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Top Chef 2: the fall of *****! [spoilers inside]

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[We've edited the spoiler out of this post title- THE CHOWHOUND TEAM]

After anxiously waiting for this week's episode, I was really pleased to see Betty go packing. Her dishes were poorly executed and frankly I was tired of the comfort food schtick. What's with all the trios?

Michael winning both quickfire and elimination challenges. Not by any means do I want him to win it all, but its nice to see him do well.

Sam and Ilan's true colors coming out. If you don't like someone, fine, but first and foremost be professionals. Marcel may be immature (and way too obsessed with foams), but I haven't sneen him completely blow up the way others have. There was no need to basically start brawling with him out in public, the continual slams at his sexual "experience" or lack thereof was beyond the pale. Does anyone else think the producers probably coached the Debbie Mazar crowd on this? Her comments were nearly identical to Ilan's.

Also, am starting to resent both Sam selfrightousness and Ilan's overconfidence. Multiple contestants have abused the "this is about taking risks" play at the judges table-with someone who professes so much experience, I expected more from Ilan.
I agree with Marcel that he's down a few notches in respect.

Anyone else want to chime in?

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  1. Wish you had not posted the finish in your title -- I had Tivoed the show and you spoiled it for me.

    That said, Sam and Cliff still appear to be the contenders, with Wlia an outsider.

    Loved seeing the big pig win a couple. However I think it was the Vicodan. His work so far has been very poorly executed.

    No point is quibbling about the judging and the editing. It is what it is.

    Bob

    5 Replies
    1. re: Bob Mervine

      I record the show too, and would rather people leave the results out of the title...
      Top Chef 2: Seven Deadly Sins would have been better. Is it too late for the OP to edit that?

      FYI last year we put SPOILER ALERT in the title to warn that the results of the show were in the BODY of the message . . . this year we can assume that much, but . . .

      1. re: pitu

        Oops, sorry for the spoiler. i was just so excited about Betty leaving, I did a little dance!

        Taking my cue from Ilan, and Cliff, and to some extent Chef Colicchio, i offer this apology:

        Sometmes, you know, being a Chowhound is about "taking risks". I took a risk, but failed in execution. But I'm not done here. Not by any means.

        1. re: pitu

          I think that's kind of silly. I know some people don't like to be spoiled, but you can't expect everyone else to be reponsible for not spoiling something that's been mass broadcast (unlike a movie that people see at different times) simply because you haven't watched it yet. You might not watch it for days -- how long are people supposed to wait? Some people who hadn't seen season one until there were reruns -- maybe we should spoiler tag any references the outcomes of any of those episodes. In these days of TiVo and DVDS, maybe no one should talk about the results of any competition that's ever happened because people might not have seen them yet.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            There's always a chance of someone, somewhere spoiling something for someone else with all the technology and constant barrage of information. However, in Pitu's defense, I too have Tivo and don't watch most of my shows live and I've learned what to avoid although it doesn't always work. I think the request not to post the loser or winner or a key surprise element in the title of the post is not out of line. It's easily done and just, imho, considerate.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              Well, at least the thread title should be devoid of spoilers. I just popped into this board last night shortly before watching it, and saw the spoiler, so it did ruin the episode for me, as far as the suspense of who goes home. If the title had been as it is now, I would not have clicked on it until I'd seen the episode. If the thread title spoils it, people don't have a chance if they came to this board to read about Anthony Bourdain, for instance (that's what happened to me).

        2. the only reason why I came on this board right now is become my Bravo channel completely BLACKED OUT at 11:10, right before I was about to find out who lost. Figured it would be Betty... the producers want to see sparks fly between the boys. It's all about good TV...

          6 Replies
          1. re: diningdivala

            Despite Betty's flaws she took a genuine interest in attempting to keep the group organized. I think her being booted will throw a wrench in the future episodes and as a result will add to a lot friction.

            1. re: diningdivala

              What was up with the timing of the show? They don't air a new episode for 2 or 3 weeks, then let it run an extra 10 min with a 6 min ad before they finally do the elimination. It was annoying.

              In any case, I agree with the OP that the reactions to Marcel are ridiculous. I don't think his annoying-ness warrants yelling and threatening. And the virgin comments had no place. Yes he overdoes the foam but unless we're really missing something in the edits, he's not THAT bad. It makes the rest of them (Sam, Ilan, Betty) seem dreally childish.

              That said, I was thinking who I'd vote for for favorite chef in the $10,000 contest and it's tough. At this point, it might be Michael. Or Elia (sp).

              1. re: Joanie

                I know, it was so annoying that the show went longer than usual and ended at such a weird time. I was really confused.

                1. re: Joanie

                  That must be what messed me up - I set my VCR (yeah, I still use "old technology") but just as they were going to say who was going to have to pack their knives - the tape ran stopped! I thought I'd set my VCR with the wrong time; I didn't realize that the show ran long. I'm glad that I could go to BRAVO's web site and see who left!

                2. re: diningdivala

                  In the early previews, you could see Padma looking to her far left when she said "pack your knives and go", so when I saw Betty file in and was first in line, I figured it would be her.

                  As to Michael winning both challenges - I think it was good he finally won something as well - and probably influenced by the Vicodin, as Tom said. I loved it when Tom said "Wait - this was made by OUR Michael?" to Padma at the table. <vbg>

                  Ilan and Cliff are both PITAs, but I think they both have the best probability of making it to Final 2. Although I think it should be Sam and Ilan.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    You are very observant Linda! Now I'm going to be watching where she looks in the previews!

                3. Betty was a pain in the ass and I was glad to see her go. The woman's 44 years old and she's acting like some mean girl from junior highschool with the way she was trying to rally everyone against Marcel. Her dishes were simple and so was she.

                  I think Marcel's relationship issues will ease up now that she's out of the picture.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Gigigirl2

                    "I think Marcel's relationship issues will ease up now that she's out of the picture."

                    Except Ilan and Sam both aren't wild about him either. It will be interesting to see next week's challenge, where it's a 3-on-3 team effort...I couldn't catch who was on what team in the previews, however.

                    1. re: Gigigirl2

                      Marcel is an island. He is aware of nothing else but himself and his food. Not that he intentionally focuses on himself, but he is not aware of anything outside himself. His focus on the food is outstanding, no one else seems to have that. Unfortunately, his blind self-centeredness his going to stir up controversy no matter whom he's with, and he will never be aware of the fact that he's always at least 50% to blame.

                      1. re: amkirkland

                        I don't think he's *that* bad. He seemed to be the first one to help start taking things out to the diners. And I don't think he "snapped" at Betty the way they say he did.

                        Also didn't understand where the envy really was in Mike's dish but as has been mentioned, much of it didn't really represent the sin that great.

                        1. re: amkirkland

                          I agree. Marcel's immature and annoying, but doesn't merit the disrespectful treatment by the others. He even volunteers to help usually. I couldn't stand Marcel at first, but have gotten more sympathetic to him as the others have gotten more vicious.

                      2. I'm so glad she's gone!! There are so many personalities this year that got/ are getting on my nerves- I couldn't/ can't stand Emily, Mia, Betty, Marcel, and sometimes Elia and sometimes Michael, although part of me was a little proud that he did so well last night- sort of a love/ hate relationship with him. I thought it was hilarious when Tom said, "Our Michael did this?!" And told him he should be drugged more often! Too funny! I was a little upset that Ilan and Sam were ganging up on Marcel even though he seems like the kind of guy you want to gang up on- I thought they were better than that. I honestly thought Ilan might get kicked off this time, but whew, I was glad it was Betty!

                        1. I thought Ilan's virgin jokes were completely inappropriate and very revealing about his own immaturity. I mean really, what does being a virgin have to do with ANYTHING Top Chef related? He looked like the high school bully who couldn't think up an insult, so he fell back on "yeah, well, at least I'm not a virgin." Hasn't he seen the billboard?!? It's not a dirty word, Ilan.

                          And besides that, didn't it seem completely out of left field?? I mean, the teasing started at the very beginning of the episode in the apartment, before the theme was announced or Marcel picked "Lust." I remember because the first time it happened I was like, WTF, where did that come from?? Clearly something was off in the editing here: either there was some prior conversation about Marcel's alleged sexual inexperience that we didn't see OR those scenes from early in the show actually occurred after the challenge was revealed and the sins chosen.

                          I also agree that pretty much everybody came off badly in this episode based on how they are reacting to Marcel. At the beginning of the season I found Elia one of the most arrogant and annoying chefs, and I couldn't wait for her to get kicked off. But with each passing episode where she doesn't join the mob mentality, my respect for her grows.

                          Plus, I love a good roast chicken, and last night she had me dying to try hers.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: charmedgirl

                            I think Elia is developing a crush on Marcel. It would be funny if she had a torrid night with him back at the loft just to shut the others up about virginity!

                            1. re: tastyjon

                              I read somewhere that Elia and Marcel actually worked or trained together before this show so I'm sure she must be feeling some actual pity for him. Poor Marcel.

                              1. re: tastyjon

                                THey worked together at Robuchon, I believe. (I apologize for any misspelling or the wrong restaurant.)

                                And I just Wiki'd this site - I was thinking last night if anyone had a spreadsheet of who won won - and damned if Wikipedia hasn't set up a chart. :-) (Obviously not updated from last night's show.)

                                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_Chef...

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  Yes, they've worked together a lot and are old friends.

                            2. I agree about the bad sportsmanship with Marcel. I would think that if you got the honor of top chef that your skills would also include some grace and good professional conduct. I really liked Ilan until last night and was sad to see him deteriorate into his show of temperment. It was one of the reasons I turned on Betty early on. She was perky but then I realized, trashy. I would love to see Elia win. She seems to make beautiful food and also has a lot of class. For that matter, so does Marcel. He seems to hold it all together despite everyone screaming at him. He might try some normal hair though. It's almost asking for it.

