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Top Chef: The "Scandal" ...reactions?

OK, so they haven't quite decided who's going home for the elimination part yet, but I was not surprised by the "scandal." Thoughts?

You can post thoughts about the elimination part, too...we're just not quite there yet and I thought I'd get a start on the thread.

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  1. Marcel is just such a freaking tool....Granted Cliff was really dumb for putting his hands on him. I think Marcel is being carried by the sympathy he is building from the judges who don't have to deal with him all the time!

    1. I'll just say that Ilan's Liver in Chocolate thingy made me a little nauseous.

      2 Replies
        1. re: King of Northern Blvd

          I feel sick every time I think about that chicken & liver. I feel sorry for the 2 who had to taste that mess.

        2. ok this is not about the scandel, but...

          has anyone else noticed that all of ilan's dishes are basically exact replicas of the dishes he probably has (does) prepared at casa mono? the clams and fideos? that is one of the best dishes at casa mono. i think he made churros once, also at casa mono (or bar jamon one of those) and i feel like he made a couple other dishes (maybe one with quail or sweetbreads or something) i've already had at casa mono. isnt this supposed to be a creative competition, not just make dishes you've been cooking for a few years at a restaurant. honestly, i would never go to ilan's restaurant if i could get the same food but exceptionally done by andy nusser at casa mono.

          6 Replies
          1. re: jon

            he's also done the pan con tomate and tortilla and yes, the sweetbreads. and the grilled corn and bacon dish which was reminicent of his father is supposedly available at another batali restaurant. bacon breakfast ice cream, while unusual to the average viewer, has obviously been done before by heston blumenthal (though it was bcon and egg).

            i think ilan is an excellent cook... and that's where it ends. being able to replicate what you see makes you a craftsman/practitioner, not a visionary. as you can see in the red challenge, he froze. no vision or creativity - he just took what was red.

            sure, everything has already been done before; no dish is entirely original. but stay tuned for the finals. i can bet that each and every one of ilans dishes can probably be traced back to another chef.

            1. re: gingersweetiepie

              right the grilled corn. a staple on the otto summer menu. the pan con tomate and tortilla looked identical to the ones served at bar jamon (the smaller bar area next door to casa mono). i wouldnt be surprised if he whipped out olive oil gelato with sea salt in hawaii...

              what's weird is that both eric ripert and tom colicchio had to have eaten at all of those batali places and must have had the fideos dish a thousand times. they never once mentioned that ilan is ripping off the original dishes...

              1. re: jon

                The judges seems to value taste more than originality. That's why Elia's cream of mushroom soup won the Thanksgiving episode, and they didn't say a thing when Michael used Salmon in back-to-back challenges and won both quickfire and elimination with the same key ingredient.

                1. re: jon

                  It's very obvious that, antics aside, there is a slight favoritism that leans in Ilans favor, for both his pedigree and a cooking philosophy that's very de rigeur. He can behave as badly as he wants but at the end of the day they want to believe in the perfect execution of his food. "Okay, so you tried to assault someone, but boy, that fideos dish! Mmmm!"

                  In fairness, Marcel's frog's leg dish is a ripoff of Robuchon - people rely on what they know, especially when the stakes are high.

                  I think the interim between LA and the final will allow each contestant to work on their unique vision. If they don't deliver, I guarantee it will show in the outcome.

              2. re: jon

                And he also did the paella w/ soft shell crab.

                1. re: jon

                  it also seems like he loves Saffron..

                2. Cliff has 50 lbs on Marcel easy and I'll bet Marcel was sore the next day. Picking somebody off the ground while you have him in a full nelson is no joke.

                  I can't believe what a punk Ilan is, he kept on goading Sam to shave Marcel's head when Cliff was holding him down. Tough guy couldn't do it himself? After seeing him get the soccer ball in the face during the diet camp challenge I bet Marcel would take him in a square go. I can't get his whiney Capote like voice out of my head. Plus, did anyone notice he was wearing 4 watches during the judges table?

                  4 Replies
                    1. re: Withnail42

                      I was trying to figure that out, too! What was that?

                    2. re: KTinNYC

                      50? I'd say 100. Cliff is a big, strong dude. Full nelsons are an illegal hold in "real" wrestling because of their potential danger. Even just messing about, someone with a lot of strength (or just leaning their weight/leverage) can injur someone.

                      1. re: KTinNYC

                        I think the way Marcel has been treated is awful. Cliff only jumped on him because he is bigger than Marcel.
                        What's funny is that most of the other chef's think they are so much better than Marcel and they think they are more mature but in reality they acted like they were in high school.
                        I really wish Marcel would have got at least 1 hit in on Cliff's arrogant ass.

                      2. Cliff was idiotic to touch Marcel.
                        The producers were left with no choice.

                        At least the food finally looked interesting.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: EnglishMuffin

                          Does anyone else suspect that Cliff knew he was going to lose on that uninspired beef dish and decided to take the low road and get kicked off for doing something obviously against the rules. Anyone who has watched any reality tv knows that physical violence is absolutely barred. Oh and I agree Ilan is a tool with no originality whatsoever. As for Marcel he is probably a prick but he can cook.

                          1. re: DCtoNC

                            I thought Cliff's subconscious got the better of him . . .
                            not a *conscious* acting out on the low road.
                            You know how you just *know* when you've f*k up?

                            1. re: DCtoNC

                              I don't think Cliff did it on pupose---he really seemed to want to win. He is just a straight up asshole.

                          2. OK, I didn't watch it--was it one tonight? Can you briefly recap this...I only just got into it last week when they ran a marathon, then I was hooked.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: berkleybabe


                              Quickfire: Chocolate. Elia made chicken mole and a dessert she called a kiss, Sam made a whole bunch of things on a plate, one of which involved banana and chocolate and one of which involved pesto, Cliff made a chicken mole, Ilan made a chocolate truffle with a chicken liver in it (the judges said the liver was not detectable...apparently they wanted it to be detectable?) and Marcel made a potato and chocolate... cannoli? canneloni? I'm not sure, but it involved filling two tubes.

                              Sam won, which meant first dibs on choosing course and protein in the elimination challenge, which was a standard romantic 5-course meal. Course 1: Sam: Lobster, scallops, beets. Course 2: Ilan: As others have mentioned, this was basically the same dish he and Mike made for the Social whatever dinner, except no deep fried crab on top and he used noodly things instead of actual rice, but it was another little dish of saffrony fishness. Course 3: Marcel: Salmon and beets. Yes, beets again. Amazing that with all of these beets, and with all of these potatoes and pastries carved into hearts, that no one made the beets into hearts (heart beets? Sorry. Couldn't help it.) Course 4: Cliff: Sirloin with lentil puree. Course 5: Elia: Heart pastries with cream and little bits of broken chocolate (her chocolate hearts didn't turn out) and berries with coulis.

                              It sounded like they would have sent Cliff home anyway, but officially he went home for wrestling Marcel to the ground after waking him up and threatening to shave his head (though no one went through with that part -- only Elia and Ilan were shaved, and both voluntarily). Everyone else is going to Hawaii next week.

                              1. disappointed they didn't shave his head..that would have been funny...they all deserved to go to Hawaii...looks like a good finale....

                                Eric Ripert was crackin' me up...."did chocolate just fall off the fridge onto some chicken" (or something like that)......

                                1. I think Sam is a shoo-in and his competition most likely being Marcel, with bald Elana the outside choice.


                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Bob Mervine

                                    Elana is too sensitive to be a chef. She cries too easily and whines too much.

                                  2. Can someone tell me how one attains the title of "Master Chef", as Marcel calls himself?

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: jwagnerdsm

                                      master chef is an actual title.
                                      hotels, cruiseships and the like still work according to an old brigade style systen, dividing every individual into specific titles like "first cook," "second cook," or "commis," "tournant," etc... it's all about rank.

                                      master cook falls under sous chef, which basically means marcel has worked just up to the point of getting a management position.

                                      1. re: gingersweetiepie

                                        "Master cook" and "Master Chef" aren't the same thing. There isn't actually a brigade position called "master cook". Classic brigade goes as follows: Chef de cuisine (exec. chef), sous chef, and then the station chefs/line cooks follow (saute chef, fish chef, roast chef, grill chef, fry chef, vegetable chef, and the roundsman/swing cook). The other kitchen positions in a classic brigade are the cold-foods chef (garde manger), the butcher, the pastry chef, the expiditer, the communard, and the commis (apprentice).

