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Top Chef Seattle - Ep. #9 - 01/02/13 (Spoilers)

LindaWhit Jan 2, 2013 07:36 PM

Nine chefs remain. Back at the suite, Sheldon sharpens his knives; Stefan puts wrinkle cream on his face. :-)

In the TC Kitchen, Padma is there with Master Bladesmith, Bob Kramer. He makes custom carbon-steel knives that sell for $500 an inch. He demonstrates cutting through a 1" sisal knife with one slash. Sheldon's looking good with sharpening his knives every day! He says "Can I hug you right now?"

The Quickfire will take part in 3 rounds, and they'll be grouped in 3 teams of 3 cheftestants.

1. Sharpening skills - turn dull knives into razor sharp. Top two teams will move on.

2. Precision - tourne 50 potatoes to all look exactly the same. Whichever team wins, those 3 cheftestants will move on to compete against each other in the final round.

3. Break down and french the rack of two rabbits.

The winner will receive immunity and take home a Bob Kramer knife. Padma also notes that if *anyone* nicks themselves, that person will be disqualified and the team continues without them.

Teams:

Red - Josie, John, Kristen
Green - Brooke, Stefan, Lizzie
Blue - Josh, Sheldon, Micah

Green Team calls check first, and Stefan and Lizzie's knives are sharp, but Brooke's is not - she has to go back and continue sharpening. Then John calls check early for the Red Team, and Kristen doesn't think she's ready, but it's John whose knife doesn't go through the paper, but Kristen and Josie do. He resharpens, recalls check, and he gets through.

Blue Team calls check, and they get through. Brooke's poor sharpening skills doesn't allow the Green Team to move on.

Next - tourneing the potatoes with the chef's knives they just sharpened. They are each to have 7 sides and be uniform in size, and Sheldon's potatoes are looking like poop, per Micah. John goes into double-time, and he tournes the potatoes very quickly. Blue Team calls check, and their potatoes are good - Red Team loses by 2 potatoes.

So Micah, Josh and Sheldon are the final three. Sheldon's never broken down a rabbit before. Josh is having problems frenching the rack as the rack bones are easily separated from the actual muscle. Micah says that for some reason, breaking down little bunnies is a zen moment for him - and he calls Check first and ends up winning the Quickfire!

Padma says in honor of Season 10, they're taking a trip down Memory Lane. Each chef will be assigned a memorable moment from a previous season, and they will cook a dish related to that moment. The winning dish will "inspire a new Healthy Choice Cafe Steamer" - so they have to make healthier versions of the original dish. They'll get 2.5 hours to prep and cook at the Palace Ballroom before some Top Chef superfans arrive to sample the dishes. The winner will get $15,000.

Padma tells them there are Kindle Fires under their stations, each loaded with a memorable moment from a past season. Padma holds the Kindle Fire with the Season 10 Memorable Moment and they'll learn about that later.

The judges arrive - Wolfgang Puck, Wylie Dufresne, Chris Cosentino, and Jonathan Waxman join Padma and Tom Colicchio.

Josie, Stefan and John are up first for Seasons 1-3.

Josie (Season 1/Dave Martin) Herb-Roasted Chicken with Parsnip Puree and Steamed Root Vegetables. Nicely roasted chicken; Waxman said it wasn't exciting - it's a standard roasted chicken at a standard restaurant.

Stefan (Season 2/Betty Fraser) - Roasted Red Pepper Soup with Bacon and Grilled Mimolette Cheese Sandwich on Spelt Bread. Wylie and Wolfgang like the soup with it's spiciness, but the sandwich is greasy.

John (Season 3/Howie Kleinberg) - Umami Risotto with Chicken, Salmon Roe, Burdock Root and Carrot Emulsion. Padma doesn't like the risotto; Wylie said some of the rice is undercooked; and then Wolfgang says some is overcooked as well. The risotto curse continues!

Sheldon (Season 4/Zoi Antonitsas) - Beef Carpaccio with Poi Aioli, Mizuna and Mushroom Salad & Silken Tofu Foam with Miso-Candied Salmon. Chris said it is not eye-appealing; they meat looks like it went through the grinder. Wylie likes the candied salmon, but the tofu was a throwaway. Wylie says it's a buzzword for healthy, but there was really nothing to it.

Lizzie (Season 5/Jamie Lauren) - Seared Scallops with Roasted Fennel, Garlic Puree, Orange & Olive Salad. Wolfgang said the scallops' quality were dubious. Wylie is shown taking a very deep smell of one of the scallops.

Josh (Season 6/Michael Voltaggio & Mike Isabella) - Soy-Glazed Pork Tenderloin with Smoked Cashew Puree & Heirloom Peaches. Wolfgang liked how the pork was cooked perfectly; Wylie liked the cashews and peaches working with the pork. Padma asks Tom if he remembers Michael V. getting a standing ovation for the braised pork belly; Tom said yes, he remembers, but says that Padma also got an ovation for her "jumpsuit" at the military base...they show a shot of Padma from that season getting out of a Jeep in very high heels and a leopard-print mini dress. :-)

Brooke (Season 7/Alex Reznik) - Smoked Salmon, Forbidden Black Rice with English Pea & Parsnip Puree. Wolfgang said the salmon perfectly cooked; Tom said both the salmon and the rice were well cooked.

Kristen (Season 8/Carla Hall) - Poached Chicken Breast, Carrot Puree with Garlic & Tofu Emulsion. Tom liked the dish; he said it was light but flavorful. Jonathan thinks it was a great version of what he thought would be a pot pie, but Chris didn't have the sauce that others did.

Micah (Season 9/Beverly Kim & Heather Terhune) - Five-Spiced Duck Breast with Miso Polenta & Pickled Cherries. Tom liked the duck breast and the idea of the pickled cherries. Jonathan, however, doesn't think the miso and polenta worked well together.

Padma comes into the Palace Ballroom's "Stew Room" and asks to see Josh, John, Kristen, Lizzie, and Brooke. Those left in Stew note that that was a lot of people to call in. ::::Whooshing close-up camera shots:::: These 5 served both the best and worst dishes.

Josh, Brooke and Kristen served the best dishes, putting John and Lizzie in the bottom. The winner? It's Kristen - yay!

The judges then review the worst dishes. Chris noted that his rice wasn't well cooked; John notes he had to deal with a non-level bottomed pot, but Josh said the pot he used for his stock was just fine. John said equipment was an issue, regardless of what anyone says, and that to ask someone who doesn't want him in the competition anymore (Josh) is a little jaded. They ask Lizzie if she had tasted her scallops; she had but realizes they must have been off as she couldn't get a good sear. Tom said he was surprised at her dish, as she's always been thoughtful in how she prepares her dish.

Padma says one of them will be going home...but then pulls out the 10th Kindle Fire. They have a chance to save themselves. It has a memorable moment from the current season. The moment is? CJ's burger and spicy dill pickles. They have 45 minutes to make a healthier version of CJ's burger. The other 3 go back to the Stew Room and explain that the other two are cooking for their lives; saying John's making excuses the whole time.

Back in the kitchen, John goes for the ground lamb, and Lizzie takes ground chicken. John asks for *some* of Lizzie's dill, but he ends up using *all* of the dill. Chops some of it, but then puts the rest into a blender. Lizzie's pissed he took it all, and then John starts leaving the oven door open. John says in the confessional saying he was tired of Lizzie pushing him around and bitching and moaning, and he *shared* the pickles - he could have taken them all and said "You know what? Welcome to Top Chef, because if you don't have a pickle on your dish, you're going home. I shared the pickles. Because that's who I am."

Yes, John - but Lizzie shared the dill with you - and YOU TOOK IT ALL. *Big* difference.

John - Lamb Burger with Fried Egg & Spicy Pickle, Tomato & Pomegranate Salad with Dill and Cream Cheese Aioli. Chris asked why he added a fried egg - John said for the fat, but it still had low calories. Wolfgang said his burger was a bit more overcooked for his taste. Chris did like the salad with the burger.

Lizzie - Chicken Burger with Goat Cheese Ricotta Cream & Dill Pickle Roasted Red Pepper Salad. Wolfgang asked if she used white or dark meat; Lizzie replied white meat. Wolfgang said the burger was very moist and flavorful. Chris noted that the salad was very refreshing, but he would have liked a whisp of salt.

Tom found nothing to criticize on either dish and said it was a tough decision. ::::Whooshing camera shots again::: Chris said Lizzie's dish was best for him; Wolfgang said Lizzie's dish was better; Tom said that Lizzie deserves to stay, and Padma agreed. So John is asked to PYKAG. In the confessional, John said he got the shaft and said he's not bitter, but thinks it's b*llshit. (Umm, that's called being bitter, John.) He continues with a bit more in the confessional that he could have been more of a pr*ck, but he wasn't.

Previews - a new spin on Restaurant Wars. Each of them will have to come up with their own idea of a restaurant. They'l present them at Bite of Seattle. And Danny Meyer is a guest judge. The previews showing them cooking at Bite of Seattle shows a complete mess - it's going to be an interesting episode next week!

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  1. soypower RE: LindaWhit Jan 2, 2013 08:22 PM

    Yikes. Perhaps people haven't finished watching yet, but it seems strange that no one has commented yet.

    At any rate, I just wanted to say that when the chefs were sitting around talking about the memorable moments and wondering what their moment would be, the first thing that came to mind was,

    'Nothing, you people are boring!'

    And thank you for doing the recap, Linda..

    1 Reply
    1. re: soypower
      Pylon RE: soypower Jan 3, 2013 06:21 PM

      HAHA. Nice.

    2. cowboyardee RE: LindaWhit Jan 2, 2013 08:46 PM

      A few notes about the quickfire:

      - Initially I was a little surprised that more chefs didn't struggle with sharpening. IME, it's common for many chefs not to sharpen their own knives. On the other hand, it's not like they can just drop their knives off with a professional mid-season. If they don't know how to sharpen, they might run into problems toward the end of the competition.

      - It was hard to tell who was good or bad at sharpening, since most of the shots of the chefs sharpening were quick jump cuts of their hands and I couldn't tell who was who. That said, here is what I can tell you: Josie is good at sharpening. Sheldon is good at sharpening. Kristen obviously sharpens, but I don't really like her technique (and strictly speaking, you don't have to use the same number of strokes on each side, though that's common advice). John has tried sharpening before but doesn't really do it much - he used some pretty janky techniques. Brooke does not sharpen and does not really know how - she was sharpening at what looked like 45 degrees.

      - The rope cut Bob Kramer did - it's not really that hard. Swinging at a slight downward angle is important. The knife has to be relatively sharp, but nothing crazy. Kramer does make nice blades though. An appearance on Top Chef will probably add even more to his astronomical asking prices and waiting lists.

      - It was an interesting quickfire, but it tested skills that I wouldn't necessarily expect all the chefs to have practiced much. Unless you frequent classic French fine dining restaurants, how many tournees do you see nowadays?

      A few notes on the elimination challenge:

      - I'm glad that Josh finally made pork well. Whether or not I like the guy, I still like seeing a little personal redemption.

      - It always annoys me when "make it healthy" is interpreted mainly as "make it low-fat." Almost no one ever increases the proportion of vegetables on the plate when the challenge is to make it healthy. Why?

      - In fairness to John, he was complaining about the pans while cooking the risotto - not just at the judges' table. In fairness to reality as I see it, blaming bad risotto on a rounded pan sounds like a cop-out (except on an electric stove, cause rounded pans are awful on electric stoves). Stir it more.

      - I was kind of looking forward to seeing what John would make if he got to the end. Failing that, I was looking forward to watching him stir up a massive shit storm and going down in flames during restaurant wars. He was/is a good cook, but his focus was too often not on the food. And so it goes.

      - Using all the dill was a dick move, btw. No, sharing the pickles does not qualify you for sainthood.