                              1. Yes, Elia shows a lot of class in her restraint and for that matter, so does Michael. Betty was the worst, in this case, she was the oldest of the group but the meanest to Marcel (I expected her to show some leadership and maturity).

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Gigigirl2

                                  But I don't think Elia has the management capabilities. In the holiday episode, she helped make the decision to only do FOUR appetizers for 200 people - and then *she* decided to cook everything at the moment, vs. pre-cooking a lot of it - leaving the guests at the party looking for food. She might make beautiful food, but if she can't get it out to the guests in time, it's a moot point.

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    You are correct. I think Sam has her beat on that point and I agree that the holiday party was a total wipe out for Elia. Despite it though, they did mention that she produced one of the best bites at the party. I think she is deserving of the opportunites that winning the show would offer her. Hopefully she won't make that mistake again in her life. We all keep learning!

                                2. I really don't understand how people can still defend Marcel. Sam was completly right the dude is like a gnat. If he sees a button that he can push he will push it. He acts like a 15 year old and I really wish someone would just knock him out. I agree that it was BS that Illan threw wolverines dish under the bus when announcing his, but I think what was said in the kitchen is completly fine. Remember the stuff at Mezer's house happened after Marcel said he wanted to plate the stuff himself.

                                  I was extremely impressed with this episode. I felt both challenges brought out more of the food aspects than the drama - true the drama was there but the challenge was terrific, the last 3 or 4 episodes have been a vast improvement.

                                  I was extremely surprised that Marcel did not use Oysters for his Lust dish.

                                  21 Replies
                                  1. re: wingman

                                    re: oysters -- I had the same exact thought. If I had "lust" I think I would have perched oysters on piles of chilled pomegranite seeds (i.e., instead of ice)

                                    also for envy i was thinking it would have been really funny to give different diners very different dishes... like half the people get crudite, half get lobster tails. that would inspire envy for sure.

                                    1. re: Adrienne

                                      what a great idea for envy! Brilliant!

                                      1. re: Adrienne

                                        Adrienne,

                                        That's a fantastic idea for Envy - two dishes, both equally good, but one extravagant and one simple. I actually thought most of the dishes did not represent the sins well.

                                        1. re: Rocknrope

                                          Me, too. i mean, marcel's was as accurate as most of the others, IMO.

                                          1. re: Rocknrope

                                            Adrienne, that's genius!
                                            What would you do for Sloth?

                                            1. re: pitu

                                              ::Blushes:: I'm glad you all enjoyed my idea!

                                              I think Betty was on the right track for sloth in making something slow-cooked... except that I don't think her dishes actually were. I would have been more excited if she did some kind of slow-roasted meat, something that by definition has to take a long time to make. She could have served wine which needs to age, or 100 year old eggs (although honestly I don't really know what those are). I liked that she didn't give them spoons to use, to have to sip the soup instead was smart... but it would have been really great if she came around and fed people so they could be really lazy :)

                                              I also was thinking for greed, it would have been great if Cliff served the same dish but family style, so that as the dish was passed around the table the diners' greed could show through as they helped themselves to the choice ingredients... and I think gluttony should have been something huge and messy that made the eaters feel like pigs to eat... maybe trifle served without cutlery?

                                              I guess I felt that in general, these dishes could have been less symbolic and more about actually making us think about these sins and interact with them.

                                              1. re: Adrienne

                                                I was thinking some kind of a pot roast or something like that for sloth. I thought her presentation was a bad idea too; mugs wouldn't of been bad, but flutes would be difficult to drink a soup out of and not to mention looked incredibly sloppy.

                                                For gluttony, he should have done bacon brittle with the dessert... now that would have been over the top!!

                                                1. re: Katie Nell

                                                  Betty should have made a Turtle Soup! (although probably not easy to find at Wild Oats).

                                                  Braised beef appetizer would have been better, but seriously, she's a caterer and is missing a lot of technique, which is why she lost.....when I saw she was making a soup I knew she was outta there.....then when I saw she was doing a TRIO of them AND serving them in little champagne glasses....even worse.....

                                                  1. re: Xericx

                                                    She should have used shot glasses. 3 tasty morsels, quickly downed - now that's slothful! Her soups were sloppy, too - no excuse, since great soups are easy to make.

                                                    1. re: Claudette

                                                      I'm not a fan of drinking soups....its a bit odd...unless its executed correctly.....she combined some losing ideas...especially having a trio of soups instead of one good one....which is a common theme.

                                                      I would have done an oyster dish for sloth...hard to dress them up creatively though as they are great with just a squeeze of lemon.....again...who knows if they had oysters...but its a lazy dish when you just let the oysters fall into your mouth.....but I'm sure she could have come up with a similar idea...faux oysters or something....

                                                2. re: Adrienne

                                                  Sorry for the late post, just catching up on my reading, but I too wanted to say how clever I too think you are!
                                                  Honestly, you got it, and they should of really thought about the sins more. You are the winner!

                                            2. re: Adrienne

                                              you win

                                              1. re: Adrienne

                                                Was wondering how I would have handled the envy challenge and didn't come up with anything really clever although I thought Michael's idea was dumb even if they say it tasted good. Anyway your idea is really brilliant. Love it.

                                                1. re: Adrienne

                                                  At first that's what I thought he was going to do. Fake crabbe cakes for the gents, and real crab cakes for the ladies, or something like that.

                                                2. re: wingman

                                                  I thought Sam really overreacted to Marcel in the store. Wasn't it about something like Marcel not wanting to take a discount that set Sam off? Plus I thought it was so out of line to use profanity in a public place like that... didn't see any kids but there well may have been. I have been the biggest Sam fan so far, but if I had been the manager of that store I probably would have asked him to take it outside.

                                                  1. re: kloomis

                                                    my impression from all the Marcel hatred is that he must be *really* annoying -- much more than there's room for on the show. Perhaps that's part of his schtick -- to needle people until even the most even-tempered crack. He comes off looking not so bad; their flaws on revealed in technicolor. I bet he's like sand in your bathing suit to be around.

                                                    1. re: alaughingdog

                                                      Totally agree, I've known people like Marcel both professionally and personally - I'd actually say more like fire ants in your bathing suit than sand though! Or like Nermal from Garfield. People on the outside thing he's cute and cudely but spend more than 5 minutes with him and....

                                                    2. re: kloomis

                                                      I agree, I got the impression that marcel was following the rules. The problem is, even when he's right, his inability to thnk outside of himself comes to the fore.

                                                    3. re: wingman

                                                      Maybe Nermal is cute and cuddly or appears to be. Marcel - annoying to look at, listen to and it seems, to be around.

                                                      1. re: wingman

                                                        Me too. Oysters and/or other aphrodisiacal (not a word but you know what I mean) foods seemed to be such an obvious choice for lust. Just the eating of the oysters in itself...

                                                        1. re: wingman

                                                          "I was extremely surprised that Marcel did not use Oysters for his Lust dish."

                                                          Because he is immature and clueless, he has the malady that a lot of twenty-somethings have when they first go out in the world, he thinks he knows it all, he thinks he is the be all.

                                                          Marcel will not win Top Chef because he has a hell of a lot of professional and personal maturing to do. I predict a great future for him though... as the spokesman for Gillette Foamy.

                                                        2. I wasn't surprised that Betty was sent home, however, Ilan's dish was the worst and I think he got a break because of past successes.

                                                          Does anyone know what Elia was spreading over her chickens before she roasted them? I was thinking it was fat of some sort, but I was intrigued by the amount (you may not have caught it but two full hands worth of something spread over the bird). Given how they raved about the chicken, I'd love to know her technique.

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: Felixnot

                                                            Oh, it was most definitely butter!

                                                            1. re: Katie Nell

                                                              I guess I need to increase the amount of butter I put on my bird before roasting!!

                                                              1. re: Felixnot

                                                                If you spread it underneath the skin it tends to be very rich (and delicious)- a trick I saw on Tyler Florence.

                                                                1. re: kloomis

                                                                  I'll definitely make it for this weekend's chicken. Thanks for the advice.

                                                                  1. re: Felixnot

                                                                    don't stop at butter. spread olives, garlic, rosemary, lemon zest, chevre, whatever floats your boat.

                                                                    and do it under the legs and thighs, too

                                                                2. re: Felixnot

                                                                  Here's her recipe:

                                                                  http://tinyurl.com/yd8ut3

                                                                  Any yes, it was butter!

                                                            2. I felt bad for Marcel. I think the poor guy is painfully insecure and it manifests itself in weird ways.

                                                              After last night's tirade, I am officially over my formerly huge crush on Ilan. What a zero.

                                                              Thank God Betty is gone.

                                                              And good for Michael for winning both challenges.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: KnittingShaker

                                                                Ah, I'm giving Ilan a pass at least this one time and holding on to my own huge crush.

                                                              2. Betty deserved the boot this time, but I think she got the hardest sin to represent.
                                                                I can't think of anything that does Sloth justice...

                                                                I think Marcel must be reaping what he sows -- and he appears to have the worst cooking skills when it comes to flavor. So . . . he goes out of his way to annoy people (by his own admission) AND he lacks the experience the rest of them have.
                                                                I'm totally sympathetic with everyone ganging up on him.

                                                                Vicodan Mike as winner - dang! The twists and turns of this thing! I liked his "I'm hideous and unappetizing" attempt to get handsome Sam to present for him.

                                                                1. I for one thought Michael got gypped in that he didn't get a prize for winning either challenge. One of the problems I had with last season was that the winner never got anything, just "I won, big whoop." It looked like they changed that this year with prizes for the final winners - Sam winning the Global knife set and someone else (Cliff?) winning the sushi knife.