                                        "Certified Master Chef" is the highest "rank" a culinary professional can obtain. As of Feb. 2005, there were only 59 American Culinary Federation certified Master Chefs. Getting certified as a Master Chef from the ACF takes eight days of testing and one must already be a Certified Executive Chef or a Certified Executive Pastry Chef.

                                        I don't know if Marcel is actually an ACF certified Master Chef. There are many organizations out there that call their members "Master Chefs" if they pay a fee and fill out an application, but they aren't ACF certified.

                                        1. re: cmj

                                          points taken and i do agree that marcel is probably not a certified "master chef".

                                          however, if you look at job listings for any of the big vegas hotels, they do normally advertise for "master cooks." this and "cook 1" and "cook 2," aren't in the traditional brigade, so if someone else can enlighten use on this separate system of ranking, it would help.

                                          semantics, argh!!!

                                          i for one believe that besides a chef and sous, every cook should be cross trained without differentiations, anyway. this includes knowledge of pastry. but that's beside the point. most eager young cooks love to call themselves a "chef" - what can you do? see through it and let it be.

                                    2. I kept on wondering what was up with Ilan and the hoodie w/the hood up and Elia w/the hair band during the Concept Restaurant video diary segments. I don't recall either one them wearing either of those get ups during previous episodes. When the shaver came out it all became clear.

                                      1. i think that if you recognize that someone is immature and not as socially developed as you are, and then react with equal immaturity, you are worse than the person you are annoyed by.

                                        did that make sense? in a nutshell: marcel = bad. cliff, ilan, sam = worse. elia = purposefully obtuse not wanting to rock the boat.

                                        but i am glad that they all made it. this episode showed glimmers of food greatness. hope they don't disappoint in the finale.

                                        and i hope they don't cut another person right before the final challenge like they did to dave last season.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: soypower

                                          I think next week it's down to just two of them and then there are just two competing in the true finale.

                                          1. re: soypower

                                            I totally agree with you. While Marcel wasn't purfect I feel that he was the most focused. The other chefs seemed to love drama,...maybe for the camera. I couldn't believe it when Betty cussed Marcel out like she was out in the street! Sam wasn't that great either and Ilan was very childish at times as well. Elisa strikes me as a little crazy (ie smearing chocolate all over her face)..she has the weirdes melt downs. As for Cliff well he is just an ego maniac prick!

                                          2. I had not agreed with those of you who were saying what a jerk Cliff was; I didn't really see it...but then I saw how he was holding Marcel down, it was really more than a little scary. He could indeed have hurt him, and I agree they were right to let him go (though true, he probably would have anyway based on his dish).

                                            However, I didn't necessarily agree with the judges who seemed to think that it was poor behavior for Ilan and Elia to shave their own heads, and scolded them for that part of it. In particular Elia commented several times that she had always wanted to do it, and she was clearly enjoying herself and letting off steam after hours. So how does that part of it show lack of leadership?

                                            As for the food: I think Elia gave up too quickly on her dessert. I guess perhaps her description on the menu should have been less specific.

                                            The chocolate chicken liver thing was just wierd.

                                            I would have liked to have heard more about the judges opinions of the wine pairings: only one of the five wines was really discussed but it was a significant part of the challenge.

                                            12 Replies
                                            1. re: susancinsf

                                              i believe the judges scolded elia and ilan for not doing anything while cliff was assaulting marcel, not because they shaved their heads. while they didn't really do anything wrong, the more important thing was that they didn't do the right thing.

                                              1. re: soypower

                                                I agree that would have made more sense, but I am not sure that really is what they were scolding them for: they got these looks on their faces of absolute horror when the four walked in, and then reacted (Or appeared to be reacting; the editing may well have been a factor here). How they looked had nothing to do with what had happened with Cliff and Marcel, so why even comment on it?

                                                but as I say, it could be the editing.

                                                1. re: susancinsf

                                                  Okay, if we want to get really mean...I am just glad that Gail is washing her hair now...when she was in episode 5 with Ms. Bernstein...oh-my-gosh..somebody get some shampoo...I was so turned off, I didn't even think much of how bad Betty's puff pastry really was.

                                                  1. re: susancinsf

                                                    Indeed, several of you appear to agree that it is worthy of being scolded to shave your head: eg RBCal saying, "why would you shave your head before being judged by Eric Ripert...to show him you are an immature idiot"...and a similar comment by someone else below.

                                                    and I say, if Eric Ripert is half a good a judge as his reputation as a chef (can't say I've ever had the opportunity to taste his food myself), he would base the judging on what was done during the challege, *not* how someone chose to wear (or not wear) their hair for the part where they hear the results of the judging.

                                                    (The issue with Cliff, just to clarify, is very different, since Cliff violated the rules and, (imo), appearedto commit a crime. I agree he is lucky that Marcel didn't decide to call the cops. Had Marcel fought back and things gotten out of hand, someone probably would have had to call in the cops.)

                                                    1. re: susancinsf

                                                      Shaving your head while drunk on camera is not a hairstyle choice, it's an extremely immature act that one might expect from a teen. While this competition does not test contestant's ability to actually run a kitchen, I think at a minimum the judges should expect to convey the title of "Top Chef" to someone with enough common sense to hold a busboy position in a diner!

                                                      The point is not that these people should be disqualified for making dopey hairstyle choices, it's that they ought to want to put their best foot forward and videotaping yourself making idiotic decisions is not the way to do so!

                                                      1. re: Kater

                                                        Shaving your head is not only stupid, it's not permitted on television shows because it completely messes up the editorial options. That's why Elia was given a wig and Ilan was shot in his stupid Eminem getup. They are shot giving interviews about the various challenges and the interviews are, obviously, shot whenever possible and not necessarily in the moment during or right after situations. To change one's physical appearance can mess things up for production and editing -- even getting a pimple can do that. These people are immature brats (not to mention being cruel, but I ranted about that below) and I can't imagine anybody wanting to work with any of them after this.

                                                  2. re: soypower

                                                    No, they were definitely scolding them for shaving their heads. Cutting their hair is prohibited in the contract.

                                                    1. re: JasmineG

                                                      ? If cutting their hair is prohibited in the contract, shouldn't they all be sent home for violating the rules? I guess that would sort of eliminate the TV value...

                                                      why would the contract include that?

                                                      1. re: susancinsf

                                                        Because it's a TV show. The producers need them to be able to look the same from day to day so that they can edit and move around footage. Also, because it's a TV show, and the producers have control of how they look.

                                                        1. re: susancinsf

                                                          The contestants are chosen for many reasons, including their physical appearance. The producers don't want that physical appearance altered.

                                                    2. re: susancinsf

                                                      Regarding the Ilan & Elia shaving their heads I think what the judges found disturbing was the "mob mentality" that they all took on. Plus they were not acting life Chefs---they acted more like they were in a fraternity hazing someone and that is not what this show is about. Elia was the 1 who first bought up shaving Marcels head and he was sleep on the sofa not bothering anyone. Things got out of control. This is a cooking competition not a frat house, right? One would think that because these are all adults who know they will televised---you'd think they'd "behave".

                                                      1. re: esos1

                                                        They edited it out of sequence, which gave a false impression in several ways.

                                                        In fact Elia was not drinking. Ilan and Cliff got drunk and decided to shave Marcel's head, she wasn't involved. After Marcel stalked off, she said, hey, we've got these clippers, I've always wanted to shave my head ...

                                                    3. For the record the episodes title was "Sense and Sensuality". The Sense part is a pun on some of the contestants having lost their senses (as in mind).

                                                      If you are serious about winning why would you shave your head before being judged by Eric Ripert? To show him you are an immature idiot?

                                                      At this point, Marcel appears to be the most serious and definitely the most mature of all the remaining contestants. Sam didn't come unscathed out of "The Scandal". He egged on Elia and Ilan to shave their heads and did absolutely nothing when Marcel was assaulted in front of him.

                                                      Ilan's Chicken Liver Chocolate not only sounds disgusting it looked like a turd on the plate.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: RBCal

                                                        When one of the hosts affedctionately addressed the group as 'you idiots' I thought "well now we're finally being honest!"

                                                        This is a group of very immature barely competent cooks. A couple have the experience to produce palatable dishes when they are forced to do so, but none has the creativity, passion and training to be an innovative chef.

                                                        Even without the sophmoric head shaving, creepy attack, and alarming indifference, this group has been a complete disappointment from episode one.

                                                        1. re: RBCal

                                                          DAMN! Amen RBCal! I couldn't have said it better!

