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Old 07-25-2009, 09:06 AM   #1
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Making food too complicated

Not that I haven't prepared complicated dishes before, but in general I like my food simple - only butter on an English muffin, only salt and pepper on a good steak (sauce is only for bad meat. If you want the flavor of steak sauce, you should put the steak back into the 'fridge and pull out a package of hamburger.) And a problem I've noticed while watching these "television best chef reality competitions", is these want-a-be Emeril Lagasies try to use too many ingredients and layer in too many flavors, turning their dish into mush. And sometimes, in an awkward way, the judges try to explain that problem to them, but it just goes right over their heads. And many of us viewers recognize what they are doing - they're cooking beyond their skill level while trying to be "cutting edge" when they can't even properly fix simple common dishes. Being caught up with access to and trying to use virtually every spice or flavor in the world all in one dish is like creating an oil painting and not knowing when to stop - ending up with a muddy mess! Experimenting with new flavor combinations is fine, as long as you're well grounded in the basics first. Idiots often say, "Well, rules are meant to be broken!" That's fine as long as you know how to use and play by the rules in the first place! - which none of them seem to do!

This is just my venting frustration at all of these TV prima donnas who can't even properly cook a fried egg!

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Old 07-25-2009, 09:09 AM   #2
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Sometimes "simple" is the best way depending on the dish. I know change can be good, but I find I tend to like the "original" version of most things. For example something so simple as iced tea - don't give me all kinds of different flavors - just give me regular old fashioned iced tea. I guess I'm not very innovative
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Old 07-25-2009, 10:30 AM   #3
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I agree that you should never have to mask the flavor of a dish by adding a sauce that completely changes the flavor.

They are supposed to be designed to increase the flavor not to hide it. I also agree that sometimes Chefs not just on TV, try to dazzle us all by buidling on flavor after flavor, which does work sometimes, but misses the goal other times.

A Chef does need to know the basics starting with knife skills, product identification, how to build a mother sauce and then like an artist, learn how to match up/pair flavors together.
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Old 07-25-2009, 11:07 AM   #4
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In my college music theory class, I learned about the Mack Truck Theory: one puts all their ideas into one composition because they may go out, cross the street and get hit by a Mack Truck...
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Old 07-25-2009, 11:44 AM   #5
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This is one of the reasons I appreciate the ICA series - no matter how complex or innovative the dishes are, if the chef loses sight of the secret ingredient, the judges are going to pummel him for it.
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Old 07-25-2009, 11:44 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arky View Post
Not that I haven't prepared complicated dishes before, but in general I like my food simple - only butter on an English muffin, only salt and pepper on a good steak (sauce is only for bad meat. If you want the flavor of steak sauce, you should put the steak back into the 'fridge and pull out a package of hamburger.) And a problem I've noticed while watching these "television best chef reality competitions", is these want-a-be Emeril Lagasies try to use too many ingredients and layer in too many flavors, turning their dish into mush. And sometimes, in an awkward way, the judges try to explain that problem to them, but it just goes right over their heads. And many of us viewers recognize what they are doing - they're cooking beyond their skill level while trying to be "cutting edge" when they can't even properly fix simple common dishes. Being caught up with access to and trying to use virtually every spice or flavor in the world all in one dish is like creating an oil painting and not knowing when to stop - ending up with a muddy mess! Experimenting with new flavor combinations is fine, as long as you're well grounded in the basics first. Idiots often say, "Well, rules are meant to be broken!" That's fine as long as you know how to use and play by the rules in the first place! - which none of them seem to do!

This is just my venting frustration at all of these TV prima donnas who can't even properly cook a fried egg!
BINGO! We have a winner!
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Old 07-25-2009, 11:48 AM   #7
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While I may agree in general, Arky, with what you say, there's a lot of presumptions going on. If we were in the same situations we truly don't know, for sure, exactly how we would handle them. We think we know...but we really don't until we are "there." I have a problem with making such a general/broad statement about their lack of ability, which we really don't have a clue either. Under pressure they may crack...but they still may know how to fry an egg and make basic dishes. These competition type shows don't want basic dishes...they want something inventive and different. With that comes a lot of failure. It's a learning curve and unfortunately we all get to watch it.
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Old 07-25-2009, 12:43 PM   #8
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I love good Sashimi is about as simple as you can get. But a lot of thought goes into every detail but it is just sliced fish.

I also love the complex flavors of Indian Cuisine.

What I don't like is when a “chef” tries to complicate a simple dish with ingredients rather than using a better technique. Hummus is a simple dish but I see all kinds of crazy recipes some of which do not have any chick peas. To make a better Hummus cook your own chick peas. Make an emulsion of some of the cooking liquid, Tahini and lemon juice with a stick blender. Simple but amazing.
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Old 07-25-2009, 12:51 PM   #9
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But at the same time, quite often the judges are imploring the contestants to
Bring it On!
Show Us Your Best!
Innovate!
Go Out on A Limb!

So the contestants feel like their best isn't good enough and they push themselves too far... which then lets the judges criticize them for doing exactly what the judges told them to do.
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Old 07-25-2009, 01:19 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by GrillingFool View Post
But at the same time, quite often the judges are imploring the contestants to
Bring it On!
Show Us Your Best!
Innovate!
Go Out on A Limb!

So the contestants feel like their best isn't good enough and they push themselves too far... which then lets the judges criticize them for doing exactly what the judges told them to do.
Amen! Right on the money..Wouldn't you love to line up the judges and say here cook this for me? Then let them have it with both barrels?
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