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i dont fault hung for not revealing his methods - why should he have to hold anyone's hand in this competition? i disagree with dale. he said hung was a 'different' type of chef. different from what?

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  1. chicken, russet potato? brian is SCREWED.

    1. prediction: the finale will be

      hung v dale


      casey v dale

      1 Reply
      1. re: batdown

        wow actually, it looks like dale just tripped badly.

      2. no way brian is surviving this.

        2 Replies
        1. re: batdown

          wow, they love it. that dish looks gross to me. on eyes alone, i cant abide that.

          1. re: batdown

            Good thing that dish tasted good. To me it looked like green baby puke on top of brown poop. I thought it would be a failure when he said what he was making. I don't think he's gonna last after dale gets the axe. I'm thinking Huang and Casey will be in the finals.

        2. they are editing this episode to set up a casey/brian finale. if this is the case and casey doesnt win i will boycott TC.

          then again i said i would boycott tc when ilan beat marcel last year.

          13 Replies
          1. re: batdown

            I think a Hung/Casey finale is assured.

            Neither Dale nor Brian wowed the judges with Any technique. Casey and Hung have been the top two in several of the last challenges, and they are the only ones who have consistently impressed the judges.

            I was kind of sorry to see Sarah go before Brian, but neither Dale, Brian nor Sarah showed any excellence in that challenge, so any one of them could have gone. Brian did make a dish with "flavor," but it didn't rise to the cuillary test. The only two who deserve to be there are Casey and Hung.

            1. re: DanaB

              I agree. It's going to be a Casey/Hung showdown and I think it will be great! Both are very talented but with totally different styles and methods.

              And let me just say, even though she has grown on me a little bit, so glad Sara M is gone! Raw chicken was a major mistake among others made.

              I'm on team Casey now!!!!

              1. re: DanaB

                sara seemed sweet, but i wasn't sorry to see her go. she's said time and again that she's a cheese maker, and all she wants to do is make her cheese. when the judges asked sara & dale about the role food plays in each of their lives, i knew immediately that sarq would be the one to go home. dale's response wa impassioned & genuine, while sara's was so generic it could have come out of anyone's mouth.

                she wasn't there because she wanted to BE the top chef. she was there to win the money so she could go back to jamaica and start a cheese-making business. if you're not there because you have the desire to prove that you're the best at what you do and passionate about it, there's a pretty good chance you're NOT the best, and you certainly don't deserve to win.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  She might have gotten what she wanted though...in a sense. She got exposure which never hurts. Maybe she'll get an investor for her cheese business.

                  Seems like the show helps a lot of past cheftestants. (Except for Dave who someone mentioned awhile back is now waiting tables in NYC which is a little sad).

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    The way I see it is that she wants to do something unique and create something that you can't get at a Walmart or eat at a chain. Something that will not be used in any sort of semi home made way.

                    I say good luck to her. We need more purveyors of artisanal foods.


                    1. re: Withnail42

                      agreed, i'm not criticizing her my any means! i think her goal is commendable. in fact, i'm sorry she plans to do her cheese-making in jamaica instead of the states. i do love good cheese.

                      i just don't think her plans belong in the competition for the title of 'top chef.'

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        I hear what you are saying. I just figured she's a chef who wants to expand on a passion. If she was to have won we know the money would have been put to good culinary use. (BTW What's last years 'winner' doing?)

                        I also am sorry she's not setting up in the states. And if she's doing unpasteurized don't think it can be imported.


                        1. re: Withnail42

                          <BTW What's last years 'winner' doing?)> In his own words on the reunion show, he's traveling and finding himself.... come on! he's only 25. I know when I was 25 I thought I was "grown," but everyone who's older knows that's just "starting out!" ;>)

                          1. re: ChefJune

                            I think I missed the reunion show.

                      2. re: Withnail42

                        I thought Sara was average throughout the competition and I wasn't all that sad to see her go. For someone who is making a career as a cheesemaker, she never did anything to feature cheese in anyway - I guess I kept waiting for her to wow me with something relating to her passion.

                        1. re: bullygirl

                          i wasn't rooting for sara to win, but in her defense, she would never have had sufficient time in any challenge to make cheese. and being as passionate as she is about making her own, i imagine she wouldn't have much desire to feature someone else's product in her dishes unless a particular recipe would have really suffered without it.

                          1. re: bullygirl

                            She featured cheese in her chiles rellenos in the Latin Lunch (and I think even made a fresh cheese), this was in the top three that elimination challlenge.

