Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Top Chef 4.13

Wherein the semi-final episode. I'm unclear if they're cutting one or two chefs tonight. I've heard that each of the past seasons have been different. There are also rumors and speculations that for next week's finals, the deknifed chefs will be brought back to sous for the finalists.

Previously on So Quoted:
  1. Episode 12. See this one for the last round of charts.
  2. Episode 11. No commentary.
  3. Time waster: Top Chef Word Clouds
  4. Episode 10. Has the show done anything to portray her in a nonnegative light? Andrew gets the twitchy edit, Dale gets the asshole edit, Spike is the closest to a villain edit, and Lisa is just complaining and making excuses.
  5. Episode 9. I'm still having a hard time giving any credence to Antonia's ascendance. She won the tasting quickfire and the $10 family meal challenge. While nice, these are not the type of credentials that lead me to believe she has what it takes to win.
  6. Episode 8 Early favorite, Mark, cooked a plate of crap, Stephanie is spiraling, and Lisa is ready to knife someone. Guessing Lisa goes home with an attitude. Nooooo! It's Mark! I'm beginning to hate this show. Further thoughts...probably my least favorite episode. Nikki and Antonia, having cornered the market on unimpressive dishes, score points on a challenge designed to create unimpressive dishes.
  7. Episode 7. For a moment I thought we'd get the shock of the series with Stephanie getting the blame and the axe. Whew, that was close. Spike and Nikki are the only ones with fewer top finishes than Jennifer.
  8. Episode 6. Richard and Stephanie are easily my two favorite and seem to be playing at a different level than the other chefs.
  9. Episode 5. No commentary.
  10. Charting Top Chef. My first top 4: Richard, Stephanie, Mark, Andrew. With...Dale Talde is my darkhorse, if only because the editing hasn't given him much of opportunity to do anything but whine.

Interview with Stephanie Izard. Here's two questions:
C: Of the three other finalists, who would you say was your main competition?

SI: Probably Richard. He has a unique way of cooking and approaching food that I find neat to be around and watch. I'd love to pick his brain.

C: Which chefs do you think should have been in the top four?

SI: Dale or Jen. My predictions for the final four were me, Richard, Antonia and Dale. Unfortunately, Dale let his issues with Lisa get the better of him. It was tough to watch because I've known him for a long time and he's a great chef. I just had the opportunity to visit San Francisco and eat at Jen's restaurant. The food was amazing; she's such a talented cook.

Looks like tonight they're working with a pig. Wonder if Blais will work with the pork belly. Here's one of my favorite dishes of his:
Miso Barbeque Pork Belly
Marinated with miso and cooked sous vide 72 hrs, eggplant marmalade, tomato marmalade, honey sauce & barbeque sauce

I would have been perfectly happy ending with the aroma dome, then we get this exquisite pork belly. I'm thinking I've discovered my ultimate comfort food. This would be the perfect food for a frozen Minnesota day...worked pretty well for a hot Spring day in Atlanta, so no complaints. Paired wonderfully with both the eggplant marmalade and the tomato marmalade. Be sure to drag the eggplant through the honey. Barbeque sauce was a bit sweet for my taste, but that's me.

Just great, I'm in my happy place now.

And I wrote this two years ago about Richard Blais:
Overall, a fun guy who loves food and loves talking about food. In addition to ICA, he'll appear on an episode of Sugar Rush and he'll be in Food and Wine later this summer. Definately in promotional mode, said he'd love to do more TV. He's very high energy and has a self-deprecating humor that would probably go over great on television. His enthusiasm for food reminded me a lot of the late Jamie Shannon of Commander's Palace and Turner South's Off The Menu.


...It's show time, folks!


Judge's table: As usual, Richard and Stephanie were excellent so let's rip apart the other two.

Antonia = unrefined and undercooked
Lisa = good ideas, short on execution

Thought it was pretty obvious Antonia was going home. Lisa was just competent enough to get by. Or in the immortal words of Richard:
You won the fucking bronze medal. Congratulations. There you go.

Having met Richard a few times and watching him on the show, I wonder if he subscribes to the thoughts behind this article: Caring for Your Introvert. I've threatened to print that out and hand it to all The Wife's relatives. So I get to stay home a lot. The awkward high fives, uncomfortable hugs (NO TOUCHING!), refusing to join in the group dancing. Yeah, that all sounds familiar. This one is for you:

The sous chefs speak at the judges table. What's interesting is that Dale talks about worrying about the pork belly all night. My guess is that once the prep time had expired, there was still other shots and filming the crew had to do and during this someone realized an entire pan of meat had been left out. Or maybe it was just discovered while cleaning the kitchen. Leading to two three additional thoughts:
  1. This explains the great pan shot from the backs of the chefs to the forgotten meat as they walk out the door was most likely staged.
  2. Enhanced competition integrity—reinforces that when time is up, that's it. Good for the show.
  3. If they knew about it the day before, then Stephanie and Dale had a lot more time to brainstorm a new dish. Not meant to diminish the horror of losing a main dish and having to create a new one without being able to buy new ingredients; but it might have lessened the stress for them. A tiny bit.


Blogger reader_iam said...

SI: Dale or Jen.

Interesting that she mentions Jen as well as Dale. Recall my--and your--previous references, but in my case, Jen's the one who struck me as opposed to, say, Mark--and others. Dale, of course, stand outs, too--but you know what? He actually got more chance to strut and demonstrate his stuff, and what, instead, did he do? Which leads to ...

My predictions for the final four were me, Richard, Antonia and Dale. Unfortunately, Dale let his issues with Lisa get the better of him.

