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Thread: Top Chef New Orleans - 1/8 Show Discussion

  1. #21
    FORT Fogey tinderbox's Avatar
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    Re: Top Chef New Orleans - 1/8 Show Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Florimel View Post
    I think Nick was perfectly within his rights not to resign. He won his immunity fairly and squarely and immunity means you are safe, no matter what. I have no problem with the judges telling him that if he was not immune, he would have left, but that's it.

    It's an easy issue to solve. Stop giving immunity for quick fires at all and simply give them money or prizes. End of problem.
    bolding mine.

    I agree. Especially at this stage of the competition. I think quick fire immunities and group challenges should end after restaurant wars.

    I hated that Stephanie was let go and that Nick moved forward this week BUT I had to accept the fact that he won immunity. He had every right to remain in the game. Interesting how production/editing threw him under the bus. Hmmm... I wonder if there is more to this story. I will say it seemed the guest judge seriously thought Nick should go home and probably expressed his opinion more than once.
    Last edited by tinderbox; 01-10-2014 at 02:44 PM.
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  2. #22
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    Re: Top Chef New Orleans - 1/8 Show Discussion

    This whole thing regarding Nick is weird. Tom said he hoped Nick would come out there and fall on his sword and he said it in sort of moralistic and firm tone. Seems as if something major happened that we didn't see for him to say that - but especially to say that in the tone he used.
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  3. #23
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    Re: Top Chef New Orleans - 1/8 Show Discussion

    Hi. This is my first time posting on this board. I hope I can add something new to the discussion. I agree this was a dramatic episode. I've read many comments that criticized the awarding of immunity at this late stage of the competition. While I agree, I think the problem goes further than that. I think it is a mistake to offer immunity in any episode where there will be a team elimination challenge. Immunity opens up the opportunity for its holder to employ a strategy of deliberately producing a bad dish in order to drag down his team and force a team-mate to be cut. Imagine if Michael had won immunity in the Halloween challenge. He could have tanked his team and forced Nina to be eliminated, even though she produced a good dish. This is not only unfair to the other team members, but also runs counter to the very premise of the competition and show, which is for every chef to try to produce the best food they can. Were chefs to exploit this loophole and openly attempt to make bad dishes, the very nature of the competition and show would change. This would become more Top Cutthroat Chef than Top Chef. So I hope this unfortunate and unpoplular outcome wakes up the show producers and they change the quickfires to close this loophole.

    As for Nick, it's hard to punish him because he took the bigger risk because he had immunity. Otoh, he should have understood that it was still a team challenge and his risk taking carried potential ramifications his teammates. Resigning was the honourable thing to do, and maybe also the right thing for a chef who proclaims that he "cooks with integrity". But I don't blame him for playing by the rules, which, for the abovementioned reasons I believe are flawed.

    Anyhoot, I don't think Nick has or Stephanie had good chances to win TC, so in the bigger picture I don't think it affects the final outcome. But it was hard to see Stephanie go.
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  4. #24
    Magical Elf MFWalkoff's Avatar
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    Re: Top Chef New Orleans - 1/8 Show Discussion



    Welcome aboard penne and I agree about having no immunity in team challenges. Same thing happened in S3 when Casey, Howie and Joey were teamed, and Casey had immunity. She gave a half-hearted effort and her dish was the worst, and Joey went home (not that he wouldn't have soon enough anyway, but still). Funny that nobody (judges or chefs) even thought to bring up the idea of Casey resigning back then...
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    Re: Top Chef New Orleans - 1/8 Show Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by MFWalkoff View Post


    Welcome aboard penne and I agree about having no immunity in team challenges. Same thing happened in S3 when Casey, Howie and Joey were teamed, and Casey had immunity. She gave a half-hearted effort and her dish was the worst, and Joey went home (not that he wouldn't have soon enough anyway, but still). Funny that nobody (judges or chefs) even thought to bring up the idea of Casey resigning back then...
    Thank you. I didn't see that season but I'll assume Chef Pepin wasn't a guest judge on that episode. It was his idea, not one of the regulars. Pepin may have been prompted because he felt responsible for the dilemma since he awarded immunity to "tricky Nick" (this being my fave pet name for this cheftestant--hint: think Ovengate, eh, I mean, Watergate).
    Last edited by penne; 01-11-2014 at 09:02 AM.

