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Hello, I am Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin, and I am commenting on All-Stars New York season of Top Chef Episode 1. Since last season, I have been finishing my TV series Avec Eric on PBS. It's airing right now, all around the country. I have been promoting my new cookbook, Avec Eric, and I'm taking care of Le Bernardin, visiting my places in the Cayman Islands, Philadelphia, and Washington. It keeps me very busy.
So this season I have the luxury of being a fan and not a judge. Jennifer Carroll works with us, she is our chef in Philadelphia, and therefore I cannot judge. It would be very unfair for the other candidates and maybe even for Jenny. So I am watching it and enjoying it so far.
The first episode was very exciting. There are some great cooks, amazing personalities as we know, and I am almost jealous that I am not going to be with them during the season. But at the same time I have a different way of seeing the show, and it's definitely entertaining.
Well of course Jen is our chef, and we wish her the very best. But many of them are really great cooks, and they're doing very well in their restaurants and have proven in the past that they are great cooks, so I don't really have a favorite. I'm waiting to see what's going to happen. Last season in Singapore Angelo got sick in the finale. He maybe could have done better, we don't know. So he's back, I'm glad to see him back. Jen is one of my favorites. I don't want to say too many names. We'll see how it goes.
In the Quickfire, I think Michael Isabella and Jenny did pretty well. It was well thought out, the Las Vegas kind of Mafia, Italian influenced menu that they did. It looked pretty good. I haven't tasted it, so I don't know how it was, but I trust the fact that they did a good job in terms of flavors. Chicago won and they're dish looked pretty good. I liked the idea of the mustard ice cream, it was a good twist, something interesting.
Marcel was paired with Elia, and I thought they did something interesting with the shrimp and the guacamole and the apple taco. It looks like they didn't taste their food. That was very unfortunate, because Tom I think told them it was bland, but that could have been a winner.
So Jamie didn't really want to work with the group. She was very individualistic in her approach, and she did a good soup I think. Tom liked that soup a lot. However that dish became very disconnected. I think it's a shame, because I think if they had worked as a group, they could have made it work better and maybe won the Quickfire.
Interesting Quickfire, interesting reunion. I like the conviviality of the group right now. As we know, it's going to disintegrate very soon. Right now everything's fine.
The Elimination Challenge is very clever, and they have to do something very painful, which is to use the ingredients or the recipe that sent them home. On top of it while they are cooking, part of the group is eating and criticizing them, and that is definitely setting the tone. We are starting to see some harsh criticism. We are starting to see some very emotional reactions. As a viewer it is very enjoyable obviously, but obviously being there must be nerve racking. Elia didn't want to hear what was going on on the TV. I don't know why, she seems to be very sensitive about criticism. She seems to be very defensive when someone talks about her food, and I remember myself judging one episode in the Los Angeles season where she was also very defensive on my comments. And she seems to be the same, nothing has changed.
VERY glad you're still blogging! Actually, vlogging! Welcome back! Great insight as well as to the challenges. It would have been hard to send anyone home first, considering all of them were major players during their original seasons. However, there doesn't seem to be anyone in blogs or elsewhere saying anything other than that her dish was just the same basic thing she did the first time, which wasn't successful the first time. Nonetheless, it's going to be tough every week. Doubling the prize money, I can see why.
Looking forward to the vlog where you finally lay some smack down on AB! :)
I hope we get to see your video blog with each episode and I am very disappointed that you will not be a judge on the show this season. :(
You are so very sexy!
Really wonderful insights....very sorry you won't be on as a judge at all this season, but these vlogs will be a wonderful treat every Thursday!
I'm glad Jen is back! I was always so impressed that she had worked with you and I was shocked when she was eliminated. I want to see her go to the finale this time!
I was surprised that Jamie said multiple times she "hated" the black bass dish. In the original challenge, it seemed that her problem was with the fish itself. I don't think I've ever eaten black bass - does it have a strong taste or unusual texture?
Excited to hear you now have a show on PBS, I am always looking for better ways to cook fish, I find it quite challenging to get right a lot of the time, so your show is very welcome!
Chef, great to see your reaction at the start of an amazing All Star season. I was beyond excited to meet you this past July at the glorious Marblehead wedding. What a summer night on the east coast! And those fireworks?! Hope you are well. Bon chance!
Eric, you always have a way of getting right to the issue. I was curious about what you would say about Jamie. It's good to see Jen again, and even better to see her being self-confident. I never doubted her before, for the record. I look forward to watching more of your blogs. You have a good mix of criticism, so I thank you for that, and also for training Jen.
I agree with Nicoley and want to add je veux me reveiller avec toi. Seriously, though, I enjoy your blogs more so than if they were written, because we get to hear your accent. It's almost hard to pay attention to what you are actually saying, because your accent is so hypnotically sensuous. It's no wonder Bourdain has a man-crush on you.
Chef Ripert ~ I really enjoyed watching your v-log and appreciated all your comments and critiques on some of the chefs and their dishes. You not judging this season is completely understandable, but I'll definitely miss seeing you at Judge's Table. I can't wait for your comments throughout the season!
I absolutely adore your insight! You're right about Anthony Bourdain. His criticism is not constructive because he does not have to deal with teaching chefs anymore, he is a writer and he lets the words fly. I figured you would not be able to judge because of Jen, which happened in season 6 (and it appeared you missed some truly amazing food) so it's sad again but at least we can see you on PBS!
I'm so glad Chef Ripert is back with his vlog. I do admit I love the accent. But I really love all the insight Chef Ripert brings and how he manages to be blunt and classy simultaneously. I learn so much that his blog is probably my favorite, although I like Colichio's too. I especially like his reflections on the judging. His needling Bourdain=bonus.
I have been enjoying your show "Avec Eric" very much. I love to watch you cook and will tune in to most anything I see you are on. Looking forward to this season of Top Chef, and to future seasons where you may be back at Judges' Table.
I miss u!! I loved it when u and Anthony were judges togeather last season!! Was as great night for me!!! Looking forward to reading your Vlogs every week!!! I just have to watch u away from my boyfriend...he is very jealous the way i am mesmerized by u...LOL!!
I am sad that you aren't going to be a judge this season, but I definitely understand why you can't judge, with Jen as one of the contenders. I will certainly miss your gracious judging..you judge without being mean, and you are very good at giving constructive criticism. You could teach your buddy Anthony a thing or two in that area. He got carried away in mocking Fabio, but was man enough to write about it after. I do believe that these chefs need to develop thicker skins. Elia was sent home due to raw fish,,,that's a given. One more thing...do you have any restaurants out here on the West Coast? I can't see myself getting out to New York any time soon, and I sure would love to taste your food! Also, since I have some French blood in me, I would love to eat food cooked from an authentic French chef. You are very gracious about Jamie not liking the bass recipe from her season, and I was also impressed that she took her loss to heart and learned to overcome her mistakes with the dish. This is the way to take constructive criticism...you listen to the criticism, and take to heart what is said and learn...I can see that you are a very good teacher. What can I say..I'm a big fan!
lol! That's way too funny, about Anthony having a man crush on you. You do have a very nice accent, but I think you have a very endearing personality. That, coupled with your constructive judging,,,,yes, I will miss you this season, and will enjoy your blogs. I presently lack the plug-in do watch your vlogs, but hope to get that taken care of soon!