                            She made a cheese tart that same episode for the quickfire (frozen pie crust, Joey won) which was also well-received.

                            1. re: kenito799

                              i stand corrected.

                              shows how much attention i've been paying to sara :)

                  2. sara needs to learn how to cook her proteins so they dont endanger the health of her diners... i mean come on....cook something.

                    1. Why are you having a running commentary/private post with yourself? Why not wait until closer to the end and put all of your thoughts into just one post?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        because i just felt like posting while watching the episode...what's the difference?

                        1. re: Withnail42

                          I agree with you ... I'm assuming you're talking about Brian making it through to Final 4.

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            of the final 4, brian is the least versatile - i think that this will hurt him. he's got to go next.

                            1. re: batdown

                              I agree - and based on the previews, it looks like they're "camp cooking" next weekend, and his fish falls on the ground. (Of course, that could very well be the devious editors who make it look like Brian's fish!)

                              The person who said "Good luck...you're going to need it!" looks very familiar. Does anyone know who he is?

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                Was that Eric Ripert? I know I saw him in the promo, but I don't remember if he spoke that line.

                                1. re: momjamin

                                  he was definitely there. Ripert! I love it.

                                  1. re: momjamin

                                    yep that was definitely eric ripert. can't wait to see how he interacts with the cheftestants.

                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                    The wonderful Eric Ripert! He's no Bourdain (although good friends with him) but he is quite snarky and I love him!

                                    1. re: Elyssa

                                      Thanks to all for the replies - and the minutes I saw Ripert's name, I thought "Oh good - hope he's taking snarky lessons from Bourdain." :-)

                                  3. re: batdown

                                    I hope he knows how to cook lake fish since that is what he will be relaying on in Aspen if he chooses to return to his comfort zone of all seafood! It's a land locked state after all lol

                                    1. re: Elyssa

                                      They fish on the ground looked to be trout.

                                      1. re: Elyssa

                                        basedon the preview, it looks like campfire fish is a quickfire challenge. the snippets of judges table don't seem to tie into outdoor cooking.

                                      1. re: Withnail42

                                        Yeah, me too, she brought a lot to the competition. I was really sad to see her leave. I was hoping that Brian's dish would not go over as well as it did and that she would get to stay. I think Padma seemed sad when she asked Sara to pack her knives.

                                  4. I don't understand how ramps didn't wipe out Brians' and Casey's flavors. The ramps in this part of the country are both strong and um, uh, fragrant isn't the right word, but reek might be a bit strong. No, ramps reek.
                                    And using enough ramps to color potatoes, that would be enough to cause the judges to space out their seating.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: shallots

                                      I know Colicchio is a big fan of ramps, he had a chapter about them in his first cookbook.

                                      1. re: shallots

                                        This was a great episode. Purely about cooking skills. Let's see more of these!

                                        Whatever about the ramps...the judges loved them, also on Casey's dish, and they all seemed to love the flavor of Brian's dish. Even though a lot of that flavor seems to have come from the pheasant sausage that he PURCHASED. I am surprised that he didn't get called out by Colicchio for that.

                                        But I guess they had a lot of leeway in what they could add, which makes it surprising that no one got more creative with spices and other ingredients...they all seemed to want to make simple, classic French food. It seems unwise, because no one can beat Hung on French technique--even if he did mess up that dauphinoise thingy, which sounds delicious.

                                        How silly is it for Dale to get annoyed by Hung not revealing how he did the quickfire dish? It's a competition! Please. Hung was very impressive in general and it was great to see his skills and the flavors they produced appreciated quite consistently across many qualified judges this week. To have Soltner say his chicken was cooked "to perfection" is pretty impressive.

                                        Favorite Hung moment: chopping the leeks at high speed without looking, while grinning at the judges.

                                        1. re: kenito799

                                          When they shot this episode as well I believe ramps were very much in season. So it was a wise choice to use something of that quality in their meal. I loved the trip to the Union Square Farmer's Market since it's what a lot of chef's really do in NY. I like the idea of started off with a few basic/classic ingrediants and then letting the Market dictate where you go next with your entree.

                                          1. re: Elyssa

                                            I enjoyed seeing them in the farmer's market as well - I often see people buying in bulk there and asking for receipts, so I assume that they are buying for restaurants.

                                      2. i think he meant that hung keeps to himself. he's solitary, while the rest of them are chummy, and more team players.

                                        btw, did anyone notice the 'friendship curse' was finally broken tonight? casey & dale bonded at the greenmarket...which i feared was a foreshadowing hint that dale would go home [i knew casey would be fine].

