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Top Chef- right now

MellieMac Aug 1, 2007 07:21 PM

OK, did anyone else see this shameless plug coming for Rocco's new frozen meal line. I am dissapointed. He has so much more to offer these Chefs than that...

  1. Adrienne Aug 3, 2007 05:10 PM

    I think everyone's comments have really good points on this topic. Personally I think regardless of all the freezing stuff, Sara should have gone home because there should not be an option on team challenges to just hang back and be unnoticable and avoid elimination that way -- no matter how bad Joey and Hung's dish turned out, they both were cooking! If you don't actually cook (or as in other challenges, don't follow the directions), you should automatically be sent home. Joey going home instead seemed completely unfair to me.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Adrienne
      jfood Aug 3, 2007 06:31 PM


      another vote for throwing sara off. She acted like she was entering the battlefield after the battle was over and bayonetting the dead.. Off with her head.

      1. re: jfood
        jeanki Aug 3, 2007 08:30 PM

        I also thought Sarah should've gone home. She's never shown much talent whereas Joey did show some chops in other episodes. I think Rocco thought just because he was also Italian he could blame Joey for being 'stubborn' and hardheaded, just like himself!!!

        I made the grave error once of trying to eat a frozen Bertolli meal by the way and it was dreadful. (And not all frozen Italian food is horrible, Trader Joe's ones are surprisingly edible.) Rocco is promoting crap. That eyejob is a travesty too.

        The challenge was sort of idiotic to begin with, how to wreck your own food.

      2. re: Adrienne
        kenito799 Aug 4, 2007 05:08 AM

        I will defend Sara...I think she made contributions to the components of their dish and who knows? Maybe she saved it from tasting worse than Hung & Joey's and that's what saved their team.

        We know Howie can make good food but he can also screw up. Remember the dry pork loin on the "bbq" challenge? Everybody knows that pork loin (grown in the US) is so lean that extraordinary measures must be taken to keep it from drying out. It's just about the worst piece of meat to grill.

        While Sara has not won anything she has consistently made good food, often stuff that sounded interesting and I wanted to try. Remember the cheese tart and rabbit dishes in the pastry challenge? She was more creative with the pastry than most of them. Remember the Latin American lunch? She made an awesome-looking chile relleno with fresh cheese that the guests were raving about.

        Furthermore, how kool is it that she is smoking a roll-your-own (what was in it?) topless in the hot tub with a @$# you attitude...I like that she brings a different cultural perspective onto TC. Most of the chefs are so American in their outlook.

        1. re: kenito799
          wingman Aug 6, 2007 09:28 AM

          The thing that always impresses me about Howie is when he screws up he immediately knows what he did wrong and owns up to it - each time he has been in the bottom he hasn't made excuses, he's explained his mistake and tried to learn from it - it's a far cry from how most of them act when being challenged by the judges.

          1. re: wingman
            heathermb Aug 6, 2007 09:54 AM

            Like Hung who always dismisses it as the "personal opinion" or "decision" of the judge and never, ever anything that he did less than perfectly.

            1. re: wingman
              jocey Aug 9, 2007 12:15 PM

              I don't think that is completey true about Howie. Reflecting back to the "small bites, late nights" episode, he did not point to his inability to work as a team player. Every team he has been on, has came in last. It is is evident that the team's performance was a disasater because he just would not compromise.

              1. re: jocey
                Adrienne Aug 11, 2007 01:29 AM

                I agree -- Howie definitely accepts that he hasn't always cooked perfectly, but he does not seem to have any insight to the damaging contribution his social skills have made.

        2. i
          iknowwhatitmeans Aug 2, 2007 10:45 PM

          that show is completely full with shameless plugs

          1. g
            gyppielou Aug 2, 2007 06:37 PM

            I cannot believe he cried like a baby with that tough guy new york accent! Too funny, yet funnier was calling Rocco a d-bag and what kinda guinnea??? Very funny. Wish he was still around and sweaty Howie was gone......like Howie, but no way now how am I eating any of his sweat drops! Uuuuuuuuggghhh!!!!

            1. p
              pfarrell Aug 2, 2007 06:37 PM

              in my humble opinion, in this challenge in particular, the elimination should have been of one whole team...would have been more fun for me.

              1. p
                Petitpois Aug 2, 2007 06:22 PM

                Sometimes when I'm watching Hung's jittery speech patterns and too-quick head movements I can't help but wonder if he's on something. Like speed.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Petitpois
                  Phaedrus Aug 2, 2007 06:24 PM

                  Or bad fugu

                2. Phaedrus Aug 2, 2007 12:21 PM

                  ooh, ooh. They uploaded Tony Bourdain's blog for Colicchio on the Top Chef site, and he is, as always, vicious, carnivorous, direct, truthful, and exquisitely descriptive.

                  he skewers Rocco, the challenge it self, Sarah M. and Hung. Hunter Thompson would be proud.

                  21 Replies
                  1. re: Phaedrus
                    Elyssa Aug 2, 2007 01:06 PM

                    Oh man! Bourdain just thrills me to no end!!!

                    1. re: Elyssa
                      Phaedrus Aug 2, 2007 03:03 PM

                      Oh man, check out Joey's exit interview. He goes off on Rocco, called him a female irrigation bag. And then really goes off, calls him a sellout etc.

                      I think I'll miss Joey, now that he has let loose.

                      1. re: Phaedrus
                        kenito799 Aug 2, 2007 04:22 PM

                        I will miss him and his gravity-defying gigantic belly, too. Wow he has to live with that sobbing on national TV for the rest of his life.

