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Top Chef 2 Finale, lets get the conversation started (Spoilers inside)!

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10 minutes in and I'm already annoyed at this show, this network, and the lacklustre skills and attitude of this season's cheftestants.

Say what you will, I always liked Marcel best of all the chefs, and really hope he wins. If the menu dicussion for his final challenge is any indication, he's truly the more talendted, more creative chef. Ilan is a one trick pony.

Regardless of the outcome, I hope Marcel goes on to great things.

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  1. I am happy to see Mikey back although I haven't seen performance yet...

    1 Reply
    1. re: King of Northern Blvd

      I am sure Marcel wishes Mikey had stayed in Lodi. For a guy who was supposed to be cool and laidback, Mikey was the total non-professional. Frankly, Marcel probably showed poor judgment in picking Mickey, but was encouraged to do so by Sam. Hindsight is 50-50, but I wonder if things would have been different if he had chosen Mia.

    2. Why would you pick Mike or Betty to be on your team?

      As much as I dislike Ilan's tactics in the (lame) game part of this show, the food did look good and it appeared the judges concurred.

      I like Marcel, but the little teaser blowup with Mike being a dumbass, just shows he is about to implode with no managerial/leadership skills.

      Uh oh.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Foureyes137

        I would think picking Mia or Frank you'd get alot of unnecessary baggage with it.

        1. re: King of Northern Blvd

          I agree, depending on who picked them. Marcel was ata slight disadvantage as it seemed at least a few of those people would have presented personality conflicts.

          1. re: Foureyes137

            of course he was at a slight disadvantage. Everyone hated him. Hence the outcome. He is not top "CHEF" material, which must encompass leadership skills and the ability to inspire others. Ilan wasn't much ahead, but at least a little, and thank god the judges recognized this in the end. BTW, I thought someone should have picked Frank over Mike, b/c regardless of his attitude, overall his creations and presentations were superior to Mike's. There's still no reason on this earth to convince me why Sam wasn't in the finals.

            1. re: chefwannab

              Ilan has no leadership skills, except in trying to "lead" others to shave Marcel's head. Would you want someone who wished he could "pee" on someeone else's head to cook your food?

              1. re: Gigigirl2

                Have you ever worked in or near a professional kitchen? I am not defending any lunkhead-ish behavior, but it happens, and the language thrown around is even worse.

      2. The show would not have been the same without the SWEET zoom on the Kenmore Pro oven. How would I have known how the food was heated without it?

        4 Replies
        1. re: Foureyes137

          You mean they didn't use that crappy outdoor kenmore pro kitchen again? I swear I will never, ever buy another kenmore product.

          Love how the judges are all citing that Ilan is refering back to his Spanish background. If ever someone didn't tale a risk, its him. I hope Colicchio calls him on that at judges table.

          1. re: MaspethMaven

            I was hoping for the same thing, and a smirking Tom during tasted made me think he would. Lord knows he's tasted Casa Mono food before. I thought he's call him out, but perhaps he is not allowed?

            1. re: Foureyes137

              i don't think that working within a cultural idiom, like spanish cuisine, is necessarily a hindrance. i get what people are saying, but i don't think that it's a fault to know and cook in an ethnically distinct cuisine. rather, i think the point is that a more mature, experienced chef would do that in this sort of a competition without consciously reminding you of it. i think that if he were a young chef that was from spain, people would be less critical of his devotion to that cuisine. it seems more the point that ilan did a lot of spanish dishes really well, but without much imagination or inspiration.

              on the other hand, marcel's devotion to "molecular gastronomy" was even more myopic and slavish, in my opinion. young chefs doing what they love without mastery, is what i thought of the two. leaving out thoughts on the tv drama head shaving scandalism, because we know what we're in for when we watch these shows, really. which reminds me of why i was rooting for ilan to begin with. i think he's cute. so much for food integrity! if i can't taste the food i'm seeing, what other criteria am i supposed to use...?

              oh. sorry for the digression..where is a top chef that lives in new york and probably rents going to FIT a kenmore pro kitchen provided by sears? and if he can, when he moves to his next teensier apartment, will he have to pack up his knives and his kenmore pro kitchen in gladware and toss it on the street?

              1. re: augustiner

                kenmore pro kitchen coming to ebay very, very soon, he heh

        2. I missed the show until this weekend. I saw a mini marathon leading up to the Hawaii trip.

          I'll go with Marcel.

          I didn't see the first maybe 6 shows. I just don't like anyone on the other team at this point.

          Mike is a PITA, but I think Sam has a decent attitude.

          1. Very interesting so far. I think it's no contest: Ilan takes no risks, basically makes things he makes in his everyday job. Marcel is very creative and takes risks--a true chef. It's a little worrisome that Sam and Mikey are throwing him under the bus at the judges' table as I type....:(

            1. Good thing that Marcel said Sam helped.

              1 Reply
              1. re: MaspethMaven

                oh yeah, he's smart about that kind of thing., I think. Honesty is the best policy, esp when the sous chefs were just at the judges' table!

              2. Marcel fell apart in the third course - he seemed completely discombobulated in trying to come up with something to replace the fish course.

                Based on where they were both standing in the lineup in front of the judges, and where Padma was looking when she said "You are the Top Chef" in the previews, I think I know who wins...but I guess we'll see in a few minutes.

                4 Replies
                1. re: LindaWhit

                  I don't think he completely fell apart. The other components of the course were already going to be there, even if the fish wasn't. So he got distracted... who wouldn't when so much on the line?

                  PS, seeing 56% of voters want Ilan to win, I am convinced I live in a nation of sheep.

                  1. re: MaspethMaven

                    But from what we were shown, he didn't seem to know how to deal with it or what else to do...and Sam had to step in and manage that course.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Sam did the exact same thing for Elia in the Valentine's day challenge and they weren't even on a team together then.

                      (Which is why Sam should be top chef... but also why we shouldn't be too harsh on Marcel for accepting help, especially since he gave Sam credit at the JT)

                      1. re: Adrienne

                        Sam did the exact same thing for Elia in the Valentine's day challenge and they weren't even on a team together then.

                        (Which is why Sam should be top chef...

                        ~~~~~~~~~~

                        I completely agree.

                2. Marcel is passing the buck like any poor manager would. He can't manage. Granted, Ilan had more compliant cooks, Marcel cannot do anything but take full responsibility for his mistakes.

                  Hopefully this show will teach him that lesson.

                  Regardless, in the long run, I feel Marcel has more drive and creativity...

                  14 Replies
                  1. re: Foureyes137

                    Please! Marcel asked them before they left the kitchen after the 4 hour prep time if they had everything on the cart. Sam and Mikey sabotaged him big time. The fact that Marcel saw in the five minutes they had to get their carts that things had been "forgotten" off the cart should have been his first clue that those assholes were not behind him. I'm just sorry he didn't have the wherewithall to distrust them enought to check all his components before they left the kitchen. If Marcel had anything going against him, it was naivety -- he didn't get that people would actually stoop so low as his teammates did in the finale.

                    Anyhow, I don't think there was a clear winner of this season. Of the two in the finale, I was rooting for Marcel, as the underdog, but neither he nor Ilan hit it out of the ballpark for me. Ilan should have gotten SOME KIND of comeuppance for his poor behavior earlier on in the competition. Talk about editing to make your winner look a little bit better! Ilan was clearly the instigator in many of the events that got other chefs kicked off, but got to stay in the game because of his "talent."

                    I thought Marcel handled himself well at the Chef's table -- at least he was honest and admitted to Sam's help on the "missing fish" dish; unlike Ilan, who lied about the "inspiration" he recieved from the Hawaiian ingredients. He clearly stated in the menu planning stage that all Hawaii contributed were the ingredients and the rest of the menu was planned beforehand. So basically, he lied at the judging table in his "I was inspired by the ingredients" conversation. Ilan sucks.

                    I know the show was a hit for Bravo, but I really hope they put people on this show in the next season who can cook as well as behave like a person older than the age of 16.

                    1. re: DanaB

                      I *really* do not think that this was a case of Sam and Mike deliberately sabotaging him. Mikey is just too goofy to do that and I truly think that Sam has more integrity than that.

                      1. re: heathermb

                        I, like Heather, do not believe that they would really do that on purpose, but it is possible that Marcel asked "is everything here?" and that they didn't check at all before saying it was. I can easily believe that Mikey would be that lazy.

                        1. re: Adrienne

                          I agree with Heather and Adrienne. I don't believe in any deliberate malfeasance. If it were MY finale and MY money and title on the line, I'd double and triple check regardless of what my sous chefs said.

                      2. re: DanaB

                        I was so disgusted. Does anyone recall the ride in the RAV 4 that both Sam and Mikey said, "Yeah Marcel has to go." I can't remember what competiion it was but they were driving to the store...So I am not believing that they had Marcel's back and they truly wanted him not to win. It was such a let down.

                        1. re: chef chicklet

                          You have to ask yourself why every other contestant on the show disliked Marcel that much. It isn't jealousy. Marcel was apparently very dislikeable and, according to a number of blogs and posts, we didn't see the half of it.

                          1. re: chicgail

                            He was annoying, but I think that was exacerbated by him being the only intellectual in the group.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              I assert that his "intellectualism" was just a kind of posturing. I am not that impressed with molecular cuisine. Just because one CAN do something technical or biological with food doesn't mean that one should. A novelty is just that -- a novelty. It is no substitute for solid culinary technique.

                              1. re: chicgail

                                People keep trying to reduce Marcel to "novelty". Was it "novelty" that got him to the finals?

