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Top Chef-restaurant concept episode (spoilers inside)

Not surprised. But I wish it would have been Ilan.

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  1. Oh, and for the first time I also noticed the disclaimer at the end that they discuss some of the elimination/winning decisions with Bravo. Not that I'm surprised, but I guess it's good that they at least admit that it's not really "all about the food."

    5 Replies
    1. re: IndyGirl

      That disclaimer has run on every episode starting with the first show in the first season. It's identical to the disclaimer stated on Project Runway, ManHunt, and every other "reality" show on Bravo.

      Speaking of, I miss ManHunt. Now that was some good cheese.

      1. re: themis

        Maybe because this is literally the only reality show I've ever really watched, I just never paid attention before, I guess. Again, not that I'm surprised...

      2. re: IndyGirl

        I think both Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons said in their blogs that they judge only on the food and that the producers never interfered.

        In this case, obviously it was about the whole restaurant experience, including service and cleanliness.

        I think Michael lost because he had $100 left over out of his $500 budget, money he could have spent well if he'd used his brain.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          What really surprised me, was that Mikey didn't take that extra C note and bring back a bunch of brewskis to the loft.

          1. re: ChinoWayne

            Well said and that is what I love about that guy. He should have.

      3. Care to briefly recap the episode? I'm in Beijing, with no Bravo. :(

        8 Replies
        1. re: Petitpois

          Quickfire: Make a snack. Find a way to incorporate BBQ sauce, mayonnaise or Italian dressing. Lowlight: Mike's brie quesadilla with mayo on top. Two winners: Sam and Marcel. Sam for his little sandwich that I think involved tempura or something but it was like an amuse of a poboy. Marcel for his lamb curry kabobs.

          Marcel and Sam are each allowed to choose which of the remaining players they are teamed with for the elimination event. Marcel works with Cliff and Elia; Sam works with Ilan and Mike.

          The Elimination challenge is to create a restaurant in a partially built space. Come up with a concept and a 3-course meal. Marcel's team does an upscale diner. They serve BBQ chicken amuse (raw), veggie tempura (great), burgers (good, not "the best ever" as they are named) and oreo lemon pie. They also serve beer and rootbeer. The Sam team does an Italian concept - olives on the table (pit winds up in front of Padma, bad for them), meatball app (their best thing), pasta pesto, pork with polenta and "watermelon gnocchi" which was bits of watermelon covered in bruleed gorgonzola that made Gail feel "naseous" (I think she meant nauseated).

          They decided no one could win becaues there were so many problems and they were unimpressed in general with Sam's watermelon dish, Cliff's coverage of the front room (like getting food out and being welcoming), and Mike's general leaning on others' work. They ultimately sent Mike home but I think it was a really close call for cliff.

          1. re: Adrienne

            I agree with Gail. She is nauseous. Makes me want to throw up, just listening to her.

              1. re: glutton

                ha! totally with you on that. makes us embarrassed that she's Canadian!

            1. re: Petitpois

              Adrienne did a great job, but in the future, check out http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/

              In a day or so they have a great (and hilarious) in-depth recounting on their site.

              1. re: IndyGirl

                Thank you Adrienne! I was starting to go through TC withdrawal. You are very kind.

                IndyGirl - thanks for the link. I will indeed check it out. But how could I wait a whole day or so to know what happened?

              2. re: Petitpois

                Go to televisonwithoutpity.com in a couple of days and you'll get the full story.

                Whoops, didn't see IndyGirl's response first... but really, they do great, great work.

                1. re: bryan

                  Yeah, televisionwithoutpity is hilarious. And addictive; I don't even watch reality shows and I'm completely caught up on at least four of them, including this one.

              3. I think it should have been a double elimination.

                1. Yeah, I think I'll miss Mikey from here on out but I guess it was time....

                  1. I'm not in love with Mike or his food, but I was hoping, dreaming, praying that either Ilan or Cliff would go. I can't stand Sam (and his watermelon with sauce looked and sounded awful) or his over-inflated ego, but it's surprising to me that Cliff got away with what he did, simply because Elia and Marcel were too classy to tell how pushy and inept he was. I'm hoping that rude, arrogant and mediocre chef Ilan will be next, but I don't think we'll be so lucky.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Clarissa

                      They judges mentioned that Ilans' balls (meat) were the best dish they had....!

                    2. Gail should pack her vocal cords and go. "It made me nauseous" is a complaint, not a critique.

                      34 Replies
                      1. re: beef

                        I agree, beef.

                        I really find it amazing that a food WRITER could be grammatically incorrect on national television. But regardless, she is really getting whiny "my burger's overdone..." "i don't like this..." this is how kids complain, not critics.

                        1. re: Adrienne

                          I only partially agree. I think that the comment that the burger was overdone is very legitimate from a critical perspective. In fact Elia had acknowledged to the rest of the team that the burgers were sitting around too long and continuing to cook; although to her credit, I guess, she didn't point the finger at Cliff for this mistake (since it was apparently his handling of the front of the house that slowed things down).

                          Cliff shouldn't have pushed to do the front of the house. My impresion was that he did so that he could physically separate himself a bit from Marcel (?)

                          At least the burger looked appetizing. To me, the pasta was even less appealing than the 'gnocchi'. It looked quite institutional.

                          1. re: susancinsf

                            I don't really think it's the true content of what Gail says --it's her tone. To me there is just a gutteral difference between hearing a judge say "This burger should have been removed from the grill earlier" than yelping "miiiiiiiiine's overdoooooooooone" and flicking your hair. They have the right to criticize however they want, they're the judges, but I find her style grating.

                            1. re: susancinsf

                              I have a question about the watermelon blue-cheese gnocchi, too. Sam said it was gorgozola dolce, but the caption said it was cabrales. I have trouble imagining that the people doing the captions at Bravo would make up something like cabrales (not exactly a household word for blue cheese), so did he really use cabrales, and if so, WHY!? I can stretch my imagination to believe that watermelon and gorgonzola dolce might be tasty, or at least, edible. But cabrales is so much stronger, and less creamy, that I can't imagine it working.

                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                He kept calling it gorgonzola, didn't he? I hate to even admit this after all the hating, but gorgonzola and watermelon sounds like it could be good to me, although the finished dish didn't look appetizing.

                                1. re: Katie Nell

                                  yes, fruit and cheese after all. I don't know why they were being such babies about it!

                                  1. re: Katie Nell

                                    It is good... I was snacking on that last summer after a party-- a slice of watermelon, a few crumbs of cheese. Nice interplay of salty, earthy and sweet. I don't know about putting a creamy sauce over it, though...didn't look pleasing.

                                    1. re: Katie Nell

                                      I think he said he HAD made this dish in NY with gorgonzola ("and everybody loved it"). I don't think he said he was currently making it with gorgonzola.

                                      1. re: chaddict

                                        I believe he said he'd had the combination somewhere, not that he'd made it before.

                                        As noted above he said Gorgonzola Dolcelatte, which tastes almost like sweet butter with just a hint of blue. The on-screen description during the judging said Cabrales, a pretty strong blue.

                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                          Nope, he HAD made it before with gorgonzola, and the printed menu (the one the guests had) says Cabrales (and Asiago). Only reason I bring this up now (and with the benefit of seeing the repeat) is CH was making me feel I was going senile and losing my memory. Probably am going senile but nice to know not in this moment ;)

                                        2. re: chaddict

                                          I remember him saying that he had started playing around with the idea and flavors. I don't remember him saying that anyone had tried it, but I only watched the ep once.

                                    2. re: susancinsf

                                      Susaninsf, you raise a significant point. It is likely the producers have everything that goes on, in the can, on tape. Instead of instantly judging the competitors immediately after the challenge, they ought to allow the judges to see what occured, "in real time" on the tape more of the entire process, to really see how the competitors perform all of their tasks. Elia's burgers were cooked properly, Cliff failed as the front of the house/expediter. The judges decisions would have been more informed, if they saw everything that occured.

                                      Now it is likely that the producers might not want to take the time and expense to sort through and cue up tape of all of this, but then an alternative would be to require the judges to be present during all tasks performed by the competitors. A judge could have been in the kitchen the entire time and one could have been in the front of the house the entire time, then the judges could have compared notes and had a more complete, accurate picture of what occured.

                                      But of course that would likely reduce the drama we see, and at the end of the day it is about drama, and driving eyes and ears to the commercials bookending each "act" of the "show". This is not a competition in the true sense, it is not about the art, science and humanity of producing great food, its just a commercial enterprise designed to extract dollars from advertisers and the "product placement" sponsors.

                                      1. re: ChinoWayne

                                        It was up to Elia to point out to the judges that her burgers were overdone because Cliff failed as FOH. I don't agree that the judges should go back and view all the tapes.

                                        1. re: Atomica

                                          They let off Elia right away but Cliff was still on the short list for the chopping block. They didn't need instant replay to get that one right.

                                        2. re: ChinoWayne

                                          I always got the sense on 'Project Runway' that the judges DID watch the tape of what happened and definitely took this into account in their judging. I think that is fair and wish the 'Top Chef' judges would have done the same

                                          1. re: sethnanyc

                                            Really, Tim Gunn wouldn't let anything slide by him that came to his attention for that matter. He'd be checking out anything that smacked of cheating. I get the feeling Tom C and friends isn't as exacting about what's happening behind the scenes.

