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Top Chef All-Stars - Ep. #2 - 12/08/10 (Spoilers)

Then they should stop with the bleeping.

Dec 14, 2010
nerfTractor in Food Media & News

Top Chef All-Stars - Ep. #1 - 12/01/10 (Spoilers)

Several of them struck me as having really gotten in shape since their original seasons, also not to name names because it's not really a beauty contest. I actually thought everybody looked like they were in pretty good fighting trim and ready to kick some ass!

Dec 02, 2010
nerfTractor in Food Media & News

Bitchin' Kitchen - Are they kidding???

Gotta admit, I saw the commercials for the show and thought WTF, then actually started watching and I really like it. I think she's funny as hell, knows more than the average dump-and-stir bimbette and the food looks really good. It ain't for everybody but so what. Give me "Bitchin' Kitchen" any day over some show about giant hamburgers.

Nov 29, 2010
nerfTractor in Food Media & News

Best and Worst Cooking Shows

Favorites, in terms of actual learning, are the obvious ones:

- AMERICA'S TEST KITCHEN
- GOOD EATS
- JULIA CHILD, especially the shows with PEPIN

Interesting but not A-List for me

- SECRETS OF A RESTAURANT CHEF (Anne Burrell's show)
- BAREFOOT CONTESSA

I am also seriously loving the new Cooking Channel show BITCHIN' KITCHEN. It really took me a couple of episodes to get it, but now I do. Nadia G is funny as hell, the recipes sound good, and there is a ton of real information packed in that show. I haven't tried making anything of hers yet, but I soon shall. This is the first time in a while I've looked forward every week to watching the new episode of a cooking show.

I have actually been giving Rachel Ray's new show WEEK IN A DAY a chance, since her stated goal is to take some more time, develop some real flavors, etc. Obviously some will find her intolerable, but this show has a more relaxed pace, many of the recipes are realistically conceived (i.e. not shoehorned into the 30 minute construct), and she takes time out to explain the reasoning behind some of her ingredients and methods. It's not in my top ten, but these are baby steps and it's good to see someone with her popularity actually make some more realistic and challenging food.

On the least favorite side, the latest batch of frenetic competition shows are frustratingly pointless, and no show exemplifies this better for me than CHOPPED. The contestants have an absurdly short period of time to turn five arcane and often unappetizing ingredients into... what? Usually a giant mess that gets ripped by the judges for not being something you would serve in a restaurant. I have not been able to learn anything about technique, ingredients or anything else from these shows, except that when you only have thirty minutes to cook a fabulous entree, you usually end up cutting yourself, spewing pea puree out of a blender all over everyone and/or serving raw poultry to a famous chef.

Nov 18, 2010
nerfTractor in Food Media & News

I hate organ meat

I haven't found a way to enjoy them either. In fact, Thanksgiving is a week from today and my mom will be serving giblet dressing *and* giblet gravy. Call me a wuss, but I look forward to that meal a little less knowing it will be somewhat organ-heavy. And yes, Bourdain would prolly kick my ass, too, if he somehow ever knew or cared.

Nov 18, 2010
nerfTractor in General Topics

Hell's kitchen season 8

After last season, I had to swear off watching this show. I found myself getting really wound up and stressed just wondering who GR was going to bellow at next. This show is so very, very little about food and so very much about humiliation and tantrum-throwing.

You know what you are getting with every episode. Some sort of team challenge that usually borders on a gross-out Fear Factor "oh-my-god-are-they-really-eating-that" contest. Then the results are edited every single time to make it look like a squeaker that comes down to the very last "chef-testant." Then, the winning team is whisked away in a helicopter to get a hot stone massage while the losing team (who, you remember, lost by a single poorly-gutted squid), are left to clean the restaurant baseboards on their hands and knees while Jean-Paul makes wisecracks, and the soundtrack plays sad circus music.

Later the red team and the blue team are thrown back into the kitchen, and you can bet money that, whoever Ramsay was the nicest to, during the winning team celebration on the helicopter, is the one he is going to bear the brunt of a screaming rant, and probably get a chestful of risotto. The histrionics are utterly predictable, and then after the smoke clears and the losing team comes up with their candidates for going home, GR shocks everyone by tell the two losers "Back in line," and kicks off whoever the producers had already annointed as chump of the week.

Well, no more I say! I was tempted to watch this season but like that horrible wreck on the freeway, this time I refuse to look or even slow down as I drive past.

Nov 18, 2010
nerfTractor in Food Media & News

TC Just Desserts: Finale [spoiler]

I must agree about the "editing" of Morgan. You can do a lot with editing, but you can't make words come out of the man's mouth that he didn't say. His comments speak for themselves, although of course, there must be miles of footage that we will never see. Producers of these types of shows are widely known to coach certain contestants into playing their various roles. All that being said, I live here in Dallas, where Morgan is purportedly employed, and the distastefulness of his persona will keep me from seeking out his wares, however tasteful and tasty they may be (and they admittedly looked pretty impressive much of the time).

I was very happy for Yigit's win. The praise for his desserts around that entire room of high-powered judges and tasters was uniformly high. It's always frustrating that we can't taste or even smell what we are seeing. But this kid seemed to be bursting with talent, a true America Land of the Free success story, and yeah, for once, the "cute, nice guy" took it all home.

I'd like to see more from Erika, who seemed to be a class act and a great chef. Her too-early departure was my biggest disappointment of the season.

Seth falls into the above category of "You can bump up the crazy in the editing room, but there has to be some crazy there to edit." His desserts didn't seem appealing, and his unwillingness to take any challenge on its own terms really contributed to the overall impression of a poor sport, not to mention a highly disruptive one.

Nov 18, 2010
nerfTractor in Food Media & News