                                1. re: Chinon00

                                  No, it wasn't "novelty" that got him to the finals. While he probably wasn't as good as Elia or Sam, Marel was a decent chef. What got him in the finals was the producer's intention to create "good television". Marcel was a classic villan.

                                2. re: chicgail

                                  I agree that he's an intellectual, but that doesn't necessarily equate with being smart -- being intellectual is about being interested in thought and thinking, and I definitely think Marcel is... but he can't necessarily back that up yet.

                              2. re: chicgail

                                you know, i met marcel at a party last year, way before Top Chef. he seemed very nice, laid back and was perfectly social and likeable. also, serious and passionate about food but didn't take himself all that seriously.

                                i'm not saying that i know him but what i saw on tv was vastly different from the person i met. then again, the contestants were not there to make friends - everyone's competition.

                          2. re: Foureyes137

                            "Granted, Ilan had more compliant cooks"

                            =====

                            True, but who of us at some point haven't worked for a boss we didn't get along with? One sign of a good manager (of a kitchen, office, etc.) is the ability to create an atmosphere in which everyone wants to put forth their best work regardless of whether they like their boss. Marcel just couldn't do that. He doesn't have the management skills necessary for a top chef.

                            1. re: heathermb

                              While I agree with the premise; if I ever had to manage an office as disfunctional as a kitchen in a reality TV program, I would outsource so fast your head would spin.

                              Neither of these two had the managerial where-with-all with lead a kitchen. If anyone had those skills it was Sam. But I digress...

                          3. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

                            I'm so annoyed. Figures he quit Casa Mono last week.

                            I'm boycotting Bravo.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: MaspethMaven

                              Well we'll see how his Casa Mono dishes do at his new Restaurant...

                              1. re: King of Northern Blvd

                                If there was any justice in the world Andy Nusser would be getting $50,000.

                                1. re: KTinNYC

                                  It would have been fun to see Nusser (or co-owner Batali) as one of the guest judges.
                                  Although naturally they could not - conflict of interest.
                                  But Ilan pulled if off at the tender age of 24 - he did great,
                                  and like a good chef, he steals great

                                  marcel wasn't breaking new culinary territory either, he just didn't pull it off

                            2. Ugh. I liked Marcel's risks throughout the show, but Ilan held it together tonight. Though I'd have rather eaten Marcel's meal (provided I did not know Mike had touched my food at some point).

                              Ohhhhhh, the saffron and paprika comment. Sour grapes. See: Descendents

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Foureyes137

                                Re: saffron/paprika comment - exactly what I thought. He might like himself, he might like his personality, but if he can't get others to work well with him (or work with him at all!), it will continue to be a problem for Marcel.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  I have to agree, in part. While I think Marcel makes a poor kitchen manager, I think he makes a better exec. as I enjoy the fun he has with his menu.

                                  Ilan is quite the other side of that coin. SOME kitchen management skills and little originality.

                              2. Ludicrous - it shows leadership to constantly put someone down, say you "want to pee" on them? This show is a sham. And there's ugly Betty, back again with her goofy smile, and Elia who turned out to be just as big an ass.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: Gigigirl2

                                  "want to pee on his head' Not what you want to hear in the kitchen.

                                  1. re: Withnail42

                                    I agree - I've thought Ilan had a homoerotic thing for Marcel for a while.

                                    1. re: Gigigirl2

                                      When your were a kid who did you pick on?...The kid you liked.

                                    2. re: Withnail42

                                      It was "hand" not head. Doesn't make it mature but it wasn't head.

                                      1. re: laylag

                                        Evidently Marcel got stung by a sea urchin and that's an apparently common way to ease the sting. Maybe Ilan had a little perverse pleasure in the idea of doing it, but there was actually a good reason for it.

                                        1. re: revsharkie

                                          No maybe about it... Yes, the urchin sting started the conversation, but if you saw the thing, Ilan clearly said: "I would have loved to pee on Marcel." He was being a nasty schmuck as usual. In any case, they deserved each other.

                                          1. re: revsharkie

                                            Very convenient for Ilan. Still an odd offer to make. Would not be the first thing that would come to my mind.

                                            1. re: revsharkie

                                              Indeed, I thought Marcel ended up peeing on his own hand to ease the sting. Wasn't Ilan's comment made just as, or just after, Marcel was peeing (presumably to get some on his hand?) I thought the camera showed Marcel from the back at the edge of the beach, zipping up his pants as if he had just pee'd?

                                              Pee is indeed a common folk-remedy for sea creature stings. (though I think the effectiveness has been questioned in recent years)

                                              Ilan took advantage of the situation to get in a little snippy remark, but what is unusual about that?

                                      2. i am watching the bravotv.com post interview and i am curious as to what marcel is smoking. why is he speaking like that??

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: paparouna

                                          LOL! I just turned that on as well - he is so trying to be one of the home-boys. He sounds like an idiot.

                                        2. NOOOOOOOOO! That sucks. I guess Illan is "Top Cook"...I wanted to see a win for innovation, not imitation.

                                          Mikey I lost a LOT of respect for....lazy bum. Sam was good in the kitchen...in all honesty, he should have won it all. I think he should have gone with FRANK instead of Mikey...Frank would have been a good prescene dispite his hatred for Marcel.

                                          Well, looks like Illan's throwing a $100,000 party for him and his homies....then back to working in a restaurant.......maybe he'll have a "top spanish chef's menu" at applebees or something.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Xericx

                                            If only Cliff had known a full-nelson would cost him a free ticket to Hawaii...poor bastard must be whipping eggs harder than anyone has ever whipped eggs EVER.

                                          2. as much as i disliked marcel i had hoped he'd rise above the sour grapes but he totally lived down to my expectations. he has potential and creativity, ilan may lack that "molecular-look-at me-i am-AMAZING" attitude but the kid can cook. the bottom line is the food has to be good as well as creative.

                                            13 Replies
                                            1. re: spinach

                                              While I am not a molecular gastronomy fan, I have to disagree the Ilan was a better cook. He had a very motivated and better "cook" in Elia by his own admission. Neither Sam nor Mike proved a) motivated or b) great cooks during the run.

                                              ...unless tater skins or tableside guac makes a great cook (mike).

                                              Yes, I hate Mike.

                                              1. re: Foureyes137

                                                First of all, they both lay in their own graves (as far as being able to select their own sous chefs), so you can't really cite sous chefs as a reason for loss; 2nd, given the proper direction, you can't tell me that regardless of past differences that any of them wouldn't have done exactly what instructed to do in the kitchen. That's just ludricrous. Ilan was the better cook all along, with twice as many wins as Marcel.

                                                1. re: chefwannab

                                                  I'm not sure where your argument is. I think you just agreed with me that a great manager takes responsibilty for his actions, including who he hires. However, Elia's vitriol was apparent in her dressing down by Gail. Ilan cannot take credit for her being a better cook than he no more than Marcel can take credit for Mike being a moron.

                                                  While I can agree Ilan was a better "cook" perhaps than Marcel, I cannot agree that he was ever a better chef. Recreating dishes you've made a thousand times does not a great chef make. Sure, taking risks got Marcel burned, or put him in the "it was not great but at least he tried something different" catagory, a catagory more suitable for someone whose food I would want to eat.

                                                  If the show were "top cook" i would award Ilan the golden paper hat. Betty would be his queen and they could move into the Kenmore model home and run a catering business for boring people together.

                                              2. re: spinach

                                                Yes, as much as I don't like Marcel, I wish he would have handled the loss better. If he had bucked it up and just said congratulations to Ilan and left it at that, it would have made him look like the better chef in the end, I think.

                                                1. re: Katie Nell

                                                  what do you mean? he shook Ilan's hand, what else should he have done?

                                                  1. re: nuxvomica

                                                    Not whined and bitched about it, not say he was shocked, etc., etc... read everyone else's post- everyone agrees he acted like a spoiled brat.

                                                    1. re: Katie Nell

                                                      spoiled brat? try Ilan mocking Harold after his win. THAT's a spoiled brat to me. even as he wins, he has to continue putting others down

                                                      1. re: nuxvomica

                                                        I know, I couldn't believe Ilan said that. So childish and ungracious--Ilan won for cryin' out loud! He shouldn't have a bad thing to say about anyone!

                                                        I actually thought Marcel handled the loss pretty well considering. He looked disappointed but shook Ilan's hand and let him have his moment. Sure he was whiney in the "confessional" interview, but that should be a place where he can be honest about his feelings. He seemed to realize that his own food wasn't good enough to win the judges over...

                                                        I have a feeling that Marcel's loss will only inspire him to work harder whereas Ilan's win will contribute to more arrogance and distraction that may not take him that far as a chef.

                                                        1. re: Carb Lover

                                                          i agree, i thought he handled it pretty well considering. in the Chow interview marcel said that not one dish came out as he intended. like Sam, before, it was not his best night.

                                                          i also agree with how the win/lose situation will affect the chefs, it's easy to believe your own good press.

                                                          Marcel and Sam seem to be the most talented and skilled of the group, and (hits & misses nothwithstanding) with most imagination and creative bent, IMO, while I-want-to-be-famous Ilan is a proficient cook. but he's the youngest of the bunch so no wonder relied entirely on what he knew - it did serve him well. his attempts at something more creative (i.e. not from the casa mono recipe book) were always disastrous - cue the chocolate liver fiasco (i'm really tempted to say "turd" but hee hee trying to keep some decorum here). but i think he will learn. i think he's smart enough to know he has to. they all will. it will be very interesting to see what happens with those guys in a few years. curious about Cliff too - i think he can do a lot more than Salute affords him

                                                        2. re: nuxvomica

                                                          I didn't see that... see below in my posts, I didn't watch the aftershow.

