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Top Chef 2:4, or WHO cheated with extra olive oil?

  • pitu Nov 9, 2006 11:49 AM
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Some quick thoughts on last night's Top Chef . . .

1. I love Suzanne Goin. She was one of the best guest judges they've had.

2. the low brow vending machine challenge . . . nice to see some of them really pull it off
(and I only believed it because the guest judging was a real chef)

3. I like the stricture of a 500 calorie meal for all the obvious reasons...
"yeah baby, how can you work that without the extra 1000 calories?"
I think the show should have used the nutritionist cops for both days -- it's fair to expect people to make adjustments in a competition..

4. WTF with the olive oil squeeze bottle? The Betty thing is completely different than the un-explored olive oil thing. Was the group that managed to be under 400, and so had leeway? Unlikely . . .
(cue the ominous music)

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  1. Re: point 4, you're right. The editing is atrocious. If someone is going to bring up olive oil then the subsequent unmasking should not involve sugar vs. Splenda.

    Agree re: Goin.

    Marcel/Wolverine has become slightly less annoying to me over each episode. He's basically an immature kid who's trying to stand out at every opportunity but doesn't have the common sense to match the dish to the theme. I mean, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus for Fat Camp kids? Every week he just seems younger and more foolish to me, and therefore more pitiable and less grating.

    He's been replaced in his position as Top Annoyer by Josie, I think. She reminds me of some kind of maniacal were-rabbit and manages to sound smug at any opportunity, even when she turned out that weird excuse for "pho" that was supposedly the product of training under a Vietnamese chef. I've noticed also that her dishes are rarely featured - don't think we even got to see her sushi from the Quickfire challenge - wonder what they're saving her up for...

    1. Betty bugs, plain and simple. Her "happy dance" and all around perkiness just annoy me. I was hoping that her sugar/ splenda "mistake" would get her the boot, but alas, no such luck.
      With that said, I found Mia to be shady, at least when the contestants were all together, Sam and Carlos called people out, Mia just stood there silent. Just my two cents...

      3 Replies
      1. re: anna banana

        I think Betty is as fake as a $3 bill. Her bursting into tears when she was caught cheating was as fake as her smile when she was greeting the people during the charity event challenge.

        She showed her true colors when she verbally attacked Marcel because she found him annoying.

        1. re: KTinNYC

          I really enjoyed watching Betty "apologize" to Marcel for that verbal attack, as she explained to the viewers that she felt bad about it, since she was a grown-up and should have known better than to act like that. My feelings exactly. She's not smiling now...

          This is more reality show than cooking show. My husband commented that there must have been a shortage of cooks who wanted to come on the show, as some of these people seem more like dishwashers than top chef candidates.

        2. re: anna banana

          Correction anna banana, Sam specifically stated he did not want to go there, when asked who was using extra olive oil so I don't see how he should be given a pat on the back. Mia specifically stated that Betty adjusted her recipe and she had no problem going there. Betty's team won the challenge because they served pizza, not because of Betty's cookies.

        3. It is strange since you know the producers *must* have footage of all the cooking and could easily show/identify who may have used extra olive oil.

          As for the addition of more sugar into Betty's cookies I think she made an honest mistake and she was still trying to conform to the 500 calorie limit.

          19 Replies
          1. re: heathermb

            Betty's not a nutritionist and was just guesstimating the caloric result of added sugar vs smaller serving size. For all she knew, she could have gone over the 500 calorie limit.

            1. re: scenicrec

              As I recall (and the older I get the less accurate is my recall) she said that she used 2 tablespoons of sugar...if that is accurate..that shouldn't be a problem calorically I would think....now 2 cups......!!!

              1. re: ChowFun_derek

                She said two tablespoons. If the batch made a dozen meringues, that would be 4 calories each.

                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                  2 tbl for an entire batch of meringue? I doubt it.

                  Besides- and most importantly- the rules stated that they couldn't change a recipe once it was locked in. I can't see how this could be "misunderstood".

