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S16.E10: Hoop Dreams

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"Top Chef" alum Ed Lee drops by for a Quickfire that's part trivia, part culinary creativity; Coach John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats host a concession-stand cook-off in Rupp Arena; Food & Wine Editor-in-Chief Hunter Lewis joins the judges.

Air date: February 7, 2019

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I confess I've already forgotten the QF details, but for the EC, the first round seemed close, and both dishes looked delicious to me, so I was rather jealous I couldn't taste Adrienne’s chicken & waffles and Kelsey’s dumplings; both looked delicious!  In fact, I want to eat all the food in the EC - I love game day food.

In round two, Sara was a fool to get pissed about being called out for using a mix for the waffles; her chicken drew rave reviews, so if she had done the rest of it up right, she might have been sitting pretty.  But I understood her feelings at having that become a rallying cry against her in front of "her" team.  I also appreciated Adrienne’s “How is this my fault?” response and immediate acquiescence to Sara’s request to be called by her name under these circumstances.  It was an uncomfortable thing Sara made too much of, but everyone dealt with it pretty well.

Round three, Michelle’s ribs looked a little less than great; I’d have eaten and enjoyed it, because it’s a rib, but I’d have been far more into Justin’s Juicy Lucy.   I’m not surprised she was the bottom of a really good pile.

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Sara should have known better than to use a prepared mix but it was kind of snippy of Adrienne to tattle to Tom.  He probably already knew it anyway and she made herself look less than good by doing that.  She should have just let the judges decide what they liked.  Having said that, I don't like Sara at all so I didn't feel very sorry for her.  

The whole elimination challenge had a phony feel like the extravaganzas Gordon Ramsay is so fond of on Hell's Kitchen.  I'm sure the cooking was legit but the crowd, the jumbotron, the cheerleaders .................. overkill.

I was sorry to see Michelle go because she was my favorite of the women.  I hope Eddie and Eric make it to the end.  

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1 hour ago, vb68 said:

Oh yeah, has anybody ever gotten immunity and didn't even have to cook like Eddie before?  It was a little awkward.  He looked lost for much of the episode.

It is the first time I can remember where someone didn't have to cook in addition to immunity.  The downside of that is you also don't have a chance to win, and the winning team members got $5000 each.  

When Padma said there would be teams, they really should have had a thought bubble above Eddie's head: "Don't make me choose the teams!  Don't make me choose the teams! Don't make me........"

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9 minutes ago, Quilt Fairy said:

When Padma said there would be teams, they really should have had a thought bubble above Eddie's head: "Don't make me choose the teams!  Don't make me choose the teams! Don't make me........"

I thought they were going to put him on the judging panel making him criticize some of the dishes.

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1 hour ago, vb68 said:

Oh yeah, has anybody ever gotten immunity and didn't even have to cook like Eddie before?  It was a little awkward.  He looked lost for much of the episode.

There was one episode in the Miami season where Dale won the QF and got to go to dinner with a well-known chef (can't remember who) while everyone else had to cook in food trucks for a bunch of drunk people.

I had so many feelings after watching this episode and then the forums were down! I was sad that Michelle was eliminated. Once they started showing her more I really started to like her. It seems like  this season there have been a lot of people who win an elimination challenge one episode and are then eliminated the next episode - Michelle, Nini, and the woman who was eliminated the second episode.

I was so hoping Sara would be eliminated for the baking mix alone. Never buy baking mixes! Especially when the mix consists of like only three ingredients that you could just as easily combine yourself. I understand why she was upset about getting heckled, but I do think she was being dramatic when she was saying things like, "This isn't how we compete," and when she started blaming Adrienne in the stew room. You chose to buy the mix. Stand behind your decision and if you didn't think you did anything wrong, there's nothing to be embarrassed about. Why couldn't she have been the one eliminated?!

Edited by MerBearStare
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I loved the Quickfire challenge --mainly because I never thought to use bouillon for anything other than making broth. Eric continues to impress more and more. I'm sure the elimination win made up for missing the Quickfire win.

