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Top Chef - best cut ever (obviously a spoiler...)

I am so glad they kicked Sara off. I couldn't watch her whine for one more second. And as much as other people didn't do their best tonight, NOT bothering to start cooking the food you're serving is a mistake even most rookies wouldn't make -- and only cooking 3 burgers at a time? My mother (who doesn't cook at all) knows better than that.

Also, this is really petty (and is not the real reason I wanted her off) but she kept saying "myself," when she just meant "me." That strikes me as one of those trying-to-sound-smart-and-missing-the-target moves.

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  1. im actually pulling for Howie, although I doubt he'll win I think he is one of the more talented of the bunch deffinatley better that CJ or Casey

    28 Replies
    1. re: Dio di Romanese

      Sara definitely deserved to be cut, but I really don't like Howie...I thought they picked the best dish; that bacon wrapped shrimp & cheesy grits sounded so delicious. I thought the chefs were pretty naive not to realize they were being set up...

      1. re: LANative

        A line from the NEW YORK magazine about the reality shows really struck me in last night's episode. "participants are forced to live in freak isolation from the rest of the world and claustrophobic propinquity to one another. ...but the measures still seem a bit extreme, and their effect, intended or incidental, is to push the contestants to the breaking point." If Padma had simply decribed the elimination challenge from the outset without the unnecessary cruelty of having the contestants promised a night on the town, that would have been a rather straight-forward test of organizational and cooking skills. Of course, straightforward doesn't ratchet up the pressure enough for a reality show.

        1. re: Indy 67

          That made me so mad I wanted to go through the TV screen and wring Padma's fool neck. I'd have been worse than Sara if I'd been one of the chefs.

          1. re: revsharkie

            Yeah, I wanted to go through the TV screen too but that had more to do with Casey's appearance than anger. Mmmmm......

            One thing that has me curious, and I know Miami is a bit of an oasis from the "south" but Tre's grits....INSTANT GRITS or not? They never said anything about it. (I haven't read the blogs, etc. yet). It seems like, if they were instant, this would be a hole in the regional culinary background of the judges' panel. In southern cuisine, instant grits are much more egregious, or at LEAST equally so, than tinned artichokes and some of the other shortcut ingredients that have been used and heavily criticized in past episodes.

            I'm also wondering when we'll finally get a "enough with the ceviches" comment from someone. Every single episode, one of the first comments when the challenge is announced is "hey, how about a ceviche". I was actually expecting a ceviche ice cream. Oh well, as least I got a ceviche out of both teams in the elimination.

            And that Sara M. has got to go. Ugh.

            1. re: revsharkie

              What makes you think they might be instant grits? Was something said that I missed?

          2. re: LANative

            Interesting that after watching the episode, Ted wished they had axed Howie (see his bravotv blog). It was a toss up this time, but it sounded to me like Howie's "Cuban" was worse than Sara's sliders, even if she made them too slowly (did you the shot of Sara carefully, slowly, forming a patty? I would have gone crazy in there!). That's why I thought Howie should have been cut instead. Bourdain deconstructs exactly why his sandwiches were bad (very funny blog entry this week, AB is unmatched on the subject of drunkenness). And they showed some customers saying the sliders "rocked" and Ted liked his.

            However, Howie has made a lot of great food (even if he can only cook one ingredient) while it has been pretty obvious that Sara would be cut eventually. But I think it should have been Howie this time. The next time he torpedoes his team because he simply can't work with others, he better be gone.

            Very interesting that they gave Dale a night off and a date with Govind. He did lose an opportunity to cook and show his skills, but I am sure he was not complaining. Howie's sundae actually looked better to me, but ginger elevates peach cobbler so I am sure it was delicious. I wonder if CSC will offer the flavor in their stores. Not that I will ever set foot in one. [OK, re: the Cold Stone Creamery sasquatch commercial--why do they want people associating their product with some of the most disgusting characters ever seen in an ad? Can we say bad, unappetizing marketing? How can you not think about some of that bikini wax and hair ending up in your sundae? Bleccccch]

            1. re: kenito799

              The only image that I can think of that's worse is Wendy's using the Violent Femmes' song "Blister in the Sun" for a series of ads--if you know the title of the song, you can't help but be disgusted by having it associated with food.

              1. re: Nettie

                it's even worse if you know the lyrics (as i'm sure you do)...

                "...I stain my sheets I don't even know why"

                yeah, makes me want to run to wendy's.

              2. re: kenito799

                I really don't get why Sara was eliminated; sure she was complaining and depressed but that didn't stop her from making good food. Ted Allen commented on her good slider, so did some customers. The only person who complained about her dish was the guest judge for it being underseasoned (which can't be the basis of eliminating someone since if you're pouring out so much food at once you can't go and taste every burger to make sure it's perfectly salted). Her only dish that was bad was the milkshake and it was only Collichio who complained about it. Howie however brought out a bad tasting media noche that wasn't even properly made. If both could not cooperate in a team, shouldn't it go down to the food?

                1. re: digkv

                  I'd say it was her bad attitude and inability to recover from it.

                  1. re: digkv

                    I don't think the overall assessment was that her burgers were great, just not the worst of the food -- but the slow production was also an issue.

                    I think if she had only complained AT the judges' table, it would have been different, but because it really seemed that she let her poor morale seep into her behavior the whole night, it was reasonable for the judges to think that this had an effect on the entire team. Look at Sara in the kitchen vs. Tre -- both of their attitudes obviously rub off on those around them. Howie is guilty of the same thing in this area (i.e., bad attitude that affects those around him), but the way Tom put it was that Sara was just not well equipped to be in this competition -- she fell apart way too easily to be competitive.

                    Personally, I'd rather work with a jerk who gets his own work done than someone a little more pleasant but who whines and needs help and isn't getting their stuff done.

                2. re: LANative

                  Those grits looked INCREDIBLE!

                  I thought this challenge was actually a lot of fun. I like the idea of gourmet versions of comfort food and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to display this form of cuisine.

                  I actually was compiling a list in my mind of what I would make.

                  I feel bad that Sara left but she is the weaker link. As someone said in the past, they are just weeding out at this point to leave behind the group that are the best chefs and therefore will be the hardest descision to let go. But still...the way she went out sucks. Howie...as much as I like to watch him and enjoy him on the show for entertainment sake was just a bastard. There is a way to conduct yourself and he is failing miserably.

                  The thing is though I think Collechio, for right or wrong, recognizes that in this industry being a bit of an ass can pay off and doesn't 100% fault him for it. He is clearly fighting to stay around. But another pork product!?!?!

                  Next time around Howie should be forced to make seafood and Brian should be forced to make pork! lol

                  And btw...mmmmmm CJ how I loved him last night! I have such a major crush!

                  Oh also, the way Collichio phrased his final sentence before Padma gave her "Sara pack your knives and go" line, I thought for sure they were going to shock us all and kick off both Sara and Howie.

                3. re: Dio di Romanese

                  Howie may have talent, but he needs to learn how to work on a team if he is going to make it to the end.

                  1. re: Morton the Mousse

                    Howie needs to learn the difference between leadership and bullying. He is totally clueless about genuine leadership skills. On a team challenge, Howie routinely acts like a bully and tries to dress his actions up in fancy clothes by calling them leadership.