                                                      2. re: nuxvomica

                                                        Marcel shook Ilan's hand, and then whined and bitched and "whatever"'d in the post-interview. He's been shopping that line about paprika and saffron in various venues, and still hasn't come up with a stinging version . . .

                                                        1. re: nuxvomica

                                                          peed on it : )

                                                      3. re: spinach

                                                        "the kid can cook" that it. All he can do is other peoples ideas. No creativity or spark. No way top chef.

                                                      4. Having Mikey in any kitchen is a disadvantage particularly with Marcels kinda of food. Furthermore, it seemed like they both held there noses while helping Marcel. Ilan on the other hand benefited from an utterly motivated team. Having said that Marcel was not as organized and that hurt him in the end (he forgot the fish and decided on the second course). But as the host said eventually one of them (MARCEL!) will be a superior chef but we must choose based upon performances tonight. Right there you knew that Marcel had lost. Marcel's upside is huge though. Where he wants to go with cuisine is so interesting. The sky is the limit for him. Ilan is a great chef too but where else will his cuisine go in 3 - 10 - 20 years?

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                                          Same as above
                                                          First of all, they both lay in their own graves (as far as being able to select their own sous chefs), so you can't really cite sous chefs as a reason for loss; 2nd, given the proper direction, you can't tell me that regardless of past differences that any of them wouldn't have done exactly what instructed to do in the kitchen. That's just ludricrous. Ilan was the better cook all along, with twice as many wins as Marcel.

                                                        2. Wow. They're all asses. And children to boot. I found this whole season totally awful. I wasn't rooting FOR anyone. I was rooting AGAINST. I wish they'd all gotten thrown off with the hair shaving prank and instigating violence against another contestent.

                                                          Hope there isn't a third season.

                                                          1. The show was spoiled for me first by knowing that Ilan had quit his job and second because after all the promos all week showing Padma saying who the Top Chef was, you could tell it was Ilan as soon as you saw where tehy were standing at the Judge's Table. That being said, let me join the chorus that Ilan takes no risks and basically recreates Casa Mono dishes. Perhaps well executed, but nothing new or inventive that would make me want to seek out the restaurant he ultimately opens.

                                                            1. Marcel is being SUCH an ass during BravoTV's post interview...like a spoiled child. He just doesn't get how he comes across to people.

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                I wonder if Illan will sell that Paprika Spice Blend!

                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                  Marcel is fine. Sure he's a bit long-winded and is over talking Ilan, but he was just dealt a devastating blow. Cut the kid some slack. You know Cleef didn't act all that respectful on the show either. Neither did Mia, or Frank, or Mikey, or Betty for that matter, no matter how much she didn't think her poo stank. Marcel was no more aggrogant than the rest. At least he didn't man-handle anyone or go after anyone intentional, or put down anyone else's food in front of the guests and judges, like Ilan did Marcel's dish during the 7 deadly sins chanllenge. So maybe, just maybe Marcel is acting like an "ass" to deflect the true hurt and embarrassment that he subjected to during the course of this show. I feel for the kid. I don't think he deserved the lambasting that he received during the show, and even though I'm not a big fan of Rosie O'Donnell's, I will be watching The View tomorrow to see Marcel. She and I have that one thing in common, we both like Marcel (or Marcelis, as I like to call him). Good luck in life, Marcel!

                                                                  1. re: Keiwei

                                                                    On Bravo's website last night, he wasn't "just dealt a blow" - the show was taped 2 months ago...and Marcel had more than enough time to deal with it and learn from his past actions. Rather than be gracious during the interview, he continued with snide behind-the-hand comments about several people on the show. Very poor form, and shows how childish he is and how he doesn't think before he speaks.

                                                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    If you want to talk about someone being an ASS you only have to look as far as Ilan. He behaved badly ALL season.

                                                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                                                      so true. i wonder what it's going to be like for Ilan to work in any kitchen now. it's smart to get out and go stage/work in europe for a while where nobody knows him and let it all die down and everyone forget his weasely ways

                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                      and he doesn't care how he comes across. For those of us who like his style, that's part of the charm. Granted, he has some leadership issues that need to be worked out, and he could have been better organized with a plan b and a plan c... but in 10 years, I'll still want to go where he's cooking, just to see the product.

                                                                    3. i wish illan and sam had gone head to head...that would have been alot more interesting....

                                                                      1. This season yawn. Last season better, more about the food, less about the drama. Even though i watched every episode, I couldn't have cared less about who won. The only reason I watched the last two was because we stayed in that hotel when we were in Hawaii and I wanted to see it again.

                                                                        1. Did I miss it, or did they not ask Marcel who should win and why? (They did ask Ilan.) I tell you, Ilan's teammates annoyed me more than anyone on the show. Blech. I hope they play it more for food and less for personality next time.

                                                                          1. Oy, as usual, Ilan busts out the Casa Mono dishes for the finale. As Elia said, no matter what the dessert was, it has to revolve around the bay leaf. That bay leaf fritter has been on the menu since before Ilan even worked at the restaurant. So all he really came up with was to scoop fruit with a melon baller.

                                                                            1. No way! SO dissapointing.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: gridder

                                                                                I feel as if I ate some of Mikey's food.
                                                                                Sick.

                                                                              2. In some defense of Ilan (although I think Sam is the only one of the final four who deserved to be in the finale) I would like to know how many bloggers below think that many of the most talented chefs DON'T "go with what they know"? Does Mario Batali not "go" Italian? Did Juilia Child or Jacques Pepin not "go" French? Sometimes taking a risk IS taking what you know and doing it in a completely different way or developing new twists and uses of different ingredients. As the judges said, Marcel is constantly going for something completely different, and sometimes he hits and sometimes he misses. Ilan is taking what he knows and applying it in new ways, with more successful results. Again, I don't think Ilan should have been Top Chef this season either, but I am definitely defending him over all the people here who claim he did something "easy" just because he knows Spanish cuisine.

                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                1. re: chefwannab

                                                                                  chef, I'll definitely give you that. HOWEVER...

                                                                                  Ilan did not just go with Spanish. He replicated countless exact dishes from the restaurant he worked for. More importantly, given the chance to think outside of the box, he failed miserably.

                                                                                  It would be easier for Marcel to cultivate a solid repertoire than to ask Ilan to suddenly gain a creative mind.

                                                                                  1. re: gingersweetiepie

                                                                                    I was dissapointed because I thought the bay leaf was one of the the most interesting thing on his menu, actually. (And that is not saying a lot.) Sure, great chefs go with what they know, but it seemed Ilan did it so often. I think in a cooking competition one ought to take risks.

                                                                                  2. re: chefwannab

                                                                                    All your points are true however Ilan was always picking on Marcel for his 'foams'. Ilan is simply a bully who talks a good game and thats all.

                                                                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                      and then he talks about the "risks" he takes... um, aaaaaaaahahahhaahah

                                                                                  3. I don't know why Marcel's gimmicky dishes made so many people think he was soo amazing. I was happy to read Bourdain's post about him. What drove me crazy was his own assertion that his own food was so much better than other people's - and then when you saw or heard about it, it always seemed to lack something basic when it came to seasoning. Fish w/out enough acid, tomato foam that would have been better w/ onions - and raw chicken. Come on! His ego is a problem because he doesn't see the flaws in his own creations.
                                                                                    Yes, Sam had more range and all around kitchen skill and should have been in the finale.
                                                                                    Ilan came off like a jerk and did a million Casa Mono dishes, yes - but his flavors (at least sounded like) were always right on, and that matters more to me than the science that got it there. I have doubts about what Ilan will do when sent out of the nest of the line cook's job, but I know he'll take the food seriously.

                                                                                    1. Stick a fork in this whole drama, it's done. YEE HAH!

                                                                                      Just a thought about that Julia Child comment. Julia, rest in peace, was not a chef. She didn't work in a restaurant. She was American and only learned how to cook french food when she was in her 40's. She worked hard at it too. It didn't come easy for her. I think that is one reason I admire her. She went out of her comfort zone to learn something and then become great enough to teach others.

                                                                                      By the way, when is Harold opening his restaurant? Been a year now... And in the meantime Laurent Tournedol has opened about 3 or 4 new ones in New York, I think BLT BLTs was the most recent (okay, inside joke and bad one at that...).

                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                        Trish, perhaps Julia was a poor example in my analogy (I also admire her greatly and have studied her extensively - If you haven't read "Julie and Julia" by Julie Powell, you must do so!)

                                                                                        My only point is that many of the great chefs/cooks/culinary teachers have perfected a particular type of cuisine and the progression in their careers is often due to taking this base knowledge to the next level, and the next, and the next....I do know Spanish cuisine and I can say that Ilan's dishes still appeared to be unique variations on the traditional; however, I've never eaten at Casa Mono so I guess I couldn't say how similar his dishes were to the exact selections from his restaurant. But I would hope the judges would have known and wouldn't have awarded him the title if they were such exact replicas. Once again, while I don't think Ilan is "Top Chef", he did appear to present the more satisfying overall 5-course meal (read Tom Colicchio's dish-by-dish breakdown in his blog on bravotv.com) and therefore deserved to win last night.

                                                                                        Don't know about Harold's restaurant but would also like to find out, if anyone knows.

                                                                                        1. re: chefwannab

                                                                                          Chef, I've been eating at Casa Mono since the first week it opened. Believe me when I say they were replicas. The reason Casa Mono is such a successful retaurant with delicious food is because they do what you say: unique variations on the traditional. The judges very well knew what was happening but were tactful and careful about their words: see Gail in part 1 of the finale, not outright accusing anyone of copying but making clear that he makes Spanish dishes day after day.