                                            1. re: sethnanyc

                                              Actually, according to Tim Gunn and the judges on PR, the judges didn't see anything until the runway show, and had no knowledge of what went on behind the scenes until they watched the show.

                                        3. re: Adrienne

                                          i don't get it? what's grammatically incorrect about saying that a dish made you nauseous?

                                          nau·seous Pronunciation[naw-shuhs, -zee-uhs]
                                          –adjective 1. affected with nausea; nauseated: to feel nauseous.
                                          2. causing nausea; sickening; nauseating.
                                          3. disgusting; loathsome: a nauseous display of greed.

                                          1. re: soypower

                                            If you are nauseous, that means you are nauseating to others. If something is making you feel unwell, you are nauseated.

                                            1. re: Atomica

                                              really? the first definition says 'affected with nausea, a synonym to nauseated. the second definition says 'cause nausea'. i still don't get it. that definition was from dictionary.com.

                                              1. re: soypower

                                                Some dictionaries are more lax than others. I was just reading Bill Bryson's Dictionary of Troublesome Words last night and read the entry on nauseous/nauseated.

                                                Some people think words should change their meanings based on persistent misuse, and others think that there are certain distinctions worth maintaining. I happen to think that this is a useful one to maintain--think of "poisonous" and "poisoned"--a "poisoned" person is not "poisonous," a "nauseated" person is not "nauseous," i.e., does not cause others to be nauseated.

                                                1. re: IndyGirl

                                                  I LOVE the way he put that. Thanks IndyGirl.

                                                  1. re: Adrienne

                                                    He is an amazing writer! I love reading this dictionary--it's like a literary massage.

                                                    1. re: IndyGirl

                                                      Oh my, literary massage, perhaps he could replace Padma next season.

                                                  2. re: IndyGirl

                                                    I go by Bryan Garner on such matters. He says, "nauseous (= inducing nausea) for nauseated (= experiencing nausea) is becoming so common that to call it an 'error' is to exaggerate." He goes on to say that careful writers follow the distinction in formal writing.

                                                    Gail Simmons comments at the judge's table are neither formal nor written.

                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                      I can agree on that description -- and although I am sure some other board-readers are finding us very nit-picky by now, I really appreciate your persistence in fully distilling this definition.

                                                      "Nauseous" still makes me cringe, but I don't think it would have bothered me so much if Gail weren't already irritating me. And with all of the less vs. fewer conflations on that show (not to mention "shit on a plate" comments) I certainly don't consider this to be the most offensive use of English, overall.

                                                      1. re: Adrienne

                                                        ITA with the less/fewer problems!

                                                        And I also agree that it's not the most offensive error, especially when spoken.

                                                      2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                        Wouldn't nauseatING be the word for something that induces nausea? -ous usually signifies an action of self. (i.e. cautious, flirtatious, humorous, ect)

                                                        1. re: dublix

                                                          The phrase in question is, "[the watermelon with blue cheese sauce] made me nauseous."

                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                            So, while Gail may have been nauseous, it wasn't the watermelon that made her that way (i.e., things that are nauseous nauseate things that are nauseated, and the process is nauseating). Thank god my English major is valuable for something...

                                                          2. re: dublix

                                                            Yes. According to my overly formal standards, nauseating is the equivalent of nauseous, whereas most people use nauseous as the equivalent of nauseated.

                                                2. re: Adrienne

                                                  OK, she is really annoying.

                                                  However... apart from the 7 Deadly Sins dinner I have been genuinely shocked at the lousy performances from these cooks. Sometimes I watch and wonder how the judged manage not to stand up at the table and say "Where the f___ did we find this bunch of incompetent loosers????!!!!"

                                                  And just for clarification, the Seven Deadly Sins dinner included some spectacular failures along with quite a few piss poor efforts, but at least there were a few decent dishes and no one served anything completely retarded.

                                                  1. re: beef

                                                    "It made me nauseous" is a perfectly good criticism of watermelon in blue cheese.

                                                    The burger was overdone, because Cliff let it sit for four minutes. We saw that on camera.

                                                  2. I hope Mike reaps alot of benefits from this exposure, he seems like the nicest guy in the bunch. He took defeat much better than I thought he might (no jumping the table to strangle Tom, etc.).

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: NoeMan

                                                      I think we should all vote for Mikey as the 'audience favorite" so he can get the 10,000. It will be interesting to see who gets that one.

                                                      1. re: mrsFicky1706

                                                        I was thinking the same thing. There is nothing redeeming about any of the others - at least he seems sweet and fun.

                                                        1. re: mrsFicky1706

                                                          I'd vote for Mia. She did a classy thing. It was Mikey's time to go and I think he was lucky to have lasted as long as he did.

                                                        2. Interesting show...concepts were weak...the diner was the better but the decorating kinda sucked....pulling for Marcel to win it all....what are they gonna do next week? Shave his head?

                                                          18 Replies
                                                          1. re: Xericx

                                                            Something far out.

                                                            The way they teased the next show by not showing how everyone looked. Something happened in the lofts that got out of hand.

                                                            Mikey went home for all his sins, not just forgetting to buy side plates. From here on out, I think, we will see them sent home on a more global basis, with the judges looking for a reason -- like the whole manufactured olive pit thing -- than for a particular bad performance.
                                                            You think they just happened to seat the judges at the table where they had already filmed the guy leaving his pit on the table?
                                                            It was obvious when they walked in and Tom said, "Oh look, there's a four top."

                                                            Bob

                                                            1. re: Bob Mervine

                                                              The olive pit wasn't manufactured. It was a triple error: they didn't think of dishes for the pits, Michael didn't think to use some of the extra $100 to buy them, and Cliff didn't catch the dirty table.

                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                Cliff wasn't supposed to catch the dirty table, he was on the other team.

                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                  Cliff wasn't on that team. It was Ilan.

                                                                  1. re: sivyaleah

                                                                    Right you are. But it was still a triple error.

                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                      Make that a quadruple error: in Padma Lakshmi's blog, she notes that they also lacked bread plates.

                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                        Yes, they were indeed missing bread plates. I remember the scene where the a**hole guest judge was breaking off a piece of bread and he didn't have a bread plate to put it on so he just dropped it on the table. Yikes. Error after error after error.

                                                                        1. re: gyp7318

                                                                          In alot of NYC Manhattan restaurants you don't get a bread plate - Otto comes to mind; I can recall a ton of Tuscan type places where a bread plate wasn't given so that didn't bother me so much.

                                                                          1. re: gyp7318

                                                                            Maybe this has been said before, but I like the idea of comingling the budget, so if you save $100 on supplies you can use it for wine. If you were reallly starting a new restaurant, that's what you'd do. Make every penny count.... and I'm Irish, we never plan/save.

                                                                            1. re: NoeMan

                                                                              umm, but the reason that they (Mike) had $100 left over is because Sam and Ilan ran out of money and couldn't buy any wine, thus Mike left off the wine glasses which would have used up the $100.

                                                                              1. re: djohnson22

                                                                                That's not correct. The team had $500 for the grocery store and $500 for the restaurant supply store, separate budgets.

                                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                  You're right... they did have separate budgets but since Sam and Ilan couldn't afford the wine there was no point in Mike buying the glasses. Sure he could have used his initiative to buy bread plates or side plates for the olive pits, but to his credit the team had decided together on his shopping list and he stuck with the plan. I would have done the same.

                                                                                  1. re: sethnanyc

                                                                                    I honestly don't think I would have thought to buy pit dishes, but if I had an extra cent, I would have at least bought extra dishes, or I would have swapped something I'd already chosen for something funkier -- presentation is so important for a challenge like this... I would have chosen more noticeable plates, at least for one course, with the extra money.

                                                                        2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                          I wasn't commenting on the errors, we're in complete agreement on those :-)

                                                                  2. re: Xericx

                                                                    Yeah, I don't know about the next show. I am curious to see what happens.

                                                                    This series getting to feel more and more programmed and controlled by the producers, though.

                                                                    1. re: IndyGirl

                                                                      The "Bravo Board Boss" says in the opening to the discussion for last night's show, in reference to next week's show: "there's no way you guys can claim it's all manufactured for the cameras, or that Bravo is purposely trying to play up the drama through editing, or whatever -- because some seriously messed up stuff happens next week, and it happens while *the chefs* are the ones filming it with their own video camera."

                                                                      For what it's worth...

                                                                      1. re: momjamin

                                                                        huh :) well, I can't wait. I do feel that way about the stuff that happens in the Kenmore Kitchen and during service. I didn't before as much as I do lately.

                                                                    2. re: Xericx

                                                                      I guessed that some nighttime head-shaving happened as well.

                                                                    3. that guest judge tonight was a freak. did I see Eric Ripert in the preview for next week? Who knows.....

                                                                      16 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Xericx

                                                                        Yes, I saw Ripert. And my first thought about the teaser was that Marcel's head was shaved or something, but I guess we'll have to wait and find out...

                                                                        I agree about the guest judge; I can't stand him. He looked very familiar and then I realized that he was on last season judging the street food episode, although he's sporting a new hairdo. He was the chef at Le Colonial before. While the guest judges have had no problems being critical this season, this week's judge seemed especially harsh and superior.