      - My money is still on Kristen for the win. Big surprise.

      48 Replies
      1. re: cowboyardee
        c
        cresyd RE: cowboyardee Jan 2, 2013 11:11 PM

        I agree on the healthy - they use that term far too generically and amongst a profession where that's not necessarily a skill that they're trained to have.

        I think in the past a better version of a "restriction" challenge was on TCM when they did the Zoe Deschanel challenge that had to be vegan and had some other rules. Kosher is challenge they've never done before. Or, if they want to play in the "healthy" arena - pick a diet that focuses on cutting out food groups (aka Atkins inspired). Then have a pantry that has all the foods they can use, and none of the foods they can't.

        Challenges like that make sence, put up limitations and see how the chefs adapt. However just asking for "healthy", kinda feels like asking a set of Project Runway contestants to make a hat. Sure, it's all fashion (or all food), but there are non-overlaping skill sets that are important to making hats (or healthy food) that I wouldn't expect appearal designers (chefs) to automatically have.

        1. re: cresyd
          Pylon RE: cresyd Jan 3, 2013 06:24 PM

          There was something a bit like that a while back with the dinosaur challenge, where they were either herbivore or carnivore, and the latter group got only meat or animal products. Not the same, but I recall it was very interesting to see what they were able to create.

          Good idea!

          1. re: Pylon
            hambone RE: Pylon Jan 4, 2013 05:12 AM

            They also had a challenge once where they had to stay below a certain number of calories per serving for a school lunch. (Or am I thinking of some other show?)

            I think one of the greatest disservices they do on TC is set criteria in describing the challenge, and then ignoring it when judging the winner/loser.

            1. re: hambone
              c
              cresyd RE: hambone Jan 5, 2013 12:25 AM

              Based on the descriptions alone, Stefan's reinterpretation of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich may have been made less "healthy" (again, depending on how you describe that) by the addition of bacon (an element not in the original version of the dish).

              Also, anyone who's ever tried to lose weight, one of the big generic bits of advice is eat more at home/less at restaurants. The reason is that it's really hard to control the amounts of fats (oils, butter, animal fat, etc) used to cook something. The episode where they worked with the dieticians for the healthy school lunch challenge - no one went home, because the dieticians weren't in the kitchen during the final cooking (just the prep) and the claims of cheating were in chefs adding oil willy nilly to dishes and thus changing the calorie counts of their originally planned meals.

              And this isn't even mentioning the essential bizarreness of the ultimate prize (becoming a Healthy Choice Cafe Steamer) was essentially impossible for a number of assigned themes such as "soup/sandwich" entree, scallops, or duck. Bah! Not to mention "make a healthy burger" - seriously, what was the point of that. Either make a burger, or make a healthy meal - talk about a pointless marriage.

              Clearly, I hate the "healthy" challenges. After that school lunch challenge, they've always used to concept of healthy in really really vague ways. And in fairness to the chefs they're not necessarily trained in "healthy" beyond "deep fat frying and covered in chocolate probably isn't healthy". And I do not blame them for not knowing, because unless someone chooses a highly niche path (usually followed by private chefs more than restaurant chefs) it's not of standard training.

              So STOP THESE!

              Ok....rant finished.....

        2. re: cowboyardee
          LindaWhit RE: cowboyardee Jan 3, 2013 05:27 AM

          Agree on Josh finally doing something write with pork.

          Re: John - I think that's what the others were pointing out in the Stew Room - he kept using the pans as an excuse vs. saying he knew he didn't make the risotto correctly. And I woke up thinking about John's comment re: sharing the pickles and how magnanimous he was. Baloney. He was just a jerk.

          I'm glad to see Lizzie stay - I think she's a dark horse and could make it to the Final 3. But I agree - Kristen's the front runner right now.

          1. re: LindaWhit
            ennuisans RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 10:41 AM

            Cosentino announced Kristen the "unanimous" winner for a dish he didn't even get sauce for. Must have been one hell of a plate of food.

            1. re: ennuisans
              John E. RE: ennuisans Jan 3, 2013 10:51 AM

              I think what happened is that her food tasted really good and was the best at being 'healthy' while tasting good.

              It was a challenge to make the dish healthier and John puts a fired egg on top. How is that going to make it into a frozen Healthy Choice frozen dinner? Stefan put olive oil on his grilled cheese. (Did he do that AFTER grilling it?) They said his grilled cheese was greasy.

              1. re: John E.
                cowboyardee RE: John E. Jan 3, 2013 11:09 AM

                Not arguing with your logic, but I just want to point out:
                Eggs and olive oil *are* healthy. They're just not very Healthy Choice (TM).

                1. re: cowboyardee
                  John E. RE: cowboyardee Jan 3, 2013 12:04 PM

                  I understand that. It's just that the extra fat from the egg when it is not really needed is just additional fat. The whole eggs and cholesterol thing is still out there. I remember eating breakfast at a diner once with a guy who ordered an Eggbeater omelet with a side of bacon.

                  1. re: John E.
                    l
                    Leepa RE: John E. Jan 4, 2013 08:44 AM

                    If I had to give something up, it might be the eggs. Don't take away my bacon! ;)

                2. re: acgold7
                  LurkerDan RE: acgold7 Jan 4, 2013 07:24 PM

                  It was a separate "challenge" but not really. They were supposed to make a healthier version of CJ's burger. The fried egg was a terrible choice.

                  1. re: John E.
                    c
                    cresyd RE: John E. Jan 5, 2013 12:30 AM

                    Beyond "healthy" (which I have major issues that I've mentioned above) - I think that Kristen's dish was most designed to be a Healthy Choice Steamer. Poached chicken/reheated steamed chicken - easy match. And none of her other components relied on being crispy or crunchy.

                    Someone like Stefan who basically was assigned soup/sandwich was screwed (how on earth would that become a steamer meal?) or assigned a meat not found in the Healthy Choice family. Healthy choice duck and scallops anyone?

                  2. re: ennuisans
                    b
                    Bart Hound RE: ennuisans Jan 4, 2013 09:40 AM

                    The cynic in me wonders what would have happened if it wasn't the "pretty one" who made that mistake?

                    Maybe nothing, but it sure seemed strange that the winning dish was served incomplete to one judge yet was still named the best.

                    1. re: Bart Hound
                      LurkerDan RE: Bart Hound Jan 4, 2013 10:02 AM

                      The only thing that seemed odd was that it wasn't discussed or mentioned further (neither on the show or on the blogs). It seemed to me that her dish was the clear winner. It was innovative, different, delicious, and nailed the intent of the challenge. Didn't really look like anyone else came close.

                      1. re: Bart Hound
                        princeofpork3 RE: Bart Hound Jan 4, 2013 10:27 AM

                        Kristen is pretty isnt she.

                        1. re: princeofpork3
                          b
                          Bart Hound RE: princeofpork3 Jan 4, 2013 10:30 AM

                          I think Brooke is much hotter.

                          Just putting it out there in case Brooke reads this!

                          1. re: princeofpork3
                            coney with everything RE: princeofpork3 Jan 4, 2013 11:53 AM

                            definitely Team Kristen...if I were into girls :)

                          2. re: Bart Hound
                            John E. RE: Bart Hound Jan 4, 2013 11:50 AM

                            If this were judged like Chopped and the winning dish was missing sauce on one of the plates I might be suspicious. The judges have much disgretion on this show. (I agree with you about Brooke).

                            1. re: Bart Hound
                              t
                              tjinsf RE: Bart Hound Jan 4, 2013 03:12 PM

                              It isn't like chopped where she had to use all the ingredients. Chris must have liked the dish even without the sauce especially since he said it was unanimous. I don't think her look were at play since she has consistently done well in all the challenges. Not to mention the other chefs would be sure to bitch about it if they thought it was unfair.

                              1. re: tjinsf
                                l
                                Leepa RE: tjinsf Jan 4, 2013 03:43 PM

                                I think she's universally well liked because she seems to be a nice person and doesn't seem to have an agenda against other cheftestants. She keeps her head down and gets the job done.

                        2. re: cowboyardee
                          John E. RE: cowboyardee Jan 3, 2013 10:55 AM

                          I've only made risotto a couple of times, both being several years ago. How important is it to use a flat bottomed pan when cooking risotto? It must be stirred frequently anyway. My guess as to why he had some mushy rice and some undercooked rice is because he didn't stir it enough. The mushy rice was on the bottom too long and the undercooked rice was on the top too long.

                          1. re: John E.
                            roxlet RE: John E. Jan 3, 2013 11:02 AM

                            I make risotto all the time, and I really didn't understand the whole thing about the flat bottomed pan. Did he mean that the pan was uneven on the bottom, i.e. warped? Two things about making the risotto. One, is that it is the kiss of death on TC, and everyone seems to know that. Two is that of all things you could make into a frozen food, risotto is about the last preparation of rice I'd want to try that way. I am surprised that he didn't just make a dish with nicely flavored rice, as opposed to the very specific taste of risotto.

                            1. re: roxlet
                              John E. RE: roxlet Jan 3, 2013 11:07 AM

                              Am I on the right track as to why some of John's rice was over and some was under?

                              1. re: John E.
                                roxlet RE: John E. Jan 3, 2013 11:25 AM

                                In my opinion, risotto fails on TC because it really needs to be stirred continuously. You can't stir it a couple of times, turn away, let it cook, and then turn back after a while. The creaminess of risotto comes from stirring it as well as adding the proper amount of liquid. You neither want to drown the rice nor let it dry out, so you add the proper amount of liquid as you go along, while str stir, stirring. If you're stirring continuously, there is no way that some pieces of rice would be hard while others would be mushy. He probably left it to cook while he did other things, came back, and then spread it out on a pan to cool and to be finished later on.

                              2. re: roxlet
                                TraderJoe RE: roxlet Jan 3, 2013 11:10 AM

                                "Did he mean that the pan was uneven on the bottom, i.e. warped? "

                                Yes the pans were warped. It wouldn't help any that's for sure but it's still a lame excuse.

                                1. re: roxlet
                                  cowboyardee RE: roxlet Jan 3, 2013 11:11 AM

                                  I'm guessing that a flatter bottomed pan lets you get away with stirring it less, which could be semi-important if you have a lot of other components to work on. Still, as I implied in my post above, John was making a mountain out of a molehill.

                                  1. re: cowboyardee
                                    roxlet RE: cowboyardee Jan 3, 2013 11:29 AM

                                    No, I don't think that's right. Risotto needs to be stirred continuously in order to obtain the proper consistency; it has nothing to do with whether a pan is flat on the bottom or not. It demands your full attention, which is why it fails on TC all the time. The cheftestants don't have the time to focus all their attention on the risotto, and once you let your attentions slip, your rice can get mushy pretty fast.

                                    1. re: roxlet
                                      cowboyardee RE: roxlet Jan 3, 2013 01:05 PM

                                      I've seen several recipes from pretty decent cooks that call for sporadic or minimal stirring. Even recipes using... a pressure cooker (heresy!) I know that continuous stirring is the tried and true method of Italian grandmothers, but its importance is often exaggerated. Depends as well on the particular rice used (yes, you can make risotto with other short/medium grain rices besides arborio).

                                      1. re: cowboyardee
                                        JuniorBalloon RE: cowboyardee Jan 3, 2013 01:15 PM

                                        There are many no stir risotto recipes. I'll be taking a class in Feb from an Italian that advocates it. Paella is cooked no stir and I've had it come out so creamy one guest asked if there was cheese. No cheese. Though I must say I always do the stir risotto. Perhaps after Feb I'll get brave.

                                        jb

                                        1. re: JuniorBalloon
                                          The Dairy Queen RE: JuniorBalloon Jan 4, 2013 06:30 AM

                                          Funny that you mention it, but it occurs to me that if John didn't think he had the proper equipment to make a successful risotto, he maybe should have thought outside the box and done a rice-based dish like a paella instead...and described how that might be healthier. Olive oil vs. butter and cream, etc.

