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Top Chef 2 = Finale Part 1 (potential spoilers)

All I can say is HOLY CRAP! The final two are NOT the two I expected to be there...well, I expected one of them, but NOT the other.

Now I'm wondering if the producers chose who they did for the additional drama.

I'm still stunned. And I know who I want to win between these two. One of them is who I had picked from almost the beginning to be in the finale.

Wow.

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    1. HOLY CRAP indeed. I did think it was odd how Elia and Sam almost seemed to switch positions on Marcel. I know that the voting poll was overwhelmiingly against Marcel, but frankly I think that overall he has been incredibly mature in the face of absurdly petty behavior. Maybe he's a little thoughtless, but I get the sense (speaking as someone with zilch food biz experience) that a little type A personality is expected in chefs, as it is in surgeons. Ilan on the other hand is a whiny little, well, whiner.
      Thought: one of the preview clips showed a diner calling a dish "murky." To me that seems far more like a word that would be associated with poorly executed spanish food rather than Marcel's style.

      20 Replies
      1. re: bworm42

        I will SPIT NAILS if Wolverine wins!!!

        And for Top Chef 3, they damn well better get back to cooking instead of this drama baloney.

        1. re: LindaWhit

          wait, Ilan was the one you expected???

          1. re: bworm42

            Yes. When I think the Final 2, I think the main judges should look at the OVERALL competition...not just the one cooking event. And Padma even said - Ilan had the most elimination wins, Sam had the most quickfire wins.

            I just don't think that overall, Marcel should be there. And if they give it to him, it's going to be thought of as a "sympathy" vote from Cliff half-nelsoning him last episode. Especially since Tom wanted to boot the others and give Marcel the crown that week, but the producers overruled him.

            So unfortunately, that's what I think they just might do - give him the sympathy vote. Which would be total crapola.

            1. re: LindaWhit

              i don't think there is any sympathy vote involved. tom colicchio said in an interview that they judge based on the challenge, not cumulative record. of course, contestants' track record predisposes the judges in some way...

              1. re: LindaWhit

                I thought Marcel clearly won that challenge: he was the only one to really fulfill the requirements of the challege exactly, and his dishes were complicated and beautiful: the fried taro chip the poke was on and the fried lotus root chip in the other dish were lovely touches. Apparently they tasted as good as they looked (which is not always the case). They were definitely the kind of dishes I would expect to see in a cutting-edge, high-end restaurant.

                I was kind of surprised that they chose Ilan over Sam, l but Colicchio seemed really contemptuous of the fact that Sam hadn't cooked anything. I think it was similar to their criticism of Elia in the last challenge: the dishes tasted good, but they expected more in terms of demonstrating skill or creativity, and Sam's dishes really didn't do either.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Perhaps Marcel did win it - based on that individual challenge. However, I still feel that the Final 2 should be chosen partially based on their *overall* performance throughout the entire show. And Marcel just didn't cut it throughout the entire show. Yet Sam, who did wonderfully throughout the entire show by winning challenges is dismissed because he didn't cook anything this time - despite the food items tasting superb?

                  How can someone be "top chef" if s/he skated or didn't win previous challenges? That would be like Michael somehow making it to the Final 2 - by skating through - and yanking it out of his butt to win on the last round. That isn't Top Chef - it's "I Barely Made It Here By the Hair on My Chinny-Chin-Chin And Somehow Pulled It Out At the Last Second" Chef. That, to me, is Marcel's title if he takes the prize.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    The finale does reflect performance throughout the show. Everyone who lost an elimination challenge is gone.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Not overall performance, IMO. When combined together, Sam stood out more than Ilan or Marcel.

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        Sam often played it too safe. That's why Ilan and Elia each one two elimination challenges, while Sam won only one. And it's part of why he lost last night.

                    2. re: LindaWhit

                      It would be a shame if Marcel wins and then and then everyone continues to mock him with name calling.

                      1. re: JackieB

                        I don't believe he deserves to be in the Final 2. My opinion.

                      2. re: LindaWhit

                        Jeez I'm tired of all this Marcel bashing. So many people don't like his personality and forget it's a COOKING competition. Besides, he is a chef at Joel Robuchon, arguably the best restaurant in the country. I doubt he's there for nothing.

