Top Chef New Orleans - Season 11 Blog

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gene keenan
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#1 Post by gene keenan » August 17th, 2013, 5:14 pm

http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/season- ... ew-orleans

Finally! NOLA. This has to be a great season.

Visions of our wedding last October in NOLA
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#2 Post by Steve Manzi » August 17th, 2013, 6:24 pm

Gene, this could be one of the best Top Chefs ever. Can't wait! TIVO is ready, as usual. [cheers.gif]
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#3 Post by gene keenan » August 17th, 2013, 6:46 pm

Steve Manzi wrote:Gene, this could be one of the best Top Chefs ever. Can't wait! TIVO is ready, as usual. [cheers.gif]
I agree. The sights and sounds will be A+. Let's just hope the challenges and chefs are too.
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#4 Post by Michel Abood » August 17th, 2013, 8:27 pm

gene keenan wrote:
Steve Manzi wrote:Gene, this could be one of the best Top Chefs ever. Can't wait! TIVO is ready, as usual. [cheers.gif]
I agree. The sights and sounds will be A+. Let's just hope the challenges and chefs are too.
+1 LOVE that town!!!!!! champagne.gif
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#5 Post by Mel Hill » August 17th, 2013, 8:46 pm

TC will somehow water it all down and sell a lot of product placement....
I just hope we see some good cooking and not a lot of Top Catering events or more of the stupid
junk food challenges ( pretty sure they have stopped those)

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#6 Post by Steve Manzi » August 18th, 2013, 5:04 am

Mel Hill wrote:TC will somehow water it all down and sell a lot of product placement....
I just hope we see some good cooking and not a lot of Top Catering events or more of the stupid
junk food challenges ( pretty sure they have stopped those)
Yeah, those catering events are horrible. As are the junk food type challenges. I'm not sure every episode HAS to be so different. Just a theme, or some ingredients that must be used, etc etc, and let them do their best.
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#7 Post by johngonzales » August 18th, 2013, 12:25 pm

Gene is that you in the photo?

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#8 Post by gene keenan » August 18th, 2013, 2:26 pm

johngonzales wrote:Gene is that you in the photo?
Yes. We got married in NOLA last October. We had the Warren Easton HS Marching Band to join the second line about half way through. Didn't realize until we saw them that they were a 180 piece band. Police closed Canal street for 2 blocks.


All six episodes of the Padma's Picks webisodes are up. Spend an hour to whet your appetite for the main Top Chef event starting in October.
http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/season-11/padmas-picks
http://www.thebraiser.com/padmas-picks-full-series/
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#9 Post by Glenn L e v i n e » August 18th, 2013, 3:41 pm

What a great photo, Mazel Tov.
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#10 Post by Michel Abood » August 18th, 2013, 5:13 pm

Gene, that's FANTASTIC!!!! I'm headed back to NOLA in late September, can't wait.
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#11 Post by johngonzales » August 18th, 2013, 10:18 pm

gene keenan wrote:
johngonzales wrote:Gene is that you in the photo?
Yes. We got married in NOLA last October. We had the Warren Easton HS Marching Band to join the second line about half way through. Didn't realize until we saw them that they were a 180 piece band. Police closed Canal street for 2 blocks.
/
Wow, first off, cool photo and story.
I asked mostly because my mental picture of you resembled Jerry Garcia circa 1995. I obviously knew the avatars weren't you, but imagined a similar hippie-ish, graying, 65 year-old.

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#12 Post by F.Daner » August 24th, 2013, 4:32 am

Michel- Have you been to Stella ? One of my wife and my favorites from our home town.
Michel Abood wrote:Gene, that's FANTASTIC!!!! I'm headed back to NOLA in late September, can't wait.
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#13 Post by Michel Abood » August 24th, 2013, 9:57 am

Fred, nope, but I'll make sure to stop in. I had a very good meal at Sylvain in the French Quarter (cockatils were killer).
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#14 Post by J Diven » October 4th, 2013, 10:46 am

Anyone catch this ? - apparently it premiered on Wednesday.
I never, ever watch Bravo except for TC, so it doesn't surprise me that I missed it.
(my wife does not watch Bravo, and hates TC too, so no help there)