                                                                  Oh well, maybe they gave him some more Nitrous backstage as a gift.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Rocknrope

                                                                    Agree, I was waiting to see what Michael would win like the others. It was Betty who won the
                                                                    Kyocera knife from Ming Tsai.

                                                                    I am so tired of seeing Elia touch her neck and/or bottom of her face. It makes me itchy to
                                                                    watch her constantly do that and often adding tilting her head back.

                                                                    Agree also on the ending being dragged out - if all that extra commercial time is what they
                                                                    described as "Supersized" they can hear my vote that it's a dumb idea.

                                                                    1. re: Rocknrope

                                                                      Betty, the "I do comfort food" received the few in the world sushi knives.

                                                                    2. I am sick and tired of Ilan's attitude! I didn't like Marcel at first, but at this point I have sympathy for him and would much rather see him do well than either Ilan or Sam. What ever happened to professionalism?

                                                                      I agree with you that definitely the producers coached the diners to make the comment about Marcel's dish. I also thought that if they were going to slam his dish for not being lustful enough, then they could have done the smae with several other dishes--I didn't think Cliff's seemed that greedy, for instance.

                                                                      1. Wow, Betty, Ilan & Sam - what a bunch of distasteful people. Sam the robot has now shown an actual emotion, but unfortunately, it was rage. Ilan is a grade school bully who feels it necessary to step on others in the hope of elevating himself (cherry comment to guests) & Betty's just classless. Gross. Makes me yearn for last year's crew. Did Harold & Co. have issues with the blonde woman (wow - I already forgot her name!), absolutely, were there a few flare ups, yup. Did they ever GANG UP on her like grade school bullys, making obnoxious comments & SKIPPING AWAY (Ilan)? No they did not.

                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                        1. re: mookster

                                                                          I agree, I thought last season's crew was much classier overall.

                                                                          1. re: IndyGirl

                                                                            except Dave.

                                                                            1. re: JackieB

                                                                              I actually considered Dave's behavior when I posted my thoughts on the prior season's crew having more class. Yes, he did make the infamous comment "i'm not your b#*@h, b#*@h". However he, too, worked at a professional level with her on the whole &, especially, in the final episode when he ended up on her team. When asked how they felt about Tiffany (finally remembered her name!) nobody held their tongue, but everyone managed to express their frustrations in an adult manner (& they actually had legitimate frustrations - not she's a gnat) & nobody (even Dave) resorted to bullying or threatening.

                                                                            2. re: IndyGirl

                                                                              I caught part of the season 1 marathon over Christmas week, and was reminded how much classier (overall) they were in comparison to this season's group. Given that Ken left in the first episode, even the Tiffani/Dave drama and the Stephen/Candice argument seemed like a tea party next to this group...who apparently meant to be in line for Jerry Springer casting instead of Top Chef.

                                                                            3. re: mookster

                                                                              I was really glad Tom called Ilan out on the comment- it did make him look small.

                                                                              1. re: kloomis

                                                                                I was happy to see that, too.

                                                                            4. Cliff, Michael and Elia have remained above the fray in the whole beat up on Marcel thing. I really hope that one of the three or even Marcel beat out Ilan and Sam.

                                                                              Sam seems like a dimwit and Ilan is a jerk.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Gigigirl2

                                                                                Yeah, but Cliff wasn't too kind to Mia a few episodes back. He's no great shakes either.

                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                  2nd this although he's much better than Ilan or Sam.

                                                                                2. re: Gigigirl2

                                                                                  I'd agree, less Michael; I hope Cliff & Elia make it to the final 3.

                                                                                3. I can't stand Cliff! I don't know why, he just bugs me!
                                                                                  Anyone with me?

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: mrsFicky1706

                                                                                    Well- cliff was pretty tough on Mia. But he makes good food.

                                                                                  2. Marcel is young and thus one would expect him to act immature. Betty is in her 40s and acted as immature as Marcel.

                                                                                    I like to root for the underdog. I hope Marcel wins. If he doesn't win then I hope Michael does. The others are a bit too full of themselves.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: RBCal

                                                                                      I agree, except I think she is MORE immature than marcel. I liked her a lot at first but have become disgusted with her fake personality.

                                                                                      I am always an underdog voter as well. I liked Dave in the first season, for instance. I just can't help it, it's what my grandma taught me!

                                                                                    2. Some thoughts:

                                                                                      1. thank god Betty was kicked off. She's been skating by on client-relation skills and catering tricks for too long, without any real ability to produce innovative food. It did not make sense to me that she cooked things in this episode that she never cooked before -- have some signature dishes, damnit. And she should have made a slow-cooked meat dish for sloth.

                                                                                      2. disappointed in the group-think anti-Marcel conduct, especially from Ilan. That being said, the virgin jabs and profanity are entirely expected among professional cooks and chefs. indeed, given how Marcel let the taunts slide off his back suggest, to me at least, that he has heard it before.

                                                                                      3. Have to love that Mike won.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: The Dive

                                                                                        i think mikey should take it all! show those other 'full of themselves' chef's what its all about...he's the only real one on the show!

                                                                                      2. Here's a little chart I created based on the results to date. I gave 2 points for winning the quickfire, 4 for winning the elimination, 1 for being in the Top 3, -1 for being in the Bottom 3.

                                                                                        By this system, Betty was actually tied for 2nd with Ilan, while Elia and Cliff are 3rd & 4th, and Marcel is way behind - tied with Michael. Sam is, of course, 1st, and I predict that he will win.

                                                                                        WQ WE T3 B3
                                                                                        VALUE 2 4 1 -1 TOTAL

                                                                                        Cliff 4 0 1 2 7
                                                                                        Elia 0 2 2 2 8
                                                                                        Ilan 1 2 1 1 10
                                                                                        Marcel 1 0 3 2 3
                                                                                        Michael 1 1 1 4 3
                                                                                        Sam 3 1 3 2 11
                                                                                        Betty 0 2 4 2 10
                                                                                        Mia 1 0 2 2 2
                                                                                        Frank 1 1 0 2 4
                                                                                        Carlos 1 0 0 2 0
                                                                                        Marisa 0 0 0 2 -2
                                                                                        Josie 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                                        Emily 0 0 0 0 0
                                                                                        Otto 0 0 0 1 -1
                                                                                        Suyai 0 0 0 0 0

                                                                                        Well - I can't imbed tabs or spaces, so this isn't so clear. The last digits are the scores.

                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: applehome

                                                                                          I did Season 1 with the same scoring to validate the system. Indeed, Harold is the winner. Of course, you can't absolutely objectively predict a subjective process... but I still think Sam wins.

                                                                                          Harold 2 2 3 3 12
                                                                                          Tiffani 1 2 3 3 10
                                                                                          Dave 0 3 0 4 8
                                                                                          Lee Anne 3 1 1 3 8
                                                                                          Stephen 2 0 4 2 6
                                                                                          Miguel 0 1 0 2 2
                                                                                          Andrea 1 0 1 2 1
                                                                                          Lisa 0 0 0 2 -2
                                                                                          Candice 0 0 0 1 -1
                                                                                          Brian 0 0 1 0 1
                                                                                          Cynthia 0 0 0 1 -1
                                                                                          Ken 0 0 0 0 0

                                                                                          Numbers are: A B C D T
                                                                                          where:
                                                                                          A= Times won Quickfire (+2 ea)
                                                                                          B= Times won Elimination (+4 ea)
                                                                                          C= Times in Top 3 (+1 ea)
                                                                                          D= Times in Bottom 3 (-1 ea)
                                                                                          T= Total with weighted formula as above

                                                                                          1. re: applehome

                                                                                            See folks? Proves my theory that the guy-I'd-most-like-to-date, who happens to cook the best looking food to go with his best looking face will win.

                                                                                            It's weird to me that both Harold and Sam seem to be in a wholly different class than some of the other contestants. Where are the women who can make food as beautiful as those two guys?

                                                                                            1. re: applehome

                                                                                              Betty's been in the bottom three at least once before, not including last night.

                                                                                              I also don't understand your totalling system. For instance, for Elia 2+2+2 = 8?
                                                                                              Ilan 1+2+1+1 = 10?

                                                                                              but for Marcel 1+3+2 = 3?

                                                                                              1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                I think Applehomme's formatting got messed up -- the #s to the right of the player's name are a tally of times they have won quickfire, then won elimination, then been in top 3, then been in bottom 3 -- those #s are multiplied by the respective points given for each of these things (+2, +4, +1, -1) to get their scores.

                                                                                            2. Ted Allen! Ted Allen! Ted Allen! He is my favorite! I wish I had his ability to give constructive criticism - though Betty didn't seem to take it very well during the quick fire challenge. Why can't he become a permanent judge???

                                                                                              I normally don't get involved in the "what would you make" discussions (I'm just a simple country cook) - however - I immediately thought of Turtle Soup for Sloth. And French Fries fried in Duck Fat with some sort of decadent gooey (sp?) cheese which would be eaten by hand (I believe this was also mentioned in an earlier post (the hand eating thing)) for Gluttony.

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Mushroom

                                                                                                yes, yes, perfect for gluttony. You are right.

                                                                                                1. re: Mushroom

                                                                                                  I agree. Ted Allen and Tom are the only ones who ever say anything interesting. Gail Simmons is fine, but her comments are always conservative and she is always agreeing with whatever Tom says. Who needs this panel of judges. Just have Ted, Tom, and maybe Anthony Bourdain back more often.

                                                                                                  1. re: Mushroom

                                                                                                    Awesome idea about duck fat! And definitely oysters for lust. For sloth, I'd do some kind of short ribs with a ton of barbeque sauce or any sauce that would get your hands completely dirty and stained with the sauce...now that's some slothful eatin!Like outrageous buffalo wings with an over the top roquefort, screaming forties blue cheese dipping sauce.