I thought what Adrienne did was within bounds, considering that she was really highlighting making her food from scratch. Besides, Sara ate up the fans rooting and hollering her being described as a hometown girl, and she was definitely playing to them with the name of her dish. The crowd turning against you for using a box mix is your own damn fault, girl.

In the same vein, I wondered why Justin didn't just put "Open faced" in the name of his dish. Ed Lee was way too hung up on there needing to be a bun. I'm sure that Justin would have been dinged for using store-bought buns, especially since it sounded (from the other judges) that it might be overkill to have one more component.

Kelsey's dumplings looked absolutely delicious. Between the Home Call of Death, the reminder of what she had given up to compete and the taking a huge risk in what she was choosing to make -- good fakeout, editors! And Michelle's win last week probably did weigh her elimination over Sara's. That, plus the fact that Michelle would never, ever cause any drama in the house.

Meanwhile, Sara seems to be the cheftestant to root against this season.  Perhaps next week she'll make a risotto.

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1 hour ago, mlp said:

Sara should have known better than to use a prepared mix

Absolutely.  Surely she's seen the show before?  Interestingly enough the boxed (bagged actually) mix she used was Whole Foods' store brand 365 Organics Buttermilk Pancake and Waffle Mix.  I would have loved it if she had asked the judges straight up if Whole Foods products are not good enough to be served on Top Chef, especially since apparently HIdden Valley Ranch Dressing is so great you can win rounds in Last Chance Kitchen by using it.

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Tom complained about the waffles being soft, not for being out of a box.

I really want to like Michelle, but her voice makes my skin crawl.

An open-faced sandwich is something on top of a piece of bread, not just something with no bread.

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6 hours ago, vb68 said:

Oh yeah, has anybody ever gotten immunity and didn't even have to cook like Eddie before?  It was a little awkward.  He looked lost for much of the episode.

I actually got a good laugh watching him shamble around in the background. "Thanks Eddie!"

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6 hours ago, vb68 said:

Oh yeah, has anybody ever gotten immunity and didn't even have to cook like Eddie before?  It was a little awkward.  He looked lost for much of the episode.

I remember in the Vegas season, Kevin won the quickfire and then got to eat with the esteemed guest judges who included Joel Robuchon and Hubert Keller among others. Ordinarily I don’t like it when a chef gets to sit out a challenge. I just want to see what dishes all the chefs can come up with to fit the challenge. I’ll make an exception in this case however, because shots of Eddie sitting around looking dazed and confused was pretty funny. He is such a goofball that he might be my new favorite now that Michelle is gone.

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I am guessing that they built the EC around when they could use the stadium and therefore had to let the QF winner a sit out. 

Thank dog PTV is back. I was going through withdrawal. 

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I was team FU Adrienne.  What if nobody helped you serve your salmon tacos on the boat?  I thought she had a lot of nerve bringing up a mix Sara said contained 3 ingredients she used as a base for her waffles.  I am now actively rooting for Adrienne's demise in a very public and painful manner.  

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4 hours ago, Brookside said:

Tom complained about the waffles being soft, not for being out of a box.

Correct!  It wasn’t the mix, it was the execution. And she would have lost (to the best dish of the week) and not been sent home even if her waffles were perfect anyway. 

Unlike her personality, there wasn’t much wrong with her dish. 

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I'm not sure why anyone would blame Adrienne for the boxed mix debacle instead of Tom. He was the one who first brought it up in the kitchen- and that was no coincidence- and he was also the one who brought it up in front of the fans at the stadium. 

That being said, I have found chicken and waffles wildly underwhelming every time I've tried them. I think the two together are just too dry for my tastes.

And Justin seems to be laboring under a fundamental misunderstanding of what an open-faced sandwich is, because there should still be bread on the bottom. Personally, I imagine it was probably a bit unbalanced without the bread serving as a counterpoint to all of the rich meat and cheese components.