                                        i'm surprised to say it, but this is the second consecutive week that i agree with the judges' decision!

                                        1. I'm surprised to see Ripert back. Nothing against him. But he was in the very uncomfortable position of being the guest judge when the whole attack on Marcel went down. He never really got to judge. Cliff was kicked off. As a result there was no elimination, he just sat there at the judges table while Padama berated Sam, Ilan, and Elia. He seemed very uncomfortable being there.


                                          1. Random thoughts:

                                            Very happy they finally got to go head to head with the same ingredients. As a simple country home cook - it was cool to see these ingredients put in to play. I wanted to try every dish - even Dale's & Sara's - had they been executed properly.

                                            I agree that it is being edited to look like a Casey/Hung battle. While Hung isn't my favorite person - arrogance aside - his winning the whole thing woudn't bother me too much - he can cook. And...I'm in complete awe of his knife skills.

                                            I'm enjoying how well all the cheftestants seem to get along. Even Hung was getting/giving some love after his win.

                                            Next week looks interesting. I love to fish and even know how to fillet a fish - not very well - but still. Should be cool!

                                            And....I'm officially backing Casey.

                                            1. Brian?!? BRIAN?!?!? I was so sure he'd be the next to go, especially when they showed his finished "rustic chicken pie with pheasant sausage" or whatever he called it. When they said they liked it, I first said "Huh?!?" then "Good for you, Brian." If he makes the final three, I'll be very surprised. I think he just got a lucky break last night.

                                              I also think Sara's undercooked chicken was a stroke of bad luck. We didn't have fricasee very often, but I remember my mother cutting into every single piece of chicken before serving it. Anything pink she'd leave in the pot until it was done. If Sara said she checked all her chicken, then when didn't she plate the done pieces? Was it nerves? A bad judgement call?

                                              I'd like to see Casey win this. But I know Hung's going to give her a run for the money.

                                              1. SHEESH, why should Hung teach them something when he is competing against them?
                                                That's nonsense. I think he was right to not give them tips about what worked for him in that challenge.
                                                Also, awesome challenges! Duplicate this + cook with these basics at the FCIA.

                                                I liked how this show put the contestants in the context of a professional kitchen -- line chefs giving them the cold-eyed assessment and all. The time aspect of these competitions always seems a little dumb to me -- it a real life situation, Sara wouldn't serve undercooked protiens. It makes split second time management more important than good seasoning and conceptual thinking.

                                                The other thing this episode pointed out to me was how fast and loose we've become with technical culinary terms -- confit and coq au vin actually *mean* something. I know that, but didn't really thing about how much terms are short-cut and misused.

                                                1. Absolutley great episode - perhaps the past of all 3 seasons since this one was truly about food - and hard to execute food at that. When it comes to classic cooking Hung really showed how superior he is to the other cheftestants with Casey coming in an impressive second. Not really sure what Brian was going for - in each of the previous episodes the judges kind of stress "know your audience"; as a prospective MBA student I know I'm not writting a disertation on running a bake sale for a top MBA programs Deans and best Professors, so why you would serve peasant pie to that audience is a bit lost on me - I'm sure it tasted great but certaintly didn't look classic or elegant.

                                                  Sara has showed culinary schools but with the exception of leading the second episode of restaurant wars she has also showed a very relaxed attitude - ultimatley that was her undoing and her passion lies with being a cheese monger so in the end probably the right decesion.

                                                  Was anyone else really annoyed that you could tell who would be going onto the finals based on their haircut? Hung, Casey, and Dale all had much shorter locks in the interviews than during the episode and Brian had on that stupid hat which makes me beleive he shaved his head for the final - Sara was pretty much MIA in all those interviews as well.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: wingman

                                                    Interesting - I didn't notice the haircuts, other than Casey's hair seemed different than in past shows. Wait - I did notice at one time that Hung's hair seemed to be styled differently. But I just thought he did it. :-)

                                                    What I *did* notice was the faint "gong" noise as the Judges made their decision and just as the cheftestants were walking back into the room and thought "Hung wins". I know, I know - it's stereotyping. But I've *never* heard that sound before, unless it just wasn't as pronounced as it was on last night's show.

                                                  2. Very interesting night on TC. Jfood nicknames this the Little Miss Muffet episode. The curds and whey have been separated and Casey and Hung have risen while the other three have fallen to the bottom.