                        1. re: elrushbo

                          I agree. Frankly, I think people have bought into the notion that he must be unlikeable, simply because he's socially awkward. Also, all of the childish behavior and the editing have convinced viewers that he's the one to mock. His food looks good to me and he's the one contestant that always tries to turn the conversations back to food. In my opinion he really deserves to be where he is, unlike Ilan who simply spits out the same Casa Mono food he's been making for years, and totally loses his professionalism (Kraft Italian dressing foam) in order to focus on his Marcel obsession.

                      3. re: Ruth Lafler

                        Colicchio has earned *my* contempt for sure: the show is Top CHEF, not Top COOK. All of us watching that show here last night thought the results were exactly opposite from how we'd have called it - but then I think we all prefer good solid professional food production to foams and curlicues. Both Elia and Sam excelled at what they considered their jobs to be.

                        1. re: Will Owen

                          Since no one except for the judges actually tasted the dishes, how would anyone know wish dish tasted best?

                          It was unanimous among the judges that Marcel "hit a home run". The others did not. I guess all the professional guest chef judges don't know food too.

                      4. re: LindaWhit

                        That was actually a perfectly educated full-nelson. But I don't think Marcel should win either.

                    3. re: bworm42

                      I could be wrong, but I was under the impression that the description of "murky" was from a clip related to the finale...at least I saw it at the *end* of last night's episode, advertising next weeks (though admittedly, since it didn't air till 10:30 last night in the bay area, I was having a bit of trouble staying awake!)

                      1. re: susancinsf

                        Exactly! I point it out as possible evidence that Ilan may run into some trouble next week, providing a bit of balance to the speculation arising from him leaving his old job.

                        1. re: bworm42

                          ok, guess I stayed up too late, because that point was lost on me in your post. :-) That said, I think that murky could be as easily applied to Marcel's style as Ilan's...any failed attempt could be murky...

                    4. Ilan sucks. He's a smarmy no-talent ripoff artist that got lucky too many times. I hope he looses a finger in the final challenge trying to make another dish from Casa Mono.

                      But seriously...they booted SAM!?

                      1. Marcel deserves to win (and will next week). Ilan is sleazy, immature and has no talent. He convinced Elia to accuse Marcel of cheating and then didn't support her in front of the judges. She looked like a fool.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: RBCal

                          While I am not particularly fond of Marcel, I think Ilan is a weasel: he's good at egging on other people to do wrong without doing anything himself, and then not take any responsibility. It's so sad that all of this has almost nothing to do with cooking. I endure the show just to see the 2 seconds of food that is shown.

                          1. re: RBCal

                            I liked Elia up until that point. How stupid did she look?

                            To imply that he cheated... I was thinking how?

                            - had he smuggled in secret ingredients?
                            - received text message recipe ideas from Morimoto?
                            - spiked the foam with cocain?
                            - broken into the producers office to get advanced knowledge of the challenges?

                            When asked for specifics:

                            "He moved my pot from a burner."

                            Oh the humanity! And Ian deserves to go for setting her up and not taking the plunge with her.

                            1. re: tastyjon

                              Elia wasn't going to say anything, but Ilan kind of put her out there. She still tried to say nothing, but the judges told her to "just say it." So wasn't exactly her fault, but it sure looked like sour grapes to whine at that point, and she's never been one to try to point fingers at other people at judges' table. I felt like Ilan wanted to take any opportunity to take a stab at Marcel, and moving Elia's pot was the most specific thing Marcel had done, although he probably made lots of comments that got under everyone's skin. Whatever Marcel does to make the others hate him isn't very tangible (read Andy's interview with Sam on bravotv.com).

                          2. I hate Marcel... but on the other hand he's perfect 'top chef' material - an ego the size of the planet and the ability to make food do things that it would never occur to any normal person to attempt... I'll be very surprised if he DOESN'T win - I see one of those restaurants in his future where you pay three hundred dollars to 'taste' a dozen courses, each more weird and wonderful than the last, and then you go home and have a real meal because you're still starving. I would rather have seen Sam in the final, but then the name of the show is top CHEF, not top cook.