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Aug 8, 2007 08:07 PM

Top Chef Bait & Switch

I am sorry, but if I had been one of the chefs in tonight's episode I'd have just said "$@%# off" and went home. Padma flat-out LIED to them. "You just get to go out and party," whereupon they dressed accordingly, only to find out that no, indeed, they got to cook--now in their party clothes and heels. I was glad to see some of them make the best of it, even do well; but for heaven's sake. That challenge was so patently unfair that I found myself rising up in righteous indignation on the chefs' behalf.

I'll be anxious to see what kind of explanation the judges have for this reprehensible challenge on the blogs.

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  1. Not as a defense to the judges, but did you catch Padma's "Have fun and I'll see you LATER"? Later -- not tomorrow, later. Just like the hint with the Dame chocolate schedule changing.

    1. I dunno, I thought it was a set up from the beginning. The first show where they were at the welcome party and then had to throw something together for the challange should have been enough to keep them on their toes and recognize that anything could happen and they should be prepared to cook at any moment.

      I actually thought they would be meaner by telling them to go out and party, wait until they had a few cocktails, then make them cook - or to wake them up at 4 am for the challange after a night on the town.

      9 Replies
      1. re: LStaff

        I thought the same thing too, LStaff. Then I thought, oh, NO PARTYING! I'm surprised none of them picked up on it. Then again, as a group they were so stir-crazy that the idea of going out on the town = ultimate freedom.

        Can't say I'm surprised by Sara N. She hasn't shown much enthusiasm the last couple of episodes. It'd be interesting to see what would've happened if she hadn't been paired with Howie twice in a row.

        Now Howie. I said on another board that yes, he's a bulldog and yes, he reacts before he thinks, but I find him more compelling to watch for some reason than I do Hung (speaking of Hung, did anyone notice how quiet he was this episode?) I also think the stress of TC itself is getting to Howie. To me he doesn't seem like he'd be a total a** offscreen. What was it he said a couple of episodes back -- he's "a girl emotionally"? Um, well, yeah, you ARE, in the emotions-all-over-the-place sense. Make that young adolescent girl.

        I can't help but roll my eyes over how TC and HK are mirroring each other challenge-wise. Last year on HK Heather and Virginia did a similar setup, only it involved lunch for construction workers. Then there was the "comfort dish remake" a couple of episodes back. This time TC did the "palate test" challenge. If TC starts bringing everyone's mother/SO in, I'm going to be muttering WTF?

        I'm also not liking the blatant product placement thing. Last week I was like, OK, Rocco's shilling for Bertolli, the episode ends, yadda-yadda. Now I'm staring at Cold Stone Creamery (ick). They've already done Bombay Gin. What else? Make a meal in your RAV-4? *rolls eyes*

        1. re: xo_kizzy_xo

          Hey, this stuff is expensive, someone has to pay for it. Not that I enjoy the placements but its the price you pay.

          1. re: Phaedrus

            I understand the reason behind the product placements, but this time it's so in-your-face that I can't help but roll my eyes. Maybe TPTB at TC got more money from the sponsors if their featured the products outright?

            1. re: xo_kizzy_xo

              Notice the subtle change from the Sears Pro appliances to GE Monogram this season?

          2. re: xo_kizzy_xo

            IKWYM re: the product placement, but I still think it's better than last year - they're just showing it vs. showing it AND having Padma mention it a bazillion times a show. I can ignore the visual easy enough this year, but combining visual and then having the auditory mention drove me nuts last year.

            1. re: LindaWhit

              "they're just showing it vs. showing it AND having Padma mention it a bazillion times a show."

              Can't agree with you here. Not after watching the "Bertolli Pasta Hour" last week.

              1. re: jbw

                One show where it was a bit overboard - compared to last season's having the sponsors be over-mentioned.

          3. re: LStaff

            I have to say that when she said 'you're going out tonight' I fully expected them to go party, and then be woken up at 5am to prepare a gourmet breakfast while they were hungover!