                    1. re: Indy 67

                      I would be interested in hearing what some of the folks that work in his kitchen have to say. He does own his own restaurant I believe and therefore must have a number of people working under him.

                      He just might fall under the bully chef category. He certainly wouldn't be the only one out there.

                      1. re: Elyssa

                        Owns his own restaurant? Really? Of course, the situation isn't quite the same since as boss he's entitled to consider his word "the law."

                        1. re: Indy 67

                          Ok looks like I got that one a little wrong. He's the Executive Chef at the Food Gong in Miami according to the Bravo website.

                          But still that's a leadership position in the kitchen.

                  2. re: Dio di Romanese

                    Has/can Howie ever cooked anything that wasn't pork?

                    1. re: chicgail

                      Thank you. His slaws are like Marcel's foams.

                    2. re: Dio di Romanese

                      howie can obviously cook, but he's definitely not the top chef. his biggest problem - and joey was right on the money when he metioned it in a previous episode - is that his repertoire seems to be really limited. seriously, how many times is he going to cook pork??? let's see some variety!

                      my money's on tre or brian...hung may be very talented, but he's too arrogant and self-assured - qualities that will likely come back to bite him in the ass. he's shown pretty poor judgement with some of his choices in recent challenges. the guy could benefit from at least a dash of humility.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        Not only that, but Hung just doesn't seem to be really presenting the judges with product that wows them - I can't imagine that changing dramatically enough for him to win.

                        1. re: heathermb

                          I had high hopes for him after the geoduck/black chicken but I agree, most of his dishes have either been overwrought or poorly executed so far. But I think he will make something good soon, if he just listens to his monkey.

                            1. re: kenito799

                              ha! actually, it might be in his best interest to avoid monkey-friendly ingredients. after all, didn't he use bananas with the disastrous chocolate 'mousse' he tried to make for the frozen pie crust challenge? not exactly his shining moment...

                            2. re: heathermb

                              i agree. guess who hung shares this trait with? Ilan Hall. and look where he wound up.

                              1. re: batdown

                                aha, and therein lies one of my problems with this show. ilan didn't deserve to win the title last season...nor did marcel. in fact, strictly in terms of culinary skill and performance throughout all the challenges, the final two should have been cliff and sam.

                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                  Me too I wonder how far Cliff would have in fact gotten if not for being the scapegoat.


                                  1. re: Withnail42

                                    You know, the conspiracy theorist in me kind think that they may have paid him off after they booted him because he kind of jumped right into the correct answer for Bravo pretty darned quick when they asked him if it was the right decision to kick him off. Either that or Cliff is a REALLY stand up guy.

                        2. I'm rooting for Dale myself. I think he's the good balance of food lover, chef, brave creator, and friendly enough to gain comrades, yet competent enough to lead. Go Dale!!!

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: reubensandperrier

                            i would love to see dale and hung battle it out in the end. but even more than that, dale and brian. those are clearly the two 'good guys' who have demonstrated the most skill, at least IMO. what a great matchup that would be for the finale!

                            1. re: reubensandperrier

                              Brian is starting to annoy me incredibly, I feel like he is a "fake" nice and the dude is just way too energetic all the time.

                              1. re: wingman

                                Oh man if you want a huge laugh regarding Brian you should certainly read the televisionwithoutpity.com summaries of Top Chef.

                                They are hysterical with Brian!!!

                                  1. re: reubensandperrier

                                    I just finished reading them - how many personalities have come out so far - three? LOL

                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                      TWOP lists 3 different Brians. The craziest one (and I imagine the one on display last night) was MALARKEY!!...always in all caps!

                                      1. re: Elyssa

                                        actually, i think we're up to 5...

                                        (from tvw/op - "latin lunch" recap) "'Brian' wanted to keep it simple with a purely vegetarian tart, 'Bryan' has the sweet tooth and insisted on dessert, 'O'Brian' is a big meat eater and wanted to do something with sausage, and it's 'MALARKEY!' who tends toward a scallop mania."

                                        (and from tvw/op - "guilty pleasures" recap) "And then his voice gets all Joey Russo as a possible fifth Brian takes over and gabbles, 'Yo, yo, yo -- you know?'"

                                        could just be great strategy, maybe he'll wind up as the final two.

                                        the tvw/op recaps are great. i don't even waste my time watching the show anymore. the product placement is much more palatable when it's pure snark.

                            2. Despite which team won and which one lost, one team was going to go home feeling good that night. One team made the best out of a bad situation and had fun. A bad attitude can permeate like a rotten fish.

                              Pass the onion rings.

                              23 Replies
                              1. re: chanterelle

                                I have to agree. Not being able to bounce back just because one wasn't dressed the way one wanted to be in the kitchen seems very inflexible and well, childish, to me. So you don't like to cook in heels? I can see that. Take them off and work in your stocking feet. Or buy a pair of flip flops while you are out shopping...or grin and bear it. But don't sulk about it.

                                1. re: susancinsf

                                  well, i wouldn't chock sara's outfit issue up to just not liking her shoes. i get what she's saying. you break out with the sassy sexy gear expecting to go to a sassy sexy club. now you're cooking in a bright kitchen? to me thats the functional equivalent of having to go in to the office in yer sassy sexy club gear. thats what i felt she was saying. if i had 'co-workers' see me even at a club in club gear? yipes, not good. like casey was saying - keep the two separate.

                                  thats my thought at any rate..

                                  1. re: winedubar

                                    yeah, and then try to be taken seriously. i think that's what she was more upset about. she's young and people will see her as "cute" first before anything else--put her in her normal going out clothes and she's at even more of a disadvantage than when she's in her chef whites, which is kind of a uniform in giving everyone an even playing field. I do think she overinternalized it, but the whole situation wasn't really fair.

                                    1. re: traceybell

                                      Do you think the contestants expected to be able to go out without the cameras following them though? They ought to know better than that. And I respect Casey's position that she separates work and play, but she was clearly willing to go out with the other chefs dressed like that, so it's not like they're only now seeing her dolled up.

                                      1. re: traceybell

                                        I understand all that, but all she did is call attention to the fact by pouting about it. everyone was in the same boat. Had she just acted as if she deserved respect for who SHE was, rather than assume she didn't deserve it because of what she wore, she would have gotten a lot more respect. What the others (and the judges) really saw was that (by her own admission) she wasn't into the competition. They didn't focus on her shoes or her low cut dress (at least when she didn't call their attention to it by pulling on her shirt) ; they focused on her personality.

                                      2. re: winedubar

                                        They were wearing aprons so I don't think the low cut issue is an issue

                                        1. re: scubadoo97

                                          but it was for sara, i think thats the point. she felt uncomfortable. on the other 'hound thread on this episode, someone referenced the sexual comments made to sara and casey. hence her issue of working in club clothes vs chef whites

                                        2. re: winedubar

                                          Someone on one of the other threads also mentioned that in her exit interview on Bravo she said she was getting some sort of crude comments from some of the drunk customers. I'm sorry---I know she should suck it up but thats incredibly hard to handle in that industry and on tv.

