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"Top Chef" (2006-) Reality Chef-Competition Series on Bravo - Now in Season 16

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I don't know if I was imagining it, but I thought Hung picked shrimp along with his chilean sea bass so no one else could use those proteins. But later, there was no mention of shrimp in Hung's dish, and Dale had shrimp in his dish.

You didn't imagine it. I caught that too, but hadn't noticed that he did not use the shrimp. I also thought that perhaps it was just the main protein that could not be duplicated, since Dale had shrimp as his side.

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I was happy that CJ was the one who was shown the door in this episode. because I don't think he was as strong a cook as most of the remaining competitors & I thought he came across as rather calculating & dismissive (although that may have been the editing). I like Dale & Hung for the final 2, & all of the remaining competitors have made dishes that I would love to try...

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After last night's episode, Hung looks to be the one to beat. I'm still rooting for Casey though- of the final four, I like her attitude to cooking best. Plus, she's hot!

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Padma seems to be protecting Sara. She seemed impatient and annoyed with Colicchio when he mentioned the lack of flavor in Sara's couscous.
Well, so much for that statement :angry:

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People are talking about Casey being "hot" (rather, "not unattractive") as if the way that she looks has anything to do with her ability to win the competition. What is up with that? Let's face it, folks: the hottest thing on last night's episode was Brian's shirt during the interviews in the last half of the show. That is, if you are into shirts that are Bedazzled.

Bedazzled clothing is never okay, and neither is green mashed-vegetable-stuff. His dish was completely unappetizing!

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I think Hung's classical technique coupled with the competition taking place at FCI and the judges being classically trained were the deciding factors last night. I'm sure there is a lot lost in editing but it seemed like Casey's dish was equal to his based on the comments of taste, presentation etc. If anything it came across to me that because she used a chicken instead of an old rooster and calling it coq au vin she lost points in the eyes of the judges (esp. with Soltner and Colicchio)...seems a little unfair to me.

so...I think it will really come down to what is the task of the final and who is doing the judging.

As to who is hot on the show...Casey is very cute...Padma is hot. :angry:

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Hung's classical technique...
Not sure I agree with Hung's lispy account of food history. Having consulted a cherished library of such “Classic” literature as L'almanach des Gourmands(1803), Manuel de La Bonne Cuisine (1873), L'art Culinaire Français (1950), L'art Culinaire Moderne (1957), Larousse Gastronomique (1961), and Notes From a Dirty Old Man (1969), there is no “Classical” mention of sous-vide. Maybe in Ron Burgundy's library there is. The earliest recorded history of baggie cooking is in 1974 when George Pralus recommended to the Troisgros Bros that poaching their foie gras in un sac would reduce the weight loss from 40% to 5%.

While 1974 spoiled us with Loggins and Messina's live “Stage” album and Hustler magazine's inaugural “women's genitals” issue, the 1970's don't necessarily qualify as “Classic”, despite what some 30somethings may say. French cuisine began some 550 years before the births of Messrs Loggins, Messina, Flynt and almost every other minstrel or smut pioneer whose vintage records & flics oozed what many misassociate with “Classic”. The birth of vacuum cooking (which has it proper time and place) occurred during an era most identify as Nouvelle Cuisine, a “healthier, lighter” vision by Messrs Bocuse, Verge, Guerard and later L'Oiseau of the Haute Cuisine (Classic) attributed to Messrs Point and Escoffier (he developed the “kitchen brigade” concept, kind of like the one they have at Guy Savoy) whose codifying techniques were based on the premier progenitor of French culinary showmanship: Carême.

Whole poached chicken in a rich, butter mounted or roux based sauce, with fluted mushrooms, turned vegetable, aspic fleurs de lys and pommes dauphines...that's classic. Chicken cooked in plastic.... a bleh, soulless, novelty execution you can perform while watching the show.

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The earliest recorded history of baggie cooking is in 1974 when George Pralus recommended to the Troisgros Bros that poaching their foie gras in un sac would reduce the weight loss from 40% to 5%.

I found this:

Boil-in-Bag Beginnings

Kapak began converting in 1961. "My father, Harry Bell, and Benjamin Kaplan started the company," explains Bell. "At first, the two worked under a licensing agreement with the 3M company to use the name ScotchPak."