                                                    Casey and Hung battled it out in both the Quickfire and the elimination. The only comment that they experienced was Hung’s potatoes were not poofy (and in typical Hung fashion he blamed others) and Casey called her dish coq when it was poulet. Quick question to everyone on these boards, how many have actually used a roosetr on a lazy Sunday when you make a coq au vin? Not jfood. But if that’s the most they could find, so be it. And they also mentioned that it takes more than 2 hours to make, yet they loved her dish, sorta contradictory. Jfood predicts these are the two final contenders. Nice job to both.

                                                    Hung – the boy can cook. Hung did the right thing by asking question in the kitchen about how the original is prepared. Kudos for guts, and it paid off for him. Jfood gotta believe he’s done a few potato wrapped fish at his day job. When jfood heard sousvide he perked up and said OK this is going to be good. And he pulled it off. And he could not understand why nobody would help him? Hello, you cleaned your station last week while everyone was frantic. First law of physics. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. As Soltner stated, he would hire him. OK, we know who is in the pole position.

                                                    Casey. Jfood admits that Casey is his choice. And let’s look at what she did. Great quickfire and great Elimination. If she would have called it Poulet slightly braised in red wine she wins. So she lost for semantics versus technique. They loved her food and her presentation. And she’s a nice person, constantly helping others. Jfood thinks she is both a great cook and a great team player. But she gotta stop the huggy thing with Dale.

                                                    Sara oh Sara, please buy a thermometer that works. Two dishes and neither reached temperature. Oh if the challenge would have been sushi, you’d be on a plane to Aspen. But raw fish followed by raw chicken is not a good way to receive a Rocky Mountain High. The Quickfire and the Elimination were both dismal failures, but you came a lot further than jfood would have guessed a few weeks ago, nice job.

                                                    Dale, focus on the food, not the huggy thing. The only reason you are still around is someone screwed up more. Remember what Reagan said, “When being chased by a bear, you do not have to be the fastest, you just can’t be the slowest.” Sara was the entrée for Yogi last night and the name on your jersey read “Dessert”. And your thought process for differentiating the potatoes, one with truffle, one without, please be a little more creative. And the PhD in Bonehead, forgetting the sauce. Ouch. Only good news for you is Brian is still around.

                                                    On to Brian. Grabs a nice third place with Smurf Vomit. Let’s think of what he might have done instead in this genre of hiding the banana. He could have made a modified NJ Italian Hot Dog with peppers and onions and fried potatoes on top and added a little chicken chili. Sorta what he did with the immersion blender. Battle of the also rans with him and Dale next week.

                                                    So we saw PhD candidates last night with Cooking 101 ingredients and the two best proved themselves and the others panted and battled to the finish line. Now on to the finals. And the teasers looked great.

                                                    22 Replies
                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                      Thanks, jfood, for your humorous observations!

                                                      I knew last week when they said the next battle was at FCI and all about the classics, and showed Alain Sailhac and Andre Soltner that Hung would be in his element. You don't have to have graduated from culinary school to have fabulous knife skills, but you'd better have them if you're going to cook in a fast-paced kitchen. I don't understand why so many of the cheftestants are so lousy with the knives... including Casey.

                                                      I never saw any competition for Hung from the beginning, except for Tre, and he's been gone a while. I have my own theories on why that happened, but it's irrelevant at this point. So the "bad boy" will win and bring his knives to New York.

                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                        I wouldn't say it's contradictory that they liked her dish despite telling her that coq au vin takes more than two hours to make. Cassey obviously made an excellent dish. I suspect she was unclear on the fact that coq refers to an actual item the rooster witch requires a longer cooking time, and has a different taste than the young hen that she used. It's the same as telling folks you're serving them beef wellington when you've really made it with pork.


                                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                                          the contradiction was that they told her that you could not cook a coq in the two hour time frame then they applauded her effort. casey did a great job of explaning her grandma's coq. The judges were so focused (or the editing had nothing better to show) on the name that jfood thought they were going to trash the dish, then they loved it. And jffod was happy they did.

                                                          Good thing no one brought in a hamburger or a hot dog covered with giant shrimp. :-)))

                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                            Bourdain explains in his blog. Coq au vin is a slow braise in wine of a tough old rooster--a way to make the best of a less than perfect specimen of poultry. The chickens they were using were more young and tender and therefore would not need this treatment to bring out the meat's best qualities...suggesting that Casey could have chosen a different preparation to show the chicken better. Maybe...her braise obviously was not as long and didn't need to be as long, and the judges all liked the flavors. It sounds like Casey's grand-mere cooked chicken in the style of coq au vin and called it coq au vin--I think that is what Casey was trying to explain at the judge's table, that her dish referenced her grandmother's cooking, not the classic French dish "Coq au Vin".