                                          It shouldn't make or break your performance but it certainly would affect it I imagine.

                                          Haven't listened to the interview yet though.

                                          1. re: winedubar

                                            If I had the prospect of winning $100k, I'd have made the most out of cooking in a loincloth if I had to. It's a bit bizarre to expect to keep the work/life division separate when you have voluntarily sequestered yourself for a reality show. You've pretty much volunteered to not only blend your work and life for the duration of the recording, but to have it shown publicly.

                                            Not much sympathy from me on that front.

                                            While I don't think it was consciously sexist, I do think this challenge was a bit shortsighted. The clothes a woman might wear for a night on the town are probably harder to cook in than the clothes a guy would wear.

                                          2. re: susancinsf

                                            I read in the New York Magazine article that they took everything away from them. Credit cards and money too so they couldn't cheat when they buy the ingredients.

                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                              That's what they would do on Project Runway, which I think has a similar set of producer.

                                            2. re: susancinsf

                                              She was whining about shopping in her heels... I really don't understand why she didn't take her shoes off as soon as she walked in the store and just do it barefoot! I'm sure it would have been much easier to run around the store that way, and it's not like there was anyone else around to complain. As for the top, it's her own fault - nobody forced her to wear a top that revealing! Presumably she chose it for herself... if the cleavage was really disturbing her, a 10cent safetypin would have fixed it at least temporarily!

                                              1. re: Kajikit

                                                And something I noticed was in the opening credits, she's ALL cleaveage, and flashing it pretty proudly. Hmmm....

                                                1. re: reubensandperrier

                                                  I don't think that that's fair -- they're told what to do by the producers in their little things in the opening credits, so that's not really her fault.

                                                  1. re: reubensandperrier

                                                    Plus her issue was with being in the kitchen with cleavage, not having it.

                                                    1. re: elizabeththinks

                                                      The entire episode was cleavage -- Sara's, Casey's and damn near all of South Beach. Had Joey made it to this challenge, we would have seen his as well.

                                                      Seriously, while I mourn the fact that lovely Camille -- pineapple upside down "muffin" notwithstanding -- left us far too prematurely, I see it as a battle between Malarkey, Hung and Tre with Tre as your Top Chef 3. Beyond being a talented chef, he -- albeit in edited reality form -- just seems to be a real, levelheaded and balanced dude. How can you not root for a good guy like that?

                                                      1. re: Kris P Pata

                                                        I couldn't think of his name in my other post, but Tre is going to win, IMO. He's the one person who never loses his cool, and his food is consistently imaginative and looks fantastic.

                                                        But, as you pointed out, they can do an awful lot with editing. Howie needs to learn manners, but I am sure that none of his outbursts are EVER left on the cutting room floor.

                                                        But seriously, if someone can't cook a few burgers and make watery milkshakes in club clothes, they got a priority problem. What she was doing wasn't brain surgery.

                                                        1. re: Pete Oldtown

                                                          you are right. tre is very skilled and even keeled. i would like to see him win and go head to head with harold from season one. very similar in a lot of ways.

                                                          couple of comments related to other discussions on this thread:

                                                          - personally, i have no problem with howie. yeah he sweats too much and he can be abrasive & pushy, but i think he has skills.

                                                          - milkshakes: while howie and sara disagreed about how to make them, i think that she made them her way. one of the judges (i think it might have been padma?) commented that there were ice chips in her milkshake.

                                                          - cj: good god that guy is tall. i appreciate his skills and personality but i chuckle when they all stand together - he absolutely towers over everyone. i can see him being a pro volleyball player.

                                                          - hung: nowhere near as annoying as marcel who i think was way fuller of himself. but the guy needs to simplify things a bit. cauliflower in ice cream was bad enough, but seven other things!?

                                                          - casey: very skilled and very hot.

                                                          1. re: xman887

                                                            Didn't CJ say something about "When I used to play ball?" What's his background?

                                                            1. re: mojoeater

                                                              he said he was a professional volleyball player for several years.

                                                              1. re: mojoeater

                                                                He played for Pepperdine as a middle hitter. Played in the NCAA National Championship match in 1998 against UCLA. He sprained his ankle in the second game and that was all she wrote for Pepperdine. He played in Europe for three years.

                                                                The man had game. There is going to be a feature on him in Volleyball magazine in the next couple of months.

                                                    2. re: Kajikit

                                                      Most board of health's don't allow bare feet in grocery stores and it would be suicide to cook in that tiny kitchen barefoot! I think sexism is rearing it's ugly head again on Top Chef with this latest trick. I thought Howie should have gone.

                                                      1. re: ginnyhw

                                                        there's actually some evidence that the producers planned for this...


                                                2. Howie is an ass. I don't care how much talent he "may" have; a chef is a leader and he clearly cannot lead, nor inspire anyone to follow him. Sara may not have been a serious contender, but I sympathize with her complaint. Who works in a kitchen in high heels? Is that anything you would really have to deal with in the real world? Don't underestimate the importance of shoes when you're on your feet for hours (And no offense, but working in stockings is totally unrealistic in a professional kitchen). I think that is actually a handicap--though apparently the other contestants made do, and don't get me wrong, I don't think she would have lasted much longer, regardless.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: The Loaf

                                                    Being annoyed about the situation? 100% reasonable.
                                                    Being the only contestant completely unable to cope? Another story.

                                                    1. re: The Loaf

                                                      Either option actually could be dangerous...especially in such tight quarters annnd if she had open toe shoes...yikes. Lucky Hung wasn't in there swinging his knife around. lol

                                                    2. I dislike Howie more and more in each episode. It was pretty telling that so many of the chefs on the other team were relieved that Howie wasn't on their team. I think that it was right that Sara left, if only it seemed that she was a weaker chef, but I really hope that Howie goes soon. And Hung...cauliflower foam with the ice cream? Really? Along with like seven other things? Oh Hung, dial it back a little.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: JasmineG

                                                        I wanna see Hung go next, but they're going to keep him for entertainment value. What a smug little creep. And his food might be difficult to cook, but it never looks particularly good.

                                                      2. I think it's interesting that every season there's one abrasive chef-competitor who states, loudly and often, 'You don't have to like me; I'm here to win' and every season it's clear that being obnoxious is seriously damaging to their effectiveness in the competition.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: MobyRichard

                                                          I was hoping both Howie and Sarah would be sent home.

                                                          1. re: MobyRichard

                                                            Yeah, and in the past two seasons, those two have gone to the finals to lose. I wonder if this means that we'll be seeing Howie til the end?

                                                            1. re: MobyRichard

                                                              But obnoxiousness is a quality that they look for in casting.

                                                              1. re: MobyRichard

                                                                True theres always that "I'm not here to make friends." line on every reality show.


                                                                1. re: MobyRichard

                                                                  And I totally don't understand how after 2 seasons, someone could still flaunt that attitude, after what happened with Tiffany *and* Marcel! Both were runners-up, and both were definitely not loved by their fellow teammates. I know it's "all about the food," but come on, it's pretty obvious that other elements play into the game!