                                                                                                  2. I think it's fun listening to everyone's ideas (which I guess now is turning into a separate thread). But I just want to remind people that it's not just the sin but also the course placement that matters. Why would you serve oysters for lust as the sixth course of the night? I like eating oysters as a starter, not near the end of a meal. Same goes for french fries in duck fat. Yeah, that's gluttony, but as the end of a meal? Remember the course, people! :)

                                                                                                    20 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: singleguychef

                                                                                                      There was no reason lust had to go sixth, right? If Marcel had chosen to make an amuse he could have gone first. I don't recall anything in the rules saying in what order each sin needed to be served.

                                                                                                      1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                        No - I was thinking the same thing...the 7 Deadly Sins, listed in order the way Pope Gregory and Dante wrote them, are:

                                                                                                        "Listed in the same order used by both Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th Century AD and Dante Alighieri, the seven deadly sins are as follows: luxuria (extravagance, later lust), gula (gluttony), avaritia (avarice/greed), acedia (sloth), ira (wrath), invidia (envy), and superbia (pride/hubris)."

                                                                                                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_de...

                                                                                                        So the order in which the contestants put the sins/courses was not the order in which the sins were originally listed, so Lust could have been first or second with oysters.

                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                          They chose the order themselves, remember, Marcel was whining about whether he wanted to do a dessert or not and going back and forth about it.

                                                                                                          1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                            I agree with you Katie. I guess we're all just responding to singleguychef's point about Lust/Oysters not having to be the 6th course. :-) (And Marcel's indecision and needing 5 minutes to figure out what he wanted to do was maddening!)

                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                              I wasn't saying the chefs had to serve in that order, but I was saying they all chose their course placements so in keeping with the game, any suggestions for what they should have done should keep that in mind because it does affect the chefs' final decision. If the chef just had to worry about the sin theme, then they all may have done a dessert, etc.

                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                Marcel being indecisive made sense to me. He pulled envy, after all, and was happy with it, and then Michael took it away, so he had to start over with his thinking process on the topic of Lust, while everyone else had already had a few more minutes to think about it it (even Michael, clearly, as if he didn't have an idea for envy, why would he have swapped out with Marcel in the first instance).

                                                                                                                1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                  But Marcel's voice over and direct-to-camera (I think there was one of those) said if he had been Michael, he NEVER would have given up Lust! Led me to believe that he DID have an idea of what to do. SO then to say "I need 5 minutes to think without distractions was a bit maddening. Not "upsetting". These people are supposed to be able to think on their feet - when stuff goes wrong in a restaurant, a Top Chef should be able to make a quick change to fix the issues. Marcel just doesn't seem to have "it" to me.

                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                    The rest of those folks, with the possible exception of Cliff, aseem to be the kind who are quite comfortable thinking out loud. Others need to be quiet to be able to think clearly, and speak once they've thought things through some. It's not a character flaw; it's a difference in personality and style.

                                                                                                                    1. re: revsharkie

                                                                                                                      Yes, but in a real life kitchen situation, you don't HAVE that time to think things through quietly - a decision would be needed quickly. So that personality/style difference is a hindrance, IMO, to being a Top Chef.

                                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                  For the life of me, I can't understand why someone needing FIVE MINUTES to think to themselves would upset anyone. Indecision doesn't even factor into it!

                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                I think that the order they chose could be seen as the downfall of both Ilan and Marcel... Marcel went with course 6 against the wishes of the rest of the team -- if he had done oysters as course 2, as they had wanted him to do (serve a 2nd course that is), it would have made perfect sense.

                                                                                                                I actually think the idea of making gluttony the last course was really foolish, because even though rich chocolate does feel gluttonous, if you're going to serve a really heavy course as part of a 7-course meal, of course it's going to seem like too much. After all that food, I think people would have been much happier with a lighter dessert.

                                                                                                                1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                  Could they even get oysters at Wild Oats?

                                                                                                                  1. re: Frolic

                                                                                                                    I think this officially makes me obsessed... but I checked out the wild oats website and they have a lot of recipes (supposedly what to do with what you buy there...) and I found an oyster recipe -- so probably yes.

                                                                                                                    Anyway, I don't think oysters were the only way to go -- but any aprodisiac would have been better than cherries! That's making a 10-year-old level joke!

                                                                                                                    For anyone curious, this page lists aphrodisiacs and their supposed sexual qualities: http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/aphrodis...

                                                                                                                    1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                      You know Adrienne, I don't even think the cherries were a 10 year old level joke to Marcel. Not to sound like Sam and Ilan but I don't think he (Marcel) would have made that connection.

                                                                                                                      Interesting link. Thanks for posting it.

                                                                                                                      1. re: laylag

                                                                                                                        I had no idea about the cherries having libido-inhibiting qualities and that's not something I would suspect was common knowledge or even true. Chocolate definitely *is* touted as having aphrodisiac qualities, so at least Marcel was right on one count. Dipping fruit into liquid chocolate and feeding it to people is pretty sexy, imho, and who knows, maybe Marcel was trying to be tongue in cheek with a "pop the cherry" type of conceit?

                                                                                                                        I don't think he deserved the knocks on his dish that he got, especially given the poor execution of their "sins" by Betty, Michael and others.

                                                                                                                        1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                          To clarify DanaB, I wasn't referring to the libido inhibiting thing. I've never heard that before the show and don't know if it's true either. I thought Adrienne's comment about it was that Marcel was, in fact, playing on the "pop the cherry" thing and and I was responding to her that I didn't think Marcel had made that connection.

                                                                                                                          1. re: laylag

                                                                                                                            *embarrassed* I didn't get that connection until just now, either *blushes*

                                                                                                                            1. re: IndyGirl

                                                                                                                              It wasn't worth getting, so don't feel bad.

                                                                                                                              CHERRY TART. Ha. Ha. (At least tarts have sex; cherries are about lack of lust. But this is getting kindof inappropriate so I'm going to stop spelling this out).

                                                                                                                              1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                                Come ON NOW! "Strawberries, cherries and an Angel's Kiss in Spring; her summer wine is really made from all these things....." Cherries ARE TOO lustful!

                                                                                                                      2. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                        but they didn't have crab meat so you never know...

                                                                                                            2. I'm getting to the point that I don't want any of them to win. If someone is going to make it as a chef, which requires not just the ability to make knock-out dishes (not cliff) but personality (NOT micheal) and ability to work with others (not marcel, sam, or ilan) and manage them (not Elia).

                                                                                                              Maybe the question is what is the least of the evils? Cliff is in general above average in everything, but never stands out. Elia is fantastic in all areas, except leadership. It seems as if Micheal can make great food, but lacks some inspiration and drive.

                                                                                                              1. After watching the show and reading the posts- does anyone think the producers purposefully kicked up the drama a few notches to go along with the 7 deadly sins theme? We all know a lot of what we see is due to editing, and the more I think about it, the more I think the producers were probably trying to showcase some of the sins- - like pride- Ilan; wrath- Sam; etc. Maybe I'm reading too much into it...

                                                                                                                1. Tivoed the episode but finally caught up with the rest of them.

                                                                                                                  Glad Betty's out of there. She doesn't strike me as talented enough or can manage people well enough.

                                                                                                                  With Top Chef - the end result is the winner will very likely open a restaurant of their own. They need to pick someone who is capable of managing the cooks in the restaurants and be able to come up with innovative enough menus that can be executed well. They can capture the diners with the initial celebrity factor, but at the end of the day the food has to be good consistently to give the restaurant legs (remember DeSpirito?)

                                                                                                                  Out of all the contestants I think Sam, Elia, Cliff have solid food that's somewhat imaginative. It's established that Elia can't manage (part of managing people is to listen to their ideas and have wisdom to know that you don't know it all), and Cliff seems somewhat of a boar to me. So my money's on Sam as the final winner who can churn out decent dishes and have management skills to be able to run a restaurant. Elia would too with more experience.

                                                                                                                  Lastly, is it my imagination or can it be a strategy for Cliff to not help out Elia with the Holiday catering affair? By nomination Elia as the team lead, and having immunity, it's to his advantage for the team to lose - there's such a high probability that Elia will be booted out, and I think she's a serious enough competition. I just can't see how they can all think that having 3 seafood canapes initally will be a good idea.

                                                                                                                  Marcel's there for the drama. Have to admire his passion for food though.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: notmartha

                                                                                                                    Yeah, he seems to have the most "respect" for the ingredients.

                                                                                                                  2. Elia strikes me as young (23!!) and naive, almost more so than Marcel. No doubt she knows her food, but she often acts as though her palate/opinion are the epitome of perfection, like the episode she questioned Tom's opinion of someone's quickfire dish (can't remember who) and couldn't believe his answer. However, she seems to be the least involved in 'playing the game' and manages to stay out of the drama.

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: gaiadi

                                                                                                                      Regardless of age, I think people who have had the experience of attending the best schools and working in the best kitchens in the world are going to have that type of attitude. I don't think it's any different for, say, musicians coming out of Julliard or Curtis and being thrust into the milieu of orchestras and pick-up musicians - you're trained to be the best, and to think that you have been taught everything there is to be taught. Elia and Marcel both fit into this category.

                                                                                                                      1. re: gaiadi

                                                                                                                        I think she understands food, and the ingredients. What she doesn't understand is her target audience, and she's maybe too much of a perfectionist to want to churn out fresh canapes for that party.

                                                                                                                        Plus she needs experience to manage to know how to manage. It's not learned by looking.

