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Top Chef Aug 22nd. [Spoilers]

So we are awaiting the second part of the restaurant challenge. I thought it was a good one. I'm sure all along the powers that be had the second part in mind. It allows the contestants a chance to build on constructive criticism. I'm looking forward to it I'd like what changes are made. It will be interesting to see where things go. Will the teams have learned anything from their mistakes? I'm fairly certain that there will not be any vanilla candles this time. What will be the big(so we are lead to believe)shocker be.

Will Daniel Boulud be up for doing all over again? Will Madonnas brother be there to entertain us with his razor sharp wit?


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  1. A little upset to see them drag this episode into 2 but, nonetheless, should be interesting. Just please please get Sarah eliminated- is that so much to ask?

    1. Halfway through and suddenly it is revealed that Cassey and Tre are very close and a source of strength for each other...gee wonder if that means anything?


      7 Replies
      1. re: Withnail42

        I KNOW! This is absolutly killing me. I'm so nervous that they are going to ax Tre. His dish was the appetizer that all the judges thought were terrible. On top of that, even though he fixed his beef tenderloin and potatoe dish they said it was forgettable. I also believe the bread pudding was his idea. NEVER say you can do something "in your sleep" or you are screwed.

        Very nervous that Tre is going to axed. And he was the shoe in for most people, including me, to be the end winner.

        Btw---thrilled that Steven is back! lol

          1. re: masala maci

            Hahaha! Ya what exactly is Hung's obsession with monkeys? Everytime he says it I die laughing because its just so weird.

            1. re: Elyssa

              I'm picturing Hung being the next spokesperson for Paul Frank.

        1. re: Withnail42

          Thanks to these boards, I knew that was it for one of them. I keep tuning in late and missing the "friendship revelation," but it came later tonight, then they kept showing Tre's interviews. Once they showed him saying he could do the bread pudding "in his sleep" (BBQ challenge flashback), I knew he was done.

          Sarah really did a good job as team lead, I must say.

          1. re: momjamin

            She did...professional. Kept everyone in line. She did well. I might think she isn't as great as Tre but she kept everyone in line and was a great executive chef.

            Really I would have been upset with anyone from Restaurant April leaving since I like all of them either for cooking reasons or cuteness (CJ!!!).

            1. re: momjamin

              and then he said: a sous chef is somebody you can rely on blindly... ouch, he's out we thought!

          2. Did we know that dude was Madonna's brother during the last episdoe? It wasn't until Dale said something tonight that I remebered it. But he is quite the nightmare customer isn't he? Him and that blogger....geez!!!

            2 Replies
            1. re: Elyssa

              OK, I am stuck in a hotel out of town that doesn't have Bravo, so more details would be great. Thanks.

              1. re: Phaedrus

                Bitchy male customer with the blogger last week is Madonna's brother who is also an interior designer and restrauteur. He helped both teams redo their decor and revamp their concepts.

                Team Garage switched to Team Quatre and knocked it out of the park tonight. Sara M. did an excellent job leading her team, and won the challenge. All of their food was very well received by the judges.

                Team April did some good things, but send out a few things that were affirmatively bad. Essentially, they played it like it was theirs to lose instead of playing to win. The two worst received dishes were both Tre's (a horrifying sounding cured salmon appetizer and a bread pudding dessert that he had said he could do in his sleep), and the other bad dishes (CJ's lobster salad and Casey's monkfish) were also put somewhat on his head since he was executive chef.

                Tre was eliminated, which was completely fair considering his showing in this challenge, but disappointing since he seemed to be one of the strongest overall.

            2. Watching right now...

              Did anyone else think Chef Tom Coliccio looked adorably awkward performing "surgery" (aka dissecting the dishes) alone in the corner of the kitchen while service was going on??

              1 Reply
              1. re: gyozagirl

                It was pretty funny...cute and sad at the same time. I think he missed his dinner companions.

              2. OHHHHH MYYYYY GODDDD!!!! I can't believe Tre got eliminated. I understand why but it's totally insane! He was by far one of the better chefs there. They certainly have kept it interesting eliminating some seriously talented people.

                Now who's going to win?

                And btw..the previews for next week look great! Anytime Howie wants to address the panel is bound to be entertaining.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Elyssa

                  My only hope is that Howie's addressing the panel gets His Sweatiness booted out of there!

                  1. re: Elyssa

                    <Now who's going to win?> If the end were tomorrow, it would be Sara, imho! and don't be surprised to see her in the final two.

                    Taking the leadership initiative is crucial, and I don't think Tre would have been eliminated, bad dishes and all, if he had taken charge of his team as he did in the first round. He didn't. just let everyone do their thing, and it was disastrous.

                    If you remember back to season one, not only did Harold consistently have the best food, but he took charge on most occasions.

                    1. re: ChefJune

                      Sara did an amazing job last night. I loved seeing her tell Hung to replate!

                  2. Early favorite Tre, out....wow....

                    1. I am so DONE with this show. I've tried to stick it out after the Ilan fiasco, but Tre going is just wrong. Yes, he made some mistakes, but he also took on a huge responsibility AND had to cover for his crap ass sous chef.

                      What exactly did CJ do to deserve to stay? Please answer that question for me, Bravo TV.

                      Until then, I'm DONE.

                      17 Replies
                      1. re: nojunk

                        He's cute!? No seriously though...cuteness or not..Tre was seriously talented and never should have been eliminated.

                        It all comes down to how the judges have to judge based on that ONE elimination and can't look at their entire performance during the show. In cases like this its just so wrong.

                        1. re: Elyssa

                          I liked Tre too and was surprised to see him go but that looked like bread pudding I woudn't have served at my house and as much as I love good food I am not an expert chef. And apparently the salmon was really bad too. I thought it was strange that even though they brought in the old contestants I didn't hear them say anything in April. I mean if it was REALLY bad he should have known. It's just hard to know what's being picky and what's truly awful.
                          And though I don't love her, go Sara for being firm with Howie and making him redo the lamb. I think that's what they're looking for.

                          1. re: AMFM

                            Sarah was also firm with Hung, IIRC, and Hung seemed to take it well (better than Howie, who slammed the oven door a bit.) Have to admit that Hung is growing on me a bit, though that could certainly change...

                            1. re: susancinsf

                              I have to agree. There was even a point where he was shown with Sara with them both commenting on taking criticism/advice and learning from it which Howie was not into.
                              Still not a howie fan. And less of a CJ fan. I think I'm a no one fan at this point but in some ways that makes it easier to watch!

                              1. re: susancinsf

                                I think the difference is that Howie currently runs his own kitchen as an executive chef (if I remember his profile on the TC website correctly) and Hung works under a chef in a fast-paced, well-known Vegas restaurant. I think Hung would respond well to someone in power with him being a sous chef...as it should be. I think even though Howie got a little pissed he bit his tongue and just soldiered on. Overall I was surprised at how well they all worked together. They are not my favorite but they did well for sure last night.

                                1. re: Elyssa

                                  I liked that Dale (?) referred to themselves as the "Bad news Bears"... and they really did pull it all together.

                                  1. re: Lazy Susan

                                    Haha! I totally loved that line too... Dale used to annoy me but his personality is growing on me. "They're like the dream team and we're the bad news bears..."