                                                                2. I thought it was great to see Tre having so much fun with this challange. I think he smiled more last night than he has the whole season! (And he can bring those guns out anytime he'd like!) I don't even like grits that much and his dish still looked delish! Like Ted Allen said it's hard to go wrong with bacon! (Unless you're a vegetarian.)

                                                                  Once again - Hung couldn't comprehend how he could lose the Quickfire!! Poor Hung. He's growing on me a bit though - I think he really does have a good heart.

                                                                  My two favorites - CJ & Tre. With Brian as a close third.

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Mushroom

                                                                    True. Tre handled the issue of cooking in going out clothes beautifully, I thought. But that wouldn't have worked for Sara and Casey.

                                                                    1. re: revsharkie

                                                                      Don't think there would have been any complaints.

                                                                    2. re: Mushroom

                                                                      I have to say I think a lot of Hung's cockyness is from editing. I think he's got fast hands, fast thoughts, etc (he's almost always the first one entering the room for challenges), but I think he's confident not as full as himself as he appears on the show (albiet a little falsely- no chance he's winning!). My vote is on Tre or Casey, Brian is to focused on his expertise, CJ and Hung just don't have "it" in the kitchen yet- even with all the perosnality in the world, Howie is a sweaty cow and I would never eat his food- def would be too salty, drip drip, haha, and well- poor Sara, I haven't decided about her, probably next to go.

                                                                    3. Why, oh why, is Hung still on?

                                                                      He has been on the bottom for both quickfire and elimination challenges more than anyone else.

                                                                      I know that they hope the others will fall for his drama like the Ilan/Marcel love affair of last season...but come on. If I am to believe that the show has any legitimacy, they would have kicked Hung off because of his terrible showing on both the quickfire and elimination challenges on the Telemundo episode.

                                                                      But no.

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Jeserf

                                                                        I completely agree. Everyone keeps saying that they expect to see Hung in the finale, but if he winds up there it would only be for drama. It would not be based on talent (like the big Ilan/Marcel face off in TC2). Hung has yet to stand out and, in fact, is consistently performing at a level below his peers.

                                                                        Also, I know in the beginning on the season, Bravo tried to portray Hung as the new "villan". They made comparisons to Marcel (highlighted the fact that they knew each other) and tried to create drama around him. From watching the show it looks like that, although he is skitzy and a bit egotistical, he is a pretty nice guy. He works well on the teams, his interactions with the other chefs is always positive. so, why are they trying to continue to make him this pseudo-villan? It baffles me.

                                                                        1. re: AmblerGirl

                                                                          I was wondering why they are making him a villian too. Yeah he's a little on the egotistical side but I really admire how gung ho and inspired he gets over the challenges.

                                                                          1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                                                            I'm still waiting for Hung to really show us what he can do.

                                                                            But he's a little to gung-ho and spazy like when he was running around the kitchen with his knife and it speed by Cassey's face. I'm pretty sure he would not dare do that in Guy Savoy's kitchen. In any kitchen I've been in anyone doing something that stupid and dangerous would receive a 'talking to'. If he then still worked there he would not do it again.

                                                                            He's obviously a talented chef. But he also knows this and is determined (gung-ho again) to prove this. He gets so caught up in this he can't see the forest through the trees and forgets that the hardest thing to do in the kitchen is to cook simply. Yes any monkey can mix berries and ice cream and it would tasted much infinetly better than the cauliflower disaster.


                                                                            1. re: free sample addict aka Tracy L

                                                                              I don't think the editors are trying to make Hung the villain. I felt that way at first; Hung's friendship with Marcel and his own behavior made him such an easy target. However, the editors have been generous with film showing Hung as an effective contributor in a group situation. He put himself at risk by cooperating during the frozen food challenge, and he was a productive team member during the post-club food challenge.

                                                                              I think the editors are fascinated by the arrogant behavior Hung shows in individual challenges and in his commentaries about the judges. Since his arrogance is usually sadly misplaced, I'm fascinated, too.

                                                                              How many times -- and from how many capable chefs -- does Hung have to be told that there's room for improvement in his cooking before he accepts their point of view? We just saw episode seven. Last year, there were eleven regular episodes and two finale episodes. That leaves Hung precious little time to get the message.

                                                                          2. re: Jeserf

                                                                            No kidding. Hung is probably the least talented of the group. I really believe that. He just throws up smoke, mirrors, foams, and cauliflower ice cream to seem cutting edge, when he obviously has no idea of flavor profiles.

                                                                            But he'll be there at least until close to the end. After all, he's "the rebel" and they always last pretty long on these shows.

                                                                          3. Sarah was laughable last night; degrading being sent to the grocery store in heals. C'mon! She presented herself like a child last nigh. I can understand Casey's position that she separates work and play, but I think she may have been upset since she clearly put forth more effort than anyone else to glamify herself (among "coworkers"). Now Howie - I cannot take watching him anymore! I really dislike him, and although he is a good cook, he is totally immoveable, stubborn and beyond rude. PLUS, even though he did not last night, seeing his sweat drip into food makes me almost want to vomit. I would rather eat bad, clean food than some great pork with someone's sweat in it. I would never go to his restaurant solely on that fact.

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: itryalot

                                                                              Well if a little sweat in your food bothers you that much, you may want to consider not going to any restaurant. I'd imagine its pretty hot in any restaurant kitchen. I wonder how much chef's sweat the average person ingests in a lifetime?

                                                                              1. re: LStaff

                                                                                I know the reality, but I just don't want to see it happening. Warped, aren't I?

                                                                                1. re: itryalot

                                                                                  I agree - although I know it happens I'd rather not see it. Whenever they show that I always wonder why they don't make him put on a bandana like the rest of the chefs wear. Seems like a health code violation. Is it?

                                                                                  1. re: HungryLetsEat

                                                                                    A bandana wouldn't help since the sweat is dripping off his nose! Oh, and it did happen in the most recent episode, but it was just a quick "blink and you'll miss it" shot...

                                                                            2. Agreed - Sara N. definitely needed to go - she was completely indifferent to the entire task, because she was too busy being petulant. (And when you're expecting several hundred people coming out from the clubs, why the hell are you only cooking 3-5 burgers at a time?)

                                                                              I actually thought that Chef Colicchio was going to send both Sara N. and Howie home. Howie should have been sent home for 3 reasons:

                                                                              1. cooking pork YET AGAIN
                                                                              2. sweating in the damn food YET AGAIN
                                                                              3. and for being obnoxious YET AGAIN and not working with his team.

                                                                              The minute I heard what Tre was making, I knew he'd win. LOVED his big wide grin when the guest judge announced him the winner! I thought Brian's salesmanship and keeping the team together was also good, but he made a raw bar - "cooking"? C.J. didn't stand a chance with his team, and I think he knew it.

                                                                              Oh - and I was glad Dale won the Quickfire. And yet again - Hung is in the bottom for the Quickfire - why is he not getting it? Cauliflower foam? Blech. (Although he did say in the confessional that he realized he went overboard in his Coldstone mix-ins vs. just going with fruity/berry flavors.)

                                                                              Ultimately, unless he screws up, I'm pulling for Tre to win.

                                                                              ETA: You have GOT to read Bourdain's blog on Bravo about last night's show - OMG, I'm laughing so hard - he nails Hung to the wall with his comments about Hung's QuickFire and he takes Howie to task for his non-Cuban sandwich. Brilliant.