                  1. re: scenicrec

                    Two tablespoons *more* than the batch the nutritionist evaluated.

                    Given the way the footage is edited, we have no idea what misunderstandings might arise, just as we have no way of knowing which were invented or blown out of proportion by the producers.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Other contestants were aware that they couldn't change their recipes. Did just half the room get this information? In a games with stakes as high as this one, I'm sure the rules were clear. "Misunderstanding" is not a good enough excuse.

                    2. re: scenicrec

                      Exactly. The rules are: don't change the recipe!
                      Pretty straight forward request.

                      1. re: chef chicklet

                        Straightfoward, but crazy. "You tested this and it didn't work. Make it again anyway"? That's sort of like asking a professional diver to jump into an empty pool.

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          Especially since the nutrionists signed off on the content/amounts of the ingredients and the calorie counts they would produce before anything was actually cooked. If they had stuck around while the contestants cooked and found out whether their low-calorie recipes actually worked out well, technically or taste-wise, they could have signed off on rejiggered recipes, particularly if the teams had calories to spare, made changes in portion size, etc. And if they had been there on the second day, they could also have observed or served as proctors to make sure the teams stuck to the rules.

                          As Colicchio noted in his Bravo blog, this wasn't just a "fat camp," some of the kids there had restricted diets for medical reasons. So, while Betty's 2 T. of sugar (adding only around 55 calories to her whole batch of cookies, as she also took out two egg whites) probably didn't send their meal's calorie count over 500, if another team did in fact add an unmeasured amount of olive oil while cooking, who knows?

                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                            The blog also says other contestants accused Mia of sneaking sugar into her cole slaw. If that was in the show I missed it.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              It wasn't in the show. Rich, isn't it, though?

                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                Helps explain why the judges threw up their hands.

                            2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                              I rewatched this episode, and Betty added a lot more than "2 tbl" of sugar to her recipe- a recipe that was signed off on as being SUGAR FREE!

                        2. re: scenicrec

                          It seems that many of the chef-testants are poor listeners when it comes to the nitty-gritty details of the challenges. Both Sam and Ilan (not to mention Marisa, the annoying pastry lady) didn't present entrees last week for the TGIF challenge yet, as I recall, that was the challenge. Not a side, not a desert and not a salad - no matter how delicious or well-executed.
                          Betty was in a major bind - the judges have plainly shown that if you plate & serve bad food, there will be no mercy - as we saw last week with Emily's inedibly salty meal.
                          On a final note, if I have to see Michael's wife's panties again, I'm gonna yack and yack hard!

                          1. re: scenicrec

                            I honestly believe Betty lied so she wouldn't not get kicked off. It's no different than Otto lying about not paying for the lychees.

                            It's true the way the editing is done that misunderstandings, especially from viewer perspective can be misconstrued. There was an overall assumption that the contestants could not alter their recipe after the 400 caloric count was established, but I never once heard these rules come from the judges that the recipes were fixed.

                          2. re: Robert Lauriston

                            Didn't Betty also say she reduced the number of egg whites?

                            1. re: MaspethMaven

                              yes, 2 less.

                      2. re: heathermb

                        They (the producers) could definitely have identified it - the editing was judiciously NOT showing it, although it's pretty obvious they know. Read Tom Collichio's blog at Bravo TV - he notes that they had videotape of Michael not caring about the QuickFire Challenge, even though he told Suzanne Goin that he "drew a blank". But this blog is an "after the fact" comment.

                        I think Tom's P.S. on his blog pretty much says it all - they, as judges, aren't ALLOWED to see the whole videotape - they have to judge on the food alone. Which is why Emily went home last week - her meal was completely inedible, whereas Michael's cheesesteak, while it looked bad, was at least edible.

                        Edited to say that Gail's blog says even with all the camerapeople there, they could NOT determine who, if anyone, had used olive oil.

                        1. re: heathermb

                          I'm sure the producers have all the footage but it's a reality show. Who walks around with cameras on a day to day basis and has the ability to review what someone's previous activities were? If the producers ever step in front of the camera, this reality show would loose its effectiveness.