                                          ~TDQ

                                        2. re: cowboyardee
                                          roxlet RE: cowboyardee Jan 4, 2013 05:36 AM

                                          That may be the case, but I've never tried NOT stirring continuously, nor am I about to! The risotto I get from the traditional method (see the queen of Italian cooks, Marcella Hazan, for more details) is perfect. I have read many things about how it is not necessary to stir continuously, and maybe that's true, but my feeling is that the problems on TC that arise from making risotto are from trying to mess with the proper way of doing it. Risotto is a particular skill, and in many fine Italian restaurants, they have dedicated risotto makers for just this reason!

                                          1. re: roxlet
                                            TraderJoe RE: roxlet Jan 4, 2013 08:37 AM

                                            "in many fine Italian restaurants, they have dedicated risotto makers for just this reason!"

                                            Just a friendly FYI but many high end restaurants par cook the rice for risotto which really shoots the theory of stirring being a requirement for proper risotto right in the bum. ;)
                                            Not that I disagree with you at all about messing with a classic but the method is not nearly as relivant as the result.

                                            1. re: TraderJoe
                                              roxlet RE: TraderJoe Jan 4, 2013 08:42 AM

                                              I only know from my experience eating at high-end Italian restaurants. Clearly, many Italian restaurants don't have the resources to have a dedicated risotto maker, but IMO, the difference is clear, which is why I rarely order risotto and prefer to make it myself.

                                          2. re: cowboyardee
                                            k
                                            KailuaGirl RE: cowboyardee Jan 4, 2013 01:21 PM

                                            I've seen recipes, I think here on Chowhound, that call for cooking the risotto in the oven in a Le Creuset dutch oven. I must admit I haven't gotten brave and tried it, but in terms of TC it couldn't hurt since everyone knows that making it the traditional way is the kiss of death. I also recall differences of opinion as to whether risotto should be kind of soupy/runny and spread out on a plate (I think that was Tom's idea of perfection) or kind of hold its shape in a mound of creaminess (chiarello?) with rice that has gone beyond al dente but hasn't yet hit mushy.

                                          3. re: roxlet
                                            ennuisans RE: roxlet Jan 3, 2013 03:41 PM

                                            I've never cooked risotto but I've made gravy in an uneven pan (bubble in the center in this case) and what you do get is uneven cooking no matter how much you stir. The center dries out faster than the outsides and you chase disaster the entire time.

                                            My feeling was that he knew going in that an uneven surface could cause problems, and he either needed to rethink or own up to his choice to use those materials. And he kind of did acknowledge the choice he made screwed him, but not as firmly as he should have.

                                      2. re: John E.
                                        TraderJoe RE: John E. Jan 3, 2013 11:03 AM

                                        "How important is it to use a flat bottomed pan when cooking risotto? "

                                        Not nearly as important as scamming all the ingredients from the competition....LOL

                                        1. re: TraderJoe
                                          John E. RE: TraderJoe Jan 3, 2013 12:18 PM

                                          I wanted to shout at the TV when John was saying he could have kept all of the pickles and thus Lizzie would have been SOL and lost the contest. I don't think the producers would have allowed that. And then in the confessional he said more than once how he 'shared' HIS ingredients with Lizzie. She said he could have 'some' of the dill and he took it all. He then left the oven door open more than once. He's a selfish, narcissistic man.

                                          I remember in one of the QFs someone (Brooke) didn't get any flour to make her dumpling. That was a different situation because all the chefs were using flour and they ran out. Heck, I bet they put in a limited amount of flour just in case this situation happened, to make the QF a little more interesting.

                                          1. re: John E.
                                            LindaWhit RE: John E. Jan 3, 2013 12:23 PM

                                            :-) See my link at the bottom re: Tom's blog and keeping all of the pickles.

                                      3. re: cowboyardee
                                        c
                                        cwdonald RE: cowboyardee Jan 3, 2013 11:02 AM

                                        I love your point about the definition of healthy. Imagine if Brooke had done the salad inspired by the scallops but not actually serving them? Would have been a good ploy rather than serving off seafood.

                                        1. re: cwdonald
                                          John E. RE: cwdonald Jan 3, 2013 11:04 AM

                                          I wonder how a salad would turn out as a frozen dinner?

                                          1. re: John E.
                                            ennuisans RE: John E. Jan 3, 2013 11:22 AM

                                            And the HC product line was Steamers so, steamed frozen scallops? Steamed egg yolk? This EC was kind of a mess really.

                                            1. re: ennuisans
                                              Phaedrus RE: ennuisans Jan 3, 2013 11:33 AM

                                              So that brings up an interesting point: what IF something that doesn't lend itself to steaming had won, what the Healthy Choice do with it? Or would they just rig it so that it couldn't happen? Just saying.

                                              1. re: Phaedrus
                                                John E. RE: Phaedrus Jan 3, 2013 12:08 PM

                                                That's why they use the word 'inspired'.

                                                1. re: Phaedrus
                                                  chicgail RE: Phaedrus Jan 3, 2013 03:25 PM

                                                  I'm not saying they rigged anything, but Lizzie was ultimately NOT asked to PYKAG.

                                                2. re: ennuisans
                                                  C. Hamster RE: ennuisans Jan 3, 2013 11:54 AM

                                                  Steamed chicken pot pie doesn't enchant me much either

                                            2. re: cowboyardee
                                              d
                                              DGresh RE: cowboyardee Jan 3, 2013 01:53 PM

                                              Agree about the tournees, and would a chef *really* use such a large knife for doing it? I for sure would feel more comfortable with a much smaller knife.

                                              1. re: DGresh
                                                TraderJoe RE: DGresh Jan 4, 2013 02:50 AM

                                                "would a chef *really* use such a large knife for doing it?"

                                                Yes although a smaller knife would be more common many instructors require students to tourne with a chef knife.

                                                1. re: DGresh
                                                  l
                                                  latindancer RE: DGresh Jan 4, 2013 07:03 AM

                                                  If a person's skilled in the technique then any knife is going to be okay as long as it's very sharp and the hand and thumb conforms. The longer it takes to do it, obviously, the larger knife is much more tiring for the hand.
                                                  My grandmother taught me many decades ago and I've been doing it since I was small.

                                              2. juliejulez RE: LindaWhit Jan 2, 2013 09:16 PM

                                                BTW Micah didn't say breaking down the rabbits was "sad", he said "zen"... which I guess explains how he did it so quickly?

                                                I was pleased with the outcome, I keep wanting to kick Tesar in the face, every episode, so I'm glad he's gone. His excuse about the pot was lame. Lizzie had bad scallops but you didn't hear her use it as an excuse. It wasn't really fair for her really... "Here, you need to cook a scallop dish, but you can only buy scallops at this one store, and they happen to only have shite scallops today". If she had served a dish without scallops they would have chastized her for that too.

                                                9 Replies
                                                1. re: juliejulez
                                                  LindaWhit RE: juliejulez Jan 3, 2013 05:30 AM

                                                  Interesting. I hit the rewind on my DVR to try and get what Micah said - could have sworn he said "sad".

                                                  Yeah, when Jonathan Waxman said something about leaving off the scallops, I looked at the TV and said "HUH?" They absolutely would have lambasted her if she had no scallops on the plate.

                                                  Scallops and Risotto. It seems they're the two worst dishes to make. Only once can I recall Tom C. saying the risotto was done perfectly, but I can't recall who made it or what season (it was a woman, I believe).

                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                    C. Hamster RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 07:48 AM

                                                    I watched it twice last night and I could have sworn he said "sad" too...

                                                    "Breaking down little bunnies" doesn't suggest "zen" much to me ...

                                                    1. re: C. Hamster
                                                      LindaWhit RE: C. Hamster Jan 3, 2013 07:56 AM

                                                      That's why I went with "sad"! LOL

                                                      1. re: LindaWhit
                                                        John E. RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 10:13 AM

                                                        I also thought I heard sad. He certainly looked sad at the end of butchering the bunny.

                                                        I thought the cat comment was quite funny. A naked cat and a naked rabbit look just about the same. (Not that I have ever been in the presence of a naked ca).

                                                        1. re: John E.
                                                          j
                                                          judybird RE: John E. Jan 3, 2013 01:52 PM

                                                          My first trip to Europe was in the late 1960s. In Florence, I remember visiting the huge food stalls, and seeing rabbits ready to be sold. They were skinned and gutted, but all had fur left on one hind leg. When I finally found someone who understood my feeble attemps at Italian, he explained that this was a law - during and immediately after WWII, when food was very scarce, cat was often sold as rabbit. With the fur left on, the identification is much easier.

                                                          1. re: judybird
                                                            John E. RE: judybird Jan 3, 2013 02:25 PM

                                                            That reminds me of an Ontario law in which a patch of skin must be left on the fish for identification. (Not in the stores, but when crossing the border after a fishing trip. The mounties/border guards check out your catch). We just butterfly them and leave all of the skin on until we get home.

                                                      2. re: C. Hamster
                                                        l
                                                        linus RE: C. Hamster Jan 3, 2013 07:56 AM

                                                        i just watched again, and it's "zen."

                                                        breaking down bunnies involves lots of concentration while doing close hand work, trying to achieve something close to perfection.

                                                        makes perfect zen sense to me.

                                                        1. re: linus
                                                          TraderJoe RE: linus Jan 3, 2013 08:21 AM

                                                          Yes Micah definitely said Zen. Thank goodness for the DVR!
                                                          However I was sad to see Micah win the knife. Sheldon is clearly the knife guru this season.
                                                          Very disappointing to see about half the Chef's didn't have a clue about sharpening and the one that was sent home (finally!) didn't even know he was using a Santoku and not a Chef's knife.
                                                          Sorry to see Lizzie @ the bottom. Two things every Cheftestant should know to avoid by now,
                                                          Dessert
                                                          Scallops
                                                          Watching Kramer destroy that blade on the rope was a sad moment. That's not easy to cut through and doing that is an element of a knifemaker earning a Mastersmith rating from the ABS.

                                                          Maybe Josh can learn a bit of humility when he gets Pork right...Probably not. Either way my top three picks remain;
                                                          Kristen
                                                          Lizzy and a tie between Stefan and Sheldon.

                                                    2. re: juliejulez
                                                      p
                                                      piccola RE: juliejulez Jan 3, 2013 07:01 PM

                                                      Honestly, the second she said it would be an easy challenge because scallops are already healthy, I thought for sure she was going to be in trouble. But thankfully she rallied at the end, despite John's smarmy and self-righteous behaviour.

                                                    3. John E. RE: LindaWhit Jan 2, 2013 09:46 PM

                                                      It's late and of course I have opinions about tonight's episode but it will have to wait until tomorrow. I will however predict that while the threads for the previous two TC episodes are at a modest 65 - 70 replies, the replies to this thread will easily get into triple digits. (Don't let the door hit you on your a$$ on your way out of the kitchen John).

                                                      1. Shrinkrap RE: LindaWhit Jan 2, 2013 11:22 PM

                                                        Thanks Linda! Checking in. Loved the shout outs.

                                                        I'm not your bitch, bitch!

                                                        Carla!

                                                        Curse of the risotto!

                                                        It's not top scallop...

                                                        Pea puree....

                                                        Why didn't the first winners get knives?

                                                        I did cats in anatomy class (and kept them in the fridge; hah! dorm food thieves!)... but is that a "thing" in chef school?

                                                        Daughter pointed out it was a ZEN, moment ( not a sad moment). I'm going with Micah for a bit.No, Kristen. Micah AND Kristen.....Glad John left without a crash and burn.