                                                                              AB also has a comment at the end re: his snarkiness about Rocco DiSpirito - a very well written, heartfelt comment, IMO.

                                                                              27 Replies
                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                Here's my .02 cents on the episode:

                                                                                Quickfire: Had to be one of the easiest I've ever seen. Adding flavor to vanilla ice cream?! I think Hung was thinking, "this is too easy, there has to be a catch"- hence that mess of ingredients he created. It's great he's fast, but he needs to breathe and think once in awhile! I'm happy Dale won...and a nice prize indeed, a night off!

                                                                                Elimination: Can't believe they thought they were getting a night out. I'm glad Sara got booted. I'm sure she's a skilled chef, but she needs to get a backbone. And as far as the girls' clothing complaints, I agree with them, but just out of matters of safety. Open toes heels, low cut shirts and short skirts in a tiny kitchen with heavy pots, sharp objects and hot grease? Not a great idea.

                                                                                Poor CJ. I really like him. He tried so hard to get everyone level and it was a mess. Cheers to Brian & Tre for kicking butt.

                                                                                1. re: lawgirl3278

                                                                                  I'm really getting tired of Howie and his bullying. OK, so he grew up in Miami, apparently he doesn't know how to make a 'real' cuban. Anyway, Hung just doesn't listen. for the QuickFire Challenge, they were told to 'keep it simple'. He clearly did not. and he paid the price. His was the worst one.His arrogance gets in the way of his talent most of the time. And Casey - what was she thinking??? I think Sarah did deserve to go, but Howie helped with her elimination. He is not a team player. Also, can he make anything other than PORK? I've also heard Tom tell him over and over again that his flavors are off. Poor CJ was trying to keep everyone focused, but in the end, didn't do enough. I'm pulling for Tre. He stays calm, isn't a bully, he's a team player and his food is thoughtful and creative. I'm so glad he won last nite! And I'm also happy for Dale for finally winning a challenge, even tho he's not my fave. Casey hasn't shown me a whole lot. .

                                                                                  1. re: lawgirl3278

                                                                                    Go Brian! Go Tre! Go CJ! Go Casey! But whoever goes it needs to be HOWIE. His 'tude is almost more nauseating than his persistent sweat dropping into the food. I am beginning to loathe him more than I do Hung.

                                                                                    1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                      Oh, and did I mentin that Tre is HOT!?! Whew!! He and Brian kicked ass last nite!!

                                                                                      1. re: lisamos

                                                                                        Can they please get Anthony Bourdain on as a regular judge? He has the most personality. Govind Armstrong had absolutely none.

                                                                                        1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                          Indeed, I sort of felt almost sorry for Dale dining with him: one got the impression they didn't have much to say to each other once Dale finished complimenting the food....(though of course, who knows, maybe the food was good enough to be worth it. I am not familiar with Armstrong's cooking.)

                                                                                          It did seem that Tre's smiles were partly related to genuine pleasure that an African American chef was participating as a judge.

                                                                                          1. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                            ya but he sure was fun to look at! I bet Dale was enjoying himself lol!

                                                                                            1. re: Elyssa

                                                                                              haha, that's what I was thinking!

                                                                                            2. re: HabaneroJane

                                                                                              Here here. I could live with Bourdain, Ted, and Tom on every episode. Gail does NOTHING for the show, IMHO. Bourdain is fantastic.

                                                                                        2. re: lawgirl3278

                                                                                          Very good point about the safety issues. Even for the guys dress shoes in a greasy kitchen very easy to slip. I'd have thought for the sake of liability they producers would have provided jackets and appropriate footwear. And a chance for yet another plug.

                                                                                          Although I did notice the other team had aprons. Perhaps they thought a head and bought them.


                                                                                          1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                            Yeah, if they were going to pull this kind of nonsense you'd have thought the producers could have snuck into their place after they left and at least picked up their jackets and some more appropriate shoes for them.

                                                                                          2. re: lawgirl3278

                                                                                            "I think Hung was thinking, "this is too easy, there has to be a catch""

                                                                                            Me too. I'm really pulling for Dale, but I said to my wife - "Come on...peach cobbler? They probably already HAVE that on the board at Coldstone! There's no way that will win. He'll be lucky if he doesn't get reamed out for being too ordinary." Guess I was wrong.

                                                                                            But that's one thing that drives me up a wall about this show. Sometimes they rip people apart for making things that aren't very cutting-edge and sometimes they canonize them for it.

                                                                                            1. re: jzerocsk

                                                                                              Um, its judging and its subjective. This isn't the Olympics where the judges have to give points for required elements. A lot has to do with the judges mood that day, how hot or cold it is, how hot Padma looks that day, etc.

                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                Subjective and erratic don't have to be synonymous, though. Maybe they're trying to make it harder for the players to predict the outcome ("If I do something cutting edge and isn't that good, at least I probably won't get booted for it"), but sometimes it boggles my mind.

                                                                                                Week A:
                                                                                                Contestant: "I decided to use a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a scoop of chocolate ice cream, and a scoop of strawberry ice cream."

                                                                                                Judges: "Wow this is amazing. We asked you to come up with a new, cutting edge ice cream flavor combo and you really nailed it. A winner is you."

                                                                                                Week B:
                                                                                                Contestant: "I decided to use a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a scoop of chocolate ice cream, and a scoop of strawberry ice cream."

                                                                                                Judges: "Awful. Disgusting. I always hated it since I was a kid. All you want is more chocolate and you're stuck with vanilla and strawberry that you don't even want. We asked you to make something that has "neapolitan" in the title and this is the best you could come up with? Verpacken sie ihre Messer!"

                                                                                                1. re: jzerocsk

                                                                                                  As far as I can see, the only two consistent judges, i.e. the two who have been there all the time are Padma and Tom. The have one wild card every week and Ted Allen/Gail Simmons switching off. That is 50% of the judging right there. So its no wonder it is erratic.

                                                                                                  To your point, there are no standards to measure against on a week by week basis. That was my point, there is nothing systematic or measureable about it, therefore they are subjected to what ever hits the judges fancy.

                                                                                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                    One thing good about the judging is that it the 4 judges have a long discussion and try to reach consensus. It would be very interesting to know how often one judge really does not agree with the final decision. I imagine that Colicchio has the final say unless the other three strongly object and are able to argue against his decision.

                                                                                                    1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                      i imagine that the judges tell the producers they want to cut Contestant A or Contestant B, and the producers of the show make the call from those choices.

                                                                                                      1. re: batdown

                                                                                                        That goes to my theory as to why they always seem to have so many team elimination challenges. It gives the judges and the producers wiggle room so they can steer things in a desired direction...if they need to.


                                                                                                        1. re: batdown

                                                                                                          My understanding from Tom's blog is that the judges make the decision, NOT the producers. The producers have a say, but in the end, the judges decide. That's why JT can take so long, with all the back-and-forth.

                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                            But there is that small print in the credits about the input of the producers. And as long as it stays there their actual input and influence is will always remain a bit of a gray area.