                        2. I think the producers are incompetent. This is the second episode in which the contestant with the worst food was not eliminated.

                          The producers worry more about injecting soap-opera emotional conflicts by inventing phony controversies than about designing challenges that allow fair and rational selection of a winner.

                          When team A's sucky dish was conceived by contestant X, and Team B's equally if not more sucky dish was conceived collectively, is that grounds for eliminating X? It's apples and oranges. No wonder the judges were happy to avoid making a decision at all.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            I think they should run team challenges similar to the way things have been run on other competitive shows:
                            - split contestants into teams
                            - each team elects a "head chef" for that challenge
                            - the head chef of the losing team nominates another team member to join them on the chopping block for possible elimination by the judges

                            It just doesn't seem to be working the way they are doing it - asking the team who made what decision is just too haphazard a way to make these decisions.

                            Just my $.02

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              Of course they do that (worry about interjecting drama)! Afterall, it's first a "reality" show and everything else comes later. That Top Chef happens to be about a topic we here all care about is secondary to the fact that it's still a formulaic game show.

                              _Adam

                              1. re: adampaul

                                Iron Chef was a formulaic game show, and it depended on the cooking for the drama. Except once in a while, when they set up preposterous professional-wrestling-style grudge matches or had Kaga get a bee in his bonnet about something.

                              2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                Here here! I agree.

                              3. I honestly feel that Michael should've gone home based on his "this is stupid..so what" attitude towards everything.
                                It's like Goin said.."nobody kidnapped you & forced you to be on the show"

                                Mia seems to be pretty ruthless. I was watching an episode on a rerun & when Ilan won that challenge with the snails she looked pretty pissed off. She did the same when Suzanne Goin told her her amuse bouche was more of a dessert than an amuse. She doesn't seem to take criticism very well.

                                As for the olive oilgate..when Sam mentioned it they shot to Mike grilling his chicken. You know he probably did given his "i don't give a crap" attitude.

                                1. I feel last night's episode was a bit disappointing that no one left. Seemed like a "do-over" or something. I realize the judges felt their hands were tied, but they could have called back some contestants to ask them more pointed questions, similar to what Tom C. did when he talked to the whole group. That might have shed a bit more light to help them make a cut.

                                  I don't really hold Sam (the cutie) for bringing up the fact that people may have cheated and not want to name names. He brought up the fact to highlight that their dishes stayed true to the dietary restrictions and should be counted positively for doing that. I don't think he meant to put down others or point fingers at others.

                                  By the way, the winning quick-fire challenge really looked like a turd. I did not find that visually appealing at all and my bouce would not be amused at all. :)

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: singleguychef

                                    I suspect the real problem was that the judges thought the producers had screwed things up.

                                    We're not going to see such conflicts aired on the screen, and Bravo's not going to let the judges be candid about them on their blogs. Presumably they made Marisa Churchill take down the blog where she talked about how the producers hyped up the trivial lychee episode.

                                  2. I think when they leave it up to a cast confession, they get the wrong player
                                    like when Otto left

                                    if the NFL can use instant replay, certainly Top Chef can
                                    ;-)
                                    Potential Producer Conspiracy: maybe it was Ilan or some other valuable player that committed EVOOgate. I think if they had the goods on Michael, they'd have flayed him.

                                    The business with Betty was pretty carefully explained in the footage leading up to the discovery -- she talks in the kitchen about using 2T more sugar. You don't have to be a nutritionist to get the calories on 2T of sugar. I couldn't stand her at first either (the bubbly bosomy smile thing doesn't work for me) but since she rocked all those early competitions it's clear she deserves respect for her cooking skills.

                                    God knows they are always telling them to Make It Work, er, I mean Fix It Before You Serve It.

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: pitu

                                      I agree, it's contrary to the show's fundamental concept to demand that an experienced chef cook something twice when it didn't work the first time.

                                      They should have had nutritionists on hand the second day to deal with that.

