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Kathy from Austin
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Omicron, agreed. But also you'll notice that the article mentions that Paul (as is his wont) never blamed the servers or others during the judging or at any other time. My take from the article is that he is the real deal. I respect that very much and have been (too much so, for sure) an unabashed cheerleader. Interestingly enough, everyone I come in contact with supports that view of Paul. The valet driver at Uchi raves about what a hard worker he was, humble and a nice guy. You hear it again and again. Also, FWIW, I will again say that Uchi is superior to Uchiko. I stand behind no one in my respect for Paul Qui, but the two restaurants are just not equal. It is a matter of small, but important degrees. Also, Sarah has really been sour grapes about the end result. And her non-denial//confirmation of saying "FU" to Emeril just confirms that. Yeesh.
Toggle Commented Mar 12, 2012 on Top Chef - S9 Postmortem at Top Chef Power Rankings
Great article on Paul Qui in today's Austin Statesman. Also an interesting blurb on a conversation with Cohen and Collicio in South by Southwest:
Toggle Commented Mar 11, 2012 on Top Chef - S9 Postmortem at Top Chef Power Rankings
@ TXGriff: Give me a few dates in the future. Let's do this! My longtime friend is co-owner of Uchiko. Kathy
Tx Griff, TokenOnmivore and Beth (and anyone else from/near Austin), Would love to host you guys at Uchiko. Pretty sure I can get reservations, and hubby of many years and I would like to meet you all. What dates work for you? Our treat. Kathy
@Alex: I was thinking the same thing re: Hosea. But really, I believe Sarah deserves to be on the top with Paul. After all, who else? This is a season where one chef dominated convincingly. It also happened to be a chef that was classy and a team player who the viewers liked a lot. So we are left with few alternatives other than to root for the dude who is an awesome chef, a good guy, etc. OR the gal who has been a erstwhile bully and frankly, a good chef as well. Sarah is no Hosea. That said, I feel your pain especially coming from Austin. Go Paul!
IG, it is worth watching to see who wins, IMO. I was very demoralized last week as well. But could the elves have been more sneaky about the win? Jeez. They announced that Sarah was going on to the finale and to the untrained eye, made it appear that Lindsey and Paul were in the bottom. Then they awarded Paul the winner's prize. I suspect they're trying in earnest to have a competitive finale. I think Paul's over seasoning with the Thai chiles in the quickfire may have cost him a clear elimination win. He seemed to have second guessed himself. If he had been eliminated, it would have ruined an already rocky season for me. Now I look forward to the finale. I think both Sarah (as bitchy as she is) and Paul have talent and I will stay tuned to see who wins.
Actually the "pet troll" that Alli refers to is indeed our "Alli." She sows discord with every step of the way. Recall when Dom was gone and she did the middle school "tweet" to somehow signify Dom. She assumed the unwanted "position." Tacky. No one put her in charge. Heather/Sarah = Ally
Oh and Tom W: How right you are. Andy is indeed a "tool."
Unbelievable nonsense. I routinely review the episode on Thursday morning (sorry Dom, no notes), but I couldn't stomach this one for a second. It's a rats ass of nonsense, and frankly as one has commented above, is demeaning to the Chefs. I'm wondering if they are embarrassed to be a part of this. I am proud of how they came together as decent folks. Paul stepping in (sorry, Ally) to break the ice and assert that the competition was in fact, intended to be about ~cooking!~; Sarah and Paul's commiserating meeting in the hotel room, Bev and Lindsy's moment where they contemplated losing to the whims of the silly challenge, and without dignity. And lastly, that the food was not good, given the external factors. No surprise there!
Let's reflect on the silliness: 1. TX State trooper on the highway w/crackers as the winner. 2. Steak and potatoes team challenge for Cattle Baron's Ball. 3. Highland Park progressive dinner with a love of "gummy bears." 4. All night BBQ challenge @ Salt Lick (bleh). 5. Outdoor challenge in San Antonio (chicken salad vs. meatball). 6. Ride a bike through San Antonio and beg for cooking privileges in "foreign" kitchens. Oh, and cook for the super chef Paul Ruben. 7. Chop a block of ice to make it into the final 3. Then ski and shoot your way into a cooking competition. I am missing a couple but really? Really? No wonder the contestants are annoyed. The only one truly good episode was the Charlize Theron challenge and a few of the quick fires. It seemed to me tonight that even Tom was embarrassed, but hell, he is utterly complicit in this charade. Bleh. I hate that a competitor like Paul (sorry Ally) wins with an asterisk.
Ridiculous. Thank God Paul made it though (sorry, Ally!).
Yowza, Ally. Fair enough, apologize for that. Not rubbing it in, that would not be in character for me. Just proud of the home team. Yikes!
Last time I went to Uchiko (4 wks ago) I have everyone there a card with info. So sue me. The Uchi's are out in force... Kathy
@ Beth, I have to disagree on the Uchi vs. Uchiko though both are fabulous. Uchi has a refinement that is hard to describe. Not that Uchiko isn't refined, but I would say Uchkio is probably a little more on the risk-taking side and you have *a bit* more hit and miss. The highs are probably much higher at Uchiko, but you can drag my Hama Chili from my cold dead hands. :) Both are exceptional restaurants and damn! Thanks for sending the pictures along. I need to head back over. TX Griff: Have you been to Wink Restaurant (on South Lamar)? Went there last night. Sweetbreads were to die for.
