Top Chef New Orleans - Season 11 Blog

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Siun o'Connell
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#201 Post by Siun o'Connell » February 6th, 2014, 5:28 pm

There's something so wrong with the winner being someone who after all the episodes still cannot get the salt right.

Wanted Shirley to win, then Nina ... Nick is ok but between salt and relations with FOH ... not top to me.

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#202 Post by Ted Erfer » February 6th, 2014, 5:40 pm

Well at least Philly can win something!
Eagles suck, Phillies are falling, Sixers are who?

Everyone I know that has eating at Laural raved about it. This Sunday's Craig LaBan restaurant review in the Inquirer is -- of course --- Laurel. This will be an interesting review.

The area of the city that Nick opened is one of the hot, new areas for foodies. It had long been home to basic Italian red sauce joints. Now, some of the most exciting food is being served on that block. And, lucky us in PA, they are mostly BYO.

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#203 Post by Corey N. » February 6th, 2014, 5:57 pm

Brad B a l l i n g e r wrote: I've eaten at Mexique (Carlos's restaurant). Could have been an off night, and I don't know if he was in the kitchen or not. But I was underwhelmed. Next trip to Chicago, I'd certainly give it another shot. On the first visit, though, food was just sort of blah. Lacking seasoning and depth.

Edited to add: I know, I know. Carlos wasn't a finalist.
I was there twice. No need to go back a third time. It's not bad, it's just not terribly interesting.
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#204 Post by Corey N. » February 6th, 2014, 6:02 pm

Siun o'Connell wrote:There's something so wrong with the winner being someone who after all the episodes still cannot get the salt right.

Wanted Shirley to win, then Nina ... Nick is ok but between salt and relations with FOH ... not top to me.
Another who wanted Shirley. But good for Nick, he won fair and square.

As for the salt...it's hard to know whether the judges have a high tolerance for salt (I suspect they do). I don't and find many restaurants over-salt their food.
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#205 Post by TimF » February 6th, 2014, 7:19 pm

The minute Tom said he preferred Nick's overall meal you could tell he won. Tom is the only judge that really matters. Nina did shoot herself in the foot by making the extra courses. It's so dumb, just more opportunity to make a mistake.
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#206 Post by Siun o'Connell » February 6th, 2014, 8:10 pm

Chicagoan here as well and never made it to Mexique, no particular desire to with so many other options that are closer to my interests.

I guess the salt issue for me is more that he had heard the same judges time and time again ask for more in his dishes and just didn't go there. Now I guess that could be Nick sticking to his own palate but it just seemed off to me. Who knows - I await the Top Chef season where we get to taste as well as watch!

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#207 Post by Steven Miller » February 6th, 2014, 8:55 pm

I still wouldn't walk across the street to eat Nick's food, but I would seek out Nina's anytime I had the chance.
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#208 Post by gene keenan » February 6th, 2014, 9:49 pm

I look forward to eating at Nina's and Shirley's places. Nic is too much of an *sshole with FOH for me to give him my money. Angry chef, angry food.
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#209 Post by Siun o'Connell » February 7th, 2014, 6:55 am

+1 for sure Gene

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#210 Post by TimF » February 7th, 2014, 8:06 am

I don't care that much about a chef's personality when I'm dining at his or her restaurant. Many (maybe most?) great chefs are jerks and highly egotistical.

Tom's statement that Nick's dish was "the best fish dish he's had all season" spoke volumes. Tom must have thought he was the best chef from this season for him to have won.
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#211 Post by Matt Thomas » February 7th, 2014, 9:14 am

Wasn't happy to see Nick win, but as soon as Nina did the extra dishes and Tom was going on about Nick, I knew he won. As others have mentioned, Tom is by far the most important judge.

Overall a very good season. I liked the infusion of the local elements into the show and the focus on cooking. So much better than Texas and an improvement from Seattle too.

Can't wait until next season. Where are they supposed to be going? Would like for them to come to Minneapolis, but doubtful.

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#212 Post by Michae1 P0wers » February 7th, 2014, 9:27 am

I was not surprised by the final two. Nina and Louis were the most sympathetic characters, but that doesn't get you a win. I thought Shirly was a kiss *ss from the start, and I absolutely HATE that. That Uncle Emeril bit really grated on me. I'll take passionately aggressive over falsely simpering any day. In season two I preferred Marcel to Elan. Don't want to hang out with either of them, but I loathe falsity of character. That said, I think Shirley made food that looked quite good but within a very narrow band of style.