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        I totally agree as well...with Robert also...it is much MORE professional to tweak a new recipe to get it right, and the nutritionists should have been on hand...Betty's addition of just an additional 2 tbs. sugar to the strengthen the sugar substitute, and then reduce the size of the portions was thinking on her feet, and I thought well done...and wasn't it really HER idea to do pizza when Wolfman wanted asparagus! and then the Pizza man stepped in??

                                        1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                          I think you and I were the only ones to catch that he took credit for her idea. When they asked who's idea it was for pizza, he raised his hand before she did, and she ended up putting her hand to the side of her face...

                                          1. re: Claudette

                                            Yes...that she didn't pipe up and say "No it was really my idea" did show a positive side to her personallity I believe...It helped me 'forgive' her for the sugar snafu...

                                          2. re: ChowFun_derek

                                            I agree with Chow Fun in his reply to Robert Lauritson. Tom is constantly telling them about fixing problems and mistakes. Betty did leave out 2 egg whites, and the addition of 2 tablespoons when their calorie count was at least 50 calories below 500 would not have put them over with the taking out of the egg whites. She was fixing a mistake, and I dont think she was intentionally trying to do anything wrong. I think her teammates should have stuck up for her even though Marcel seems too immature to do something like that.And yes she DID say pizza first. Didn't she start to raise her hand?

                                            1. re: sharonm

                                              She certainly raised her eyebrow!

                                              1. re: sharonm

                                                I was watching the reruns over the weekend -- Betty did start to raise her hand, and then when Frank raised his, she quickly pulled her hand back and disguised the gesture by putting it on her cheek. For all people have complained that she's putting herself forward too much, there's one instance where she would certainly have been justified in saying something and chose to refrain.

                                                Marcel is incredibly immature -- childish, really -- and he's very focused on the "competition" aspects of what they're doing. It's funny that he's actually several years older than Elia, and yet she acts like a big sister towards him. In the firehouse challenge she was saying to him that she was trying to protect him when people said bad things about him, and at the time I (and other people) were wondering what she was talking about, but rewatching the shows, there's at least one example: her defending his "over garlicky" dish and trying to keep him out of the bottom group in the first elimination challenge.

                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                  It's interesting, in the Firehouse challenge, Elia tells Marcel that she has his back since they know each other and have worked together before, but I do wonder at what point that will fall by the wayside as the competition moves forward.

                                        2. Carlos should get immunity next week.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Sobe

                                            that's so true, didn't think about that. It was like all the contestants got immunity this week!

                                          2. Betty probably did not go over the 500 calorie limit. 2 tablespoons of sugar has approximately 60 calories. So even if she added 2 T for EACH COOKIE (which did not seem to be the case) they still would have been below the 500 mark: (1) the nutritionist put their recipe at 440 and (2) the cookies were smaller.

                                            She did break the rules by changing her recipe after it had been approved by the nutritionist. In my opinion, that is not an elimination worthy offense, especially since they stayed below the calorie count and their menu was clearly the odds on favorite, for reasons having nothing to do with the cookie. I do think, though, that her team should probably have been disqualified and another winning team announced.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: charmedgirl

                                              Two tablespoons of sugar has about 100 calories (sugar has 51 calories/tablespoon). However, I agree that it was clear that it was 2 tablespoons for a *batch* of cookies, and that since they started 60 calories under the limit *per serving*, they would still have been within the limits per serving.

                                              I think the producers were in a bind. Betty clearly broke a rule by making unapproved changes to the recipe, but still kept to the most critical rule by not going over 500 calories. On the other hand, if one or more of the teams were using extra olive oil, they were not only breaking the rules about changing the recipes but possibly going over the 500 calories as well. And there was absolutely no way to prove that, since even if you could prove people were using olive oil, there was no way to measure how much was used after the fact. It wouldn't have been fair to kick Betty out and not the other people who broke the same rules, plus possibly additional rules, and since they couldn't figure it out for sure, they called it a mulligan.

