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Top Chef - 4 Star All Stars Tonight

So, Lee Ann is now working behind the scenes for Top Chef.

Harold, Stephen, Ilan, Ilia, Tiffini, Marcel, Sam & Dave - it's Season 1 pitted against Season 2. for charities. Dave promises not to cry :-)

At the moment, they are doing a quick fire challenge - making eggs with one hand tied behind their backs. Pretty amusing! (or shall I say amuse?)

BTW - for those who don't know - Harold's restaurant in NYC finally opened and has been getting GREAT reviews.

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  1. Thank you! Totally forgot it was on, & I get an east coast feed via satellite.

    1. Moderators may not let this fly, but could you post a few updates...? Many thanks!!

      17 Replies
      1. re: enbell

        Let's just say that ALL of the characters are living up to their previous reputations. Marcel and Ilan are both still complete a**holes, Harold is quietly confident, Stephen smug but confident (and buying that wine!), Tiffany is cocky but also confident, Dave is scattered, and Sam was doing his flavor combination stuff. And Elia just seemed to fade into the background.

        It's been fun to watch - but as Harold said - Season 2 folks still need to grow up a LOT.

        1. re: LindaWhit

          Marcel still an ass, but I think he's matured a bit more than Ilan. Seems to have at least learned something from his experience there.

          And who were all those Season 3 people doing the judging? Rejects we never saw?

          1. re: sivyaleah

            No - those are the cast of cheftestants who will be on Season 3 starting next week! They were showing their names/ages (I think)/hometowns in the corner of the screen as they were critiquing.

            ::::Edited to add:::::: Didn't respond to your first statement. Marcel still an ass, and I just don't think either he or Ilan has matured any from their stint on Season 2. Back at the Fountainbleu Marcel was as childish as he was during Season 2 and essentially it has to come to Harold to tell him to back off. His "sincere apology" was nothing of the kind.

            And he's cooking in Florida heat and humidity (shades of Hawaii), and he still does foams and gelees, which didn't work on his Elimination Challenge portion. As Ted said "He's pushing it in your face by doing tableside foam!"

            1. re: LindaWhit

              Duh! Right, I forgot Season 3 hasn't started. My bad!

          2. re: LindaWhit

            So are they competing head-to-head? How did the hand tied behind the back portion end up?

            1. re: enbell

              Actually - pretty darn good - all their eggs out pretty good, although Dave's was over cooked a bit, and Tiffini's undercooked somewhat ("egg soup" as Chef Tom said) but the winner was Stephens good ole' plain omlet :-) on Season 1 and Marcel from Season 2 with Ode to a Spanish Breakfast (scrambled eggs served in the shells with Saffron Foam, of course).

              1. re: sivyaleah

                Did they update as to who is where, and how they're doing after their respective seasons?

                1. re: enbell

                  No, they don't - other than asking Harold and Ilan about what they're doing. Harold says he's opening Perilla in Spring 2007 (which we know he has already done), and Ilan saying he's fielding "lots of offers", but also saying he doesn't want a big restaurant to start - in fact, he said he wants to have a tiny restaurant.

                2. re: sivyaleah

                  You gotta admit, the saffron foam that Marcel put on the eggs was a great dig on Ilan. My wife couldn't understand why I was howling at the saffron foam and called me a geek for just knowing what that meant after I explained it to her.

                  1. re: LStaff

                    It was classic. And Ilan's startled reaction when Marcel said what it was was also classic. :-)

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      And then at the end of the show, when former contestants were asked to give advise to Season 3 chefs, Marcel gave another dig; something like, "just use loads and loads of saffron in every dish..."

                      1. re: Bostonbob3

                        Both Illan and Marcel are a couple of babies. Neither of them demonstrated any professionalism. They should be ashamed of themselves and although they were the finalists, I can't imagine why anyone would want them and their shenanygans in a kitchen.

                        1. re: chicgail

                          come on. it's a show. i like how they made it fun. it's not like top chef has to be so serious all the time! the concept of the show is kind of silly in the first place, why not have fun with it?

                          1. re: batdown

                            They did not make the show fun. They might have made it entertaining but certainly not fun.

