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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 seaon...it 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.

              OTOH...how 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.

                          2. This first TC3 show has almost completely redeemed the debacle that was Season 2! Here's hoping that TC3 doesn't go down the path of drama over substance in future episodes.

                            I was thrilled to see the quality of ALL of the cheftestants - during the Quickfire Challenge, they almost all rose to the challenge and presented pretty amazing amuse bouches in 10 minutes (except for that apple appetizer!). And a few looks of panic on their faces when they saw the tables of unusual fare from which to make "surf and turf." Even more so when it was announced that Bourdain would be the guest judge. :-)

                            Unless the producers start showing too much of the cat-fighting and drama, I really think this season is going to be excellent. Tre & Hung come to top of mind as standouts, as the focus seemed to be on them for this episode, but I think there are many who can rise to the challenges, as they all seem very good at their craft.

                            Here's hoping to good, inventive food!

                            1. It was obvious from the start that this season is going to be phenominal. In one of the interview bites one of the girls said something like - it's amazing everyone here owns their own restaurant or business. There are no pastry chefs or Friday's line cooks in this bunch. Thus far the only character that really annoys me is Joey, I really wish he would have claimed his hometown as Strong Island instead of NY - gives the rest of us a bad name.

                              I was a bit scared though when Marcel let on that Huang and him are good friends but Huang seems to be way more focused on the taste of the food than Marcel ever was.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: wingman

                                I didn't get that they were good friends as much as just had worked together...and Marcel obviously had respect for Hung's (Is it Hung or Huang?) cooking. They are both from Vegas; I assume they had both worked at Guy Savoy's or another Vegas restaurant.....

                                1. re: janetofreno

                                  I think his name is Hung Huang and I think his food looked great but he was a little too heavy on the "i'm here to win and i'm going to be the guy everyone hates" schtick.

                                  1. re: heathermb

                                    I agree but at the same time he seemed to take criticism better than cheftestants in the past who have had that same attitude and did seem to at least socalize with a few of them in the non-cooking moments. Really the only guy who bothered me with that attitude was the strong islander; anyone think he now has Journey's greatest hits in his cd player?

                                    1. re: heathermb

                                      I think I actually saw that his last name is Nguyen. First name Hung. Don't think he's related to William Hung.

                                        1. re: heathermb

                                          For a second, I thought they wrote his name as Hung Nguyen, but they changed it later to Hung Huynh. Hung is his first name, and it's a common Vietnamese first name.

                                          1. re: digkv

                                            Nguyen is the last name of another contestant, I think it's Sara.

                                  2. re: wingman

                                    Why is it that whenever I try to picture Marcel in my mind, I see Seth Green?

                                  3. I thought that initial challenge raised the bar very high....you need to know your stuff people...you should be very afraid...Love it! I also loved how Howie quoted Bourdain's book. I live in Miami Beach and by coincidence passed by Howie's restaurant "The Food Gang" and have to say I was unimpressed with the ambiance and the menu which was a little "generic" in my opinion. Very much full of what everyone else is doing in south Florida, with the same indredients and types of dishes. Didn't even feel like trying it! I swear if I see tuna tartare in another menu... Also, I love truffles but truffle oil does not have to be on every menu everywhere... Also, the food shop was nothing special at all. They had a few expensive salts and prepackaged "gourmet" things like potato chips and pancake mix??? Reviews on local papers have not been good...I guess I will observe him on Top Chef and see if I should go back to try the food. I also agree with most posts that these chefs seem to be of higher caliber than the past season and that the Food Network needs to "kick it up a notch" really.... Can't wait to keep watching... :-)

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: yomyb

                                      Tre and Casey both have tuna tartare on their menus as well, so it's not dead yet. At least not in Dallas.

                                    2. I love Top Chef! I think Hung is my early favorite. I recently dined at Guy Savoy in Vegas. It was an amazing experience...I wonder if he was cooking for me?

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: foodgimp

                                        Marcel is friends with Hung. Supposedly the Top Chef producers asked for recommendations for contestants from previous contestants. I bet Marcel recommended him.

                                      2. definitely promising and a solid group of chefs, i look foroward to the next episode. Clay seemed the youngest and least experienced of the bunch. the first to go is always a bit unfair - little opportunity to show their chops. still, somebody's got to go.