                                                            Colicchio was ridiculously obsessed with the distinction between braised chicken and the fact that classic coq au vin is made with an old rooster--even Soltner was like, huh? when he kept mentioning it...I am sure it is pretty common to call a chicken dish cooked this way "coq au vin" in the U.S. and Soltner seems to have known what Casey meant.

                                                            1. re: kenito799

                                                              In Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child doesn't even mention rooster in this dish, and she's pretty vehement in other sections of the book on the difference between the ingredients available in America vs. those in France and what the substitutes are. Maybe 100 years ago Coq au Vin was made with an old rooster, but I doubt that's a relevant bone of contention in 99% of kitchens today.

                                                              1. re: DanaB

                                                                Yeah, honestly -- I'm not sure how many Americans today can go out and buy an old rooster to make coq au vin, I don't think that there are many, and I don't think that most people who make it use an old rooster for it. That was a weird nit pick.

                                                                1. re: JasmineG

                                                                  Steingarten has an entire chapter about coq au vin in his book "It Must Have Been Something I Ate." A large portion of the chapter is about his difficulty in tracking down and purchasing an old rooster. If he had trouble -- in NY, with time and Vogue's money at his disposal -- it does seem unlikely that the majority of chefs in America who include it on their menu actually use an old rooster. If this is the case, I agree it seems like an unfair criticism.

                                                                  1. re: JasmineG

                                                                    Listening to Colicchio carry on about Casey's use of a young chicken instead of a rooster, came across as Tom posturing for the French Institute judges. Even when Soldner was reasonably accepting, Colicchio still wouldn't let go of the rooster complaint. This struck me as incredibly defensive behavior on Colicchio's part. I got the sense that Colicchio was trying to establish his credentials among the illustrous group of judges. As honored a chef is Colicchio is, he isn't a chef with the classic French training represented by Soldner et al.

                                                                    1. re: Indy 67

                                                                      Colicchio was playing the part of the hard-ass traditionalist so Soldner and the other guests (tradionalists) didn't have to...sort of an old school gentlemanly duty. Otherwise, yeah who has ever seen old rooster in the U.S. outside of a farm? I think the next best thing might be an old hen or a low grade roaster.

                                                                      BTW, I was thinking it but Ted Allen mentioned in his blog -- who the hell serves shepard's pie to Frenchmen in a French cooking school? I'm not sure if there's another culinary faux pas like that except perhaps serving perhaps serving them Sauerbraten, a stein of beer and having an Oom-pah band playing the whole time.

                                                                      1. re: ML8000

                                                                        Huh? An Alsatian French chef like Soltner would be very familiar with sauerbrauten.

                                                                        1. re: thomasein

                                                                          But would he serve it to a French master he was trying to impress at a French culinary school in a competition? No.

                                                                          1. re: ML8000

                                                                            Personally, I was surprised that none of the four opted for a perfect roast chicken.

                                                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                                                              I was hoping to see that too. I think that falls under the same category as making an omelette - deceptively simple, easy to screw up, but every chef had better know how to do it.

                                                                            2. re: ML8000

                                                                              Again, not true. I have seen variations on sauerbraten in very high end Alsatian restaurants. Plus any French master would probably be amazed that someone could put serve sauerbraten from scratch in 2 hours.

                                                                              1. re: thomasein

                                                                                Again, I have to disagree given the context of the show -- French chefs in a French culinary school setting. Sure there's cross over but imagine that happening in other settings...it wouldn't be appropo.

                                                                                I don't know, lets say it's a Japanese culinary school and Japanese chefs (both a traditional and wacky as the French) and someone plated up some bul go gi and kim chee in a contest -- would that be fitting? Maybe. Would a contestant would stand a chance? I don't think so.

                                                                                Just because there's some cross over doesn't mean it's appropo. Yes, Japanese love many things Korean and the French like somethings German but so what...there's still national pride. Geez, just look at states rivalries in the U.S. Any way, enough...we disagree.

                                                                                1. re: ML8000

                                                                                  My point was that traditional French Alsatian cuisine includes variations of Germanic dishes like sauerbraten.

                                                                      2. re: JasmineG

                                                                        I bought some Old Crow once to cook with but ended up on the couch passed out instead.

                                                                        Old rooster? Come on, Tom. Where in New York are you going to find a rooster of any age?