                                                                                          For a lot of people (at least on televionwithoutpity) the fact that the judges had an inkling is exactly why the show has no credibility.

                                                                                          At the end of the day it was picking the lesser of two evils, not a clear winner.

                                                                                          1. re: gingersweetiepie

                                                                                            I think you meant to say "had no inkling," but in fact some of them clearly knew quite well that Ilan was playing it safe. That just wasn't enough to cost him the match given Marcel's mistakes.

                                                                                            That he was one of the strongest contestants just shows that the producers' standards were too low.

                                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                              No, I meant to say that they DID know these were dishes he's cooked at the restaurant, didn't call him out on it in a harsh way and gave him the win.

                                                                                          2. re: chefwannab

                                                                                            See the menu for Casa Mono at http://menupages.com/restaurants.asp?...

                                                                                            Note
                                                                                            Pan con tomate/ Episode 7
                                                                                            Fideos/ Episode 11
                                                                                            Bay leaf fritter, v. similar to "donut" served at CM/ Finale

                                                                                            1. re: MaspethMaven

                                                                                              Thanks Ginger and Maven. Next time I am in NYC I will check it out. I adore Spanish food and make a lot of it myself. Ilan apparently quit last week so I'd just be there for the food!

                                                                                              Again, I don't believe either of them deserved to be Top Chef, but I still couldn't have stood to see Marcel win. Not because I didn't like his personality, but because throughout the show he seemed to be more show than substance. While his dishes often looked good and were creative, the judges didn't often agree when it came to flavor. I'll take taste over presentation every time.

                                                                                        2. Our podcasts are posted on CHOW now, if you want to hear Marcel and Ilan.
                                                                                          Ilan: http://www.chow.com/stories/10434
                                                                                          Marcel: http://www.chow.com/stories/10435

                                                                                          1. so........basically Ilan wins on dessert and sous staff support.

                                                                                            even Padma didn't believe Ilan's menu was "created on the spot" and market-driven, just listen to her say "really?" in response to how he didn't have a master plan

                                                                                            Ilan thought he "stepped out" of what he knows. are you kidding me? spanish/casa mono all the way, down to that battered bay leaf you eat the dough off - jeez, i had that when casa mono first opened!

                                                                                            i thought in the final challenge, Ilan's win would have been soooo far ahead of marcel's. but it wasn;t.

                                                                                            marcel's big mistake was not missing the fish - not even serving a green salad. it was his choice of sous chefs. why the hell pick mikey who declared to prefer to work for the competition???

                                                                                            the good thing for marcel is that he knows he's good but this will leave him still hungry and thus learning more. based on the meals themselves, he could have won it - the judges seemed more appreciative of marcel's dishes (except for that salad and possibly dessert). Ilan? too full of himself to learn much - expect more tapas and casa mono recycling. he should use the $$ well and travel and learn beyond the cannon he's mastered. maybe he will. he's a proficient cook, he may make a good chef one day.

                                                                                            between the two, i'd rather have marcel's food - more curious about what he can make. had food made by Ilan at casa mono (although it's different from what "Ilan's food" might be...) met marcel in the fall but never had his food - i'd like to though. he's one to watch - along with Sam

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: nuxvomica

                                                                                              totally agree with you. If not for Elia coming up with the dessert centered around Elan's bay leaf, who knows what Elan would have concocted. And, as you pointed out, Mkey was a worst choice for Marcel. Mia would at least have been a morale booster, and i am sure, an better contributor to the effort. Sam, to his credit, did try his best to help Marcel, it seemed, during the prep and cooking time, though he did not hesitate to throw Marcel under the bus for being a disorganized leader. Still, I don't think that Sam undermined Marcel during the prep and cooking stages, and it is unfortunate (and immature) that Marcel hinted during the Bravo webcast that there was a possibility that Sam might have.

                                                                                              But tsk tsk on Sam for taking all the credit for the save. Granted, he helped to steady Marcel when the fish could not be found but he did not create the dish as he claimed. I wonder it that misrepresentation might have swayed the judges in Ilan's favor, given that initially it was said that both dishes were equally liked.

                                                                                              But back to Mikey--it would have been better for Marcel had Mikey stayed in Lodi. He appeared to be of marginal help during prep and cooking, acting more as a minimum wage kitchen helper than a sous chef.

                                                                                              On another point, i am a bit surprised the judges let Ilan get away with his claim that he thought of everything on the fly; wonder how they feel now after seeing that the first course he absolutely had to use his preserved baby eels and had to use his bay leaf in the dessert. As someone commented elsewhere, maybe it takes a bit of dishonesty to be a top chef. too bad, and very sad.

                                                                                              Too bad Marcel did not execute better..

                                                                                              1. re: sushidog

                                                                                                It is probably not important, but I think the bay leaves may have come from the market. I saw big branches of them --

                                                                                                1. re: gridder

                                                                                                  That's correct. He saw them and had a huddle with Elia and Betty to figure out what the rest of the dish should be.

                                                                                            2. can i just say the music, ugh!!!!! makes the show almost unbearable to watch.

                                                                                              1. Without reading the above, I knew Ilan would win based on the ads (Bravo's editors should be shot, talk about spoilers...). But the judges had issues with 2 of Ilan's courses, one of Marcel's (granted, even if his vinaigrette had worked out, bad call on Marcel's part). The winner should have been Marcel. Marcel's flaw? Picking Mikey over Mia. You were set up, dude! After all Sam's complaints about Micheal during the concept episode, and then for him to push for Mikey? Set up....

                                                                                                And Ilan, your personality and comments regarding Harold (not my choice either but still...)? You have no grace.

                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: chaddict

                                                                                                  What did he say about Harold?

                                                                                                  1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                    Ilan made fun of how Harold won last year. Like after Harold won he said he wanted a cocktail. Petty.

                                                                                                    1. re: kloomis

                                                                                                      Yeah, that was a horrible display of Ilan's immature nastiness. Who makes fun of someone like that for no reason at all? 12 year olds do, that's who. Yuck.

                                                                                                      1. re: kloomis

                                                                                                        That's Ilan for you. Teenage girl right til the end.

                                                                                                        1. re: kloomis

                                                                                                          yeah, i was stunned to see that. not just petty. it's not enough to win, he has to put down others? it almost seems like he's putting Harold down because of inevitable comparisons. Harold is definitely a more mature and talented chef - a chef as opposed to Ilan's cook. he's also a man to Ilan's boy and was well liked and respected by the audience. no wonder Ilan's feeling insecure.

                                                                                                        2. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                          Complained that Harold wasn't excited enough when he won last year and that his food was boring. Totally unecessary shot but that's to be expected

                                                                                                          1. re: bklyngrl

                                                                                                            Classy bunch this season. Jeez.

                                                                                                            I hope someone invents a classometer to give the producers during casting next season, otherwise we will have another 4 months of watching people argue rather than cook.

                                                                                                            1. re: bklyngrl

                                                                                                              I guess it takes one to know one...

                                                                                                        3. I think what sunk it for Marcel was that he blamed his staff for not bringing the fish and took credit for Sam's idea for the substitution using sea beans. Through out the show I kept feeling Marcel kept digging a bigger hole for himself. He obviously wowed the judges and should have left well enough alone regarding his comments in front of the judges table.

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

                                                                                                            If you go back and watch the episode, Marcel had already planned to include all the components of that dish, including sea beans, before he knew the fish was missing. Sam did nothing other than help him keep it together knowing his main ingredient was suspiciously missing. Thanks, Mikey!

                                                                                                            1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                              Didn't Sam outright lie and say that the sea beans were his idea?

                                                                                                              He saved Marcel's ass on that dish, but it looked like all he really did was figure out how to plate the dish minus the fish.

                                                                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                Yes, it appeared to me that Sam lied and took full credit for the dish. Marcel mentioned sea beans earlier in the episode and his use of it in the previous challenge shows that he's familiar w/ it. I thought it was pretty honest of Marcel to give Sam some credit for helping him quickly regroup, unlike how Tiffani tried to take credit for Dave's dessert last season.

                                                                                                                While I didn't have much allegiance to either finalist, I found myself rooting for Marcel. His dishes looked much more interesting and appealing to me. More skillful and original, not heavy handed like Ilan's. More of a personal expression of who he really is and is trying to become. It's too bad that he wasn't more organized and didn't have a team who was really behind him (which I know was of his doing).

                                                                                                                I'm not sure why he chose Mikey, but the crew he had to choose from reminded me of how there were weaker contestants this season. I found Betty totally grating once again and the "lovefest" of Ilan's team appeared forced to me.

                                                                                                                Elia still seemed pretty bitter about being eliminated, but her cooking technique really helped Ilan out. That moi looked incredible. It was interesting when she was asked if she thought Ilan should win and she stressed that Ilan should win over Marcel. I read that as her not believing Ilan deserved to win in general.

                                                                                                                I guess Bravo must be happy that everyone is watching and gossiping about it this season, but the quality of the show and its contestants lacked so much class compared to last season. I wonder if Colicchio will do season three...

                                                                                                                1. re: Carb Lover

                                                                                                                  of course he will - it's been good for him and exposed him to much younger audience.

                                                                                                                  well put, by the way.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Carb Lover

                                                                                                                    The "lovefest" was gruesome... I kept expecting them all to make out together! Ewwww... mental picture go away, mental picture go away!

                                                                                                                    1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                      That is a horrible thought. I was hoping they would not all break out in a renditions of Koombayah (sp?)

                                                                                                                      1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                        I know, a horrible image. Makes me nauseous (or is it nauseated :-)) just thinking about it. Betty's "love" for Ilan seemed primarily fueled by her hatred for Marcel.