                                              I think that when all was said and done, they must have been relieved. It was clear that the orange team had the weakest dishes: the judges trashed two of the three items, plus they criticized the whole meal for being unbalanced (two fruit items) -- essentially, they didn't make the best use of their calorie allotment, since they were more than 100 calories under. But since Carlos had immunity, that would have meant eliminating either Sam or Cliff -- two of the strongest competitors. I'm sure they weren't happy about that at all.

                                              That said, I disagree with whoever said Sam wasn't trying to accuse people of cheating. He only brought it up when it looked like his team was going down. It was obviously an attempt to try to save his own hide; he knew that even if they didn't name names, the judges and producers were going to have to consider allegations of cheating (game show laws, remember?). So he got to act noble and above it all, while still getting his point made. Mia just took her desperation to save herself a step further. I'm not ready to label her a bitch yet, but she's on probation, as far as I'm concerned.

                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                Apologies, I don't know where my head was on the math when I originally posted. You're right, there are more than 60 calories in two tablespoons of sugar. I was thinking there were two teaspoons in a tablespoon (even though I know better!) and then did the math based on 15 calories per teaspoon.

                                                ... Still not sure I agree that there are 100 calories in 2 T though. I always heard there were 15 calories per teaspoon. It seems that might actually be on the high side, since calorieking.com has it at 11 calories per teaspoon. But if we go with the higher number, at 3 teaspoons per tablespoon, that would still only be 45 calories per tablespoon and 90 calories per 2 tablespoons.

                                                Ok, ok, that's splitting hairs for the purposes of our discussion. But I figure if Betty had to argue it, she'd be pretty exact down to the very last calorie. ;-)

                                                1. re: charmedgirl

                                                  There are 48 calories per tablespoon according to the Mayo Clinic.

                                                  http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/calo...

                                            2. I thought the Betty/calorie/sugar thing smacked of producer interference, i.e., she had won a couple of challenges so they needed to smack her down or else it would seem like she was developing too large a lead.

                                              Likewise, I didn't buy that Marcel actually came up with the idea for avocado and bacon ice cream. Just because you look like Wolf Boy doesn't mean you're a complete idiot. I can't imagine anyone in that situation, with money and future fame on the line, deciding to make ice cream with avocado and bacon in it, and thinking that kids would choose it above all others. But if you're a producer/writer, having Marcel do this creates a little levity, a little texture...without jeopardizing his standing in the overall competition.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Mr. Cookie

                                                Did they know they were going to be serving it to kids when they made they ice cream? I thought they found that out after the fact but I could be wrong.

                                                1. re: chaddict

                                                  I don't think they were explicit about kids, but they did say Redondo Beach, so anyone with half a brain could guess it would be a mixed audience of regular people doing the tasting.

                                                  I think good ice cream is good ice cream. Notice dessert lady tanked with what should have been a crowd-pleasing easy vanilla peanut butter flavor.

                                                2. re: Mr. Cookie

                                                  Marcel has remained true to form throughout the entire show. Personally, I would not like avocado and bacon ice cream but I don't like Garlic Ice Cream either but there is a market for it.

                                                  Marcel does his own thing and although he reeks of self-importance, I admire him for that.

                                                3. Is there such a thing as developing a lead on Top Chef?
                                                  I *think* every week is a new week, and nothing rolls over from previous competitions.
                                                  You get happy and you get a prize (a shot with TGIF or a cookbook and collaboration with Goin) and that's it.

                                                  Or am I missing something?

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: pitu

                                                    Actually I think you're right. But in terms of sustaining the suspense (and viewer interest), if one chef begins to look like a huge favorite, I think the producers would become concerned.

                                                    I'm just speculating, of course. But considering that the people behind the show are spending every waking hour at this point trying to ensure that the show is a big success and that they ultimately walk away with boatloads of money, it's not difficult to imagine they tweak where they feel they must.

