was too much of them. The fried curds were the only ones that stood out. The Romesco sauce overwhelmed the cheese curd in the sauce.

Stefan & Brooke (Rose Petal Jelly) - Rose Petal Glazzed Muscovy Duck with Braised Cabbage - Hugh had problems cutting the duck; Gail doesn't get the rose petal jelly flavor at all; Tom thinks it's too sweet. The maker of the jelly thought the jelly went well with the duck.

Bart & Sheldon (Salmon Candy) - Candied Salmon with Sweet & Sour Salad - The artisan liked the salmon mousse, but Tom C. wanted more of the candied salmon - he didn't get enough of it, and Gail and Hugh agreed that they didn't highlight their product enough. This salmon candy is made by the guys who throw the fish in Pike Place Market. Hugh asks when the fish is thrown and it's not caught and falls on the ground, what happens to it? The artisan said "We have a stunt fish!"

The next group is shown making their dishes. CJ thinks his pork burger is a great idea to go with pickles, while Tyler thinks they underthought the dish. Eliza and Josie seem to *not* be working well at all.

Josie & Eliza (Cardamom Bitters) - Curry Cardamom Broth with Manila Clams & Seared White King Salmon - Gail said the broth was nicely done, but it was too salty. And Padma got some sand (Gail got a rock, like Charlie Brown at Halloween). The artisan said the cardamom's afternote finish is floral, but it was muted out by the fishy, salty broth. The dish didn't sing for Hugh.

Danyele & Lizzie (Coconut Curry Chocolate) - Coconut Curry Chocolate Mousse Tart - the artisan liked the flavor of the spice blend, but would have preferred not seeing other chocolate incorporated into the mousse. Tom said putting the hard disc on top was poor assembly of the dish. As soon as you cut into it, it squirted out the other end. Gail thought the flavors were overpowering and it was one of her least favorite dishes.

CJ and Tyler (Spicy Dill Pickles) - Pork Crumpet Burger with Spicy Dill Pickles - the artisan thought that the pickles would have been better highlighted if they were on three small sliders, not so doughy and more crispy. The crumpet was falling apart for all of them - Hugh called it a spongy, gross, bottom bun. Tom C. goes off - "You couldn't think of a better thing to do with pickles than to put them on a burger? How friggin' original! I got a burger with pickles on it! Wow!" Rut-roh! Bottom group for sure!

Overall review from the judges? Gail said most of the ingredients were highlighted properly, but the finesse wasn't there. Hugh's expectation was much higher. Tom said he didn't have a favorite dish, as they were all done poorly. Daisley said not a good day for pork, and Tom C. replied "Not a good day for Top Chef!" Padma notes that the winning team gets $10,000, and Tom said he doesn't want to see $10,000 awarded for any of the dishes. Padma apologizes to the artisans that they didn't have a better meal, as the judges have been seeing better food from this group.

Tom shows up where the cheftestants are hanging out (Josh says "uh-oh!" when Tom walks in), and tells them that overall, they were all really disappointed and that the food wasn't up to par. It showed a lack of imagination and technique, and he told them that they apologized to the artisans. Tom said they are NOT going to award a win today, as they dishes were *that* bad. He also tells them that they're going to send an entire team home tomorrow. Crestfallen looks on everyone's faces. But THEN Tom tells them all that they *are* doing Last Chance Kitchen again, so if they lose, they have a chance to get back into the game. He tells them to get some sleep, they'll get through Judge's Table tomorrow, but they need to step it up and take some risks and push it.

Tom leaves, and Sheldon notes the gray cloud that came over the room. Stefan calls it the birthday curse. CJ says everyone has a chance of going home, and no one feels safe. "Why am I back here?" Back at the suite, Stefan says "No wonder people drink in this business, dude!" to John as he's opening some wine. John notes he's never seen Tom C. angry before. He says he doesn't want to go home because of Josh. When asked if he would regret doing this again if he is sent home, CJ said he would feel like a "total failure bitch." Josh calls Tyler out for his defeatist attitude after Tyler said "if it's CJ's and my time to go home, it's our time."