                                                        What happened with the scallops? I've never tried to buy them to cook at home. If a Top Chef can't, I'm not going to try.

                                                        13 Replies
                                                        1. re: Shrinkrap
                                                          cowboyardee RE: Shrinkrap Jan 3, 2013 12:10 AM

                                                          "What happened with the scallops? I've never tried to buy them to cook at home. If a Top Chef can't, I'm not going to try."
                                                          _______
                                                          They didn't say exactly what the problem was with the scallops. But offhand, I can tell you that many sea scallops are 'wet packed.' This means that they are treated with sodium tripolyphosphate, which pumps em full of fluid and also makes it much more difficult to get a good hard sear on em.

                                                          1. re: cowboyardee
                                                            Shrinkrap RE: cowboyardee Jan 3, 2013 12:32 AM

                                                            But they seemed to be saying they smelled spoiled. Can you really buy them from a reputable source, and have them smell before a "top chef" in SEATTLE can cook them them? That would break my heart. How long can I expect to keep them? What do you have to know (besides the tripolyphosphate/wet thing)?

                                                            BTW, I'm 50 miles inland from San Francisco, and sometimes see bay scallops, but would have to drive 30 miles, to Napa or Sacramento, for sea scallops. Maybe that's for another thread....

                                                            1. re: Shrinkrap
                                                              cowboyardee RE: Shrinkrap Jan 3, 2013 12:44 AM

                                                              Could have been a number of other problems. I was just speculating - I thought she said she had a hard time getting a good sear, but I wasn't watching that part too closely.

                                                              You can definitely buy and make good scallops at home. You just might have to search around a bit first. Scallops, like all good, fresh seafood, should smell clean and briny, not foul or 'fishy.' Find the best fishmonger you can and ask for pointers if you're not feeling very confident.

                                                              1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                Shrinkrap RE: cowboyardee Jan 3, 2013 09:42 PM

                                                                Not specifically to you, but wanted to say, we have no Whole Foods here. We have a decent Asian grocery, and I LOVE it, but don't see sea scallops. Could be a language barrier, but I don't think so. I am 45 minutes east of San Francisco.We have Nugget Market, but no sea scallops. When I see sea scallops, maybe during a trip to Napa for something other than a dinner out, I can't tolerate much room for error. Is that just me?

                                                                1. re: Shrinkrap
                                                                  JAB RE: Shrinkrap Jan 4, 2013 06:10 AM

                                                                  OT but, I just went to a Nugget for the 1st time last week when I was in Davis and boy was I impressed. So much better than Whole Foods or Bristol Farms etc...

                                                                  1. re: JAB
                                                                    Shrinkrap RE: JAB Jan 4, 2013 07:37 AM

                                                                    Well, that's good to hear! I feel less deprived.

                                                              2. re: Shrinkrap
                                                                l
                                                                latindancer RE: Shrinkrap Jan 3, 2013 09:04 AM

                                                                Searing scallops isn't difficult, at all...
                                                                I can't imagine Top Chef not supplying the freshest fish, especially in Seattle.
                                                                The liquid that's been mentioned is used to keep scallops looking white....this can easily be washed off and proper and complete drying is the key. There should be no water, even drops, left. Otherwise, they can be purchased in a dry pack.
                                                                The pan must be very hot and a very quick sear on both sides is all you'll need.
                                                                I use a small amount of butter and oil.

                                                                1. re: latindancer
                                                                  roxlet RE: latindancer Jan 3, 2013 10:44 AM

                                                                  We have had some bad luck with scallops ourselves. One thing we have absolutely learned from our experiences is to smell the scallops before buying. That and to make sure they're dry. Personally, smelling your fish before buying is something I was surprised that a professional like Lizzie would do.

                                                                  1. re: latindancer
                                                                    r
                                                                    ratgirlagogo RE: latindancer Jan 3, 2013 05:44 PM

                                                                    "I can't imagine Top Chef not supplying the freshest fish, especially in Seattle. "

                                                                    Except that every season we see multiple instances of chefs buying meat or fish at the local Whole Foods, getting back to the kitchen and discovering it to be sub-optimal if not worse. It seems like such a poor advertisement for the store that I wonder sometimes why WF continues to be a sponsor.

                                                                    And then of course there were always the frozen scallops that Spike took from the freezer at Tramonto's in the Chicago season - and which Tom Colicchio says were planted there by the show's producers.

                                                                    1. re: ratgirlagogo
                                                                      l
                                                                      latindancer RE: ratgirlagogo Jan 3, 2013 06:06 PM

                                                                      I refuse to purchase either fish or meat at WF...it's just not worth the risk....I've been burnt more than once and they lost me.
                                                                      However, even if a scallop is not particularly fresh, it's not going to affect the sear, as long as it's cleaned, the mussel is removed and it's dry. It might taste funky (gross) but there's no reason for Lizzie to come up with that excuse. She simply didn't know how to sear a scallop. She, essentially, blew it and blamed it on the lack of freshness.

                                                                2. re: cowboyardee
                                                                  ChefJune RE: cowboyardee Jan 3, 2013 08:00 AM

                                                                  When scallops are treated (wet packed) they tend to taste like soap, whether or not they are "fresh."

                                                                  OTOH, dry packed scallops are not at all difficult to cook. As with all seafood, it's critical not to overcook them.

                                                                3. re: Shrinkrap
                                                                  LindaWhit RE: Shrinkrap Jan 3, 2013 05:32 AM

                                                                  Shoot. OK, guess it was a zen moment, not a sad moment. Maybe because Micah use the word "bunnies" I thought he was sad about it. :-) I'll ask the Mods to correct it in the original post. Thanks!

                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                    j
                                                                    jcattles RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 07:17 AM

                                                                    I thought he said a sad moment also. I'm not going to re-watch the episode though to double check. Watching it once was enough.

                                                                4. t
                                                                  tjinsf RE: LindaWhit Jan 2, 2013 11:55 PM

                                                                  Micah didn't say it was a sad moment, he said it was a very "zen" moment.

                                                                  I really liked the quickfire. Knife skills and being able to break down meats and prep used to be the first step on a chef's journey and now lots of younger chefs can't do either well.

                                                                  Was anyone surprised that the guy that went on about how he is all about meat, Snidely Josh couldn't butcher the rabbit?

                                                                  The elimination challenge didn't seem very fair as some people got dishes that were good to begin with while others got dishes that had serious flaws and either way the judges already had an opinion on them. I wish they would judge the contestants on their own creations. It seemed like the chefs that did best went as far from the original as possible.

                                                                  The more they showed the healthy choice meals, the less I ever want to eat them.

                                                                  I found it funny that Wylie Dufresne and Chris Cosentino were the judges for a "healthy" challenge as neither of them makes what I consider healthy (although I do like eating at both of their places).

                                                                  I think Lizzie was in a real bind, the whole focus of the dish she was suppose to be inspired by was scallops so I think if she had not served them, they would have put her on the bottom too.

                                                                  Is this the first time Josh was on the top? I can't imagine his ego getting even bigger and what is his need to constant put other chefs down with the judges. Such a douche move.

                                                                  I swear that whooshing camera is going to make me puke.

                                                                  I thought John would last longer based on his cooking skill and drama factor. John has a weird idea of what bitching and moaning is since Lizzie didn't appear on film to be doing either unlike him.

                                                                  Not the most interesting dishes this episodes, hope next week is more interesting with the twist.

                                                                  35 Replies
                                                                  1. re: tjinsf
                                                                    l
                                                                    linus RE: tjinsf Jan 3, 2013 06:32 AM

                                                                    i have not seen josh do or say anything remotely egotistical.

                                                                    he seemed to be butchering his rabbit o.k. to me, just having some knife trouble and going too slowly.

                                                                    while i enjoy watching these skills competitions, i find them irrelevant when it comes to judging the quality of the food a chef puts out.

                                                                    1. re: linus
                                                                      Withnail42 RE: linus Jan 3, 2013 11:50 AM

                                                                      Skills such as these are far from 'irrelevant' when it comes to cooking.

                                                                      1. re: Withnail42
                                                                        cowboyardee RE: Withnail42 Jan 3, 2013 01:08 PM

                                                                        'Irrelevant' might be too strong a word, but they were definitely a little esoteric.

                                                                      2. re: linus
                                                                        t
                                                                        tjinsf RE: linus Jan 4, 2013 02:52 AM

                                                                        Knife skills are hardly irrelevant. They are a must if you are preparing meats and fish and how you cut the food can totally change how it cooks and tastes. If you are chef you should know how to take care of your chef knifes, they are usually the one thing that every chef has.

                                                                        As to the egotisticalness the butchery of the rabbit is a perfect example of this. Since the very first episode he has been going on about his meat skills. Butchery is a real basic meat skill and he was having some serious problems. But then again Josh has bragged and boasted about his skills almost every episode while remaining in the middle and bottom until this episode. Doesn't get more egotistical than that.

                                                                        1. re: tjinsf
                                                                          l
                                                                          linus RE: tjinsf Jan 4, 2013 05:40 AM

                                                                          i've not heard any bragging or boasting. i can't think of a time he's said, "i'm the best" or "i'm the greatest" at anything.
                                                                          saying, "i'm known for..." is not egotistical in my book.
                                                                          maybe i'm forgetting or missed some egotistical quotations or behaviour from josh;
                                                                          i'm happy to be corrected with some examples.
                                                                          perhaps he just doesn't perform well in front of the camera.

                                                                          the man makes his living cooking food for people. obviously, he has some skill.

                                                                          as for knife skills being irrelevant, i can't remember the last time i went into the kitchen of a restaurant to test the chefs and cooks on their knife skills.
                                                                          yes, when going to a sushi bar, it's nice when the chef is very good with a knife. it makes a difference.
                                                                          but as for other cuisines...well, i can't tell who cut up the food or sharpened the knife by looking and tasting the food on my plate.
                                                                          competent is enough.
                                                                          there are hundreds of chefs who can use a knife and sharpen a knife better than wolfgang puck.
                                                                          there are few who can cook like him.

                                                                          1. re: linus
                                                                            Phaedrus RE: linus Jan 4, 2013 06:35 AM

                                                                            Knife skills are important, not in a zen way but in a practical way.

                                                                            In Chinese and other cuisines, where the ingredients are cut into bite size pieces, knife skills and the sharpness of the knife has huge consequences on the success of the dish. Having uniform size ingredients has an effect on the amount of control the chef has over the dish and how well done the protein is versus how well done the vegetables are.

                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                              l
                                                                              linus RE: Phaedrus Jan 4, 2013 06:45 AM

                                                                              as i've said, myself, i think i'm o.k. with basic competence. i assume the folks at the chinese restaurant i'm eating have that.
                                                                              if the food is particularly noteworthy, i'm not sure how much the knife skills have to do with that.

                                                                              1. re: linus
                                                                                Phaedrus RE: linus Jan 4, 2013 06:55 AM

                                                                                The key to good Chinese food is the ability to control the temperature and the time of cooking. Food prep is a huge part of that, you really can't separate the two.

                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                  l
                                                                                  linus RE: Phaedrus Jan 4, 2013 07:37 AM

                                                                                  if you'll look at my original post on this subject, you'll see i find skills competitions, and their results, have little to do with my enjoyment of what's on the plate.

                                                                                  let's say one chef is "better" (for example, he can cut vegetables faster, more precisely) than another at knife skills. that doesn't necessarily mean his food will taste better.

                                                                                  1. re: linus
                                                                                    JuniorBalloon RE: linus Jan 4, 2013 08:20 AM

                                                                                    Knife skills are more important in the kitchen than scales to a musician. Knife skills are a greater part of the chef's work than scales are for the musician. Scales will not be a part of Yoyo Ma's performance that evening, he may practice them on his own time or as a warm up, but he won't likely be performing them for you.