                        1. re: Phaedrus
                          Elyssa Aug 2, 2007 05:37 PM

                          Wait...where is this exit interview. Must....see....now! lol

                          1. re: Elyssa
                            Phaedrus Aug 2, 2007 05:56 PM


                            1. re: Phaedrus
                              Elyssa Aug 2, 2007 05:59 PM

                              Awesome!!!!!!! That's so funny. I think there was a lot more of that going on that they had to edit out.

                            2. re: Elyssa
                              jfood Aug 2, 2007 06:14 PM


                        2. re: Phaedrus
                          dave_c Aug 2, 2007 04:41 PM

                          Bourdains comments are very amusing.

                          My question... At what point does Hung "throw Joey under the bus" versus "telling it like it went down"?

                          I guess I saw things differently than Mr. Bourdain.

                          1. re: dave_c
                            MellieMac Aug 2, 2007 05:26 PM

                            I adore Anthony Bourdain and for me the most telling comment was him wondering which Rocco was going to show up. Rocco totally had the chance for redemption and he sold out. And Top Chef handed him the keys to the castle by putting product placement above it all. I am still disppointed.

                            1. re: MellieMac
                              kenito799 Aug 6, 2007 10:03 AM

                              check it out--Rocco blogged for Padma and he respond sto Anthony and calls out Joey for calling him a d#$%-bag, etc.


                              1. re: kenito799
                                Phaedrus Aug 6, 2007 10:39 AM

                                Hmm. I wonder how Rocco really felt.

                                I get a sense that he is being really controlled and polite because this is Padma's blog and not his. He did explain what he tried to do as a judge, which is admirable, albeit uninteresting at times. He doesn't address the shilling issue though.

                                And I don't think the chefs thought frozen dinners were below them as he did, I thought they were pretty much reacting like:" Of course, its Rocco, that is why we have to flog Bertoli's frozen foods."

                                Oh, and he tried to take on Bourdain in a pretty bland way. Dude, if you're going to defend yourself, do it in a passionate way, this is why people think you have lost your way, they think you have no passion left in your life.

                                1. re: Phaedrus
                                  LindaWhit Aug 6, 2007 05:18 PM

                                  Quite frankly, the first blog post says it all for me: (From Kitty):

                                  "You say "I have a long road ahead of me before I am forgiven for my behavior on "The Restaurant." True - but get back into the kitchen and start cooking like you did at UP, and you're 95% there. Cook, and we'll follow.

                                  Well - so long as you're nicer to the servers than you were before. I've heard stories, and they ain't pretty. But hey - we all grow up."

                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                    Elyssa Aug 6, 2007 05:49 PM

                                    Raise your hand if you want to hear the stories!!!! lol

                                    I can imagine...he didn't even seem to treat them wonderfully on his show. I also think he chose kinda yucky managers as well though...and that's 1/2 the battle.

                                    1. re: Elyssa
                                      LindaWhit Aug 6, 2007 05:50 PM

                                      I would love to hear the stories from both FOH and BOH at "The Restaurant." Probably never to be.

                                2. re: kenito799
                                  Withnail42 Aug 6, 2007 10:42 AM

                                  Skip the first three and a half pages. It's really a recap of the quick fire for no apparent reason. The rest is interesting despite the product placement.


                                  1. re: kenito799
                                    Elyssa Aug 6, 2007 11:34 AM

                                    I found that a little boring. Does he have his own blog? Perhaps from his own space he'll feel he'll be able to answer all the questions that have be posed at him. Maybe he'll be more comfortable in his own space and not on Bravo's time.

                                    Still it was boring and I didn't learn anything more really.

                                    1. re: Elyssa
                                      kenito799 Aug 6, 2007 11:55 AM

                                      yes it was boring and a weirdly obsessive recounting of every second of the quickfire bee. But note this: he specifies that he has not had "botox, ribs removed or rhinoplasty"...but doesnt say he has not had an eye job! aha!

                                      1. re: Elyssa
                                        kenito799 Aug 8, 2007 10:45 AM

                                        Guess what? Bourdain and Rocco now have their own weekly TC blogs!

                                        1. re: kenito799
                                          Phaedrus Aug 8, 2007 10:58 AM

                                          Instead of individual blogs, I think they should do a faceoff between the two. Kind of a Saturday Night Live point/counterpoint deal.

                                          I can see Tony saying: "Rocco you ignorant twit!"

                                      2. re: kenito799
                                        MellieMac Aug 8, 2007 11:13 AM

                                        Well, that was dull.

                                        No wit, no charm, no personality. Exactly how he came off on the show. For me anyway.

                                    2. re: dave_c
                                      digkv Aug 3, 2007 03:12 AM

                                      Really, I don't think Hung was betraying anyone. He told the truth of what he felt caused them to be in the bottom: and it was the truth. The judges asked him so he told him; anything else would be a lie.
                                      And I may be the only one but I really dislike Bourdain; he seems to be snide and snarky for the sake of it. It's as if he thinks he's cool when he's looking down on everyone because for someone reason he has some sort of superiority complex. He causes problems about people without really needing to. You know, confrontation for the sake of it.

                                  2. JasmineG Aug 2, 2007 11:22 AM

                                    This episode made me really dislike all four of the people who were in the bottom. Howie just seemed like a mean bully, Hung was totally passive aggressive and threw his teammate under the bus, Sara was completely passive, and Joey just seemed like he barely had two brain cells to put together. I was surprised that he got eliminated, though, I thought that it would be Sara. I was really hoping that this would be one of those team eliminations, since both teams did poorly because they couldn't work as a team, and I think that it was more the fault of the two dominant members (Howie and Hung) that they couldn't manage to work with someone else.