I guess the question is, does anyone care?
I'm recording the Sat AM rerun, so may check it out over the weekend.
There is actually a Seattle chef in this one as opposed to the Seattle show last year.
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#15 Post by gene keenan » October 4th, 2013, 10:50 am

We have not watched it yet but we saw all of the episodes of Padma's Picks which was good. Definitely got us excited for the show. There are two chefs from NOLA this season
J Diven wrote:Anyone catch this ? - apparently it premiered on Wednesday.
I never, ever watch Bravo except for TC, so it doesn't surprise me that I missed it.
(my wife does not watch Bravo, and hates TC too, so no help there)

I guess the question is, does anyone care?
I'm recording the Sat AM rerun, so may check it out over the weekend.
There is actually a Seattle chef in this one as opposed to the Seattle show last year.
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#16 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » October 5th, 2013, 4:05 am

Very excited this season is finally off and running. First episode was as normal: too early to really reveal much. I agree, this season *should* be a good one, especially with Emeril involved.
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#17 Post by Marshall Gelb » October 5th, 2013, 7:11 am

Seems to have potential......There seems to be some real talent and some of the dishes on week one looked impressive. I got home from my week in New Orleans about an hour before the show started so I was certainly psyched!

Cheers! [cheers.gif]
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#18 Post by Michel Abood » October 5th, 2013, 8:50 am

Just caught the first episode, it's looking good but then again it's very early in the season. I am looking forward to this season after going back to NOLA last week for a few days (sorry to miss you Marshall). Man we ate/drank well!
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#19 Post by Marshall Gelb » October 6th, 2013, 10:59 am

Michel Abood wrote:Just caught the first episode, it's looking good but then again it's very early in the season. I am looking forward to this season after going back to NOLA last week for a few days (sorry to miss you Marshall). Man we ate/drank well!

Sorry to miss you as well......New York in January?

Cheers!
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#20 Post by Michel Abood » October 6th, 2013, 7:05 pm

If it's early January, you're on! We head to Europe for 6-8 weeks starting in late January.
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#21 Post by Tom Gibson » October 7th, 2013, 7:33 am

Does anyone feel the show, more than ever, manipulated the winner in season 10?

I'm glad a Bostonian won, but it smacked of the "let's take one of the strongest contestants out, let him or her compete behind-the-scenes for weeks, and come back in at the last minute" trope that a lot of these reality contest shows seem to go for now.

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#22 Post by J Diven » October 7th, 2013, 10:38 am

Finally caught the episode yesterday. Looked like a pretty decent level of cooking with proteins that, for the most part, they had never used before. But yes, it is very early yet.

I've long since de-committed season 10 from my memory. This is all just total ephemera to me. I might as well be watching Chopped or something.
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#23 Post by Marshall Gelb » October 7th, 2013, 11:32 pm

Michel Abood wrote:If it's early January, you're on! We head to Europe for 6-8 weeks starting in late January.

Cool; We will be there in very late December for 2+ weeks!

Cheers!
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#24 Post by gene keenan » October 8th, 2013, 9:36 am

I was surprised by how many of the chefs had said they had never worked with Alligator or Turtle. You would think that knowing you were going to NOLA you would have familiarized yourself with the proteins of the area.

So far so good though.
Click to see spoiler:
The chef who got voted off. Who cools down a stock by pouring ice in it? That was just dumb.
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#25 Post by Eric LeVine » October 8th, 2013, 9:59 am

But Gene...
Click to see spoiler:
I cool down my wine with ice cubes all the time. Is there a better way?
I love how they asked him if he had thought to reduce the stock the next day.
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#26 Post by Matt Thomas » October 8th, 2013, 10:57 am

gene keenan wrote:I was surprised by how many of the chefs had said they had never worked with Alligator or Turtle. You would think that knowing you were going to NOLA you would have familiarized yourself with the proteins of the area.

So far so good though.
Click to see spoiler:
The chef who got voted off. Who cools down a stock by pouring ice in it? That was just dumb.
The lack of strategy on this show makes me scratch my head. You would think with so much at stake that people would at least study some things, familiarize themselves with the most common downfall (especially in Restaurant Wars), regional dishes, etc...