                                                        2. I want to feel bad for Marcel, I really do, but I can't help feeling like I would have been the one holding the clippers!! Okay... there, I admit it! He's just SO annoying! I feel the same way about him as I did about Stephen last season, but I eventually came around to like Stephen, at least in the reunion episode, but I just don't think I can like Marcel.

                                                          It was nice to see Cliff actually show some humility in this episode... it's too bad that it took that incident to show it.

                                                          Ick to the chicken liver and chocolate... urp!

                                                          I just don't like anyone for Top Chef. The only one left that I really like is Elia and she's not going to win.

                                                          1. Jeez, am I the only one who thinks this was much ado about NOTHING? "Touching" Marcel? For God's sake, it was prank night for these folks, and if Marcel can't take that minor nothingness, wait until he has his own kitchen.

                                                            Has no one ever horsed around with a friend? That's all it was. Marcel didn't even get his Eddie Munster hair shaven off.

                                                            PC has become BS.

                                                            I have far more respect for Cliff than I ever will for that arrogant, 3-years-behind-the-times-foam-El-Bulli-wannabe Marcel.

                                                            36 Replies
                                                            1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                              It's not a matter of Marcel not "taking it" - this was in the rules, per Colicchio. No aggressive behavior towards another cheftestant, and Cliff's chokehold can definitely be termed as "aggressive behavior" or aggressive touching.

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                "Aggressive touching"???

                                                                "Aggressive touching"???

                                                                1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                  Hey - I'm just saying what Colicchio said to Cliff.

                                                                  1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                    These show producers take on a lot of liability risk when they require a bunch of strangers to live under the same roof. Thus they are going to have zero tolerance policies when it comes to certain things... especially anything physical. Most of us would get fired these days for even unaggressive touching - if the recipent wasn't consensual.

                                                                    1. re: tastyjon

                                                                      Seems to me the real issue is that of leadership. One who runs a restaurant needs to be able to handle tools like Marcel and idiot decisions made by staff (Ilan and Elia). The fact that Cliff basically assaulted Marcel *should* have and did earn him a dismissal makes sense. What bothered me was that Sam sat and watched (not sure if he encouraged anyone) and did nothing to intervene, proving that he lacks the leadership to handle a restaurant. I do think he is the best of the rest, with Ilan's copycat recipes, Elia's random inspirations and Marcel's technical, but limited experience and pissy attitudes, seems Sam is going to win. But it is television...Thoughts?

                                                                      1. re: gsshark

                                                                        Have to agree.Sam's pegged to win the only option really. I do think they expected/want more leadership out of him. Cliff too.

                                                                        1. re: gsshark

                                                                          This is also a competition. Cliff got himself kicked out. Sam sat back and let a tough competitor off himself. Smart.

                                                                          1. re: chow_gal

                                                                            Good point, I didn't see it that way before.

                                                                  2. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                    While I find Marcel annoying I think this went beyond just touching. I can only imagine how terrified I would be if I was jolted out of sleep and wrestled to the ground by someone who is more than twice my size. I liked Cliff up until he did that.

                                                                    1. re: heathermb

                                                                      Any guy who would actually find that incident "terrifying" is beyond redemption.

                                                                      1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                        I guess not being a guy I can't imagine it not being so...but I really don't think it's a gender thing.

                                                                        1. re: heathermb

                                                                          Not being a woman, I can't know for sure it's a gender thng either. But I've had almost the same thing happen to me many a time in stupid, goofing-around times, and certainly was never frightened.

                                                                          1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                            But they aren't friends. If this had happened btw Ilan and Sam, or Cliff and Sam, wouldn't have been such a big deal. NO ONE likes Marcel, and he knows it.

                                                                            1. re: bklyngrl

                                                                              Do you really think Marcel was terrified? Really? With TV cameras and crews all over the place?

                                                                              1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                Not terrified, but clearly confused (he was alseep) and angry. Just because he wasn't hurt or had the level of fear of a gun in his face doesn't mean what Cliff did should just be brushed off. And Marcel didn't report this to the producers/Tom, the decision was made without him being whiny and complaining (a first!). The point is, it was in the rules when they signed up for this. Had the rule been made up/arbitrary based on the this particular situation I would agree, but it was in their CONTRACT!

                                                                                1. re: bklyngrl

                                                                                  "The point is, it was in the rules when they signed up for this. Had the rule been made up/arbitrary based on the this particular situation I would agree, but it was in their CONTRACT!"
                                                                                  Bingo. If you sign up for something - even a work-in-an-office situation, and there's a contract saying you will not do something, and you break that contract - you're outta there.

                                                                                  1. re: bklyngrl

                                                                                    actually, if you read the blogs, marcel did report it. he did so in passing during an interview with a producer, who then investigated "the incident". it does not appear that marcel did so to create an uproar.

                                                                                  2. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                    It is not a question of political correctness, nor does Marcel's response have anything to do with the question at hand.

                                                                                    Cliff and Marcel are not buddies goofing around. Cliff's behavior was bizarre and frankly, when a total stranger yanks you from your bed and wrestles you to the ground it would be extremely foolish NOT to be afraid. Behavior that erratic and inappropriate is an indicator that the actor cannot be expected to uphold any other societal norms or standards.

                                                                                    I think it's terribly sad when upholding the most basic of rules is questioned by implying that having any standard at all is 'politically correct'.

                                                                                    1. re: Kater

                                                                                      Eh. I completely disagree. But evidentally some people don't. So be it.

                                                                                    2. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                      The only one with the camera was Ilan. There was no crew around. Remember, the cast borrowed the camera for the night.

                                                                                      BB3, most guys have wrestled around with their friends but what Cliff did was assault. Marcel and Cliff are co-workers not friends. If you were on a business trip and a co-worker who is much stronger than you decided to wrestle you to the ground, hold you down, proceed to put you in a half nelson and then pick you up off the ground in a full nelson, you wouldn't be upset?

                                                                                      1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                        Then where'd the sound equipment come from?
                                                                                        (Sorry, I know I said I was done with this thread. And now I am. Although I must say, the show is doing something right when it can generate this much interest.)

                                                                                    3. re: bklyngrl

                                                                                      This is what bothered me too, it wasn't just wrestling between friends, they're not friends, and Marcel knows that Cliff doesn't like him. On top of that, he was probably half asleep, and to compound things, its not like these people actually know eachother, Marcel couldn't really be expected to be like "Oh, its just Cliff, I know he's a good guy and couldn't really want to hurt me."

                                                                                      If someone I barely knew who was quite a bit larger than me and I knew had a grudge against me hauled me out of bed physically, you can be sure that I'd be more than a little nervous.

                                                                                      1. re: lkhorgan

                                                                                        He wasn't just half asleep, he was sleeping.

                                                                                    4. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                      ...but Marcel was awakened from sleep..by a heavy dark figure dragging him out of bed..then knowing that his reaction was being filmed..if not terrifying, then frightingly ,painfully confusing...

                                                                                      1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                        The issue isn't the fear threshold of an anonymous poster.

                                                                                    5. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                      I agree with a lot of what everyone has said in response to this, and I definitely think that in this situation was Cliff done was wrong, stupid, and worthy of being kicked off the show -- but I think Ilan's behavior was just as bad, because to me what was really cruel wasn't that they touched Marcel, but that they were ganging up on him like that. In addition, I want to say that I'm a woman, but I actually agree with B-Bob's assessment -- young men throw each other on the floor sometimes and you don't have to be happy about it (or even relate to it) but I doubt that Marcel was really terrified. My guy friends throw each other on the floor on a regular basis, and none of them has ever cried about it. I of course agree that because Cliff and Marcel aren't really friends Cliff should not be wrestling Marcel in a chumsy way, I just think Marcel's reaction was more about feeling like everyone hated him than about his rug burn.

                                                                                  3. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                    This has nothing to do with PC. It was a clear violation of the rule (and Cliff agreed), and it was very important not to set a precedent of leniency on such an issue. In a pressure-cooker environment such as this, physical intimidation and confrontation (something chefs are not immune to) can lead to very ugly incidents and you don't want the show to turn into the culinary version of Jerry Springer (altho, on the other hand, it might be good for ratings).

                                                                                    1. re: jbw

                                                                                      Well,we'll have to agree to disagree. I thought it was nothing more than horsing around. It wasn't intimidating, scary, and certainly not "terrifying."

                                                                                      Although given Marcel's personality, I suspect he's never had a real friend to horse around with, so maybe it WAS weird for him.