                                    10 Replies
                                    1. re: JasmineG
                                      dave_c Aug 2, 2007 12:56 PM

                                      I, too, am suprised that Joey got booted. I thought it was between Joey and Sara with Sara getting the boot.

                                      The way it saw it, from worst to least worst: Sara, Joey, Howie and Hung.

                                      I don't know about Hung being passive-aggressive. How many times do you need to tell another professional chef specializing in Italian food what to do? It seemed obvious that when you mix pasta and sauce overnight you end up with mush. Should Hung hold Joey's hand while crossing the street too?

                                      1. re: dave_c
                                        Phaedrus Aug 2, 2007 01:01 PM

                                        That is a part of being a chef, or a co-worker. You learn to read your co-workers and you learn what makes them tick and what makes them shut down. Despite all the skills and training and theory, the bottom line is that you need to execute your vision, Hung failed to do that. Or to meld his vision with Joey's vision.

                                        1. re: Phaedrus
                                          Morton the Mousse Aug 2, 2007 01:16 PM

                                          Sure, and we've all had that one coworker who completely fails to comprehend the most rudimentary ideas no matter how many times and ways we try to explain it. That coworker never lasts long.

                                          Hung failed to execute his vision because Joey stood square in the way, and stubbornly refused to let Hung do the right thing. It didn't help that Hung is ESL and about one third of Joey's size. The fault lies entirely with Joey.

                                          1. re: Morton the Mousse
                                            Phaedrus Aug 2, 2007 01:30 PM

                                            The thing that gets me is the way Hung talks tough about how no one will stand in his way and how he is there to kick ass and not make firends, but at the first sign of resistance, he backs off. I understand where you're coming from but it didn't look like Hung tried very hard, but hten again that could be due to the editing.

                                            1. re: Phaedrus
                                              Morton the Mousse Aug 2, 2007 01:34 PM

                                              I dunno. It looked to me like he had spent the last thirty minutes trying, and we just saw him give up at the very end. Part of the problem was that he thought Joey understood him and that they were on the same page until halfway through the competition. Though this is all guesswork with the way they edit.

                                              1. re: Morton the Mousse
                                                Phaedrus Aug 2, 2007 01:36 PM

                                                i don't know if this is the producers hinting at Hung's behavior, but they did sheo Hung say that he was going to let Joey do his thing since he is the Italian of the two. He also said that he knew the science of it oo. Its a mystery until we get to see the raw footage and that would be incredibly boring, given how long it takes them to film.

                                            2. re: Morton the Mousse
                                              JasmineG Aug 2, 2007 09:59 PM

                                              Right, but whenever I've worked with that co-worker, and I've known that it was both of us on the line, I've made damn sure that the end product was a good one. If you know you're working with someone who isn't going to comprehend you at first, it's your responsibility to make sure that either they do what they need to do, or you do it for them. Hung completely failed in working with other people in this task.

                                          2. re: dave_c
                                            JasmineG Aug 2, 2007 01:04 PM

                                            Well, but it was a team challenge, and Hung's status depended on what Joey did, so yeah, Hung should have held Joey's hand while crossing the street. Especially since it was pretty clear that Joey had no comprehension of what Hung was talking about or why, Hung needed to be a lot more clear and forceful. Sure, it's Joey's fault that he isn't that bright, but when you work with people who aren't that bright, you need to give them much more clear instructions about what to do.

                                            1. re: dave_c
                                              Megiac Aug 2, 2007 02:40 PM

                                              Joey is Italian-American, but does not specialize in Italian food. Cafe Des Artistes is not an Italian restaurant. You can access the menu here: http://www.cafenyc.com/cafedesartiste...

                                              None of the other restaurants on his Bravo bio (Waters Edge, Vong, and Jean Georges -- wonder if he worked with Lia?) are Italian either.

                                              In the preview fo rthe season after episode 1, we saw Joey outside in the evening wearing his Italia shirt and swearing up a storm. I don't remember seeing that in any episode. What episode was that from, or did it not make the final cuts?

                                              1. re: Megiac
                                                Withnail42 Aug 2, 2007 02:50 PM

                                                I was thinking of that scene as well. That's why I thought Joey was safe. Figured that he still had at least one more melt down to get through.


                                          3. e
                                            Elyssa Aug 2, 2007 09:47 AM

                                            Do you guys read the Top Chef summaries on www.televisionwithoutpity.com? If not I highly recommend them. They are pretty hillarious.

                                            They usually do a quick summary the day after the show and then a longer, play-by-play wrap up a day or so later.

                                            This wonderful tidbit was included today: "Also, Rocco was there as guest judge and he was looking really bizarre. Sort of like someone else had put his skin on and it didn't quite fit. Or like he had gone several rounds with the Son'a skin rejuvenator in Star Trek: Insurrection." TOO FUNNY!

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: Elyssa
                                              reubensandperrier Aug 2, 2007 09:57 AM

                                              Hooray!! A fellow TWoP lover!

                                              The recaps of Season 1 are pee-in-your-pants hilarious. The town crier Dave is nicknamed the big red polar bear.

                                              1. re: reubensandperrier
                                                Elyssa Aug 2, 2007 10:05 AM

                                                Oh they crack me up!!! Their nick names and overall make fun of everyone vibe is awesome!