                                                                                                                      2. Betty is gone! Fake perky mean witch!

                                                                                                                        I also hate that Elia is constantly touching her face in that wierd manner. I don't know but I find it annoying.

                                                                                                                        After last night I find that I don't want any of them to win. Actually I hope that Marcel wins as sort of a sweet revenge for the immature way they all acted towards him. The way they all went outside & said let's not help him take his dishes out because he "snapped" at Betty ..which I don't think he did.
                                                                                                                        Yes, Marcel is young & arrogant but who wasn't when we were that age?

                                                                                                                        Sam & Ilan reminded me of the 2 bullies from A Christmas Story.

                                                                                                                        Mike needs to go home..he shouldn't have gone this far.

                                                                                                                        Cliff is an ass****. I didn't like Mia(twoface) but the way he treated her was wrong.

                                                                                                                        Elia has no backbone..poor management skills. Talented yes..top chef ..no.

                                                                                                                        Marcel is simply too young & inexperienced

                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: sugarbuzz

                                                                                                                          Not criticizing your opinions sugarbuzz but w/respect to

                                                                                                                          'Marcel is young & arrogant but who wasn't when we were that age?'

                                                                                                                          He's 26, not 21 or 18 or 16 or 12 for that matter. By twenty six you should have toned down the cocksure arrogance. Granted Betty, Ilan and Sam were acting like children in response which is equally juvenile and offensive but Marcel doesn't get the "youth pass" from me.

                                                                                                                          1. re: sugarbuzz

                                                                                                                            The face thing is what I wrote about a few hours ago, thank goodness it bothers
                                                                                                                            someone else. Like I said before I get itchy watching her do that constantly! She
                                                                                                                            really did it a lot in the Holiday show when she was the team leader and the
                                                                                                                            judges were telling her what they thought of her.

                                                                                                                            1. re: manomin

                                                                                                                              I feel like she's snobby but with little confidence (in body language in particular!), which seems like an oxymoron. She knew her chicken was good, her sin was Pride, but nothing about her emotions, language, anything was prideful (as Tom noted). She doesn't seem able to command an audience, which is a MUST in any kitchen!

                                                                                                                              1. re: gaiadi

                                                                                                                                Is it true from a chef perspective that you need to command an audience? I underestimate the requirements apparently. Repeating the musician analogy from earlier, ego is required in order to present yourself in either craft but I don't want to hear your enormous ego nor do I want to eat it. That said I wonder if Elia's humility isn't a little bit delicious. I'm thinking of her mushroom soup in particular. That was as ego free as food gets and apparently it was really good.

                                                                                                                            2. re: sugarbuzz

                                                                                                                              I've found that I don't like any of them very much, either. But if I had to vote just on food and not personality, then Sam and Elia would get my vote.

                                                                                                                              1. re: sugarbuzz

                                                                                                                                Mike seems to be churning out some pretty good dishes - I think he is deservidley there at this point.

                                                                                                                                Why are people having such a hard time understanding how his dish related to envy? In Mike's mind a Trout is envious of a Salmon (could be true); so he put the salmon ontop of the trout in the dish - makes perfect sense and was well executed.

                                                                                                                              2. This is a really fascinating discussion.

                                                                                                                                I don't think there's much about Top Chef that mirrors real-world restaurant insanity. Just my opinion. If TC were a real restaurant and they decided they hated Marcel, they would just make it impossible for him to work there and they would get away with it. A little yelling is kid stuff.

                                                                                                                                That said, the reason I was thrilled to see Harold win over Tiffani last season was that he proved that if you treat your staff decently and involve them in your process, your product will be better. Nobody wanted Tiffani to win and her nastiness really came back to bite her. It doesn't matter how much of a fricken artiste you are. If you're an ass****, it doesn't pay.

                                                                                                                                Marcel reminds me of guys I used to know when I was a restaurant cook. These guys would float in from chef school and we would all grind our teeth. I mean, look at his hair! Come on. But honestly, I think they're a pretty childish bunch. Elia is really interesting to watch - as others have said, she has the guts to go against the crowd which is unusual in a 23-year-old. Also, she's so pretty and her chef persona is so geeky (in contrast to Marcel's stupid gelled hair.)

                                                                                                                                I don't really love any of these chefs. I am glad both Betty and Mia are gone. I just wanted Mia to get some therapy, like immediately. And Betty's fake smile was starting to cause me physical pain.

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: New_2_718

                                                                                                                                  You made a good point in that Elia is going against the crowd. She doesn't do it in a 20-something, rejection of authority way, she really stands up no matter if the crowd she is going against is her crowd or not. I think she has the ability to communicate that dissent better that Marcel(except for the holiday fiasco), who seems to think that the superiority of his dissenting opinion is clear to all in the same way it is to him.

                                                                                                                                2. Is it me, or was Padma a little drunk at the end?

                                                                                                                                  These are slight clues, but I thought I saw a tell-tale sweeping of the glass when she made a toast to the guests and chefs after the meal.

                                                                                                                                  During the judges table, she seemed a little more excited and opinionated than her normal, more stoic self?

                                                                                                                                  Come to think of it, just how much of the drama of this show is induced by drinking? The chefs obviously are during breaks, during dinner service, waiting for the judges decision, at the loft. And there aren't that many reality shows where contestants do get to drink often- except the Bachelor and Flava of Love, I guess...

                                                                                                                                  1. Is it just me, or was that actress a little rough? Conduct unbecoming, like something nasty out of Mommy Dearest. I was embarrassed for the judges who had to sit at the table and try to choke down their food.

                                                                                                                                    1. about drinking, it's such a huge drinking culture...it would be totally fake if they cleaned that up (as it is, they tone it down a lot, I think.)

                                                                                                                                      about the actress et al, I thought that whole scene was horribly pretentious. Every bit of it. I wouldn't want to cook for those people.

                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: New_2_718

                                                                                                                                        Have you seen her in Entourage..that's how she is....i was diggin the one that Marcel spoon fed though! yum!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Xericx

                                                                                                                                          I was wishing I was the one getting the spoon feeding...there's one of those deadly sins for you, I guess.

                                                                                                                                          Marcel may be a pretentious obnoxious jerk, I don't know, since Ive never seen him other than on this show; but he's awfully pretty and if he were to show up wanting to feed me cherries and chocolate, I sure wouldn't turn him away!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: revsharkie

                                                                                                                                            Ew, the idea of Marcel feeding me food gives me the creeps! I kinda feel sorry for him, but not really. For the majority of contestants to despise him, I think he must be very annoying in a competition setting. You'd think he might have learned something from watching Tiffani last season and realized that he can't win as a one-man show.

                                                                                                                                            The fact that he relies on foams and gelees for every single dish just shows how unimaginative and undeveloped he really is. I think the bullying towards him will only get worse as the field is narrowed and the female mothering and buffering types are gone. Elia is the only one who doesn't get pleasure from teasing him.

                                                                                                                                            I thought eliminating Betty was the right choice; her soups didn't sound all that good, and I hated the flutes they were served in. What an odd choice of vessel to convey Sloth.

                                                                                                                                            After this episode, I'm not really crazy about any of the contestants. Maybe Elia or Cliff, if I had to choose a winner. I will say that I liked the challenges very much this time. The 7 sins were a great idea w/ 7 contestants left, and I liked all the possibilities that it opened up. I thought the chefs could have been WAY more creative and dramatic w/ their food presentation to evoke the feeling their dish was designed to capture.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: revsharkie

                                                                                                                                              I must second the Ew on the idea of anything remotely approaching x the s*xual realm with Marcel. Ew, ew, ew.

                                                                                                                                          2. re: New_2_718

                                                                                                                                            did I give the impression I think they should stop drinking?

                                                                                                                                            no way. just think it's interesting reality TV- a very easy foil for producers to up the stakes.

                                                                                                                                            But I still think Padma was buzzed. And that someone sobered her up before the pack your knives line.

                                                                                                                                          3. No, I had no clue who those people were. Do you mean she's playing herself on the show? If she's an actress, I would think there would be some actual acting involved? Then again, who knows.

                                                                                                                                            I did think it was funny that Marcel rose to that particular challenge, considering all the virgin jokes. He seemed to know what he was doing. Not that I find him sexy.

                                                                                                                                            Yeughhhhhhh.

                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: New_2_718

                                                                                                                                              nah, she just plays a loudmouth, shallow publicist......she probably didn' thave to stretch too hard to reach that role.

                                                                                                                                              I like Marcel because of his philosophy and creativity on food...i just find him comical how he takes a scientific approach to food and he just seems pretty funny/quirky...he is a little to stuck in his ways but he seems innovative and creative enough. I was rooting for Sam, but the more I saw, the more I felt that they were hating on Marcell..Illan was annoying...i wish he got sent home...but not as bad as Sam did the other day when he blew up at Marcel at the store.....

                                                                                                                                              1. re: New_2_718

                                                                                                                                                While I thought it was a rather rough crowd, my guess would be that all the diners were prepped by the producers and strongly encouraged to vocalize any and all thoughts/opinions on the meal, service, and presentation.

                                                                                                                                              2. I half hope I'll stumble across the end-of-season marathon, but if I don't, I won't be too disappointed. I've missed the last four weeks in a row. This season is formulaic at best.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: LordOfTheGrill

                                                                                                                                                  agreed. i quit watching after the "thanksgiving" episode. still vested enough to see who wins by following the blogs, but not enough so to devote an hour (or more) per week. doubt i'll follow it at all henceforth.

                                                                                                                                                2. Huh - the Thursday replay of Top Chef (on as I type) has been re-edited to fit in one hour instead of 1:15. Interestingly, they edited out the kitchen spat where Ilan convinced the rest of the folks to walk out on Marcel's service. The flow was altered pretty dramatically given how much we've all focused here in the thread about that specific interaction.