                                                                                      1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                        I actually felt bad for Cliff who got slammed in three directions on that episode. 1) They called his dish HOTEL food- OMG. 2) They regretted kicking him off but all agreed that he would have lost anyway- ouch and 3) I can't stand it that the last image of him (prior to forced humility) is the enormous black man holding down skinny white boy as he screams for ELIA! who clearly he sees as the only person who might save him. He didn't know he was being videotaped.Did you SEE how HUGE Cliiff is!? I don't think there were any producers or cameramen around either. That was a hand held camera. Marcel was sleeping for God's sake.... And what's up with the producers of the show asking us to text in who we think hates Marcel the most? They say it's supposed to be about food but.... I don't beleive it .

                                                                                        1. re: JackieB

                                                                                          JackieB, I'm with you on alot of that.
                                                                                          I don't exactly *feel* for Cliff tho . . .
                                                                                          I got the sense that Cliff knew he bombed out on that round, gave up and acted stupid. The others were goading him, but he laid hands on. I hated that, the big Black guy as the muscle. But Cliff did it, and deserved to be kicked out. You didn't see Sam getting anywhere near that behavior -- he and the others had the competition at stake.

                                                                                          How's that for the psych101 read of last night's show?

                                                                                        2. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                          How do you know what Marcel felt? You weren't there. Just because it wouldn't have bothered you doesn't mean it's okay.

                                                                                          1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                            Terming it "horsing around" implies that it was mutual behavior. Grabbing someone who is asleep, wrestling him to the ground and putting a chokehold on him is certainly not mutual.

                                                                                            It was also clear that the incident was motivated by hostility toward Marcel, and was not just "horsing around" among friends. Marcel and Cliff are not buddies in a frat house -- they're two people who don't like each other living in a professional setting.

                                                                                            I'm pretty sure that if one of my coworkers handled me like that, they'd be out the door looking for a new job within the hour (if not being led away in handcuffs).

                                                                                        3. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                          Would you feel differently about the situation if Cliff had put Elia in a choke hold? I thought it was the vital turning point in a bad situation. You can either take it all the way and behave the way Cliff did, or be the better person and walk away. Cliff is too much of a bully to walk away. He needs to do some serious soul searching.

                                                                                          1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                            The thing is, Marcel and Cliff were clearly never friends.

                                                                                            1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                              MINOR Nothingness?? Are you kidding? First of all these people are not his FRIENDS! 2nd of all the man was asleep and woke up to Cliff pulling him off the sofa and pinning him on the floor! For Pete's Marcel didn't even know it was a so-called prank. It went to far...nobody should be handled like that for the sake of a prank it was awful! If Cliff tried that anywhere else he'd be locked up or charges would have been pressed---he had no business putting his hands on Marcel.
                                                                                              I have no respect for Cliff; he only apologized because the camera's were on and he needed to save face.

                                                                                            2. The shaving head things was a joke - it was retarded that they got reprimanded for it. They got drunk, did something dumb and that's it. Cliff took it a little far and fell back into his college fraternity days (I know I've done things as dumb as that) and is paying the consequences; onto the food.

                                                                                              As some other posters have said it seems that Ilan is doing the same thing over and over. I'd actually extend this to the other contestants as well. Elia in the quick fire challenge chose chicken (same as her pride dish), Sam's dish in the elimination challenge looked very similar to the dish he made with Cliff earlier in the season. I was very surprised that the judges did not comment on any of this.

                                                                                              1. I haven't seen it yet, and I'm a bit confused by all that was written above. Was Cliff sent home or not for what he did to Marcel? I'm watching it tonight (DVR), but don't mind knowing in advance any of this - spoilers be damned for me LOL.

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: sivyaleah

                                                                                                  The producers decided that Cliff needed to be sent home for his behavior; the contestants are not allowed to touch each other in an aggressive manner, per their contract.

                                                                                                    1. re: jdf

                                                                                                      However, it was revealed that he would (likely) have been sent home because of his lackluster performance had he not chosen to assault one of his competitors. The judges said that his food was their least favorite by far - though I suppose it is possible that they might have eliminated someone else since there were considerable problems with Marcel and Elia's dishes as well.

                                                                                                  1. I was confused by the timing of everything. I didn't realize there was always a night back at the loft before the judges' table? Was it just because they had traveled to another city? I thought the judging usually happens right after the event.

                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: IndyGirl

                                                                                                      I think it usually does... but I was confused by this too because I could have sworn that both Padma and Gail were wearing the same dresses at dinner and at the judges' table. That could have been my mistake... but maybe they sometimes pretend it's the same day?

                                                                                                      1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                        Yeah. I thought they were, too. And I also thought that maybe since they were going to kick cliff off anyway, some staged insanity/drama wouldn't be too hard to edit in.

                                                                                                        I don't know. I don't buy that any of this is real at all the more I watch it.

                                                                                                        1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                          No, they were wearing different dresses t the dinner table and judges table.
                                                                                                          Padma was wearing a sort of beige dress at the dinner table, and a black dress at the judges table.
                                                                                                          Gail was wearing a black dress at the dinner table and a sort of checkered dress at the judges table.
                                                                                                          How's that for useless information to remember?

                                                                                                          1. re: djohnson22

                                                                                                            It says in the judges' blogs that it was two days later.

                                                                                                      2. My take is the judges were correct in sending home Cliff. Let me preface this by saying I like Cliff and don't care at all for Marcel. That said, there really was no need for the amount of physyical force that was used. I think had Cliff let him up at the first sign of real objection, he would have been scolded and kept on. But, the more Marcel objected and squirmed out of what seemed like genuine fear, the more Cliff applied pressure and was egged on.

                                                                                                        As I said before, I like Cliff as a Chef. But, he was beginning to get very boring. His dishes themselves always seemed like they would taste great and he presented them well. But, if Ilan can get criticized for basically making the same dishes he cooks in his real restaurant gig, then why would Cliff get a pass for seemingly only cooking either beef or a seafood dish including scallops?

                                                                                                        Back to Marcel, I think he is annoying and immature. But, that aside, I also think he is the least talented of the chefs that remained going into last night. He has started to show some real signs of improvement, but I would rather eat in a restaurant with any of the other 3 chefs in the kitchen before him.

                                                                                                        1. I agree, this could have quickly gotten out of control if Marcel decided to fight back harder, and if he was abit bigger. It could have gone this way - Marcel trying to get out, slaps Cliff. Cliff gets angry "Why'd you slap me", hits Marcel back. Then all hell breaks loose.

                                                                                                          If only Cliff left it at waking him up, trying to get him up and said "We're all shaving our heads, dude.." then he probably would not have gotten kicked off. The fact that he then pushed him to the ground, pressed his face into the carpet, and gotten him into a full nelson was not good.

                                                                                                          I feel that Cliff's (and everyone else's) frustration with Marcel probably led to him taking it farther than he should have - if they were frathouse brothers, he would've gotten away with it. Not on national television.

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: Rocknrope

                                                                                                            This is the smartest comment on the incident that I've read. I was actually really concerned while watching this that Marcel would fight back and end up getting really hurt (and thrown off, to boot).


                                                                                                            NYCnosh* http://nycnosh.com

                                                                                                          2. One thing I found hilarious was describing Santa Barbara as being "known for culinary sophistication." HA! I say. HA! That's the funniest thing I've heard in months.

                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Atomica

                                                                                                              I enjoyed that remark, too. I lived in Santa Barbara years ago. I would not have described it as "culinary sophistication." Just the opposite. And since they showed no background shots of Santa Barbara, they could have been anywhere, even in a studio.

                                                                                                              1. re: Seattle Rose

                                                                                                                They actually did show many SB location shots.

                                                                                                                1. re: Atomica

                                                                                                                  Sorry, I most have missed the SB locations. Thanks for setting me straight, Atomica.

                                                                                                            2. I have nothing against roughhousing and blowing off steam. But it was clear last night that things had crossed the line.

                                                                                                              Marcel was singled out seemingly at Ilans urging. If it was all a joke why did Cliff not go after Sam who is more his size, awake and part of the whole thing? Sam didn’t shave his head why not pin him to the ground. Because Marcel is the easy target least able to defend him self especially while asleep. Cliff is a big guy.

                                                                                                              I had thought Cliff was a contender. I was disappointed that he allowed him self to be so easily lead by Ilan. But in the end he did take responsibility for his actions.

                                                                                                              I also think Ilan should have been kicked off. He was the one who was seemingly the instigator. Encouraging people to do his dirty work and get Marcel.