Bell says that in 1957 3M developed ScotchPak, a polyester and extrusion PE (polyethylene) film, but 3M wasn't exactly sure what to do with it. "It literally sat on the shelf for four years until my father and Ben got involved with it. They figured that 3M was going to be capable of creating the rollstock, and Kapak was developed with the idea of becoming the first converter of that rollstock. Our first machine originally was a G.T. Sheldahl & Co. poly-bag machine. We retrofitted it and turned it into the very first pouchmaking machine. That's how the boil-in-bag application began."

Bell continues: "Kapak had to go out and educate everybody what boil-in-bag was all about. We did that through the food processors, companies like Green Giant, Sara Lee, and Stouffer's. Then they introduced their lines of boil-in-bag frozen food products to consumers."

Bell says Kapak kept at the boil-in-bag commodity, but soon after other companies wandered into the marketplace with a new methodology--the form/fill/seal approach. "It worked very well in a three-side-seal application for frozen entrees," he notes.

Go here for the full (rather boring, tangential) article.

Cheers,

Rocks.

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Haven't the french been cooking in pig's bladders for quite a while now? I think that sous vide in a temperature controlled water with a vacuum sealed bag is just the evolution of pig bladder cooking.

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Haven't the french been cooking in pig's bladders for quite a while now? I think that sous vide in a temperature controlled water with a vacuum sealed bag is just the evolution of pig bladder cooking.

It's quite a bit older than that. Apicius (prob 1st C. CE.) lists a recipe for boiled stuffed pig's paunch (recipe 285 "ventrem porcinum", Lib. VII rec VII).

Dickson-Wright traces the haggis to its earliest known mention in Aristophanes' The Clouds (423 BC, see lines 557+), although that dish appears to have been roasted, not boiled. Other forms of sausage are mentioned in even earlier texts.

But isn't a defining characteristic of sous vide the use of precise sub-boiling temperatures? There's a lot more to that than just boil-in-a-bag.

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I think Hung's classical technique...blah, blah, blah

For the record this reference was meant to be that of the contestants Hung seems to have the most experience in classic french cuisine and technique (ie: went to CIA works at Guy Savoy) compared to the other contestants...thus giving him an edge in this particular competition.

Not a reference to his use of sous-vide.

Please return to your boil in bag conversation. Thank you.

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I endorse cookery within organic matter such as bladders over synthetic. As for sub-boiling, confits and poaches are executed below boiling temperatures, short of longer than that, they are fried or boiled, suitable for an Englishman's crooked palate. The premise of sous-vide slight-of-hand is that the impervious surrounding boundary (plastic) prevents the diffusion of flavors and moisture which would otherwise dilute savor and impart dryness. If one were to cook a red meat in a container barely larger within properly flavored and seasoned liquid at a modest 135F, the final protein, when sliced, will have lost minimal juices and offer the appearance of corresponding “doneness” throughout, comparable to sous-vide results. Beef shortribs cooked in a combination heat/steam oven under the same sous-vide principles of moisture/temp control will yield a rosy meat, though cooked through entirely...a handful of which may be sent back by wary laydiners as mid-raw.

The romantic human element of cooking in nudged aside with lazy, riskless industrial techniques such as sous-vide. A craftsman's worth should be determined on technique (mastery) rather than a technique (method) and the ability for a conscious, thinking body to reproduce as close to the same repeatedly despite varying product, environment, circumstances, whathaveyous. I prefer the charming nuances of hand craft over the sterile, factory uniformity; the same human element that draws us to consistently reliable and unique musical, athletic or theatrical entertainment.

Apicius
Marcus Gavius Apicius. Whew. The Baron of bon vivants. Word on the via is that he had spent nearly the equivalent of $1.5 million on food and chose to poison himself rather than subsist on his remaining 100,000 gold pieces. Then there is the toppest of tippy top-shelf hosting and whimsical presentation; an awed hush for Trimalchio from Petronious's original sausage party - Satyricon:
...there are dormice, seasoned with honey and poppyseed, supported on bridges, and smoking sausages on a silver grill with plums and pomegranate seeds below to imitate coals...