                                              2. re: Elyssa
                                                LindaWhit Aug 2, 2007 10:28 AM

                                                AND you've got to read the blogs on Bravo-TV's website - Ted Allen's is just hysterical! And Harold has a brief comment on Rocco. :-)

                                                ETA: Bourdain's blog is up on the Bravo site. He likened Rocco to David Gest and as being "Icarus-like". :-)


                                              3. singleguychef Aug 2, 2007 09:44 AM

                                                I wouldn't have mind trying the meatball and pesto sauce. It sounded from the reaction that people liked it. Even though Tre and CJ's dish was done perfectly in terms of freezing, I think it probably was to high-end for the everyday frozen dinner buyer. So I was surprised they won. I think Rocco was still feeling the frozen meatball in his mouth when he announced the winner.

                                                I actually thought it was fun watching Colicchio get challenged by Rocco. I think that's the first time I've seen a guest judge question the head judge. But I liked it!

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: singleguychef
                                                  Elyssa Aug 2, 2007 09:49 AM

                                                  I actually agree. I thought the meatball and pesto dish sounded really good. Along with Tre and CJ's (sigh). But I would prefer to eat them not frozen. Fresh would probably be delicious.

                                                  1. re: singleguychef
                                                    Chef Casper Aug 2, 2007 10:31 AM

                                                    I must say that personally I thought the pesto dish sounded the most interesting and I would like to try it the most. (wished the would have used duck instead of pork though, maybe tuna aswell?)
                                                    Anyway I was surprized by the elimination, personally I would have eliminated howies teamate (Her name escapes me at the moment.) or howie, just because I'm so done with his attitude at this moment.
                                                    I loved how howies teamate could totally read that he despised her and played on that, though. HILARIOUS!
                                                    Oh yeah and it was fun to see that new ken doll model... Oh I mean Rocco, yeah, yeah, Rocco.

                                                  2. jfood Aug 2, 2007 06:38 AM

                                                    Oh what a night on Top Chef. Jfood was listening with half an ear as little jfood surprised us by coming home early and wanted to chat as well. Not as entertaining as HK but a few thoughts and observations.

                                                    - What can you say about Rocco. Let’s think, hmmmm. Can you say Botox? Can you say eyebrows re-done? Come on Rocco, you have eyelids so you can blink. Ooops, maybe they are frozen in time.
                                                    - For the first 45 minutes RS was a non-event. Oh yeah he was able to decipher that the meatball was a little frozen in the middle. Well let’s remember that Rocco totally screwed up on meatballs and his mommy needed to bail him out. Déjà vu all over again?
                                                    - The Quick Fire. Favorite moment was Mr. “I am the World” Hung not tasting , getting wrong, tasting, then changing his mind. Yippeeeeee!!! Could you just feel Padma’s pain in the “I’m so sorry we have to take your first answer.”
                                                    - Sara taking the “I’ll give lots of different answers, maybe one will stick approach.” That was the most contribution to the food for the entire show. She should have kept that theory in mind when her pasta could stick to anything since it was soooo overcooked.
                                                    - But the Quick Fire was so staged with tomato paste, bow tie pasta, and then some outrageous items.
                                                    - Then onto the Challenge. Rocco shows up with the frozen food challenge. Maybe looking at his “frozen” eyebrows and forehead gave the producers the idea. Or the again Mario comes out with a line of frozen pasta entrees being sold in Big Box stores so must be OK.
                                                    - Loved the scientific evaluations, “Hey each piece is individually frozen.” OK guys let’s take the answer to the kitchen. Or as so apply put in the Simpsons, “Thwack.”
                                                    - Jfood caught snippets of the cooking (too busy chatting) but saw Hung covering his butt at all times, Howie and Sarah almost killing each other and the others playing nice in the sandbox. Loved watching everyone watch Tre cut the frozen stuff individually.
                                                    - As in previous shows winners were the ones who found, understood and preformed on the challenge. They won when Tre said “you gave us two hours to prep and one hour to package.”
                                                    - Next fun moment was the four lowest. How nicely Hung drove the bus over Joey. And then Sarah decided to take a scalpel to Howie. Howie left the fusilli as road kill, wanted rotini and then took out his assault rifle. That was jfood favorite moment.
                                                    - Game Over Moment - Joey blew it totally when he said that Hung should have pounded the table.
                                                    - CJ being sarcastic to Howie. CJ baby, Howie understanding sarcastic? Thought knife was coming out at that point. Bet Howie grew up very lonely, not a lot of friends.
                                                    - Understand that Rock and Joey are planning a new reality show “Tears of the Chef.”

                                                    Overall only a 6 on the jfood scale.

                                                    1. Withnail42 Aug 2, 2007 04:40 AM

                                                      A few thoughts of last nights episode.

                                                      Perhaps an eye job and some botox came to mind when seeing Rocco. He seemed very laid back and insightful at times.

                                                      The quick fire challenge seemed very sloppy and half as**d. Like it was thrown together at the last minute. Quail eggs and bow tie pasta. Surprised they didn't have salt and pepper.

                                                      I could have sworn Cassey, on her first taste, said 'fish eggs' and Padama said 'fish paste' and said Cassey was right.

                                                      Loved it when Hung was doing his cocky act and didn't 'need' to taste. Padama made him anyway but had to go with the first answer.

                                                      You'd think Hung might be a little less cocky after being in front of the judges so many times.

                                                      Loved the part when Howie talked about how much he hated the three color pasta because it was schlocky and inauthentic. Then right after that Joey was talking about how much he loved three color pasta because it was fancy and authentic.

                                                      Personally I don't like it when they have elimination using teams. To easy for the judges and contestants to pass the buck.