                                                                                                              1. I called Cliff a bull in a previous post. Not surprised to see his aggression escalate.

                                                                                                                Any unwanted touching is an assault. For those who make light of this, there are all kinds of unwanted touchings, not going to spell them out for you, but they aren't funny. If Marcel wanted to file charges against Cliff and the others he could.

                                                                                                                Elia, I think, has mental problems. It's sad. She reminds me of Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver.

                                                                                                                Sam reminds me of Fred MacMurray's character in The Caine Mutiny. He likes to spur others on but then look like he's innocent. Based on initial expectations, his sinking character is probably the saddest development of all the contestants.

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                  Great descriptions of their characters!! I can't stand to watch Elia touching her face and fixing her glasses. Drives me crazy.

                                                                                                                  1. re: macca

                                                                                                                    Ewwwwh and Cliff running his hand across his sweaty forehead,then looking at his hand! I wouldn't touch his food!

                                                                                                                2. I was horrified to watch it... Marcel is an uber-jerk (not sure if he works hard to maintain that status or if it just comes naturally...) and his hair deserves to be shaved off, but the way they went about it was outright assault. Cliff's lucky that he was woken up by the producers and not by the cops.

                                                                                                                  As for the food, Cliff's was obviously the least-liked in that episode and they would have been voting him off the island anyway, so it didn't make any difference to the outcome, it was just STUPID.

                                                                                                                  1. Cliff's also lucky Marcel isn't bigger. If I was woken up out of a dead sleep by somebody wrestling me to the floor and pushing my face into the carpet, that somebody would probably end up castrated or missing an eye.

                                                                                                                    Has the fact that Cliff's soul-patch is off-center been bothering anyone else?

                                                                                                                    1. I would also like to say that Elia, despite being bald, looked beautiful. That's when you know someone's attractive - if they can carry off having a shaved head.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. If you don't think Bravo productions is a place of business - talk to their lawyers. Don't confuse the fake "reality" of the competition on forgetting that this is a corporation with liabilities to follow the law.

                                                                                                                        Those of you who don't get that this is technically assault - well, I can't explain it to you in any other way.

                                                                                                                        1. My thoughts when watching the episode were that Cliff was assaulting Marcel and he's lucky the cops were't called. What Cliff did went beyond horsing around. Since he has not kept his dislike of Marcel a secret,and since they are not friends, this was assault, pure and simple. Cliff is lucky he wasn't arrested. Cliff is twice Marcel's size. I don't really like any of this season's contestants on a personal level. Why couldn't they have another Harold on the show?

                                                                                                                          1. Wingman - Good point about a lot less judging based on food. Plus, last week, Cliff and Ilan narrowly escaped getting asked to leave for front of the house stuff, not food. Then again, overall, the chefs this season seem far less experienced and talented than last season.

                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Matt M.

                                                                                                                              This show isn't really about the food. It's about getting people to watch. At the end of every show there is a statement saying that the producers, who haven't even tasted the food, have final say on the elimination decisions. they word it as 'input' but let's face it, if the people writing your check have input, they have control.

                                                                                                                              the people on the show this year are quite a bit younger and less experienced that last year. I believe this was done intentionally to add non-food related drama to the show. In that sense, it has been successful.

                                                                                                                              1. re: lgphil

                                                                                                                                Absolutely correct. Great observation.

                                                                                                                                1. re: lgphil

                                                                                                                                  On Colicchio's blog, he says that the producers' only intervention in the judges' process was to veto their decision to send Cliff, Ilan, Sam, and Elia all home, leaving Marcel to win by default. Which makes sense, since that would have left them two episodes short.

                                                                                                                                  The previous week it was all about the food and for me that was a much more entertaining episode.

                                                                                                                              2. does ilan strike anyone else as some eager gang member?
                                                                                                                                the way he's screaming, whooping and egging everyone from the sidelines was frightening. but of course he wouldn't actually join in. and the fake apologetic mood the next morning? weasel.

                                                                                                                                what stinks is that it's really "about the food," so cheers to his fideos? ugh.

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: gingersweetiepie

                                                                                                                                  Ilan strikes me as a punk and a wuss. A sniveling bitch that isn't man enough to attack Marcel himeself so he encourages others to do what he is incapable of doing himeself.

                                                                                                                                2. Marcel is playing it like Richard Hatch. It worked before.

                                                                                                                                  Yeah Cliff went over the line, but from the little bit they showed it looked like Sam and Ilan were right there encouraging it. Drawing a bright line between who touched Marcel and who did not isn't fair to Cliff, but it was time for him to go anyway.

                                                                                                                                  Sam is disappointing - lots of unrealized potential. Ilan is annoying and not nearly as clever as he thinks he is. And I really hope Elia's drama is over and she can get back to ignoring the petty BS and focusing on the food.

                                                                                                                                  1. this post isnt really about Marcel, but I have noticed that in all the previous episodes of TC (including last night) Elia seems to take criticism of her food extremely personal. For instance, when Eric Ripert was telling her why he did not like her chicken mole, she contorted her face and looked as if she was about to break down in front of him. You could tell that she didnt agree with his assessment at all. Every time a judge says anything remotely negative, she seems to almost burst out in tears. She is not very good at hiding her emotions.

                                                                                                                                    Also, I was really sad Elia shaved her head--she had the most gorgeous hair! I thought it was interesting though because last week, i commented, "Why is Elia wearing that ugly read sweatband around her head? Did she just finish working out or something?" Now I know that it was just a wig and the producers didnt want to give away the premise of the next week's "scandel." This also accounts for Ilan's Eminem look (hoodie and bandana)--he was trying to cover his shiney head. Which leads to an interesting conclusion--they interview contestants about several challenges all at once...They dont do a challenge, pull them aside and get their thoughts and then move on to another. Rather, several days could pass, and then they unload all their feelings a later date. I think that this could skew their answers. They already know the outcomes to all challenges and have an opportunity to stew/analyze things that happened. I think that you could get some great off-the-cuff remarks if you get their thoughts immediately after a challenge (apparently, according to midgley, during the judging, they spend hours in that back room waiting for them to make a decision (or padma to put together a coherant sentace)--then would be a great time to pull them all aside). No wonter cliff was so apologetic. he probably went home and his family slapped him upside the head for doing something so stupid. It would have been funny to hear him justify himself--as he probably has behind closed doors and with friends.

                                                                                                                                    Finally, I am glad Marcel is going to Hawaii. I think that Elia, Marcel and Sam are the best chefs there (Ilian not so much)--at least out of the talent pool the producers amassed. I am glad that Elia did a desert because a romantic meal composed of all proteins would have been a little much...you need a little sugar in there somewhere! So even if her description didnt match her dish, I didnt think that it would have been fair to ask her to pack her knives.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: asiansensation007

                                                                                                                                      >>>this post isnt really about Marcel, but I have noticed that in all the previous episodes of TC (including last night) Elia seems to take criticism of her food extremely personal. For instance, when Eric Ripert was telling her why he did not like her chicken mole, she contorted her face and looked as if she was about to break down in front of him. You could tell that she didnt agree with his assessment at all. Every time a judge says anything remotely negative, she seems to almost burst out in tears. She is not very good at hiding her emotions. <<<

                                                                                                                                      Yes... except the faces she made might not have even been in response to the critism... just edited to look that way.

                                                                                                                                      In reality tv you can take any shot of anyone and put it where it will give you the biggest bang.

                                                                                                                                      So in REAL reality, Elia could have been making that face at any point, at any time, and they put it in where it looks like she's overreacting to a comment.

                                                                                                                                      However, she is too sensitive. With or without editing.

                                                                                                                                    2. I agree that the show made the right decision with Cliff. But I still can't bring myself to liking Marcel. He quietly played the victim at the judges' table, and he's been an ass from the start.

                                                                                                                                      1. I didn't have a problem with Cliff horsing around, but it really did hit an uncomfortable point where my husband and I were watching with a "wtf?" look on our faces. And really, he'd have been gone since everyone seems to agree (gotta agree as well) that lentils just aren't sexy. Pureed lentils? Um, *really* not romantic.

                                                                                                                                        One thing hubby and I noticed about Marcel - when they were at the judge's table and Padma was fawning over Marcel & apologized to him, did anyone else catch the tone in his voice after he said "no apology necessary," --switch to snotty little simpery voice that implied someone else needs to apologize -- "at least by you." After, of course Cliff *had* apologized.