  6. #26
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    if Nick the dick (aka the Top Cutthroat Chef) had a theme song, it might be...

    It's my oven and I'll cry if I want to, cry if I want to.
    You would cry too if it happened to you
    Da-da-da-daaa-da!

    Quote Originally Posted by tinderbox View Post
    I hated that Stephanie was let go and that Nick moved forward this week BUT I had to accept the fact that he won immunity. Interesting how production/editing threw him under the bus. Hmmm... I wonder if there is more to this story.
    The editors have the entire season to work with when they edit each episode so they know what storylines they want to tell. The "Nick the dick" theme has been running since the LSU episode when he refused to let Carlos use the oven to cook his fish just so he could heat his own plates. It's no accident, imo, that Nick was shown in prior episodes claiming to "cook with integrity" or repeatedly criticizing and even belittling Carlos for being unschooled. It's a deliberate set-up for this (and probably future) episodes when all his holier-than-thou words are thrown right back in his face. So it was no surprise that Saint Nick opened this episode again criticizing Carlos, this time for "only cooking Mexican food", yet it was Nick the dick who ultimately failed to cook his own modern French food while unschooled Carlos ended up successfully doing exactly what Nick claimed he couldn't do, that is, cook something other than Mexican. How stupid did that make dickhead look? Then add his selfish refusal to acknowledge Stephanie's concerns about his risk taking, now seen in the harsh light of his self-proclaimed "integrity", and, yeah, the editors have it in for Nick.

    Being a dick might not stop you from winning TC. But if the editors go out of their way to portray you as a dick, then that probably means you are not going to win TC. Nick may still make it to the finale, but he isn't going to win. I can say that with confidence just based on the way he is being depicted.

    Looking ahead, this week's episode seems to be about cooking your own food, so I expect Carlos to do well. Nick, otoh, has shown that he's more than capable of producing $hi! even while cooking his modern American/French cuisine. His kitchen battle with Carlos this week may just be the catalyst to throw him completely off his game and out of TCK. His buddy Nina, however, may save his ass as she finally lives up to her pet name and commits a big boo-boo. Will it be enough to save Nick? And can Nina beat Louis in LCK? I'm pretty sure Nick can't if it's him. Either way, it looks like Shirley will reclaim the top spot in the rankings this week. But for now, I have them ranked Nina, Shirley, Carlos, Brian and Nick. The order of the last 2 may surprise some as Nick has two EM wins while Brian has none, but dickhead has also been on the bottom more times than Shaggy-doo. Plus, he owes his RW victory more to his GM, Travis, than himself, while the coming home challenge had everything to do with who has the tastiest recipe and little, if anything, to do with who is a talented chef. In other words, I think Nick is more lucky than good to have those victories. His weak performance in other challenges pretty much bears this out.

    Michael was the original blowhard; Nick the dick is quickly coming in a close second.