                                        Tre and Hung look really strong

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: nuxvomica

                                          Here's a link to a Q&A with Tom Colicchio about the new season:


                                          1. re: borzoi

                                            borzoi, good interview, thanks for the link. very interesting to see how they approached the casting this time

                                          2. re: nuxvomica

                                            I don't think letting Clay go the first episode was unfair at all. He was able to show pretty much from the get-go that he was not as well versed in the culinary arts as the other contestants. Not only did the judges judge both of his dishes (in quickfire and elimination) to be fairly inedible and not up-to-par, they were definitely the least visually appealing. He deservedly and fairly had to go

                                            1. re: nyomi

                                              Interesting that Frank Bruni from the NYT has weighed in on TC3. And supposedly there is a comment Colicchio in the reader comments section. :-)


                                          3. I agree that this year's contestants seem more qualified to be a top chef of a restaurant because many of this already own their own restaurants. So that's good. But I have to say there seems to be more A--holes this season. I guess you can expect that from any reality show because supposedly that's good tv, but I don't like watching A--holes because they're just bad energy.

                                            I thought the elimination challenge was fun, seeing the different ingredients. But I have to say I felt some of the contestants didn't really truely do a "surf-and-turf" where there's a complementary pairing of something from the ocean and something from the land. Some dishes combined it all into one mush, or one element was more dominant and the other turned out to be a starter or salad. Still, it was interesting to see the rare ingredients. And really, snake is best fried. I don't know why Padma was so upset that the guy fried it. (And Padma, I really wouldn't eat your fried toe, O-kay.)

                                            I didn't like the quick-fire challenge. It was an interesting idea and nice to catch them off guard, but, ugh, I didn't like the idea of using food that was sitting out there for at least an hour and there really wasn't any cooking. It was just combining ingredients. I thought it was a silly reality TV challenge and not really a cooking challenge. But the show was redeemed by the elimination challenge.

                                            And finally, I wasn't that turned off by Bourdain. Typically, I can't watch him and he was more critical when he guest judged in Season 2 during the Thanksgiving dinner challenge. But this time around he seemed a bit more tamed and looked like he was having fun so I wasn't that bothered by him. Who knew?

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: singleguychef

                                              I'm ok with their creating something that isn't a strictly ying-yanged surf and turf. What bothers me is that at least two of them made surf and surf, and none of the judges mentioned it. FROGS and ALLIGATORS are NOT TURF.

                                              1. re: Adrienne

                                                They aren't really surf, either. They can't breathe underwater.

                                                1. re: Adrienne

                                                  I had the impression that the surf and turf options were on separate ends of the table -- it looked like some people picked one ingredient, then moved down the table to look for the second. If so, then the crew saved them the ambiguity of deciding land vs sea. (or swamp)

                                                  1. re: momjamin

                                                    I thought so at first but it was only people towards the very end who did the ambiguous not-quite-surf-and-turf combos, so I think it's possible that the true turf items were already taken...

                                                    and mojoeater I agree with ya that they're not really surf either... they just don't belong in a surf and turf. they are unto themselves surf and turf :)

                                                  2. re: Adrienne

                                                    Ha! My daughter said the same thing, "they're not turf, they're amphibians!" (at least the frogs). Anyway, I'm glad they spared Howie. Technically, I suppose he should have gone, but Clay was SO out of his league, he would have been booted next week anyway. Want to see Howie redeem himself. It will all be forgotten by next week. I, too, loved his Bourdain book quote, and so did Bourdain!

                                                2. I must admit I had never seen or heard of black chicken!!! I assume its Asian, but is the chicken really born like that or is it somehow processed??

                                                  I had never seen Season 2 of Top Chef, until yesterday. Bravo was having a "Top Chef" marathon leading up to the premier of Season 3. I was in bed with some sort of virus bad enough to keep me lying down all day but fortunately not the type that interferes with appetite....so I watched the entire season. And then I found myself hooked....and made sure we TIVO'd the opener in case I fell asleep before it came on....

                                                  DH said "He's going home!" the minute he saw Clay. He was just so obviously a fish out of water......

                                                  11 Replies
                                                  1. re: janetofreno

                                                    A nice article about black chicken, a variety of chicken with black meat, bones and skin (but white feathers). One of those Chinese "medicine-foods", usually made into soup. You can get them in any large Chinese market.

                                                    1. re: kenito799

                                                      I just love love love love LOVE Tony Bourdain.

                                                      About Clay's dish (paraphrasing):
                                                      "Well, it's got kind of a home-cooked thing going on... it's just not a home I would want to live in."

                                                      And Howie was brilliant to quote his book. You could see Bourdain soften immediately.

                                                      1. re: HungryForMore

                                                        A couple observations:
                                                        1. It was obvious clay was gonna get the boot. He was the only guy they really focused on the whole time. (Side interviews, comments, etc)
                                                        2. The 2 New York "gumbas" are gonna have problems (big heads)
                                                        3. Hung is a little prick like Marcel-but much better skill wise

                                                        1. re: evilcatfish

                                                          Oh, and did anybody notice all the GE Products? I guess they outbid Kenmore?.....

                                                          1. re: evilcatfish

                                                            Yeah but it was great that they didn't shove it down your throat this year!

                                                            I thought Bourdain was going for the Gomer Pile reference when he asked Howie what his "major malfunction" was. Howie did show alot of guts coming back with a quote from Bourdain's book.