                                                                        Of course, the chefs failed miserably this episode. The food in the elimination challenge looked so bad and non-cohesive. Front of the house hospitality and service was atrocious. This episode really highlighted how this bunch is weaker than season one's crew since the challenge was almost identical to last season. Previous contestants pulled it off w/ much greater flair, soul, and smarts.

                                                                        I have really grown to dislike Ilan, and Cliff is grating on me as well. At this point, I'm not really rooting for anyone. I had a feeling it was going to be Mike getting kicked off this time, but it could have been anyone.

                                                                        1. re: Carb Lover

                                                                          Now easy on the guest judge. I think he was keeping it real in a way. He brings a different point of view to the show and was probably madder by the time he got in front of the camera b/c he had either seen or heard all the petty b.s. that had been going on w/the cast. I'd be ready to kick butt and take names too!

                                                                          1. re: gyp7318

                                                                            Harold has interesting comments on the guest judge on his blog at bravotv.com -- he wasn't any nicer to the season 1 competitors.

                                                                            1. re: gyp7318

                                                                              If keeping it real means being a complete pr1ck, then you're probably right, from what I read on Harold's blog.

                                                                              1. re: Rocknrope

                                                                                After reading Harold's blog, I do stand corrected. He does seem like a complete a**. I've gotten increasingly infuriated w/the cast and I've felt like cursing at them and just smacking them upside the head. However, that WOULD be unprofessional. ;)

                                                                                1. re: gyp7318

                                                                                  Yeah, but it would relieve a lot of the audience's frustration. And it would be FUN. :-)

                                                                                2. re: Rocknrope

                                                                                  i found him annoying cuz he used the same line he used the last time he was a judge...something like 'you just put sh*t in a tortilla" this season 'you just put sh*t on a plate'. come on, come with some more original material. no matter how scripted anthony bourdain was, he was at least funny. :o)

                                                                              2. re: Carb Lover

                                                                                After Le Colonial he lasted about a month at Chez Maman and it's ancestor on Cortland in Bernal Heights where he got terrible reviews. With the same group he is somewhere else in SF now, seems like his ego has gotten the better of him, he used to seem genuine and normal on California Country a state agricultural show that had cooking segments featuring chefs around the state.

                                                                                1. re: NoeMan

                                                                                  The "ancestor" was called Aura, and it . . . wasn't good. Aura is closed now. A 10/06 Tablehopper (newsletter) says he was involved with Sutra, but would not be involved after the beginning of the year (to focus on Aura, ha ha). Both Sutra and Aura are (were) owned by the Maktub restaurant group.

                                                                                  1. re: NoeMan

                                                                                    Thanks for this bit of info; sounds like his career is pretty unstable right now. I was like "huh?" when they mentioned Aura and Sutra since they aren't on my SF radar at all. I find it odd that he's the only repeat guest judge since he's probably been my least favorite. Last season he cursed a fair amount and in general he doesn't seem to approach the contestants as human beings. Ted Allen and Tony Bourdain "keep it real", but they have more humor and charisma when doing so.

                                                                                    1. re: Carb Lover

                                                                                      I agree, I didn't like this guest judge last year for his swearing and I didn't like him again, especially with the weird thin mohawk. Puh-lease! Someone give him a chef's hat to wear!

                                                                                      1. re: Carb Lover

                                                                                        Sutra is the former La Suite. Same owner, new concept, menu, chef.

                                                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                          And, wow, does Harold Dieterle have some harsh comments about that guy. "That the guy serves dog food at his restaurant. What the viewers at home didn’t get to see last year, was that the day before he was going to judge the episode, we ordered $600 worth of take out from his restaurant and I would say that at least 65% of that food ended up in one of the Glad trash bags. It’s just a compilation of mediocre and generic Vietnamese dishes."

                                                                                          http://www.bravotv.com/blog/harolddie...

                                                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                            "...and I would say that at least 65% of that food ended up in one of the Glad trash bags. It’s just a compilation of mediocre and generic Vietnamese dishes." "

                                                                                            ~~~~

                                                                                            And notice how Harold, despite hating the product placement, does it himself in his blog. :-)

                                                                                    2. re: Carb Lover

                                                                                      I agree...I don't really even like Elia, but she's the one that I dislike the least. I didn't think I'd ever say it but I might want Marcel to win just because he's been hated so much by the other egotiscal maniacs. tough call this season.

                                                                                      1. re: Carb Lover

                                                                                        You should read Harold's blog on the top chef website. He was quite critical of the guest judge (and the incessant product promotion).

                                                                                    3. a couple of observations (all just my opinion of course). marcel should be booted just for his poetry ...talk about foam.....no substance to it, and less taste.
                                                                                      it dawned on me that unlike season one, NO ONE in season two deserves a win...the talent is missing, the personalities are lacking, the leadership is non existant.they're all the Anti-Harold. each has shown fleeting glimpses of what a chef should have....but it's almost like the emperors new clothes. just not there.

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: spinach

                                                                                        Well, Sam should win, but he looks like he's asleep 1/2 the time....I like Marcel's inventiveness and scientific approach....i'd like to see those two in the final, it would be interesting...I hope they don't have the past contestants return to help them out again.....too similar to last year.

                                                                                        1. re: spinach

                                                                                          Thank you! I'm really not rooting for anyone in particular, just trying to find the person that I find the least revulsive. Harold and Leeann jumped out at my last year as the ones that not only had the kitchen skills they also had a bit of class in terms of teamwork and integrity. Hardly anyone now has it. I would say that Elia is the only one now that doesn't want to make me vomit and I really don't see her as being Top Chef-worthy.

                                                                                          1. re: spinach

                                                                                            I thought for sure that Marcel's rapping was foreshadowing him going home! That was terrible and embarrassing/ cringe-worthy to watch!

                                                                                          2. I'm surprised no one has mentioned Marcel's bizarre attempt at rapping on the roof! (oops - someone did, while I was writing this) He's acting stranger and stranger as his hair grows ever longer.

                                                                                            Elia is stepping up and I hope she lands in the finale. Her petulance seems to have disappeared. She wanted to be front of the house but didn't put up a fuss when Cliff pushed for it. I agree with a previous poster that Cliff's expediting or lack thereof caused the doneness problems with Elia's burgers.

                                                                                            I was actually shocked at how bad almost everything looked. The concept and execution of the watermelon gnocchi was the biggest loser! We were able to have the tasting menu at WD-50 a couple of months ago while on a trip to New York, and while some of the food was unusual I don't think there was anything that was so ill-conceived. Just saying that because of Sam's mention of Wylie Dufresne.

                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Debbie W

                                                                                              Speaking of the food looking bad, is it just me or did that Oreo Lemon Pie look like the yolk of a fried egg with cigarette ashes sprinkled all over it?

                                                                                              And chocolate and lemon? Not doing it flavorwise for me.

                                                                                              1. re: sivyaleah

                                                                                                Not just chocolate and lemon, but oreos and lemon?!? That doesn't sound good to me on any planet!

                                                                                                1. re: sivyaleah

                                                                                                  I absolutely LOVE dark chocolate with lemon. As a matter of fact, today I found a dark chocolate bar with lemon and black pepper that is stunning. See's has a lemon truffle that is covered in dark chocolate and is out of this world...esp. frozen and eaten on a hot summer day.

                                                                                                  1. re: wyf4lyf

                                                                                                    Ok I'll give you that possibility (barely) but like Katie Nell said - OREO with Lemon???

                                                                                                  2. re: sivyaleah

                                                                                                    I just watched this on TIVO and thank you Sivyaleah for mentioning the diner dessert. As soon as I heard the pairing of orea and lemon pie I was completely shocked. Lemon and chocolate? Not good, not reminiscent of diner favorites. Should have kept it simple with upscale versions of one or the other, a take on lemon meringue pie or on orea pie or on something else. Just seemed stupid to me as did the watermelon gorgonzola thing. Watermelon's texture is just not suited to any sort of cheese.

                                                                                                    I realize these people aren't pastry chefs but come on - dessert should have been the easiest item for both concepts. So many choices they could have done I won't even start throwing them out here.

                                                                                                    I think they are basically all lacking in so many ways.

                                                                                                    1. re: laylag

                                                                                                      There's only a little cocoa and a trace of chocolate in Oreos. If you didn't know what they were and tasted them blind, you might not even guess.

                                                                                                      Still gross-looking.

                                                                                                2. That episode was a mess. Serving someone raw chicken seems to me a worse mistake than not providing a dish for olive pits. I'd be irritated at not having a place for the pit, but I'd be really angry if I got raw chicken. Getting good tempura wouldn't have offset that for me. Sam's watermelon gnocchi seemed repulsive. I'd be more irritated at being served something as nasty as that than at not having a place for an olive pit, too. Cliff was weak. Elia and Ilan were the only ones who were decent. I'm beginning to hope Elia wins. I'm not really ready for Marcel to leave yet, but I think I'd have had to send him packing. I'd have sent Cliff and Sam before Mike, too.

                                                                                                  1. Yeah, raw chicken is far worse than an olive pit. But someone should have been there to clean up. And as far as the watermelon goes.... hello, Nigella? He was trying for the sweet, salty thing that is not a desert whatsoever.