                                                                        Plenty of Old Crow, though. ;)

                                                                  2. re: jfood

                                                                    She didn't cook rooster(if we keep using the term coq the conversation with degenerate into something out of middle school.) She cooked a young hen a different bird entirely. One that does not need as long a cooking time. No contradiction just semantics.


                                                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                                                      With, jfood is with you. No mas, no coq.

                                                                      the middle school conversation (nice term) was between Soltner and Tom. They harped and harped about her dish's title and the word "Coq". jfood's point is exactly as yours, they focused on the "coq" word and were so busy difining rooster this and at least two hours that when all Casey wanted them to do was to try the stupid chicken and let her go to Aspen.

                                                                      Now if Tom can make sure he wipes his chin clean before commenting next week it would add to the credibiliyt of his comment. Always difficult for jfood to take someone seriously with food stuck between the lips and the chin.

                                                                      1. re: jfood

                                                                        ugh, jfood, i'm so glad you noticed it too! i'm guessing tc is appalled that the producers & editors aired that embarrassing footage of him with a glob of food clinging to his chin.

                                                                        talk about having egg on your face :)

                                                                2. Not much more to add, but that last night was a perfect episode. I like making a fair playing field, saying cook this but fancy and see what they come up with.

                                                                  I'm happy with the four going to Aspen. I felt bad for Sara, but I've been pulling for Dale.

                                                                  I have to say, I was impressed with Hung. He really hadn't shown in the past how his "classically trained skills" would help him, but it came through in spades last night.

                                                                  As soon as Padma started to introduce the ingredients, I turned to Mr. Curlie and said "Chicken - any chef worth their knives has to be able to do something amazing with chicken."

                                                                  And I don't know about the quickfire - I think Hung was a little haughty about it. It came back to him later when Casey couldn't help him plate. I bet if one of the others needed help plating she would have dropped what she was doing.

                                                                  32 Replies
                                                                  1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

                                                                    Also did anyone notice how Hung behaved in Le Cirque's kitchen? Very, very different then what we have been seeing. This goes to show that he is capable of taking it down a notch and acting in a calm, professional, yet still speedy manner in the kitchen. I imagine this is how he would be forced to act at his job in Vegan (and how one should act).

                                                                    1. re: Elyssa

                                                                      The reason Hung runs around like crazy in the TC kitchen is because it's not set up like a restaurant kitchen it's a tv set. Restaurant kitchens are set up for economy of movement.

                                                                      1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                        Nonetheless he does it in a careless manner...in a way that has been discussed (overdiscussed?) on these boards before.

                                                                        1. re: Elyssa

                                                                          My comment is based on your statement, "This goes to show that he is capable of taking it down a notch and acting in a calm, professional, yet still speedy manner in the kitchen. I imagine this is how he would be forced to act at his job in Vegan (and how one should act)."

                                                                          Hung doesn't need to be "forced" to do act like a professional in a professional kitchen because the kitchens are set up properly. When on a tv set he acts differently.

                                                                      2. re: Elyssa

                                                                        Btw I meant Vegas not Vegan but for some reason I can't go back and edit. Clearly Hung is not a vegan...or at least he doesn't treat a chicken with a knife like one. :)

                                                                      3. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

                                                                        I think Casey couldn't help Hung plate because they were on different timetables -- he had that extra half-hour to do his dish, and thus when he was plating, the others were in their final minutes before they themselves had to be done. I don't think she did it out of anything other than her own need to finish cooking her dishes. Hung was a little ungracious about it, but then again, he's been consistent in that regard all along.

                                                                        1. re: DanaB

                                                                          Hung had more time; however, he was the only contestant who had no help plating. Since the other chefs were presenting their dishes serially they couldn't all have been in the final minutes. I would argue the other chefs just decided they wouldn't go out of their way to help Hung. I really don't think the other chefs are the angels that the editing makes them out to be.

                                                                          1. re: thomasein

                                                                            I don't think the extra 30 minutes was that much help since he had to go first. I'm sure in the end, Casey had just as much time to cook (she was last) as Hung did. Regardless, I'm sure they were all too busy to help Hung and he understood. It reminds me of the moment last year when Marcel replied kindly to Sam that he couldn't help Sam plate his dish and Sam was really angry about it. He even didn't want to help Marcel plate but in the end he decided he "wasn't that guy." Wow, Sam truly is a good person.

                                                                            1. re: digkv

                                                                              Please help me understand your post. I routinely see the contestants working against timers. Why do you think that timers weren't in use for this challenge? Casey's going last doesn't mean she has extra time if she can't begin until the timer allows her to do so.