                                                                                                            1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                              I just read an article about reality shows on Bravo and while Tom and Padma said that the first two seasons the producers were choosing people based more on personalities than their ability, this season the producers had to pick more based on cooking ability because they realized the people watching were actually interested in the food and less so the drama. Tom went on to say that when it comes to judging - the producers leave them alone and let them make the choices with no intereference. It sounded as if Tom would not really deal with that anyway.

                                                                                                              1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                I read somewhere that chef tom wrote that the proof that the judges had final say-so was that Sam was voted off last year. The producers knew Sam was the most popular & would draw higher ratings than the remaining contestatnts.

                                                                                                                1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                  They're required to have that there, it's never going to go away.

                                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                  True he has said that. But he also said that after the hazing incident he wanted to kick the four perpetrators off but was over ruled by the prducers.


                                                                                                                  1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                    Separate issue, IMO. Judging the food to decide who gets to pack their knives and go vs. making a decision re: keeping the show on the air because of a dumbass "joke" by the cheftestants are two different things.

                                                                                                                    Were the producers wrong in this case? Quite possibly. But Tom said the producers don't get involved in the decision-making at JT regarding the food.

                                                                                                            2. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                              wow, you hit that square. maybe it's the editing, but for a long time, i have thought that gail and ted have a pack mentality. sometimes while tasting, they may make some favorable comments, but if tom and/or padma see a negative, i think they pile on with criticism. and i am left wondering, "yeah, but you seemed to initially like what you tasted."

                                                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                      LOVE Bourdain's blog on this show! I look forward to reading these threads and his blog the morning after each show. How gracious and honest he was in his closing comments about Rocco. And there is absolutely NO ONE more spot on in his assessments of the "cheftestants".

                                                                                                      Right now, I'm really torn between CJ, Brian, and Tre. I liked Howie until he started consistently being a jerk. I think he has talent, but he has to learn to work with people. Brian has the best overall talent for teamwork and running a kitchen, IMO. I think he needs to step out of his seafood element a little more. CJ has teamwork ability, but, evidenced by last night, he needs to recognize when to step in and be a more forceful leader. For the most part, I like his creativity in the kitchen. Tre is this silent "force to be reckoned with", like a thoroughbred making strides just before the finish line. I like that he's loosened up a bit, and I think this may prove to be what pushes him further ahead.

                                                                                                      I despise Hung and Sara M., and can't wait for them to go. I think Hung is talented, but his attitude sucks. I'd love to see a team comprised of Howie, Hung, and Sara, then wait to see them all virtually hang themselves out to dry.

                                                                                                    3. Did anyone notice how Hung made a reference to how a "monkey" could make fruit with ice cream last night? What is with him constantly bringing up monkeys cooking?

                                                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: cor

                                                                                                        Got to read Tony's blog for sure.I'll have to watch this episode Saturday night on WOAI.for some reason NBC carries it,and i get to see it on the local affiliate as well.
                                                                                                        Nothing the matter with fruit and ice cream.Hung could have used like kiwi and coconut or mango and lychee or other stuff made it real tropical.
                                                                                                        Must be a cultural saying with him,that's why all the monkey references.
                                                                                                        my late dad would say stuff sometimes,which he would explain as old german sayings.
                                                                                                        Howie did pork again? How boring,why not do chicken.
                                                                                                        It appears they were making food for drunks? How could any of the customers tell if the food was good or not.
                                                                                                        I had a cuban sandwich at the diner near my sister's place in Piermont.It was pretty good, and I don't recall the bread as being hard or crusty.Maybe that's all they had to use.Could have brushed some butter or margarine on top to soften it up maybe.

                                                                                                        1. re: HollyDolly

                                                                                                          One of the problems with Howie's Cuban sandwich was that it wasn't hard and crusty enough...they are supposed to be pressed; it was mentioned at the judge's table.

                                                                                                          1. re: carissarene

                                                                                                            they are made on (crusty but not hard) white bread (like Italian bread), then pressed with heat, like panini. Howie used some harder, tougher artisanal bread, it was too hard and not toasted enough.

                                                                                                            1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                              I live in Florida - so I'm quite familiar with Cuban sandwiches, as well as the ever-present arguments about how they're meant to be prepared. I suppose I should have clarified my use of "hard" to mean the crispness resulting from pressing the sandwich, not the texture of the bread.

                                                                                                              1. re: carissarene

                                                                                                                Pressing cubans isn't a requirement though. I brought them for lunch throughout my high school days and didn't have a pressed one until I started eating out in places that pressed them.

                                                                                                                1. re: queencru

                                                                                                                  As I said, plenty of arguments about how they're meant to prepared! ;-)

                                                                                                      2. Ok, I cannot believe there isn't more outrage from the women on this. I'm sorry, as a woman and a cook (not even a chef) I cannot believe they even allowed the women to cook in those clothes. It is totally unfair, the men are in appropriately covering shirts, which are reasonably comfortable, and close-toed shoes with some support.

                                                                                                        I wear heels and low cut shirts to go out, but it sure as hell ain't comfy, and its fine because the drinking eases the pain, and you can sit whenever you want. Now, on a safety topic, if a cook so much as though about entering our kitchen in either heels or open toed shoes, they would be turned around before they could even open their mouths. I certainly would not want to be around Hung in a small space with my toes (or my tits) exposed.

                                                                                                        Even if I'm cooking for my own family or for a dinner party for friends, you better believe I have a tshirt and shoes on, then change before I sit. The fact that they allowed the women to be at this much of a disadvantage, I found dispicable. That Padma came to no defense whatsoever of the women leads me to believe she is either more of a puppet of Bravo than I thought, or she has not spent enough time in a kitchen.

                                                                                                        Are their women who have ever spent time in a proffesional kitchen that would disagree?

                                                                                                        11 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: dagoose

                                                                                                          "That Padma came to no defense whatsoever of the women leads me to believe she is either more of a puppet of Bravo than I thought"

                                                                                                          keep in mind there is little reality in reality TV.

                                                                                                          1. re: dagoose

                                                                                                            I kind of agree it was an unfair disadvantage, but not an insurmountable one. It was inconvenient, but not impossible, and actually they could've used it to their advantage (showed how unflappable they are under additional pressure.)

                                                                                                            1. re: dagoose

                                                                                                              Do you see some of the outfits Padma wears while in the kitchen (albeit not cooking)? I don't think this idea crossed her mind lol

                                                                                                              1. re: dagoose

                                                                                                                Dagoose, I'm with you. I've managed kitchens and I'd send any employee home that showed up dressed as the women were dressed last night and so would Tom Colecchio and Govid Armstrong. I personally throught it was demeaning to make the women cook in outfits that were not designed for the task and which presented safety issues. Forget the cleaveage for a minute, how about the bare back, sorta floppy/fly-away/cut-away sleeves, or Sara M.'s floor length number. Try moving around a kitchen in a floor length dress, thank god it was a roach coach where she could stay in one place.

                                                                                                                And the shoes. Heels and open toes and probably open heels as well? Accidents happen in kitchens and they happen no matter how careful people are. I would no more go barefoot in a kitchen with sharp objects and heavy pots and pans not to mention the hot oil.