                                                                                                    And Cliff just seemed to want to throw everyone under the bus to divert attention from himself. The same reason he decided to "play" waiter. I'm beginning to think he's gonna be the winner, simply by default.

                                                                                                    And who the heck was the guy with the premature mohawk? I didn't catch his name. But would be glad to beat up his hair person. Wolverines' hair has it all over the mini-me mohawk.

                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: bryan

                                                                                                      That's who Marcel reminds me of- wolverine! It's wolverine hair!

                                                                                                      thank you so much- I couldn't put my finger on it.

                                                                                                      1. re: julietg

                                                                                                        Seems I'm single-handedly trying to remind everyone, but Marcel was accurately nom-de=plumed "Wolverine" on this board right after the first episode this year.

                                                                                                        1. re: nosh

                                                                                                          well, if it the nom de plume was your invention, I give you kudos.

                                                                                                          It was spot on.

                                                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                              my apologies, Mr Lauriston.

                                                                                                              YOU were spot on.

                                                                                                        2. re: julietg

                                                                                                          Andy Cohen: Let's play Top Chef word association. Marcel?

                                                                                                          Padma Lakshmi: Wolverine.

                                                                                                          http://www.bravotv.com/blog/andysblog...

                                                                                                      2. This is becoming increasingly difficult to watch. Marcel and Elia are emerging as the only ones with any class. They don't say anything personal about anyone. The others are acting like thugs. Cliff, who I had some faith in, has shown himself to be a true jerk. Michael not much better. The other two are outrageous and actually seem jealous of Marcel. Compare their experience with Marcel's -- telling.

                                                                                                        1. As a designer, I cannot believe that the designers showed up 2, 4 hours before opening to pull something together! I'm thinking that Bravo somehow "fixed" this, because if I had been the designer with that kind of exposure (and a fun project too!) you can bet that I would have been pulling an all-nighter!

                                                                                                          As far as the food, I think Mikey got gypped! He was no more at fault than any of the rest of them! Poor guy probably thought he was in the clear after winning both challenges last week! Even if he is a doofus...

                                                                                                          I personally think Cliff was trying to sink his team to send Marcel home. I don't think he was crazy about the diner concept, but he didn't say a word when they were talking about switching concepts- just stoney silence. I also think he was hoping to make it look like the food was taking a long time by being a bad server. But, I could be reading too much into things. I don't think anyone remaining would have been a good choice for front of the house. I think most of them are clearly back of the house kind of people. Cliff, Sam, Ilan, Elia- too uncomfortable and/ or superior in their own skins to do it; Marcel- too obnoxious to do it; and Mikey- too "Duuuude!" to do it! Elia probably would have been the best choice of anybody, but still not exactly top rate server material.

                                                                                                          And how did they not have enough money left over for wine? A meatball, pasta, pork, and watermelon? Where'd the money go? Especially since the other team had beer and a truffle oil hamburger!!

                                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                            They only had $500 to cook for 24 people. That comes to just $20.83 per head not a lot of money. Even if they bought really inexpensive wine I don't think they could have pulled it off. That's why the diner concept made much more sense.

                                                                                                            I don't think it was Mike's fault for not getting the side plates. They sent him off with a list and he followed the list. Sam was to blame, he was the team leader.

                                                                                                            1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                              Yes, but you could also make the argument that a "Top Chef" needs to be able to think 'outside the list' and make snap decisions. I think maybe that's what the judges found fault with - especially since he was so far under budget.

                                                                                                              1. re: heathermb

                                                                                                                Yes, but you could also make the argument that "thinking like a chef" means you don't blow money just because you have it. I'd argue that Mike was thinking like a chef: frugally.

                                                                                                                1. re: orezscu

                                                                                                                  But even the most frugal chef would spend money to be sure that s/he had what was needed to provide adequate service.

                                                                                                              2. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                No, it's not alot of $, but they could have made it work if they really wanted to. A chef's job is to budget and bring the best food and experience at the lowest cost. Does anyone know how much $ last season's teams were allotted for food and tableware?

                                                                                                                Mike's weakness is that he doesn't really add a new perspective but just follows along. He could have tried to fight for wine, and he should have taken initiative in getting other supplies that might have been overlooked. He should have found another use for the extra $100 once the wine glasses were nixed.

                                                                                                                The design aspect of the challenge was ridiculous. Neither place looked any better, and the little elements to spruce up the space looked like a bad craft project. Last season's contestants didn't even have a designer to work w/ and their spaces looked much better. I didn't like the chunky framed menus on team "LaLaLina".

                                                                                                                1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                  I agree -- I think part of the challenge was creating a concept they COULD pull off. So if all you think you can handle for 20.83 a head is burgers, then you should make burgers. Team LaLaLina just didn't plan as well as team MEC.

                                                                                                                  1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                    I thought each side fed just 12. Is this incorrect?

                                                                                                                    1. re: amkirkland

                                                                                                                      No, each was to be prepared to serve up to 24.

                                                                                                                      1. re: amkirkland

                                                                                                                        No, they were supposed to be ready to feed about 24.

                                                                                                                  2. That was the single worst episode of Top Chef that I have ever scene. I'm getting a bit sick of them forcing the chefs to do impossible tasks in a matter of 1 day. Last night Mike was essentially kicked off the show for not buying the right plates. How are a group of chefs - not MBAs, not designers, not business developers supposed to conceive, create and develop a restaurant in a matter of 24 hours? This episode certaintly took away from the creativity of the chefs because of the amount of things they had to think of and it showed. Last year when they sold to the public they had to create a street vending cart; that inspires creativity and allows the chefs to focus on the food. Top Chef is not the Apprentice; but last night I feel they missed that idea.

                                                                                                                    It was also interesting to see the reaction of Tom and Co. to Marcel's raw chicken to Ramsey's reaction to raw chicken on Hell's Kitchen. Ramsey nearly ripped the chefs head off and said you could kill someone with raw chicken, where Tom & Co. complained but did not scold. Also, the guest judge this week seemed to be a total arogant ass - at least Bourdain is funny when he does it - this guy just had more retarded hair than Marcel; hope his food is good, anyone know?

                                                                                                                    What a terrible terrible episode.

                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: wingman

                                                                                                                      Nice point about the Ramsay difference - I also saw an episode of "The F Word" where Ramsay kicked a chef out of the competition on the spot for plating raw bacon in a devils on horseback dish. "You're gonna kill someone! Not good enough. Get out."

                                                                                                                      Ramsay, duly noted. Thanks Atomica.

                                                                                                                      1. re: wingman

                                                                                                                        Last season had a restaurant concept challenge as well.

                                                                                                                        1. re: wingman

                                                                                                                          Agreed. Mikey didn't do anything great in this episode but also nothing disasterous. Serving a whole course of raw chicken was disasterous and merited Marcel getting sent home.

                                                                                                                          And yes, having them build a restaurant from scratch was distracting. How many times are we going to see them shopping at the restaurant supply store? Why not simply take over an existing restaurant (with staff) for a night... say an ethnic one... and let's see if they can adpat and be creative with the cuisine.

                                                                                                                          1. re: tastyjon

                                                                                                                            I don't even know how a professional chef can serve raw chicken. Wouldn't one know how long it takes to fry up a chicken wing? Common sense would just dictate that, wouldn't it?

                                                                                                                            1. re: sivyaleah

                                                                                                                              I'm gonna guess, based on the rush involved, that they were near frozen, or at least very cold, and no one stopped to think about it.

                                                                                                                              1. re: amkirkland

                                                                                                                                How's that different from dinner rush at the real restaurants where they've all worked?

                                                                                                                          2. re: wingman

                                                                                                                            But a Top Chef does have to be a business person, designer, people person, etc. I don't think the judges were expecting perfection in 24 hrs. but just some broad brushstrokes and potential. Tom C. does a nice job of explaining this on his blog.

                                                                                                                          3. I can't believe no one has brought up Ilan's failed attempt to make foam out of italian dressing... I thought that was hilarious after all the bashing he has done on Marcel. I know he was doing it to make fun of Marcel, but it was too funny that he couldn't pull it off.

                                                                                                                            It was a horrible show though. I guess at this point, I still see Sam as Top Chef material, but I am rooting for Elia (definitely voting for her $10K prize- - she is the least detestable, and a decent cook). Poor mikey- but it was his time, I'm surprised he got this far. And even though Cliff has been being nasty, he has come up with some pretty good dishes. I guess I'd like to see Marcel, Elia and Sam go the Hawaii, but I have a feeling Cliff might be sticking around a little longer.

                                                                                                                            OMG! is Gail more annoying than ever- I'm not sure which poster mentioned it- but she is sooo whiny and bitchy. Bring back the guy from Queer eye. Also- was anyone else surprised that Ilan had a GIRLfriend?

                                                                                                                            I can't wait to see what these bozos do to each other next week!

                                                                                                                            PS- I thought Marcel's attempt to rap was pretty funny, though he should have stolen Ilan's Eminem costume to do it (what was with the headband and hoodie?).

                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: kloomis

                                                                                                                              They show him in a headband and a hoodie a lot- he kinds of looks like a Druid to me or something...

                                                                                                                              1. re: kloomis

                                                                                                                                Is Marcel seriously 26? He sounded like a 15 year old from the suburbs when trying to rap - at least he wasn't ghost ridding when he did it (although his hair would protect him from a fall).