                                                                              Similarly, why do you think that the extra 30 minutes weren't that much help since Hung had to go first? Thirty extra minute is thirty extra minutes regardless of when it occurs in the competition.

                                                                                1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                  Because if they didn't, the judges who were waiting for the food would be sitting there a very long time. I'm assuming the start times are staggered by at least a half hour if not more, as they're going to want to film the final prep of the food, the judges being served, and the judges commenting on the food they'd been served.

                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                    something is still a little troubling from a queuing perspective. or maybe its just TV.

                                                                                    Hung was given an extra 30 minutes. so if number 2 went 30 minutes after hung and the stagger time was 30 minutes than hung and number 2 would be ready to serve at the same time. now if hung and number 2 went at the same time and hung still received his 30 extra minutes, then #2 serves first and hung 30 minutes later, but then that goes smack dab into #3's service.

                                                                                    so jfood guesses that hung started and that #2 did not start for a full hour after hung grabbed the knife. That would also explain those pained looks on theother four as they watched the duracell bunny bounce around the kitchen.

                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                      True - my mis-type. The person who served after Hung would have had to have been staggered an hour after him.

                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                        no mis-type at all, it was just the other contestent looked way too peeved standing there and they had a >30 minute minute peeved look. it took jfood a while to process the stagger and queu issue. jfood would also guess that 30 feels a little long, and would venture 15-20. at 20 minutes, the last contetent would be waiting for over an hour and a half tostart. Major shpilkies and nerves at that point.

                                                                                        1. re: jfood

                                                                                          LOL! I can only imagine what shpilkies means in Yiddish. That's one I haven't heard! Anything like schvitzing? :-)

                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                            not quite.

                                                                                            shpilkes basically means upset stomach or nervous stomach. although they were probably schvitzing too :)

                                                                                            but the gold medal for schvitzing this seaon definitely goes to howie.

                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                              The gold medal will never be taken from Howie for schvitzing. That's a Hall of Famer medal. :-)

                                                                                              And thanks for hte shpilkes definition.

                                                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                              hmmmm we always use shpilkes in connection with tucchus... and THAT means farts!

                                                                                  2. re: digkv

                                                                                    <he had to go first.> going first is a BIG plus, because you can be certain your food is HOT! There's no waiting for the judges to finish evaluating another chef's dish.

                                                                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                      I doubt they serve lukewarm food. That's why staggering start/end times would be most effective. For example:

                                                                                      Hung: Start 1pm - Serve 3:30pm
                                                                                      Casey: Start 2pm - Serve 4pm
                                                                                      Brian: Start 2:30pm - Serve 4:30pm
                                                                                      Dale: Start 3pm - Serve 5pm
                                                                                      Sara: Start 3:30pm- Serve 5:30pm

                                                                                      Any other approach would be patently unfair.

                                                                                      That said, the biggest advantage to serving first is that the judges are hungry. Food never tastes quite as good when you've already eaten.

                                                                                      1. re: Morton the Mousse

                                                                                        Exactly. I suspect the set-up was similar to how you illustrated. So, clearly someone could have helped Hung in his plating. They just chose not to. Fair, but some of the comments by Dale and Casey a bit hypocritical. They also pick their spots when to help.

                                                                                        1. re: thomasein

                                                                                          they might not stagger them by 30 minutes...15 or 20 minutes might be enough. But when Hung was plating Casey in particular was down to her last half hour so it's not unreasonable that she was busy. If the stagger was 30 min, Sara was the only one not cooking at 3:20...Hung would have likely asked her for help since they always seemed to get along...so I bet the stagger was less than 30 minutes and she was already cooking.

                                                                                          1. re: thomasein

                                                                                            At 3:30, according to that estimation, all of the others would have been cooking or starting to cook. I suppose it depends upon how harried they were, but I don't think anyone should be faulted for not helping another contestant if it meant losing time for themselves. Then again, I've never criticized Hung for not helping when he wasn't asked or was busy with something else.

                                                                                            1. re: thomasein

                                                                                              Someone probably could have helped Hung if he had asked them in advance. Casey looked like she was right in the middle of something when he asked her, and he needed help right then -- even if her service was a while off, there are things that can be ruined if you step away from the stove for a minute. It looked like Hung didn't ask anyone until right as he was plating, and then he had the nerve to bitch about it during judges table.

                                                                                              1. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                Was he bitching about it? I think he was stating it rather matter-of-factly. "I messed up on the pommes dauphines because I was busy plating, and at that time no one was available." I did not interpret his statement as laying the blame on somebody else.