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JBM

                                                                                                                                                    oh, INteresting. I wonder why they did that? Ilan was such an ass this time. I really wished he'd gone home instead of Betty, although I can't stand her, either.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: IndyGirl

                                                                                                                                                      I'm with you IndyGirl. I was chanting under my breath...Ilan...Ilan...Ilan...but Betty was the next best thing. I think we are going to see bigger things from Marcel in the future. I think he got some very good advice in this episode.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Colicchio hit it right on the head with this comment from his blog..

                                                                                                                                                    Imagine if a restaurant line came to a screeching halt every time some cook pissed off another? Trust me; it would be the end of restaurant dining as we know it.

                                                                                                                                                    1. I was happy that Michael won both challenges. I completely disagree that it was due to vicoden. Unlike Betty and Marcel, it seems like Michael was finally inspired to come up with something that is not within his repitoire. That is hard to achieve in good circumstances but I would imagine is really difficult if you don't feel or look well and are partcipating in a big competition.

                                                                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                                                                                                                                        I completely agree with you.

                                                                                                                                                        I think the whole point of this challenge was that you're not supposed to run through your personal roladex of recipes to see which one fits the request -- the idea is to take a totally new idea and let it inspire you to make something new and different. Mike created his dish around an idea that led him to compare two main ingredients on the plate -- he wasn't thinking "oh I have a two-fish dish I can call envious."

                                                                                                                                                        Randomly, in a kindof creepy parallel (does life immitate reality tv?) I had a tooth pulled and was on vicodin last week and it was NOT inspiring. It wasn't at all like being drunk... it was more like the hangover. Everyone responds differently of course, I just wanted to put that out there.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                                                                                                                                          I have to wonder if Michael being on meds kept him out of the anti-Marcel-gang, and thus helped him focus on his food. Yeah, he went along with the brief strike against helping Marcel serve, but mostly he was in his own space.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                            That could be. I hope the ultimate effect is that the drugs did away with the inhibitions that had kept him from doing his best work before, and now having seen what he can do, he might be able to have some confidence that he can do it again, even un-medicated.

                                                                                                                                                            That said, I watched the preview of next week's episode, and he still looked a little swelled up and sore, so he may get another round on Vicodin.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: revsharkie

                                                                                                                                                              They haven't really shown Mike bitching about Marcel throughout the season, I don't think he cares one way or the other. Cliff seems to be out of it for the most part too. And actually, I didn't see SO much hating from Ilan and Sam in previous weeks compared to Betty and Frank.

                                                                                                                                                              I like Debbie Mazar and (didn't she play a secretary on some sitcom years ago?) and was surprised to see Boston's own Nuno Bettencourt from defunct Extreme at the table.

                                                                                                                                                              And I agree that Ted Allen is great, he should be a regular.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                Debbie Mazar played a secretary on the hour long legal drama "Civil Wars."

                                                                                                                                                                She was discovered by Madonna while working as a cockatil waitress.

                                                                                                                                                                Her breakout role was as Ray Liotta's coke mixing girlfriend in "Goodfellas."

                                                                                                                                                                I like her, too.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: julietg

                                                                                                                                                                  Wasn't she in LA law too?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: saeyedoc

                                                                                                                                                                    before her time.

                                                                                                                                                                    Civil Wars was sort of an LA Law ripoff- a law firm that specialized in divorce.

                                                                                                                                                                    here are her credits
                                                                                                                                                                    http://imdb.com/name/nm0000529/

                                                                                                                                                                    and while i'm at it, here are "Artie Bucco's wife's" credits
                                                                                                                                                                    http://imdb.com/name/nm0621393/

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: julietg

                                                                                                                                                                      Actually, that shows her playing the same character, Denise Ianello, on both Civil Wars and 1 LA Law ep.

                                                                                                                                                                      It's a long wait til Entourage returns but Curb Your Enthusiasm is just around the corner (I think).

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                  If Betty had called her trio, "III sides to every story" she would have won for sure. I sure hope I'm the first one to that joke. Or maybe for lust Marcel could have done a play on "More Than Words." And, of course, I'm kidding, because those would be terrible ideas.

                                                                                                                                                          2. A couple of things.

                                                                                                                                                            First... Betty is actually a very nice person. I've eaten at her LA restaurant often. She might not have been the best chef there (the food at her place IS of the comfort variety)... but she seems genuine in real life.

                                                                                                                                                            Second... I thought a lot about what I might have done with this challenge and decided that Envy was what I wanted.

                                                                                                                                                            I would have served half the guests dry toast and water... and the others a fabulous appetizer. That would have caused quite a bit of envy.

                                                                                                                                                            1. No new episodes for the last 2 weeks and there was previously 1 week without a new episode have really killed the flow.

                                                                                                                                                              Sam and Ilan definately crossed the line but, it's been 2 weeks for us viewers (real time for them) and they were retaliating against Marcel for being a poor winner in the previous episode.

                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                                                That's probably a factor. Marcel was a sore loser on that episode. If he wanted the glory, he should have fought to become the team leader instead of Sam.

                                                                                                                                                                But that doesn't excuse any kind of infantile behavior on Sam/Ilan's part.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: notmartha

                                                                                                                                                                  If he had fought to be team leader on that episode, there would be a whole new set of grievances. He can't win with these people no matter what he does.

                                                                                                                                                              2. my .02

                                                                                                                                                                Good comments above regarding greed, envy, etc. ideas.

                                                                                                                                                                Well, I watched this episode with a teenager. She was surprised that school-yard "group-think" bullying goes on in the "adult" world and workplace. Sorry kid; you never get to put your crayons down. Marcel is wise to take the higher road when the others lose their cool. He may be an irritant - but there are plenty of irritating people at work and you can't lose it or they will win over you every time. Sheesh.

                                                                                                                                                                Betty was manipulative of her colleagues and the judges. She uses doe-like facial expressions to get sympathy and I never bought her shtick. Good riddance.

                                                                                                                                                                The new hostess is, well, quite similar in her flat affect and dispassionate personality judging style to the last one. *shrug*

                                                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Annabelicious

                                                                                                                                                                  See, I don't see it as Marcel taking the high road at all. I see him as the kid in class who continually spat spitballs at the other kids and then turned the big ol' innocent eyes on the teacher when she asked who did it and immediately said "NOT ME!!!". He's the one poking the bear, just to get a rise out of the bear and to see what the bear will do - and he found out when Ilan turned on him. So Marcel is just as much to blame.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                    He's the kid in class who's annoying and doesn't get why. He's able to relatively keep his composure because it hasn't sunk in that these people find him *really* irritating -- he kind of just thinks he drew the short straw and people are arbitrarily picking on him.

                                                                                                                                                                    I suspect he is pretty irritating, but the ganging up on him intensifies it. Cf the other guys sharing anecdotes about him, like the time he gave one of them a card on which he'd written "the next top chef," Sam instigating Frank about the toiletry incident, etc. Likewise, when Ilan made a lame joke to all the diners about Marcel's choice of cherries, he wasn't bashing Marcel's dish in an effort to make his dish look better, he just assumed everyone saw Marcel the same way, as a joke. Everyone Ilan's been hanging out with jokes about Marcel, he just extended it in a setting that made him look particularly small.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                      Perhaps he's manipulating - but he seems too naive to me for that awareness - in my humble opinion, of course. He seems to not be socially aware of how his self-involvement/confidence pisses people off. I get the feeling his mantra is "this is a competition" and not realizing cooperation can help him.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. I actually got uncomfortable watching this episode, and I hope the bullies involved felt the same. These people clearly never got over the glory of gym locker room "pranks" designed to torment and humiliate socially awkward kids. Ilan, Sam and Betty were the worst, obviously, but I was disappointed that Cliff (who was rude to Marcel in the past) and Elia, the supposed friend, did nothing to step in when things got out of hand. Refusing to help him serve was totally unprofessional, as was making cracks about sexual experience. How low is a person who gets off on humiliating another person on national television? Not to mention that we're not talking about "The Real World" here, we're talking about a show where the contestants are supposedly professionals who have accomplished something in their field. What an awful spectacle.

                                                                                                                                                                    I was disappointed in some of the interpretations of the sins, most of all Pride. Since when is roasting chicken a symbol of pride? Because Elia's father served it with pride? My father served his wonderful scrambled eggs with pride, but I wouldn't use them to demonstate the meaning of the word.

                                                                                                                                                                    Betty has deserved to go for some time. Her food was always pretty mediocre, and she thought she could cover with all of that phony, bouncy energy and inappropriate (for her age, which is also my age) clothing. Every time she would bring out some pedistrian slop, she'd try to cover with a big grin and over-the-top adjectives -- watching her describe the pudding she called creme brulee in the Thanksgiving show made me laugh ot loud. She is an instigator who only lasted this long because she is the queen of the reaction shot, and producers like this.

                                                                                                                                                                    If there's a God in Cooking Heaven, awful Ilan will be the next to go. Obnoxious and cocky, and his cooking doesn't match his ego. Now it turns out he's an awfully cruel person, as well. Yuck. Sam isn't much better, and his "toad in a hole" should have sent him packing weeks ago, except we're grading on a curve here, and his cooking often wins.

                                                                                                                                                                    The producers and editors of this show have made this so much about personalities, I find myself hoping the winner will be the nicest person, rather than the most gifted chef. And these days I have a hard time figuring out who the nicest person is, what with the nonstop junior high antics.

                                                                                                                                                                    So glad to see Betty gone, but my discomfort with the bad behavior tainted my joy, which is just not fair.

