Top Chef Season 18

Not a Brook fan. There is something about her, not sure what


I like the blind tasting too. It’s a bit of a twist of the blind ingredient challenges they’ve had in the past, so this kind of changes it up a bit. I personally have always enjoyed those mise-en-place relay races in past seasons.

I thought it was odd to throw Brooke in there though. If you needed an even number of contestants for this game, why not just run it when you have 6 chefs still active? :thinking:


To some extent this is already the case with challenges like Restaurant Wars (at least in prior seasons, not this one with the Chef’s Table format).

That said, while blind tasting might reduce bias, it would also eliminate the ability of the chefs to present and explain their dishes to the judges. While it might seem trivial, I think this is actually critical because knowing why a certain ingredient is plated, or not plated, or what is in a reduction or a puree, can provide a completely different palate upon which a dish is judged.

And I think in a series-long contest like Top Chef, bias is important. While each episode has the contestants competing against one another, invariably the judging is based in part on the progression, style and evolution of each chef during the season and competition as a whole.

In other words, the judges are not just judging each chef against one another but against each chef themselves cum chef-testant. This is really epitomized by those elimination challenges where a chef is asked to make a dish that reflects their heritage, family, upbringing, etc.


Oh Dawn…sigh.

Is anyone voting on fan favorite? You don’t have to say who you are voting for.

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Why is there yellow cheddar?

Is top four "good enough " to change a chefs career? I think top two is.

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This episode made me think of this…


Me too! I was thinking the 11 year was the reserve, and wondered about how someone was using just the oil of one them.

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Great :brain:s.

I’m assuming the cheese oil is what i sometimes complain about when the cheese used to separate in my mac and cheese. I no longer use cheddar and always include Velveeta.

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Gawd, as I said before, The Uproxx rankings are usually good for a couple of chuckles and one guffaw.
I am not one of those people who believes in the fairness of popularity voting online, but I guess I would be torn between Gabe and Shota. I would really like to eat at both of their restaurants.
Did you know “Shota” is sort of slang for nice guy in Japanese?
Fine aged cheeses, (including perhaps, an Oregon cheddar) deserve consideration and respect. Reducing one to an oil does not seem like a respectful treatment. None of the judges share this viewpoint.
Why Americans think cheddar has to be orange, is because all their lives every cheddar they’ve eaten has been dyed orange. I appreciate that the aged cheddars from Tillamook are not colored.

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I’m definitely not the cheese connoisseur but when I use cheese, I tend to stay away from the bright orange cheese. However – my one exception – nothing is quite as good on cheese popcorn as the fake, glowing nuclear orange cheese. I don’t know why. I don’t care for the fancy Smartfood and other modern cheese popcorns with white cheddar. Give it to me in Fanta orange, or it doesn’t taste right.

Generally I consider the fan favorite almost like a consolation prize for the someone in the top 3-4 who’s at least likable. I do get a little bummed that the winner sometimes also gets the fan favorite. Spread the wealth, I say!


American cheese is always white. I get grossed out by yellow, oily cheese.

When I went to grad school with a roomie from Pittsburgh she attended a shower. When an attendee asked why there was no white American, she asked if I was from Philly. Of course!

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While I certainly can’t speak to what all Americans think, I can’t imagine that is the only reason. I don’t know about you, but I consider myself an “American” of sorts, and I’ve eaten chedder that is not dyed orange, and don’t think I have ever chosen chedder based on color. Maybe my mom did (`29-'95 , NYC) , but I don’t assume.

“Did you know “Shota” is sort of slang for nice guy in Japanese?”
I did not! Thanks!

Anyhow, Dungeness crabs! Yes, please!


"Dungeness crabs are delicious (when they’re very fresh, anyway, less-than-fresh ones are basically inedible) but they’re probably the most pain-in-the-ass food to clean of all time. They don’t just have a big pocket of lump meat in the middle like a blue crab. My favorite way to eat them is whole in the shell (which isn’t very cheffy) and the best-case scenario there is you finish the night just barely full and fully covered in butter grease from your fingertips to your elbows (I contend that the effort makes them taste better). "


Crabs are my favorite food. If there was ever a tasting I would want to be part of it, it was this one. I was drooling this entire episode (I love clams too).

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As a lifelong digger of clams, and fisher for crabs, I am a bit surprised at some of the lore that was not passed along to the cheftestants: first, you need to have a big bucket of seawater for those clams, preferably with an airpump, so they will be alive and expell some of their sand. There is no sense in shucking clams with a knife; steam them ever so briefly and they open.
Second, while our friend at Uproxx is apoplectic at the mention of “gapers”, this long-neck claim is fantastic if treated properly. Even Shota did not seem to know how to feature the potentially tough neck meat in the best way, but he was not docked for it. And another thing, he said he used “kimo”, which means liver in Japanese, but he used the outer mantle, which is kaibashira in Japanese. It doesn’t much matter, because he fried it to death, and it would have been more elegant as a raw strip of garnish on top.
Gapers and geoducks are admittedly obscene, but if you don’t see the bobbit moment, they can be delicious. I remember seeing fishwives pound the penis-shaped meat with a ferocity that told of their unhappy marriage. Then it is deep-fried to oblivion. The Japanese treat it with much more reverence.
In sushi, the geoduck is cut at the last second, so it is still quivering. I don’t know what I would add to enhance the flavor; usually it it splashed with a drop of citrus. Maybe a ceviche of a different clam, and some carrot thing. I have used an avocado purée - cudos Gabe.
Oh, Dawn’s cashew + crab idea will definitely be appearing at a theater near you
Third, why did they use anything but the biggest leg sections and claws of the crab for presentation? When I want to impress with a crab bite I present a giant piece of claw meat on a bit of cracker with some sauce underneath, and a bit of garnish atop.
I would never serve a guest un-cracked crab legs in a sauce. The judges didn’t seem to mind, but I would never if I were competing ( I kid myself that I could compete with these guys.)


"But you might also be called upon to preheat the oven, steam buns, roll Carla Hall’s hot chicken in the spicy oil or honey, or boil water for “Top Chef” all-star and James Beard Award winner Karen Akunowicz’s made-from-scratch pastas and sauces. Orders come with explicit serving and storage directions.

Season 14 runner-up Shirley Chung even includes a hack on how to turn scraps from her tea-smoked whole duck into a second bonus soup. If you’re still feeling intimidated, some of the culinary superstars like “Top Chef Masters” winner Marcus Samuelsson occasionally offer a live cooking class and meal kit combo. And if you expand your parameters to include guest judges, you can sink your teeth into David Chang’s Bo Ssäm (a Momofuku menu mainstay)or Nancy Silverton’s famous oven-baked meatballs and garlic knots for four. (Or for one as the best part about takeout is there are no prying eyes to shame you for overindulging.)

Of course, this is the method that requires the most planning and forethought as all of the chefs have different shipping schedules and timeframes. How long it takes to get to you depends on where you live compared to where the food is coming from. A good rule of thumb is to allow 10 days between purchase and your palette."

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Um, I don’t know about delivery food from a TopChef contestant…
Just open a restaurant and let me try your food there.
I notice the Variety article has a repeated paragraph. Not to be too critical; I need an editor as well.

I don’t know about delivery either, but it is more realistic than anybody opening a restaurant here.

I’m getting lots of hints in my feed, but I’m holding out to see the results on the Pacific time broadcast.

I did read this.


I’m in spin off mode.

The best spin off.

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