                                                      Tre won he can smile.

                                                      Odd editing at the end with everyone at Judges table and then magically Sara and Howie are in the other room when Joey and Hung walk in.


                                                      20 Replies
                                                      1. re: Withnail42
                                                        LindaWhit Aug 2, 2007 06:09 AM

                                                        This is Hung's 3rd or 4th time in the bottom? And he hasn't won a challenge yet? Have to believe at this point he's not going to be in the Top 4 - he sure doesn't deserve to be! Couldn't believe he chose NOT to taste his QuickFire item - moron.

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                                          Jeserf Aug 2, 2007 06:32 AM

                                                          The same thing happened with Marcel. He was at the bottom many times and never kicked off.

                                                          Drama sells.

                                                          But this season, there isn't much drama. it's like the other contestants are trying to avoid it, really.

                                                          1. re: Jeserf
                                                            LindaWhit Aug 2, 2007 12:20 PM

                                                            But at this point, hadn't Marcel also won either a QuickFire or Elimination Challenge?

                                                            Ahh - just checked Season 2 - Marcel won a QF in Ep. 7- and that's it. Don't recall him being in the bottom group as much as Hung, however. (And I don't think Marcel should have been in Final 2 either.)

                                                          2. re: LindaWhit
                                                            ChefJune Aug 2, 2007 12:08 PM

                                                            Yes.... I would have sent Hung packing for knowing what to do in the elimination challenge and NOT seeing to it that it was done that way. imho the knowing and not doing was the greatest "sin."

                                                            1. re: ChefJune
                                                              Morton the Mousse Aug 2, 2007 12:20 PM

                                                              That's not fair. How many times did Hung need to explain it to Joey? The man just wouldn't listen. In fact, he admitted to the judges that he didn't listen to what Hung was saying. Joey is much larger and more dominating than Hung. Joey stood in front of the pot, spooned out the sauce, and completely ignored Hung's repeated requests. Should Hung have pushed Joey over and forced the spoon out of his paw? Every other contestant would have listened to reason. It was Joey's failure, not Hung's.

                                                              1. re: Morton the Mousse
                                                                JasmineG Aug 2, 2007 12:37 PM

                                                                It really didn't seem like Hung tried very hard, though. I think that he didn't explain to Joey what he wanted to do and why, and when Joey said that he wanted to do it the wrong way, Hung just gave up and walked away. Sure, Joey didn't seem very intelligent, but Hung completely failed in working with a partner and at the point when he knew that Joey was going to do it wrong, he should have stepped in to correct him. Instead he just gave in.

                                                                1. re: JasmineG
                                                                  singleguychef Aug 2, 2007 01:56 PM

                                                                  I agree with Jasmine, Hung didn't seem to try as hard. Sure, Joey was focused on the pressures and not listening, but I've seen earlier in the season how Hung would be running like a maniac and just pushing his way through to get something. So why couldn't he use that energy with Joey and just grab some baggies and start separating himself? He was off last night.

                                                                  1. re: singleguychef
                                                                    kenito799 Aug 2, 2007 04:13 PM

                                                                    I think Hung is just scared of Joey--Joey is huge and belligerent and puts on that macho show (even though most people can see through it). I remember Hung nervously smiling and dodging when Joey was accusing him of stealing the watermelon drink idea. Hung just didn't know how to try to communicate with someone like Joey. I think he would have actually had to grab the ladle out of Joey's hand to get him to stop dumping the sauce on the pasta because Joey had already decided he wasn't listening to anything Hung was saying.

                                                                    I agree with axing Joey, he can cook well but showed that he was unable to grasp a new concept (contrast him to how well Tre and CJ got the IQF idea).

                                                                    I liked this challenge because the chefs had to demonstrate some actual food prep knowledge--just like they had to know how to make catered food that wouldn't dry out or overcook (Casey failed that one with her dry rice!)

                                                                    1. re: kenito799
                                                                      Phaedrus Aug 2, 2007 04:34 PM

                                                                      Yeah, but compare what Joey did and what Sarah M didn't do. I would have booted her out.

                                                                      1. re: kenito799
                                                                        LindaWhit Aug 2, 2007 07:26 PM

                                                                        I think Hung is more talk than action - he says he won't take guff from anyone in the camera asides/confessionals, but then he backs down if someone gets in his face or puts on some pressure, as Joey did.

                                                                        1. re: kenito799
                                                                          ChefJune Aug 2, 2007 11:08 PM

                                                                          There's no room for wusses in a restaurant kitchen. And at no other time has Hung come across as a wuss... I think he took a big risk letting Joey do what he KNEW was the wrong way to go. If it was his own kitchen, he wouldn't have done that.

                                                                          That's not the behavior of a "Top Chef," imho.

                                                                      2. re: JasmineG
                                                                        batdown Aug 2, 2007 11:15 PM

                                                                        as if 'stepping in to correct' anybody EVER works on top chef. lol! hung made the only decision he could in going with a flawed game plan but trying to execute it well. if he had been fighting joey tooth and nail the whole way, the dish would have come out even worse, and hung would have been on the chopping block for being antagonistic and 'not being able to work with others,' which is one of collicchio's pet peeves.

                                                                  2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                    nyc44 Aug 2, 2007 07:20 PM

                                                                    am i the only one who thinks hung framed (is it Joey?) Joey to be cut?

                                                                    Hung is so evil and Marcel like, I just dont buy that he couldnt bring himself to drive the most important point of the challange home. and it worked!