                                                                                                                                        I have to say, I'm torn on Sam. In the kitchen he was trying to be a bit bitchy and not help Marcel plate, since Marcel hadn't helped him - and then in the end couldn't be "that guy."

                                                                                                                                        The more I think about it, I was torn because of the way Sam just sat on the couch and watched Cliff take Marcel down. But perhaps that's a pretty big clue that maybe the editing made it look worse - and I'm sure more prolonged - than it was.

                                                                                                                                        What was with Elia basically reproducing her quickfire dish because it went over well the first time? Crazy, IMO, to serve their guest chef the one thing he praised about the 1st challenge.

                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: shanagain

                                                                                                                                          I just don't think Sam is very genuine. I mean, Marcel was trying to get his stuff ready, too. Sam had plenty of advantage by being the first to choose the dish. If people can help, great, if not, so what? He's just not a sincere person.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: IndyGirl

                                                                                                                                            Exactly, I didn't think it was a big deal AT ALL that Marcel wouldn't/ couldn't help him... he's in it to win in just as much as anyone. (And I don't even like Marcel!)

                                                                                                                                          2. re: shanagain

                                                                                                                                            RE: Elias dessert. The judges said she should have spent more time on it, done more with the dish. A 90 minute quickfire turned out great results. She had 5 HOURS to create her dish!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: shanagain

                                                                                                                                              I noticed the snippiness. He just seems to be a weasel to me. The New York Magazine interview, linked above, was very telling, I think. I think Marcel was glad to see Cliff go because Marcel will use any advantage to win. He could have said, 'let's make this about the food' as he always claims to favor and tried to use some influence to get Cliff re-instated. Obviously that's up to the producers -- and I wouldn't have blamed them at all if they had said no way -- but at least it would have shown that Marcel wants to win for the right reasons.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: jwagnerdsm

                                                                                                                                                why should Marcel try to get Cliff reinstated? Do you think CLIFF would have done it for Marcel???
                                                                                                                                                HELL NO!

                                                                                                                                            2. I thought Top Chef was suppose to be about the food and talent of the chefs. This season has way too much drama and stupid mistakes. These people are suppose to be professionals.

                                                                                                                                              With that said, I think Sam is going to win this competition.

                                                                                                                                              1. Was that Top Chef? I thought it was the latest Real World.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. Every Project Runway has a storyline disliked by another designer. Probably they like these drama things since it improves ratings.

                                                                                                                                                  Personally I think they almost have to "spice" things up on a show about food. You can't tell how good a dish tastes by looking at it (unlike how good a dress looks in a fashion show).

                                                                                                                                                  1. After watching this episode, does anyone else think Padma is hot for Marcel? He's kind of the anti-Rushdie: Young and stupid.

                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Grubbjunkie

                                                                                                                                                      No. I think she actually loves her husband.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Grubbjunkie

                                                                                                                                                        not hots...she probably feels sorry for the kid...

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Grubbjunkie

                                                                                                                                                          Who isn't young and stupid on this show?

                                                                                                                                                        2. All we need is some spitting and this show will be no better than Flavor of Love. I used to love this show. This season has lacked class and taste from the hostess (who needs a Pashmina) to the antics of last nights episode.

                                                                                                                                                          1. It is a TV show. Entertainment, ratings, everyone talking about it. That is it. They win.

                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Katj

                                                                                                                                                              That's right - they win a reality TV show. People keep talking about all these attributes a "top chef" must have - most of which makes sense. However - these contestants are not about to be crowned TOP CHEF of the world above all other chefs - they are going to be crowned Top Chef on a reality TV show.

                                                                                                                                                              Certainly, this will open doors for them but doesn't gaurantee long term success. That will require the aforementioned attributes. Time will tell....

                                                                                                                                                            2. Is anyone else suspicious about the cameras given out to them? Why were they given out the only night that the "Scandal" happened?

                                                                                                                                                              I suspect the producers either instigated something to happen or knew they were about to do something idiotic.

                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: RBCal

                                                                                                                                                                I seem to recall one of them asking if they could have a camera. If yes, it could have been the only time they asked (and of course the producers would have been happy to comply)

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: RBCal

                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, I totally agree (I posted something to this effect above). Verrrrry fishy.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: RBCal

                                                                                                                                                                    My thoughts exactly, it seemed contrived. I am sure reality shows are studied to death and the producers know the exact combination of stress and timing that leads to mishaps like this.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. The fact is - if Marcel is Cliff or Sam's size Cliff wouldn't have manhandled him the way he did. There is no excuse for that kind of behavior, with or without alcohol.

                                                                                                                                                                    I wish the judges disqualified Sam, Elia and Ilan and just bring back the last 3 eliminated contestants. At this rate I would rather have Fake Betty win this than Sam.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. If you read the TWOP (Television Without Pity) forums they have posted pics of the incident that proves without doubt that it was not only Cliff involved in the "Scandal."

                                                                                                                                                                      Basically Sam, Cliff, Ilan and Elia attempted to forcefully shave Marcel's head BEFORE Ilan and Elia shaved their own heads. Bravo edited it to look like it happened after they shaved their own heads. Thus, they likely shaved their heads in an effort to sidestep responsibility for what happened. Sam chickened out from doing this (thats REAL leadership for a chef to show).

                                                                                                                                                                      Also, Tom Colicchio wanted to boot all four of them and award Marcel as the winner according to his blog on Bravo. The producers stepped in and booted only Cliff.

                                                                                                                                                                      Marcel deserves to win.

                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: RBCal

                                                                                                                                                                        zoinks! link pls

                                                                                                                                                                        although the more I think about that, the less I buy it
                                                                                                                                                                        it doesn't fit Elia's psychology to me, but all we have is what's on the tv . . .
                                                                                                                                                                        so I'm looking for proof

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: RBCal

                                                                                                                                                                          Marcel deserves to win???

                                                                                                                                                                          Because of what? Because he got wrestled to the floor? What does that have to do with being a "Top Chef"?

                                                                                                                                                                          Marcel's food is 2002 El Bulli wannabe pretentions.

                                                                                                                                                                          I'd like a Top Chef who actually has ideas of his own.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. RBCal - can you provide a link? I scanned the TWOP forum and didn't find the pictures you refer to (???)

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ken W

                                                                                                                                                                              Yikes. Despicable. Elia is awful, the others are terrible too, and none of them deserves to win this show. Marcel really should win by default. The producers of this show really stink.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ken W

                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks. That makes them even more despicable. I hope they reap what they sowed - that nobody would want to work with/eat at the restaurants associated with these morons.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ken W

                                                                                                                                                                                  Actually though, doesn't it make more sense? Why would they just suddenly think of shaving their own heads? They were probably like "oh Marcel's silly hair...wouldn't it be funny if we just shaved it off etc" but then Cliff went for broke and things turned ugly. After Marcel went into the bathroom to sleep (with no blanket) they were probably sitting around with that razor talking about it and daring each other to do it. I can totally see it playing out that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh, and about Elia and her allegiance to Marcel... above someone said that she "claims to be his friend" and sort of disses her for hanging with the other while while using the words fake and pathetic. I disagree. She empathizes with him, came into the situation knowing him and has treated him respectfully -always. I don't think it's possible for one person to control three others - I don't know what I would have done and I don't doubt that there is some footage of her pouting and gently protesting but honestly - Cliff made the call there.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Anyway in the photo she doesn't exactly look like she's cheering and whooping.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JackieB

                                                                                                                                                                                    I think it's obvious that they wanted to do this nasty prank to Marcel. When he stomped off, upset, they decided to shave their own heads, acting like it was this impetuous drunken thing to do, figuring it would lessen the effect of how badly they'd behaved.

                                                                                                                                                                                    As for your assessment of Elia's behavior, I completely disagree, but I've said what I think of her before, and this new information only confirms my initial feelings about her.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: JackieB

                                                                                                                                                                                      The photos clearly show that Elia is in the next room, so she may not have been aware of exactly what was going on -- she may have, just like many posters here, dismissed it at first as drunken horsing around.