                                                                                                                  2. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                    Oops, not one of my brainier moments. Thanks for setting me straight. I guess I got caught up with Sam's good looks and distracted by Marcel's commentary.

                                                                                                                2. Marcel was a sore loser and Ilan was a sore winner.

                                                                                                                  Marcel, instead of publically congratulating Ilan on his win, chose to whine about it instead. Guess he doesn't know the concept of being gracious.

                                                                                                                  And Ilan? Bad mouthing Harold for his low keyed reaction when he won season one was nothing short of rude and inappropriate, not to mention stupid.

                                                                                                                  1. Marcel seemed drunk last night during the live on-line interview, and I honestly can't blame him if he wasn't "gracious" after the way he'd been treated. But Marcel lovers, take heart - apparently Rosie is his biggest fan, and he will be on The View today.

                                                                                                                    1. This is like american idol, where the runner up is a bit more talented and will be a success in the long run. Like Jennifer hudson. i am craving marcels coffee and blini dessert. that for me at least looked better than the soup with bay leaf.

                                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: jordana

                                                                                                                        Agreed - I pretty much choked at the thought of the flavor of bay in a desert. My husband and I looked at each other, in complete puzzlement when he first mentioned he wanted to use those leaves. Seems to harsh a flavor to work effectively, but what do I know? I'm just a home cook.

                                                                                                                        Over all, Marcel's dishes intrigued me a whole lot more.

                                                                                                                        1. re: sivyaleah

                                                                                                                          well, maybe one of the folks that have had the bay leaf at Casa Mono could let us know how it tastes... :-)

                                                                                                                          seriously, since you don't eat the actual leaf, just scrape off the fritter, I bet it wouldn't be too harsh. The judges seemed to like Ilan's dessert quite a bit...

                                                                                                                          1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                            not harsh at all - the flavor is rather delicate. but it's fried dough so of course it's good - like other fried dough - donuts, beignets, etc.

                                                                                                                            1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                              Have had the bay leaf fritters every time I've been there, which does back to its opening week about three years ago. I love Casa Mono; it has been one of my favorite restaurants for a long time now. I'm actually disappointed that it's gotten so much attention via Top Chef. It's crowded enough to begin with and it's weird to think that Top Chefs pack themselves in without knowing what the restaurant is about.

                                                                                                                              So a warning to the Ilan fans: not only is he not there anymore, but the restaurants is best known for offal dishes: cock's combs, tripe, sweetbreads (glands). Yum for me, not so much for most of the people I know.

                                                                                                                          2. re: jordana

                                                                                                                            Well the recipe is on bravo -- the ingredients might be unusual and hard to find, but I think the actual process is probably replicable.

                                                                                                                            1. re: jordana

                                                                                                                              I thought it could have used some color... maybe just a raspberry sauce or a mint leaf, but it looked a little 'poopy' on the plate. What I didn't understand is why the blini was flat on the plate? It would have been an even neater presentation if the blini were shaped like a cone with a spoon of the mousse in it and the coffee spilling out, sort of like a cornucopia. Isn't that how blinis are sometimes presented anyway?

                                                                                                                              1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                A mint leaf would have been the kiss of death! Garnishes unrelated to the dish itself is too generic and shunned by chefs with high standards.

                                                                                                                                I didn't have a problem with the color - brown, browner, brownest looked like a nice,subtle progession of tones.

                                                                                                                                1. re: gingersweetiepie

                                                                                                                                  I agree with Katie Nell's idea of giving the dessert more shape, and GSP's assessment that mint leaves would not have helped.

                                                                                                                                  If you were going to add a sauce, I would think hazelnut would be the best flavor to go with both chocolate and coffee... this is making me hungry :)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                                    Well, at any rate, something! I wasn't say that a mint leaf or a raspberry sauce were the ideal choices, but just pointing out that it needed something! It looked more appropriate for the color scheme challenge!

                                                                                                                            2. I was somewhat overall dissapointed with this season.. I didn't really prefer either chef going into the finale. I don't think that either chef had a lot of maturity to back up everything else they have to offer.

                                                                                                                              1. FYI... I was flipping channels the other night and I saw Brian Hill (from last season) on quite possibly the most ridiculous show on television- High Maintenance 90210 http://www.eonline.com/on/shows/highm... He looked like a complete fool! Someone on the show (I didn't watch long enough to figure out who he was) said "He's just like every other chef, and thinks he's a god!"

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                  I was reading about the upcoming serious foodie event, Masters of Food and Wine in Carmel, and was shocked to see Marisa Churchill's name on the roster. This is among other chefs like Gary Danko and Wylie Dufresne...

                                                                                                                                  http://www.mfandw.com/chefs.html

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Carb Lover

                                                                                                                                    sexing it up for the younger set? or those more into tv than food, he heh

                                                                                                                                    andy warhol was a genius

                                                                                                                                2. I think that to a degree the others may have been intimidated by Marcel’s vision and ideas. That coupled with some admitted missteps by Marcel created what we saw which was at some points a down right irrational dislike of Marcel. If Marcel wasn’t a “molecular gastronomic” chef there wouldn’t have been half of the tension IMHO.

                                                                                                                                  Often a person can be perceived as a “know-it-all” or arrogant for simply being excited about new ideas and being eager to enlighten. That’s was my take on Marcel.

                                                                                                                                  Marcel, hang in there and don’t let the “haters” get you down. We need you!

                                                                                                                                  1. Goodbye and good riddence to this season.

                                                                                                                                    I sat watching this episode not giving one single hoot who won or lost. Every single person involved had some fatal flaw which, for me, prevents them from being able to achieve the status of being a "Top Chef" - at least at this point in their lives.

                                                                                                                                    I'm totally uninterested in Ilan's food. It all seems so "been there done that". I don't like his character. It was laughable, at judge's table, when he said something to the effect of him being a nicer person (I don't remember his exact words, it was very eloquent the way he went on and made me want to gag). Nicer? I think not.

                                                                                                                                    Marcel? I'm more interested in his food but he is totally not ready to have the mantle of Top Chef bestowed upon him. He is way too immature, in a far different way than Ilan - who at least seems like he could possibly motivate and lead people. He does need, as I believe it was Bourdain wrote, to possibly study under some really serious people for a while and have the wind knocked out of him. I see the makings of something very interesting in him, but right now, he couldn't cook his way out of a box, as he'd probably forget the Xacto knife to get him out.

                                                                                                                                    Here's hoping next season (if there is one) is far better.

                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: sivyaleah

                                                                                                                                      'he'd probably forget the Xacto knife to get him out.'

                                                                                                                                      But he'd find a way to blame Marcel.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                        I was talking about Marcel.

                                                                                                                                    2. I still don't get this notion of Marcel as a great innovator. As Bourdain and others have pointed out, Adria introduced foams ten years ago. Copying a ground-breaking technique that another chef created years before doesn't make you innovative. It's kind of like showing up with a mohawk and expecting people to treat you like Sid Vicious. He is a creative guy, but I agree--he needs to get humble, get real, and start coming up with his own ideas that are rooted in real food and real tastes, not an abstract idea about being a kitchen iconoclast. His lack of leadership showed in the finale, especially the way he blamed everything that went wrong on his staff--I was just waiting for him to take charge and say "yeah, I slipped there--my bad." Both he and Ilan had a lot of embarassingly petty moments in the finale--neither of them would've been my pick--but at least Ilan managed his kitchen and gave them props and thanks afterwards. Marcel's true colors showed yet again. He's talented, but he's got a long way to go before he's a "top chef."

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: greengage

                                                                                                                                        I never described Marcel as an innovator. He is (to my estimation) very excited about this whole molecular gastronomy thing which I wouldn't exactly describe as "common eating" even among chows. As for "get[ting] real, and start[ing] to com[e] up with his own ideas that are rooted in real food and real tastes . .] what is "real" food and "real" tastes? Do YOU define that? That is the kind of judgmental statement that discourages innovation and encourages what we already have. There are hundreds of IIans in NYC alone (as there should be maybe). But could we make a little room for guys from Marcel's school (of thought). It's a big world isn't it?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: greengage

                                                                                                                                          Chapel was doing foams before Adria.

                                                                                                                                        2. Love it or hate it, or disagree with the outcome, at least this show was entertaining and got people emotionally engaged, which is what entertainment is all about.

                                                                                                                                          Marcel's main mistake was his naivete in trusting others. I don't know why Sam would tell him to pick Mike considering how Mike shown Sam that he can't even line cook at a previous challenge. Once Marcel discovered that something was missing at the first pass he should have double checked instead of taking others for their words that everything's packed. Sam's remarks to the Judges that he dreamt up the replacement was misleading. All Sam told Marcel to do was just serve the dish w/o the fish. Big deal.

                                                                                                                                          On the food - with all the fresh seafood available and the Japanese restaurant as a theme I would have dressed up the salad with a few slices of fresh sashimi in a rosette form. That will take it beyond a simple salad. But as other blogs pointed out, salad composition is not valued and so the smarter thing is not to put one on the table. Ironically in Hawaii greens are very, very expensive and salad is not the cheap stuff as here on the mainland. I don't know if the judges know that.

                                                                                                                                          I don't know how an undercooked tough piece of short ribs and canned food can be good. Plus the other thing that's funny is that they liked how the squab was perfectly cooked - and it looks like from the footage Bravo included that it was actually done by Elia, and not Ilan. Lastly, Ilan's dessert that they raved about was really a concoction by the others. His only contribution is that he wanted bay leaf in it. Aparrently Casa Mono served a dessert dish with a fried herb in it and he borrowed the idea.

                                                                                                                                          The rationale was that they pick the person closest to Top Chef at this point - too bad they didn't use the same criteria before or Sam would have been in the Final 2.