                                                                                    For a chef it is an integral part of the preperation. For line cooks that are doing the prep work (a position each of these chefs has held) Speed and accuracy are very important as you have limited time to get everything ready for service.

                                                                                    I don't think it's an apples to apples comparison to equate them with scales. And while you may not have noticed a difference on the plate, they're there, and only noticed when they're not.

                                                                                    jb

                                                                                    1. re: JuniorBalloon
                                                                                      b
                                                                                      bobbert RE: JuniorBalloon Jan 4, 2013 10:13 AM

                                                                                      "And while you may not have noticed a difference on the plate, they're there, and only noticed when they're not."

                                                                                      Very well stated.

                                                                                      1. re: JuniorBalloon
                                                                                        mcf RE: JuniorBalloon Jan 4, 2013 10:17 AM

                                                                                        And that's why lack of knife skills sent a contestant home in the qualifying round last year (or the year before?).

                                                                                        1. re: JuniorBalloon
                                                                                          l
                                                                                          linus RE: JuniorBalloon Jan 4, 2013 10:19 AM

                                                                                          season 4:
                                                                                          spike won a butchering contest. it involved considerable knife skills. he beat stephanie, richard, antonia and lisa.

                                                                                          spike is also almost universally reviled as a chef on this board.

                                                                                          no one said knife skills aren't important. i said knife skills competitions are not relevant to me in evaluating a chef.
                                                                                          i will also say i value palate, creativity, originality and other cooking techniques far above knife skills when evaluating a chef.
                                                                                          if you don't, that's fine with me.

                                                                                          i think the scales analogy holds. you need to know your scales to perform well. you need some knife skills to cook well. i wouldn't judge the final product on either.

                                                                                          1. re: linus
                                                                                            JuniorBalloon RE: linus Jan 4, 2013 10:58 AM

                                                                                            Knife skills are only one component. Where it ranks in importance is debatable.

                                                                                            I think the scales analogy doesn't hold as you don't actually NEED to know any scales to play music, just as you don't NEED to read music to play. Your better musicians, in general, will know how to work both.Try making a dish without a knife. Try making 100.

                                                                                            jb

                                                                                            1. re: JuniorBalloon
                                                                                              l
                                                                                              linus RE: JuniorBalloon Jan 4, 2013 11:28 AM

                                                                                              there is a vast difference between the knife skills required to be a good chef and the skills required to win one of the manufactured competitions on 'top chef.'

                                                                                              i totally agree with you on the need for scales. what i was saying, again, if you'll look at what i posted, is judging the quality of chef based on a knife skills competition is like judging the quality of a musician based on their scales.

                                                                                              1. re: linus
                                                                                                d
                                                                                                DGresh RE: linus Jan 4, 2013 11:42 AM

                                                                                                I think all this discussion is beside the point. The point of the show is to *amuse* us. And some of us may be entertained by learning whether or not this set of chefs knows how to sharpen knives (apparently they do), how to tournee a potato (again, they do, do different degrees) and how to chop up a little bunny and french those itty bitty ribs. At least that's the hope of the producers, presumably. Now certainly we might also be amused at whether the chefs can do other, completely non-chefy things. But knife skills does not seem so far out there. Unlike, say, chopping food out of ice or cross-country skiing :)

                                                                                                1. re: DGresh
                                                                                                  l
                                                                                                  linus RE: DGresh Jan 4, 2013 11:45 AM

                                                                                                  "while i enjoy watching these skills competitions, i find them irrelevant when it comes to judging the quality of the food a chef puts out."

                                                                                                  jeesh.

                                                                                                  1. re: DGresh
                                                                                                    RUK RE: DGresh Jan 5, 2013 06:01 AM

                                                                                                    "The point of the show is to *amuse* us."
                                                                                                    (Not to answer DGresh in particular)
                                                                                                    Remember Graham Kerr/The Galloping Gourmet?
                                                                                                    He left his Veggies as whole as possible, cut them quickly and quite coarsely. He sautéed String beans left intact and told you happily that the flavor would leach out too much if cut too finely!
                                                                                                    He certainly was entertaining and his dishes worked, I made a lot of them during the time he was on the air.

                                                                                                2. re: JuniorBalloon
                                                                                                  chowser RE: JuniorBalloon Jan 4, 2013 01:50 PM

                                                                                                  I think knowing how to play the scales is like knowing how tastes/flavors go together. In order to play well/cook well, you have to have that basic understanding. The importance of knife skills is debatable in that being a "good chef" is debatable. If someone had good sous chefs who could cut for them and he/she could put together great flavors and cook it, does that make that person a good chef? In Top Chef Masters, many of the chefs have said their knife skills are rusty because they're not on the line any more. Are they lesser chefs now? I don't think so.

                                                                                                  Regardless, the knife skills is a quick fire challenge, not something someone could be sent home for. It's part of being a chef but not as important as the actual cooking.

                                                                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                                                                    l
                                                                                                    Leepa RE: chowser Jan 4, 2013 02:25 PM

                                                                                                    Agreed. This is why those "skills" contests are always QF challenges and elimination challenges. Real cooking is what it all comes down to.

                                                                                                3. re: linus
                                                                                                  John E. RE: linus Jan 4, 2013 12:04 PM

                                                                                                  I agree with you if you are trying to say that the ability to cook good food is more important than to possess the knife skills, of, say Hung from TC 3. However, they always do a challenge of some sort that includes knife skills because it makes for interesting TV.

                                                                                                  I still remember how slow Casey was in dicing onions on TC3. I bet a majority of people posting here could dice onions faster than she did. I also am sure that she is a better cook than EVERYONE posting here.

                                                                                                  1. re: John E.
                                                                                                    TraderJoe RE: John E. Jan 5, 2013 06:47 AM

                                                                                                    "I also am sure that she is a better cook than EVERYONE posting here."

                                                                                                    I just spit coffee all over my monitor. I know for a fact there's more than one professional posting in this thread so I very much doubt that's the case. errrrr at least I hope! ;-D

                                                                                                    1. re: TraderJoe
                                                                                                      John E. RE: TraderJoe Jan 5, 2013 03:11 PM

                                                                                                      Yeah, I probably should have qualified that statement by using the word 'most'.

                                                                                                4. re: JuniorBalloon
                                                                                                  t
                                                                                                  tjinsf RE: JuniorBalloon Jan 4, 2013 03:20 PM

                                                                                                  "And while you may not have noticed a difference on the plate, they're there, and only noticed when they're not."

                                                                                                  exactly, there is a reason why a chef's knifes and knife skills are so important.

                                                                                                  Ate recently at The Restaurant at the Meadowoods, a 3 star Michelin and almost every dish showed off beautiful knife skills.

                                                                                                  1. re: tjinsf
                                                                                                    cowboyardee RE: tjinsf Jan 4, 2013 08:39 PM

                                                                                                    (Not just directed at tjinsf, but the conversation in general)

                                                                                                    I certainly agree that knife skills are important. They're undervalued by home cooks. They're crucial for professionals.

                                                                                                    But cutting tournees with a santoku or 'frenching' rabbit ribs aren't exactly reliable barometers of ones knife skills. It's not so much like judging a random musician by how well he plays scales; it's more like judging a random musician by how well she plays the drums. A few with experience are very good at it; many others have little or no experience but can more or less figure out what to do. But it only has so much to do with overall musicianship.

                                                                                                    1. re: tjinsf
                                                                                                      b
                                                                                                      bobbert RE: tjinsf Jan 5, 2013 08:36 AM

                                                                                                      Interesting re. the comparison of scales with musicians and knife skills with chefs. I have one son who is a classical pianist. At various auditions for bachelor's and masters degrees he had to play scales. It's an important fundamental which sheds some light on his training and overall competence. As a pianist he doesn't tune his own piano although he has had training to do so. All violinist and even Yo Yo Ma tune their own instruments. Springsteen might not during a show but he certainly does at home.
                                                                                                      Then there's knife skills in a kitchen. Another son of mine, a culinary school grad works as a chef. You can bet that they consider knife skills important. Whenever he has staged (the restaurant equivalent of an audition) or they have someone stage in his restaurants they always look at how well they use their knives. The thought being that if they can't slice and dice the chances are not good for anything else in the kitchen. Remember, in the real world of the professional kitchen speed is super important. If you're not fast, no matter how good you are with flavor profiles, you'll never get to show your stuff outside of your own kitchen. Everything on TC is timed to see if they can be creative and quick. To that end, yeah, knife skills are very important. If Casey (I think it was her) diced onions like that during a stage she would have never gotten the job. Hung, on the other hand, tears through some chickens and he's hired on the spot.

                                                                                                      1. re: bobbert
                                                                                                        roxlet RE: bobbert Jan 5, 2013 08:51 AM

                                                                                                        My son plays piano as well, though not at the level of your son, and each year when he undergoes his Guild auditions, the first thing they grade him on are his scales. And I have seen lots of rock or folk musicians tune their guitars on stage during a show. It's very common.

                                                                                                        One question though, bobbert, doesn't your son, the chef, use his own knives, not those of his employer?

                                                                                                        1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                          b
                                                                                                          bobbert RE: roxlet Jan 5, 2013 09:44 AM

                                                                                                          He usually uses his own knives and used to have them professionally sharpened every couple of weeks. He upgraded his knives a couple of years ago and has learned how to sharpen them on his own (under the guidance of his exec chef who is apparently a knife sharpening guru). No one but he is allowed to touch his knives. He will sometimes use the "house knives" depending on who else is working in the kitchen. Apparently some of the cooks in his current place don't understand that it's proper kitchen etiquette not to use someone else's knives.

                                                                                          2. re: linus
                                                                                            John E. RE: linus Jan 4, 2013 11:58 AM

                                                                                            I bet you would notice the knife skills of a cook at a restaurant if they didn't have any.

                                                                                            1. re: linus
                                                                                              TheCarrieWatson RE: linus Jan 8, 2013 03:02 PM

                                                                                              I liked him just fine at first but less-so with each episode. I see a lot of swagger and an almost poser-ish "I'm the pork guy" attitude. I also see him in the bottom a LOT. You can have the funky mustache and hat and wear t-shirts with pigs on them all day but I don't think that's really gonna pull him through.

                                                                                              1. re: linus
                                                                                                TheCarrieWatson RE: linus Jan 8, 2013 03:15 PM

                                                                                                I found everything about this EC quite frustrating, from the "concept (completely unfocused as it was)" on down. But the thing that had me scratching my head in a way was, based on the original EC dishes, Lizzie should have gone home for sure. IMO, she should have been on the chopping block just for buying those scallops. During the cookoff, the judges seemd at an impasse as to which was better, so they went with...Lizzie? I'm not a great from of John either but that was a little strange to me.

                                                                                                1. re: TheCarrieWatson
                                                                                                  John E. RE: TheCarrieWatson Jan 8, 2013 04:33 PM

                                                                                                  Tom explained his blog that no matter who had the worst re reated dish in this EC, the bottom two were going head to head in a cook off. They liked Lizzie's chicken burger better than John's lamb burger. At that point it did not matter how bad her scallops were in the prior part of the competition.

                                                                                                  1. re: John E.
                                                                                                    Joanie RE: John E. Jan 9, 2013 06:01 AM

                                                                                                    And no one answered my question as to why there were 2 instead of 3 in the bottom. Just to have this cook off happen? They really don't need another friggin cookoff, IMO.

                                                                                                    1. re: Joanie
                                                                                                      roxlet RE: Joanie Jan 9, 2013 08:03 AM

                                                                                                      Yes, for the cook-off. Tom said that the cook off was planned from the beginning. I also think that asking for 5 chefs and then having two of them be in the bottom was a bit unexpected, so maybe it's also a way to keep the chefs off balance...

                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                        ennuisans RE: roxlet Jan 9, 2013 06:36 PM

                                                                                                        Or just to get winners and losers over with in one scene, since they had a bonus cookoff to cram in.