                                                                                                                                                                                      The fact that she shaved her head afterward raises the possibility that it was an act of atonement: she felt bad about how the head-shaving "prank" went on Marcel, and decided to punish herself by shaving her head herself. She certainly doesn't seem to be happy and excited while her head is being shaved, despite all her claims that she's always wanted to do it, and the way the guys tell her that she's done enough makes me think that they were trying to tell her that she'd been punished enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                        They shaved their heads before Cliff attacked Marcel.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                          No they didn't -- check elsewhere on the thread, it's clear from the pictures that Elia had all of her hair after Marcel went into the other room, so they shaved their hair afterwards. The editing made it look like it happened the opposite way.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                                                                                                            Marcel went to sleep before Elia and Ilan shaved their heads, Cliff jumped Marcel after.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                              That is what the editing on the show said. From the pictures linked in this thread, that is not what actually happened.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                                                                                                                I'll record the episode again to check. Another possible expanation for that sequence is that they used earlier footage of Marcel walking away.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                          While they are in the bathroom with the razor, Elia says "We should shave Marcel" and holds her hands at a distance from her head, indicating his crazy hair.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Niblet

                                                                                                                                                                                            I could be wrong, and probably AM wrong, but I thought she said they should shave theirs and then he'd be walking around with his poofy head.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Dave from last year blogged on this episode too:

                                                                                                                                                                                      "Part of the process when you interview for this and other reality shows is meeting with psychologists and several interviews with network execs, etc., and they try to make sure that as a contestant you are in a safe environment, especially with a bunch of knives around. Cliff’s assault on Marcel is beyond comprehension not to mention that none of the other chefs were there to really stop the incident. I almost turned off the show and threw it away."

                                                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: EnglishMuffin

                                                                                                                                                                                        That makes me wonder what would've happened if mike was still there. or carlos, or josie. you'd hope at least one of season 2's clowns would have an iota of a moral compass and say something.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: soypower

                                                                                                                                                                                          I can't see Mikey being a party to it. I can imagine him not wanting to get off the couch to be a party to it.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jwagnerdsm

                                                                                                                                                                                            he didn't like Marcel either, though--in their "rav 4s" on the restaurant episode, he was the first to say "Marcel's gotta go."

                                                                                                                                                                                            That doesn't mean he'd have been an accomplice, though. He just wasn't neutral or above hating him.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: EnglishMuffin

                                                                                                                                                                                          other chefs were there...they were laughing about it!

                                                                                                                                                                                        3. seems like we're still at a NO ONE wins!!!!!! but like elections, it won't happen that way. marcel did not deserve to be manhandled but that doesn't make him any less of a weasel or any more of a top chef. the rest of em are also fair to mediocre on a good night...ever so faint glimmers of ability but mostly this season hasn't been top chefs, it's been stay under the radar and hope someone else gets the boot.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. There may not be a winner on Top Chef season 2, but there is a clear loser.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Tom Colicchio has been completely emasculated by the Bravo producers.

                                                                                                                                                                                            He wanted to boot the three off for their dreadful behavior but of course that would put a crimp in the fake "feel good" finale wouldn't it? The producers couldn't have that so they told Tom to pound sand.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Tom has no real power or standing in the decision-making process. Guess he was just meant to be a shill for Kenmore, Kraft and Bailey's.

                                                                                                                                                                                            And a total "Shame on you" award to the producers for editing this episode to make it seem like the hair shaving came before the assualt, when it came afterward.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Message to the producers: The audience isn't that stupid, we can actually handle reality.

                                                                                                                                                                                            And Padma...what the heck...in the finale preview, her delivery of "You are the top chef" is more leaden than the paint in a crack house.

                                                                                                                                                                                            If there is a Top Chef Season Three, count me out. I'd rather go to my church's weekly drum circle.

                                                                                                                                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                                                              How do we know when the head shaving took place?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                                There are pix of Elia with her full head of hair as Marcel is escaping into the bathroom on televisionwithoutpity.com.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Didn't see the pictures what part of the site are they on?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                                                                      No, but this one should:


                                                                                                                                                                                                      Go to Page 41 and scroll down halfway to zazaxux's post with four links to still photos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                                  The TWoP site has some still photos from the episode showing Elia crouching on the floor as Marcel stormed into the bedroom/bathroom after the assault, and she's still got a full head of hair. It was hard to see in the actual episode, as she was in black, and I guess the rug was dark, but she's definitely there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Could it have possibly been the wig she wore later in the show?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Bostonbob3

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Looking carefully at the pictures, they don't look like a wig. Especially the last shot which looks like Elia's hair and scalpline.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, it's obviously her own hair, as opposed to the wig the producers no doubt provided for the follow-up interview. Also, who would think that Elia shaved her head during a night of drinking (and nasty attack on her "friend") and ran out to buy a wig from the all-night wig shop that just happens to carry one that matches her hair. Or did she bring a perfect wig with her just in case she decided to shave her head at some point?

                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                                                                                                                  "If there is a Top Chef Season Three, count me out. I'd rather go to my church's weekly drum circle."

                                                                                                                                                                                                  That is a line worth stealing. Brilliant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                4. Well, one interesting thing in this sad episode...no one can accuse Padma of wooden delivery at the judges' table ;-) "You *idiots* actually made some good food!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Marcel may not be the best cook of the remaining four but he certainly isn't the worst. That title should go to Ilan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Marcel should win since he was the only one who didn't break the rules.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I bet that either Sam or Marcel will be declared the winner. If Sam wins its due to his food. If Marcel wins it will at least partially be due to the assault.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: RBCal

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yet in this episode, Ilan's dish was not only the only one not needing to be "tweaked" in ANY way, but was the one that the judges finished and wanted seconds of!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ChowFun_derek

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yes but this is an entree which he has prepared many times in the restaurant he works at. It is not his creation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        His freestyle quickfire creation was a chocolate covered chicken liver turd on a plate. Quite a talent!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: RBCal

                                                                                                                                                                                                          None were "original"...none..we have to get used to it...this group was chosen poorly...yet this was the first episode where it was... at least in part, more about the food...which is my preference

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. I can’t imagine that the producers are too happy with this lot of finalists. People want a winner they can like. Whatever drama there was last year there was Harold and Harold could cook and so could lots of the others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      This year we have Sam who arguably the best cook is a bit of a limp todger when it comes to leadership.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      All Marcel needs is a top hat cape and thin curly mustache and you have the classic villain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Then there are the two girls...Elia has some potential she’s only 23 but dose not seem mature enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ilan reminds me of that bitchy ‘sensitive’ guy in high school who was friends with all the girls. He was the one holding the camera and is clearly heard encouraging Cliff and souting for the clippers. I think he should also have been thrown out. (pseudo psychobable time: He might be deflecting onto Marcel his own feelings of ‘confusion’ insecurities and self loathing.).

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Still watching the show but don’t really care who wins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Here's the deal with Marcel's designation as "Master Cook". The union in Las Vegas usually has three designations of cooks, the exact title varies from property to property, from contract to contract. The three designations from lowest in pay scalt to highest are cooks helper, cook and master cook. Technically any one who works on the line should have the job title of master cook - this title allows them, according to the rules of the union, to perform any job in the kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Master cook is in NO WAY related to Master Chef. Master Chef is a certification test given by the American Culinary Foundation. This test is an 8 day exam which covers every topic imaginable. I can't find the exact number but I think that there are around 80 CMC's "Certified Master Chef" in the U.S. - although I am sure that I stand to be corrected on that number.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Now we know why Ilan's been wearing that weird turban and caftan outfit in the inserts!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Worst episode to date. All the cooking was in the first half hour, and there was hardly any discussion of it in the second half. They didn't even detail the dishes in the elimination, only panned across the menu, and didn't even show all of the text.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          All that time on the tedious drunken horseplay (not suprising given the way the producers torture the contestants) and they didn't even go into detail about what they were actually drinking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The only saving grace was that Cliff was apparently going home anyway. But who knows if that's true or if the producers just made it look that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                                            "and they didn't even go into detail about what they were actually drinking."
                                                                                                                                                                                                            hilarious, Robert Lauriston!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. The biggest question mark I'm left with after watching these four make it to the end is: Who would ever trust any of these people to a) run a kitchen or b) create a menu?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I thought perhaps Sam had what it took to run a kitchen, but after publically berating Marcel, I knew there was no way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I am certain we have all worked with people like Marcel. I know I have and though my eyes tire from all the rolling, I know deep down they will always be their own worst enemy in their careers. I'd never dream of calling them out like a punk, or worse, physically restaining them against their will.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Anyway, the really important point is that all of the girls on the show looked super-fine this week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Foureyes137

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sam: "Everyone was asking me why I had this outburst with him, but they didn't show him accusing me of cheating for fifteen minutes."

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ilan: "They don't show all the little bits and pieces leading up to people being angered with him."