                                                                                                                                          I agree with others. I will pay for Marcel's food but not Ilan. At least for my money I know it will be something I've not seen before and it will be a new tasting and hopefully tasty experience. If you want to taste Ilan's food you may as well go to Casa Mono.

                                                                                                                                          Anyway adversity helps matures a person, I think it will be interesting to see if Marcel can realize his potential in the future and concentrate more on flavors and less on gimmicky equipment and techniques.

                                                                                                                                          I sure hope Tom C. picks a better chef for his new Craft branch in LA than he picked the Top Chef this season.

                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: notmartha

                                                                                                                                            "If you want to taste Ilan's food you may as well go to Casa Mono."

                                                                                                                                            Touche.

                                                                                                                                            In fact, in my mental list of "when I'm in New York, I should try..." I have thought about going to Craft, Casa Mono, and whereever Sam or Harold or maybe even Cliff are working (when is Harold's restaurant opening anyway?) -- but any accomplishment of Ilan's on this show I automatically attributed to Casa Mono without really thinking about it until reading your post.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                                              Cliff's restaurant is Salute, but isn't really all that wonderful to go out of your way for if you're ever in NYC. It's more of a neighborhood place - sort of Italian/Mediterranean, nicely prepared, solid food but nothing too remarkable. You can get the same food anywhere in the city. I'm not knocking it by any means - I actually have eaten there a lot, since I lived in the neighborhood and still work a couple of blocks away and take out lunch from their small take-away counter frequently. It just isn't a "destination".

                                                                                                                                              1. re: sivyaleah

                                                                                                                                                Thank you for that information. I'm actually from New York so even though I don't live there now, I'm often back for weeks at a time to visit my folks -- otherwise I definitely wouldn't have that on my list. (Right now actually, WD50 is at the very top of my list... Marcel has succeeded in piquing my curiosity about technique!)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                                                  Now that's one to try. My boss and I (we're good frends) have been talking about going for ages and for some reason haven't been able to get it together. We really need to do that :-)

                                                                                                                                                2. re: sivyaleah

                                                                                                                                                  you're totally right about Salute. Cliff is the chef but not owner. he's working withing the confines of the restaurnat's concept (and i don;t think he opened it either). i'd be curious to try Cliff's food when he does his own thing

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nuxvomica

                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for pointing that out - I meant to mention he is only the chef, but forgot.

                                                                                                                                            2. For those who may not know... there was a style of cooking which gained the attention of NY food writers a couple of years ago: tiny restaurants without big kitchens relying on canned and jarred foods. Besides being economically efficient and a smart use of space, it was sborn out of the idea that canned goods from Europe (especially small fish) were of excellent quality and nothing to be shamed of serving.

                                                                                                                                              Right now the trend is to openly embrace the use of MSG. It's turning low brow into high brow while laughing all the way to the bank.

                                                                                                                                              I give Ilan full credit for knowing what's hot with the "cool clique" of NY chefs and attempting to carry out that vision. Too bad he let that come before actual taste - Tom C. says the eels were not the best.

                                                                                                                                              6 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: gingersweetiepie

                                                                                                                                                Unless I missed something I don't there was ever a trend or style of cooking using canned/jarred foods. I do remember Gabriel Hamilton writing an article saying she, at times, used canned beans which caused a minor furor.

                                                                                                                                                Can you cite any other examples of the canned/jarred cookery?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                  I remember this trend as well - a groovy brooklyn thing perhaps?
                                                                                                                                                  Gabriel and her triscuits with sardines, and a couple of little places that used tinned fish etc as gingersweetie mentions

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                    I definitely can't remember where I read about this, but I have heard of it too -- especially in tapas-style eating where some items really are intended to be eaten out of cans (olives are probably the most obvious example).

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                      Can't think of the exact name but there was indeed a Brooklyn spot. It's also common in Spain. (Merci pitu and Adrienne!)

                                                                                                                                                      I guess I was getting at a large point: Ilan doesn't realize just how similar he is to Marcel. Besides having just as much arrogance and a purposeful, planned sense of style (What's worse? Big hair or mixing Jacob the Jeweler-style watches with casio digitals?) his cooking style is just as derivative, only in a different genre.

                                                                                                                                                      Marcel finds what's hot (meaning years old) in molecular gastronomy and goes for it. Ilan finds what's hot with the celebrated chefs of NY and does the same. I'm not discrediting the rest of the American dining public by any means, but I think it's harder for them to recognize in Ilan because the dining trends he refers to in NY take some time to trickle down to other cities.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: gingersweetiepie

                                                                                                                                                        Brooklyn spot is called Sample, tiny little wisp of a place that's a wine bar with small plates of thing out of jars and cans...along with some cheeses, cured meats, etc. No heat involved in any of their prep.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: bklyngrl

                                                                                                                                                          I think though that the greater point or question is does using this approach make you a better chef (or a Top Chef for that matter)? I'd have to say no because it virtually precludes technique.

                                                                                                                                                  2. Marcel was on the View this morning.... not Ilan. He was pretty self-restrained, but did come off a little arrogant (as usual). They talked about his hair more than the cooking, but you could tell Rosie really liked him. I think he may end up getting more mileage out of the show than the other cheftestants.

                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kloomis

                                                                                                                                                      I'm on the west coast so I am watching The View just to see Marcel. I really detest this show, and they haven't mentioned him at all yet. I think it's already half over as well. When during the show does he come on? I don't know how much more of the insipid conversation I can take...

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: soypower

                                                                                                                                                        Tape it, then fast-forward.

                                                                                                                                                    2. Meh. In the end it came down to execution and ability to manage. Like it or not Marcel should have had a checklist to make sure all the prepped food made it to the kitchen - at least the main ingredients anyway. Mikey is a dope, everyone knows that. Maybe it was Marcel's way of trying to build trust and motivate Mikey, but it was a mistake to not run through everything. And about the molecular thing - Collichio warned him about the humidity. And even it had worked, wasn't it just a nifty way of delivering vinaigrette? In the end it would have been pretty much the same salad. As for management, any head chef needs people skills, and Marcel's skills are seriously lacking. Notice how the editing showed Ilan hugging everyone, whereas Marcel's kitchen was less friendly, more tense? Despite what some said, it is a personality contest - at least in part. You just gotta get along or at least show some respect for other people. Do you think Marcel would ever admit that one of his teammates is a better cook like Ilan did?
                                                                                                                                                      *******
                                                                                                                                                      Sam probably should have won, except for the four words that keep coming back to me: Watermelon and Blue Cheese.

                                                                                                                                                      1. I'm sorry I still can't figure out why Sam wasn't one of the two finalists. Both Ilan and Marcel lacked his maturity and ability. He was the obvious candidate from day 1 for the Top Chef title. Both Illan and Marcel behaved like little boys most of the time and neither had the culinary skills or imagination to be a believeable "Top Chef." I'll be surprised if in a year we know who either of them are.

                                                                                                                                                        1. I'd like to rename this thread
                                                                                                                                                          "Ilan: 'I'd like to pee on Marcel' "
                                                                                                                                                          I thought that was toooo funny.

                                                                                                                                                          Still, I would have rather seen Sam V Elia, or Sam v. Ilan.
                                                                                                                                                          And I think Marcel was crazy to pick Mikey. Pick the laziest slob in the kitchen?? dude . . .

                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pitu

                                                                                                                                                            Yep, I can't wait to see what Amuse Biatch is going to do with that line...

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chaddict

                                                                                                                                                              Thank you SO much for pointing me toward Amuse Biatch!! Their recap is HILARIOUS, and I have a new site for required reading to fill my weekly sarcasm quota.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: allegro805

                                                                                                                                                                Wasn't that the best recap? I may, just may, watch Top Designer if only to understand the recaps on Pink Navy, Amuse Biatch's answer to the new show.

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: pitu

                                                                                                                                                              It sounds very homo erotic on Ilans part.

                                                                                                                                                            3. I think Ilan won fair and square based on the food he served.

                                                                                                                                                              Assignment: make the best meal of your life.

                                                                                                                                                              Question from Tom Colicchio at the judge's table: was that the best meal you've ever made?

                                                                                                                                                              Ilan said yes and was obviously sincere.

                                                                                                                                                              Marcel didn't give a straight answer. Presumably the answer was "no" given that he wasn't able to serve two dishes as he conceived them.

                                                                                                                                                              From Colicchio's blog:

                                                                                                                                                              "[Ilan's] meal, despite the slow start, built logically and powerfully. Overall, a fantastic meal. Marcel also did a great job, but we felt the gaps in his meal, and his ideas -- while worthy and always interesting -- weren’t always backed up with the technical expertise and a mature sense of flavor."

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

                                                                                                                                                              1. feh! I hardly think that Marcel was penalized for his xanthan gums and foams and so on--I mean, Wylie Dufresne was at the table--it's not as if these were a bunch of old-school meat-and-three-veg types. No, it's not common eating (thank God--I do NOT want to have to shatter my salad-dressing capsule against my wine glass before tucking in) but my point is, it's not that new either.

                                                                                                                                                                This was a (now) classic reality show ending where the two people you like the least--the petty schemers, crybabies, and egomaniacs--end up in the final round together. I still think Marcel lost out rightfully here on the meal as a whole and on his poor performance as a kitchen leader (surprise), not because he was some kind of maverick.

                                                                                                                                                                1. P.S. grubb--I must've missed the watermelon and blue cheese combo. Watermelon and feta is a classic, delicious Middle Eastern combination--don't know how the blue cheese funk might play into that, but try it--you might like it.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Gail Simmons's blog has a major criticism I don't recall hearing in the show: "[Marcel's] beef was well seasoned and cooked, but the taro was far too dry and difficult to eat without it falling apart."