Not much of what Nick did looked all that impressive to me but I wasn't tasting. IIRC he also put in a major win in Restaurant Wars and that is often telling. In the end he impressed Tom more, and Tom is always, always the ultimate arbiter. Hugh and Padma and Emeril can put int her $.02, but at the end of the day Tom makes the decisions, always has unless he chooses to defer on something minor. I also think that he respects Gale most of the other regulars and the fact that those two preferred Nick's was as good as a lock. Tom also doesn't like it when chefs don't address the challenge. I agree with Eric that if you don't like to make dessert you should not do it in the finale.

I think everyone here underestimated Nick, and I think the editing of his "personality" played into that.

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#213 Post by Corey N. » February 7th, 2014, 9:35 am

Michael Powers wrote:I was not surprised by the final two. Nina and Louis were the most sympathetic characters, but that doesn't get you a win. I thought Shirly was a kiss *ss from the start, and I absolutely HATE that. That Uncle Emeril bit really grated on me. I'll take passionately aggressive over falsely simpering any day. In season two I preferred Marcel to Elan. Don't want to hang out with either of them, but I loathe falsity of character. That said, I think Shirley made food that looked quite good but within a very narrow band of style.

Not much of what Nick did looked all that impressive to me but I wasn't tasting. IIRC he also put in a major win in Restaurant Wars and that is often telling. In the end he impressed Tom more, and Tom is always, always the ultimate arbiter. Hugh and Padma and Emeril can put int her $.02, but at the end of the day Tom makes the decisions, always has unless he chooses to defer on something minor. I also think that he respects Gale most of the other regulars and the fact that those two preferred Nick's was as good as a lock. Tom also doesn't like it when chefs don't address the challenge. I agree with Eric that if you don't like to make dessert you should not do it in the finale.

I think everyone here underestimated Nick, and I think the editing of his "personality" played into that.
You raise an important point -- the show is heavily edited. I don't doubt that Nick's "feistiness" was highlighted to create some drama. Nothing sells like a good v. evil plot.

Agree that Tom is the most important, followed by Gail. Padma's nice to look at, but I can't imagine that Tom takes her opinion seriously.
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#214 Post by Michae1 P0wers » February 7th, 2014, 9:55 am

I don't think Padma gets much say in matters, and she sometimes seems openly agitated about it. But really, the quality of the Judges is top notch and she is more suited to the role that she plays. Plus, she shows a strong bias towards contestants and it clearly sways her decisions.

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#215 Post by Corey N. » February 7th, 2014, 10:01 am

Michael Powers wrote:I don't think Padma gets much say in matters, and she sometimes seems openly agitated about it. But really, the quality of the Judges is top notch and she is more suited to the role that she plays. Plus, she shows a strong bias towards contestants and it clearly sways her decisions.
Agreed.

Personally, I wish that Gail was the host to give the show a bit more gravitas. I think she has a much nicer personality too.
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#216 Post by TimF » February 7th, 2014, 11:55 am

Corey N. wrote:I think she has a much nicer personality too.
I like both of their personalities, each in their own special way.
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#217 Post by Brad B a l l i n g e r » February 7th, 2014, 2:07 pm

Corey N. wrote:Personally, I wish that Gail was the host to give the show a bit more gravitas. I think she has a much nicer personality too.
Gail did host a couple Top Chef Dessert shows. Haven't seen one in a while, though. Padma irks me. And I'm probably one of the few who doesn't find her attractive.
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#218 Post by TimF » February 7th, 2014, 2:24 pm

Brad B a l l i n g e r wrote:
Corey N. wrote:Personally, I wish that Gail was the host to give the show a bit more gravitas. I think she has a much nicer personality too.
Gail did host a couple Top Chef Dessert shows. Haven't seen one in a while, though. Padma irks me. And I'm probably one of the few who doesn't find her attractive.
[wow.gif]

I rather enjoyed the gratuitous bikini shot in the finale. flirtysmile
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#219 Post by NickC » February 7th, 2014, 4:27 pm

i find the hatred of nick pretty fascinating. everyone i've spoken to about this season has acknowledged that the drama in the middle of the season was obviously fabricated. yeah he's a bit of a whiner and tends to vocalize his frustration, but that's not an uncommon trait.

as far as the finale, i'm pretty shocked they deliberated so long. it seems pretty obvious that the swordfish and zeppole were the two worst courses (emeril's duck notwithstanding), and presenting six courses seems to be an affront to the rules. if it were me, i would have only considered the first four courses that hit the table (which might have been a net positive, as the zeppoli was a plate that vinny serves at the italian festival at the church down the block).

overall a relatively unsatisfying season. found shirley very insipid, nina was solid and made tasty food, but not that exciting to me. would have been amazing if louis could have pulled it off. loved the food he put out on LCK all season.
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#220 Post by gene keenan » February 7th, 2014, 7:30 pm

TimF wrote:I don't care that much about a chef's personality when I'm dining at his or her restaurant. Many (maybe most?) great chefs are jerks and highly egotistical.