...A basket is brought in contain a wooden hen with pea-hen's eggs under it. Everyone takes up his 8 oz silver spoon and cracks the eggs which are made of pastry. Encolpius detects an embryo inside and nearly throws it away...he searches the pastry shell and finds a figpecker swimming in yolk of egg, flavored with pepper.

...A deep circular tray with the twelve signs of the zodiac, appropriate food placed over each...

...A server carries in the boar which Trimalchio announces is not gutted. The cook says he has forgotten, and is stripped immediatel, ready for a good whipping. Everyone pleads and instead he slices open the boar's belly and out come sausages and blood puddings...

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The romantic human element of cooking in nudged aside with lazy, riskless industrial techniques such as sous-vide. A craftsman's worth should be determined on technique (mastery) rather than a technique (method) and the ability for a conscious, thinking body to reproduce as close to the same repeatedly despite varying product, environment, circumstances, whathaveyous. I prefer the charming nuances of hand craft over the sterile, factory uniformity; the same human element that draws us to consistently reliable and unique musical, athletic or theatrical entertainment.

I appreciate this preference, and in most cases share it, but are you certain this is, in fact, disdain for an inferior shortcut and not simply a fear of any cooking technique not invented or refined in 19th century France?

I've had a fair number of sous vide dishes, but have prepared precisely none, and as such I'm not sure I feel comfortable making any judgment as to whether it's superior/inferior/merely easier when compared to similar, more classic techniques. But if sous vide can produce similar results with the only difference being that it's idiotproof, how does this undercut its value as a technique? Why is it not simply another tool, as capable as any other of being used or abused?

If a technique (method) that bypasses technique (mastery) is the devil, then why not raze the world's kitchens and simply supply our master chefs with bonfires and sharpened sticks?

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I appreciate this preference, and in most cases share it, but are you certain this is, in fact, disdain for an inferior shortcut and not simply a fear of any cooking technique not invented or refined in 19th century France?

I've had a fair number of sous vide dishes, but have prepared precisely none, and as such I'm not sure I feel comfortable making any judgment as to whether it's superior/inferior/merely easier when compared to similar, more classic techniques. But if sous vide can produce similar results with the only difference being that it's idiotproof, how does this undercut its value as a technique? Why is it not simply another tool, as capable as any other of being used or abused?

If a technique (method) that bypasses technique (mastery) is the devil, then why not raze the world's kitchens and simply supply our master chefs with bonfires and sharpened sticks?

AMEN! Screw the technique, so long as it is not unsafe - all I care about are the results!

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AMEN! Screw the technique, so long as it is not unsafe - all I care about are the results!
Ahem, the New York City Department of Health has yet to bless the virtues of vacuum cookery due to paranoid fantasies of botulism and listeria being bred if the bags are improperly vacuumed and that the cooking temperatures are not high enough to kill said harmful bacteria.

I prefer the craftsmanship of a 17 ruby pocket watch over a quartz Casio, even if the rubber wrist-ticker keeps more consistent time and you can jog with it. Necessities, comestible or material, can be distilled down to a query of taste and an appreciation of origins, labor, history and pride...or at the very least anecdotes that sift out shallow girls at parties if you have the courage to talk to any. Perhaps it is nostalgia for a rumored time when presidents wrote their own speeches, passersby said hello and someone in the room knew how to sew a button. The loss of telegraph manufacturers for humanity is negligible and an inevitable consequence of modernization, but since the proliferation of cellular telephones, who remembers their best friends' numbers today like they did growing up. Buddies & horns will likely exist for the rest of our terrestrial lives but certain fundamental operations are crippled by the more faster and streamlined evolution of what “functions” and “functioning things” require of us.

I know a dude (don't know his phone number, alas) who once took a peek behind the the smoke and mirrors of a reputable avant-guard southern kitchen. Lots of chemicals, gizmos, doodads and an eager bunch of aproned zealots who thought they were doing skateboard acrobatics over the cutting edge of cookery and back. The tuna, like many other vegetable and proteins, was, like, cooked in the sous-vide (which they allegedly regarded as “awesome”) for a substantial period of time and served within a close neighborhood of rare. On that particular night, a customer requested their tuna cooked somewhere further towards the outskirts of well. The cook paused and quickly calculated that the tuna would need 2 or 3 more hours in the circulating-cappuccino-warmer. After consulting a colleague, metal pan was eventually brought to flame and the tuna was efficiently hammered...