    Looking at other storylines, it's possible to project other chefs' fates. Nina has consistently been shown in talking heads explaining the difficulty in each challenge. Someone even complained that she was being presented as "captain Top Chef". I think she is being portrayed this way because she will win TC NO. The show's editors are using her frequent insights to show us why she is the winner--that she understands the game better than anyone else--and to justify the judge's final choice. Carlos, otoh, is being depicted as the chef whose obvious natural talent takes him far, but who ultimately comes up short because of his lack of formal training. He may make the finale but will not win TC. Nick is the most interesting figure on the show, even including all the eliminated chefs, since he has undergone transformations as the show has progressed. He started the season faring poorly in just about every challenge, but starting with Leah Michelle, picked up momentum and eventually enjoyed some success. At the same time that his cooking improved, his persona has undergone a simultaneous devolution, turning Mr Nice Guy into the Evil Monster. In a season devoid of any truly bad characters, Nick has become TC NO's villain. Since the editors can choose how they wish to edit their storylines, I take this as a bad omen for tricky Nick and see him coming to a bad end, in the way such quasi-real stories usually do. Louis' story is simple: he is the talented chef who, for whatever reason, is kicked out of TCK too soon, but finds redemption in LCK. Whether he can carry this all the way to the finale remains to be seen, but there's nothing in the story so far that suggests he can't. I saw nothing in his TCK performance, however, to think he will take advantage of an appearance in the finale and win TC NO. Shirley and Brian are interesting in that I can't make out a storyline for either! Shirley has been depicted from the beginning as a talented, energetic, personable chef, basically everything you would want in a Top Chef. So her road to the finale (and maybe a final victory) has been paved from the start. Likewise, Brian has been portrayed as a talented chef who, while maybe not as capable as Nina and Shirley, has been canny enough to consistently stay out of the bottom. To the extent not losing is a formula for winning, Brian may be able to squeak into the finals. His presence in the final 5, however, should probably not come as a great surprise when looked at in this way.

    An aside: watching football while rambling about TV is the kind of multitasking I like...go Broncos!

    Nick's repeated disparagement of Carlos that is almost always followed by his own comparative underperformance, reminds me of Justin's repeated assertions that his dishes "tasted great" that were almost always contradicted by the judges. After a few episodes of increasingly embarrassing fails, Justin was finally sent packing. You could see it coming. And I can see the same thing happening to Nick. He keeps putting down Carlos; sooner or later (and probably sooner), Carlos is going to kick dickhead's ass right out of TCK. You can just see him being teed up.

    Sara suffered a similar fate. Over a few episodes she was shown gradually losing confidence in her abilities and becoming increasingly frustrated with her mediocre performance. That gradual breakdown pretty much set the stage for her final meltdown in RW where she admitted that all her experience as an EC didn't prepare her to compete at this level.

    OK, let's go Peyton! Don't be a dick.

    Carrie got a similar edit. In the LSU dorms she told Nina she enrolled in both college and culinary school but didn't finish either. In the car ride to LSU, we learned she doesn't have any kids. Back in the dorms, she pretended not knowing how to make a bed. In the cafeteria she made brocoli for college kids. What did all of this tell us? That Carrie is a person who starts things--like college, a marriage, a cooking competition--but doesn't carry through in the way she is expected, pun not intended. Fittingly, she is kicked out of TCK for not doing what the challenge asked, that is, highlight seafood. All of this happened over just 2 episodes, but I don't think it was a coincidence those particular scenes made the cut. It was the TC editors' version of the Carrie story.

    It makes me think that Brian, by not having an obvious storyline, might actually sneak into the finale. I doubt he can win, but there is no sign so far that he is going home, whereas the red flags are waving for Nick and even Carlos to a less degree.

    A small flag is also waving for Nina. Two times she's been on the bottom and responded by saying "I never want to be there again". This repeated comment may be a sign of impending trouble.The preview for this week's episode certainly suggests something is up. Nina may have to go through LCK to win TC.

    Btw, the edit for Stephanie also had red flags. In the crawfish quickfire, she talked twice about trusting Nick, the second time questioning her own trust in him. In this episode she again says she "trusts Nick absolutely". The editors don't have to put that in. So no surprise, then, when she got booted for Nick's mistakes.

    Ah, the beauty of editing.