In the in-betweener, Stefan tries to explain LCK to the rest of the cheftestants. Josh said he and Stefan click, as they're both a little on the arrogant asshole side, but at the same time, they're both likable. LOL

OK, it's Judges Table time. Padma comes into the Stew Room and asks to see the Red Team (John/Josh), the Yellow Team (Stefan/Brooke), and the Gray Team (CJ/Tyler). ::::::Racing WHOOSH! close-up camera shots of every chef's face::::: (Really, was that necessary?) These three teams' dishes were the most disappointing.

Tom asks if they find the challenge to be difficult. Josh said he was stymied by the ingredient, so he didn't have a clear direction to go. CJ said they didn't want to take away from the integrity of the pickle and wanted to make something that goes best with a pickle, what they liked to eat with a pickle. Tom asked did it never occur not to think "what goes great with a pickle" but "what could you make with a pickle?" Gail thinks it wasn't what they didn't understand how to use the ingredient; the food just wasn't well made.

Brooke & Stefan's glaze on the duck was fine, but the braised cabbage completely overwhelmed the dish. Stefan thought the small amount of rose petal jelly he used was still too sweet; Hugh said if it was still too sweet, he needed to fix it.

Padma asked Josh and John what they thought of the grits they made. Josh said he was apprehensive to make grits for Hugh; Hugh said he was apprehensive to eat the grits. Hugh also asked who thought to cut the pork that way; Josh hemmed and hawed and said "I don't want to throw anyone.....John suggested it, so I went with it. Normally I roast it whole and slice it. He suggested doing medallions. I didn't want to create friction in the team." Gail notes the lack of artistry on the plate - no garnish, no presentation. Tom said it looked like someone who hates cooking but had to feed their family.

Padma asked CJ and Tyler if they liked their burger; CJ said they tried it 3 times and liked it. Hugh said it was not a good burger. Tom said why would they make a burger and a pickle, and CJ said if they had made something else, CJ said he could hear Tom's voice saying "You could have just made a great burger and the pickle would have shined!" Everyone laughs and Padma says "Fair enough!" CJ said it was a double-edged sword. Gail said it's Top Chef; they want the chefs to be creative.

They are asked to leave the judge's table, but Gail asks CJ if he had something else to say, and he asked how they liked the dessert. Tom said some liked it; some didn't. CJ said "That thing was an abhorrence, I thought. It was a debacle, it was diabolical, it was a travesty." And Hugh replies "Uh oh! Because your burger was even worse!" CJ swears, and the judges all laugh, and someone (Josh?) says "You asked! That was like throwing underhanded pitches to a pro baseball player!"

The judges were surprised at the Gray's team burger and how poorly it was put together. The Red Team completely compromised themselves to tolerate each other, and because of that, they lost sight of what they were supposed to be doing. John's grits and Stefan's cabbage were the worst dishes, per Padma. Hugh hates the burger, Padma hates the duck, Tom hated the pork. What does Gail hate? Ball's in her court.

And we're back. Tom said it wasn't a unanimous decision but a majority decision. The team going home is the Gray Team - CJ & Tyler. (Tyler's confessional proved true - he was on top in the last challenge and was sent packing the next challenge!) CJ "doesn't think he was judged fairly." Still a bit too big for his britches. BUT - they both have LCK to prove themselves. And Stefan skirts by the birthday curse.

Previews have actors Anna Faris and Chris Pratt as judges along with Rick Moonen, who John Tesar used to work for.

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  1. I don't recall CJ being such a douche before. He seems really sure of himself but based on what I've seen, it's just delusional.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Worldwide Diner

      He was cocky last time; but even more so this time as he thinks cooking at so many restaurants has upped his game. Obviously not.

      1. re: Worldwide Diner

        I don't remember CJ being as bad as he is now either.

        On the other hand, Stefan seems like he's less of a douche than he used to be. There's a bit more humor to him now, and there even seems to be a litttle warmth underneath his icy exterior. He doesn't seem to be cooking as well as he has in the past though.

        1. re: Chimayo Joe

          I wonder if when agreeing to come back, they thought they'd be later along in the process. Like they were told "you will come on as quickfire judges and then join the competition". And instead of that happening on episode 1 with that many contestants, CJ was thinking it'd be more a case of jumping in during the middle.

