Top Chef: Banannaise
January 14, 2016 8:01 PM - Season 13, Episode 6 - Subscribe

San Diego! Fish tacos! A lobster freakout! A plating mishap! Sudden death quickfire! Judges' brew! Banannaise! Emeril! Blais!
posted by duffell (15 comments total)
I'm loving this season so far; the cheftestants are remarkably kind to each other. I mean, that opening scene with Phillip felt more like an intervention than a harsh take-down. Similarly, we the see the chefs tasting each other's food and offering ingredients to each other during a 20 minute taco challenge. It feels like there's a professional camaraderie here that's similar to what you see in Top Chef Masters. Perhaps after the chicanery of Nina/Nick's season, the show's producers have learned to dial down the drama and focus on the food. If so, that's one good thing we can take away from it.

It's also refreshing to see the chefs leave at the right time. I don't feel like anyone is skating by or that anyone (so far) has gone home early. It was Angelina's time and it was Wesley's time and, fairly soon, it will be Phillip's time. On the flip side, I never know who's going to be a front runner week-to-week because everyone is so strong. I think, after Phillip, the departures will start breaking hearts.

As a side note, I just have to mention that I had the pleasure of eating at Marjorie's restaurant this week ( a birthday treat from my husband) and it was AMAZING. Delecious, elegant, but not fussy. Seriously one of the best meals I have had in years, and definitely the most I've enjoyed a cheftestant's fine dining restaurant. ( We're in the DC area so I've been to Brian Voltaggio's Range and Mike Isabella's Graffiato. Spike's Good Stuff serves the best burgers in town, but wouldn't be a fair comparison.)
posted by CatastropheWaitress at 7:00 AM on January 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

Phillip whinging that "if I don't win I might lose my restaurant" (at least that seemed to be the gist of it) ... just ugh. Phillip isn't going to win, and he's not going to lose his restaurant over it either unless it's already doing really poorly to begin with.

Never liked Angelina, she seemed in over her head from day one, no matter how much bravado she puts on for the interview cameras. And Wesley, man, guy needs a sabbatical to get his life in order or something. I have to think maybe he's just bad at dealing with the time restraints of contest cooking, because he got the job at Blais's old place, but he's been a big mess here all along.
posted by dnash at 7:36 AM on January 15, 2016

I agree Angelina seemed like she was in over her head, but she also seemed like a good (albeit young!) person, and she was maybe the best smack talker to ever be on the show! I'm gonna miss her. I didn't think she was going to win, but I would have loved to see her make it to the final 6 or so.

So long, Messy Dude. To win Top Chef you not only have to be great, you have to be consistent, and you were not.

I, too, am enjoying this season. I do, however, hate hate HATE the 'everyone go to judges table all at once' thing they've been doing for a few years now. A half dozen chef's sitting in the stew room while the Judges praised the winners was always a nice place to get some great drama. I really don't understand why they changed this.
posted by Frayed Knot at 3:16 PM on January 15, 2016

I really want to try those squid and pork meatballs. Even though they'd probably be terrible.
posted by dilaudid at 5:44 PM on January 15, 2016

I have now divided the competition in half: those who add truffle to a fucking fish taco thereby missing the point and just going "oh truffle makes it fine dining and I R Fine Diner Chef," and those who realized the point of a fish taco is to taste something simple and perfect. It doesn't need or want truffle, let it be what it is.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:31 PM on January 15, 2016 [4 favorites]

I mean truffles are nice and all, and they have been done to death. You really need to push incredibly hard to find something new to do with a truffle. Do something else.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:32 PM on January 15, 2016

Bye Angelina.

Oooh. Beer challenge. I find it hard to cook with. The themed thing is so awkwardly worded though.

#BANANAISE omg I hope this works.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:26 PM on January 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Interesting that they did a beer challenge considering the comment in a previous thread about many of the chefs choosing to drink water in the Stew Room. And didn't someone have an issue during a previous paring challenge with wine because he didn't drink?

I don't know, you can tell me what the flavors are, but I would want to taste them before making them the profile of my dish, and I think it's rough that at least one of the chefs is choosing not to drink for personal reasons and yet here is ANOTHER challenge based around alcohol.
posted by chainsofreedom at 6:06 AM on January 16, 2016

Even though Isaac was on the bottom, I kinda want a recipe for bananaise ...
posted by tocts at 8:21 AM on January 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Sad to see Wesley go, but only because I never found a good opportunity to deploy a "Shut Up Wesley" reac gif.
posted by duffell at 8:31 AM on January 16, 2016

I can't help but wonder if they'll be doing another Top Chef All Stars. I'm putting together a mental list of people I'd like to see come back:

9 (Texas): Edward, Beverly, Nyesha.
10 (Seattle): Brooke, Sheldon.
11 (New Orleans): Nina, Shirley, Carlos.
12 (Boston): Gregory, Melissa.
13, we'll see. I'm a fan of Karen, Marjorie, Isaac, and Kwame so far. Hoping one of them will win, though!
posted by duffell at 8:37 AM on January 16, 2016

I'm starting to feel sorry for Phillip. He sincerely wants to please the judges, and he also seems to be pretty friendly with the other contestants. Even when he and Kwame had the disagreement about the potatoes he was never outright rude, which can't be said of some of the other contestants. He doesn't an overall win at this point, but I would like to see him continue on long enough for him to solve this puzzle of 'what do the judges want?'. I've also become so intrigued by the seeming disconnect between his sense of taste and the judges' that I want to eat at his restaurant just to see what the deal is.

Bananaise... I'm pretty sure that I've made something similar in years of vegan cooking.

I don't want to eat Jason's food, but I love his food nerdiness. I would love to buy his cookbook. Having Blais describe your food as 'weird' is an achievement and an honor imho.
posted by tofu_crouton at 8:40 AM on January 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'm starting to feel sorry for Phillip. He sincerely wants to please the judges, and he also seems to be pretty friendly with the other contestants. Even when he and Kwame had the disagreement about the potatoes he was never outright rude, which can't be said of some of the other contestants.

I think catastrophewaitress said it well earlier--Phillip's fellow contestants basically gave him an intervention. What annoyed me wasn't any perceived rudeness from Phillip, but an apparent refusal to listen to criticism offered in good faith. He's coming off as obtuse.
posted by duffell at 8:45 AM on January 16, 2016

He's going to run into a serious problem though. Executing technically competent food is all well and good, but the judges are looking for creativity and innovation; technical skill is taken as a basic given.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:47 AM on January 16, 2016

Phillip reminds me of the conversations I continually have to have with a certain family member who has branded herself an Artist.

Family member: Okay, the craft fair is tomorrow. How much would you pay for this single life-sized papier-mache banana?
Me: NOTHING. Because I am emphatically NOT in the market for a single life-sized papier-mache banana.

He doesn't have what the judges want, and he isn't particularly interested in finding out how to please them, so he wastes a lot of time doing something that is not a great fit for his passion and talents.
posted by St. Hubbins at 1:41 PM on January 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

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