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When will Sara go home? She's becoming Lisa Fernandes V2.0. Unpleasant, untalented, ungone.

Justin is starting to grow on me, but I was really happy to see Eric win. I have to say, I think Kelsey would have won if she hadn't been on the losing team.

Chicken and waffles is something that has never appealed to me. All the same color, all the same texture, too much of the same taste.

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As I remember it, Adrienne was the first one to "out" Sara about the box mix, not Tom, although I could have missed it.  It seemed to me like she brought his attention to it first and then he broadcast it far and wide.  But even if he did know beforehand, I don't think it was right of Adrienne to do that.  I don't like Sara either, but I thought this group was above throwing each other under the bus.  I was never an Adrienne fan, but it is disappointing.  

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I had no problem with Adrienne mentioning the mix because Tom is the one who brought it up. That said I also didn’t have an issue with Sarah buying the mix, particularly given the amounts that they were making. It’s not the same as with other premade things it’s literally just the dry ingredients mixed together and Sarah stated she modified it, seems smart to me since you don’t have to buy the flour, sugar and the baking powder.

2 minutes ago, Yeah No said:

Sara about the box mix, not Tom, although I could have missed it.  I

Tom asked Adrienne if she was using a mix before she said anything and that’s what prompted her to mention it.

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13 minutes ago, biakbiak said:

Tom asked Adrienne if she was using a mix before she said anything and that’s what prompted her to mention it.

She didn't have to mention that Sara was using it just because he mentioned it.  He baited her but she gladly took the bait and ran with it.

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Sara could have turned the minus into a plus if she had cooked the waffles properly. “Wow, I would have never known these came out of a box”. She should know that using the box would bite her in her whiny ass. PYKAG already FFS.

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20 minutes ago, biakbiak said:

Tom asked Adrienne if she was using a mix before she said anything and that’s what prompted her to mention it.

Yes, I'm confident that the producers fed that question to Tom (to direct to Adrienne, not Sara), and got exactly the result they wanted out of it: ginned up drama.

Since it's a mix of three dry ingredients in standard proportions, I don't see what the big deal is, either way. It's not a big deal to use a mix, but it's not hard to do yourself either. It's probably not the reason the waffles were soft.

But, production saw an opportunity, and the cheftestants walked right into it.

Edited by Latverian Diplomat · Reason: fix typo
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Michelle really was the only female left that I was rooting for.

Praying that Eric and Eddie can make it to the finals. Rooting for one of 5ose 2 to win.

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1 hour ago, Yeah No said:

As I remember it, Adrienne was the first one to "out" Sara about the box mix, not Tom, although I could have missed it.  It seemed to me like she brought his attention to it first and then he broadcast it far and wide.  But even if he did know beforehand, I don't think it was right of Adrienne to do that.  I don't like Sara either, but I thought this group was above throwing each other under the bus.  I was never an Adrienne fan, but it is disappointing.

That's how I remember it.  I didn't appreciate her team yelling out "homemade, homemade...."  It's a shitty thing to taunt your opponent.  She should answer to the judges for her dish, and no one else. 

15 minutes ago, Totale said:

The description of the burger as a Juicy Lucy topped with pork belly cooked in duck fat sounded like a parody of what wins on food shows and big surprise, it did.

It appears to me that all of this "sophisticated" food is full of fat and cholesterol!  These are things that I would rarely eat, otherwise I'd need a cardiologist on speed dial.  I got the chance to eat at Kelsey's restaurant this past week.  I'll post over on the cheftestant's thread.  And Totale, that's pretty cool that you got to be there!

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18 minutes ago, hendersonrocks said:

I mean, to have a large group of people actively rooting against you (in your home region, where you make your livelihood) is REALLY different than hashing it out in private at judges table.

That's what I didn't like.  There's a penalty in sports for taunting.  You just don't do it.  The white team should've had more class than to do that.  

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11 minutes ago, rafibomb said:

I'm pretty sure that, as a UK basketball fan, Sara has done more than her fair share of taunting and heckling opponents.

