In The Weeds

Sam Talbot outlines the issues he takes with this episode.

First off, let me give the proverbial shout out--I was just in St. John. The plan was to spend a few days working on a project, but due to accommodations, flight and weather problems (hope Hurricane Dean does as little damage as possible), the project is postponed. So the shout out goes to Billy and Blake, and everyone else I met there--thanks, and hope to see you guys soon. Coldstone Creamery. Don't tell anyone, 'cause I'm not suppose to eat it, but I had it once. It's good. Real good. And I figured when in Rome mix in as many mix-ins as humanly possible. carlos_307_01_320x240

And the winner of the most inappropriate use of foam during a TC challenge goes to... It's not hard to pick this winner, so I'll move on to the Elimination Challenge.

Remember, guys? Remember your first TC experience? Remember how you thought you were at a party? Then suddenly you had to compete? And it caught you off guard? Remember that time? Seeing their shocked faces when they realize they had to cook instead of party reminds me of how babies play peek-a-boo--no matter how many times you do it, they're authentically surprised each time. I kind of felt bad for them--I know what a night on the town would have done for their spirits. But a few of them couldn't get over the issues it caused: bourdain_307_04_320x240.jpg

Issue One: CJ described it as their "goofy happiness", which (I think) was a euphemism for "We're kinda-already-drunk-if-not-completely-hammered." For any respectable chef this should be a non-issue.

Issue Two: Wardrobe. As far as the whole attire/gender complaint, all chefs--man, woman, or Hung's monkey--deserve to be protected in the kitchen. The producers should have made their clogs available. Didn't they learn anything from Hubert Keller telling Cynthia to leave the kitchen because her shoes weren't safe in Season One? As far as shirts, Tre didn't seem to be using his--someone could have borrowed it. They also apparently had aprons available (as well as bad hats).

Issue Three: And I quote, "Everything is F*&@d." In the kitchen, when things are f'ed, you have about five seconds to be "demoralized" before you need to get over it (and yourself). I've found myself literally knee deep in, well, what you don't want to be knee-deep in. I've cooked in a kitchen with a broken fan and vomited every night from smoke inhalation. I've climbed on roof mid-dinner service to repair (or further break) the aforementioned fan. Things get f'ed on a daily basis. A chef kind of has to like that aspect of the job (just a little bit) because at the end of the night, you will know you were victorious. I guess Sara didn't read "Kitchen Confidential". But I can totally understand having a bad day--I had my share--but CJ's pep rally would have been all I needed.

Issue Four: Team Challenge and Howie. How to deal/work with Howie? I don't know. Maybe it's some pack leader-Dog Whisperer technique? Whatever it is, I'm sure I would have handled it in the worst possible way. There are a few patient leaders (Tre, Brian) so maybe they'll figure it out before all is said and done. But until then, it seems like Howie won't rest until he fulfills his own prophecy. Why Issue Four Is An Issue Ever notice that the judges like to put the blame on the other chefs for not correcting a fellow chef's behavior? So far the in this Judges' Table, they've blamed both Sara and CJ for not stopping Howie's Howieness.

Issue Five: Cooking for your customers and your judges. On one hand, you have blasted clubgoers. On the other, you have, well, you know who you have. The trick is (and don't take my word for this) you have to kill two birds with one perfectly-executed stone. Your first goal is to nail the challenge as it was explained. The second is to figure out a way to hit it out of the park. Tre's dish was a perfect example of this. Nicely done, man.

Side Bar: During the commercial break, the Bravo announcer told us that a Bombay Sapphire cocktail pairs perfectly with Dale's ice cream recipes. Please, pretty please, will someone out there try this, umm, interesting pairing and let me know how it goes? CJ, thanks again for hilarious commentary. You're the guy in the confessional interviews I wished I could have been.

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