                                    About Tre's elimination, I knew from the previews and as soon as team April lost that he would be eliminated so I wasn't shocked, but DEFINITELY DISSAPOINTED. CJ was a total goner in my opinion.

                            2. re: Elyssa

                              I used to think CJ was kind of cute but now I just think he's a major weasel pig. He took a shot at Brian's sweating & melty oyster amuse last week AND set up Tre for the big boom in the restaurant challenge if things went south. He's TOTALLY cruising under the radar & I can't believe the judges haven't called him out on it - they made a comment in what was televised, but just let it breeze past.

                              So what's next? Who's this season's Top Chef? Who has Harold's leadership? Lia's gone. Tre's gone. Casey hasn't shown yet that she doesn't have leadership potential, but I don't know yet if she does. Hung, who I think is extremely talented, showed us in the Bertolli episode that he doesn't have real leadership abilities. We all know about Howie, Brian's limited in scope, Sara did a fabulous job tonight, but it's the first we've seen from her (another under the radar chef??) Jury also still out on Dale - he seems to be a good team player but I haven't seen much fire from him (yet??)

                              I didn't think Bravo could sink lower than last season's debacle & the earlier episodes this season seemed to give us more of a focus on the food. But after tonight...

                              As I said in an earlier post, I'm DONE with this show.

                              1. re: nojunk

                                i'm right there with you.

                                i wanted to slap cj across his smug litle face just now.

                                tre is still the top chef in my book...and i'm closing it on this page.

                                1. re: nojunk

                                  They're all losers...bring back Lee Ann! Sam! This is a disgrace.

                                  1. re: Claudette

                                    But Sam, even though he always claimed he's not that guy, eventually constantly became "that guy".

                                2. re: Elyssa

                                  Which is exactly the problem I have with this show. One can be a completely mediocre chef and still win the top prize. That, however, doesn't make him or her the top chef; it makes him or her a survivor of one-time elimination from show to show.

                                  1. re: Seth Chadwick

                                    But that's always the case with reality shows.

                                    1. re: AMFM

                                      CJ plays the part of the cool beach guy you'd like to know and a competitor with some skills. But I'm now thinking he's a manipulative chump who deserves a fall as big as his height.

                                      He's ripped his teamates as of late (only at judge's table) and hasn't shown any leadership or cooking skills.

                                      Meanwhile Tre, who has shown nothing but class and humility, gets cut. At the same time Casey can't chop an onion, but gets to proceed. That sucks.

                                      1. re: AMFM

                                        Of course. But for a show touting a "top chef" I would think the judging would be a little more directed at actually picking one.

                                        1. re: Seth Chadwick

                                          Well put. And sadly, it doesn't really seem that they care at all. Over and over we see that anyone who manages to fly under the radar gets to stay, whereas a restauranteur who does the same would be out when the next month's rent was due. Sigh.

                                          As an aside, I'm wondering how it's possible that if this Restaurant wars take 2 was really just because the first night went so badly that they were suddenly able to get a new judge, an interior decorator, and the prior competitors to come dine all in under 24 hours. Seems suspect to me.

                                  2. re: nojunk

                                    CJ didn't so much deserve to stay as he wasn't the worst offender in the elimination challenge.

                                    Tre made the only inedible dish of the evening, and he was the chef in charge of the inferior of the two meals.

                                    If the judges could have sent two people home, from the discussion I think CJ would have been the second.

                                  3. Sooo disappointed about Tre, but not surprised based on the editing of tonight's show. I was really happy to see the Garage team pull it together, not sure why.

                                    1. Well, we know Madonna's brother was still a jerk, but looks like he gave some good, constructive criticism.

                                      I'm glad for Sarah. Howie was getting pissed off at her for telling him to do it over, but she kept her team in line and definitely deserved the win. Notice how she didn't *win* anything though? All previous winners got something - she gets nothing. Hmmmm....

                                      Losing Tre was bad. CJ or Brian should have gone. Brian didn't DO anything. Didn't create/cook anything like Dale did as FOH, and he's just been completely one-note throughout - OR doing no cooking whatsoever like with the raw bar for the roach coach challenge and this week. I'm really pissed that Tre is gone, but CJ and Brian are still there. Bad move on Judges' part. As to who should win? I don't know at this point.

                                      As for Stephen - LOVED when Dale told him to tone it down with the lectures. LOL!

                                      30 Replies
                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        Yes, what a jerk Zakarian is, doesn't he know that he's supposed to bring a gift? Sara gets NOTHING after winning a challenge where she showed that she is capable of actually running a kitchen, keeping difficult personalities in line and getting the best out of them, producing universally applauded food? Showing all the qualities that the judges are always harping about at each and every judging table? Umm...being a Top Chef???? Hello????

                                        I have to say, I was cheering as the underdog team showed some actual food prep skills. Hung with the chickens was priceless. Colicchio blogs today (!) and said that Casey's knife was not sharp--she was caught with her pants down...and it's even worse than that--she must not have realized that they weren't sharp. I am sure somebody on her team would have lent her theirs...unless that was not allowed for some reason...in which case she should have said she couldn't do that part of the challenge. Very telling, I thought...like many have said, even I can chop onions faster than that.

                                        I think the win brought that team together and they were able to build on the camaraderie.

                                        I have been a fan of Sara's all along and I was really happy with the outcome, although as shocked as everyone and sorry to see Tre go. But you know what? He failed as a chef two days in a row. Sara failed once, learned, saw that she needed to really step up as a leader and did a great job. Obviously Howie and Hung started to respect her and let her take the lead. Tre's food was just either unimaginative or plain bad! To those who are so upset that he was sent home...what was his excuse for that? Why was it anyone else's fault?

                                        Should CJ, Casey or Brian have gone instead? I would have loved to send CJ home, he has shown that he is just as ready to join in with all those season 2 losers in the olympic level throwing-under-the-bus competition. He hasn't confessed about trying to fly under the radar but I think it's exactly what he is trying to do...and he knew the executive chef would be held accountable unless he did something egregious. Which his lobster salad sounded like it was, but so was Casey's monkfish. So if Tre was going to be allowed to stay, I would send both CJ and Casey home.

                                        In the end everyone on the Quatre team looked good this week, and everyone on April looked pretty bad...Tre took the fall for them. Hopefully the challenges to come will truly test chef abilities like I think this one did.

                                        1. re: kenito799

                                          I totally agree. I think the judges knew all along this was going to be a 2-part challenge (otherwise wouldn't they have had to send 2 people home last night to make up for time?). I think the real challenge was to see what the chefs do with criticism.

                                          1. re: kenito799

                                            Wow, kenito - a bit harsh on the facetiousness re: the gift the guest judges usually give to the winner of the Elim Challenge. My comment was just because it was glaringly obvious she didn't get anything. Even Sarah looked like she was expecting something.

                                            As to who should have gone home, after posting that last night, I was thinking "Didn't they send Sam home for NOT cooking anything in the Final 4 episode?" For two episodes in a row, Brian hasn't cooked (raw bar/ceviche for the roach coach episode and FOH / no food contributed in this episode). If Colicchio continues to say "it's always about the food" then shouldn't Brian's LACK of prepared foods have counted against him? But I guess Tre's badly prepared food was more of an impetus to let him go. Really too bad that bread pudding was his downfall.