                                                            1. re: evilcatfish

                                                              Yes, I saw the camera panning over all of the GE logos...and thought "If I hear it's now the GE Kitchen, I'll scream!" The only brand mention that I recall was the Glad products, which was right at the beginning.

                                                              1. re: evilcatfish

                                                                GE manufacturers Kenmore. Kenmore is just a GE brand that they sell exclusively at Sears. GE also ownes Bravo.

                                                                1. re: The_Bayou

                                                                  Doesn't GE also own NBC? I seem to recall numerous jabs when Letterman was on that network.

                                                                  1. re: mojoeater

                                                                    I think GE owns the US government, too...gotta keep using up those weapons...

                                                                2. re: evilcatfish

                                                                  A few of the chefs complained about the quality of the Kenmore appliances during the competition (difficulty regulating oven heat, other reliability issues). Season 1 winner Harold gave his to his sister, I think, although I'm not sure he ever went on record criticizing anything. For lighter household use the stuff is probably fine. Anyway, by mid-last season some of the bloggers were calling them "Krapmore" so rebranding with GE is probably an attempt to distance from that!

                                                                  1. re: hollerhither

                                                                    In someone's blog or exit interview, I remember them saying that they actually thought the kitchen appliances would be pretty good for a home gourmet chef, but that they just weren't up to restaurant-style (i.e., high volume) cooking. I know I wouldn't mind having those appliances in my house.

                                                          1. re: Withnail42

                                                            Oh geez. Well, hopefully GE won't expect the same in-your-face blatant advertising requiring Padma to announce their name every single time they say the word "kitchen".

                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                              lol.....kind of the way she says "When the Rav 4s pulled up to the beach" (from Season #2....).....

                                                              They definitely must have a deal with Toyota! At least it is a fairly environmentally friendly car...:-)

                                                              1. re: janetofreno

                                                                It's pretty hilarious when they show them starting their prep and they break out the stacking disposable bowls from the "Glad family of products"...

                                                                1. re: kenito799

                                                                  Many advertisers these days insist on name-use, and camera time as well. It's slowly becoming a necessity. The advent of DVRs has made such tactics almost a required stipulation in advert contracts. Quite a few people record the programs and subsequently fast-forward through the commercials.

                                                                  By paying for actual in-program "air time" the advertisers ensure that they have "live audience" exposure to off-set the commercials that are "lost" through DVR usage. One cannot really blame them. Name and brand recognition comprise a massive part of the general populace's purchase reasoning.

                                                                  1. re: kenito799

                                                                    I used to help do product placement in Hollywood. It was a mutually beneficial relationship for a good many years. Every scene in every movie and TV show needs props and 99.9% of the time you'd never see a brand.

                                                                    Sometimes they slipped through... what shades Tom Cruise wore in his first big role, or the candy eaten by E.T. But for the most part, and even today, it's usually so subtle as to not notice. Yet there are certainly more obvious deals with products and brands these days... usually those are the ones where you notice, or it's thrust upon you.

                                                            2. I think that was a great way to start out the season! I'm hooked and definitely agree that it should be appreciated as a separate type of show from the Food Network show. I can watch both with equal interest.

                                                              If you want to see an interesting show that includes Geoduck and some explanation about ways to cook and how it's harvested, keep your eye open for Dirty Jobs on Discovery Channel....they did half a show about it a few months ago, and they are interesting creatures.

                                                              1. I agree with everyone else that the show seems more food oriented and less drama. I am sure there will be drama--but maybe the drama will enhance the show rather than detract from it as the contestants really seem to know their stuff. BTW, either Padma is growing on me or she seems a lot less stilted.

                                                                Was it my imagination did Tom seem more chummy with Tre than with the other contestants?

                                                                1. I had to TIVO it, so I just watched it last night...Great show...I am a big fan of Bourdain's, so loved that he was a judge...Think those contestants are amazing, and having to cook with some of those unusual meats was quite the challenge...Felt so badly for the guy that could not get his frog legs on the plate in time...They were done! Just sitting by the plate...That one killed me...I then watched Hell's Kitchen that I had recorded earlier..What a contrast to watch both back to back...Hell's Kitchen...I love it, but can you say BRUTAL? My son was having a fit about the guy on it that kept crying...I was saying, "Poor thing", and my teenage son was saying...well...just the opposite...

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: jinet12

                                                                    See... I think Hell's Kitchen is such a set up... none of the real chefs on Top Chef would ever put up with Ramsey's crap AND they wouldn't likely get it because they can cook.

                                                                    The people they cast for HK are fringe type cooks picked just so Ramsey can have mistakes to holler about.

                                                                    It's the difference between watching champion swimmers compete and throwing beginning swimmers into a pool and seeing who drowns.

