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Jun 13, 2007 09:50 PM

Top Chef Season 3

How cool is it that the first real challenge including some really unusual meats? There were a number of things I've never tried and I was sitting on the edge of my chair awaiting Bourdain's reaction to the dishes. Now I want to try Geoduck!

And I love that Howie was able to quote Bourdain's book in his own defense.

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  1. Loved the idea and how it connected to Bourdain. Good to see that the first show focused mainly on the food and only slightly in the drama (the advertisement on Bravo seemed overly dramatic-the whole bad-a**, bit** attitude-which is entertaining to a certain extent, but in small portions). Personalities were only highlighted to a slight few though, there were some I was lost on and wondering "Who is this?". Can't wait for next week!!

    1. I'm really excited about this looks as if many of the chefs here could kick the butts of the last season's winners...right now its clear who the early favorites are...I hope the other chefs have some tricks up their sleeves!

      It's funny, compared to the reality show on the Food Network, this is by far, television of much better quality. The contestants seem much mroe qualified and the challenges are by far more interesting (and the drama seems potentially better)

      The Food Network should take some lessons from this show!

      Can't wait until next week!

      10 Replies
      1. re: RawTunaFan

        We can't rightfully compare TC with TNFNS. I mean, just look at the titles: top CHEF - next food network STAR. The two shows are looking for completely different things. One is focused on food, the other on star-quality. I can enjoy each show for what it is.

        1. re: mojoeater

          mojoeater is right. You can't really compare the two shows. One show you win money to start your own restaurant. Another you win your own TV show. So it's a given that you definitely would want a really top-notch chef for the first one because who wants to eat at a bad restaurant? But for a food show, I just want someone with interesting tips and fun personality.

          1. re: singleguychef

            I agree with your points but I still think that the Food Network stars that do best (except for maybe Alton whom I love and Rachel whose sucess is still a mystery to me) are the ones that are successful restaurant chefs and owners as well. It would be great to have more of the star/top chef combo in the Food Network...

            1. re: yomyb

              You'd be surprised who is trained and who isn't. Ina Garten has no formal training. Giada does. Nigella's background is in publishing.

              Then there are the many hosts who have degress in hospitality or nutrition, but never attending any culinary school: Ellie Krieger, Robin Miller, Guy Fieri...

              1. re: mojoeater

                The pre-package food queen herself, Sandra Lee studied at the Cordon Bleu in Paris.

                1. re: Jennalynn

                  For two weeks. Didn't even complete the course. But, apparently, her show is one of the top three on the Food Network. Shows who their target audience is.

                  1. re: Jennalynn

                    "Classical training isn't for Lee, either. Back in 1998, she took a two-week course at the Cordon Bleu in Ottawa, Canada."

                    Quoted from this link at:

                  2. re: mojoeater

                    Yes if you check their bios you find surprises, but I still think the best hosts (not necessarily the ones with the highest ratings) are the chefs. As a dietitian myself, I like Ellie Krieger and love watching her tips for the public, but again it is not the same as watching Mario... (oh and I think poor Robin is a fiasco...very cute though ;-))

                    1. re: yomyb

                      no substitute for street cred... er, kitchen credibility.

                  3. re: yomyb

                    Oh, don't get me wrong, my favorite FN hosts are the chefs like Bobby Flay, Mario, Dave Lieberman (he was a private chef), and back in the day with Jamie Oliver. Right now I mostly watch Iron Chef America because they're all chefs.

                    I think celebrity chefs are too busy these days opening restaurants and building an empire than going on the Food Network.

                    However, one person that can probably do with some positive publicity is Rocco Dispirito. Where is the guy? He should stage a comeback with a solid cooking show, not a reality show.

            2. I was extremely pleased with the show and the food focus. These cheftestants seem quite strong, at least the few who were focused on in the first show. One of the weakest links definitely seems to have been eliminated.

              Pretty amazing for Bourdain to give such high praise to Hung and Tre's dishes. They looked GREAT. I agree that Howie defended himself perfectly...Bourdain loved it. They bent over backwards not to eliminate him since he can obviously cook.

              I am sure there will be drama coming but the first show bodes well. In the Bravotv blogs Tom basically says they really tried to raise the overall talent level for S3 and Lee Ann mentions that this crew seems more mature than past seasons.

     can a chef never have tried monkfish liver???

              1 Reply
              1. re: kenito799

                <I agree that Howie defended himself perfectly...Bourdain loved it. They bent over backwards not to eliminate him since he can obviously cook.> Clay made it easy for them to keep Howie, imo. His food was not even visually appealing.