                                                                                                                The guys had it easy, they, basically, got to cook in jean, shirts and flat shoes. That's about like cooking in the kitchen at home. I don't know about the rest of the women on this list but I'm more frequently dressed like the men when I cook and I definitely don't cook wearing heels and party clothes ;-D

                                                                                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                                  As a woman who has cooked in commercial kitchens and at home, I think the women overreacted. Why didn't one of them step up and make an opportunity of the situation? Brian was dynamic and largely responsible for the crowd around their truck. Imagine what would have happened if Casey or Sara stepped out in their cute outfits and charmed the crowd in the same manner!

                                                                                                                  To allow your clothing to ruin your night and perhaps even cause you to lose a competition that supposedly means so much to you is ridiculous.

                                                                                                                  1. re: mojoeater

                                                                                                                    Perhaps they wanted to sell their food not their bodies!?

                                                                                                                    I don't think it should have been so exstreme that it allowed them to get in the way of the job at hand. But I don't think I would say "Well I'm already dressed in a low cut shirt, might as well let my lovely ta tas do the talking!"

                                                                                                                    1. re: Elyssa

                                                                                                                      Brian didn't flash his ta tas either. But he did take the opportunity to charm the crowd. The women instead sulked and complained.

                                                                                                                  2. re: dagoose

                                                                                                                    I agree it was sexist and probably unsafe. How hard would it have been to let them change before getting into the Rav 4s? And I can't believe Leanne (who I think is supposed to try out the challenges before the cheftestants do) cooked in club clothing. In his blog Ted Allen apologizes which I think was the right thing to do. What do you expect with mostly male producers and judges and of course supermodel Padma who could probably run a marathon in club clothing. All that being said I was ready for Sara to leave and suspect the other Sara (the jamican cheese lady) to be next since she has shown the least potential, and doesn't add much drama. Howie can't possibly be a TopChef if he can't get along with anyone (except Joey).

                                                                                                                  3. 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.

                                                                                                                    15 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                      I agree with Sarah to a point about the clothing issue. When Padma first announced they wouldn't be partying, but working, Casey and Sarah both looked like they were ready to cry. Casey especially. And the 'drunks' hadn't even showed up yet. I know it hard to cook in those small surroundings with low cut clothes on, but I saw some had aprons. I don't think it was right how they were told they were given the nite off, then had the rug pulled out form under them. I don't agree with it.

                                                                                                                      1. re: lisamos

                                                                                                                        These are the same people who showed up for a meet-and-greet cocktail party right off the plane and had a Quickfire sprung on them...that would sure make me suspicious about any "fun" plans...

                                                                                                                        1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                          I honestly thought that they were going to let the cheftestants get drunk and then make them cook hungover... any monkey can cook sober.

                                                                                                                        2. re: lisamos

                                                                                                                          I don't know how any of the contestants who have watched the previous two seasons could believe this was just going to be a night of fun... Come on...

                                                                                                                          First of all, I have to say how much more enjoyable this season is than the nasty, meanspirited Season 2... You've got great friends like Sara and Dale, Howie and Joey, and Lia and Casey... Who here doesn't wish they had friends like Tre or CJ? Dale is sweet... What a difference. I almost wasn't going to watch this season, but what a joy... I want to see a Season 1 vs Season 3 cookoff next season!

                                                                                                                          That said:
                                                                                                                          - It was immediately obvious that Sara was going to go at the beginning. Forget the clothes, depression, or disappointment... She had obviously checked out mentally, and was doomed for that reason...

                                                                                                                          - Her low-cut shirt comment was hilarious, given how prominently she is, um, well, literally thrusting said low-cut assets out during the introduction to the show... Very funny... She's obviously quite sweet and talented though, and will do well...

                                                                                                                          - Does anyone else think that Howie and Sara M, who have both done terribly in group challenges, are shoe-in's to go during the always stressful restaurant challenge next week?

                                                                                                                          - AB's blog is becoming a reason to watch the show all itself...

                                                                                                                          - Finally, two shallow comments:
                                                                                                                          1) Bravo needs to do a "Workout with Tre" show... I'd watch for gym tips!! I want his biceps routine...

                                                                                                                          2) Blonds aren't my type and I don't really love Southern accents and the whole Texas thing, but, boy, overpowering all of that, do I find Casey impressive! Level headed, bright, sweet, absolutely gorgeous, knockout figure, and, most importantly, she carries herself with total dignity and class. Wow!

                                                                                                                          - Garris

                                                                                                                          1. re: Garris

                                                                                                                            Uh yeah, what you said about Casey? Absolutely. She had her ditzy moments like the hotsauce ice cream but what an impressive woman.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Garris

                                                                                                                              "I don't know how any of the contestants who have watched the previous two seasons could believe this was just going to be a night of fun... Come on..."

                                                                                                                              Never in season 1 or season 2 were the contestants EVER flat-out LIED TO like this. I wasn't a big fan of the "okay, you've partied for half an hour, that's long enough; now make an amuse with the leftovers and a plastic knife" challenge in the first episode, either.

                                                                                                                              1. re: revsharkie

                                                                                                                                You know, Bravo's show, Bravo's dim (actually advertiser's dime, but then again we've been incessantly reminded of that), Bravo can do whatever they want. As I have said before, it was pretty damned cruel, but so is Big Brother, Road Rules, Real World, and all the other reality show. There is no fairness here.

                                                                                                                              2. re: Garris

                                                                                                                                If they highlight a new friendship at the beginning of an episode, rest assured that one of those people will be going home at the end. It happened on this one, it happened when Lia was eliminated, and it happened when Joey was eliminated. It's the editors' biggest tell. Once Dale won the Quickfire, I knew Sara N. would be going home.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Megiac

                                                                                                                                  Good point. Its kind of like the guys in the red shirts on Star Trek that gets sent to the surface of the planet with Spock or Kirk. They will inevitably be killed in some gruesome way. Might as well give the chef a special chef's jacket with a big target on the back.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Megiac

                                                                                                                                    Oh yea. Basically if the producers start showing someone that isn't one of the main people they follow closely, then you know that person is off!!!
                                                                                                                                    But I liked Sara. I think Howie or CJ deserved to go. Howie is too arrogant and can't work in a team in a kitchen. That is what chefs must be able to do. And CJ was a terrible leader who has not made anything impressive this whole time on the show. I believe he did win one, but it was a team event. Sara has at least showed she is good.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: cgoob

                                                                                                                                      I think the problem with that last episode is that CJ was up against "The Bulldog". No way anyone could have overcome that.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: cgoob

                                                                                                                                        They never voted on an official leader nor did the producers say that was necassary. So I don't think CJ should have been on the chopping block at all. It was clearly between Sara and Howie. But Sara was the definite weak link there and the reason why the team was falling behind on getting the products out to the customers.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: Megiac

                                                                                                                                        The editing has been a little weak on that point. Focus on a never before seen friendship (a very special episode) and you can go do some esle becuse you know who'll be going home.


                                                                                                                                  2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                    Actually, jfood, I'm pretty sure it was Sarah's idea for the ice in the milkshakes and Howie told her that milkshakes should consist of ice cream and milk, period.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Debbie W

                                                                                                                                      correct, sarah wanted to make it with milk, ice cream and ice, howie told her no ice and that's the way she made them. They were awful but sarah had the chance to throw howie under the greyhound if pushed on this.