                          2. re: chicgail

                            i concur. btw, did anyone notice that elia made the exact same scallop dish she made for the hollywood party competition? so lame.

                          3. re: Bostonbob3

                            Actually I thought that particular line was kindof funny... use lots of saffron and don't do duos -- the judges definitely made a big deal about how duos annoyed them... and they commented at least once or twice that the saffron was overdone in a dish they then said was wonderful. I don't like Marcel, but I don't think every single joke is malicious.

              2. all I have to say is *^%& season 3. I want to see season 1&2 compete against each other for the rest of the top chef season...I loved it!!!!!!

                5 Replies
                1. re: bitsubeats

                  LOL! I have to say after watching this group of characters again, and knowing what they're like based on their individual seasons, I'd almost have to agree with you! This was very fun to watch! Except I just don't think I could take Stephen and Marcel for any more than this one hour on the same show. Add Ilan into the mix, and OY. :-)

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    I agree with you...except 1 thing, marcel was more watchable than stephen - minus the foam of course.

                    ilan was horrible....ugh I still think sam should've watched (swooooon (; )

                    1. re: bitsubeats

                      Yeah, Sam...... I was feeling guilty for my thoughts until Ted chimed in with "Kinda cute!?" Yum.....

                    2. re: LindaWhit

                      Heh, I found Stephen charming and funny after the horrors of last season!

                      1. re: JasmineG

                        I thought that too. I don’t think he changed. But compared to what went on last season one realizes he really wasn’t all that bad.

                  2. Don't worry in a few seasons they'll do an 'all-star' Top Chef.

                    1. It was all just eh. I don't think any of them took it very seriously. I was watching the season 3 preview & when I saw bikinis in a pool I immediately thought " please do not turn this into The Real World Top Chef"

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sugarbuzz

                        Me too!! I relayed the same sentiment last night to my fiance, describing the pool scene! It looks like they didn't learn anything from Season 2's theatrics and that it might just get worse...

                      2. Gee, what a surprise that Stephen and Marcel won the Quick Fire to become team captains. That was a fix from the start, IMO. Get the two biggest a-holes from each season to compete against each other as captains. Have to admit it was pretty entertaining though. And I found Stephen to be far, far less annoying than that blowhard Marcel. Good God, what was he thinking serving gelee and foams in 100 degree heat?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Bostonbob3

                          I completely agree with this. I raised an eyebrow when Stephen won but when Marcel was dubbed captain-o-season-two I laughed out loud. There is no way that was a coincidence, that was a Bravo-loves-drama move.

                        2. Oh my god - did anyone see the scene with Ilan and the immersion blender? I completely laughed out loud!

                          In seeing the previews for Season Three, I am really afraid they are going to continue to try to create drama, like they did in Season Two. They are setting up that Asin kid to be the "new" Marcel (even played up the fact that they are acquaintences). We do not need another Marcel! We do not need more artificial drama and kids hamming it up for camera time! We want real chefs! We want it to be about the food! We do not need bikini clad girls in this show -we can get that on any of the other insipid reality shows! We want food porn! Show us more kobe beef, more foie gras! Season One was about the food, Season Two was about the drama - and the results in last nights show evidenced this.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: AmblerGirl

                            I was thinking the same thing. And what’s the deal with that hair do(n’t). That is something that should be shaved. He again proved his lack of versatility by no knowing how to cook a duck because it’s not very big in Spanish cuisine.

                          2. Wow even though Ilan was a poseur when he won season 2 (cooking stuff he learned from his job) I almost felt bad for him on 4star all stars--he was a disaster and it looked he has regressed...what was up with the hairdo?

                            Unless he was just treating the whole thing as a big joke, which wasn't very nice since they had just given him $100K and all that stuff.

                            I mean, he put too much salt on his egg (who needs to taste to salt an egg??)...he spazzed and spilled Marcel's mango...he had no idea what to do with a duck (I am positively sure that even I could have come up with something edible--which he couldn't). How can you be planning to open a restaurant and not know how to cook DUCK??? It was bizarre.

                            Also interesting was how sweet Tom was with Tiffani and complementary of her food. Her beef dish looked pretty good, I am glad she won that one. She seemed to have mellowed out and was behaving.