            1. re: Kajikit

              I thought the same thing Kajikit. Doing it that way would have been more realistic, to me. It's not uncommon for *anyone* to find themselves having to work in less-than-ideal circumstance, ie: hungover. But, how realistic is it to do what TC did? Just plain mean, IMO.

          4. when jfood heard them tell the contestants they had a night off jfood's first reaction was "oh crap" gotta watch CSI reruns. Thought is was very well done for a reality show. Heh come on it's a reality show.

            But the jfood highlights:

            - Hung baby, cauliflower foam on ice cream, why not top it with a little broccoli rabe and radishes. Have you even seen a CSC store and seen what people order. Stay in Vegas baby. And that to be famous line "any monkey can go with fruit and berries." Are you NUTS stating that.
            - wasn't sure if Casey went top tier or bottom 2 with her hot sauce. guess we found out.
            - Then the let's get ready to party scene. Jfood thought Howie was ironing a table cloth and then he saw it was his shirt. OMG
            - Howie barking orders on what the menu would be. sounded pretty good until we heard the other team's menu. Game over at that point. all that was needed was a little execution.
            - A Cuban sandwich after drinking. OMG was that stupid. So not only will you wake up with a hangover but the roof of your mouth will be cut from biting iinto the sandwich. Can anyone say "Let the pizza cool down before you bite into it stupid."
            - Ok let's make "to order" sliders for drunken people who have an option and a minute is an enormous time gap. DUH. Or better yet Double DUH.
            - Thought the romantic scene with CJ in the resto was as barfable as Howie's sweat.
            - Was waiting for one of the judges to comment to the team aout how bad the vanilla milkshake was and Sara responding "Howie told me to make it that way." Jfood at the age of 9 knew to add SYRUP to a milkshake. Howie idea for ice was even stupider.
            - On the psotive side. Tre's shrimp wanted me to reach into the TV and grab it. It looked absolutely outstanding. His stock rose 40 points in Jfoods book. Sara M should just shrivel up and die. As far as jfood is concerned she's entering Chapter 7
            - Hungster is also discussing his future with bankruotcy lawyers, seeing if he can hang on for a few more weeks.
            - Jfood hopes that Sara M gets teamed with Howie again next week and they start sabre fighting with knife steels. Then Howie will really know what cooked pork is when he's been sandwich between two Saras. Press and grill

            In the end it's still a lot of fun. Howie, Sara and Hung should go over the next few weeks and then Casey before getting to the real talent.


            22 Replies
            1. re: jfood

              You mean the romantic scene between Dale, Armstrong, and Padma?

              1. re: Phaedrus

                nope, the dinner scene with the govind. thought they were going to tap glasses and have a big smooch.

                1. re: jfood

                  It would have been a good idea for govind to at least kiss the guy--he has the personality of a head of cauliflower!

                  1. re: HabaneroJane

                    hence the inspiration for hung's foam

                    1. re: HabaneroJane

                      Hey, you don't know that he didn't! Remember...editing.

                    2. re: jfood

                      I thought the guest judge last night was the surviving member of Milli Vanilli ....

                        1. re: jfood

                          I meant that it was Dale that had the romantic dinner, not CJ.

                          1. re: jfood

                            are you kidding me? The two had no chemistry at all...I thought it was awkward in a 'nothing in common' way, not in a 'tongue tied because I really like you' kind of a way. (and it was Dale, not CJ)

                        2. re: jfood

                          I agree that Howie will be out of there soon. You can see the build up, everyone looks at him with disgust. I'm tired of seeing him sweat all over the place. I didn't think that it was Howie's idea for ice for the milkshakes. Sara was looking for ice and Howie was the one to say why put ice in a milkshake.

                          1. re: Living4fun

                            no it was sara's idea to put in ice and howie nixed it.

                            1. re: jfood

                              I agree, it was Sara's idea to put ice in the milkshakes. She was looking for the ice and he questioned her as to why use ice.