True, but fans taunt, players aren't supposed to.  In this instance, the chefs were the "players." 

On a different note, I live in the south, but I don't get the idea behind fried chicken and waffles as a meal.   I grew up in Florida, so our cuisine was slightly different than this part of the south, so some of the southern dishes like that baffle me.  Waffles can be a tricky thing.  When I make them for breakfast, they need to be served stat or else they go soggy.  Trying to get waffles on the plate for the judges and the fans seemed to be a dicey thing.  Good for Adrienne that hers held up.  

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1 hour ago, ChitChat said:

True, but fans taunt, players aren't supposed to.  In this instance, the chefs were the "players." 

On a different note, I live in the south, but I don't get the idea behind fried chicken and waffles as a meal.   I grew up in Florida, so our cuisine was slightly different than this part of the south, so some of the southern dishes like that baffle me.  Waffles can be a tricky thing.  When I make them for breakfast, they need to be served stat or else they go soggy.  Trying to get waffles on the plate for the judges and the fans seemed to be a dicey thing.  Good for Adrienne that hers held up.  

I never had it until I had dinner at a friend's house as a kid. What I liked about it was that it was like having breakfast and dessert all on one plate. It wasn't something we served in our family but every once in a while when the craving hits I head to Roscoe's. The only difference is that I want honey instead of syrup for this particular dish. Also, every once in awhile, I'll sometimes put honey on a Popeye's Spicy chicken thigh but I want molasses on my biscuit.

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10 hours ago, Kaiju Ballet said:

Meanwhile, Sara seems to be the cheftestant to root against this season.  Perhaps next week she'll make a risotto.

Damn straight. Her whiny ass can dish it out, but she can't take it. And with Michelle right there! Michelle's ass was as much on the line as Sara's, and Michelle was the one to initiate the group hug! Michelle is a class act. Sara? Well, the less said the better.

3 hours ago, Giselle said:
1 hour ago, ChitChat said:

On a different note, I live in the south, but I don't get the idea behind fried chicken and waffles as a meal.   I grew up in Florida, so our cuisine was slightly different than this part of the south, so some of the southern dishes like that baffle me.  Waffles can be a tricky thing.  When I make them for breakfast, they need to be served stat or else they go soggy.  Trying to get waffles on the plate for the judges and the fans seemed to be a dicey thing.  Good for Adrienne that hers held up.  

Chicken and waffles really isn't southern food. It was started by jazz musicians (who were probably mostly from the south, true) who wanted something substantial and tasty to eat in the wee small hours after their gigs.

13 minutes ago, Giselle said:

I never had it until I had dinner at a friend's house as a kid. What I liked about it was that it was like having breakfast and dessert all on one plate. It wasn't something we served in our family but every once in a while when the craving hits I head to Roscoe's. The only difference is that I want honey instead of syrup for this particular dish. Also, every once in awhile, I'll sometimes put honey on a Popeye's Spicy chicken thigh but I want molasses on my biscuit.

Oh, I put honey on my fried chicken ALL the time. Growing up we got our fried chicken at Dinah's in Culver City, and they served their biscuits with butter and honey. I used the honey for the chicken!

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I feel there is a bit of not right behavior on BOTH sides. The gentleman (can't recall his name, all I know he has that really bad nasty beard) was egging the crowd on like a classmate bullying another person. A little teasing is fine and fun when done right. He went way overboard on the taunting. Sara had to stand there and accept the hate being thrown down on her. She did over react but who wouldn't. You are in a competition and at the stage when you are close to the finish. I can imagine her nerves were strung out. I would have burst out crying if I was having that crap heaped on me. Way way way overdone on the taunting.

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4 hours ago, Yeah No said:

As I remember it, Adrienne was the first one to "out" Sara about the box mix, not Tom, although I could have missed it.  It seemed to me like she brought his attention to it first and then he broadcast it far and wide.

well, he asked Adrienne if it was from scratch and she said yes. Then Tom and Ed started in on "no one on Top Chef should ever use a mix" or some such thing. It would be hard for anyone to resist walking through that particular door!