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#27 Post by gene keenan » October 8th, 2013, 4:00 pm

Haha. True.
Eric LeVine wrote:But Gene...
Click to see spoiler:
I cool down my wine with ice cubes all the time. Is there a better way?
I love how they asked him if he had thought to reduce the stock the next day.
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#28 Post by TimF » October 17th, 2013, 6:23 am

Two very difficult challenges last night. Some folks lucked out big time with their assignments. Patricia needs to go home soon -- she does not seem to be cut out for this kind of competition. She's crying in almost every interview. I'm still kind of baffled that Carlos wanted to be on the show.
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#29 Post by Ken Rudman » October 18th, 2013, 6:25 am

My wife and I were split on whether these "recreate a dish" challenges are good or not. Personally, I like them, as it shows an ability to observe and integrate what others do into your own thing, which is pretty difficult. Can't say there were any surprises this time, but that guy has been angling to go home for three weeks. The field looks pretty deep though, so pretty soon these eliminations are going to start to hurt.

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#30 Post by gene keenan » October 18th, 2013, 10:29 pm

I am blown away at how good Paul Prudhomme looks compared to 20 years ago when he had to cook sitting on a stool he was so fat.

At least they did not make them re-create the turtle soup from Commanders.

Try before you die places in NOLA - mostly historical places. Weird that Root is on this list but not Clancys. I have never been to Stella but have really wanted to go.

http://nola.eater.com/archives/2012/06/ ... mapped.php
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#31 Post by TimF » October 19th, 2013, 6:22 am

gene keenan wrote:I am blown away at how good Paul Prudhomme looks compared to 20 years ago when he had to cook sitting on a stool he was so fat.
I was struck by this as well. IIRC he was using a scooter to get around at that point.
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#32 Post by TimF » October 24th, 2013, 6:32 am

I guess it's not easy to make Vietnamese food. I remember researching how to make Pho once and quickly gave up. My rationale was that it costs $7 to buy great Pho at a restaurant, it will cost way more in time and effort. It also probably won't be as good.

I really thought Travis should have been sent home because it was his conception for the dish. Even if it was better executed it still wouldn't have been a good dish.

The hubris of many of the contestants is overwhelming sometimes. I'm sure some of this has to do with editing but it looked like Shirley was the only one asking questions of the people during their tours. Surprise, surprise -- she had the best dish!

The funniest line in the show was when Tom said their dishes made him want to go out and have real Vietnamese food! [dance-clap.gif]
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#33 Post by Matt Thomas » October 24th, 2013, 7:31 am

I was a little disappointed that Padma and Gail used their lone sexual innuendo joke for the season so early.

I am liking the way this season is shaping up and I really liked the challenge last night.

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#34 Post by Leonard Maran » October 24th, 2013, 3:00 pm

I think the right person went home; twice cooked shrimp is unthinkable.

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#35 Post by CWun » October 24th, 2013, 5:06 pm

TimF wrote:I guess it's not easy to make Vietnamese food. I remember researching how to make Pho once and quickly gave up. My rationale was that it costs $7 to buy great Pho at a restaurant, it will cost way more in time and effort. It also probably won't be as good.

I really thought Travis should have been sent home because it was his conception for the dish. Even if it was better executed it still wouldn't have been a good dish........]
Playing devil's advocate for Travis using Tomatoes:
My initial thought is that the judges' experience with vietnamese food are the typical popular dishes like pho, rolls, the various rice and noodle plates, the shaking beef or what not. Even in a smaller country like vietnam there are some regional dishes that don't make it restaurants in the US, or maybe the dishes are very homey dishes that rarely served in restaurants. For example, you'll almost never see a savory steamed egg "custard" or steamed pork patty in a Chinese restaurant, but I'd wager many Cantonese-Chinese kids grew up eating dishes like that at home.