                                                                    1. re: nyc44
                                                                      Morton the Mousse Aug 2, 2007 07:46 PM

                                                                      Preposterous. Why would Hung risk elimination when he doesn't have a vendetta against Joey? In fact, he was happy to be teamed with Joey until Joey objected to the IQF idea. Hung has too much pride to put out bad food out of spite for another chef.

                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit
                                                                      ajs228 Aug 3, 2007 10:13 AM

                                                                      Hung won the quickfire on the BBQ episode, but I don't think he's won a full challenge yet.

                                                                      1. re: ajs228
                                                                        LindaWhit Aug 3, 2007 10:23 AM

                                                                        I guess this is part of what bothers me re: the judging - the judges don't look at overall performance (although on occasion, Gail will mention when someone's been in the bottom several times). If someone has been in the bottom group regularly, there's got to be a time when the bell finally rings and realization sets in that, OK - this cheftestant just isn't going to cut it and it's time to cut them.

                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                          kenito799 Aug 3, 2007 10:35 AM

                                                                          The judges say over and over that they are judging only the challenge of the day, not the cumulative effort, but it seems obvious that what each cheftestant has done to that point affects the judges' opinions.

                                                                          It would be very interesting to have them taste the dishes blinded to who made them to remove any prejudices or preconceived ideas.

                                                                          In general the judging criteria are arbitrary and inconsistent (sometimes including vague "teamwork" or "leadership" abilities in addition to cooking) and that seems to be how TC wants it, to generate so much lively debate.

                                                                          1. re: kenito799
                                                                            LindaWhit Aug 3, 2007 10:40 AM

                                                                            Now a blind taste test on the part of the judges would be a GREAT idea! That would mean Chef Colicchio would have to stay out of the kitchen, so he couldn't know who was doing what.

                                                                            I think re: the leadership quality that that should be a given - if you're going to be a "top chef" you've got to be able to run your kitchen - LEAD your kitchen.

                                                                            For instance, Hung should have explained to Joey why they shouldn't have sauced the pasta before freezing it. Maybe he did, or tried, and Joey just was so stubborn and wouldn't listen. We won't ever know that without seeing all the footage they cut to fit into the specified time. But I thought Hung was just as much at fault in that challenge as Joey was. I agree with whoever else said if they could as a team and lose they should lose as a team and both go home.

                                                                            But then again - that would make the season a lot shorter. :-)

                                                                    3. re: Withnail42
                                                                      Elyssa Aug 2, 2007 06:09 AM

                                                                      I think they do the team eliminations because a) being a chef takes teamwork and b) (and possibly more important) DRAMA, DRAMA, DRAMA.

                                                                      Joey use to really get on my nerves..."Hey I'm from NY...btw.I'm from NY. I'm a NY Chef" blah blah blah. But I actually felt for him during the last episode and he was begining to grow on me. I kind of though Sara should have been axed.

                                                                      1. re: Withnail42
                                                                        NewSushiFiend Aug 6, 2007 11:15 AM

                                                                        I don't think Padma made Hung taste the spice. She sounded and looked surprised when she "You aren't going to taste it?" or something much like that. He was being his arragant self in not tasting.

                                                                      2. janetofreno Aug 1, 2007 11:25 PM

                                                                        I have a very stupid question...which I know one of you will be able to answer. It has bugged me so much I have replayed the DVR again and again....(I had to go out tonight so delayed my viewing). Despite this, I need to know (OCD here): During the quickfire, what was the VERY FIRST item tasted. It looked like some kind of red powder. The contestant (oh god, I can't even remember who it was, and I've deleted the darn thing...) mumbled something, and Padma said "That's right!!" I have no idea what that powder was. For some reason I HAVE to know. Achiote maybe???

                                                                        Anybody remember??? Both DH and I watched the scene multiple times, and neither of us have no idea what it was......

                                                                        23 Replies
                                                                        1. re: janetofreno
                                                                          Carb Lover Aug 2, 2007 12:17 AM

                                                                          Wasn't it Howie tasting tomato paste? I was kinda proud of myself when I was able to ID it visually before he blurted out the response. Others I wasn't so good on...And what was up w/ choosing farfalle/bowtie pasta to ID?!

                                                                          1. re: Carb Lover
                                                                            RoxyGrl Aug 2, 2007 12:20 AM

                                                                            I thought it was tamarind?

                                                                            1. re: RoxyGrl
                                                                              LindaWhit Aug 2, 2007 03:54 AM

                                                                              I thought it was tomato paste as well.

                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                brunello Aug 2, 2007 04:41 AM

                                                                                Went "to the tape" and it's definitely tomato paste. Tamarind would be a black/brownish colour.

                                                                                1. re: brunello
                                                                                  jfood Aug 2, 2007 06:03 AM

                                                                                  thought tomato paste as well

                                                                                  1. re: jfood
                                                                                    masala maci Aug 2, 2007 10:49 AM

                                                                                    the closed caption said "tomato paste"

                                                                            2. re: Carb Lover
                                                                              Elyssa Aug 2, 2007 06:06 AM

                                                                              Yes it was Howie tasting tomato paste. It wasn't so much a powder but at that point they didn't zoom in enough.

                                                                              How did people feel about this quickfire? If I remember correctly this is the first time (possibly in the 3 years) that they didn't cook anything for a quickfire.

                                                                              1. re: Elyssa
                                                                                Phaedrus Aug 2, 2007 06:34 AM

                                                                                No. they had this quickfire in the first season too.