                                            I had another thought this morning - how many cheftestants have been eliminated after winning a previous Elim Challenge like Tre? So far for this season, it seems Tre and Lia have both been axed after winning an Elim - and I think Dave from Season 1?

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              Lol...i didn't think about Sara not getting a gift (or an invitation to cook somewhere or visit the chef, etc) until you pointed it out...and it made me mad! CJ and Tre get a trip to Italy for making a TV dinner. I thought what Sara accomplished this week was by far the most impressive win, at the most important challenge, and that should have been recognized!

                                              1. re: kenito799

                                                OK, my apologies then. The way I read what you wrote, I thought you were dissing my comment. :-)

                                                And I just read Anthony Bourdain's blog at BravoTV.com - I still disagree with Tre being gone, but he's right on everything else - including calling Madonna's brother an a**hat. <vbg> Now THAT is "spot on." :-)

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  I would love to watch the show with Bourdain, it would be hysterical. With much liquor on hand, of course...

                                                  Re: previous winners getting sent home...that happened every week on (oh my god I am publicly admitting that I actually watched) Shear Genius! But this is the first time the episode 1 winner has been eliminated on TC.

                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                I think the whole Sam thing was a picky little thing---they discussed this during the reunion thing. And it had more to do with he didn't cook as in use a stove etc anything. Everything was raw or put together.

                                                A little different then Brian not even stepping foot in the kitchen in the role as a chef.

                                                1. re: Elyssa

                                                  How is it different? Brian did the raw bar. No stove there. And in Restaurant Wars, he didn't cook. At all. At least Dale had the poussin dish. Brian. Didn't. Cook.

                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                    Okay, so we get that you loathe Brian. You've made that abundently clear for the last 2 weeks. I happen to agree with you that he needs to break out of that seafood rut he's in and show he can do something other than that. However, I *have* eaten his food at the restaurant where he is the executive chef and it's actually quite good. His chef skills aren't really an issue. I doubt the San Diego branch of the CA Restaurant Association would have named him chef of the year if he didn't have a modicum of talent.

                                                    No, he didn't cook last night, but then again, that wasn't part of the rules of the challenge. Dale went above and beyond, did a great job and deserved the accolades his team won. Brian wasn't required to cook and it didn't seem to bother his team mates that he didn't. The judges panel did note that Dale cooked and Brian didn't; clearly, it wasn't a deal breaker.

                                                    No, Brian didn't cook for the roach coach epsiode, but he did demonstrate leadership skills in assessing the space and working with his teammates to develop a menu that fit the space and that they could execute. And, he worked the crowd exceptionally well, which helped drive the party goers to his teams roach coach and not the competitors. While the judges table questioned whether people really wanted a raw bar after clubbing, they did indicate Brian had made a good decision to work outside the coach rather than inside where there simply wasn't space. Not every challenge is about cooking, some of it's also about decision making and the use of resources, which is more likely keeping Brian in the competition at this point than his cooking, whichi s a shame because he's a very competent chef.

                                                    We get it, you don't like him and would like to see him gone. He'll probably be gone soon enough, but it's time to move along and give it a rest.

                                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                                      I've never said that his food wasn't good. Nor was I dissing his culinary history - I'm aware that he's won awards. The entire group is heads and tails above last year's cheftestants. And for that, I'm thankful. It makes the show infinitely more interesting to watch.

                                                      However, CONSISTENCY is what is lacking. If the judges shoot one contestant because they didn't finish plating everything, then do it ALL the time. If they shoot another contestant because they didn't cook anything - then do it ALL the time.

                                                      And it's funny - I thought this *was* about cooking - it's Top Chef. Not Top FOH. If you go by what the judges say: "It's all about the food" --- and they DO say it ALL the time on the show and in the blogs - and one of them doesn't produce any food or doesn't cook any food, shouldn't that factor into the decision on who to knock off the show? Yet again, lack of consistency on the part of the judges. That is part of my frustration with the show.

                                                      And please don't tell me to "give it a rest".

                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                        Doesn't it seem messed up that with all the it's-all-about-the-food comments, then they force some competitors to play front of the house roles? That seems totally counter-the-point-of-the-show to me.

                                                        1. re: Adrienne

                                                          Exactly. Thank you Adrienne. I understand they want the cheftestants to know what the insanity of opening a restaurant is like, but to not factor in the fact that one of them chooses *not* to cook when they say the food is the thing they're focusing on (the judges, that is) and the reason they boot people off? I don't get it.

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            I agree with this. Front of the house is a great skill to have but if you suck at it then you just hire someone out to do it for you. Brian works quickly---he should have been able to make at least a salad or soup or something---even a raw bar option (even though that would have been pretty lame on his behalf). Even though it wasn't in the instructions these guys should be throwing everything into their game. Going far beyond the call of duty really helps them....at this point the caliber of chefs is so high that clearly the judges focus in on details. Details can help you or hurt you in this game.

                                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                                          Top Chef is not about the food, it's about the money and the strategies needed to win $100,000. Food is merely the medium. If this reality show was truly about the food, Dale would have been gone after the dessert fiasco, Sara and Howie would have been long gone and Lia and Tre (and perhaps Joey) would still be in the mix. Food is the means to the end, it is not the end.

                                                          Realistically, almost no FOH personnel would be allowed into the kitchen to make an app as Dale was last night. OTOH it was a bad strategic move on Brian's part not to follow suit once he realized what Dale was doing, and Tom Colecchio as much as said so. So how can one be eliminated for not doing what is not typical nor industry standard, particularly when the exec. chef of that team totally blew it?

                                                          On TV, perhaps because of editing, the difference between the two teams was palpable, moreso live, no doubt. The minute Hung called Sara out on the carrots, something clicked and Sara began acting like an exec. chef, not a reality show contestant. And because she acted like an exec., the rest of her crew performed their assigned duties well. Anyone who has ever worked in a commercial kitchen could instantly recognize and feel the energy, because there is a flow to the work once everyone gets in the groove and goes with it. If you've experienced it, you know it. If the exec. chef is in gear, everyone keys off of him or her and at the end of the night there is a certain satisfaction and exhilaration in knowing that you had a great service that night. You could see it in them at the end.

                                                          By comparison, the other team was flat, lacked energy, organization and focus. They were in game show mode, not professional kitchen mode. It isn't the responsibility of the sous, line cooks or FOH folks to provide the direction and energy. As the leader of the kitchen, that task falls to the exec. chef; Tre screwed up and paid the price. From a restaurant standpoint this elimination, though not popular with anyone, was, both logical and warranted given Tre's performance and the performance of his team and restaurant. I didn't need the "friendship/close to" clips to identify who was going home. The minute Sara kicked into gear the difference was discernible and only got greater as the service wore on. And with Tom C. sitting right in the kitchen, that would hardly be lost on him. I don't care how well Tre can cook, the lack of adequate leadership was a glaring error that cost his team dearly. He was the only credible elimination.

                                                          Just as you feel it's okay to continually carp on what you perceive Brian to be doing, or not doing, I felt the need to speak up as your last few posts regarding Brian were,for me, annoying in their negativity. IIRC, the first amendment preserves both our rights to speak our piece. It does not mean that we have to agree or even find common ground, simply that a forum exists for us both to express our personal point of view.