          While Josie left very early in her season (and for cooking a desser in a pair), both CJ and Stefan had "respectable" showings in their first seasons. And it has felt like CJ had a heavy chip on *having* to be at the top and assert himself as someone to beat. And for every challenge he is working so hard to be "the best" - that he's made mistakes. Whereas Stefan has appeared more able to go with the flow of being in the top/bottom/middle as long as he doesn't go home.

      2. After tonight, as far as I am concerned, Hugh Acheson has won this season. LOVE the way he handled CJ in JT, and CJ actually seemed to take the final lump well. But maybe that's just the editing. ;)

        Also: I know some people find Josh's mustache annoying...I could care less. But if someone could slap Micah for me, I'd genuinely appreciate it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Wahooty

          Hugh needs to be a permanent judge. He's not afraid to say anything and will hit directly, as shown in this episode.

          Not surprised to see CJ go home; as everyone's said, he really thinks highly of himself this time around. He really needed a wake up call but I'm not sure if this was a big enough slap.

        2. Even before the EC dishes were served, I thought that nobody, with the possible exception of the Belgian and Hawaiian, were particularly likeable on this episode. They were complai i g about their partners and just generally were not doing anything to make me root for them or their dish.

          Josie this if she wears a headbabd with her name on it she will be noticed and it will boost her career. Josie, if you're going to wear a headband with your name on it, at least wear it right side up.

          I'm not really sad to see CJ go, although I would have preferred to see Snidely Whiplash and John Whatshisname (people who want to be famous gate when you can't remember their name, see Josie) be sent packing. CJ, you looked really bad badmouthing somebody else's dish when yours was so bad. If I recall correctly, the only contestant on TC who never had a bad thing to say about other food was Bryan Voltaggio of TC 6.

          4 Replies
          1. re: John E.

            ROFL! I didn't catch the fact that Josie's headband was wrong side up. :-) And I agree that CJ's badmouthing the dessert showed very poor form on his part. And his final confessional that he thinks he was judged wrongly? Wah, wah, wah. Prove it in LCK (which I haven't yet watched).

            1. re: John E.

              I believe it was Michael not Bryan - he was referring to Kevin's food.

              1. re: JonDough

                I think you must have misunderstood my post. Bryan Voltaggio mostly did not have negative things to say about other contestants' food. Nor did he seem to bad mouth anyone in his confessionals. Michael Voltaggio was just about the opposite. You're right, he once described one of Kevin Gillespie's winning dishes as "food I cook at home on my days off".

                1. re: John E.

                  You are correct. I apologize. Lack of sleep. What I would give to see Bryan, Michael and Kevin cook this season.

            2. I think there should a drinking game for every time Snidely Whiplash/Josh talks about how great he is or belittles another person. I hope it's the editing that is making him look like an ignorant inexperienced douche bag. I have a feeling that we will never see him take responsibility for any of his mistakes. The difference with him and Stefan or him and John is that both Stefan and Josh have proven that they actually very good cooking skills and they both are self-aware enough to take responsibility for their dishes. Not so much for Josh. John could admit his dish wasn't that great, where as Josh just blames John for it. Again I know it could just be editing.

              CJ did way too much over promising and under delivering. Staging at Noma doesn't mean you can cook like the executive chef of Noma. And making comments about the dessert that wasn't even in the bottom three was so unclassy.

              The chocolate is from Theo chocolates and it is great. It is a milk chocolate bar though so that makes it harder to cook with than a pure unsweetened chocolate but I've had desserts made with it and they've all been great.

              The Cardamon Bitters are super strong so I'm surprised that they got lost in the dish.

              The Rose hip jelly is so horrible. Does anyone willingly cook with that?

              7 Replies
              1. re: tjinsf

                Has Stefan been in the bottom in every single EC???

                1. re: C. Hamster

                  Oh no. Stefan was on the winning Thanksgiving team. And in the middle on the 50s EC.

                  1. re: momjamin

                    Stefan was on the top with his calf liver and hugged Kristen when she won.

                  1. re: tjinsf

                    "The Rose hip jelly is so horrible. Does anyone willingly cook with that?"