                                                                                                                                I think Illan is just a moron at this point and has a mancrush on Marcel - he talks about him way too much.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: JackieB

                                                                                                                                    Great site! Thanks for the link. Almost too much goodness to read in one sitting!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: JackieB

                                                                                                                                        This site is great! Thanks for sharing. Love the fashion commentary and "photo essays".

                                                                                                                                        Agree w/ the rest of the posts - Ilan must go, Cliff is an a**, and Sam...well, he's also in the a** family but more of a second cousin.

                                                                                                                                        Final 3: Marcel, Elia, Sam. Banish the other 2 pouty, whiny nitwits.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: kloomis

                                                                                                                                        I hope that's not cheap stereotyping... but to be honest, yes, a little surprised.

                                                                                                                                      3. Someone mentioned it earlier, but Harold's Blog post on this episode is really terrific and insightful. I'm so glad that it seems like they don't censor him at all. He really lays into that guest chef judge being a complete a-hole, as well as the product placement in the quickfire challenge, definitely worth the read.

                                                                                                                                        Check it out:

                                                                                                                                        http://www.bravotv.com/blog/harolddie...

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Rocknrope

                                                                                                                                          I love Harold :-) Thanks for the link!
                                                                                                                                          I can't wait for his restaurant to finally open up here in NYC!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Rocknrope

                                                                                                                                            Harold's blog really is good, it's nice to hear from a past contestant. He's certainly right about the product placement- it's totally over the top, and I think it's funny he mentioned "we ordered $600 worth of take out from his restaurant and I would say that at least 65% of that food ended up in one of the GLAD trash bags."
                                                                                                                                            If you read Gail's blog-she is much more sympathetic in her comments there than on the show, perhaps the producers are editing her personality also.

                                                                                                                                          2. I thought it was a riot when the judges were asking about the chicken wing...Marcel trying to take credit, Cliff getting pissed that Marcel was trying to take credit, then both of them hemming and hawing 'cause they couldn't figure out if the judges were going to give a positive or negative review of it.

                                                                                                                                            1. The excessive product placement is too much. It's as if they know that people DVR and skip through the commercials so now they have to make the whole show into an advertisement.

                                                                                                                                              That's just my two cents. I think I'm going to go and open my Gladware container of leftover Progresso soup and re-heat it in my Kenmore microwave. Maybe I'll have some Kraft Saltines on the side.

                                                                                                                                              Seriously - who talks like that?!

                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: heathermb

                                                                                                                                                Commercials go in one ear and out the other to me. Do people really purchase things based on them anyway? I am not the only one who is able to tune out that drivel? My husband marvels at my ability to ignore them. I'm of the old "Question Authority" ilk. If someone is pushing something too hard at me - I automatically doubt it.

                                                                                                                                                Having the DVR makes TV viewing much easier tho - we're happy to pay the extra for it.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: heathermb

                                                                                                                                                  It took me a minute when Padma started describing the "Kraft Snack Challenge" -- until I saw the products, I thought they were talking about Colicchio's Craft restaurant, since one of season 1's challenges was a sandwich for him. I shoulda known it was the product brand, though...

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: heathermb

                                                                                                                                                    Make sure you drive your Rav 4 on the way to get all that stuff...

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Mushroom

                                                                                                                                                      Yeah, no kidding! I thought it was hilarious when Padma said, "Go get in your Rav 4's and head to the restaurant supply store" or something to that effect!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                                        And then on to the Westfield Promenade! Product placement for the mall management - as if they need any here, they're taking over all the malls here in L.A.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Ilan should focus on his food more than Marcel, he's getting distracted and looks like an ass because of it (partly because of editing, but still). Michael should get the $10,000 fan favorite. I think he was dismissed for his quesadilla as much as for not buying more plates, but I'd vote for him based solely on the cheeto-in-snickers creation. Sam shows a lot of potential but the watermelon thing was just nasty, a really bad idea, and he's also letting Marcel distract him. Cliff seems to be just kind of bullying everyone and ducking responsibility. Out of the remaining group I would probably most want to eat Elia's food.

                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Grubbjunkie

                                                                                                                                                      It seems to permeate his life. He is obsessed with Marcel. It was sick when he was talking to Elia in the bedroom about wishing Marcel to go.

                                                                                                                                                    2. I didn't think Cliff should go simply because he is a better chef than just about everyone left. But, he was out of line when he threw the Elia and Marcel under the bus when asked who should be fired. He could simply have said someone from the other team, since there was no winner. Cliff is certainly arrogant and abrasive, but many (if not most) good chefs are. If he was going to get kicked off, it should have been for his cooking, not his serving. The same can be said for Ilan. Mike was long overdue to be eiliminated.

                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Matt M.

                                                                                                                                                        Frankly, while I now find Cliff more obnoxious than I did at the beginning I still think he's the most qualified on the whole to have his own restaurant. I might be a bit biased as I know his food from the place he runs in NYC but I do feel he has what it takes.

                                                                                                                                                        I just don't think them rest of the are mature enough yet to handle the pressures, or creative enough to have the vision for their own place. Cliff is certainly mature (albeit he has had poor judgement in a few cases), seems to have good business sense, his food looks good, and he's gotten mostly good reviews on the flavor/presentation of his dishes. While he may not have "front room" manners completely, this also might be more from editing. Actually, last night each time Elia complained about him "yelling" at her - I did not understand why she was saying that. He was not yelling, he was speaking firmly and I thought; trying to take charge of a situation when clearly nobody else was. There is a huge difference. And being female, I know sometimes that I too think men are yelling at me but in retrospect, will realize later on that they were not doing so. I think that is unfortunately a gender difference. Elia being softspoken, Cliff being somewhat gruff. But I really don't recall him ever actually yelling.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Matt M.

                                                                                                                                                          I agree, Cliff gets more and more obnoxious and he really lacks class. The way he blurted out "pick these two," it really reminded me of Barry Bonds blaming his amphetemines fix on a teammate. Geesh!

                                                                                                                                                        2. Overall, I'm just not really liking any of the cheftestants this season. Last year, Harold was a favorite from almost the get-go for me, and remained so, along with Lee-Ann (with a few slips here and there).

                                                                                                                                                          This year, Sam and Ilan were both early-on favorites of mine, and Ilan's fallen off the Like-O-Meter for me. Sam's still hanging on with his fingernails, but he almost lost his grip with that godawful watermelon gnocchi/cream/cheese dessert...what the hell was he thinking?

                                                                                                                                                          Based on the reactions of the judges at Judges Table last night and reading Tom's blog this morning, I think they all realize they do not have a good crop of cheftestants this year. Colicchio's going to answer 10 or so chosen blog post questions, and several people have already asked him about the quality of Season 1 vs. Season 2 cheftestants...I don't think there's any question that Season 1 could cook circles around Season 2 - their imagination, presentation, and quality of food was ten times better than this season's chefs.

                                                                                                                                                          And I have to agree with all others who wrote about the guest judge - definitely a nasty-seeming person.

                                                                                                                                                          Will be very interested to see what happens next week - Lee Ann's blog alluded to something we (the audience) wouldn't believe. I will be absolutely floored if they actually shave Marcel's Wolverine!

                                                                                                                                                          12 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                            In which case, all should be be disqualified and Marcel should win by default, just for having to endure the horror. Can you imagine if that is the case? How freakin' low can this group sink?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sivyaleah

                                                                                                                                                              Well, we are just talking speculation here. I don't think I've read anything that it's a head shaving, other than speculation posts. All Tom said in the preview snippit was "You won't believe what they all look like" or something like that before Judges Table.

                                                                                                                                                              So who knows? Maybe they've ALL shaved their heads!

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                              My guess is that they have some kind of physical altercation and perhaps there are some cuts and/or bruises. I'd think that if there was any motion towards head-shaving that the producers/crew would step in. Especially if it was a situation where Marcel was sleeping and unable to defend himself.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: heathermb

                                                                                                                                                                The preview saw Cliff and someone with a videocamera approach a sleeping Marcel on the sofa. The videocamera looked like it was a personal one....

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: heathermb

                                                                                                                                                                  i thought the same thing when i saw the trailer for next week.

                                                                                                                                                                  it also looks like next week is a double elimination. in the trailer, padma says something to the effect of this will determine who goes to hawaii. that and the fact that there are five chefs left and the final episode to be aired in three weeks. if they do it like last year, the final three make the trip with one eliminated on the first show and the final two going head to head on the last show.

