One last thing John said that I don’t buy: his claim that he was being magnanimous by sharing the pickles with Lizzie. This was a pickle-and-burger challenge. It’s tacit that we expected them to share the pickles, so no, he could not have put the extra jar of pickles under his arm and won by keeping them from Lizzie. That’s just silly. John mentioned that he’s seen all the seasons. He, more than any of the other contestants, seemed to be thinking that he was supposed to be engaged in some sort of gamesmanship, rather than just being expected to make great food. But that is the game. Chefs win by repeatedly cooking the best food they can. Period. As I wrote above, if they think about food inventively and have the skill set to execute their ideas effectively, they set themselves apart… and can win. It’s really that simple. It’s not easy, but it is simple.
P.S. Yes, Bob Kramer’s knives, with their rare wood handles and great blades, really will set you back $4-5,000 each… if you can even get one. There’s a long list of people who have ordered them, and since Kramer makes them so slowly, he has a lottery system, sometimes randomly selecting people off the waiting list and sometimes selecting those who have been waiting the longest (he feels it’s fairest to mix it up that way), so it can be a long while before your order is filled. He has begun making some knives for Henckels, though, so you can invest less money and time in getting one now.