                                                                                        2. roxlet RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 05:34 AM

                                                                                          Another wonderful recap, LW!

                                                                                          The worst thing about this episode in my opinion is that Josie is still there. The best thing was that they didn't feature her very much. It also didn't make me sad that John won't be around any more. And how old is he exactly? He keeps on referring to himself as the old man, but although he is older than the other chefs, he's by no means old, and in TC Masters, some far older chefs have competed successfully. Another excuse from him, I think.

                                                                                          I thought that the quickfire was terrific. Although the chefs don't necessarily turn vegetables on a regular basis, I would assume it would be part of their training. Obviously, you typically wouldn't use a chef's knife for that, but it was interesting and fun to watch. The product placement this week was also great. Who wouldn't want one of those knives?

                                                                                          My feeling that Kristin and Brooke are heading for the finale. Neither has really put a foot wrong, and the elves seem to be putting them into the background of the show -- neither seemed to have been heavily featured in recent episodes. Maybe there's no drama there; just good cooking. And maybe once the field thins out further we will see them featured more.

                                                                                          16 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: roxlet
                                                                                            LindaWhit RE: roxlet Jan 3, 2013 05:39 AM

                                                                                            Tesar is 53. But based on the 20-30 year olds with whom he's in competition, he's the TC "Old Man".

                                                                                            And Brooke has had two early "Lows" per the Wikipedia Progress section. But she's definitely redeemed herself.

                                                                                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_Chef...

                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                              roxlet RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 05:42 AM

                                                                                              I missed an episode or two early on, so I guess I either didn't see or remember Brooke's "lows." She's certainly put that behind her. And for the record, I don't consider someone who is 53 to be an "old man." :)

                                                                                              1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                LindaWhit RE: roxlet Jan 3, 2013 05:54 AM

                                                                                                Considering I'm a year older than John, neither do I. :-) But faced with the young'uns he's competing against, I do recognize where John's coming from.

                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit
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                                                                                                  latindancer RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 09:12 AM

                                                                                                  I agree but he could also use it to his advantage, if he chose to.
                                                                                                  He seemed to, psychologically, think of it as a disadvantage which I think, in the end, overpowered him.
                                                                                                  HIs tourneing was far superior to everyone else's...he did it with ease and this, in itself, was one many examples that made his age a positive factor. He's just been around longer and his skills have seasoned.

                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                John E. RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 10:41 AM

                                                                                                The Dallas magazine story (most hated chef in Dallas) that was published in 2011 said he was 53 then, so I think he is 54 and pushing 55. With his age and experience, shouldn't John be a JUDGE on Top Chef instead of a contestant? He said he hired Bourdain.

                                                                                                I think the biggest problem John has is that he is childish. In his exit interview I think he said something about enduring childish behavior. John, especially in his confessionals about his cookoff with Lizzie, proved that he is a 54 year old child.

                                                                                                I have a theory about the behavior of some people. Actually, it's an observation I made while visiting my father in Arizona. Each winter when my father the snowbird is in Arizona, he leads a crew of retired men who go to people's yards and pick their citrus for them. (One 87 year old lady has 45 grapefruit trees). They haul the fruit away, keep some and give most of it to the food bank. Anyway, when I was there, two 75 year old men got into a fist fight. One of the guys was banned because he was such a jerk. So my theory is that if you're a jerk at 15 - 25 years old, you are still likely a jerk 50 - 60 years later.

                                                                                                1. re: John E.
                                                                                                  LindaWhit RE: John E. Jan 3, 2013 11:41 AM

                                                                                                  I agree with your theory. I have personal experience with several someones being a jerk "then and now." :-/

                                                                                                  1. re: John E.
                                                                                                    t
                                                                                                    tjinsf RE: John E. Jan 4, 2013 02:57 AM

                                                                                                    he probably would be a judge if he hadn't spent the last 20 year battling addict. They say an addict stops maturing when they start using and it seems like John certainly has some of those issues.

                                                                                                    1. re: tjinsf
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                                                                                                      linus RE: tjinsf Jan 4, 2013 05:48 AM

                                                                                                      i don't know about the history of all the judges on 'top chef,' but anthony bourdain, for example, has been a judge multiple times.
                                                                                                      his addictions have been well documented.

                                                                                                      1. re: linus
                                                                                                        LurkerDan RE: linus Jan 4, 2013 09:06 AM

                                                                                                        Bourdain isn't really a judge because of his status as a chef, however. He's a judge because of his post-kitchen career as a writer, although obviously his experience in the kitchen is part of who he is (and part of his judging and writing).

                                                                                                        1. re: LurkerDan
                                                                                                          JuniorBalloon RE: LurkerDan Jan 4, 2013 09:23 AM

                                                                                                          I've noticed that Bourdain has not been on TC for quite some time. He was going to be a judge for a whole season, couple of years back, and then suddenly he was gone, mid season. Never been heard from since. I'd like to start a rumor that he got drunk, pinched padma's butt and insulted Tom, but I don't think it will fly. :)

                                                                                                          jb

                                                                                                          1. re: JuniorBalloon
                                                                                                            Phaedrus RE: JuniorBalloon Jan 4, 2013 12:16 PM

                                                                                                            It's Bourdain, if there was an unfortunate incidence, I would much rather be more than pinching Padma and insulting Tom. Maybe a drunken brawl after a long orgy of decadent dishes and unrefined innuendoes, with Padma delivering the coup de grace to Bourdain but instead hammering Gail while Tom hid under the table with Emeril.

                                                                                                            But that's just me.

                                                                                                          2. re: LurkerDan
                                                                                                            l
                                                                                                            linus RE: LurkerDan Jan 4, 2013 10:22 AM

                                                                                                            my point was i think saying john's addictions keeping him from being a judge is a pretty big leap.

                                                                                                            i have no idea about the complete biography of all the folks who have been judges on top chef. maybe some of them had addiction problems, maybe none of them did.
                                                                                                            i don't care, and i think the issue is irrelevant.

                                                                                                          3. re: linus
                                                                                                            t
                                                                                                            tjinsf RE: linus Jan 4, 2013 03:25 PM

                                                                                                            I wasn't aware that Bourdain became famous because of his chef skills, I thought it was his memoirs of his experience that is now almost 20 years old. So comparing him and John as equals doesn't really work does it>

                                                                                                            1. re: tjinsf
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                                                                                                              linus RE: tjinsf Jan 4, 2013 04:19 PM

                                                                                                              you said john wasn't a judge possibly because his addictions held him back.
                                                                                                              i mentioned bourdain, and possibly other judges, were not held back from being judges because of their addiction problems.

                                                                                                              and i said a past history of addiction has, in my opinion, nothing to do with being a 'top chef' judge.

                                                                                                              any more questions?

                                                                                                        2. re: John E.
                                                                                                          l
                                                                                                          Leepa RE: John E. Jan 4, 2013 10:01 AM

                                                                                                          I have worked with an elderly population in my profession for the last 35 years and my observation is that people who have been sweet their entire lives remain sweet as they age. And people who are a pain in the ass their whole lives remain that way as well. And typically they get worse. It's very rare that someone who exhibits bad behavior when young gets better with age. Usually it's something like alcoholism or drug addiction that may be been controlled as the person aged that helps.

                                                                                                          Just my two cents.

                                                                                                          1. re: Leepa
                                                                                                            John E. RE: Leepa Jan 4, 2013 12:18 PM

                                                                                                            I agree with you. My mother always had a good sense of humor and after started to get dementia she got even more funny, even when she wasn't trying to be funny. Meanwhile, her mother was basically miserable. My mother's sister died from a kidney infection 6 weeks after she was the valedictorian of her high school. (I guess losing a child will make anyone miserable). Anyway, as she aged she became more difficult. She even got evicted from a nursing home for slapping her roommate (the roomate wouldn't leave the window shut). She had to appear in court and the deputy sheriff escorting her was her grandson, my cousin. I don't miss my grandmother all that much, but I sure do miss my mom.

                                                                                                    2. mcf RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 06:29 AM

                                                                                                      Great recap, thanks!

                                                                                                      I'm so glad John is gone, he's just incredibly unself aware, and thinking he deserves a merit badge for not stealing all the pickle is as pathetic as blaming the pots in the kitchen.

                                                                                                      Kristen just quietly and stealthily is keeping her head down, her dishes great and pulling away, I think.

                                                                                                      1. c
                                                                                                        cwdonald RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 07:20 AM

                                                                                                        Great write up... one small addition, during the second part of the quickfire Josie cuts herself and is disqualified, and so it was really 3 versus 2 and the Red team still only lose by two potatoes.

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: cwdonald
                                                                                                          LindaWhit RE: cwdonald Jan 3, 2013 07:59 AM

                                                                                                          Ahh, shoot! I thought I had included a bit on Josie nicking her finger, but I had only gone back to add the part where Padma said if anyone nicks themself, they're disqualified. I completely forgot to then add that Josie did that to herself. Thanks, cwdonald!

                                                                                                        2. k
                                                                                                          KrumTx RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 08:12 AM

                                                                                                          I'm bummed to see John go. Yes, he has acted like a petulant child, but I would have liked to have seen his dishes when it gets to the top few left. Then again, I'm still crushing on Stefan, so what do I know? Anyone have results of Last Chance Kitchen?

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: KrumTx
                                                                                                            LindaWhit RE: KrumTx Jan 3, 2013 08:22 AM

                                                                                                            LCK is a separate thread, KrumTx. Joanie's been starting them, although I didn't see one for 12/26.

                                                                                                          2. m
                                                                                                            momjamin RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 09:14 AM

                                                                                                            Ironically, this QF came two days after my visit to the ER for nicking myself with a newly sharpened knife while cutting ginger. (It rolled on me.) I was cringing during the whole potato sequence.

                                                                                                            (I didn't need stitches -- just managed to apparently cut a bunch o' capillaries that took a while to stop bleeding. They put on a pressure bandage something like Carla's (http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/seaso...), but alas, I have no medics waiting in the wings of my kitchen.)

                                                                                                            Note to Jimmy Sears, if you find yourself starting a sentence, "I'm not making excuses, but," rewind, remove the "not," and proceed.

                                                                                                            Fun EC -- Wish we'd had more screen time to look back at all 9 previous seasons (would anyone else have remembered that "I'm not your b*tch, b*tch" was in the context of roast chicken?), but I guess we needed to save time for the burger cookoff.

                                                                                                            1. JuniorBalloon RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 09:44 AM

                                                                                                              I am probably in the minority, but am sad to see John go. The show just got a less interesting. He is a jerk, he is knowledegable, he is immature and there was something fascinating about watching him because he seemed so emaotionally raw and it was more than a bit out of his control. I found myself rooting for him to be his better self, so I'm sorry to see him go for my own entertainment and for the hope that he would do and be better.

                                                                                                              I'm also more than a bit bothered by the product placement. It seems more in your face this season and I don't like it. I realize it's a business, but if a restaurant puts too many flashing neon signs in their decor it will eventually drive people away. It makes me less excited\interested to see the next episode, next season.

                                                                                                              jb

                                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: JuniorBalloon
                                                                                                                John E. RE: JuniorBalloon Jan 3, 2013 11:02 AM

                                                                                                                Even though I found John Tesar to be frequently distasteful, I too wish he would have stayed a while longer. He showed some ability and it made the show a little more interesting. Now on the other hand, Josie's outbursts add nothing to the show in my opinion and I wish she would either be quiet or get the PPYKAG.

                                                                                                                As far as product placement goes, it doesn't really bother me. (Of course I've been in the advertising/PR business a long time). I wish they would have actually shown us the Bob Kramer knife that Micah won.

                                                                                                                1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                  roxlet RE: John E. Jan 3, 2013 11:03 AM

                                                                                                                  I was disappointed about that as well. I really wanted to see the knife.