                            Yeah I am worried about season 3, the talent seems really spotty and drama seems to be the main goal. Well I will watch it anyway. They are setting Hung up to be a front runner, and a nasty one...I find it interesting on the website that he says that one of his hated ingredients is yuzu. Who doesn't like yuzu? It must be because it is trendy.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: kenito799

                              I thought the show was rather intriguing by having Season 3 as judges.Since I know nothing about them I'm sure your comments are correct.What was up with Ilan's hair? I kept wondering about it a distraction for me.I wish that Sam had won Top Chef for Season 2.To me he seems more mature(hard to put into words) than Ilan.
                              Marcel was just himself and didn't seem to have changed one bit.To me the constant foam use is frou-frou,kind of guilding the lilly.Ilan needs to expand his horizions beyond Spanish food. They do have game in Spain,so why can't he cook duck?Even my dad,who was not a chef,could roast a duck or goose for a special occassion now and then.He learned how from my grandmother.I remember him saying that sometimes grandma used chicken fat to make cookies at Christmas.Makes them very rich.
                              Oh I will watch Season 3,to see what happens.

                              1. re: HollyDolly

                                mmm...schmaltz in cookies...great idea!

                                1. re: kenito799

                                  yum schmaltz ;-) I just recently rediscovered this but am now using duck instead of chicken fat. I grew up eating this on nearly everthing . It was very typically used in Jewish households (the chicken version). I loved it on baked potatoes particularly. No wonder my cholesterol recently shot up again :-)

                                2. re: HollyDolly

                                  Agree about Ilan's duck failure. Yes indeed, they do have game and duck in Spain. And El Bulli (which I'd guess is one of Marcel's fav restaurants in the world).

                                  1. re: Bostonbob3

                                    I agree that he ought to be able to handle duck, but he let them know very cleary beforehand that he didn't think he could cook a duck that quickly and the team just blew him off. Better people skills could have really helped mitigate his lack of cooking skills if only season two could learn to play nice together.

                              2. As for the contestants,’s a bit like a Broadway show. Old roles taken on by new people.

                                Looks like we have a Marcel/Steven.

                                There seems to be a girl who’s planning on using her looks.

                                There’s the alternative chick.

                                The veteran chef who’s been around.

                                The though guy.

                                And the crunchy granola.

                                No doubt there are a few more that I missed but I am sure that they haven’t.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: Withnail42

                                  I will say this right off the bat-I LOVE Top Chef. The food, the chaos, the challenges, etc. But I don't get the previews for season three. All the new contestants have to say are things like "If you can't stand the heat then get out of the kitchen", " I am the ultimate b*tch", "I am always in everyones face" and so on (not all exaxt quotes but you get the idea). Are they really trying to overplay the drama this next season?? And why? They have a great concept, originally, with the food as the main focus. Is this season all about drama? I hope not.

                                  1. re: cocktailqueen77

                                    Unfortunately it's the drama that draws in a good portion of the general audience *sigh*

                                    Now then. I'd never seen Season 1, so I knew nothing about Harold and his teammates. I got a kick out of both Stephen and Dave, though.

                                    Season 2, on the other hand...y'know, if I were on "Top Chef" or any other reality show, you'd better be sure that, after seeing my flaws and such splashed across the nation's TV sets, I'd learn from the experience. Why was I expecting Ilan and Marcel to have done the same? Why? Why? Am I too much of an idealist or something?

                                    Let's talk about the food. Season 1 was definitely more polished and knew how to work as a team. I wasn't surprised that Season 2 went their own separate ways. Even though it was billed as a grudge match, it would've been interesting if they had mixed up the teams. Harold and Marcel? Dave and Ilan? So many possibilities...

                                    1. re: cocktailqueen77

                                      I think this is a typical progression for reality shows. In the first season, nobody has any idea of how to really "play the game." Not the contestants or even really the production staff. The season 1 people could only make up strategy on the fly so the food was the main focus. Season 2 contestants, having seen what worked for Season 1 contestants (although being a jerk seems to work universally well) could start to apply some more strategy/gamesmanship. The focus starts to move to drama and less the subject of the show. I expect season 3 will have even more polarized and one-dimensional personalities with even less focus on the actual cooking. As xo_kizzy_xo says, that's what draws the masses. This same thing happened with Project Runway.