                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Remember that Sam is the one who accused Marcel's team of cheating during the camp challenge, so it's not surprising that Marcel found it hypocritical that Sam broke the rules by accepting a discount.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                As far as Ilan, judging by his wildly inappropriate comment about Marcel and Robuchon, as well as his statements about Marcel's sexual experience, he is in no position to talk about anybody else's behavior. He is like the classic bratty teenaged meangirl. Sam is pure arrogance and he enjoys stirring up trouble and stepping back to watch. Sam will surely win (it seems obvious from watching the way he's edited) but I wouldn't want to work with any one of these people, except maybe Carlos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Excuses. Awesome. Those work really well when my employees use them too! ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't care if Marcel called his mom names, the bigger man and better manager would not have let his/her frustration come out in that matter, especially not in public.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Foureyes137

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Sam and Ilan were there and saw what happened. We only get the producers' selection of a few moments.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Given that the contestants are also being tortured by 24/7 surveillance, lack of privacy, and sleep deprivation, I don't think it's fair to judge anyone by what you see on Top Chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I wrote something similar about how we only see the "highlights" of what goes on, not the experience in its totality, on that thread at the time. But I don't care how annoying Marcel is, that's no excuse for doing what they did this week. Sam and Ilan are obviously trying to do damage control, but to paraphrase last season: it was what it was.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. With all the "assault-gate" I forgot to mention how thoroughly annoyed I was with Gail interrupting the visiting guest judge. She was talking a mile a minute and talking OVER him. I really would have preferred to listen to what he had to say than listen to her drone on and on repeating what everyone else had already said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Secondly, I wait with great anticipation Harold's restaurant opening in NYC and will make a reservation as soon as it does. I have no interest in checking out or supporting the restaurant of any of these remaining contestants - which is sad. Tom was absolutely correct to call the season over and fire the other three chefs. He understands that nobody is going to celebrate that 100,000 being handed to one of these brats. They lost my respect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Missed the brouhaha, but feel that Elia gives up way too easily. Really sorry that the producers decided to focus more on personalities than ability.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: keencook1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I more or less agree, though the personalities do tend to impact the ability. In that regard, it did bother me some that when no one wanted to take on dessert (since it isn't a forte for any of them), Elia basically caved and said she would do dessert. I wish she would be a bit more assertive, particularly since (she says) she sees herself as representing the women who have been on the show...she just seems to follow gender type a bit too much, and seemed to be her own worst enemy on that one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: keencook1

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I would generally agree that I would rather it be about the food, however I would not want to give $100,000 to someone who throws in the towel that easily. That is a poor investment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        My feeling is that this show is as much about a contestant's ability to cook as it is about his or her ability to manage a kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. "I got a call from a field producer who had arrived at the loft to find Elia and Ilan without any hair. I was furious with them as I felt it was kind of a juvenile prank to pull which undermined the dignity of the show ..."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Undermined the ... WHAT?


                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Why someone with vegetarian tendencies should not be a judge:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "I don’t find anything sensual or sumptuous about chicken livers ..."


                                                                                                                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Well chicken livers aren't foie gras... Most people would agree that it's cheap, common and not very sumptuous (I do happen to love chopped liver, but I don't think many do).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Where do you read that she has vegetarian tendency? I thought her favorite dish for the challenges is the clams & fideos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: notmartha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            She mentioned in her blog about the offal quickfire (early in the season) that having been a vegetarian, it was definitely a challenge to walk into a kitchen full of pig's blood and gory animal parts. Something about "coming a long way from her vegetarian roots."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think many who are steak and potato loving people would still have difficulty walking into a kitchen full of offal, myself included. I had been raised with all that stuff and I still dislike most of it (recent cooking experiments with tripe just adds to the distaste).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                She was also squeamish about the rare steak in this episode, and traded with one of the other judges for a more done portion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't know if it's that she has "vegetarian tendencies" -- her name is Hindu so she probably grew up in a vegetarian (or mostly vegetarian) household in India; eating beef also goes against her cultural roots. I'd say it's more that in order to eat and enjoy meat (and especially beef) she has to overcome very deep-seated cultural conditioning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    "... when I arrived in the Top Chef kitchen ... and saw all that pig's blood, pig's ears and hooves, and other very gory meaty bits like chicken feet, and calf hearts and brains assembled together, I was stopped dead in my tracks. ... I couldn't help but think how far I'd come from my vegetarian roots. This wasn't an episode I'd be sending to Granny back in Madras."


                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Speculating - since the next challenges are in Hawaii and it seems unlikely that they will fly in all the eliminated contestants - who will be the assistants for the final cookoff? I am guessing that it will be the 2 eliminated next round, which will be interesting if the final 2 are Elia and Marcel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I hope it's more about the food and the melodrama is behind us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I can't decide who I want to win this thing. I was a fan of Ilan and Cliff early, but that has steadily faded. Can't even say I'm displeased to see Cliff leave at this point. Sam seems the most appropriate to win even though he does make big mistakes from time to time. I'm not sure Elia can handle the pressure--she seems to flake out fairly regularly. Marcel handles pressure well, but he is too much of a tool to get the best out of people who would be working under him which I think would be an important consideration. Ilan's immaturity(which was pretty well concealed for most of the show) is becoming more apparent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Guess I'm to the point that eventhough I'll continue to watch Top Chef, I really don't care who wins it. Probably Sam if I were forced to choose. Hoping we'll see some impressive cooking in Hawaii and have someone clearly superior.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. What about the fact that Elia had been the ONLY one thus far that seemed to actually like Marcel? She had been defending (albeit very lightly) him all season against the others who had been trying to isolate him and playing those playground games on him. WTF? I believe it was Elia who brought up the thought of shaving Marcel's hair. It was a total mob-like mentality and it spiraled out of control.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I have become more and more indifferent to this season's cheftestants. I thought Elia, though young and not very sure of herself in a lot of ways, was the one that seemed to have the most focus on the food and not all the silly drama among the other chefs. I stand corrected.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I agree w/Chef Tom----my inclination would be to throw them ALL out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I will be shocked if Marcel wins b/c no one wants to work w/him. Even if you erase all the petty drama, he clearly does not know how to work as a team and most importantly inspire those around him. If you recall from last season's final 2, that was one of the main things that seemed to push Harold over Tiffany in the end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. One thing mentioned in the show's blogs that wasn't made clear in the show--the contestants were partying hard because after the next day's judge's-table session the winners were going to have several months off before the filming in Hawaii.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Which is why the shots from the upcoming Hawaiian episode already showed Ilan and Elia WITH some hair!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. ok, it took a while to read all this....but ok.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There was alcohol involved. Who knows how much really. But once you factor that in, people and their personalities change. Maybe we saw some true colors come out. Who knows? They're young, stressed, and in need of blowing steam. I don't approve of what happened at all, but I think the alcohol factor made a difference in our perceptions of everyone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Marcel said something (don't recall which ep) to the effect of, "I'm not here to make friends. I'm here to win". That's not necessarily the best attitude to have, but he made a point. Celebrity chefs aren't called that for nothing. The public loves them. The public isn't lovin' Marcel. While he might not be the best, he's not the worst. He's lasted this long based on his decision to not be everyone's pal. Gotta give him credit for that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And sure, when a chef is under pressure to perform, they're gonna go with what they know. Didn't Mia say over and over again about how she's known for being good at 'x', and so she created dishes that reflected her culinary background? I don't think anyone should be dissed for making things similar to what they do in their existing gigs, especially if it beats out everyone else's choices.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ok, you can blast me now. I just thought it had to be said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. here are most of the links mentioned, all on one blog


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Joyce Slaton: What happened the night ... that you and Ilan shaved your heads? The way that it looks is that you guys decided, you were drinking, you were silly, you decided you were going to shave his head, Cliff held him down for a few minutes, and it didn’t end up happening, and then, afterwards you and Ilan shaved your heads. Is that what happened? ‘Cause in the show, in the editing they show you—

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Elia Aboumrad: That’s exactly what happened... I didn’t even know about this joke until it was happening ... So when Marcel went away really upset, I’m, like, Well, we have this machine, I’ve wanted to shave my head my whole life, and I finally have the guts to do it ...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ... Marcel has been, I mean, he has insulted people in so many ways during the whole competition that hasn’t been shown, like his verbal way of talking to people I think it’s worse than tackling him to the floor and trying to shave his head. ...


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. After watching a rerun of the show <i noticed a few things I think Ilan was holding the camera and calling to Sam to help and it was Ilan calling Elia to help shave Marcel not Marcel calling for help.