                                                                                                                  1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                    mcf RE: roxlet Jan 3, 2013 07:09 PM

                                                                                                                    Hugh's blog on the subject of The Knife: "Padma says the knives cost $500 an inch. I am ordering a one-inch long knife for myself for my next birthday. It’s not how long it is, but rather how you use it. I will make tiny food that will bring you to tears of joy. "

                                                                                                                    Gotta love it. :-)

                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf
                                                                                                                      roxlet RE: mcf Jan 3, 2013 07:52 PM

                                                                                                                      Haha! Very amusing.

                                                                                                                2. re: JuniorBalloon
                                                                                                                  c
                                                                                                                  Christina D RE: JuniorBalloon Jan 3, 2013 02:12 PM

                                                                                                                  @JB: Your description of John is perfect and mimicks my feelings exactly. I was sad to see him go. Yes, he could be obnoxious and childish, but he could also be very sweet and genuine. Like you, I rooted for him "to be his better self". Unfortunately, he most certainly was not in his exit interview.

                                                                                                                  Speaking of obnoxious and childish, Josie and Josh can't go soon enough.

                                                                                                                  1. re: JuniorBalloon
                                                                                                                    t
                                                                                                                    tjinsf RE: JuniorBalloon Jan 4, 2013 03:00 AM

                                                                                                                    I wanted him to stay longer than say josie or josh because while he can be as annoying, he has cooking skills and he tried every time to win. He also had a better track record on the show than either of them. Oh well, he's opened his restaurant and it's getting great reviews while Josh is now a pastry chef.....

                                                                                                                    1. re: tjinsf
                                                                                                                      l
                                                                                                                      linus RE: tjinsf Jan 4, 2013 05:50 AM

                                                                                                                      maybe josh is a pastry chef because he likes making pastry. and i'm pretty sure it takes some skill to be a pastry chef.
                                                                                                                      someone should do a 'top chef' program that's all about desse...oh, never mind.

                                                                                                                    2. re: JuniorBalloon
                                                                                                                      Joanie RE: JuniorBalloon Jan 4, 2013 06:07 AM

                                                                                                                      I thought i was going to be the only person sorry to see John leave until I read this far down on the recap, there are a few of us. There's no denying his pickle logic was messed up, and this is the 2nd time he said "I'm not making excuses" but I was rooting for him. I felt like he was trying to be a better person, then he goes and ruins it with "I could have taken all the pickles".

                                                                                                                      But I'm sorry, I'm not a Lizzy fan. Her accent drives me up a wall (I know, she can't do anything about it) and there's nothing I particularly like about her. Surprised the rancid scallops didn't give her an immediate boot.

                                                                                                                      Which leads me to asking why they had 2 vs 3 people in the bottom, no one mentioned that did they? Why was that, just to have this special cook off? I personally didn't like it, they've got the quickfire, they've got the elimination, they've got last chance, and now they add another element (and am not looking forward to the "team" aspect of Proj Runway in a few weeks).

                                                                                                                      And I don't know if my mind is just turning to mush, but I don't remember Bart getting eliminated. Was this 2 weeks ago or did I skip an episode? The recap at the beginning didn't look familiar at all.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Joanie
                                                                                                                        LindaWhit RE: Joanie Jan 4, 2013 06:11 AM

                                                                                                                        Joanie - there was an episode on the night after Christmas, so you might have missed that one! I went looking for your LCK recap after Bart was booted, but never saw anything.

                                                                                                                        Here's the previous recap for Ep. 8:

                                                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/883622

                                                                                                                      2. re: JuniorBalloon
                                                                                                                        sal_acid RE: JuniorBalloon Jan 4, 2013 06:21 PM

                                                                                                                        I will miss him too. I've eaten his food and it was great. Immature? Who cares?

                                                                                                                      3. chicgail RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 10:27 AM

                                                                                                                        If it wasn't Josie, I'm glad it was John. He's not just an old man. He's a crotchety old man. Who thinks waaay too much of himself.

                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                        1. re: chicgail
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                                                                                                                          Leepa RE: chicgail Jan 4, 2013 10:10 AM

                                                                                                                          He was probably a young man who thought too much of himself about 30 years ago.

                                                                                                                        2. Withnail42 RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 10:58 AM

                                                                                                                          While I'm in no way sorry to see John go (I would have preferred Josie.). I do think he got a bum deal. True he served a badly cooked risotto. However I would imagine that Lizzie in a normal elimination, serving undercooked rancid food would have gone without too much debate.

                                                                                                                          That being said I like Lizzie, although knowingly choosing to serve seafood that has gone off, shows questionable judgement.

                                                                                                                          26 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                                            John E. RE: Withnail42 Jan 3, 2013 11:07 AM

                                                                                                                            You are probably correct in that if this were the norm, Lizzie likely would have been sent packing. But this EC was not set up that way. The contestants that had the bottom two dishes were going to have to participate in the cookoff. The only way John could have gotten a bum deal is if they decided to have the cookoff after seeing who was at the bottom. John could have avoided the cookoff by preparing better food in the EC.

                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                              j
                                                                                                                              jules127 RE: John E. Jan 3, 2013 11:28 AM

                                                                                                                              Where did she buy the scallops, was it WF? With all the product placement they usually show them jumping in the car (from the sponsor du jour) and making it a point to also show where they are shopping. I didn't notice this time, but also wasn't looking.

                                                                                                                              1. re: jules127
                                                                                                                                John E. RE: jules127 Jan 3, 2013 12:09 PM

                                                                                                                                I don't think it was Whole Foods. I looked to see what the name of the store was, but of course I can't recall it now.

                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                  JuniorBalloon RE: John E. Jan 3, 2013 12:49 PM

                                                                                                                                  It's called the Central Market. There are several in the area. They are like a downscale Whole Foods. Usually in slightly older, retrofitted buildings. They have a great selection of seafood, veggies and meats. Much larger than your avearge grocery store and on parallel with WF. I guess WF didn't want to pony up the product placement fee. If I had my choice I'd shop at Central market over WF, but there isn't one anyhwere close to my house.

                                                                                                                                  jb

                                                                                                                                  1. re: JuniorBalloon
                                                                                                                                    RUK RE: JuniorBalloon Jan 3, 2013 05:17 PM

                                                                                                                                    Yes, Central Market.
                                                                                                                                    And in general - I seem to remember the fellow behind the counter pushing these larger Scallops, maybe in retrospect there was a good reason he tried to unload them. Lizzie looked to me like she was a bit persuaded to buy these particular Scallops.
                                                                                                                                    One could imagine that once she started to try to sear them , she realized they were perhaps not of optimum quality. By then what was she supposed to do? Not finishing the dish? Hmm...

                                                                                                                                    1. re: RUK
                                                                                                                                      MsMaryMc RE: RUK Jan 3, 2013 07:17 PM

                                                                                                                                      Central Market is a part of a family-owned chain of five stores (three Central Markets, two Town & Country Markets) in the Seattle area. They have a pretty good reputation locally, and their seafood is usually great. I shop there whenever I'm up in that end of town.

                                                                                                                                      The Top Chef exposure (they've been there at least twice this season) had to be good for the company, until this episode--but all the talk about the not-so-fresh scallops is giving them a real black eye. If the guy behind the fish counter knew the scallops were past their prime, he would be INSANE to push them on a Top Chef contestant--that would be just asking for the coast-to-coast dissing that they're getting. So I hardly think he was doing it just to try and move them! If he did, he's probably looking for a new job today.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: MsMaryMc
                                                                                                                                        LindaWhit RE: MsMaryMc Jan 4, 2013 05:33 AM

                                                                                                                                        Has there been local public backlash against Central Market regarding the scallops?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                          MsMaryMc RE: LindaWhit Jan 4, 2013 10:36 AM

                                                                                                                                          I haven't see it anyplace but here, but I'm behind on the local food blogs.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: MsMaryMc
                                                                                                                                            LindaWhit RE: MsMaryMc Jan 4, 2013 10:44 AM

                                                                                                                                            Found this one (a pretty funny recap, overall!):

                                                                                                                                            http://www.seattlemet.com/eat-and-dri...

                                                                                                                                            "The judges stop reminiscing long enough to sample Sheldon’s carpaccio and choke down Lizzie’s scallops. Says Wolfgang Puck, “the quality of the scallops is really dubious…how would you say it in English?” The whole table responds, “Dubious!” in chorus. Apparently sketchy seafood transcends all language barriers. Everyone sniffs their plates and looks, well, dubious. I bet the folks at Central Market are really psyched to have their scallops disparaged on national television."

                                                                                                                                2. re: jules127
                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit RE: jules127 Jan 3, 2013 12:18 PM

                                                                                                                                  No, it doesn't seem to be Whole Foods. They've used a couple of places this season, I think.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jules127
                                                                                                                                    c
                                                                                                                                    Christina D RE: jules127 Jan 3, 2013 02:14 PM

                                                                                                                                    They probably didn't show the name of the market this time because of the dodgy scallops.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                    Withnail42 RE: John E. Jan 3, 2013 11:44 AM

                                                                                                                                    I saw the show once already. So well aware of how this EC worked.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                                                      John E. RE: Withnail42 Jan 3, 2013 12:11 PM

                                                                                                                                      Sorry. I wasn't really trying to be snarky. I just don't think John was in any way treated unfairly. They all play by the same rules, whatever they may be.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                        Withnail42 RE: John E. Jan 4, 2013 12:24 PM

                                                                                                                                        Cheers John E. no worries!

                                                                                                                                  3. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                                                    LindaWhit RE: Withnail42 Jan 3, 2013 11:43 AM

                                                                                                                                    Agreed. Josie would have been much more preferable, but her Kindle Fire gave her a much easier dish to "make healthy". And while Waxman said it was a generic roasted chicken in a standard restaurant, it obviously didn't suck as bad as Lizzie's scallops or John's risotto.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                      John E. RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 12:12 PM

                                                                                                                                      This might have been one of those ECs that worked better in theory than in reality.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: Withnail42
                                                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                                                      Siun RE: Withnail42 Jan 3, 2013 09:02 PM

                                                                                                                                      It was disturbing to see the fishmonger pushing those particular scallops - but Lizzie knew they were off when she opened the package to begin searing them - she mentions that they do not smell good then. She then also has trouble searing them because of the water content ... all around not good. And when they reached the table, the chefs smelled them so it was not simply that they did not sear - definitely seems like she should have said sorry, could not serve them ... though I do like her and am glad she's staying.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Siun
                                                                                                                                        chicgail RE: Siun Jan 4, 2013 04:13 AM

                                                                                                                                        This is pure speculation, but it is possible that the bad scallops were placed there by the producers and the fishmonger encouraged to push them. It's not that farfetched since it happened in the Chicago season at Rick Tramunto's restaurant when Spike fell for it as noted above.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: chicgail
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                                                                                                                                          latindancer RE: chicgail Jan 4, 2013 07:10 AM

                                                                                                                                          <possible that the bad scallops were placed there>

                                                                                                                                          Was it conclusive and firmly established that the scallops were bad or was it just Lizzie's excuse for not getting a good sear?
                                                                                                                                          I didn't hear anyone other than Lizzie talk about the problem.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: latindancer
                                                                                                                                            roxlet RE: latindancer Jan 4, 2013 07:22 AM

                                                                                                                                            I'm pretty sure there was some nose-wrinkling from the judges when Lizzie's scallops were placed in front of them. They talked about how it would have been better for her to leave the scallops off and just plate a salad.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                                                              d
                                                                                                                                              DGresh RE: roxlet Jan 4, 2013 07:37 AM

                                                                                                                                              Yes I believe that Wolfgang used the term "dubious"

                                                                                                                                              1. re: DGresh
                                                                                                                                                LindaWhit RE: DGresh Jan 4, 2013 08:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                And Wylie (as I noted in my OP) took a very long, deep sniff of the scallops, implying that he could tell they were slightly off.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: latindancer
                                                                                                                                              C. Hamster RE: latindancer Jan 4, 2013 09:19 AM

                                                                                                                                              I believe she said they were bad before she cooked them

                                                                                                                                              1. re: C. Hamster
                                                                                                                                                LurkerDan RE: C. Hamster Jan 4, 2013 09:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                SHe did, though people here are refering to them as "rancid" which seems a stretch. I think they were likely just not good quality, not spoiled.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: LurkerDan
                                                                                                                                                  TraderJoe RE: LurkerDan Jan 4, 2013 11:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                  The scallops were clearly rancid or well on their way. The cardinal sin that was made was not smelling or checking them at the market and then serving a product she knew was bad instead of going with an alternative.
                                                                                                                                                  The question is was this a deliberate set up or not.
                                                                                                                                                  This would not be the first time there's been a scallop set up. Remember Spike and da frozen scallops @ Tramontia?
                                                                                                                                                  I just keep hearing fahhhhhbio......It's Top Chef, Not top Scallop!
                                                                                                                                                  LOL

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: TraderJoe
                                                                                                                                                    chowser RE: TraderJoe Jan 4, 2013 01:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                    I wondered if they went off overnight? We don't know what the time lapse was but I've bought seafood only to find the next day that it doesn't smell right when it seemed fine the day I bought it. Serving a bad product--what was she thinking? That they would not notice? I wonder if she worried that they'd get sick?