                                                          These contestants are doing what hundreds of other reality show contestants have done before them....what ever is needed, or not needed, to stay in the game (and make no mistake, this *is* a game) and if they have to throw a fellow contestant under the bus, or over the bus in Howie and Joey's case, so be it. The food is an after thought, it's the money that motivates and matters.

                                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                                            Speaking up to disagree is not the same thing as saying 'you need to move on, give it a rest'. It is still just an opinion, as is yours. It would have been sufficient, and probably more persuasive to others, IMO, to simply say you disagree, and why.

                                                            If it is the money that motivates, I wonder why the sense of accomplishment and of a 'job well done' was so palpable on the winning team? It is interesting to me that you say it is a game, and yet think that the loosing team was in 'game show' mode (and implied that the winning team was in fact in 'professional kitchen' mode. ) Obviously it is a TV show, Obviously the participants want to make money. (many folks in the restaurant business have making money as a primary goal, albeit a sometimes unrealistic one. )That said, it seems clear to me that other factors come into play, including pride in a job well done, personality conflicts, good days and bad, and everything else that happens in the workplace. To the extent that the chefs are even partially motivated by a desire to be good at what they do, it is in part about the food.

                                                            At least, I like to think that the food is more than an after thought. After all, if it is just an afterthought, why are so many Hounds interested in watching?

                                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                                              It does not mean that we have to agree or even find common ground, simply that a forum exists for us both to express our personal point of view.
                                                              Yes, but you were also telling me to STOP giving my personal point of view by telling me to "give it a rest." That is what I found objectionable and incredibly dismissive and "diva-like". This is a public forum - what gives you the right to determine when I should stop speaking about what I think? Why is it OK for you to continue giving your opinion but I'm no longer allowed to do so because you want me to stop?

                                                              It's an "un-reality" show. Of course FOH personnel wouldn't normally create a dish to be on the menu. Yet again - we're not watching reality - it's a TV show.

                                                              And yes - I'm fully aware the Top Chef show is ultimately about the money. Unless you're a priest or a monk, it's usually always about the money for all of us working in business. However, to get there in this show, the TC judges continue to say it's about the food and how it's prepared, how it's presented, how it tastes to the judges. No food? No money.

                                                          2. re: DiningDiva

                                                            I've eaten at Oceanaire San Diego too and can say it was awesome and Brian definitely has chops based on that. Seafood is also probably one of the trickiest 'meats' to prepare (aside from the raw stuff obviously) so even if that is his one schtick, its a pretty strong one.

                                                            1. re: DiningDiva

                                                              I think Linda's opinion is a valid one (even though I don't hate Brian myself) and I don't think she is any more vocal, in her opinion on him than others are on Howie or Hung. Why are you asking her to give it a rest and move on?

                                                              1. re: susancinsf

                                                                Thanks Susan. A clarification - I don't "hate" Brian, nor "loathe" him as Diva styled it above. It's actually quite fun to watch him go all MALARKEY! on his fellow cheftestants. :-) And I have a friend in the San Diego area and I'm hoping to get to Oceanaire if I ever get out there to visit her, as it does look like a wonderful restaurant.

                                                                However, I do think he's skating. And when you see the chart here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_Chef... that Tre had 3 Wins, and only one Low, whereas Brian's got 1 Win and 4 Lows, it continues to beg the question: What does "Top Chef" really mean? Ultimately, the way it's playing out (and played out last year) is "Top Chef At This Moment". If Brian wins the finale by cooking only seafood (or not cooking at all) it would be just the same as Ilan winning by cooking only Spanish food, as Elyssa said below. That's just wrong, IMO.

                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                              No I think there is a major problem with Brian sticking only to seafood. It's almost as if all you can cook is Spanish cuisine stolen from other people's recipes (ahem Ilan!)

                                                              I just think its different because Brian didn't even pick up a knife. I disagreed with the whole Sam thing. I thought he should certainly be in the final 2. He at least cooked...just not in the sense that Tom was expecting.

                                                              Brian just did front of the house stuff...didn't even make a special butter for the bread basket. Dale totally showed him up.

                                                              1. re: Elyssa

                                                                I agree. Both Brian and Ilan can prepare foods they prepare on a regular basis in their workplaces. I would certainly hope that would be the case, but Top Chef should be someone who can cook a variety of dishes that they don't make on a day-to-day basis at work.

                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                        I agree, Madonna's brother didn't come off all that well, and it's apparent he has some talent because both restaurant's interiors were vast improvements. I really liked the quote screened across the wall.

                                                        I also agreed with Madonna's brother about the re-naming of Garage. What's with that team? They come up with the most oddest name. 1) Garage, which is like you're eating in the dumps. 2) Quatre, which sounds like crap when you pronounce it and is a bit pretentious when you think about them trying to sound French. That group needs a branding master.

                                                        I also didn't like the guest judge. He seemed really dismissive in his commentary. Did you see the disdain dripping from his comments about Hung's tuna tartar?

                                                        1. re: singleguychef

                                                          What WAS that quote? The camera didn't linger long enough on it for me to read it.

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            A loaf of bread, the Walrus said, Is what we chiefly need: Pepper and vinegar besides Are very good indeed-- Now if you're ready, Oysters, dear, We can begin to feed!
                                                            Lewis Carroll---Through the Looking Glass

                                                            1. re: KTBearW

                                                              would've been hilarious if they'd had an oyster dish. they should have done that instead of the awful smoked salmon! and i do know that he's talking to the oysters. that's why it would've been funny. :)

                                                              1. re: KTBearW

                                                                Ahhh, thanks KT! A good quote indeed!

                                                            2. re: singleguychef

                                                              He's been doing art and design for decades. He designed a couple of her tours, actually. He is talented, but too much of a diva for me!

                                                            3. re: LindaWhit

                                                              Christopher was certainly a bitchy one, wasn't he? I hear he's in talks with Bravo for some sort of show. Ugh. I loved when Dale said "I don't care if he is Madonna's brother." I'm with him - I love Madge as much as the next gay, but Christopher took the bitchy queen routine too far for not having an established TV persona. I can't see wanting to watch whatever show he does.

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                Ya that was super weird that she didn't recieve any type of prize. I guess the guest judge doesn't have a cook book out and didn't want to offer up a day in his kitchen or something.

                                                                A new whisk or anything would have been nice. I guess just the joy of winning alone will have to do. lol

                                                                1. re: Elyssa

                                                                  As kenito said - they gave Trey and CJ (the lousy, no-good weasel!) a trip to Italy for making a frozen dinner! They (the producers) couldn't come up with ANYTHING for Sarah?

                                                              2. After the Casey & Tre friendship was revealed I knew one of them was doomed. As soon as Tre said he could "do Bread Pudding in his sleep" I knew it was him. Which is very sad for me as he was my favorite.

                                                                However, he handled the elimination in an incredibly professional manner. It about made me cry.

                                                                Loved seeing Stephen - even though he got on my last nerve on Season 1. I also loved how the chefs still in the running were so excited that the eliminated chefs were customers at their restaurants. It was sweet.

                                                                On a side note:

                                                                While I think the Quickfire win (in the end) had nothing to do with the final outcome, - How slow does Casey cut onions???? I am an incredibly slow cook - if a recipe calls for 20 minutes prep - you can bet it will take me an hour before I'm firing up the burners. HOWEVER - even my husband said that I can cut onions faster than Casey did! (Based on the editing of the onion cutting scenes).