                                      For what it's worth, as much as I disliked Marcel during the regular season I got a kick out of his antics this time around. The digs at Ilan were pretty amusing and I got the distinct impression that his liberal use of foam this time around was more self-deprecating than serious.

                                      1. re: jzerocsk

                                        The saffron foam was great shot. For the 'winner' of the show Ilan looked like a deer in a headlights.

                                        1. re: jzerocsk

                                          I was also amused by the saffron foam, but I was also struck by how quickly the season 1 folks got tired of Marcel (back in the loft). There was a lot of talk from viewers during season 2 about how it seemed like the mob mentality chose him as the scapegoat and viewers started feeling sorry for him, but IMHO, I don't think season 1 could collectively decide to dislike him that much that quickly if he weren't really pretty annoying!

                                          1. re: momjamin

                                            I agree, although it's just as likely that they saw season two and were predisposed to dislike him based upon that. Although, as someone who found him incredibly irritating, I'd believe either scenario. I never thought I'd find someone on TV more annoying than Stephen from Season 1, but Marcel proved that assumption wrong!

                                            I did love the moment that Tom Coliccio pointed out to Stephen that his wines were also going to be served with the opponents dish. Talk about deer in headlights!

                                            1. re: heathermb

                                              That was funny. Stephen's wine pairing skills were always questionable, anyway...remember the amarone with fish he did for Tiffani? And didn't he serve a different wine than Zinfandel with a dish that had a Zinfandel reduction? (not that that might not work, but it's unconventional and so it better make a lot of sense...)

                                    2. I was struck, again, by the sheer talent in season 1 versus season 2. The folks from season 1, for all of the drama and bickering, can cook. Harold clearly knows what he's doing and his restaurant seems to be meeting with good early press. Stephen came off as a pompous jerk, but could flat out make some food...similar description for Tiffany. Lee Ann could get the job done, too. Sam is the only guy from season 2 that I thought was really good on a consistent basis. I was not at all suprised to see season 1 win the thing.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: ccbweb

                                        Season 1 all the way. They were more polished, more mature, more talented, more Top Chef. Season 2 was a joke. Will Bravo have learned ??? - unfortunately like kizzy said above, for many it's probably the drama that pulls them in. The promos for S3 sure look that way - we can only wait and see . . .

                                        1. re: Ken W

                                          it was so good to see everyone again, yes pathetic how one gets attached to these strangers, loved dave and all his craziness
                                          i felt bad for sam , he looked like he didn't' want to be there towards the end
                                          he should have won s2, and they dragged him back for what?
                                          but yes let's hope s3 is not a bunch of morons, let's get back to the professionalism of s1

                                      2. I was disappointed that there was hardly anything about Ilia. My hubby loved her new hair. Ilan's conduct and total failure in both the quickfire and the cook-off will probably make him wish he had taken one of those "many offers" he was considering.

                                        1. OK, Ilan.
                                          If you were to watch a tv show with only Marcel, would you think it possible that you could EVER root for Marcel over anyone else? Faux-hawk+skyline carved in+NOT BEING ABLE TO COOK DUCK=me rooting for Marcel in their little competition.
                                          Also, the funniest scene for me was when Ilan came out to show his dish, and they panned to the two contestants from season 3 with mohawks. "I'm rad and edgy with this mohaw...uh-oh..um, um.."

                                          1. When both seasons were in the hotel and Marcel starts with his nonsense only Harold acted like a chef. Told the little idiot to (paraphrasing) "shut up, stop being a child and act like a grownup and a professional." Marcel immediately apologized. Love it. Shows why Harold is running his own well reviewed restaurant and the rest are back right where they started before the show.

                                            12 Replies
                                            1. re: KTinNYC

                                              OK. What's the deal with Padme? Is she just some model they hired to host? And what happened to her arm?

                                              1. re: mojoeater

                                                Aha! I just answered part of my own question. She's Salman Rushdie's wife!

                                                1. re: mojoeater

                                                  She's also a cookbook author (well respected by many). And the scar is from a car wreck when she was a kid.

                                                  1. re: mojoeater

                                                    Her cookbook actual won an award -- it's called Easy Exotic and it won the International Versailles Prize for Best First Cookbook. She's writing another one now, something about Tanginess... I forget.