Regarding the comments on Whole Foods, yes it is based here in Austin, but Central Market (HEB owned) is headquartered in San Antonio. And IMO Central Market is in a different and better league than Whole Foods. Early on, when the contestants were looking for flour tortillas I knew they were screwed going to Whole Foods. Central Market makes their own tortillas daily and they are the bomb. Also, I don't recall there ever being the shortages of a huge variety of clams, mussels, oysters, exotic fish etc. at CM as I often encounter at Whole Foods. Central Market has the backing of HEB with a much larger supply network that WF can't compete with. Now, that is more than anyone asked for about the two grocery chains, but suffice to say, Whole Foods must have some type of sponsorship agreement with Bravo.
@Janie: no, you were not the only one. I have been so worried since the previews, and Dom calmed be down with his last post. I remember Paul when he was on the line on the sushi table at Uchi. He is truly a great guy. As an aside, I have heard some "sneaky intel" that said Paul was here in Austin and not in Canada. Just goes to show that a lot of the stuff you hear is BS. I don't blame Sarah one bit for taking immunity. Rest, a chance to get centered before the finale. Who wouldn't take that opportunity? Paul has once again demonstrated that intricate flavors ace the predictable. I know I am biased, but having eaten so many times at Tyson and Paul's restaurants, I can understand why they are both revered by diners.
After I got over my heart attack on Paul's statement in the previews ("Sorry I didn't finish"--paraphrased) it occurred to me that that based on Gail's foreshadowing that he was *maybe* talking about his story. The damn elves are so sneaky! If Paul was on the bubble, would they really talk about it? Or would they try to mislead? I call BS on the entire episode. I think Pee Wee Herman is creepy (sorry, Dom). And certainly this close to the finals, where are the chef judges? Sorry, his humor notwithstanding, when my mind runs to chef judges, Pee Wee Herman is outside my radar. Egg salad? Meh. How cool was Ed, cooking the eggs? And what asshats the owners were. I like me some Ed, for sure. Lindsey and Sarah not so much.
@Dreamboat, I agree! I like Grayson very much, but if you look at her choices she is a country gal. Huge ribeye, chicken salad, etc. She probably cost Chris his place, though it was up to him to sort that out. I was also worried about Ed. I think his flavors are good, but no way can he stand up to Paul. Paul is just so much more sophisticated. So far we have seen his veggies/fruits. I can't wait to see his proteins, for sure his strength. He will shine in fine fish and poultry. If he has a downfall it will be beef. Also, Lindsey has two impressive challenges under her belt. She has to pole vault Sarah.
@ Ally, I couldn't agree more. It is the sum of the parts at some level, right? I think the parts are: great food first and foremost, leadership, kitchen demeanor, etc. That is what makes a "Top Chef." I keep going back to Illan's season where Marcel got demerits at JT based on his leadership skills--or lack thereof. Recall that they mentioned that he was young and needed more time in the kitchen. I am very worried by Padma's words, but rab01 is right, they say that every year. It's part of the marketing, but who knows what will happen? I know, I know, I am from Austin and visit Uchiko and Uchi regularly, and I recognize the excellence there with Paul's dishes. I know many here have had the pleasure of dining in the other Chef's kitchens and will say the same for their favorite haunts, so due respect. Perhaps my bias is on my sleeve. Based on the show's progression I believe Paul has earned his position, bias notwithstanding. I would be sad indeed if Paul didn't the finale, for all the reasons Alli noted and Dom in his rankings.
Said another way: IF leadership an important aspect of a Top Chef, who embodies that skill best? Beverley? Lindsey? Paul? Ed? Just throwing that out there for conversation and your wisdom.
Recall when they passed on Marcel among others, because the role of "Top Chef" was great food, for sure, but also the ability to lead a kitchen. Am I remembering this correctly? Also, for those of you who are chefs, is this right? I like Bev very much and appreciate her skills, as many have justly stated. That said, how do you rate her leadership skills? And is that skill set important vs. being a great chef?
Bev is clearly a good chef. That said, I have had the displeasure of working with people like her before, and for lack of a better word, they throw off the chemistry of the entire team. Perhaps that is what motivated Paul to give his etiquette lecture. Haven't each and everyone of us worked with someone who just threw the "well oiled machine" a work stopping wrench? Whether it is in management or on a line, there are those who simply can't work well with a group. The "weakest link" metaphor writ large. @Cindy is right, IMO.
Here is Padma's take on the episode. Some interesting tidbits. Not sure why she isn't blogging on the Bravo site.
I am curious about the risotto dish. Is the preparation totally subjective? We've had several seasons of this and am wondering how "firm" risotto vs. "spreads out" as hers did tonight are so vastly different in the judges mind. By my recollection her consistency was in line with what the judges previously said (vs. firm). Am I remembering this correctly? Could it come down to an opinion, such as the cooking of pork? Risotto appears to be the KOD of the chefs...the Kiss of Death. Thought maybe during JT they were going to keep all contestants. Did anyone else? Surprised to see Paul win, based on the crappy editing that also indicated Chris Moto was going home.
Best episode in a long time. Each chef used their imagination and skills to create a dish. They don't tell us much about Paul's but it seems to be consistent with what you get with Uchi/Uchiko. Different flavors and textures that seem unusual actually work together very well. Garlic chips, pears, chiles, etc. Quintessential Paul/Tyson Cole. Better move Lindsey up. She sure served an amazing meal. Same with Ed and Sarah. Grayson and Chris Moto remain on the bottom IMO but on any given night I think they could eliminate the others or get on top. I just see Paul as unstoppable, esp having eaten at all his restaurants. Amazing flavor, humble environs and forward thinking. He will be hard to beat, and he is an innovative chef. Notice also, Paul led the discussion about kitchen etiquette. Made this challenge more focused on quality vs. bad manners.