                                                                21 Replies
                                                                1. re: Mushroom

                                                                  Maybe she's used to cutting with really dull knives? I agree that was ungodly slow, and I am not the fastest with my knife skills either.

                                                                  1. re: Megiac

                                                                    BOOOOOOOO! I like CJ but he should have gone home tonight! Tre going home is right up there with Sam going home on season 2....just wrong and in no way really picking a Top Chef. I love this retarded little show but tonight just put a nasty taste in my mouth. Watching Casey cut those onions made my eyes water...for poor Tre.
                                                                    I will still watch but I'm out for having a dog in this race....Howie, Sara, CJ, Hung, Casey and Brian had nothing on my Gun slinging, sweet smiled, mellow attitude Tre.

                                                                  2. re: Mushroom

                                                                    It looked like she was using a bread knife or serrated slicer to dice those onions. You shouldn't have to saw through onions like she was. Why in the hell was she not using a large chef's knife?

                                                                    1. re: ultramagnetic

                                                                      I thought the same thing! I was yelling at the TV, "why are you cutting onions with a bread knife"?!

                                                                      1. re: ultramagnetic

                                                                        I said this out loud to the TV! Why was she using that knife? Sara was using a chef's knife, why was Casey using such a wrong knife for the task?

                                                                        1. re: JasmineG

                                                                          I couldn't believe when I saw Casey cutting the onions - I don't have great knife skill, but (with the proper knife) could have cut them faster - though not as fast as Sara - she did a great job - as she did leading her team.

                                                                          I thought it was good that Tom spent the evening in the kitchen to see how the chefs worked together, and that Tre was very gracious in his little farewell video at the end.

                                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                                            I just read on Tom's blogs that Casey's knives were dull.

                                                                          2. re: JasmineG

                                                                            For that reason alone she should of had to pack her knives and go. I'm a home cook and I could whip through those onions with a fine dice in less time than Casey. She should have better knife skills than that. That was pathetic and put her team at a disadvantage.

                                                                        2. re: Mushroom

                                                                          They mentioned NOTHING about the wine pairings. I was wondering how it worked for them. It would have been nice if they mentioned that it worked better for Quartre than for April.

                                                                          1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

                                                                            That's true, it seemed like they didn't care about the wine and they hardly showed anyone drinking it or introducing it, other than Stephen going around. I also thought it was silly to bring back contestants that were eliminated if you weren't going to get their feedback. They should have read some feedback from their friends during the elimination with the judges.

                                                                            1. re: singleguychef

                                                                              I think it was so they could fit in that Steven is opening his own place as a kudos to a Top Chef alum.

                                                                          2. re: Mushroom

                                                                            I thought it was cute, too...until Hung said "Sara and Joey who?" I mean, come on! They were the most recently eliminated. I was starting to warm up to Hung but when he said that, I realized all over again that he's just pretentious and self-important.

                                                                            1. re: glorypea

                                                                              Not to be snarky but is it a big deal that Hung didn't remember two people in the midst of a busy kitchen during dinner rush? i don't think it was reflection of Hung being self-important (he may be that) not in this case anyway, what's the big deal if Joey & Sara were in the dining room anyway?

                                                                              1. re: glorypea

                                                                                I thought he was just totally in the zone prepping/cooking away, and Dale was snapping him out and back down to earth with the news.

                                                                                1. re: dty

                                                                                  I agree. He had his head in the kitchen and the only people he cared about then was the judges and possible other bloggers lurking. Good for him and his team that he didn't spend precious minutes going "Oh, really? OMG! Awesome!" I'd rather he was doing what he had to do and then discuss later if I was his exec. chef.

                                                                                  1. re: Brigita

                                                                                    Still---it was pretty damn funny! lol It was just classic Hung. Especially compared to Sara's reaction.

                                                                                    1. re: Elyssa

                                                                                      It was hilarious! and in Hung's defense (not that he needs it) he did say, "oh, nice" afterwards. LOL.

                                                                                2. re: glorypea

                                                                                  I couldn't decide if it was either pretentiousness or "I'm too focused right now" on Hung's part. But the remark made me laugh out loud.

                                                                                  1. re: xo_kizzy_xo

                                                                                    I laughed, too, but didn't think too much of the fact that he didn't recognize that it was "their" Joey and Sara. If Dale had said it was "Tre and CJ", and Hung said "Tre and CJ who?" that would have been different. Joey and Sara....John and Mary....normal names, random, could have been anybody.

                                                                                    1. re: KTBearW

                                                                                      Completely agree. Had the same thought. "Camille and Lia" are much more unusual and obvious than "Joey and Sara".

                                                                              2. Tre was my pick as well. Now It's anyones game. I think Tre fish was just so horrible it couldn't be over looked and combined that with the bad pudding was his undoing.

                                                                                Good to Sara step up in such a strong way. And what about Hung with the chickens?

                                                                                Best line of the night:
                                                                                Dale(?) "Joey and Sara are here"
                                                                                Hung "Who are Joey and Sara?"


                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                  I TOTALLY cracked up when I heard this, withnail!

                                                                                  1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                    I totally cracked up on this!! What it showed to me though, was that he was totally in the zone. I was not a Hung fan to start, but he's really reined it in and more than that, he really is a team player.

                                                                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                          That was funny. I'm wondering which producer or editor Camille pissed off. She was almost non-existant in the show before she was cut, then they bring her back, only to show her on screen for about 0.5 seconds.

                                                                                          1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                            Hung was priceless. He butchered those chickens in warp speed and they were so neat! Hung really stepped up and shined in this Resto War. His tuna tartare looked so good. Very elegant.

                                                                                            I'm happy for Sara, she did step up and LEAD, she was decisive & firm with Howie, which apparently you need to be. Howie's on my last nerve...undercooked lamb is gross and he just wanted to let it sit there instead of putting then back in the oven. Great stance on Sara's part.

                                                                                            Dale was great, his dish was so unique and he just has a natural charm & honesty about him.

                                                                                            Team Quatre really shined.

                                                                                            CJ, Casey, Brian ALL have to go...I don't care in what order.

                                                                                          2. I was really disappointed to see Tre go. Not sure the crappy salmon should have been enough to send him packing, considering the lackluster performance from the rest of his team. Remember the Gorgonzola and watermelon mess Sam tried to pass off from season 2 at the restaurant challenge?... And he didn't go, Michael did! I think Brian or CJ probably should have gone, or maybe they should have sent someone else with Tre. I know the judges have mentioned this, but it does seem like the cheftestants are just doing enough to get by and not come in last.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Lazy Susan

                                                                                              I thought for sure it was going to be a double elimination last night. Which makes me wonder if the restaurant war was going to be a 2 episode challenge all along.

                                                                                              Tre went because he was Exec Chef. He was responsible for everything that went out. End of story. Truth be told, he's a good chef, but this isn't the first time he's messed up because of something he could "do in his sleep."

                                                                                              Sara, while not one of my favorites to begin with, won my admiration last night. She kicked some serious a$$ in the kitchen. She kept her staff in line, and more than that, she kept tabs on what her staff did (the lamb and the carrots) to make sure it was adhering to what they originally planned. THAT'S what a Top Chef does - leadership AND execution. Tre basically just let everyone run with what they were doing.