                                                                                                                                                                  if marcel makes it to the end, can they bring back some of this crew to help in the finals? last year stephen and dave got hammered in vegas the night before working for tiffany. some of this crew might actually sabotage marcel.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: xman887

                                                                                                                                                                    I've been trying to calculate out the epis without actually looking at a calendar, wondering if they're going to have a reunion show before the Jan 31 final and how many get eliminated when.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, there will be a reunion episode. The rest of the eps are:

                                                                                                                                                                      Wed, Jan 17 10:00 PMTop Chef
                                                                                                                                                                      211 - Sense and Sensuality

                                                                                                                                                                      Wed, Jan 24 10:00 PMTop Chef
                                                                                                                                                                      212 *no title* <----Speculated to be reunion show

                                                                                                                                                                      Wed, Jan 31 10:00 PMTop Chef
                                                                                                                                                                      213 - Finale

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Atomica

                                                                                                                                                                        To follow up, people on TWoP are saying that Episode 212 is Finale I and 213 is Finale II. Bravo's website doesn't have that info on their TV schedule. Mike says in an interview that there is no reunion show. I'm wondering if maybe he's not allowed to say that there is one. I have no idea, but I'm still holding out hope for a reunion show. Maybe the ratings this time don't warrant it. Don't know.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Atomica

                                                                                                                                                                          The schedule says:

                                                                                                                                                                          1/10: 210 - Unhappy Customers (6 - 1 = 5)
                                                                                                                                                                          1/17: 211 - Sense and Sensuality (5 - 1 = 4?)
                                                                                                                                                                          1/24: 212 - [no title] (4 - 1 = 3?)
                                                                                                                                                                          1/31: 213 - Finale (3 - 2 = 1?)

                                                                                                                                                                          I expect that 213 is indeed the finale since it's preceded by an all-day season-two marathon. Also, that's one more episode than season one, or two more if you don't count the competition-free reunion show.

                                                                                                                                                                          But that does mean they'll need to eliminate two contestants in one of the three remaining shows.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                            They started with 3 more contestants than season 1, so there would be extra epis. Promos for whatever show starts next say something like "See the premiere immediately following the season finale of Top Chef on January 31."

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Atomica

                                                                                                                                                                            I don't think there's a reunion show. Bravo introduced the $10K "fan favorite" award on this past season of Project Runway, and they announced the winner on the reunion show. But during this episode of TC, in the promo for the FF award, they said the winner would be revealed in part 1 of the season finale. There may or may not originally have been plans for a reunion show, but with 15 contestants it would be a tight squeeze. Plus, given the personal animus amongst the contestants so far and whatever is coming up next week, the producers may have decided it would be too much, even for a ratings-fest. Who knows?

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: xman887

                                                                                                                                                                        No, there will be a final 4 going to Hawaii.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. They should give the prize to Lee Ann from last year, and kick all these whiny losers off.

                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: judybird

                                                                                                                                                                      There you go - that I can definitely agree with!

                                                                                                                                                                    2. I guess I'm the only one who thought the watermelon gnocchi sounded good?

                                                                                                                                                                      Those two ingredients sound like they would sing together in a salad. Perhaps the cream/fat overwhelmed the fruit?

                                                                                                                                                                      Granted, it did not go well with the concept, but...am I crazy?

                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: julietg

                                                                                                                                                                        Nope... see my post buried upthread somewhere! I was afraid to admit it!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: julietg

                                                                                                                                                                          I agree completely - I thought it sounded wonderful

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: julietg

                                                                                                                                                                            Watermelon and feta salad was very trendy a few years ago, and quite good. It's only a small leap to watermelon/blue cheese, but use a light vinaigrette and leave out the cream, which is what made the dish look like vomit.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Maybe they all do up their hair to look like Marcel.

                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: saeyedoc

                                                                                                                                                                              That was my first thought when watching that clip

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: saeyedoc

                                                                                                                                                                                Only Elia has enough hair to do that, and she's not on the mocking team.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Maybe for the last 3 episodes they will bring back Tiffany, Dave, and Lee Ann and have those 3 compete against the 3 left standing from this year. I wonder how Barvo could miscast an entire 16 (i think) person field - that takes effort.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. I am loving this show! Marcel deserves the bonus $10K for pissing everyone off and taking all the heat. That's what I call entertainment.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Even though the final 2 should be Elia and Sam, I think they’ll find a reason to let Elia go, and it will come down to Marcel and Sam. Sam will take TC.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Even though Cliff insisted on working front of the house to avoid contact with Marcel and Elia, I think Elia would've been okay but Marcel would've excelled at front of house; he has a good nature as evidenced by feeding the cherry and chocolate to guest in previous episode and handles pressures as well as any of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Loved the comment from Tom about the olive pit on the table, “Is this the amuse?”

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Hi all. First-time poster here.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Each episode seems to demonstrate more clearly the lack of talent (let alone class) that this group of chefs has compared to the chefs in Season 1.

                                                                                                                                                                                    If I hear one more of these babies whine about someone "yelling" at them in the kitchen, I think I'll scream. First Betty last episode and now Elia. Have any of them ever been in a real restaurant kitchen? If so, they've forgotten what the "real world" in a restaurant is like.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Also, the guest judge, Mike Who????? What a complete jerk. Just as a customer/diner sitting in their restaurant he was rude, telling Ilan, "It looks like sh*t." Who does that??? Who talks to people like that?? Especially people who are bringing you FOOD. You're a guest and a judge -- be civil at the very least. I live in the Bay Area and work in SF, and I've never heard of the guy. I certainly will never go to his restaurant, especially after reading Harold's blog (go Harold!).

                                                                                                                                                                                    And is it just me or does anyone else think that Marcel's hair really looks more like that of the villain Syndrome aka Incredi-Boy from The Incredibles than Wolverine's?

                                                                                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: pisang goreng

                                                                                                                                                                                      I totally agree with you on the yelling thing. Unless they edited out something (which is entirely possible), the exchange in question didn't strike me as yelling; more like just speaking firmly. Granted Cliff is proving to be kind of an a**, but sometimes the situation calls for a firm, stern voice and shortness. Remembering last week's similar exchange between Betty and Marcel, I rewatched it to see if it was "snapping". Didn't really strike me as so. Actually, I would imagine that the dialogue that takes place in some kitchens would be just like that. Nothing personal, just heat of the moment to get the job done right. So it seems like Elia and Betty are maybe a bit over-sensitive and thin-skinned. God forbid they go on Gordon Ramsey's show!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tachis

                                                                                                                                                                                        Ooh, Gordon Ramsey would annihilate these guys. Yikes! I think he'd have sent the lot of them packing last night.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I did not see that Marcel "snapped" at Betty last week either. They got a cue from someone off camera to hold off serving and he was trying to stop her from plating his dish. (You can actually hear it off camera and LeeAnn's blog confirms it.) In fact, it almost looked to me like Betty heard the person off-camera tell them to hold off and then she purposely tried to continue what she was doing in order to freak Marcel out. Not that I'm a big fan of Marcel but she was certainly completely obssessed with her hatred of him by that point and I wouldn't have put that past her. And now, sadly, Ilan has picked up Betty's torch. I sort of liked him before but now he just seems small, mean, immature, and untalented.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: pisang goreng

                                                                                                                                                                                          These people are bullies, plain and simple. Marcel surely acts at times like the kid nobody likes, but I haven't seen him do anything to warrant the eighth grade style concerted effort to ostracize him and make him unhappy. Elia is the one that parents/teachers would point to as an example of how to treat unpopular people.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: beef

                                                                                                                                                                                            I will give Elia credit for not being mean, but she doesn't exactly stand up for him. In the scene where Ilan is in the next bed saying that her team has to lose and that she should blame everything on Marcel, she just changes the subject. Not exactly heroic. Teachers and parents would say that she could gently say that she's not there to bash Marcel. Same with the scene where she's at the table and they're joking about Marcel jumping off the roof. Smiling and saying nothing doesn't exactly make her a great friend. You can do the right thing in a clever enough way so that you get your point across without making enemies of your own.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Clarissa

                                                                                                                                                                                              Elia may not be doing so to stand up for Marcel, but she did tell Ilan that she wouldn't stand at the judges' table and make negative comments about others again - and she didn't, when clearly Cliff's slow expediting was to blame for her burgers being overcooked (though not for their tasting like meatloaf!).

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                                                                                Overcooking could account for the burger her teammates thought was delicious ending up like meatloaf.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Clarissa

                                                                                                                                                                                                Since Marcel is an adult I don't think anyone should be standing up for him - he didn't seem to have any problem doing it himself. I think Elia's behavior was appropriate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                This episode made me dislike Ilan more - he should win on his own merit, not by sabotaging others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: notmartha

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I would not criticize Elia's behavior... but my understanding of the previous post, with which I agreed, was that she isn't exactly the kind of person I hope to be more like when I grow up, so to speak. She successfully avoids entering into a controversy between people she likes, which makes her far superior to some of these particular chefs, but isn't a dazzling human quality.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I love the show and try not to miss an episode. Like many posters, I was annoyed by the judges last night.Assuming the editing isn't out of hand, I think Ilan and Cliff have just turned mean. I wonder if the judges watch any of the video before the judging. If they did they would have known Cliff fought Elia for being in the front of the house even though he was worthless in that role. And, yes Marcel and Elia took the high road not calling him on that.I think it was time for Micky to leave on a professional rather than personal level.The previews of next week have me wondering if someone got to Marcel somehow maybe his hair. Does anyone know why the others dislike Marcel so much-he really doesn't seem that bad a guy to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: foodseek

                                                                                                                                                                                          Marcel doesn't seem THAT bad but then again, we're not there with him 24/7 like they were. Then again, why would someone risk their professional and personal reputation on national television because they "don't like" someone else? Their behavior is actually making him look better! And he does seem to be able to continue in a professional manner despite the hatred being heaped on his mishapen little head.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: foodseek

                                                                                                                                                                                            I think the problem with a show like this is that it's hard for it to capture the cumulative impact these people are having on each other. Marcel is clearly annoying the hell out of everyone, but it's quite possible that no single thing he's said or done captures the totality of it, and thus it's easy to wonder, from the snippets of interaction we see, where all that hostility is coming from. The same thing with Cliff and Elia. It could be that her annoyance comes not so much from a couple of instances of him yelling at her (although I believe what she actually said was that he "raised his voice" which is not the same thing), but the cumulative effect of the way he talked to her over the course of the two days they worked on this challenge (and perhaps even going back to when they worked together on the catering challenge).