Tom's statement that Nick's dish was "the best fish dish he's had all season" spoke volumes. Tom must have thought he was the best chef from this season for him to have won.
The irony is it wasn't even Nick's dish.
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#221 Post by gene keenan » February 7th, 2014, 7:31 pm

NickC wrote:i find the hatred of nick pretty fascinating. everyone i've spoken to about this season has acknowledged that the drama in the middle of the season was obviously fabricated. yeah he's a bit of a whiner and tends to vocalize his frustration, but that's not an uncommon trait.

as far as the finale, i'm pretty shocked they deliberated so long. it seems pretty obvious that the swordfish and zeppole were the two worst courses (emeril's duck notwithstanding), and presenting six courses seems to be an affront to the rules. if it were me, i would have only considered the first four courses that hit the table (which might have been a net positive, as the zeppoli was a plate that vinny serves at the italian festival at the church down the block).

overall a relatively unsatisfying season. found shirley very insipid, nina was solid and made tasty food, but not that exciting to me. would have been amazing if louis could have pulled it off. loved the food he put out on LCK all season.
Interesting that you found it so unsatisfying. I thought it was one of the best in a long while.
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#222 Post by Nolan E » February 8th, 2014, 1:57 pm

My least favorite part of this season was all the 'play along' polls Bravo used. How the hell would a viewer know which dish should win? Just because it looks like a good dish doesn't mean it will taste good. And polling who will win before the cooking even starts? So stupid.
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#223 Post by Michae1 P0wers » February 9th, 2014, 10:38 am

I thought it was a decent season in terms of contestants, but there was a certain feel that seemed off this season. Can't quite put my finger on it, but something about the editing and production seemed lacking. I think I preferred Seattle last season.

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#224 Post by Karr!ng M o a n » February 9th, 2014, 11:24 am

Brad B a l l i n g e r wrote:
Corey N. wrote:Personally, I wish that Gail was the host to give the show a bit more gravitas. I think she has a much nicer personality too.
Gail did host a couple Top Chef Dessert shows. Haven't seen one in a while, though. Padma irks me. And I'm probably one of the few who doesn't find her attractive.
Yeah, you might be. My wife even finds her attractive. I do find her character almost a joke now and laugh out loud when she shows up for a challenge in a bikini or cooking some cleavage. I almost want to think there is some sly Bravo producer who is just messing with us and making a mockery of the idea of having a token model on a cooking show.

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#225 Post by Ted Erfer » February 9th, 2014, 11:38 am

Three bell review in Phila Inq. today for Laurel.


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#226 Post by Brad B a l l i n g e r » February 9th, 2014, 3:08 pm

Karr!ng M o a n wrote:
Brad B a l l i n g e r wrote:
Corey N. wrote:Personally, I wish that Gail was the host to give the show a bit more gravitas. I think she has a much nicer personality too.
Gail did host a couple Top Chef Dessert shows. Haven't seen one in a while, though. Padma irks me. And I'm probably one of the few who doesn't find her attractive.
Yeah, you might be. My wife even finds her attractive. I do find her character almost a joke now and laugh out loud when she shows up for a challenge in a bikini or cooking some cleavage. I almost want to think there is some sly Bravo producer who is just messing with us and making a mockery of the idea of having a token model on a cooking show.

k.
Oh, my wife definitely finds her more attractive than I do. Prompting a sentence that begins, "If I was lesbian..."
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#227 Post by Marshall Gelb » February 9th, 2014, 4:29 pm

TimF wrote:The minute Tom said he preferred Nick's overall meal you could tell he won. Tom is the only judge that really matters. Nina did shoot herself in the foot by making the extra courses. It's so dumb, just more opportunity to make a mistake.

Absolutely correct! The other judges are "important" but it is clearly Tom's show. As you listen, week by week, it was usually pretty obvious who was to be eliminated. My wife and I both nodded and knew who won as soon as Tom started gushing. Padma has nothing to say about winners and losers. Truthfully, I wish she wouldn't speak at all. I enjoyed the season and think Nick deserved to win. The show is heavily edited and designed to make viewers take sides. It is entertainment after all and from Bravo. As far as the cooking goes, I would be glad to eat at at any of the "Final Fours" venue.