                                                                                              Dale should be thanking god there weren't enough rabbits at the market - I don't think that would have been as successful as the poussons.

                                                                                              1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

                                                                                                The other thing that bugged me about Tre last night was that when he decided to do the bread pudding for dessert, he bragged, 'I can do bread pudding in my sleep." and then when the judges hated it, his excuse was that he had had no pastry or dessert training. you shouldn't need training for a dish you can do in your sleep.

                                                                                              2. re: Lazy Susan

                                                                                                It wasn't just the bad salmon though, Tre also made the inedible potatoes last week as well. I think once is forgivable, but twice, the judges had to give him the axe. As much as I like Tre, he really did not rise to the occasion this time or last and he deserved to go.

                                                                                              3. Casey should be sent home for having dull knives while participating on a cooking reality show.
                                                                                                I would have sent both her and CJ home - what a weasel! He set up Tre, then made a substandard dish. Bye! Tre made the only good plate they put out (scallop/corn/truffle) in addition to two problem dishes. Why did he have three and others one?
                                                                                                I wish Tre stepped up in the manner of Sara, and *made* them work so Coliccio could have defended him for leadership in the kitchen.

                                                                                                Disappointing results aside, this was the first episode I totally enjoyed watching. The quickfire was FUN TO WATCH for once, and brought skills to the fore instead of drama. CUT those chickens! RUN that kitchen! And make Monseur Sommelier DIAL IT BACK! Woo!

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: pitu

                                                                                                  I thought it was interesting though - when they were eating they commented on the soup being good but no mention in the judging. And was that Casey's?

                                                                                                  1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                    It was Casey's. From Tom's blog - the judges table discussion was over 2 hours long. Editing had to have been hard. That's probably why she stayed.

                                                                                                2. Now that Tre is gone, I have lost interest in this show!! He was hands down, the TOP CHEF in my opinion. I think CJ threw him under the bus and Tre, being the class act that he is, took the elimination like a man. But he didn't deserve to be eliminated. What has Casey done EVER to prove she deserves to be TC? She can't even slice an onion. Tre has consistently done well and never lost his cool and handled criticism very well. At least he gets to go to Italy! I don't even care who wins now. I'm done!

                                                                                                  1. I'm surprised that so many people are aghast that Tre is gone. Yes Tre is very talented but he showed absolutley no leadership ability in this episode and took a completly complacent attitude towards running the kitchen. There have been several challenges where he has been too relaxed and his food suffered greatly for it. I think because he seems like an all-around good guy viewers are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt over someone like Howie, but they both have had an equally up and down performance.

                                                                                                    However, I do think that Brian or CJ should have been eliminated, since Tre did take chances and stretched himself too thin. If Tre had been more forceful in the kitchen, the way Sara was I think he would have saved himself.

                                                                                                    I think Hung is starting to come around after being beat down by so many judges in quick fire challenges - he seems to somewhat have his ego in check and is willing to temper some of his creativity to make better overall dishes. The way he cut up that chicken was insane!

                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: wingman

                                                                                                      "There have been several challenges where he has been too relaxed and his food suffered greatly for it."

                                                                                                      That's why I've never been a huge Tre fan - I feel like he just did what he could not to get eliminated whereas other chefs really took chances and did their hardest. You should never say, "I could do this in my sleep." That's basically saying, "I'm taking an easy way out since I'm really familiar with this."

                                                                                                      1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

                                                                                                        I'm not surprised that Tre is gone. He didn't go just because he wasn't focused in the kitchen, he was eliminated because his food wasn't good on either night. He was a likable guy, unfortunately it's all about the food isn't it? Sara did a fantastic job handling the boys in the kitchen and put out some good food too. I like her and think she could win.

                                                                                                        Yeah, how about the bread pudding? What a disaster. Perhaps Chef Coliccio hit it on the head when he said they were a bit too confident.

                                                                                                        1. re: Axalady

                                                                                                          The funny thing about the bread pudding is they kept showing the judges completly unable to pick up the pudding with their spoon. They never showed a shot of anyone actually eating it.

                                                                                                          1. re: Elyssa

                                                                                                            That's 'cause they couldn't get it to their mouths! LOL

                                                                                                          2. re: Axalady

                                                                                                            I have to say, that was a nice touch on Tre's part to pour the cinnamon creme anglaise at the tableside. I always like it when the chef finishes part of the dish at the table. Really classes up the joint.

                                                                                                            1. re: singleguychef

                                                                                                              The judges always pick up on that - last week they liked that Casey came out to into her dish.

                                                                                                        2. re: wingman

                                                                                                          I agree, wingman. And another reason I feel Tre (who I also considered my favorite) should have been eliminated and the same reason why I think Casey isn't top chef material is that BOTH of them are willing to send food out to a customer when they know it's crap. Casey admitted right away that she felt her monk fish was a bit too dry. And Tre last week knew he overdid the smoked potatoes. A good chef would have dumped the potatoes and come up with an emergency alternative. The same with this week, he probably tasted his salmon and thought, "geez, maybe I shouldn't mix it with pesto and pickle it and everything. But you know what, the judges will eat it anyway." Other chefs send out food tasting bad, but at least in their mind they thought it was good when it went out. Tre and Casey sends out food they know is bad, and that's just wrong.

                                                                                                          1. re: wingman

                                                                                                            Oh, I agree completely about his lack of leadership ability. If you're an executive chef -- and hell, he should already KNOW this since he is one IRL -- quality control should be one of your mainstays. If Tre had been paying attention to his brigade, he would've noticed Casey's monkfish and made her do something about it. Ditto CJ's lobster salad. Hell, even his own dishes. I realize that time constraints might've prevented them from a complete do-over, but if Sara could do similar with Howie's lamb, then why couldn't Tre? Where was his sense of urgency? And Sara's not even an executive chef!

                                                                                                            CJ and Brian should be the next ones on the chopping block. Casey I'm not sure about. For now Sara and Dale should be safe. Ditto Howie if he keeps his mouth shut. As for Hung I'm really not sure.

                                                                                                          2. This episode hurt me! Tre gone! His lack of leadership did him in. But Zakarian had a good point. Your team is supposed to back up the chef? Cj? i want to stab him with Casey's dull knife. He threw Tre under the bus with his i would not have served the bread pudding. Why didn't he say anything except that he was saving his own ass? Cant stand him now. I like Howie better than him. And Casey? Why, why why is she still around? What did Brian do? While Tre should have taken more control of his team, I think his confidence and trust in them did him in. Casey has already shown that she is not aware of anything in the kitchen that does not relate directly to her. Cj? a two faced putz who didnt step up and defend his team or help Tre which would have helped the team. Ugh cant think about it anymore, it steams me up. Why have a wine expert if you're not going to show if he was part of the success or failure of the team? As a wine geek, I would have loved to have seen his pairings. As arrogant as Steve is, his passion for all things culinary makes him a fantastic food "Villain". definitely love him. Sara rocked! The do overs were awesome and I know she thoroughly enjoyed pushing Howie to excellence. Maybe that's why his dish was so successful. Go girl.....