                                                    1. re: pitu

                                                      Technically, nothing rolls over, but practically, when it comes down to a close call, the judges are going to give the benefit of the doubt to people who've been stronger over all -- as they should. In fact, in the past they've made references during the discussion of the bottom contestants for a challenge of the fact that they didn't do well in the previous challenge or that they've consistently been in the bottom three.

                                                      It became pretty clear fairly early in the first season of Top Chef who the top four or five were (Harold, Tiffani, LeeAnne, Stephen -- I think Dave and Miguel were "dark horses").

                                                    2. Marcel=wolverine, wolf boy. Perfect. I kept racking my brain trying to think of who/what he looks like!

                                                      I like Sam and Carlos. Mike...go home to Stockton where you belong.

                                                      S. Goin made the show..too bad it turned out like it did.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: melly

                                                        ha- we were thinking Ace Ventura....too funny...he is this season's Stephen

                                                      2. Cool show - They make one guy quit (ok, he backed out) because he was the first to notice a free case of lychee, yet allow another contestant to OPENLY CHEAT and decide to not send anyone home. Doesn't seem right.

                                                        11 Replies
                                                        1. re: Herm

                                                          actually, otto took a high road of sorts and removed himself from the competition. he didn't have to, and i don't think he would have been sent home had he not done so.

                                                          in the most recent episode, despite all the accusations and innuendo, nobody stood up and claimed repsonsibility. apparently the producers didn't have a camera angle that confirmed anything. therefore, everyone stayed.

                                                          personally, i'd have sent sam home for saying just enough to create problems, but then refusing to go all the way and name names.

                                                          maybe last season was the same, and i just don't remember it, but i'm already really tired of it always being someone else's fault that a dish doesn't work out. it seems no one on this cast ever screws up, despite not yet turning out any food that has really earned raves. on the other hand, most of this cast seem really willing to accept credit when it's not due.

                                                          i'm quickly losing interest in this show. the food is sub par compared to last season, while the drama is in high gear. i realize it's a reality show, and that the producers are trying to capture a certain market, but they're losing this one.

                                                          1. re: mark

                                                            Just saw a preview last night of this Wednesday's show - looks like Colicchio is going to be observing in the kitchen a LOT this episode, based on last week's situation(s).

                                                            1. re: mark

                                                              Maybe Sam shouldn't have started down that path, but I think he realized that he had to bite his tongue and he stopped himself from being totally inappropriate. What I think is disgusting is Mia specifically blaming Betty and then lying to the whole group about how no one threw anyone under the bus! No matter what editing was done there, I feel pretty sure we heard Mia outright lie.

                                                              Sometimes I wonder if these people forget there are video cameras rolling.

                                                              1. re: Adrienne

                                                                i don't disagree re mia. my issue with sam is that, at least per the editing, he started the brouhaha. if you're ballsy enough to start something, especially when it's being documented, then be man enough to follow through. own your assholeness. don't be a petty, juvenile git just because you didn't get what you want.

                                                            2. re: Herm

                                                              you know, I think Otto was just non-sneaky enough to SAY the thing about the lychee. who knows if he was the only one to notice it. phooey

                                                              1. re: pitu

                                                                I believe he said, "I think we just got a free case of lychees," implying uncertainty (if memory serves.) However, Marisa heard him loud and clear. Did she stop everyone and ask to look at the receipt before they left? No! Anyone who heard him and did nothing is complicit.

                                                                1. re: chaddict

                                                                  In her since-removed blog, Marisa said that she and I think someone else brought the "free" case of lychees to the producers' attention before they left the store, so Otto's line as they were loading the car would have been after that.

                                                                  Otto quitting doesn't make much sense in that context.

                                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                    Instead of bringing it to the producer's attention, how about just walking them back into the store or checking the receipt? I would have thought to do that before approaching a producer. I seriously doubt the validity of Marisa's blog (which is highly unfair of me, I know, I just find a lot of her statements lacking a ring of truth to them.)

                                                                    1. re: chaddict

                                                                      "... she and Elia approached the producers at the store and told them that Otto said they'd gotten the lychees without paying for them ... They wanted to return them on the spot, but the producers told them to wait until they got back to the kitchen ..."