I do not entirely dismiss vacuum cookery nor fear its immediate pinko proliferation, but feel that traditional methods of fire & steel provide more satisfaction to epicureans than warm -n- plastic, much like driving a standard transmission feels better than an automatic or how Ms. Cashion's hand writing a menu with a Waterman elicits more joy than tickling the qwerty.

Thank you for the symposium, but sous-vide has sucked me dry and my fingers are chafed.

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I prefer the craftsmanship of a 17 ruby pocket watch over a quartz Casio, even if the rubber wrist-ticker keeps more consistent time and you can jog with it.

Respectfully, Poivrot, there is nothing at all analogous about this example, or the transmission example.

The diner is not sitting in the kitchen appreciating how carefully the chef maintains the water's tempature over fire, or marveling over the beauty of the pig's bladder. Part of wearing a watch the appreciation of its beauty, its balance, its heft, and perhaps even the gentle whir as its finely-crafted parts dance, but none of that will be appreciated by the fellow who stops you on the street to ask you the time. There's an exhilirating connection with the car when you're using a manual, but the guy who's package you're delivering will never know the nature of the transmission.

If a sealed and gently sub-boiled protein is placed on your dish in a capable restaurant, I express doubt that you could distinguish between one sealed in plastic and one poached in a pig's bladder. Perhaps I'm wrong, but call me skeptical. And if I am wrong, then this is a different discussion.

Of course I agree that many activities lose aesthetics in the name of progress (though it's important to note that what some call a loss of aesthetics is often simply a change in aesthetics and entirely subject to personal taste). And I agree that a chef preparing a sous vide dish may lose a certain connection with his product that he might enjoy by other similar, older methods, but I fail to see how the diner could even be sufficiently aware of the difference, much less appreciate it.

In any case, I'm with you in one regard. A kitchen possessed solely of vacuum bags and immersion circulators has lost a great something. But it seems to me that a Jetsons kitchen that eschews fire and pans simply because they're "old technology" is losing just as much as a traditional kitchen that eschews sous vide simply because it's "science fiction". Pots and pans and plastic baggies aren't dogma. They're tools. And the wise artist considers and respects the unique benefits of all the tools available so that he may best express his vision, even if he doesn't find that every tool is suited to his personal style.

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I do not entirely dismiss vacuum cookery nor fear its immediate pinko proliferation, but feel that traditional methods of fire & steel provide more satisfaction to epicureans than warm -n- plastic, much like driving a standard transmission feels better than an automatic or how Ms. Cashion's hand writing a menu with a Waterman elicits more joy than tickling the qwerty.

Speak for yourself. :angry:

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Another good episode, tough challenges, but fun and really showing what the chefs can do. I am pretty convinced that Casey will win and I am fine with that, in fact, I would be fine with any of the final three winning, just pulling for Casey.

By the way, what the hell did Brian mean when he said that seafood chefs don't consider trout as seafood?

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So?

Miss Manners would be shocked--shocked! (But too polite to correct him.)

Dear Miss Manners:

Is it proper etiquette to lick your knife at the dinner table? I have told my granddaughter it is not but await your answer.

No, it is not. And Miss Manners hopes she caught this in time, before your granddaughter slices off her tongue.

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Miss Manners would be shocked--shocked! (But too polite to correct him.)

Bah! He's just very European. I know I eat off my knife.

Sorry to see Brian go, but glad to see Dale stay. I think it'll be a close finale. I'd love to see Dale win it, but it'll probably be Casey or Hung. And Hung only if he gets to do stuff that he knows like the back of his hand. If creativity makes up a lot of the judge's minds, Hung can't win.

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I'm loving the surprise sous-chefs - great twist (and Rocco looks human again :blink: - being that he's a BU alum too, I have to confess a slight soft spot for him, despite my less than kind comments a while back).

Can't wait to see how the next hour unfolds!

I'd love to see Dale win it
Me too.

(Padma looks like she's up for Prom Queen of the Class of 1985 - WTF?)

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