                                                                                                            1. I loved last night's episode. I thought it was great that the "Bad News Bears" triumphed over CJ's dream team. While I understood why the Judges knifed Tre, I really wanted CJ, who I liked at first and who is now just plain annoying to go. Hung also really impressed me, but my favorite is Dale. His snark beats CJ's snark any day.
                                                                                                              My revised final four: Hung, Dale, Sara and Howie

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: anna banana

                                                                                                                I'd replace Howie with Casey - not because I think she's a better cook, but because she keeps managing to sneak in under the radar.

                                                                                                              2. I also really enjoyed last night's episode. I think what I liked was that last week when they were choosing teams, I said "Oooh...Howie, Hung, Sara and Dale? Poor Dale." But they really actually made a great team. I was glad to see that Team April got knocked off their laurels. They just laid back when they could have really gone forward. If Sara had not done such a great job as e.c., I'd have wanted Dale to win for running a great front AND coming up with a dish. He's my favorite I think.

                                                                                                                I kinda thought Team April was doomed when Tre was eavesdropping and came in and said (with some disdain I think) "They're doing rabbit as a first course, that's still a heavy menu." I wonder if that meant to him that they had nothing to worry about.

                                                                                                                1. Since Tre is gone, I think it'll be Sarah, Dale, Hung and Howie. Hung is winning me over. As long as his ego doesn't get in the way. I liked him in the beginning, but his attitude turned me off. Dale is someone I'd like to see win as well.

                                                                                                                  1. Re-evaluating my picks... I initially thought it would be Hung and Tre, but last nights episode blew that out of the water.

                                                                                                                    1. CJ – His dishes are inconsistent, but he's playing the game like Survivor – using strategy and laying low. Playing dirty?
                                                                                                                    2. Hung - good cook, but he has no leadership ability, which can be his downfall. This is Top Chef not Top Sous Chef... lol...
                                                                                                                    3. Howie – also a good cook, but has is issues with timing, listening and anger. Also, tends to add extra saline to the food.

                                                                                                                    Middle of the Pack
                                                                                                                    4. Sara M. – questionable dish selection, but showed that she can stand-up to the boys last night.

                                                                                                                    Back of the Pack
                                                                                                                    They seem to have some abilities, but at times seem to be out-classed. Also, seem to lack the killer instinct.

                                                                                                                    14 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                      I'd put Dale at least in the middle. He comes up with some good dishes. His chicken and dumplings almost won him that challenge and he won the ice cream challenge. I think he's got better taste and instinct than Sara actually.

                                                                                                                      1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

                                                                                                                        I think Dale is a good choice for possible top contender. I just cannot see CJ continuing much farther. The judges know and commented on the fact that CJ didn't step up to the stove and take the Exec. Chef role vs. assigning it to Tre. And the guest judge also said directly to CJ that part of his role as sous chef was to back up his Exec. Chef. Yet CJ dissed the bread pudding and said he wouldn't have sent it out. Huh? How is that "backing up your Exec. Chef"? Dirty pool.

                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                          CJ has worked mostly in the catering business I believe. And I think that's the reason why he had Tre be EC...because Tre has been in that role before and has more restaurant/kitchen experience.

                                                                                                                          I think CJ's lack of actual restaurant kitchen experience will bite him in the end. Catering is a whole different beast then a fast paced restaruant kitchen.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Elyssa

                                                                                                                            As evidenced by Betty the Blonde Bomber from last season. :-)

                                                                                                                            1. re: Elyssa

                                                                                                                              actually, i hope that what DOES come back to bite him in the ass is the reality that cj is a WEASEL. he totally threw tre under the bus last night. in fact, for the last few weeks he's pretty much been sitting back watching his 'friends' collectively shoot themselves in the foot. i kind of liked him early on, but he's #1 on my s**t list now.

                                                                                                                              this elimination confirmed my contention all along that this show, like any other reality show - or 'unscripted programming' or whatever else they're calling it these days - is simply about DRAMA. talent, leadership, vision, skill...have nothing to do with it. [or at least they haven't since season 1. harold dieterle did deserve to win.]

                                                                                                                                1. re: Elyssa

                                                                                                                                  actually, if that was the case, they wouldn't have booted sam or cliff last season...or tre last night :)

                                                                                                                                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                  Why don't you think that Sara displayed "talent, leadership, vision and skill" this week? Aren't you amazed that she kept her team focused and their drama (which has been flowing freely from Howie and Hung) in check? The weasel's team went down! Hopefully he will be eliminated soon.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                                    oh, i didn't mean to imply that sara didn't deserve to win the challenge. in fact, i was pretty impressed with her success @ whipping the 'bad news bears' into shape...and amused when she put hung & howie in their respective places, quite deservedly so.

                                                                                                                                    however, this was the first time she actually stepped up and provided any evidence that she deserves to be there.

                                                                                                                                    i just have an issue with the way the under-performers continually fly below the radar and coast through, week after week, while the ones who really appear to frequently impress the judges and win challenges - and often step up and carry the majority of the work [and the burden of blame for their team's collective shortcomings] - end up getting the axe.

                                                                                                                                    sara did deserve to win....but cj also deserved to go home just as much as, if not more so, than tre.

                                                                                                                                    yes, tre screwed up...but he also stepped up and took a big risk by pretty much solely accepting responsibility for his team's performance while the rest of them sat back & watched him flounder. he really appears to be a class act, as evidenced by his graceful exit. that's more than i can say for some of the others.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                      I think Sara has been consistent...it's the editing that determines how much we see of each cheftestant. She also should have been called as one of the top three in the Latin Lunch episode for her chile relleno. I think everyone in this crew has their strengths and weaknesses, there is nobody as egregiously unskilled as say, Mike or Betty from last season. Or Ilan (ha!).

                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                        "i just have an issue with the way the under-performers continually fly below the radar and coast through, week after week, while the ones who really appear to frequently impress the judges and win challenges - and often step up and carry the majority of the work [and the burden of blame for their team's collective shortcomings] - end up getting the axe."

                                                                                                                                        I'm with you 100%. And as far as Kenito's response -- by "under the radar" I think we're really talking about people who wind up neither in the top 3 nor the bottom 3 -- not people who don't wind up on the show as much -- and are therefore under the judges' radar. Also on individual events people can be under the radar by making something good but forgettable instead of really going out on a limb trying to do something special, which is kindof the point of being a chef rather than a cook.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                                          precisely! thanks for claifying my point.

                                                                                                                                          oh, and incidentally i agree with kenito...to put it in 'hung-speak,' any monkey could probably cook better than betty or mike.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                            "any monkey could probably cook better than betty or mike."

                                                                                                                                            Especially Hung's monkey! And his/her name is NOT Ciccone.

                                                                                                                            2. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                              And the interesting thing with Tom being in the kitchen is that he knows things like Howie would've undercooked the lamb. I think Howie and CJ are on the edge next personally. But I wouldn't have guessed Tre before the episode started so who knows.

                                                                                                                            3. Hallelujah! Tom was in the kitchen finally, to see what really happens behind the scenes. Too bad they don't have hidden cameras and let the judges watch that!

                                                                                                                              1. HELLO ALL,

                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: CHEFBUCK

                                                                                                                                  With all due respect, "baby" Sara Nguyen was also credited with an Executive Chef title before she was eliminated. There are obviously different grades of "executive chefs" and goes to show that that title is not equivalent across multitudes of restos.