                                                                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                        I don't know what to say about Marisa, but the idea that the producers would manipulate the situation to create on-camera drama they could mine for their storyline rings completely true. Four episodes in (as of now), and season two is all about the draaama and the conflicts, not about the food. It's unfortunate, but not terribly surprising, since this is what the Magical Elves (the production company) did with the most recent season of Project Runway as well, in contrast with the previous seasons. If that's the direction they go, it'll be downfall of the show for people who watch for the talent (i.e., the food), rather than the reality show hijinx.

                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                          Totally agree. The producers seem to really be focused on the drama this season. I don't even remember the dishes that are being made because the food part is glossed over. I'm getting bored, but I'm pulling for Elia at this point.

                                                            3. you're right about Otto, he did take himself out, as far as the drama, it is definately the focus of the show. I just watched the finale of Masterchef on BBCAmerica, similar format to Topchef without the drama (no americanized ME ME ME factor)- I really enjoyed it.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Herm

                                                                I don't see why everyone keeps harping about the drama or the contestants. This is the grand U.S. of A people. This show is no different from any other form of entertainment. Why do you think stars are paid such big bucks? Stars/Personalities are the draws for the tickets but in this case, ratings for viewership. It's the clash of personalities and the fact that these people are just like us, which draws us in to watch the show. Not because they can or cannot cook.

                                                              2. good tip, Herm
                                                                maybe it's time to switch to BBC America

                                                                1. I just watched this episode last night. I'm really disappointed because I was wanting a woman chef to really show her stuff this season again (and hopefully win) but I just don't think there are any good contenders. Betty, Josie, and the pastry chick are equally getting on my nerves!

                                                                  It was interesting that that one guy took credit for the pizza idea!

                                                                  7 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                    He developed the pizza recipe on his own, while Betty was working on her horrible failure meringues.

                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                      The guy made it, and made it right but it appeared to be Betty's idea. The show was certainly edited to show Betty making the case for pizza and children in the first place -- remember her talking wolf boy out of his suggestion?

                                                                      Katie Nell, I'm stil looking at the young woman from Mexico - she has skills and taste . . . and she has gorgeous hair (lol)
                                                                      and if the producers wish to cynically appeal to the Latino demographic, there she is!

                                                                      1. re: pitu

                                                                        The pizza was Betty's idea, but that was the end of her involvement. Frank properly took credit for the finished dish.

                                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                          Yes, he TOOK credit for the finished dish, but the question he was asked was who thought of pizza...he certainly should have said it was Betty's idea, but that the execution was his...

                                                                          1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                                                            The way they manipulate the situations and edit the show to give false impressions of what happened, I think it's unfair to draw any conclusions about the contestants from the dialog. The question we heard wasn't necessarily the one he answered.

                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                              You are sooo right...this is total manipulation of "reality"...maybe they should just create computer generated contestants!
                                                                              Why bother...and will it EVER be about the food???

                                                                        2. re: pitu

                                                                          Eh... sometimes I like her, sometimes I don't! She turns her nose up at a lot of stuff, and while I like "fancy" food as much as the next Chowhound, I also like me some oreos, which, hello, come out of a vending machine! ;-)

                                                                    2. I started to think that maybe it was originally Frank's idea and they edited it to make it look like Betty's to add some drama. Like maybe she previous discussed it with Frank and passed along the idea to wolfboy. Cynic that I am. However, if it was Betty's idea, she should have gotten credit for the idea, which was significant, and Frank for the execution- also significant. On the last team challenge Frank railed against the lack of teamwork and the others bailing out on Otto, yet when he had a chance to exhibit teamwork and sharing credit, failed to do so. What a hypocrite.

                                                                      1. The latest issue of Food & Wine (with which Gail, one of the judges, is affiliated) has a small article featuring a few chefs from the show. Set up as a cooking challenge, the teams are Elia & Sam vs. Cliff & Betty. Foreshadowing of the final four, maybe?