                                                                                                                                  3. I wish they can boot both Sara and Howie out. I don't think any of her dishes come across well in the entire season, and the footage of her cutting, prepping, forming burger patties just gives me the impression that she's an amateur. I can't believe how anyone can work that slow professionally .

                                                                                                                                    I will be curious to find out the turnover rate at Howie's real life kitchen. Maybe being on TV brings out the worse in him.

                                                                                                                                    I don't get Hung. From his techniques/skills you will think he does better. He just seems to be throwing the competitions. Who in the right mind will think that cauliflower belong in the ice cream? He seems smarter than that. Also, he kept doing chicken after chicken after chicken. I don't know how he would think fried chicken and onion rings is a recipe for winning the elimination round.

                                                                                                                                    Pulling the switch-a-roo affected the women more than the men. First it sounds like they cooked through the night (if not an all-nighter) in heels, and they probably don't want to come across as sex objects when they are trying hard to establish themselves professionally. Guys can just strip off their shirt, and they are already in comfy shoes. Hung seems happy when he found out that they are cooking instead. Next time they should get the guys to cook while wearing heels (which is still better than bare feet in the kitchen with hot oil and knives) and even the playing ground. And why are they given the flimsy aprons instead of their normal Top Chef jacket? At least that has much better upper body coverage and you don't see Sara's bare back.

                                                                                                                                    Lastly, I am really sick of the product tie ins. It seems to get worse as the season progresses. What are they going to give us next? Make the best pizza using Pizza Hut crust?! No wait, we need a Alka Zeltzer tie in too!

                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: notmartha

                                                                                                                                      Amen sister. Next they'll be in string bikini's making drinks with Bud Lite.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: ginnyhw

                                                                                                                                        And the down side of that is?

                                                                                                                                        Seriously, don't put any ideas in their head. Next thing you know they will have Mikey from season 1 and Howie serving drinks in thongs.

                                                                                                                                    2. I've gotten addicted to that show (and Kitchen Nightmares too) and Sara really had it coming. It was like she WANTED to get the boot.

                                                                                                                                      I wish they could vote Padma off. She's just awful. That deer in the headlights look she gets that's supposed to pass for stern or something just says to me...POSER. She adds a layer of pretentiousness that irritates me no end.

                                                                                                                                      Salman Rushdie is bettah off.

                                                                                                                                      I'm lousy with names, but I'm rooting for the black guy. He has a great personality, and I hope to visit his restaurant someday, when he gets one. His food clicks with my tastes.

                                                                                                                                      1. Looks like Howie gets to keep riding the Santino train all the way to the finals.

                                                                                                                                        Oh and at the judges' table, did he REALLY call out Sara and then complain when she retaliated? What did he expect her to say? "You're right, Howie. I'll pack my knives. Thanks."

                                                                                                                                        1. I really wish they would quite featuring people at the opening of the show - it's a dead giveaway that they are going to get kicked off - this week it was Sara's friendship with Dale. As soon as I saw that I thought 'Sara's gone tonight'. Last week it was a focus on Joey's friendship with Howie. Joey gets kicked off. The week before, how Lia and Casey had become best friends. By the time you see which two or three did the worst you can guess who got kicked off pretty easily based on the 'friendship montage'. It's really irritating for me. I know they are going for 'we want you to emotionally invest so you'll be hooked' but they are entirely too obvious about it.

                                                                                                                                          (If anyone is keeping score - i'm in for Tre)

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: krissywats

                                                                                                                                            It's an old soap opera trick only they don't get kicked off they just go into a coma.

                                                                                                                                          2. Clearly this is the "Howie and Sara" thread for past week's show, so I'll throw my 2 cents in.

                                                                                                                                            Howie should have gone, and Sara could have sent him packing by being more outspoken. I know it's easy to say "If I were up there I would've blahblahlbah", but if Sara had pointed out something to the effect of "I deserve to stay, noone wants to work with Howie, because almost every time you do, you end up on the chopping block! He doesn't listen, he doesn't inspire, he doesn't lead. Just look at the people who have been up here on your team,and where are they now? Gone." That may have gotten to think more about Howie's lack of leadership and pigheadedness rather than Sara's own wilting lillieness.

                                                                                                                                            But then again, the producers probably want to keep Howie around for the drama anyway, so it's a moot point.

                                                                                                                                            1. Television Without Pity's recap of this episode is up, and particularly good this week: http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/...

                                                                                                                                              1. Rocco has finally blogged on last week's episode. Not very interesting but he's getting better. He defends himself pretty well in answer to Bourdain. Plus a pic of him in a Spotted Pig T shirt, looking sort of cute...

                                                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                                                  Thump. Maybe Rocco should look up the definition of Final, and then add another final, before launching into his hissy tirade.

                                                                                                                                                  Good analysis, but in the end Rocco is still a whiney baby who needs to get the last word even after he declares the debate over. Stock price drops 25%.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                                                    Gotta agree with jfood on this one. Don't think his response to AB was all that great. Rocco's become a corporate shill who used to be a great chef at a great restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                                                      Still a weak recap nothing we didn't know already, or surmised from reading these very boards.

                                                                                                                                                      I just question where he gets the idea, when comparing himself to Bourdain, he too entertains people. He is more of a culinary curiosity. A talented chef whose career, by his own doing, imploded on it's self.

                                                                                                                                                      He should have simply thanked Bourdain for the compliment(s) and left it at that. Seems he still doesn't get it.


                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                        i think rocco's response was perfectly acceptable. then again, perhaps i'm just quick to jump to his defense because i think he is truly a brilliant chef. setting aside all the marketing, endorsements, 'the restaurant' tv fiasco, etc...the man can cook his ass off. i had the honor and sheer pleasure of dining at union pacific years ago, and the meal was positively sublime. without a doubt, one of the best culinary experiences i've ever had.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                          I can not agree with you more about his cooking prowess. My meal at Union Pacific was also exceptional. That's why I can relate to Bourdain's blog with the Clapton metaphor. And people obviously would like to see him back in the kitchen. Rocco has been there and done all that. He is certainly entitled to do other things if he wants. It seems though he is still, and may always be, regarded with a certain morbid curiosity

                                                                                                                                                          But I just don't see him as an 'entertainer'.


                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                            I think there's enough material here for an updated version of Milos Forman's Amadeus here, with Bordain playing the Antonio Salieri role (a man with limited talent, and maybe filled with enough jealousy to undermine his rival) and Rocco Dispirito playing the Mozart role (an artist with unlimited potential, who is eventually manipulated and implodes from his life of excess).

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: E Eto

                                                                                                                                                              A little simplistic. I see Rocco as being fully cognizant of his mistakes in life yet he still persists in the same path without admitting to his mistakes, whereas the Mozart character in Amadeus was portrayed as without really being aware of the implications of his actions.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                Be sure to read Rocco's latest blog at bravotv.com, where he wonders what's so different between himself and Tony.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                  actually, if you scroll a few posts up you'll see that it's that particular blog entry that inspired this discussion in the first place.