    Quote Originally Posted by penne View Post
    Looking ahead, this week's episode seems to be about cooking your own food, ...Nick...has shown that he's more than capable of producing $hi! even while cooking his modern American/French cuisine. His kitchen battle with Carlos this week may just be the catalyst to throw him completely off his game and out of TCK.
    Nick also admitted that he "cooked angry" for a year after being fired by that fancy French Philly restaurant where he was EC. His 2 weaknesses are he overcomplicates his food and he is too emotional. This week's challenge seems to give the chefs a lot of leeway in creating their dishes. This may be a problem for Nick who has yet to master the art of simplicity. Couple that with his ongoing feud with Carlos that he is taking personally and our boy may be in trouble this week. I've never cooked on a competitive level, but if it's like any other kind of competition, you won't do your best when you are emotionally distracted. You need to concentrate and focus on the task at hand. Emotions like hate or anger will usually only get in the way.

    And then there is the guilt he must feel over Stephanie's dismissal.

    The signs are there for a Nicholas meltdown.
    Last edited by Arielflies; 01-13-2014 at 12:29 AM.

  7. #27
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    This episode was also interesting in that the two guest chefs actually remind us of Nick and Carlos. Like Chef Crenn, Nick is a snooty French chef who tries to do too much. Otoh, like Chef Serrano, Carlos is a down-to-earth, Spanish-influenced chef who sticks close to traditions. This parallel even extends to the interactions between the Michelin-starred chefs, who spent a good part of the episode sniping at each other! The editors couldn't have anticipated this when they designed the challenge, but it is truly hilarious that it worked out so beautifully. The question, now, is does this Spanish victory portend anything in the Carlos/Nicholas feud?

    A final observation about Nick's choice. You may recall that in the tomato quickfire in the first Besh episode, it was Nick who said "anyone who can't think of a tomato dish deserves to go home". Curiously, it was Stephanie (and Travis) who had problems in that challenge. Nick bunks with Stephanie, who is brutally honest and must have confessed to him that she was at a loss for ideas. In the back (or maybe even front) of Nick's mind, he must have believed that Stephanie "deserved to go home". So besides immunity and sheer self-preservation, he probably thought Stephanie was deserving of her fate.

    In light of the scandal du jour, Nick has earned a couple new monikers: Broad Street Bully; and Nick Christie.

    If Nick's new restaurant doesn't work out, he may have a future in NJ politics. The state is right next door, and there will be several openings soon.


    Quote Originally Posted by penne View Post
    Louis' story is simple: he is the talented chef who, for whatever reason, is kicked out of TCK too soon, but finds redemption in LCK. Whether he can carry this all the way to the finale remains to be seen, but there's nothing in the story so far that suggests he can't.
    I take this back. Before Janine lost to Louis in LCK, she struggled to barely beat Patty. This week, Louis barely beat Stephanie, and admitted it was his own "arrogance" in not learning how to make a beignet that nearly did him in. "Pride goeth before a fall" is the old saying, and Louis' very success in LCK may be what does him in. If he ends up facing Nina this week, he will be finished.

    Two final observations about Stephanie. In the LSU episode when Carlos tells Tom "Nick stole my oven", the camera quickly panned to Stephanie who was stationed beside Carlos and, by her reaction, clearly overheard that accustion. So Stephanie was there right at the beginning of Nick's metamorphosis, yet she never put two and two together. The editors clearly put some of the blame on her for not heeding these signs of Nick's selfishness. Also, you may remember that in an early episode Stephanie made fun of another chef ( I think it was Patty) who cried before the judges, saying "what am I? A wuss? I will not cry in front of the judges". Sure enough, we see Stephanie herself break down at judges table when she is dismissed. Most people have probably forgotten her somewhat callous remark. The editors were clearly paying attention, however, and they, evidently, were not entirely sympathetic to her fate.
    Last edited by Arielflies; 01-13-2014 at 04:15 PM.