                                                                                                                                  So Trey being kicked off really has nothing to do with his title just as Ilan winning last year had nothing to do with his "line cook" title.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: moymoy

                                                                                                                                    What about Geoffrey Zakarian's place here (NYC)?

                                                                                                                                2. CJ and Cassey (Howie too but he was on the other team this time) have done this passive thing before. With Sara N. in the ‘late night’ challenge they let her flounder and take the fall. The same thing they did to Tre this.

                                                                                                                                  As for people flying under the radar have to agree it’s all due to the editing. I’ve noticed in the quickfire challenges that they do not always show all to the dishes made. Only the top and bottom two are discussed.


                                                                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                    True, editing probably does determine who is "flying under the radar." I remember last year, in the exit podcasts done here, many eliminated contestants were saying they expected Elia to be there near the end, and I remember thinking, "What?? We've barely seen her!" The eliminated contestants get to fully see who's doing what and how they are acting, and we don't...

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Garris

                                                                                                                                      YOU HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO COOK BEFORE YOU CAN CHEF. HOWIE IS LIKE ILAN. HE CAN COOK, BUT IS NOT A LEADER. HE HAS A HEAD START THOUGH.
                                                                                                                                      MARCEL, SHOULD HAVE WON LAST SEASON. HE HAD PROBLEMS WITH SOME PEOPLE, BECAUSE THEY WERE THREATENED BY HIM. HE WAS THE BEST COOK. HE HAD THE MOST KNOWLEDGE. THIS IS JUST MY OPINION

                                                                                                                                      1. re: CHEFBUCK

                                                                                                                                        Could you PLEASE turn the caps lock button off?
                                                                                                                                        It's hard to read, and looks like you're shouting.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: pitu

                                                                                                                                          I was not aware of your caps rule. Thank yall for the advice. Thought it stood out better. GO HOWIE!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: CHEFBUCK

                                                                                                                                            FWIW, the caps thing is not a CH rule...it's basic net etiquette that's been in place since the beginning of message boards.

                                                                                                                                            Not meaning to beat a dead horse...just pointing out that it's not a "Chowhound" thing.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: CHEFBUCK

                                                                                                                                          I agree with you Chef Buck, I don't think Tre was a bad chef but he was lacking innovation and creativity. Not to mention the fact that a couple of his dishes, the infamous pesto-salmon and bread pudding, lacked execution.

                                                                                                                                          There are plenty of good chefs out there, chefs who have enough skill to be "good" but in Tre's case it seemed the judges expected him to be better than good because of all his success to date with the Quick Fires & Elim Challenges. Tre didn't live up to their expectations.

                                                                                                                                          I rooted for Marcel last season too! Personally, I'm rooting for Hung... what others see as cocky, manic and hyperactive I see as his passion. His deconstructed "nicoise salad" was gorgeous and apparently tasty too.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: moymoy

                                                                                                                                            The Nicoise salad dish was my favorite of the season. It was very Charlie Trotter like

                                                                                                                                      2. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                        "CJ and Cassey (Howie too but he was on the other team this time) have done this passive thing before."

                                                                                                                                        That is an excellent point--but it hasn't been passive with Howie or CJ, they actively tried to diss their teammates at the judge's table. Casey has been passive but just as bad. Let's hope they all get theirs!!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                                          I'm not so sure about that - at least as far as Casey goes. It does *appear* that she stands silently by when her teammates are critiqued, but it always seems so painfully awkward that i think it's really more editing than anything else. The producers seem to want to always show her standing there quietly wide-eyed or agape and not saying something, but the way it comes out makes it look to me like she *has* said something but the editing doesn't show it. Does this make any sense?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: heathermb

                                                                                                                                            whether or not casey makes herself heard @ judges' table doesn't excuse the fact that not once has she demonstrated real initiative or taken a leadership role IN THE KITCHEN. who knows, she may have mad culinary skills [although i'm pretty skeptical after that dull knife/onion chopping debacle] but if she can't be sufficiently assertive/authoritative then she's got no business running a kitchen, which is supposedly what the judges are looking for in a 'top chef.'

                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                              The dull knife issue has me flabbergasted. Do chefs or cooks put their knives away after using and cleaning them without re-sharpening them?

                                                                                                                                              I know we've seen Tre and a few others taking the steel to the blades just before they're going to begin a longer prep period, and I guess Casey didn't have time to do so before the QuickFire. But I'm curious as to when they're re-sharpened in a *usual* situation. Myself, I usually sharpen it just before use at home. Granted, this is not a usual situation, but you'd think *knowing* they're going into a QF, Casey would have pre-sharpened her knives?

                                                                                                                                      3. Sorry,
                                                                                                                                        Remember, there is always the episode that shows behind the sceens and we really get these answers about editing and the fights that go on at the end of the season.

                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: CHEFBUCK

                                                                                                                                          ChefBuck, just an FYI - if you mis-post something here on CH, you can go back and edit your own post for about 30-45 minutes, I think. The edit link shows up at the bottom of your post for a set period of time.
                                                                                                                                          Edited to add....I take that back - I'm editing at 11:13pm, and I originally wrote it at 9:53pm. So it's at least an hour. :-)

                                                                                                                                        2. Rocco's blog on this episode is up and it is getting better. He made lots of good points, and agrees with me that CJ is sneaky and slimy. CJ has to do something really amazing to redeem himself in my book at this point...


                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                                            i've always been a huge fan of his food...and rocco's viewpoint regarding this show makes me like him even more - even though i think he meant to refer to the garage/quatre team as outcasts, not castoffs :)

                                                                                                                                            anyway, his blog says some of the exact same things i did after watching last week's disappointment. i.e.:

                                                                                                                                            "Tre would still be in the contest had CJ, in his profound display of cowardice, not decided to pass the buck"

                                                                                                                                            "Casey was severely handicapped by her lack of knife skills...we all witnessed what happens if you don’t know the basics, and it’s embarrassing, to say the least...There is no excuse for not possessing the basic skills that make up the foundation of the craft of cooking."

                                                                                                                                            "Tre claimed responsibility for his dishes without hesitation and took the criticism in stride and with elegance"

                                                                                                                                            "CJ threw Tre under the bus and got nailed by Chef Zakarian for not supporting his chef"

                                                                                                                                            imho, rocco rocks!

                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                              I think Rocco has called it exactly right in his blog. I know some may not agree with me, but i think he has been one of the better guest judges so far this season. I thought his comments during the frozen food challenge were very good and even tho Casey and Dale's meatball was still frozen in the middle, he didn't slam them, he instead let them know how good he thought the other aspects of their dinner were, (pesto for example). I watched 'The Restaurant' when it was on and it was sad, but I'd like to think he's learned from that whole experience and is trying to show that he is moving on from it. As long as people will allow him to do so. I've never really cared for CJ much and now after he let Tre take the fall and didn't do anything to help, I care for him even less. He better do something spectacular in the coming challenges, because I think his true colors have shown thru and even the judges see it. I know Tre was the EC, but he didn't have much help in that challenge. CJ made one dish that Chef Tom said wasn't even very good. He should've stepped up and asked his EC what he needed from him. CJ isn't used to working with a team and it showed in his actions and comments at judges table.