                                                                                                                                                                                            In other words, all the editors can do is try to find snippets of film that illustrate a much more complex situation. We look at them and say "that doesn't seem so bad" and if that was the only thing that happened, then it probably wasn't. But if it was just one example of hours, days or even weeks of such behavior, then I can see that the reactions the cheftestants are having are not unreasonable.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                              My husband thinks Marcel is like a manipulative child who sneakily instigates things with other kids to get them to react a certain way so that the only things the parents or teachers see is the other kids reacting (i.e. hitting back, etc.) without knowing why they're acting that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Ruth, I think you're being too generous. If they wanted to, the editors could poftray everyone more fairly and objectively. But that would be boring as hell, so they manipulate the appearances by picking and choosing the things they want to show.
                                                                                                                                                                                            Anyway, curious to see what happens next. Definitely sounds and looks like some kind of hair thing. Would love to see Marcel go all Travis Bickle on us and give himself a Taxi Driver mohawk!

                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Grubbjunkie

                                                                                                                                                                                              The editors can manipulate how we perceive the contestants, but they can't manipulate the way the contestants perceive each other (although they do on some reality shows). They live with Marcel 24/7 and with the exception of Elia -- who had a prior relationship with him -- they all hate Marcel. I think that's evidence that he is doing something to provoke that intense reaction from him, even if it isn't clear to the audience what it is. They hate him worse than the contestants last season hated Stephen and Tiffani, which is saying a lot.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                I agree, it seems like living with Marcel 24/7 must be driving the other guys over the edge, but we see mostly their reactions. And Marcel's not nearly as annoying on camera as Stephen Asprinio.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Elia not only knows him from working together but lives in a different apartment.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I wonder if Ilan has a crush on Marcel. He certainly is fixated on him, and Marcel has a sensitive attractiveness that might fascinate and provoke unwanted passions in Ilan. Just a thought.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Now a theory - five contestants left, only three more episodes. Will two frat house morons be thrown off next week for abusing Marcel?

                                                                                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gigigirl2

                                                                                                                                                                                                I've suspected the same thing -- that Ilan has an attraction to Marcel and he's trying to cover it by behaving like a moronic bully. The others aren't much better, but Ilan's obsession actually made it into his Quickfire Challenge offering, which is pretty strange in a competition he presumably takes seriously.

                                                                                                                                                                                                It looks like they're going to do something to Marcel (like cut his hair) and then they're going to do something to their own appearance to make it seem less offensive. I'd be thrilled to see Ilan and whoever get thrown off the show so the finale can actually be about food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gigigirl2

                                                                                                                                                                                                  They've said from the beginning that four would go to Hawaii.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  It does appear, though, from the previews, that something occurs that leads the judges finally to take the contestants to task for their behavior.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gigigirl2

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I have thought the exact same thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: IndyGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                      There is one preview that has Tom Colicchio saying, "We're going to have to ask you to leave." Makes me think someone is being disqualified for misconduct.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Atomica

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I saw that too and it made me think. After reading everyone's comments and reflecting back on past behavior, is anyone wondering if Ilan is going to do something stupid to Marcel?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm going to have to watch the previews again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Atomica

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Maybe Marcel has as much as he can take and goes on a rampage? Perhaps does something as appalling as leaving someone's toothbrush on the floor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I missed TC this week (thanks, work schedule), but I know I'll catch it on a rerun. However, after reading everyone's opinions both here, at TWoP, and on other scattered sites, I no longer know what to think as to who'll win.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm on the fence about the Marcel hate. As somebody else said, you never see the true 24/7 picture with any reality show. Marcel, however, seems to me to be the type to indirectly instigate something just for the drama's sake (remember how he kept needling Betty in an earlier episode?) Wouldn't it be ironic if, on the reunion show, they all fess up to creating this "Marcel hate" to heighten the drama and Marcel was the mastermind behind it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      OTOH, maybe he really is an a**, he deserves the treatment from Ilan, etc. The schoolyard level of it disturbs me, though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      As much as I like Elia, I'll be surprised if she makes the finals. She's a solid cook, but she's missing that indefinable something that makes a Top Chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Sam/Ilan/Cliff? All three of them are talented, that all have a level of arrogance that irks me to no end (although Sam's I find the lease offensive)...eh, I honestly don't know who'd be #1 in the group.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Marcel? He's my one big question mark. I honestly don't know .

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Does no one else want to defend Ilan? Based on the food, he seems to bring ideas and execution together better than the others and to have a broader range. I think that whatever's going on w/Marcel off-camera (they do live together in a small space) is distracting him from the food, which is really too bad.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Everyone has lost it w/Marcel - including Sam, who otherwise seems pretty even-keeled. I worked as a line-cook in restaurants for years and the Marcel hate seems like the usual dishing out that experienced cooks deliver to people that are arrogant. So much about working in kitchens is about working with other people, and Marcel strikes me as the perfect example of a school-trained chef w/out real-world cooking experience, who acts superior and pisses off the more-experienced chefs. The hazing is part of the work culture of restaurant kitchens. It's hard to work w/someone who's always undermining, trying to needle people, and getting in people's way. w/Mike, the problem was more the laziness, but people gave him a break because he wasn't arrogant and didn't actively try to undermine other people.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Just in terms of examples. On this episode, Ilan burned the bacon, and apologized and acknowledged the mistake that hurt his team. When Marcel makes a mistake, he tries to spin it as intentional and /or blames other people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: redbecca

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I didn't see him do that with the undercooked chicken wings. He didn't seem to be aware of the problem till it was pointed out to him at the judges' table, but he didn't make any excuses for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          It became quite evident that Michael was in over his head. He has potential but just isn't ready yet.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I do think Marcel is an example of science & technique with a deficit of passion. He will probably grow in that area as he gets older and has more experience in cooking and in life. And he is only a year out of school. I do like him, at least what I've been shown of him, but personally I'd want to get him in a kitchen and teach him how to COOK, not just do chemistry experiments. (Did you see his audition video? He made "caviar" out of coffee by dripping it into some kind of chemical. Sorry, that doesn't turn my crank. Give me a good cup of coffee and take the chemicals back to the lab.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Cliff is at least as arrogant as Marcel. Also, Ilan was way out of line to diss Marcel's "Lust" dish when he served his "Gluttony" dish to the judges in the Seven episode. I haven't seen Marcel backstabbing anyone to that extent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. It's the old English boys' boarding school phenomenon in which one rather effiminate boy arouses unwanted feelings in some of the other boys so they react with violence and violate the boy in some way. It's Tom Brown's Schooldays 2007.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gigigirl2

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I do seriously get that vibe from Ilan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gigigirl2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                You think Wolverine's more effeminate than Caftan Boy?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Nobody seemed to have a problem with Carlos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Carlos is older than these guys, and maybe that neutralized the threat somewhat. Marcel and Ilan are close to the same age.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Gigigirl2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  That's it Ilan has the hots for Marcel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gigigirl2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Gigigirl's comment was prophetic, as evidenced by the latest episode.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. A question re a comment in Harold Dieterle's blog: he says none of the contestants have front-of-the-house experience. Didn't Sam say he did?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Cliff said he had FOH experience. He insisted on doing it even though Elia really wanted it. He said, "That's what I do in my own restaurant."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Atomica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My bad. His experience sure didn't show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Totally disagree with the OP.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It should have been Cliff. He's proving to be a bigger jerk than Marcel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just thought I'd toss in, our friend Adam Kreisel, wunderkind chef from the defunct Globe Cafe and Tree Room At Sundance, calls the show "Top Line Cook".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm banking on Elia. She seems to have the best combination of imagination, technique, and people skills. Sam's close, but that watermelon dessert really knocked him down a few pegs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: GroovinGourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree. I'm really pulling for Elia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Atomica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think she's displayed the most talent, and she's remarkably experienced for her age, but she's still only 23 and has some basic stuff to learn. If the final competition is similar to last year's, I think she's got the best shot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Of all the competitors, she's the one whose food I'd most like to try.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. This was supposed to be in response to a Fan Favorite post from above, but I'm having trouble locating it now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Hard to think of who would be my favorite from this show, since the entire cast is so rude and untalented. It would be easy to say Mike but I have also found him rude in that he has quietly joined in on some of the Marcel-bashing. As much as Marcel may annoy people behind the scenes, I do think it's the still-in-jr.-high pick-a-victim mentality, as well as Ilan's uncomfortable feelings, that have escalated the nastiness begun by Betty. At any rate, I don't think Mike's so innocent, and I think his anti-chef attitude grew tired some time ago. Maybe Suyai, who left before we could discover her hidden nastiness?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm going to use my Fan Favorite vote for Marcel, because he has managed to still try to focus on the food in spite of the cruelty. To me, anyone who can continue to cook under pressure and public (very public) humiliation is a real professional. I would have been on the floor in a blubbering heap of tears and foam.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Also, and this is most important, if he wins it will drive Ilan, Betty and Sam crazy. I want that more than I want anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Calculating can make for good business tho...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JAB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If Michael had been as on his game as in the previous episode, I think Cliff would have calculated himself home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. i'm pulling for sam.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i think he is the most talented and honestly i would have snapped at marcel when he did - marcel was just being petty at that time. (and i do think they pick on him way too much - and don't think marcel knows how annoying he is) there are people like that you know...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lollya