                                                                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Clarissa

                                                                                                                                                                      I completely agree. Betty had to go but Ilan was horrible, he looked much worse than Marcel in this. I am surprised by how many people are Elia fans - her food has seemed so ho-hum to me all along. The chicken pride thing especially so. I really didnt like the challenge at all because demonstrating the concept and preparing good food dont fit together for me, and not in an interesting way. I liked the quick fire challenge with color much better.

                                                                                                                                                                      I have liked Mike from the begining and think he's more creative and adventurous than anyone else. I'm glad he's finally coming into his own, I dont think the vicodin had anything to do with his performance. vicodin is just not that type of drug.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: belle

                                                                                                                                                                        The roast chicken makes more sense to me - Proud Bird comes into my mind somehow. The struting rooster, and the peacock...

                                                                                                                                                                        At least it makes more sense than the envy. I don't know about trout envying the salmon. How come they gave Marcel grief about too much foam, and yet said nothing when Michael cooks 2 dishes in a row with salmon? Also from the footage it seems that Sam helped Michael somewhat first by suggesting catfish or something when they didn't have enough crabmeat.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: notmartha

                                                                                                                                                                          They all suggest things to each other when they have a whole day of shopping and cooking, and considering that Michael didn't even listen to Sam's advice here, I don't really see how you can fault them for this interaction.

                                                                                                                                                                          I agree that any repetition is to be avoided if possible, but to serve 9 foams, when foam is supposedly this avant garde element, is so ironic that at some point someone had to give Marcel shit for it.

                                                                                                                                                                          This roast chicken pride thing is still just not clicking for me. But bottom line they weren't going to make that big of a deal of whether the contestants' ideas made sense as long as the food was good -- notice only the less good food was really scrutinized in terms of how well it fit the challenge, which I think is very often the case.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                                                                            Marcel's dishes:

                                                                                                                                                                            Ep 1: Peanut butter and corn flake frog's leg lollipop on a puree of chicken livers and eggplant with garlic and parsley sauces [no foam] [no foam in Quickfire Challenge]

                                                                                                                                                                            Ep 2: Team Korea offerings [no foam] [no foam in Quickfire Challenge, which was sushi]

                                                                                                                                                                            Ep 3: Grilled pork chops with wild mushroom sauce served with bacon cabbage and mashed potatoes [no foam] [first challenge was ice cream]

                                                                                                                                                                            Ep 4: Team Glucose episode [no foam] [no foam in Quickfire Challenge]

                                                                                                                                                                            Ep 5: Duo of salmon, tartare & mousse with red & gold beets [no foam] [no foam in Quickfire Challenge]

                                                                                                                                                                            Ep 6: FOAM ALERT! FOAM ALERT! Turkey roulade with stuffing and cranberry gelee and cranberry FOAM [Quickfire Challenge offering contained coconut milk FOAM]

                                                                                                                                                                            Ep 7: Poached eggs, hash browns, gravlax & cream cheese with bacon lardons [no foam] [no foam in Quickfire Challenge]

                                                                                                                                                                            Ep 8: Catering a backlot party for 200 episode [no foam] ["VAPOR" raises its ugly head in Quickfire Challenge]

                                                                                                                                                                            Ep 9: Cherry tart topped with cherry gelee and cherry FOAM

                                                                                                                                                                            *******
                                                                                                                                                                            So, no foams at all until Episode 6. Why does Padma claim there have been foams in every dish? Why is everyone else fixating on it? It just ain't true!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Atomica

                                                                                                                                                                              You know, I hadn't really thought to check whether Padma's 9-foam comment was true... you're right -- I was just looking through the pictures of prior meals and thinking about it. I do think he has made random comments about foam and has suggested foams on several additional occasions, which might be the source of this joke... but you are quite correct, he has made plenty of dishes without foam.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                                                                              I was just guessing that Michael knows enough to execute a simple dish, but his difficulty may be with coming up with a dish. In ordinary life, suggestions generally spark chains of thought, so I am just speculating that he uses another type of fish instead of the one Sam suggested, but the thought process of using one fish to contrast with another (instead of the original fake crab with real crab).

                                                                                                                                                                              Just seems funny that the judges won't remember being served salmon by the same person 2 consecutive times. At least Padma should remember.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Clarissa

                                                                                                                                                                          The nicest person would probably be Michael, who tries hard and never says anything bad about anyone, probably followed by Elia and Cliff.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Gigigirl2

                                                                                                                                                                            I don't find Cliff nice at all. During the TGIF's firehouse challenge, where Betty first showed her true colors and got positively viscious with Marcel, Cliff was almost as bad as she. Here's what I recall: Betty insulted Marcel for getting tense when the fryers wouldn't work (and this is a cooking competition so equipment malfunction is problematic, especially when there's so little time) and then called him, in front of everyone, a "selfish, egotistical bastard." When Marcel justifiably enjoyed her equipment problem (although without name-calling) Cliff said that Betty would be justified in hitting Marcel, and he told Marcel to keep quiet. Later, during the holiday show, Cliff seemed even worse, being so domineering and dismissive of others. As far as I'm concerned, he's almost as bad as Ilan, Sam and Betty have been, even if he's been flying under the radar.

                                                                                                                                                                        3. I also was glad to see Betty go, I was not impressed by her or her as a person, or her cooking skills at all.

                                                                                                                                                                          I like Mike, I dont know if it is because he reminds me of many of the line cooks I worked shoulder to shoulder with getting out of "the weeds" back in my line cook days, or what it is. Sure he is not as polished as some of the other folks on the show, but I have worked with "alleged" CIA grads who knew less than some of the great line cooks I have known.

                                                                                                                                                                          Whats it called book smarts vs street smarts..?, or in this it might be called kitchen smarts..

                                                                                                                                                                          Go Mike

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: swsidejim

                                                                                                                                                                            I think Mike has instinct. I wouldn't even call it street smarts. He probably can't tell you when he's come up with a great idea or dish, but when his instinct clicks, he'll nail it. That's my extrapolation at least.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Betty is/was/is a crappy person.

                                                                                                                                                                            And by trying to demonize Marcel, she showed her own character.

                                                                                                                                                                            SOOOOO happy to see her go......

                                                                                                                                                                            And by the way, it is easy to be gracious when you are having a good day and or "fabulous" moment.

                                                                                                                                                                            It is pressure that shows a persons character.

                                                                                                                                                                            I mean does anyone think that Marcel was "barking" at the "Bets"? Please! Give me a break!

                                                                                                                                                                            And so what if the guy rubs you the wrong way....truly, is there any need to threaten to beat up, rant, and create a mob mentality.

                                                                                                                                                                            At this point personality and ego are more of a vice to all remaining competitors rather than chef ability and artistic skill. Sad to see. Especially for all of those of us who truly love cooking and creating.

                                                                                                                                                                            Hope they all check themselves, and get back to proving their ability as Top Chef's rather than continuing to act as whiny three year olds.

                                                                                                                                                                            Good Eating to All

                                                                                                                                                                            1. I noticed that Marcel was crying. It was like watching junior highschool playground bullies picking on someone who's a bit different.

                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gigigirl2

                                                                                                                                                                                I agree and is it just me that is really distressed by the cruelty in the lack-of-sexual experience cracks?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gigigirl2

                                                                                                                                                                                  Where/when did he cry? I missed that.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. You could see that his eyes were red and glistening when one of the guys was yelling in his face. It must be kind of embarrassing for him at this point, and frankly I haven't seen him do anything, well much of anything, that was too obnoxious. He actually seems kind of helpful, with the exception of a couple of incidents.

                                                                                                                                                                                  My read on him is socially awkward, immature. He's focused on winning.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I'm not sure that socially awkward and immature would provoke the kinds of reactions he's getting...

                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alaughingdog

                                                                                                                                                                                      At a certain point it stops being about anything he's said or done and becomes a case of group dynamics at work. If the group's behavior becomes destructive and selects a scapegoat and everyone proceeds to take out all their anxieties and frustrations and whatever on that scapegoat, very little that one does or does not do will make a difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                      On the TC discussion boards someone e-mailed Carlos and asked him what he thought. He said Marcel is "grating," and hard to get along with, but he said he's "30% annoying," and 70% just a regular human being.

                                                                                                                                                                                      There's some nasty, destructive group dynamics going on, or at least as it looks from the way the show is edited. But most of them have MySpace pages now, and they all seem to have each other on their friend lists, if that means anything. Could be that once they're not living on top of each other in such an artificial, stressful setting, this stuff goes away.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: revsharkie

                                                                                                                                                                                        Well, if myspace allowed "enemy" contacts I'm sure things would be different for lots of people. For now, friends are the only way to be networked.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Finally watched the episode. Seems to me that Marcel could have gave it a break. He really could have kept his mouth shut about the discount at the kitchen supply store. Although it's still not cool for Sam to blow up like that in public. At least he just said Marcel's annoying and should shut up.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Ilan on the other hand. Just totally immature. My vote is for him to go next at this point. He seems to be a one spanish cook trick pony and I don't know his point about traveling to France, etc. I don't see him doing much of anything outside of spanish influence in the show. Ironically he should have stuck with Spanish food for his gluttony. Nothing is more gluttonous than finishing off a large meal with extra rich hot chocolate like the ones in Spain, served with churros to dip them into. Even if the funnel cake were perfect, his dish looked like a poor attempt at heaping 3 separate unrelated dessert into 1 dish, top off with creme anglaise. If he wanted do that it would be smarter to serve them in individual areas (1 portion chocolate cake with creme anglaise, 1 portion brittle, 1 portion funnel cake). Not piled on top of each other.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Lastly, I don't agree that Marcel is unaware of what he does to others. I think he knows. The best way to deal with annoying folks like Marcel is to totally ignore them. He puts out the bait, and it's funny to watch people just keep taking the bait.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. You wrote, "the continual slams at his sexual "experience" or lack thereof was beyond the pale."