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

                                                                                                                                                                    Also: "... Ilan’s food reflected not just a capable hand, but also the ability to direct a team in creating the exact meal he envisioned from the start. It was consistent, considerate and, above all else, really fun to eat."

                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                      Curious, does the episode show who was responsible for cooking the taro?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                        I thought I was only about the food in front of them.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. All I know is if I was offered the choice of eating the meal Ilan made, or the one Marcel made, I'd choose Marcel's. With the exception of the second course, I thought it was the most interesting across the board. Like others have said, 5 years from now, with a little seasoning, Marcel is going to be the Chef, Ilan will always be a cook.

                                                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dinwiddie

                                                                                                                                                                          What a disappointment this show has been.

                                                                                                                                                                          First, they so obviously axe Sam for the drama of the Elan/Marcel finale. Then, they reward blatant recipe plagarism and unexcusable behavior with the Top Chef title.

                                                                                                                                                                          Will season 3 feature a line cook from Babbo in the finale cooking Lamb's tongue vinagrette salad, Mint Love Letters pasta, Two Mintue Calamari and Olive Oil Gelato? That was what we saw rewarded here, and from predominantly NYC chefs and judges who should know Casa Mono dishes well. It may taste good, but it was not his own.

                                                                                                                                                                          What if the next crew has a member that urges even more violence and mayhem upon another more accomplished contestant without being the perpetrator? Elan's win assures that this will be accepted and honored with these judges and editors. Season 1 was so much better and classier.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: dinwiddie

                                                                                                                                                                            "... offered the choice of eating the meal Ilan made, or the one Marcel made, I'd choose Marcel's."

                                                                                                                                                                            Total opposite here. Except for the appetizer, Ilan's meal looked really great, a well-thought out sequence of dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                            Marcel's sequence made no sense to me.

                                                                                                                                                                            Given the choice, course by course, I'd have Marcel's hearts of palm instead of Ilan's canned eels for the first course, then go with Ilan's menu for the rest of the meal.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                              Then go to Casa Mono it all there.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. The best outcome would have been that the two finalists were bypassed and Sam awarded Top Chef. Even as the sous chef, he out-shined dumb (Ilan) and dumber (Marcel).

                                                                                                                                                                            Not sure I would return as a viewer after this season of stupidity, and please stop the constant Kenmore and Glad (family of products....such a warm fuzzy there!) product placement. It just made me certain of a Frigidaire purchase in my future.

                                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: montroseguys23

                                                                                                                                                                              Well, I think Lee Ann's blog on Bravo just said something about TC3 casting call in NYC recently....so they're definitely having another season. Hopefully with smarter people and less backbiting and drama.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: montroseguys23

                                                                                                                                                                                "While I understand the disappointment all the Sam fans are feeling -- he was a strong contender, an amiable guy, and clearly a favorite with the women -- I don’t regret my decision. Why? Because his food, while good, wasn’t the best that night. As judges, we’ve been charged with evaluating the challenge at hand. Period."

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

                                                                                                                                                                                "I watched last week’s episode with Sam ... 'Marcel’s food was really good,' he said, and I found myself respecting his willingness to look objectively at what must have been a crushing disappointment.

                                                                                                                                                                                "The thing is -- and I could see that Sam got this when we spoke that evening -- if our job as judges was to decide based on aggregate performance, then why even have a Finale?"

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

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                  Sam must have been doing something right if Colicchio is watching the show with him . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pitu

                                                                                                                                                                                    They were getting ready to do a tv show together. But the image of Sam and Tom sitting sitting around on a couch sharing a bowl of popcorn and watching themselves on tv makes me giggle inside.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                                      Tom and Sam are also competing as a team against Tyler Florence and another chef in the Charleston Food & Wine Festival.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. I agree with Robert, would rather eat Ilan's food. Ilan's first course was weak - he was a little too committed to use the eels, I would have preferred to see him use a local fish for a tartare or maybe a poke. Beyond that, Ilan's food was much more realized, even if some things were odd. The surf and turf sounded great, but I would have skipped the shrimp in favor of lobster to go with the broth (what happended to the meat?). And if I only had four busy hours I would never try to serve braised short ribs, just not enough time to do it right - especially with those judges! Even if the Romesco was tasty, the plate looked a little boring for such an important meal.

                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Grubbjunkie

                                                                                                                                                                                  Join him at Casa Mono.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. Everyone has complained and complained and kept watching. If you truly did not enjoy this show as entertainment (which is what is was) then why not just change the channel?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Katj

                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't get the whining and complaining about this show being weak....while some of the chefs were pretty laughable, I enjoyed the show throughly and having the "evil" Illan win makes me want to come back next season and see what happens.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I can see Marcel having a cooking show on TV in the future where he goes over innovative techniques in food...I'd love that.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Sam and Mike failed as journeyman, are you telling me if they were on the job they would treat their chef the same way??? I was a Sous for quiet a few years, my role was to make the chef look as good as he can, it did not matter if I liked him, as a true Sous, to produce the chef's food was PRIORITY! if ever I told the chef I can't find the fish I would have been fired on the spot. The inspiration of the show is to think out of the box, Marcel though his food did not appeal to me personally, reached for it, failed in some areas but redeemed himself in other ways, Ilan's short rib was produced so poorly no sauce, come on why would you braise a short rib then take away the natural stock? that traditionally makes the dish. On the other hand Marcel will learn you are only as good as the crew you have working for you, he should have taken control of HIS kitchen and given those idiots complete instruction since they did not want him to win in the first place, and for Sam to recieve $10,000 because online he was the show favorite, and Marcel got nothing for being a finalist after 14 weeks of competition ???? that sucks big time and quantifies this was a popularity contest.

                                                                                                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chefdeey

                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm not sure what you mean "failed as journeymen." Most of the contestants were line cooks, but Sam Talbot was most recently executive chef at Punch in New York.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                        The term chef is used to loosely these days just because you run a kitchen does not make you a chef "journeyman cook" is what you spent the five to ten years of cooking learning the trade learning the definition of "Chef' a true journeyman knows that if fish is on the menu it's your job to know where it is, how to prepare it for the night, how many portions you have... Journeyman

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chefdeey

                                                                                                                                                                                          Semantics aside, Sam Talbot has been the boss of his kitchens for around five years. He was chef at one place, then started his own restaurant and sold his interest to his partner, and his last job before the show he was executive chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't think you can reasonably characterize someone who has reached that level of the profession as "failed as a journeyman."

                                                                                                                                                                                          Elia was a sous chef, and Ilan and Marcel were line cooks.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                            The objective for the night was to win, Sam should have brought all that knowledge to the table, his restaurants aside would have gone through a night not knowing where his fish is for the night? You should sacrifice your standards for emotion, or gain this is within the code of ethics for being a certified Chef, I have taken that oath. some where as a journeyman he missed that code, I would be pissed at myself if I would have been a part of that ill performance in the kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                              And Elia what a sorry exscuse for a sous Chef she should have left the show after her sick performance in Burbank when she decided to prepare 2 items for 250 guest, and poorly ran that production, she failed again when she shaved her head to take the attention off her ablity to execute her dish that night, then her final elimination challenge when place chocolate directly on a sheet pan. come on man that is not a Sous Chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: chefdeey

                                                                                                                                                                                              well said about the term chef and chef-sous relationship

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: chefdeey

                                                                                                                                                                                            the job description that best describes mike's performance would be'
                                                                                                                                                                                            "unemployed minimum wage kitchen helper." Sous chef, no way. No even up to line cook quality.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: sushidog

                                                                                                                                                                                              I agree sushidog can you imagine having to pick any of those guys to be on your team, my god they were never going to help him win, I can't think how many times as a Sous chef I had to step up for my chef's in my career because they were overwhelmed or distracted that's the job of a Sous and you can bet the day will come you will wish you had a real Sous to get your back.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: chefdeey

                                                                                                                                                                                              Sam's explanation was that he didn't have a clear picture of Marcel's plan, so he couldn't easily check the list twice. He seemed sincere in his choice of Marcel to work for, since he could learn something new, and didn't seem (at that point) like he would deliberately sabotage him. (He knew what Ilan was going to do ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                            3. One question that we haven't talked about... could they not scurry on back to the walk-in and grab the fish?

                                                                                                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm pretty sure it was a good distance, no? Or was it just part of the rules? Or was there not time by the time they realized it was missing?