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Sam was the one who started up the accusations of cheating during the camp challenge. Marcel's team took the brunt of that. If taking a discount was against the rules, that may have been Marcel's way of pointing out Sam's double standards.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chimayo Joe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ahhh, i can't recall this...care to refresh my memory? of the camp challenge...are you speak ing of betty's cheating?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lollya

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yep, that episode. It was Sam who first broached the subject of cheating during that challenge--made accusations but wouldn't point out anyone specifcally. If I recall correctly, it was Marcel, Betty, and Frank on a team. It also seems like there was a snippy exchange between Marcel and (I think it was) Sam during the discussion when Collichio was reprimanding them all just before he told them he wasn't sending anyone home that week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Chimayo Joe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Trade discounts are standard at restaurant supply shops. They weren't getting any more for their money than the other team did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The issue with the flat of lychees was that the checker didn't ring it up. If they'd used it they would have had more food than their budget allowed, and thus an unfair advantage over the other team.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      What was the basis for Marcel's comment that he thought they weren't supposed to take the discount? Maybe there wasn't one. I dunno.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Chimayo Joe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think that Marcel had the lychee incident in his mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Chimayo Joe

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          After someone was given a discount, I only remember Marcel saying something along the lines of (to the cashier), "I wish I had taken advantage of the discount when it was offered." I don't remember there being a context for it, like it was against the rules.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. I was rooting for Sam before he blew up in public at Marcel (hey, he is an arrogant little twerp, but a lot of people who are really good at what they do are), but I'd be just as happy if Elia won.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As far as Gail goes, let's review some recent comments (paraphrased): She doesn't have any formal education in culinary arts, so she can't possibly have a palate, and she applies common usage while speaking, so she can't possibly be a food writer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Tsk, tsk, that kind of nit-picking sounds a lot like jealousy to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LordOfTheGrill

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      FWIW, Gail has mentioned in her blog that her role in judging is to be the discriminating diner: "My place on Top Chef is as the critic, a diner who does not see what goes on in the kitchen, but who understands America’s palate and brings that knowledge to the table."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://www.bravotv.com/blog/gailsimmo...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That being said, whether or not she understands *your* palate is a different issue. But I do tend to prefer Ted Allen's comments on the whole.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Marcel's hair = Bozo the Clown

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But I still like him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. I was just reading a lot of ranting on here about who is too rude or too arrogant. But I gotta tell you, I've never met a chef who wasn't those things. Either this profession attracts people like that, or it's what's required to lead a professional kitchen. I haven't seen anything from these people that is out of line for a chef. This ain't Top Choir Boy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've seen chefs toss a pot of hot beef stock at the wall and then yell at a cook to clean it up, fire a prep cook for having his hands in his pockets (he was heading out for a break), throw a fast rack at a cook (me), sink a clevaer in a wall, scream at everyone and anyone in the kitchen, it goes on. Not all chefs are that extreme, but they are all passionate and intense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        From my point of view, all the people on this show are just being chefs. No big woop.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: sgwood415

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I know. The other cheftestants fling around the word "arrogant" to describe Marcel like it equates with "serial killer" or something. Arrogant? Big hairy deal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: sgwood415

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The so-called insider's views of kitchens confirms your perspective. It's unfortunate that behavior like this is tolerated. In my business (a ho-hum corporation), professionalism and professional management are valued. Passion is something to be channeled so that tempers don't flare and regretable comments aren't made. A chef, more than anything, is a manager. A chef is responsible for careers, can articulate a strategy to a diverse group of employees, and can utilize all the resources at his disposal to achieve success. A chef can be a wonderful artist within the confines of a business. The temper tantrums, socially destructive behavior, pettiness, and dicey ethics that we see on Top Chef are disappointing. I fully understand that TV plays up these salacious incidents because viewers want drama, but I nonetheless end up with yet another tainted view of professional kitchens.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sgwood415

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, there are many posts here about how it's just the usual chef behavior, this person knows a chef who set someone on fire, cut off someone's hand with a cleaver, that guy decapitated someone, etc. But this isn't a restaurant kitchen, it's a television game show. And you're not humiliating someone in front of a handful (or two handfuls) of fellow employees, you're humiliating someone in front of their family, present and future employers and co-workers, and a national audience. Big difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. What surprised me the most in the episode was finding out Ilan had a girlfriend...would have lost money on that bet!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Cliff is a humorless bull who has no idea he lacks a sense of humor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Looks like this week's episode is going to be something along the lines of "Hair today gone tomorrow" and will involve shaved heads... even Ms. Elia... blech and double blech.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There is no one left to cheer for on this show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. A small point:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Some people on the show commented that the burger served by Elia tasted like meat-loaf. It always amazes me that chefs (often, ones that are foriegn born) do not realize that the best burgers are always the ones that are just meat. In NYC we have the famous DB Burger (stuffed w/fois gras, short-rib etc.), and I can tell you from experience, that I will take a classic from a corner-stand anyday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: tbear

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The two Americans on her team had eaten them a few days before and thought they were great, that's why they went for the diner concept. If the burgers hadn't sat around for four or five minutes waiting for Cliff to take them to the table, they wouldn't have been overcooked, and might not have tasted like meatloaf.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There's no starchy filler, just a little shallot and parsley, plus a small amount of chopped prosciutto.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://www.bravotv.com/Top_Chef_2/rec...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tbear

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I totally agree about the DB burger! I was thinking, this is all I'm getting for $30? No wonder the East Coast is clamoring for In-N-Out. *duck* :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I guess my point is that it is hard to improve on classics, though chefs often try. I know in this competition they are expected to innovate, however.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I will say, Robert, that a good line cook must expect some waiting time (and a burger, like any meat can use some resting time) on the pass. A good chef either undercooks the meat slightly or pulls it off the pass - he/she never blames the "runner".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tbear

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Elia didn't blame Cliff. Who knows why they didn't dump the burgers and start over, we didn't see that. Maybe they didn't have four more orders left.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I didn't say that Elia blamed Cliff, it just sounded like you did.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          They were the first to serve the judges, in the less full diner side, so we can assume they probably had burgers left. It is most likely that a combination of events doomed the burgers. They were already behind on the service. At that point it is often "just get it out" - no time to restart- in which case Cliff's bumbling upfront would have an effect on the outcome. In the end, however, the customer never cares why something is wrong with the food just that there is something wrong.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tbear

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It looked to me like the judges were served last.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I believe the two sides had the same number of "customers," the Italian side just filled up first.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Just puzzles me about this negative reactions to the guest judge from the board and Harold D's blog. Seems like the judge praised the dishes he liked appropriately, but if it looked like crap, he said so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No worse than Anthony Boudain. His hairstyle was very entertaining though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: notmartha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          No, I didn't think Anthony Bourdain was particularly good as a guest judge, either. I sort of felt like his comments poisoned the atmosphere around the table.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: revsharkie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I found Bourdain hilarious. His one-liners were some of the best bits of the season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've never watched his show, so that's the first I'd seen him, and I was not impressed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Bourdain is the best! His almost paternal affection for Mikey was one of the best parts of the season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bourdain is all about one-liners, and it has grown mighty tiresome. Ha ha, Tony. Say something of substance once in a while.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Atomica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Substance is as overrated as sincerity.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Appropriate response, as that statement has no substance itself. I mean really, what does that even mean? Substance is overrated? We're talking about a critique here. A critique without any substance to it is worthless to the audience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      And in case you can't tell, I'm with revsharkie and Atomica: Bourdain was a terrible guest judge in my opinion; he was way more interested in garnering attention for himself than he was in actually judging the food or contestants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: charmedgirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If you don't find Bourdain's jokes funny, then his presence on the show isn't going to make much sense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: notmartha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Theres a difference - Bourdain does it with a NY sarcasam that is actually endearing. Peacock boy was just being rude. It's mainly in the delivery and saying it in a nonconfrontational way - barking "because it looks like shit," is vastly different than "wow was there a culinary sin that wasn't commited on this plate?" said with a huge smile.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: wingman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Even before he said anything. He struck me a being a geek with a ‘alternative’ haircut. A nerd trying to be cool. (BTW I’ve noticed that middle-aged men who do that often are trying to deflect baldness). So he takes the attitude of ‘I can say what I want because, as everyone can see, I have this fancy alternative haircut and am therefore obviously a cool dud(e)’.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. "I want viewers and blog readers to be clear that we did not eliminate Michael because of the olive pit left on our table. ... True, we were disappointed that he did not think enough to use his leftover money to buy plates for the olive pits and bread, but we chose to eliminate him because we felt he did not contribute anything substantial to the teamwork, restaurant concept, or challenge as a whole, in comparison to everyone else."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.bravotv.com/blog/gailsimmo...