Cheers!
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#228 Post by Leonard Maran » February 10th, 2014, 8:08 pm

"It's not surprising. Nina came "with a recipe in her back pocket" for a dessert. She assumed an ice cream maker. She said she doesn't like dessert. Boom. Dead. Done. Right out of the gate. Before anyone lifted a knife. Stupid, stupid, stupid. She should have cooked another pasta course, and she would have had it running away. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. Poor conception doomed her.

Meanwhile, Nick settled down and clearly wowed Tom. He is temperamental, but he is also clearly very talented. He really does need to learn how to season better though.

More importantly, Nina was focused on the overall experience (2 extra courses that could not be scored and considered) rather than focusing on the CONTEST AT HAND. It blows me away that most of these chefs don't seem to have ever watched the stupid TV show. It was about delivering 4 courses. This was not restaurant wars. Four courses, scored, head to head. Period. She was focused on a meal and an experience (hence her desire to do a dessert) rather than on playing the game. Meanwhile, Nick bumped along the bottom at many points, but he played the game better. And in Hawaii, he won all 3 challenges. He peaked at the right time. Good for him. Bad for Nina."
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I think Eric nailed it. While watching I just figured there was no way they wouldn't give it to Nina; I appreciate what I view as objectivity and I don't get the animus towards Nick.

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#229 Post by TimF » February 11th, 2014, 6:26 am

If you happen to be on Facebook, do yourself a favor and go to Shirley's page and check the video she posted about three hours ago. I can't figure out how to embed it here.

https://www.facebook.com/chefshirleychung
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#230 Post by Andrew Gold » February 11th, 2014, 6:41 am

TimF wrote:If you happen to be on Facebook, do yourself a favor and go to Shirley's page and check the video she posted about three hours ago. I can't figure out how to embed it here.

https://www.facebook.com/chefshirleychung
Well that was unexpected!

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#231 Post by NickC » February 11th, 2014, 7:43 am

TimF wrote:If you happen to be on Facebook, do yourself a favor and go to Shirley's page and check the video she posted about three hours ago. I can't figure out how to embed it here.

https://www.facebook.com/chefshirleychung
about the dog's dick? i'm going to spare myself that "favor"
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#232 Post by TimF » February 11th, 2014, 8:00 am

NickC wrote:
TimF wrote:If you happen to be on Facebook, do yourself a favor and go to Shirley's page and check the video she posted about three hours ago. I can't figure out how to embed it here.

https://www.facebook.com/chefshirleychung
about the dog's dick? i'm going to spare myself that "favor"
I didn't expect the thing to be alive! [wow.gif]
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#233 Post by Corey N. » February 11th, 2014, 8:26 am

Per wiki, it's a species of marine spoon worm widely referred to as the fat innkeeper worm or the penis fish.

Image

Anyone else feeling hungry right about now?
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#234 Post by CWun » February 11th, 2014, 10:03 am

I went to that Seoul seafood market. it was awesome. The only thing is that much of the live seafood is farmed, which can matter.
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#235 Post by TimF » February 13th, 2014, 8:15 am

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#236 Post by Corey N. » February 13th, 2014, 8:29 am

Tom's tweet was interesting:
This is how we scored last nights challenge
1st course
5 to Nina
2nd
3 Nina 2 Nick
4th
1 Nina 4 nick
5th
0 Nina 5 to nick
Nina 9 nick 11
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#237 Post by Eric LeVine » February 13th, 2014, 8:37 am

The criticism is overblown.

I liked Tom's tweet, but where did the phantom 3rd course go?
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#238 Post by Corey N. » February 13th, 2014, 8:38 am

Eric LeVine wrote:The criticism is overblown.

I liked Tom's tweet, but where did the phantom 3rd course go?
I think that was a numbering error -- there were only 4 courses to judge, so in Tom's tweet, 4th = 3rd and 5th = 4th.
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#239 Post by Eric LeVine » February 13th, 2014, 8:39 am

Well I know that...
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#240 Post by gene keenan » February 19th, 2014, 9:30 pm

TimF wrote:An interesting take on the finale:
http://www.avclub.com/article/how-top-c ... :1:Default
The guy was a little over the top: "loss of brand for TC?" Uh. The show is entertainment. That said, based on what happened this season it appears on the surface at least that Tom has a bit of Tom Perkins in him meaning he gets more votes than the rest of the cast because he knows more about cooking. Tom Perkins is the VC guy who said voting should be based on how many taxes you pay: More taxes more votes.
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