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: IndyGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Too far given the limited time, apparently. That's some kind of huge resort.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I figured, but I just had this picture of Mikey huffing and puffing to go get the fish and *that* would have been good tv!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                                                                                      That is the exact image of Mikey I had, as they foreshadowed mightily around the walk-in at the end of the packing up segment . . . actually, Marcel screaming and his head catching fire, then Mikey running valiantly to save the day . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                                                                                        true. otoh, I also can picture Mia actually being physically up to the task of running over getting the fish, and coming back in time....though it might have been against the rules.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Moot point, since the judges loved the dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                                                                                    If you remember they left the prep kitchen, they showed the two pans of fish when they left.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Get the job done! what ever the job takes to provide the product to the customer it is so unprofessional to have to go to the table and inform your guest your fish tonight is not fish, if Sam is executive chef he should of had the insight to find the fish, long befiore it was needed, it is very easy to sit back and let someone fail, but if you know you can make a difference and you don't then you have failed as a cook and for sure as a chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chefdeey

                                                                                                                                                                                                      unless someone dropped the ball and "forgot" or hid your stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gigigirl2

                                                                                                                                                                                                        If you were that close to winning $100K, wouldn't you take a close look around the walk-in before leaving?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                                          A couple things almost got left that he caught as they were leaving the cooler, and he made a comment about it. I think people make mistakes even when there is 100K at stake, and maybe even more mistakes because of the pressure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: gridder

                                                                                                                                                                                                            You make an excellent point the preasure was on Marcel to perform, as a chef I myself have been under preasure of the media, new restaurant... where as I had to rely on my team because I had to have time to get my act together. Sam was in position ego's aside to step up and make Marcel strong where he was weak, like he did after he discoverd there was going to be know fish, and helped come up with a dish, Marcel did not just all three lost.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Not the point Robert, that is why they were able to select a team, if they were focused on the task all they had to was to inventory the meal, Marcel for sure was going to do all the cooking. I don't mean to hate R. but I am a believer in the industry, and if don't uphold the standards then we all will suffer, you have to be able to put shit aside and perform, if not then all our kitchens will suffer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chefdeey

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm not sure what you're saying. Doesn't seem to relate to my comment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Marcel didn't do all the cooking, any more than Ilan did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                                                                                                                                                                                                The point I'm making is Sam and mike were waiting to be told what to do, Sam had the know how to apply himself to make sure the dinner went off better, Marcel mentioned all through the competition he like to work by himself, keep in mind they were cooking for 8 people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: chefdeey

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm totally lost.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chefdeey

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    No offense - you may have a valid point, but whatever it is you are not communicating it very well. There is no way Marcel would have let Sam take more control. Who knows, Sam may have even tried, off camera, and been snubbed. The fact that Marcel wants to work by himself is exactly one of his biggest problems! Instead of making sure everyone knew what they were supposed to do - and that they were doing it - he wanted to focus on his individual flourishes. It takes more than one molecular noodler to impress that panel of judges, it takes a team. Teams need leaders, and Marcel doesn't know how to lead.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Grubbjunkie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well I'm so turned off by the turn out of the cuisine I'm a little hiped up, ny point is your right but i place myself in that situation and i would not have let the emotions of the cast get the best of me, there is always a resposibility to the producton of the food, I would have respected Sam and mike more if they would dropped their knives and said i can't work with this guy, rather than participate in his self distruction, because now we can only speculate how much effort they put in as a team. Since everyone hated this guy from the start if anyone here hs worked in a kitchen it's easy to kill a chef's effort by only doing what you ask or told to do, when you know there is more you could do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: chefdeey

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't think any of us here know if Marcel gave Mikey specific responsibility for all aspects of the fish dish. In fact, given Marcel's elitism, I can't believe he would turn over something so important to Mikey - not without holding his hand anyway. From what they showed, Mikey seemed to barely know he was involved in the fish dish at all. Now that may just be Mikey, but he didn't look like a guy caught in his own screw up there. This was a one-time shot, 100% Marcel's responsibility. They said he had lots of lists and was really organized during prep. So, why no checklist before they left for the kitchen? Answer: Crumpling under pressure. Or maybe, not seeing the fish forest for the molecular trees.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Gigigirl2

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ultimately, it was Marcel's duty to make sure HE had everything HE needed for HIS final meal. And he didn't. The implication that someone did something on purpose to sabotage Marcel is insteresting--I think maybe a more careful viewing of the show, and maybe reading some of the blogs would provide a little perspective. Lee Ann states that they actually changed the rules to give Marcel (and Ilan) another opportunity to double check the fridge and make sure they had everything after she (and the producers, I guess) noticed that Marcel's fish was still in the lock-up--obviously, she could not tip him off that he had left something behind, that would be an unfair advantage, right? So he had more than one opportunity to notice hie was missing something, and he did not pick up on it. Obviously it wasn't the reason why Marcel lost--the judges would not have known or noticed if he had not mentioned that he forgot the fish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Also, it is pointed out by Tom and Lee Ann that Sam *wanted* to work on Marcel's team, because he felt he could learn some things from him. I think everyone needs to take a deep breath and recognize that these are all human beings involved, all flawed, no heroes, and not the one-dimensional characters they are presented as on the show. I found the whole thing interesting, personally, and didn't have that much of a preference bewteen the two finalists.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I agree with Tony Bourdain that Ilan is a bit of a sneaky backstabber, when he let Elia fall on her face in front of the judges in the second to last show, I really thought he was a jerk. At the same time, I think Marcel was a bit of a one-trick pony in his own way--he definitely has a lot more to learn.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Leadbelly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Where do you read Bourdain's column?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bookwormchef

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    He was guest blogging on Michael Ruhlman's blog, which I read regularly. It is not a regular column, but I think there was talk that he might start doing it more frequently--he and Ruhlman have a nice give-and-take. Here is the link:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    http://blog.ruhlman.com/
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Scroll down about two or three entries.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Leadbelly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I see Bourdain called Carlos "Alex". I couldn't figure out who he meant except for the salad comment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Tom Colicchio sold his soul to this show, and you could see him growing more pained as the show went on. That whole BS excuse he threw up in the previous week about how Sam didn't actually cook anything was force fed to him by the producers. The finalists were chosen simply because they would make for "better tv" (read...more controversy). Also, has anyone else pointed out that Colicchio and Marcel both cook (doubt Tom cooks any longer) in the MGM Grand???

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I just hope they don't give Ilan a blog for next season. Horold has something to say Ilan not so much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I know I'm all over the place I'm writing my business plan to close on two restaurants tomorrow and I need to escape every so often, it's good to see such passion for food here, hey is any here applying for the next show?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. hackers.....they are all hackers! Sam had the best food....Ilan's food was nice, but these cooks were mostly hackers. Harold would have won again. Hack hack hack..btw Molecular Gastronomic is great when used correctly. Marcel hides behind it because he can't really cook....may be Wylie Dufresne, Adria, Heston should go and kick his @#$!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chefthisguy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      why do you think that Marcell cannot cook?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Xericx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I have been trying really hard to resist the urge to pile on to this week's Top Chef threads, but... I... can't... help... myself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Marcel is simply a socially retarded little boy who likes to play with a chemistry set, has never demonstrated any passion in his cooking, or interest in pleasing anyone but his own ego, all the book learning in the world, all the emphasis on the latest technique (fad in the kitchen) does not make one a good cook, let alone a "chef".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There ought to be a basic requirement for acceptance as a contestant on "Top Chef", and that would be a resume that lists at least 15 years really working a line (that would take care of the job experience, and weed out the immature). To think that some kid, still wet behind the ears, just because he made it as far as he did on this "reality" TV show (read entertainment program) and had any kind of shot at being staked $100K (which probably does not buy much in terms of opening a restaurant) and proclaimed a "Top Chef" is about as smart as Jeffrey Chodorow allowing Rocco DiSpirito to front his restaurant. However, in the case of Chodorow, he probably got millions in publicity and a nice big tax write off from that debacle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If nothing else, I would hope that the producers of Top Chef would at least stake Marcel to a haircut, that's the least they owe him for making their show a big draw in viewers this season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        There, I got that off my chest!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ChinoWayne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh and I did not watch the finale this week and don't intend to. I am so through with all 15 of those poor excuses of a "chef".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ChinoWayne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i agree with this entire comment 1000%.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ChinoWayne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In response to "Marcel is simply a socially retarded little boy who likes to play with a chemistry set, has never demonstrated any passion in his cooking, or interest in pleasing anyone but his own ego, all the book learning in the world, all the emphasis on the latest technique (fad in the kitchen) does not make one a good cook, let alone a "chef"." how in the hell did he reach the finals? Apparently he can cook a little bit. If you don't like the guy (or how he likes to cook) that's one thing but to suggest that he's not passionate about food is utterly ridiculous. He was (as he would put it) "totally stoked" over what he was doing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. how come no one dis a sous vide of anything...that's the way to cook meat these days and then give it a quick sear

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chefthisguy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'd think the reasons no one did a sous vide was time and lack of proper equipment.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Marcel had his thermal recirculator set up at his station in the next-to-last episode. The show didn't make it clear what he used it for, if anything.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But four hours isn't nearly long enough to sous-vide beef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. I just found out about a Food Network show called "Dinner: Impossible", which I need to check out since it sounds way more up my alley and far, FAR less annoying than the drama-fest of TopChef. What I like are seeing the solutions to the challenges, not all the ridiculous and immature personality conflicts.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: allegro805

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It's a little annoying as well, and the last one I watched (the tailgating episode) was so farfetched. What I won't watch on a cold, lazy Sunday!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I think Marcel can be a butthead at times, but I also think he took the constant berating and mocking by his competitors in stride - he never blew up. Which gives me some respect for him. I also think Ilan's food was derivative at best. And I truly belive that at the end when Collichio said (sic) "We belive ONE of you will be GREAT chef in five years but we have to decide on what we see now", was his (Collichio's) way of subtly saying that he believes that in the long run Marcel will make a better chef. The boy needs to learn how to run a kitchen but his food surpasses Ilan's knock offs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I was gone from my house for two weeks on business and recorded the shows. I was hoping to find out what happened during the last two eps when I got home this past weekend but someone at Chowhound posted the teaser for a board stating that Elia and Sam were eliminated. I wasn't rooting for either Ilan or Marcel. While I love a good dose of drama on my tv shows (Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives), I feel it really got in the way of the cooking part of the show. Last year's TC really felt more of like a Super Bowl event where two top teams were battling it out for the title. This time around, I wanted to throw my popcorn at the screen at both the opponents. I really could have cared less about either of the guys.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I am pretty disappointed in this season and will be very weary of watching TC Season 3.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gyp7318

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  oh, i'm sure we'll all get suckered into the drama once again next season ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: nuxvomica

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Probably so, but I'm going to need some distance from it for a while! :)