                                                                    1. The chefs seem better this season, but they are well, too "old" and they have restaurants. That guy who wore the italia shirt seemed to be overdramatic and violent; all the contestants seem like they're going to start drama and they are all too old to act this immature, it's annoying. And I always felt like the point of the show was to allow for a young, hot-new, talented chef to get money to open a restaurant and show the world their food. These contestants already have restaurants and seem to have too much age on them to show the world anything new. Ha, I feel like some sort of old person hater, but that's my opinion of this season.

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: digkv

                                                                        I agree with that. These shows are supposed to be about the top-new-young-up-comings, otherwise we'd have true *top* chefs like Keller and Goin and...Colicchio competing. But some of these more experienced people I guess don't mind competing against people with way less experience? Strange.

                                                                        1. re: digkv

                                                                          Too old? Seriously? Does anyone remember Cynthia in the first season, Betty and Frank last season? Cynthia, as I recall (have I got that name right? She's the one who had to leave because her dad was dying), was in her 50s; Betty and Frank were both in their mid-40s. These folks all seem to be late 20s/early 30s, old enough to have escaped adolescence (a good thing given Ilan/Marcel last season) but still young-and-up-and-coming.

                                                                          1. re: revsharkie

                                                                            My choices are Sandee, Hung, Tre, and Micah-but who knows.

                                                                            1. re: evilcatfish

                                                                              Right now, I like Tre and Micah the best. Hung is clearly talented, but as far as watching him on TV, it's not enough to compensate for his bad attitude. I loved the first season, did not enjoy the second, but am hopeful about season 3 thus far. I just hope Hung can back off his snarky remarks a bit and Mr. Italia can lose a bit the the false bravado.

                                                                            2. re: revsharkie

                                                                              I don't know, from the previews it seemed like they created just as much drama as the young uns. But thing is, the "old" people like Betty and Frank were just not as talented as the younger chefs, they had little room to grow. These chefs are actually more in their mid-30s, with a few in their early 20s. It's just that a chef with this much experience and who probably owns a restaurant doesn't need the Top Chef prize.

                                                                          2. Random dyspeptic thoughts:

                                                                            "...so I think this season we have a much deeper talent pool."

                                                                            That's gotta make the contestants from seasons 1 & 2 feel good. You know Colicchio wanted to really say, "...so I think this season we have a much deeper talent pool, compared to the losers and muppets we had the first two times."

                                                                            I feel very badly for Clay--he never should have gotten on this show, I would have hoped the producers would tell him to go home, get into therapy right away. I mean, look at the guy--he's a sucking chest wound of emotional problems, and with damn good reason! If he doesn't get help I'm afraid he's going to end up a passenger on the Self-Inflicted Express. I really do hope he gets good help, fast.

                                                                            I see Tre and Hung being the last two finalists. The others don't seem to have that charisma of command a top chef needs to boss a kitchen--dealing with custoners, vendors, drunks, inspectors, trademen, union thugs, owners, bail bondsmen, coke dealers, reality tv show producers, et al.

                                                                            I wonder if the contestants had to join the Screen Actors Guild?

                                                                            A pet peeve of mine from seasons 1 & 2 was chefs saying, "I don't cook this way, this isn't my style, I can't cook like this." WTH did you people think was going to happen on this show? Colicchio said TC is all about versatility, that means you'll be dragged out of your comfort zones, people. Petits fours for cavemen, tofu nibblers will sear steaks, food Nazis will be handed Twinkies and bacon, rednecks get green tea and truffles.

                                                                            I'd enjoy seeing Gordon Ramsay as a guest judge.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: KenWritez

                                                                              "I'd enjoy seeing Gordon Ramsay as a guest judge."

                                                                              THAT would make for GOOD tv!

                                                                            2. My DH and I recently held a wild game BBQ. I am not a chef, but a fabulous cook. It took some research to decide how to grill everything we bought..but the rattlesnake was the real test. We grilled the whole thing...was sorry the guy chopped it up and fried it. Great show! The Howie thing WAS almost too perfect.

                                                                              1. I know they've always done it, but this year the product placement seems to be really 'in your face' almost aggressive. Perhaps it's just me.

                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                  I find this year's product placement WAY less intrusive than Season 2.

                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                    Speaking of products, I guess global is no longer the knife sponsor?

                                                                                    1. re: evilcatfish

                                                                                      But don't all the chefs bring their *own* knives? Or is that just a pretense when Padma says "pack *your* knives and go" and we see them sliding knives into their carrier and walking out with them? I thought I remembered seeing different knives being packed up.

                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                        The knives they pull from the block during challeneges were Global in previous seasons.

                                                                                        1. re: mojoeater

                                                                                          Ahhhh....got it. I vaguely recognized the handles of the knives, but since I don't own any Global knives, didn't put two-and-two together.