                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                  momjamin Aug 2, 2007 06:55 AM

                                                                                  Sort of -- season one had several items for all of them to taste with a blindfold, and they got scored. Most people didn't get more than 3/20 or somesuch. It wasn't like a bee where you could get a bye with bow-tie pasta. Andrea won since she was most used to the exotic ingredients. Then there was a hysterical spoof back in the loft where they had a junk food tasting.

                                                                                  1. re: momjamin
                                                                                    dagoose Aug 3, 2007 09:23 AM

                                                                                    That spoof was the first episode of TC I saw, and I was rolling on the floor laughing. Made me a fan. Wish we had more of that--like the amazing Padma impressions by Elia from the clip show

                                                                                2. re: Elyssa
                                                                                  maestra Aug 2, 2007 10:47 AM

                                                                                  I thought the quickfire made some of the chefs look quite ignorant and generally highlighted the limited concept of "cuisine" taught in culinary schools. I am a self-taught home cook who enjoys working with ingredients from all over the world. I would have gotten every one of those, no sweat. C'mon, not knowing yuca, taro (though they were quite small), Thai eggplant, or (more quickly) fish paste? Have these people never browsed an ethnic market? Have they no curiousity for cuisines beyond those that were taught in their classes? And could they at least have made her say "farfalle" instead of "bow-tie pasta?" Would just "pasta" have been acceptable?

                                                                                  1. re: maestra
                                                                                    Elyssa Aug 2, 2007 11:14 AM

                                                                                    I'm not 100% sure all those folks went to culinary school either. I imagine a few of them are self taught. Actually this might be listed under their profiles on the Bravo website...I'll check it out (Slow day at work...procrastination needed :) )

                                                                                    1. re: Elyssa
                                                                                      Elyssa Aug 2, 2007 11:35 AM

                                                                                      Well this might help you out...according to their bios on Bravo 7 of the chefs have some sort of training and 8 are self-taught. So I don't know if the argument against cooking schools etc really is valid here since its about 1/2 and 1/2.

                                                                                      Those with Some Sort of Training:
                                                                                      Sara M.
                                                                                      Sara N.

                                                                                      No Training/Self-Taught:

                                                                                      Not sure if I'm surprised with some of these or not but its certainly interesting.

                                                                                      Regardless of past training, I do think the quality of food and skill this particular group has is incredible and they really have been chosen from a higher caliber then years past (certainly season 2)

                                                                                      1. re: Elyssa
                                                                                        maestra Aug 2, 2007 01:52 PM

                                                                                        I agree that this season's chefs are generally more talented than in years past. I also didn't mean to sound so down on culinary schools nor so know-it-all. I was just very surprised by their general lack of familiarity with "exotic" ingredients when some hail from metropolitan multicultural centers and all profess a love of food.

                                                                                        1. re: maestra
                                                                                          Elyssa Aug 2, 2007 02:28 PM

                                                                                          Most of that stuff...anyone should have known unless they have only cooked in one region/area and haven't ever left that region or area.

                                                                                          I got most of them myself...well not the ones I had to taste but you know what I mean. The eggplant stumped me though.

                                                                                    2. re: maestra
                                                                                      E Eto Aug 2, 2007 11:14 AM

                                                                                      Pretty much agree. I watched this episode and it pretty much reinforced my opinion that none of these contestants seem to be material for anything called a top chef. I've hardly ever come away feeling impressed by any of the contestants. I've been feeling that way since the first season. It really does show how narrow a culinary education in the US is. All of them really need to get out of the country a little more.

                                                                                      1. re: E Eto
                                                                                        Blueicus Aug 2, 2007 04:17 PM

                                                                                        I wouldn't be so dismissive of their ability and knowledge base, considering that quite a few of them (including the booted ones) work in relatively high positions at well-known restaurants. It's too easy to be a dismissive armchair gourmand, isn't it?

                                                                                        1. re: Blueicus
                                                                                          E Eto Aug 2, 2007 07:34 PM

                                                                                          It's pretty easy to be dismissive when you see how many of them make basic mistakes, and not show much depth in their abilities besides what's in their comfort zones. I seem to be in the minority in the opinion that this season's crop shows less talent than those of the previous seasons. Maybe it's that they all seem so one-dimensional.

                                                                                          1. re: Blueicus
                                                                                            Adrienne Aug 3, 2007 05:05 PM

                                                                                            I don't mean to be persnickety, but I think you mean a dismissive armchair gourmet -- technically, a gourmand is a glutton (personally, I prefer "fasto").

                                                                                            1. re: Adrienne
                                                                                              jfood Aug 3, 2007 06:30 PM

                                                                                              jfood sorta likes the visual of dismissive armchair gourmand over gourmet. Throwing cheetos at the TV (puffed not crunchy) may be the only exercise he gets other than running his tongue.

                                                                                              1. re: jfood
                                                                                                Adrienne Aug 3, 2007 08:00 PM


                                                                                        2. re: maestra
                                                                                          jzerocsk Aug 3, 2007 07:40 AM

                                                                                          "I would have gotten every one of those, no sweat."

                                                                                          I'd love to see someone actually try it Looks easy when you're watching, but you would be surprised how important context is in your recognition of even everyday things.

                                                                                    3. re: janetofreno
                                                                                      sweetnspicy Aug 2, 2007 11:56 AM

                                                                                      It was the tomato paste.

                                                                                    4. Rimtalay Aug 1, 2007 09:25 PM

                                                                                      I just spotted an error in editing. When Joey got eliminated, he walked back to the kitchen area to tell the rest of the contestants the bad news. Howie was already sitting in the kitchen. Was Howie supposed to still be standing in the judging room with Sarah?

