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Keller is well-known as an advocate for European, specifically French, culinary tradition.


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Classical French cuisine remains a global standard for a certain idea of excellence. Ochoa will be familiar to Los Angeles diners from his local restaurants Mexicali Taco and Salazar, which he launched before moving to Hong Kong in to open rustic Mexican restaurant 11 Westside.

Born in Mexico before emigrating to California as a kid, Ochoa learned to cook from his family, and started his ascent to global superstardom by opening a taco stand in a downtown L.

The Final Table - Charles Michel Backstory

Pic is one of just 16 women who received stars in the Michelin Guide to France, out of restaurants awarded the honor. In New York City, female chefs make up only 8 percent of star-holders.

Common Sense says

The stars are geographically biased, as well. There simply is no Michelin guide to Mexico, to almost anywhere in South America, nor to any city or country in Africa. Nor, it should be noted, is there a Michelin guide to Los Angeles. And, while there have been many calls to bring the guide back here, one wonders if the lack of an old world authority figure dolling out stars might actually have helped encourage a vibrant, innovative food scene that celebrates diverse food culture.

What The Final Table Reveals About the Power Structures of Fine Dining

Of the 24 competitors, however, there were only five women, three on mixed-gender teams, and one team of two women. When the three women with male partners had all been eliminated, the final episode featuring the team of Monique Fiso and Amninder Sandhu seemed to play up the reality show dramatics of their frustrations with one another, repeating the ever-popular narrative that, if two women both rise to an excellent, elite level in a male-dominated space, we pit them as antagonists to one other.

In the final round the judges are presented with options of four white men—an American, a Canadian, and two Australians. They are probably all extremely gifted, hard-working, and extremely deserving individuals.

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But they are also, in their careers outside the show and within its confines, all the beneficiaries of social forces that perpetuate the elevation of certain kinds of chefs and leave others—particularly female chefs, chefs of color, and chefs representing heritage cuisines outside the European canon—with a more difficult struggle for acceptance and success.

For Mark Best, the answer is simple. But scepticism quickly turned into something else. Best had recently closed his Sydney restaurant Marque at the time and had nothing to lose, plus, being asked to team up with Osborn was a huge compliment. Information was scarce during initial conversations about The Final Table , and when the casting process kicked off, it was gruelling and time-consuming, taking close to one year. Best and Osborn travelled to Los Angeles for the next round of casting along with hundreds of other hopefuls.

Showbiz is cut-throat, and so was the culling of potential contestants.

The pair continued to progress until they were selected to participate in the show, joining 12 teams of two chefs from countries including New Zealand, India, the US, Brazil, Ecuador, France, Japan and more. The episode series was filmed at Sony Studios in Los Angeles over a seven-week period, which is a substantial amount of time for chefs to be away from their businesses.

Each episode revolved around the recreation of a national dish from nine countries including Italy pasta , Mexico tacos , Spain paella and the US Thanksgiving dinner. A revolving panel of judges — including a food critic and two individuals with personal connections to the region — determined the best and worst dishes. Best and Osborn remained undeterred, and kept a cool, calm and collected composure.


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Each episode follows the same format and producers were strict when it came to the time restrictions, which varied from 60 minutes all the way up to 90 minutes depending on the challenge. The teams were split for the first and only time, with each chef cooking a career-defining dish in front of nine culinary legends including Grant Achatz, Clare Smyth and Vineet Bhatia.

The Brazil episode showed off culinary creativity