                    It's rose HIP jelly? Not rose petal jelly? Cause I can see cooking with the latter but not the former.

                    1. re: ratgirlagogo

                      They said rose PETAL. Still, I can see why it would be a difficult ingredient to cook with. I suspect that he might have been better off adding something bitter, rather than sour.

                      I really hate it when the judges chastise the cheftestants for not fixing their dish -- I'd like to see them fix a dish within the time and ingredient constraints of the challenges! It's not as if they have the option of redoing the dish from scratch, or refiring it as they would in a restaurant.

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                        with all the obstacles designed into the challenge by the producers, mediocre food was a just outcome. blame the cooks, of course. with possibly one or two exceptions (we've yet to see real evidence though) these are not master chefs who can immediately create something brilliant from an oddball ingredient they've never used before.
                        with some of the more straightforward ingredients, there was still the pitfall of working with a 'partner' (practically a random stranger, in truth). working solo, a clever cook would be able to make a test batch with an unfamiliar ingredient, and re-conceive or reengineer as required ; we see cooks do it on 'chopped' with a thirty minute time limit. the size of the lunch party demanded a quantity of output within those two hours, so cooks at this level would have to guess right the first time and push it through to get those meals out.

                  2. Thoughts:

                    - The elimination challenge featured a cornucopia of bad food and bizarre cooking choices, I feel like I'd need a second viewing to sort em all out.

                    - I know she wasn't in the bottom this episode, but Josie is consistently looking weak every time I see her cooking. Both under-skilled and hellbent on doing it her way. I'm not sure if John and Josh knew she was still unpaired when they decided to work with each other... but it wouldn't surprise me.

                    - I don't know why John opted to make grits when it appears they're not really in his repertoire - surely, he knew how persnickety people can get about their grits. I don't know why Josh couldn't figure out to use high heat to cook medallions of pork (though of course there would have been nothing wrong with cooking the loin whole and then slicing either). I don't really know why they chose the direction they did - pork medallions and grits to show off popcorn? But mainly, I don't know why they worked with each other. Both chefs seemed to be behaving about as well as they could manage with each other - and even that resulted in poor communication and a badly compromised dish from a team with at least some talent on it.

                    - I had been hoping that Josh is secretly likable, and I'm much relieved to hear his confession that he is. Stefan just doesn't have as much hair and simmering, barely-contained rage behind which to hide his likability and/or any trace of a sense of humor.

                    - I liked that Tom told the contestants about LCK. It's not like I'm going to miss the mostly-fake 'surprise' shots when eliminated chefs find out. And knowing they have a second chance might encourage the chefs to take a few more risks, which tends to be more interesting to watch.

                    - Hugh has been growing on me as a judge, and i liked the guy in the first place. I was so glad he was there to brutally slap CJ down when he tried to call out the dessert course. 'Chopped,' take notes - that was snarky judging done right.

                    - On what basis does CJ think he was judged unfairly? Making a mediocre burger on Top Chef is perfectly good cause for exile. Making a mediocre burger as a way to show off artisan pickles? Even worse.

                    - Does anyone else think that mushrooms and fried onions winning last week may have messed with the chefs' heads a bit? That some contestants got a little confused about what the judges were looking for this week?

                    31 Replies
                    1. re: cowboyardee

                      josh scored points with me when he admitted he can be an arrogant a**hole. self realization is highly desirable. but you're right, he and john had no business working together. it seemed a lot of teams were so busy trying not to offend the other person, they forgot to cook.
                      i'm always baffled when anyone cooks pork tenderloin on this show. i guess they do it because of time constraints, but i can't recall anyone ever having success with it over the seasons of top chef.
                      it's really a b.s. cut of meat.

                      i like hugh o.k., although he never lets a good line get in the way of making complete sense. frankly, i'm really starting to think the biggest d*ckhead on the show, chef or judge, is colicchio. i want to like him, he's so accomplished and even occasionally jolly, but man, he is really starting to be inconsistent, distracted and hard to be around.
                      all the judges on top chef, especially the guest judges, are starting to grate. they seem to want to come off more expert than they are, and predisposed to finding fault to come off as hyperarticulate about food.