So Tom bashes Travis that tomatoes have no place in Vietnamese cooking, but Tom could very well be wrong. I'm not Vietnamese, I don't know the answer.

digression,
One of my pet peeves is when these reality TV cooks say they can easily cook Chinese food because they professionally serve Asian food and know the flavor profiles. Maybe they can, but a really knowledgeable cook wouldn't even say something ignorant like that.
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#36 Post by TimF » October 24th, 2013, 5:47 pm

CWun wrote:So Tom bashes Travis that tomatoes have no place in Vietnamese cooking, but Tom could very well be wrong. I'm not Vietnamese, I don't know the answer.
There's no doubt the Vietnamese use tomato. But if I'm trying to win a Vietnamese cooking competition in the US, I'm not going to make a dish centered around the tomato, that's for darn sure.
CWun wrote: digression,
One of my pet peeves is when these reality TV cooks say they can easily cook Chinese food because they professionally serve Asian food and know the flavor profiles. Maybe they can, but a really knowledgeable cook wouldn't even say something ignorant like that.
Along those lines, from Hugh Acheson's blog:
Is it just me or is it strange that Shirley tells us she will feel bad going home today, “especially cause I am Chinese.” I don’t think it would be heresy for me, as a kid from Ottawa, to go home on a Oaxacan cooking challenge, why should she feel the cultural need to represent an entire continent which comprises hundreds of cuisines? Weird.
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#37 Post by gene keenan » October 27th, 2013, 12:21 am

I think the right person went home. I think the judges really showed their ignorance about Vietnamese food. Toms comment about Paris and Micky dees was absurd.

Eddie Huang comes off pretty douchy but I see alot of comments about him on food blogs that he is always that way.

I agree with Hugh: that was a weird comment from Shirley

Overall, it's shaping up to be a good season

I will be in NOLA for a week in December!
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#38 Post by TimF » October 31st, 2013, 6:14 am

I liked both challenges last night. The first one reminded me of Ready, Set, Cook! which was an old game show on the Food Network where the chefs would get random ingredients brought by someone in the crowd. I was glad to see Michael go -- he always seemed so full of himself and with no good reason. I misunderstood the challenge as I thought that both chefs on the eliminated team would go home so I was really worried about Nina. Would have been a shame for her to leave so early. Brian and Bene both making salads was super lame.

The oysters that Janine made on LCK looked incredible!
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#39 Post by Eric LeVine » October 31st, 2013, 7:35 am

Agreed on all of the above. You are one week behind on LCK. She did oysters last week. There is another episode since.
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#40 Post by Greg Pierce » October 31st, 2013, 8:10 am

What the hell was going on with the criticism of Nina for not tasting Michael's food? What was she supposed to do? Takeover the dish and cook it as well as her own? Tell him he was an idiot for cooking such crap? What?

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#41 Post by TimF » October 31st, 2013, 9:26 am

Greg Pierce wrote:What the hell was going on with the criticism of Nina for not tasting Michael's food? What was she supposed to do? Takeover the dish and cook it as well as her own? Tell him he was an idiot for cooking such crap? What?
Yeah, seems like there is a lot of double-speak on the show with regard to that. Some challenges you are just responsible for your own dish and get dinged if you try to help someone else (if it hurts your dish) and then in others you get dinged for not helping out. I think they just needed something negative to say to her.
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#42 Post by Siun o'Connell » October 31st, 2013, 9:51 pm

The criticism of Nina not tasting his dish too was delivered by Padma with a rather surprising amount of vehemence ... slightly startling though perhaps they wanted us to worry over the break that they would let her go.

So far some good food but I have minimal sense still of who these cooks are.

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#43 Post by Michel Abood » November 1st, 2013, 5:16 am

Siun o'Connell wrote:The criticism of Nina not tasting his dish too was delivered by Padma with a rather surprising amount of vehemence ... slightly startling though perhaps they wanted us to worry over the break that they would let her go.

So far some good food but I have minimal sense still of who these cooks are.
I agree, we noticed Padma seemed angry, maybe something happened or one of the dishes was particularly bad (I'm looking at Michael). Still, the right person went home, Michael was super annoying. And I know it was a team effort, but still, did they expect Nina to drop her own dish in a timed competition to taste Michael's?
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#44 Post by Jay Carroll » November 1st, 2013, 6:02 am

How long can Benny fly under the radar...think he's next.