                This season's crop of contestants does seem to be more restaurant-savvy than the previous two, altho time will tell.

                I'm picking Tre to win....

              2. I am cautiously optimistic about this group of chefs. After one show there seems to be no shortage of talent. While some are going to be better that others so far they all seem decent. There are no ‘retirement home chefs’ no earth mother types. These seem like real seasoned pros. In season 1 it took a couple of episodes for Harold to come to the top. Season 2, in one episode it was clear Sam was the best.(Still feel he was the rightful winner if not for the producers sense of drama. Don’t think I’m alone in that.). So far it is still up in the air. It would appear that if there is ‘drama’ this year it will be back up by culinary talent. I like to think that the producers looked around at the other ‘chef’ show and realized they had something good and wanted to redeem themselves after last seasons farce and disgraceful (I can’t cook it if it’s not Spanish) ‘winner’.

                And I am already hoping that there will be a cook off between season 1 and 3.

                Compared to TNFS could any of those contestants even get on TC? (Perhaps in season 2) And for that matter ho many of these TC’s would get kicked off TNFS for being too intense, not showing their ‘fun side’, not saying 'mmmmmm' convincingly enough or for food being overly complicated.


                1 Reply
                1. re: Withnail42

                  No earth mother types? Sorry, I was disappointed that there weren't any more mature women int he group. I have this dreadful feeling that they were cast based on how they'd look in a bikini in that hot tub!

                2. I am glad Howie stayed (personality goes a long way), but not sure that it was fair, since he didn't complete the challege. I wouldn't want to keep someone whose food is "inedilble" (Clay), but I guess I would have been pissed if I got the boot when someone else didn't even get thier food on the plate. I knew Clay was going as soon as they showed him talking about his dad- not exactly subtle foreshadowing...

                  I am excited about these chef-testants: looks like they are pretty serious about the food.

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: Lazy Susan

                    I do feel bad for clay, but Howie made a mistake I think he couldn't possibly make again... whereas Clay would almost certainly be kicked off the next time. Plus I think even if they don't say so the quickfire plays into that decision... Clay didn't know what an amuse bouche was, and also made an inedible plate of food. He doesn't belong with that group. Howie made a pretty significant mistake and further along in the competition I would be harder on him, but if what he did make was delicious sea urchin -- and he proved himself to be knowledgable in the way he defended himself; I thought that was great -- then he probably does belong there.

                    I couldn't believe they didn't edit out what Clay said about his dad. TMI for national TV.

                    1. re: Adrienne

                      I bet the producers were hoping to get lots of drama out of the father's suicide. Probably a big reason they picked him.

                      1. re: Adrienne

                        Watched the show and tried to keep up with the fast pace at the end of the challenge, but, I really did not understand why Howie's frog legs didn't make it to the plate. Chef Tom said he thought he had enough time and wasn't rushed so what happened?

                        1. re: foodseek

                          Howie paced himself too slowly during the two-hour prep time. He was overly methodical in doing what he needed to do, and essentially ran out of time. The frogs' legs were cooked, he was able to snatch the basket out of the fryolator, but time was called just as he was rushing over to finish the plate. Chef Colicchio had talked with him 40 minutes before end of the challenge, and Howie seemed to be on track, but the cameras showed him walking around just looking at things vs. finishing his prep/cooking.

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            Thanks! I hope the rest of the season is as good as this first episode.

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              I thought he also said he wanted to recrisp them right before serving?

                              1. re: momjamin

                                Yup, he did. Perhaps if he had fried them the first time closer to plating, he might have been able to get everything on the plate on time. But hey - he's still on the show - let's see if he makes the same mistake twice.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  I thought the whole discussion about how they wanted their food done right and on time was a little overblown. He'd have been able to put those frog legs on the plate with 5 more seconds of time- a diner wouldn't have known the difference.

                        2. re: Lazy Susan

                          I agree that it was a little unfair for Howie to stay-- especially because I was a dave fan from season 1, and I think Tiffany went to the finals because Dave left out one dish. He did have a great come back to Tony (it was almost too good not to be scripted). That said, Clay was a sweet kid, but way out of his league.

                          1. re: masala maci

                            Tiffany made great food- as was reenforced during the season 1 versus season 2 challenge. Dave forgot to make the other dish- not the same thing as Howie's problem. I'd rather wait a few minutes for the dish I ordered than not to have it show up at all.

                            1. re: masala maci

                              Howie might have left one dish out, but Clay's food tasted bad. Let's face it. Any diner would prefer one good dish to two bad ones. Clay had to go.