                                                                                                                                                                                        Really?

                                                                                                                                                                                        Have you ever worked in a professional kitchen? Believe me, that was nothing.

                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sgwood415

                                                                                                                                                                                          That was nothing in terms of what friends or coworkers sometimes say to each other... but somehow one would just think that in front of a camera people would be able to control themselves. In this case I think basically the opposite is happening -- Ilan had a chance to call Marcel a virgin on national television, which probably struck him as infinitely more humorous than doing so in private. If he were trying to succeed as a comedian this would be a good idea, but if I were hiring people to work in an elegant restaurant, knowing that Ilan didn't have the sense to keep it in the kitchen would definitely make me think twice about hiring him -- who goes out and tells the customers that one of the chefs is an idiot? Totally unprofessional. Sorry, Ilan. I like you otherwise :)

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sgwood415

                                                                                                                                                                                            As others have said, and I said in the other thread about restaurant kitchens, this is not a restaurant kitchen, it is a television reality game show. To try to humiliate somebody on national television says far more about the bullies (in this case Ilan and Sam, as well as Betty) than it does about anything Marcel may have done, and it doesn't say much about the atmosphere in restaurant kitchens, since there is no actual restaurant kitchen here -- just a set and some fun cooking competitions. With the ever-present camera crew and lighting these jokers are acutely aware that what they say will be seen by friends, family members, future employers and a huge audience, so to behave as Ilan did says a lot about how he would behave if given a position of power in a normal work environment.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Clarissa

                                                                                                                                                                                              Well said Clarissa and Adrienne!

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: sgwood415

                                                                                                                                                                                              Beyond the pale of boring, really.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, plenty goes on in professional kitchens that are far worse than that. My point as intended is that Ilan's behavior until now, to be so smug, so self absorbed, and to come up with nothing more interesting than a churlish, middle school level insult was just disgusting. It was just trite.

                                                                                                                                                                                              This whole season has been one long excercise in trite challenges, trite dishes and trite drama.

                                                                                                                                                                                            3. A couple of comments to add to the very interesting conversations taking place here.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Marcel is irritating (no surprise there) and reminds me of guys who mouthed off in school but were never verbally corrected or punched. Believe me, you quickly develop social understanding and self-awareness when you insult the wrong kid. But Sam and Ilan were out of order attacking him in a public place with personal comments completely unrelated to his cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Elia is growing on me, but still seems extremely negative when reacting to the challenges. In fact, a theme of this series is how often the cooks complain about the challenge (no cooking, color themes, fast food menus, etc). What happened to getting excited about pushing your cooking skills to the limit?

                                                                                                                                                                                              3. Padma adds nothing to the show and appears to wear less and less as the series progresses. Just let Tom host it.

                                                                                                                                                                                              4. I didnt see it happen in this week's episode, but I hate the "text your vote on who will be eliminated" commercial midway through the show. It essentially tells you who will be in the bottom three ahead of time. Revenue supercedes surprise.

                                                                                                                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ooroger

                                                                                                                                                                                                I agree that Padma adds nothing; how did they manage to find an even less animated and contributing hostess than the first one? That took some skill.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Annabelicious

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I disagree. While I do think whoever's dressing her ought to rething what they're putting her in, I think she's a lot better than the previous host. She actually participates in the discussions and the judging, and knows something about food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I understand that she ordinarily speaks with an English accent, and that the effort to keep that under wraps may be what makes her speech so flat and difficult. But I like her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: revsharkie

                                                                                                                                                                                                    We agree on the poor choice of wardrobe. We do disagree on her affect. I feel her energy is quite low. I work with a lot of english-as-second-language people and it does not factor into how much energy, personality and fire they bring to the table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Annabelicious

                                                                                                                                                                                                      She's an improvement over the last one. At least she seems to have an opinion about the food (she was pretty adamant that the cherry gelee has taste), so she doesn't seem to be just another pretty face. I have to say though they don't really stress her role as a judge as well as a hostess.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Annabelicious

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think you hit-the-nail-on-the-head. Her comments are lifeless and come across as being read straight from a script (which they may be). An improvement...yes. A compelling host...no.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Annabelicious

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't believe English is her second language. I think her native tongue is English, but with a British accent. It's not trying to speak a non-native language as much as it is stifling an accent. I know that when I'm among folks who perhaps might not understand what I'm saying if I use my normal (Okie) accent it causes me to have to be a lot more thoughtful and somewhat stilted in the way I talk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: revsharkie

                                                                                                                                                                                                            She may be lovely in person. Some personalities just do NOT translate over television. Frankly, she comes across as mildly sedated. Not a valuable contribution to the show, I'm afraid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: EnglishMuffin

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Padma is lame...this model (so to speak) doesn't work - why do we need a babe with no personality to host the show? Kate Joel was worse. Project Runway has Heidi Klum, who is kind of endearing and not a total snooze (and she's a babe, of course - and she 's falling out of her clothes but at least they're interesting, especially when she is pregnant!) Project Runway also has Tim Gunn, who adds a lot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I do understand what people are saying about accents, but they knew this when they hired her. Why not have an interesting host? Sure, she should have some kind of basic neutrality, but she doesn't have to be dull.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Bravo is asking home viewers to vote for a "viewer's favorite" chef whom they will award $10,000.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    This is really tough because the contestants are generally not a nice bunch as everyone on this thread has noted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    So who should get the nod...?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    On the positive side- Suyai seemed nice but we hardly knew her. Josie and Mia weren't especially bad either, but Mia is a quitter... Mikey is like a baby brother, sometimes naughty sometimes nice, not professional, always good for a laugh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    As for the rest of them.I thought Cliff was okay until he unfairly turned on Mia. He's a cutthroat. Sam is a snob/snot, and not as cute as he thinks he is. Ilan is immature. Elia is depressing. Marcel is a putz. Betty was a witch. Frank was arrogant. Carlos was lazy. Marisa was vain. Otto was dishonest or emasculated enough to think he was. Emily was cold.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Not a lot on the menu.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                                                                      You got them all pegged. I say give the money to Lee Ann!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Claudette

                                                                                                                                                                                                        The matchup of Lee Ann and Harold and Tiffani was amazing. This group pales in comparison. I am not even really rooting for anybody.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I don't see Mia as a quitter. I see her as someone who thinks that it's unjust to send Elia packing because she's set up for a fall.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        So out of the lot I will vote for Mia to get the viewer's favorite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: notmartha

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I gotta go with Mikey as the fan favorite - the kid tries hard and is a mess; but it's hard not to like him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: wingman

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree. And honestly if I could have any one of them cook for me, I'd want it to be Mike... even if I'd rather have Sam serve it ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: wingman

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Well, I am still not sure about Michael's rationale with switching the sin with Marcel - other than to curry favor with the anti-Marcel gang. He doesn't bad mouth Marcel or blow up at him, but I think he's just as guilty as the rest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Lust is a lot easier concept to implement than envy for a dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: notmartha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I thought Mike had a quick inspiration for envy, and so chose to switch.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                The imitation crab being jealous of the real crab was a pretty amusing idea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: notmartha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I actually liked Michael's idea for envy -- contrasting a higher-end ingredient with a more pedestrian ingredient. Maybe he had that in mind when he swapped, and Marcel's just the one that happened to have envy. (Maybe I liked his idea because I hadn't come up with any idea myself!) And he certainly did a better job implementing envy than Marcel did with lust. All the supermarket homemaking magazines already have better lustful recipes (valentine's ideas) than Marcel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That being said, Michael's certainly had some derogatory comments about Marcel in the side interviews, but he hasn't lost his temper in a group/public setting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I fail to see how salmon is a high end ingredient - perhaps comparing to trout it can be perceived as one (but fresh trout is no chopped liver either).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's not like comparing kobe with regular beef, or oysters with mussels or something like that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Also, did you see the other's reaction when Michael did the switch? It's almost like snickering.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: notmartha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      notmartha, the original idea was crab v imitation crab
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      the store didn't have enough real crab, so Mikey floundered on with salmon

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pitu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Right, pitu -- perhaps "higher-end" wasn't the exact term I meant, nor did I mean to pass judgment on salmon vs trout. Just noting that I thought Mikey's idea of contrasting the ingredients such that one might envy the other was original and he executed it well. And just the fact that he had an envy idea might have been why he swapped, and didn't have anything to do with handicapping Marcel by assigning him lust.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (Now, if Marcel had borrowed Miguel's costume from season 1 -- the sex shop epi -- we'd be having a whole nother discussion ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: notmartha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Considering the episode kicked off with Ilan's swipe at Marcel's experience, its no great wonder people snickered when Mike handed lust over.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Anyone notice what Marcel was pourng with his cherry dessert?

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I looked a lot like CheerWine. I'm a little surprised they didn't incorporate that into the bit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bob

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bob Mervine

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Can you get Cheerwine in LA? ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Has anyone else noticed in the repeat of the Holiday show that when Michael comments in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                the side interviews that he has that sort of same scab on his lip area like in the next show
                                                                                                                                                                                                                when he was on vicodin from his oral surgery? Yet, in the show footage at the party and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                such, grocery etc. it is not there. It's like they filmed his side interviews at the time of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                his dental problems which are after that show (the 7 dinner) not during. Maybe I'm hallucinating....but i really think I noticed this. Anyone?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: manomin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's called editing. I hope you don't think that what you're watching was shot in the same sequence it was shown. Any "reality" show cuts away to comments and expressions that don't happen right at that moment, or even day. Dramtic effect my friend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sgwood415

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I didn't say I thought I was watching it as it happened. I just wondered if anyone else
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    noticed the effects of his dental problem. Of course it's dramatic, everything is
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    dramatic or why would anyone bother to waste 42 minutes every week on this?