                          2. re: jfood

                            Maybe it's just me but I can't say I've ever cut the roof of my mouth on a Cuban sandwich, and I've eaten plenty of Cuban sandwiches in my day. Cuban bread is quite soft and since Howie didn't press it properly, it wasn't even that toasted.

                            1. re: queencru

                              I think Howie used a different bread (crustier) than is normally used for a Cuban, so the potential for scraping the roof of the mouth was greater.

                              I also noticed that Padma had a bit of difficulty biting into the sandwich (I'm pretty sure it was the Cuban she was biting into) - looked like she got a larger mouthful than she wanted on camera.

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                I think you're probably right. It looked more like baguette, but if it were a real cuban it wouldn't be all that hard to bite into. One guy also commented that the bread was wrong for a cuban.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  CJ was like, "nice crunch, right?" and Padma was all, "NOT!"

                                2. re: queencru

                                  Even though a Cuban is traditionally pressed it still is a Cuban sandwich if you do not press it. It's more to do with the bread and what's inside.

                                  As for the "bait & switch" hey, this is reality TV folks. The contestants should be up for anything and if they said sorry I'm not playing along or as Sara did let it take over her abilities then she should have been booted.

                                  1. re: scubadoo97

                                    I just watched Sarah's exit interview. She was terribly inarticulate I kept wondering how she got on the show. Granted she was very emotional.

                                    Another tidbit she revealed was that some drunk made a comment to her and Casey about taking them to bed and she was apparently still pissed at that. This goes to the discussion previously about female Chefs not getting their dues in the kitchen, which is why the chef's uniform equalizes things a little. I think that little incident really put her over. I know, you're still a professional and you need to suck it up, but it is still upsetting to get that kind of comment when you are in your professional element.

                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                      It seems quite plausible to me that the drunk could have said the same thing, kitchen whites or no...surely a drunk wouldn't let a uniform stop him. A true professional would have recognize that it was a drunk, and dismissed it, not let it interfere with her competitive nature and responsibilities.

                                    2. re: scubadoo97

                                      He could have pressed it with a make-shift panini maker...aka to pans together back to back. Maybe this isn't the classic way of preparing it but it works just as well. (Even better if he had an iron on hand. lol. Still the best grilled cheese sandwiches I made in college were with an iron!)

                                      1. re: Elyssa

                                        Believe me, I'm not defending Howie's attempt at a Cuban sandwich. The dude is from Miami. He should know better!! It was toss up for me which should go. Sara, because of her funk she couldn't get out of or Howie for his stubborness and poor leadership. He is always ready to throw someone under the bus to cover his ass.

                                3. Even though the cheftestants on a reality show should be able to adjust and bounce back, I still think this episode was a bit more unfair for the women because they really were dressed in things that could feel uncomfortable. The guys basically had to just roll up their sleeves (or in Tre's case, take off his shirt) to finish the elimination challenge. How big of an adjustment is that? So I have empathy for Sarah feeling out of place in her slinky dress and heels. While I had a sense she was going, I felt that Howie deserved to go just for being such an a**. In every judges' table, he's always the first to throw someone else on the tracks with a train coming. Sarah could have easily blamed Howie for telling her to make milkshakes with ice cream alone but she didn't. I was glad to see CJ speak up for her. That was a class act. I like CJ because he reminds me of Harold from Season 1, just in terms of demeanor.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: singleguychef

                                    jfood forgot that impressive moment. Major kudos for CJ stepping up for Sara.

                                  2. Yea - it was pretty unfair. I know I wouldn't be able to cook in those clothes and heels! I'm so uncomfortable sometimes in heels for a night out as it is, and especially if any cleavage is showing.

                                    I did catch Padma's "I'll see you later" and it seemed so obvious because we all knew what was going to happen, but they didn't. I felt so bad when they got out of the limo, way to burst their bubble! They do deserve a break. Hopefully they were able to go out the next or rest of the night and we just weren't told!


                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Chew on That

                                      I was pretty sure there was going to be some kind of catch, but I still didn't like it. Seems like when I read his blog, Ted Allen wasn't real crazy about it either.