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11 hours ago, MerBearStare said:

There was one episode in the Miami season where Dale won the QF and got to go to dinner with a well-known chef (can't remember who) while everyone else had to cook in food trucks for a bunch of drunk people.

The celeb Chef that Dale went out to dinner with was Govind Armstrong. They had a hilariously awkward bro date.

I wonder if Sarah's Chicken and Waffles dish would have been improved if she omitted the waffles? A tasty piece of fried chicken is fine with me, and really that's all the frenched drumstick was.

Edited by Fukui San
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4 minutes ago, Fukui San said:

The celeb Chef that Dale went out to dinner with was Govind Armstrong. They had a hilariously awkward bro date.

I wonder if Sarah's Chicken and Waffles dish would have been improved if she omitted the waffles? A tasty piece of fried chicken is fine with me, and really that's all the frenched drumstick was.

Yeah, but that wouldn't be "southern" enough.

Edited by carrps

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1 minute ago, carrps said:

Yeah, but that wouldn't be "southern" enough.

In her mind, right? Or by the dictates of the challenge?

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4 minutes ago, Fukui San said:

In her mind, right? Or by the dictates of the challenge?

Her mind, I'm guessing. I was just being flippant.

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51 minutes ago, carrps said:

Michelle's ass was as much on the line as Sara's, and Michelle was the one to initiate the group hug! Michelle is a class act. Sara? Well, the less said the better.

I did love that Michelle did that. I have someone named Michelle in my life who would have done the same thing.

See? I'm not always a snarky curmudgeon.

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Some thoughts and not all of them are about the food....

I don't know about everyone else, but I'm tiring of Padma and her revolving door of outfits and hairstyles...her cultural appropriation of the cornrows and wife beater shirt was not only offensive but tone deaf. This season she has gone crazy with the costume like outfits and silly hairstyles. But this last episode took the cake.

As for Sara and the waffle blunder...she should have know from previous seasons that using pre made mix would be a huge no no. However, I thought what her fellow contestants did by starting a chant with the huge crowd that was more of a taunt, showed poor sportsmanship and was very immature. For Sara, a Kentucky girl who loves her Wildcats, it was a humiliating moment and was unnecessary. She was called out for it...why rub it in with a sold out crowd and embarrass her further? This was the first fissure in this group that has so far seemed to be pretty tight with each other and not as backstabbing as other contestants have been in previous seasons. 

Finally, do Justin and Eric have to be joined at the hip for every team challenge?  

Edited by kicksave
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4 hours ago, Totale said:

I was one of the few people in the stands, what you missed is that there was a small line of connected folks who got fed, and everybody in the 2/3 empty stands kind of sat in silence most of the cooking time, unless the contestants were riling them up or a half hearted wave made the rounds. 

I was really wondering about that. It was clear that they were not making enough food for all of those people! Thanks!

Also- that technique of frenching the wings. Has anyone tried that? It seems like a cool idea.

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I've been craving a burger for weeks now so me and the husband decided we would go to Five Guys for dinner tonight. After watching this episode today I decided we should go to Juicy Lucy's Burger Bar instead (we've never been and that burger looked seriously good). So, thanks Top Chef!

I've never been a fan of Sarah's so her pouting made me dislike her even more. I mean- yea the heckling may have been over the top but it wasn't done out of malice. Everyone thought they were having a good time with it until she was in  the stew room crying about it! 

White teams food looked the best- Kelsey's dumpling looked seriously good though! I was sad to see Michelle go as she's been a favorite of mine since the beginning. 

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The cynic in me felt like Michelle got eliminated during the stew room.

*Sara, Adrienne, Justin arguing with each other.
MIchelle: "Hey guys, we should be encouraging to each other.  Let's have a group hug!" :).

Producers: "We are going to lose our drama and our ratings! Tom cut her right now!"

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