                                                    She was also one of South Asia's first supermodels, and has been in The Ten Commandments, Sharpe's Challenge, and Mistress of Spices (the first two are mini series and the last is an actual movie), plus some others that aren't in English (not that they don't count, I just have no idea). She's also done some food tv before.

                                                    And I've read that she does actually have judge status, but I agree that Tom always seems to treat her as just a pretty face.

                                                  2. re: mojoeater

                                                    And a huge huge step up from Kathie Lee Joel (is that her name?) from season 1. Padme had a short lived show on the Food Network, I believe.

                                                    1. re: ccbweb

                                                      I think Billy Joel's stepford wife took her judging duties a little too seriously. No emotion at all. Sometimes it seemed like her heart had stopped beating a couple of times..she was a complete stiff in front of the cameras.

                                                      Padma was definitely chosen as eye candy but at least she has some knowledge of food .

                                                      1. re: sugarbuzz

                                                        The worst thing about KLJ was her screechy voice...Padma is WAY better.

                                                        1. re: kenito799

                                                          Saw a clip from season one. Had forgotten just how bad she was. Padma is a much better host.

                                                          1. re: Withnail42

                                                            Tom always seems to get annoyed with Padma when she is "judging" the food, since I don't think she is supposed to be a judge.

                                                            I'm editing the rest of this post as it might be deemed "host bashing" by the powers that be. (Actually, I'd deem it host bashing too!)

                                                            1. re: BW212

                                                              I think Tom and Padma disagree a lot and Tom is King and therefore her opinions don't count as much. In her blog she often names dishes as her favorite that were barely shown on the show. I wish there were a way for her to have more say, but I guess they need one person in charge.

                                                              1. re: kenito799

                                                                I want to preface this by saying I don't know what the food tastes like.

                                                                In New York magazine, a few of the chefs on Season 2 stated that they didn't think too much of Padma's opinions. If you also watch the extra footage provided on Bravo, Padma absolutely loved Ilan's duck dish (the dish that was hated by almost everybody).

                                                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                  ok she has weird tastes...she must have gotten a not-undercooked piece of Ilan's duck.

                                                                  more evidence: she says on her blog that she isn't fan of uni...come on, uni is AMAZING.

                                                2. I just read elsewhere that Marcel will also be blogging re: Season 3 alongside Tom, Gail, Padma, and Ted's blogs. Now THAT blog will make for some interesting reading!

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                    Sam, LeeAnne. Harold Dieterle, Dave Martin and one or two others are also blogging this season.

                                                    1. re: BW212

                                                      I read Lee Anne's blog (she also blogged last season), but Harold's and Dave's weren't up when I was reading a day or two ago. Will have to go back and see...and I see Marcel's blog STILL isn't up. @@

                                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                                      Can someone tell me what the attraction about Marcel is about? He occurs for me as arrogant, pompous, immature, and fundamentally insecure. Starting with the hair that is surely a statement (how do you get hair to do that, anyway?) and then all his nasty remarks about other people.

                                                      He may be able to cook, as I suspect he can, but it seems like for him it's not about the food, but about the attention.

                                                      It's not my inention to dis him, but I just don't get why anyone would think he was interesting.

                                                      1. re: chicgail

                                                        I don't think it's an "attraction" - he's like a car crash - people slow down to see if there are any bodies lying about. I think it's just the incredulity that someone can be that socially stupid at his age (at least 25 or maybe 28?). He IS arrogant, pompous, immature, and insecure, perhaps even more so after being on TV.

                                                        Is it his schtick now? Probably. I wouldn't be surprised if he had read how much people dissed his attempt at white-boy rapping on various blogs/message boards, so he ramps it up even more in the TC1/TC2 Challenge, drawing yet more attention to himself. He's an attention whore, and we provide the attention he craves. It's the "15 Minutes of Fame" syndrome, stretched out over many episodes.

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                          I can get that and I think that we're on the same page, but based on posts I've seen here, Marcel has a real following. Devotees have strongly defended him and blasted Ilan (as if there was some correlation -- Marcel = good ergo Ilan = bad).

                                                          I'd just like to understand their points of view.