                      1. re: linus

                        Pork tenderloin with the right marinade and a slow cook time can be really delicious...

                      2. re: cowboyardee

                        Agree re: Josie. Still wondering *why* they chose to bring her back, since she was never stellar in her season. Perhaps because everyone else said no?

                        1. re: cowboyardee

                          Tom told the contestants about LCK...but there seems to be a twist (go figure!). I haven't watched LCK, but it seemed from the bit on TV last night that we (viewers) get to vote for the chefs who don't make it through LCK. I interpret that as there could be two returning chefs -- one who wins the LCK eliminations, and one who loses but gets voted back. That makes Tom's "reveal" only part of the story.

                          1. re: momjamin

                            Correct.

                            Unlike last year where the LCK winner came back, now they have added a "peoples choice" winner where now two of those booted off get to come back. Or so I understand.

                            i caught that and had to do the math on that.

                            Do both come back when they get down to round of 6 to make 8 or round of 8 to make 10 again? And then do they do a double elimination to get back to where they need to be?

                            I did catch that at the end of the show though with the cleaverly hidden encouragement blurb to vote online or via phone to get the second redemption chef back in.

                            Good catch.

                          2. re: cowboyardee

                            <<< - The elimination challenge featured a cornucopia of bad food and bizarre cooking choices, I feel like I'd need a second viewing to sort em all out. >>>>

                            Totally agree. Those were some of the nastiest ingredients I can imagine. I felt like the only ones that were real food were the curds and pickles.

                            1. re: Bart Hound

                              Agree with both of you. One of the least enjoyable TC episodes I've ever watched.

                              The QF: We've gotten you up at this ungodly hour before there's any thing laid out in one of the best open markets in the world so you can make breakfast. Oh and you have nothing to cook on so run over to {product placement} store and buy some equipment. Don't forget to fight with your fellow chefs. Oh Oh Oh, and put it on a STICK! WTF GFYS. Just dumb, dumb dumb.

                              The EC. Here are some of the crappiest artisenal items available in one of the best open markets in the world. Now go cook something delicious.

                              Entire episode was a huge fail with the exception of Hugh slapping down CJ. That was priceless.

                              Can't wait for next week.

                              jb

                              1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                The Sur la Tab store is well stocked, but crowded on ordinary shopping days. I'm sure the contestants had the store to themselves - plus who knows how many camera crew. Still I'm not surprised that it was a madhouse for a few minutes.

                                1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                  I'm glad to know I wasn't the only one who thought that - a pretty disappointing episode, all around. The ingredients, the dishes, the guest judge, Daisley - all just kind of...meh...

                                  (I will confess to not knowing that much about Daisley Gordon, so I don't mean that as a comment on his chef skills or personality - I just don't think I saw him crack so much as a half smile the entire episode.)

                                  Hugh delivered the two redeeming moments of the night for me - the CJ slap down at the end, and the comment to Padma, Gail, and Tom about the rose petal jelly tasting like "eating somebody's grandmother." LOL.

                                  1. re: ItalGreyHound

                                    "eating somebody's grandmother."- THAT was priceless!

                                  2. re: Bart Hound

                                    <real food were the curds and pickles.>

                                    Both of which they completely obliterated.

                                    1. re: latindancer

                                      I can't figure out what they could have done to a deep fried cheese curd to make it seem, as Padma said, not like a cheese curd. We have a lot of experience with fried cheese curds in Minnesota (a food icon at the state fair) and the only reason I can come up with for the tasteless result is possibly a subpar cheese curd to start with.

                                      1. re: John E.

                                        "We have alot of experience with fried cheese curds"

                                        I have no idea why they were so tasteless, according to Padma. Did they fry them too long? The cheese curds that were featured on the show are really some of the best things I've ever tasted, seriously. They have one that's marinated in a very rich olive oil & herbs which is my favorite and 'tasteless' is not how I'd describe them, anything but. I have no way of knowing how they'd compare to what you're used to but wow....fried cheese curds at a Minnesota state fair? That sounds pretty delicious. Yum.

                                        1. re: latindancer

                                          Raw cheese curds are amazing. Fried cheese curds make my mouth sing to quote a judge. My favorite kinds are served at dive-y Northwood Wisconsin bars. I'm not sure what they did to make them tasteless because how do you screw up cheese?