                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Rimtalay
                                                                                        King of Northern Blvd Aug 1, 2007 09:34 PM

                                                                                        I would assume everyone is sent back to the room except losing team but we can't see that..

                                                                                        1. re: King of Northern Blvd
                                                                                          LANative Aug 1, 2007 09:50 PM

                                                                                          I'm lucky to have the east coast feed on my satellite. Has anyone else noticed that Howie sweats excessively, to the point it looks like his sweat drips into the food he's cooking, which he hangs over? Yuck.

                                                                                          1. re: LANative
                                                                                            Elyssa Aug 2, 2007 06:05 AM

                                                                                            It's his special spice! Howie ALWAYS has a lovely tear drop shaped piece of sweat dangling dangerously from his nose. When he made ceviche awhile back the sweat clearly fell into the fish...mmmmm.

                                                                                        2. re: Rimtalay
                                                                                          elizabeththinks Aug 2, 2007 06:51 AM

                                                                                          I noticed that too! I was confused. You'd think if they send back some people before elimination; they would show that to add drama. They definitely give the impression all 4 were in the room when Joey was eliminated.

                                                                                        3. Phaedrus Aug 1, 2007 08:26 PM

                                                                                          Man, you guys really jumped in there fast. I thought Rocco was pretty subdued. Didn't say much, it wasn't about him, so he managed to keep his ego in check. He looked like he didn't want the stitches on the back of his head to pop.

                                                                                          You know, Rocco is right about one thing, everybody IS doing the frozen entree thing, even fictional chefs in animation movies are doing, maybe that is the effect Rocco was going for: becoming a caricature. Oh wait, he already is.

                                                                                          The elimination was really lame, as someone else said. It is kind of interesting that out of the two losing teams, three of the chefs had egos running rampant all over the place. Sarah was just roadkill to Howie. And the only time that Hung kept his ego in check was the one time that he needed to assert himself. Maybe he is all talk.

                                                                                          To be honest, going by the visuals, I didn't want to eat any of food they dished up. And it surprised me how all of them missed the separate ingredients in the bag.

                                                                                          I was surprised the broke up the Love Bear twins, I thought Sarah was the one to be cut, she was the lamest in the footage as they edited it, and her defense was so lame that I don't think she even believed it.

                                                                                          I thought Casey and Brian were going to catch it by what Colicchio had said about turkey not being Mediterranean.

                                                                                          And the Bertoli commercial was slightly humorous the first time, by the third time it got annoying.

                                                                                          Oh, and I thought it was hilarious when Padma kind of urged Hung to actually TASTE the seed and then slamming him by saying she had to take the first answer. SWEET!

                                                                                          Glad to see Tre and CJ win it.

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus
                                                                                            King of Northern Blvd Aug 1, 2007 09:18 PM

                                                                                            It's like Rocco went in and said" Make me look like Keanu!" Seeing Hung shut down was priceless..

                                                                                            1. re: King of Northern Blvd
                                                                                              Chef Casper Aug 1, 2007 09:20 PM

                                                                                              See, this is why I love the internet.
                                                                                              I'm on the west coast, so this episode hasn't even aired yet, but now I know what's going to happen!
                                                                                              Sweet I can get the VCR prepared.

                                                                                              1. re: Chef Casper
                                                                                                jocey Aug 6, 2007 11:42 AM

                                                                                                They aired this one before during a marathon weekend on BRAVO. I sat in on a sunday and watched as many eposides as I could. Every week I tune in, hoping to catch an episode that I may have not seen/may not remember.

                                                                                          2. e
                                                                                            Elyssa Aug 1, 2007 07:31 PM

                                                                                            I want to wait and see to but overall....lame challenge!!!!!! Frozen food!? Come onnnnn!

                                                                                            How about actual Med cooking.

                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Elyssa
                                                                                              mojoeater Aug 1, 2007 07:49 PM

                                                                                              Rocco just said that professional cooks are starting to realize the importance of the pre-fab food market. Everybody's doing it!

                                                                                              1. re: mojoeater
                                                                                                Elyssa Aug 1, 2007 08:07 PM

                                                                                                Well he said it because he's getting paid the big bucks for it.

                                                                                                I hope this episode is the only one where we have to see the stupid chef cut out commercials. There just baaaadd. Dude need a co-host.

                                                                                                Btw...I'm more in love with CJ then ever!!!!

                                                                                                1. re: Elyssa
                                                                                                  mojoeater Aug 1, 2007 08:10 PM

                                                                                                  I do like CJ a lot, and Tre is growing on me. Let's partner the big, humorous guy with the shorter, non-smiling guy (love the chicken comment Tre made), and watch what happens!

                                                                                                  1. re: Elyssa
                                                                                                    Jeserf Aug 2, 2007 03:57 AM

                                                                                                    i LOVED in the Gin challenge when the British guy said "you're tall".

                                                                                                    CJ should be my chef at home.

                                                                                                    I have a gas stove/oven and plenty of room for a tall person

                                                                                                  2. re: mojoeater
                                                                                                    sivyaleah Aug 2, 2007 05:57 AM

                                                                                                    Yea, that cracked me up! What a sell-out.

                                                                                                    I bought a couple of those frozen meals a while back when I was recouperating from an injury and just couldn't stand too long in the kitchen. Let's say I wasn't too impressed. Made me remember why I stopped buying "pre-fab" meals.

                                                                                                2. m
                                                                                                  mojoeater Aug 1, 2007 07:25 PM

                                                                                                  Let's see what he does at judging...

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