Does it seem that this season is starting the whole Top Caterer thing again???
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#45 Post by Ken Rudman » November 1st, 2013, 6:52 am

Jay Carroll wrote:How long can Benny fly under the radar...think he's next.

Does it seem that this season is starting the whole Top Caterer thing again???
I think they kind of get forced into that when there are so many chefs. I'm sure they made commitments to NOLA to do a certain number of location shoots in exchange for money or tax breaks or union concessions and they need to pay that off. And, frankly, the team dynamics are pretty good this year, which many fewer idiots (esp. now that Michael is gone). The funny thing is that if you watch the local competition where Justin and Michael played their way in, he is nowhere near that annoying, and he appeared to cook some pretty good food.

The fact that Stephanie is going along well this year just goes to show you that anybody can have a bad day, since she was eliminated on the first show last year and looked absolutely clueless. Likewise, Travis, who clearly lacks maturity, and nearly paid for it on the Vietnamese challenge, but that ceviche looked really good.

I really like Shirley--fun personality and her food seems smart and sophisticated.

I had actually been thinking that Carlos was running out of road, but he seems to have acclimated to the competition. Surfer Asian Dude seems like he might be at the edge of his abilities.

Based on early results, I'd put my money on a finale of Nina, Justin and Shirley, but Stephanie could sneak in there as well.

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Top Chef New Orleans - Season 11 Blog

#46 Post by gene keenan » November 2nd, 2013, 3:21 pm

For me the criticism of Nina was appropriate. If the judges could have seen how she was undercutting her team mate Michael they would have been even more harsh. Very unprofessional: She let personal feelings get in the way of performance. She will never be a leader in the kitchen if she keeps that kind of attitude. Not defending Michael, he seemed skeezy/douchy to me and it appeared he was all but phoning it in. Nina however needed to work with the hand she was dealt and she failed miserably. i would have been fine if she had been sent home too. Her food looks good but her attitude really sucks in my opinion. I would not want to work in the kitchen with that kind of personality.
Jerry loved well aged BV Private Reserve Georges De Latour

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Top Chef New Orleans - Season 11 Blog

#47 Post by Siun o'Connell » November 3rd, 2013, 7:22 am

I'd say if anyone was undercutting it was Michael who seemed to think it was professional to address Nina as Booboo and babe.

Women with sharp knives should be taken seriously.


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Top Chef New Orleans - Season 11 Blog

#48 Post by gene keenan » November 3rd, 2013, 5:48 pm

Siun o'Connell wrote:I'd say if anyone was undercutting it was Michael who seemed to think it was professional to address Nina as Booboo and babe.

Women with sharp knives should be taken seriously.


;->

He referred to everyone that way. He didn't single her out for that. He deserved to go home though.
Jerry loved well aged BV Private Reserve Georges De Latour

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Top Chef New Orleans - Season 11 Blog

#49 Post by Jay Carroll » November 7th, 2013, 7:45 am

Benny needed to go- and Nina is definately the frontrunner. I was kinda surprised that the mess of a custard was not in the bottom- it looked awful.

I did comment to my GF on how great the veggies looked that they were given.
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Top Chef New Orleans - Season 11 Blog

#50 Post by TimF » November 7th, 2013, 12:11 pm

Jay Carroll wrote:Benny needed to go- and Nina is definately the frontrunner. I was kinda surprised that the mess of a custard was not in the bottom- it looked awful.

I did comment to my GF on how great the veggies looked that they were given.
From Gail's blog: "Stephanie’s custardy mousse was completely soupy, and clearly not set up, but it had good flavor, which is why she wasn’t called out on the bottom. We could definitely tell there was an issue with it -- the recipe wasn’t right, or she didn’t have enough time. Something happened there."

I'm getting really tired of Sara. She's getting pissed at Nina for winning all the time -- don't get pissed, just make better food! She's been putting out a bunch of crap lately. Cream cheese/lamb chop appetizer -- seriously? A stuffed squash blossom is simple but time and time again we see simple dishes perfectly executed win. After 11 seasons all of the contestants should know that.
Tim F@itsch

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