  8. #28
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    Re: Top Chef New Orleans - 1/8 Show Discussion

    I must be watching a different show. I have not formed an opinion of Nick as selfish. I didn't think it was selfish in the LSU episode that he used the oven that he had reserved from the beginning for his use. Why didn't Carlos plan ahead?? I didn't think it was selfish that he stayed in the game when he had immunity. That's part of the game. Now I may have formed a different opinion if, in this last challenge, he had picked the easiest dishes and/or intentionally executed them poorly to get rid of one of his teammates. However, what actually happened didn't make him look bad IMO, it made the judges look bad.
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    Re: Top Chef New Orleans - 1/8 Show Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by ClosetRTWatcher View Post
    I must be watching a different show. I have not formed an opinion of Nick as selfish. I didn't think it was selfish in the LSU episode that he used the oven that he had reserved from the beginning for his use.
    OK, here we go. It was this very subject that got me in trouble with the moderator of another site who didn't like being contradicted. I tried to express my opinion that Nick had no right to use the ovens to heat his plates when Carlos needed the oven to cook his food. Why? Because in a cooking competition, on a cooking show, heating plates can never take precedence over cooking food. The intent of this competition is for every chef to try their best and cook the best food they can make. It is not the intent of this show to have chefs win by sabotaging each other--ie, by deliberately forcing other chefs do their worst. But this is exactly the precedent Nick set when he commandeered the ovens and refused to let another chef cook just so he could heat plates. If other chefs emulated Nick's trick and claimed equipment, not just to use themselves, but also to expressly prevent other chefs from using it, then think how this would change the competition and the show. A chef could claim the deep-fryer, say, in TCK and stop anyone else from using it even though he wasn't using it at the time. (He could always claim, like Nick did, that he might need it later and therefore had a right to "reserve it" for the entire challenge "just in case".) Or, in a small kitchen like in Dookie's restaurant, he could claim a bunch of burners for the whole challenge and prevent others from even cooking! In other words, a chef could employ Nick's tactics to sabotage his competitors and prevent them from doing their best. This violates the intent of the competition and the show and would fundamentally change its very nature. We would no longer be watching Top Chef. Instead, we would be watching Top Cutthroat Chef. This is why I think Nick was wrong to deny Carlos the use of the ovens. He (Nick) was breaking the most basic rule of the show, that is, we want every chef to cook his best.

    So I disagree with the majority opinion that believed Nick had some "right" to keep the ovens and do whatever he wanted with them. He didn't. He had a right to cook and that was it. Nick was a dick for not letting Carlos use the ovens. He was selfish. And judging by the way he is being edited, I think the editors see it the same way.


    Quote Originally Posted by ClosetRTWatcher View Post
    I didn't think it was selfish that he stayed in the game when he had immunity.
    He wasn't looking out for #1 by not resigning? He isn't in it to win it? Someone made the comparison with Douglas Keane, the chef who won TCM 5, who found himself in the same position as Nick. They were down to 6 chefs and were split into 2 teams of 3 in a team challenge. Like Nick, Keane won the earlier quickfire and had immunity. Unlike Nick, he recognized that if his dish dragged his team down, it could cost a teammate. So he let his teammates make the key decisions about his dish. He didn't go into gung-ho, avant-garde, ninja mode and do whatever he wanted, his teammates be damned. He had enough awareness of his situation and enough concern for the other chefs that he took a back seat. Nick did not. Nick was all about Nick. He forgot that it was a team challenge. He didn't think about his teammates. He was selfish.
    Last edited by penne; 01-13-2014 at 04:38 PM.

  10. #30
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    Re: Top Chef New Orleans - 1/8 Show Discussion

    I disagree with the notion that Nick kept Carlos out of the ovens with the intent to sabotage. You're right - this is a cooking competition. That competition encompasses all elements of food prep, which includes presentation, and ensuring the food tastes as intended when it is presented. Nick knew that his dish would present better on a warm plate, and he planned accordingly to be able to do that. Carlos did not think about the big picture in preparing his dish. He was moving one step at a time, not giving a lot of room for "what if" problems, and wound up without an oven. Carlos could have reserved an oven early in the prep time, and if he had, he would not have been sabotoging any of the other chefs. He would have been presenting the best dish possible - just like Nick did.
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