                                          1. re: lbs

                                            <how do you screw up cheese?>

                                            You said it. I still can't figure out what they did to the curds to make them so 'tasteless'. It just seems sorta impossible. I'm pretty sure it wasn't the curds because the curds they were using are amazing.
                                            So, what in the world did they do to them? I'm gonna watch again.

                                        2. re: John E.

                                          Those beechers cheese curds (and their cheese, actually) are completely tasteless and I cannot figure out why people like them. It sounded like they made the piece too small and they only got the fried coating with no discernable cheese curd inside.

                                          1. re: akq

                                            <and their cheese, actually) are completely tasteless >

                                            I totally disagree. Their store, including the cheeses and the curds, has some excellent food made from the cheese products Tasteless, it's not.
                                            Even Padma conceded she'd eaten her way through the store, being the cheese lover she is.

                                            1. re: latindancer

                                              Ehhh... certainly compared to real Wisconsin cheese curds, the Beecher's ones are nothing to write home about. Can definitely see how they would end up tasteless.

                                              1. re: latindancer

                                                Are you sure you're tasting the cheese and not the oily marinade you mentioned up thread? Seriously, I don't get the draw of Beechers at all.

                                                  1. re: latindancer

                                                    If you say so.

                                                    One thing I am curious about, though, is why the Beechers cheese curds don't have the same texture as Wisconsin (or even Tillamook) curds that have a bit of squeak, especially when you nuke them for a couple of seconds. I was so excited when I first saw the Beechers cheese curds were widely available in the Seattle area until I realized that the texture and taste were so different from what I'd had before. Oh well.

                                                    1. re: akq

                                                      It's not something I'd think about buying to fly home with. For me I get caught up in the market and purchase many things I can't find in LA....with perhaps a little nostalgia thrown in. They make a great tomato soup finished off with curds that melt on top. That and their grilled cheese tops off a nice afternoon.

                                                      1. re: latindancer

                                                        That's curious...upthread you said "The cheese curds that were featured on the show are really some of the best things I've ever tasted, seriously."

                                                        I would probably buy some of the best things I've ever tasted (seriously.) to fly home with.

                                                        1. re: akq

                                                          I get my fill and don't bother.
                                                          They're fun to eat while sitting in my hotel room a few steps up the block from Beecher's, as is the rest of the food in the market, but then I'm done.
                                                          If I really 'needed' them, or anything else, I'd have them shipped overnight express.

                                        3. re: Bart Hound

                                          Agree with you but shouldn't a half decent chef be able to produce something that's palatable no matter what the ingredient is? None of this food, regardless of the ingredients, looked even remotely exciting. As a matter of fact some of it looked disgusting.

                                          1. re: Bart Hound

                                            And only two hours to prepare. I thought that was too short especially with such weird ingredients.

                                            1. re: Leepa

                                              They give them the time limits to make it a contest. They actually want some of them to screw up their dishes. It makes for better TV. Of course, it is bad TV when they ALL screw things up.

                                              1. re: John E.

                                                Of course, they do. It wouldn't be a contest otherwise. I just thought 2 hours was a bit too little time.

                                                I keep thinking about the pickles. What kind of dish would some of those here make with that ingredient?

                                                1. re: Leepa

                                                  I think you could do away with the time limit and use a deadline instead. In bbq competitions there is a turn in time. Start whenever you want to give yourself the time you think you need, but the food has to be done at X. I would always set X to be far enough in advance to give everyone ample time to create their dish. As the deadline approached you'd still get the kitchen mayhem, that we all love to see, as people rush to finish, but I think you'd get better food. This would be for EC's only.

                                                  jb

                                                  1. re: Leepa

                                                    I wish CJ would have let Tyler do his idea. What was it a chowder and a pickle fritter of some sort? It would have been much better.

                                                    Fried Pickles seems pedestrian but if they could have elevated that it might have worked.

                                                    If they wanted something hand held or along the lines of a Cuban sandwich would have been more appropriate in showing off the pickles.

                                                    They could have come up with a way to use the pickle juice into a dish as well.