                                                                                                                                      2. C. Hamster RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 12:02 PM

                                                                                                                                        I was surprised but satisfied to see *JIMMY SEARS* get sent packing.

                                                                                                                                        I dont recall when they went shoppping for their ingredients. They day they cooked or the day before?

                                                                                                                                        Because if Lizzie bought thos scallops that day and an hour or two later they'd gone bad, then they were probably off when she bought them. And, if thats the case, she probably should have gone home.

                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: C. Hamster
                                                                                                                                          j
                                                                                                                                          jeanmarieok RE: C. Hamster Jan 4, 2013 06:05 AM

                                                                                                                                          LOL on the Jimmy Sears comment. I wonder if it's true? Or are there a half dozen 'Jimmy Sears' running around?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: jeanmarieok
                                                                                                                                            LindaWhit RE: jeanmarieok Jan 4, 2013 06:06 AM

                                                                                                                                            It's true. John Tesar is Jimmy Sears. Documented awhile back.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                              fame da lupo RE: LindaWhit Jan 4, 2013 04:08 PM

                                                                                                                                              He tells us this himself in ep. 9.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: fame da lupo
                                                                                                                                                LindaWhit RE: fame da lupo Jan 4, 2013 04:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                Yes. I KNOW. I'm responding to jeanmarieok's query if it's true that Tesar is THE "Jimmy Sears" in Kitchen Confidential. But as I said - it was revealed awhile back that it was Tesar to whom Bourdain was referencing.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                  fame da lupo RE: LindaWhit Jan 5, 2013 09:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Not THE Jimmy Sears?!?

                                                                                                                                        2. LindaWhit RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 12:21 PM

                                                                                                                                          Tom takes John Tesar to task in his blog about the pickles and claiming he could have won by keeping them all (top of Page 3 of his blog).

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

                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                            chicgail RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 03:27 PM

                                                                                                                                            I wish I could read those blogs with a "single page" option. Just saying.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: chicgail
                                                                                                                                              LindaWhit RE: chicgail Jan 3, 2013 03:35 PM

                                                                                                                                              It would be a lot easier.

                                                                                                                                          2. chowser RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 01:26 PM

                                                                                                                                            John bragging about "sharing" the pickles is like a skater bragging about not having her competitors knee smashed. Really, it's what you're SUPPOSED to do, it's not an act of sainthood, as much as you keep pantomining it out. And, his whining about the flat pan? Just as Lizzie knew her scallops were bad and she shouldn't have served them, he knew his pans weren't right and if he knew he couldn't make good risotto in them, then don't. I don't think, as others have pointed out, that it matters that much.

                                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                              chicgail RE: chowser Jan 3, 2013 03:29 PM

                                                                                                                                              And why would he not want to win against someone who wasn't at a disadvantage? What would that have said about his win? Or his cooking? Real Top Chefs would never pull that stuff. He's a very small man.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: chicgail
                                                                                                                                                chowser RE: chicgail Jan 3, 2013 05:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                "He's a very small man."

                                                                                                                                                Yeah, and in his mind, he's elevated himself because he didn't play mean. It says a lot about a person. Remember in TCM when they shared ingredients they'd made? John is obviously more on the level of Penny from Food Network, than a real chef.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                  l
                                                                                                                                                  linus RE: chowser Jan 3, 2013 09:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                  it's clear john was a chef before top chef, before bravo, and before chowhound.
                                                                                                                                                  and he remains one today.
                                                                                                                                                  doubtful anything that happens on a t.v. show is going to affect that.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linus
                                                                                                                                                    chicgail RE: linus Jan 4, 2013 04:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                    Indeed, << john was a chef before top chef, before bravo, and before chowhound. and he remains one today.>>

                                                                                                                                                    He is also a very small man, was a very small man before Top Chef, before Bravo and before Chowhound and he remains one today.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chicgail
                                                                                                                                                      l
                                                                                                                                                      linus RE: chicgail Jan 4, 2013 05:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                      that's certainly possible.
                                                                                                                                                      myself, i'm not making that call on how someone acts on a television show.
                                                                                                                                                      and, myself, it doesn't affect how i would enjoy the food in front of me.
                                                                                                                                                      <edit>
                                                                                                                                                      reading back, i strayed off topic here. what i meant was, the terms "top chef" and "true top chef" are not important to me. my point was merely the guy's a chef.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                h
                                                                                                                                                Hobbert RE: chowser Jan 4, 2013 01:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                I'd like to see the dish he was going to make with that big jar of pickles. That would be...interesting.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Hobbert
                                                                                                                                                  chowser RE: Hobbert Jan 4, 2013 01:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                  A pickleburger! I wonder what would have happened if he'd kept the pickles (under his arm as he mimed or not) and not shared and Lizza still produced the better burger and explained why she had no pickles. I would have liked to see him play dirty and still lose. John might deserve his title--what was it, most hated chef in Dallas?

                                                                                                                                              3. LindaWhit RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 04:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                I was checking out the videos @ Bravo's TC site, and it seems Padma took the 9 chefs out to see Nathan Myhrvold's Modernist Cuisine "kitchen". He hosted them for a 22-course meal (which sounds long, but it ended up being a course every 6 minutes, 48 seconds).

                                                                                                                                                The video:

                                                                                                                                                http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/season-10/videos/the-modernist-cuisine-lab

                                                                                                                                                And a mini-blog from Modernist Cuisine:

                                                                                                                                                http://modernistcuisine.com/2013/01/t...

                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                  Phaedrus RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 05:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                  That is so cool. I would love to try out some of those ideas.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                                                                    Siun RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 09:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for pointing to that - I would have missed it and it was wonderful to see his lab!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                      t
                                                                                                                                                      tjinsf RE: LindaWhit Jan 4, 2013 03:04 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Lucky Bastards. I would love to go to his lab.

                                                                                                                                                    2. LindaWhit RE: LindaWhit Jan 3, 2013 05:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                      And another great video - Bob Kramer shows how he makes his knives. Fascinating.

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

                                                                                                                                                      1. coney with everything RE: LindaWhit Jan 4, 2013 11:58 AM

                                                                                                                                                        I know I've posted the link to the Eater recap before, but it tickles me so much I have to do it again :)

                                                                                                                                                        http://eater.com/archives/2013/01/03/...

                                                                                                                                                        13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: coney with everything
                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit RE: coney with everything Jan 4, 2013 12:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                          "Josie cuts herself, and unfortunately she both disqualifies herself and survives the injury. "

                                                                                                                                                          :-D :-D :-D

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                            mcf RE: LindaWhit Jan 4, 2013 02:42 PM

                                                                                                                                                            Can we get an AMEN??

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                              gaffk RE: LindaWhit Jan 4, 2013 04:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                              I was so wishing that Josie knicking herself would get her eliminated completely, and not just from the QF.

                                                                                                                                                              This season is so much better than last, but can we please get rid of this irritant.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gaffk
                                                                                                                                                                LindaWhit RE: gaffk Jan 4, 2013 04:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Well, previews show her doing her song and dance routine for the judges at Bite of Seattle, and Tom none too happy about it. So maybe, just maybe....

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                  gaffk RE: LindaWhit Jan 4, 2013 05:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  I'll keep my fingers crossed. But I'm afraid that's just the elves playing with us.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gaffk
                                                                                                                                                                    LindaWhit RE: gaffk Jan 4, 2013 06:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Evil bastids, those elves.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                John E. RE: LindaWhit Jan 4, 2013 05:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                It might have been a bit over the top to hope she would have nicked an artery ; )

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                  gaffk RE: John E. Jan 4, 2013 05:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  So am I a bad person for wishing the knife flew out of her hands and severed her vocal cord?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gaffk
                                                                                                                                                                    LindaWhit RE: gaffk Jan 4, 2013 06:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    How about laryngitis?

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                    LindaWhit RE: John E. Jan 4, 2013 06:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Agreed. Definitely over the top. But wishing she had done something to knock herself out of the competition? I'll wish that any day of the week. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: coney with everything
                                                                                                                                                                  chowser RE: coney with everything Jan 4, 2013 02:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  I was going to post some funny quotes but realized there were too many! I love the last shot of John holding the imaginary pickles.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                                                    c
                                                                                                                                                                    cwdonald RE: chowser Jan 4, 2013 03:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Great image.. I wish he had done this and had been thrown off the show for bad behavior rather than mediocre cooking.. the smugness that he exhibited in the off camera shots actually may have been what caused the scallops to go rancid.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: coney with everything
                                                                                                                                                                    t
                                                                                                                                                                    tjinsf RE: coney with everything Jan 4, 2013 03:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    this week's recap was hilarious.

                                                                                                                                                                  3. w
                                                                                                                                                                    wincountrygirl RE: LindaWhit Jan 5, 2013 08:47 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    I laughed so hard at this Eater blog I'm crying!

                                                                                                                                                                    http://eater.com/archives/2013/01/03/...

                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: wincountrygirl
                                                                                                                                                                      j
                                                                                                                                                                      jujuthomas RE: wincountrygirl Jan 7, 2013 06:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      that blog is great.
                                                                                                                                                                      I totally enjoyed this episode. I really wanted to see the knife Micah won... I suppose it would have been bad form for him to pull it out and wave it around. :)

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jujuthomas
                                                                                                                                                                        cowboyardee RE: jujuthomas Jan 7, 2013 12:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Bob Kramer has a fairly distinctive style, and most of his knives tend to fit in that style, with variations in the damascus pattern (he also does non-damascus knives, though) and the handle. I'd wager that they gave away one of his 8 inch damascus chef knives.

                                                                                                                                                                        http://kramerknives.com/auctions/gall...

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                                                                                                          j
                                                                                                                                                                          jujuthomas RE: cowboyardee Jan 7, 2013 12:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          thanks for the link, those are gorgeous!

                                                                                                                                                                    2. John E. RE: LindaWhit Jan 9, 2013 06:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      I don't recall if this has been mentioned (although after 200+ replies it probably has been mentioned) but I thought the best line of this episode was said by Wolfgang Puck. The first thing he said at the final judging was him asking John if he found the right pans.

                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.
                                                                                                                                                                        LindaWhit RE: John E. Jan 9, 2013 08:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Actually, I'm not sure if it was said, so nice remembering. :-)

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