Well, he'd been spoiling for/about that, and well, well before the final two episodes in which he appeared.

It was tough to watch because I've known him for a long time and he's a great chef.

I'll bet! And also, I'll bet.

I just had the opportunity to visit San Francisco and eat at Jen's restaurant. The food was amazing; she's such a talented cook.

Uh-huh. Interesting how other chef contestants (not just Stephanie, unless I recall incorrectly) think that. We, of course, didn't get the opportunity to explore that more, due to how the judging went, and when--and, above all, an interesting rules change which didn't obtain later, and which benefited a particular person who later someone called someone ELSE out about now following rules. A-freakin'-hem.

Looking forward to tomorrow night! I'll be checking backi.

6/04/2008 01:54:00 AM  
Blogger reader_iam said...

BABE! Wish you already had a thread going! The thought passed through my mind earlier but now...ohmigosh...the freakin' left-out-over-night pork!

And the incredible way in which Stephanie dealt, and then is dealing, with it!

I am so "Wow!", just now;--and also, crossing fingers and even a toe or two.

6/04/2008 10:31:00 PM  
Blogger reader_iam said...

Oh, my. And how classy was Stephanie at the judges' table!

Way to go, Richard!

But I must say, referring back to something I said about Richard a couple-few weeks back (I've los track), I'd shovel shit with a spoon for Stephanie, too. I'd work for either of them, in a heartbeat. Jeez, wish I were more like them both.

6/04/2008 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

I thnik I said early today at that if given the choice Stephanie would pick Dale. Nice to see him come up with the saving idea.

Probably why I like Dale is that I can be a lot like him. That look he gave before the relay race -- turning away with bug-eyed rage and frustration -- yeah, I've done that.

6/04/2008 11:17:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

I would've thought Stephanie would've paired Andrew with Richard. But there's a video extra at Bravo from last week's show where Spike talks about bonding with Richard now that Dale is out of the house. Very interesting and also lets on there was more going on in the house. Spike and Richard did a ice cream demo with dry ice. I'm wondering if there weren't all sorts of chef games going on.

Also, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Stephanie and Richard discussed sous chef strategy. Now I'm curious if he'd had the first choice would he have taken Dale or Spike?

6/04/2008 11:25:00 PM  
Blogger bill said...

"Extroverts have little or no grasp of introversion. They assume that company, especially their own, is always welcome. They cannot imagine why someone would need to be alone; indeed, they often take umbrage at the suggestion. As often as I have tried to explain the matter to extroverts, I have never sensed that any of them really understood. They listen for a moment and then go back to barking and yipping."

6/04/2008 11:42:00 PM  
Blogger reader_iam said...

Wait--wait. I thought I was the one in our little whatever-you'd-called it over the past couple-so years ago who had the--whatever--to reference Leo Sayers and this particular song. (Think I did it early on, and then, yo, again, even. Resulting in some, shall I say, reaction. At least I think.) Not to mention it's an ongoing joke between DH and me.

Now I'm completely a-fuddle (yeah, I know, not a word; and so what?): I can't even bring myself to comment on Top Chef now. Not sure if I'm one of the yipping or the bug-eyed. Probably both (arguably the worst of the obvious four possible combos).

Well, so it goes.

6/05/2008 01:04:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

reader_iam, there's this.

6/05/2008 07:06:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

At this moment I am the #1 google search for foie gras milkshake. I started the day in 4th or 5th position.


6/05/2008 09:36:00 PM  
Blogger reader_iam said...

Woo-hoo! You go, guy. 'Cause, after all, you knew it--the foie gras milkshake--when ...

... and, even managed to convince my vegetarian husband that if ever I got the chance, I absolutely OUGHT try it.

(BTW, DH has become sold on Richard, and--assuming that despite that brilliantly **perplexing** thing having to do with flavoring tofu with meat product, a Richard restaurant could accommodate a veg, and with some flair--urges a Blais restaurant as a destination of choice, if and when that becomes possible, and sooner rather than later."

6/06/2008 01:11:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

Vegetarian is not a problem. He's very capable with the nonanimal food stuffs. Back at Element, given a day or two of notice, he'd put together an entire tasting menu of vegetarian plates. I think I've read positive report for Home from vegetarians at the AtlantaCuisine forum. I don't see a veggie main course on the menu, but the menu is old and has probably changed. Still, soup, salad, and the warm mushrooms (without the duck egg)would be a good meal; plus the family style vegetables you'd get.

And for Flip, the gourmet burger joint that's opening later this summer or fall, he's reported as saying he wants to make the best veggie burger ever. So there's that to look forward to.

6/06/2008 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger bill said...

new results

foie gras milkshake = 3rd
"foie gras milkshake" = 1st
foie gras milk shake = 1st

6/06/2008 08:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Jake said...

so i just heard about this awesome dinner and reception with stephanie in chicago! personally i think steph deserves to win based on not only her food, but also her overall persona. just thought i'd share the details with anyone who is interested in meeting a top chef!



The Drawing Room (937 N. Rush St.; 773-276-7582) engineered quite a coup by snagging Stephanie Izard of "Top Chef: Chicago" to conduct a plate-by-plate cook-off with Drawing Room chef Nick Lacasse on June 15.

Izard has since reached the finals (and could win the whole thing on June 11), and the dinner sold out minutes after last Friday's announcement.

Demand has been so high, in fact, that the Drawing Room has added a VIP reception following the dinner, in which Izard will mix, mingle and dish -- and present a couple of specially designed cocktails.

The reception starts at 9 p.m., the cost is $40, and you probably shouldn't wait too long to pick up the phone.

6/09/2008 02:12:00 PM  

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