                                                                                                1. re: dty

                                                                                                  He said it in a slightly accussing tone I thought. But that might have been editing because the immediatly cut to the other chef's kind of rolling their eyes or looking like Hung was makeing excuses. It wasn't outwards bitching but it did have a tone in my opinion.

                                                                                                  1. re: Elyssa

                                                                                                    i agree, he did sound somewhat defensive. it was my interpretation that he was, if not directly blaming his fellow chefs, at least trying to somehow minimize his own responsibility, even though he was the one who made the potatoes. i guess it just would have been too humbling for him to admit he didn't prepare them the proper, classical way :)

                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                      Kind of like how Casey didn't prepare her coq au vin the proper, classical way. But that's how her grandmother made it so...it's ok.

                                                                                                  2. re: dty

                                                                                                    "yes officer my buddy is drunk and fell asleep just before he drove through that red light."

                                                                                                    given hung's history, he will throw anyone under the bus to keep his teflon exterior spotless.

                                                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                                                      Hung has never blamed anyone else for his performances. At times he's been a bit of a jerk, leaving the crustacean on the ground, and his arrogance can be off putting but he has never "thrown anyone under the bus".

                                                                                                      1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                        I would agree. He didn't specifically blame anyone. Or take them down. I am quite certain that in a top notch restaurant kitchen that is a finesse dish that goes out the SECOND it is done. And he didn't have that luxury. Frankly I think he should have thought of that as one of the limitations of his preparation - and remembered his previous treatment of people assuming that they might not help him but still. When people asked him, he helped. And they all otherwise helped each other.
                                                                                                        I think they're a bit jealous of his skills and were bitter he didn't tell them how to do the quickfire dish correctly and I do not blame him at all for that. I mean this is a competition and if your skill is that you know these techniques better than anyone else and went to school and practiced hard to learn them I don't think you should feel pressured to give the secrets away.
                                                                                                        By the way. No one has commented on the fact that he didn't win anything either! Sudden lack of corporate prize sponsorship... Poor Hung and Sara...

                                                                                                        1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                          yeah I didnt even notice that he didnt win anything! But getting a win from the most qualified and fair judges they have had all season was more than enough for Hung, I bet.

                                                                                  3. I absolutely don't fault him for not telling them. It's a competition! They had nerve to ask!

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                      I enjoyed how the French chefs critiqued. Frank, but dignified. One of them called either Dale or Sara's dish an "assassin" I think. Perfect.

                                                                                      Tom Colicchio seemed to want to bash as heartlessly as he could, and would have loved to have A. Bourdain there again to help him. It was good to hear other opinions from heavy hitters. Sometimes the best and most devastating criticism is the most simple.

                                                                                    2. Am I missing something, or didn't Hung plate Sara's chicken. I remember him asking her "Chunky chicken, fine?" or something to that effect. If that's the case, could he have plated the underdone chicken and Sara may not have been aware of it? Although, she did say she "checked every piece herself." I don't know...just a thought. Would love to have been *in* the kitchen to see what really happened.

                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: SweetPhyl

                                                                                        Still not Hung's fault. It is the responsibility of the head chef to check everything before, after, and during plating. She needs to do her own quality control in this situation since it's her butt on the line.

                                                                                        Plus, even though Hung is there to win (like he's said a MILLION times) I don't think he would ever send raw chicken out there if he had seen it. That's just a no-no in any chef's book---if eaten it could lead to serious sickeness.

                                                                                        1. re: Elyssa

                                                                                          I was shocked to see Hung even HELP Sara! The boy can cook, no doubt about it. I really want to like him, but his arrogance is annoying. I do agree, however, that this IS a competition and no one should think they have to help the other chefs. But Casey's ability to cook AND her willingness to be a team player has made me a huge fan. Team Casey for me!

                                                                                          Being a resident of San Diego, I really wanted to see Brian do better. I think he's capable and talented in many ways; he's just not THE Top Chef.

                                                                                          1. re: phee

                                                                                            i'm on board with you all the way.

                                                                                            tre was my inital pick...well, we all know how that went down.

                                                                                            hung. yes, he can obviously cook. he's shown great skill. but there's a distinct difference between confidence and arrogance, and personally i find his overblown ego to be a real turnoff. it makes me want to see him fall on his face one of these days & have to eat his words.

                                                                                            casey's been truly impressive for the past several weeks, and i think she really deserves to be in the final two. i'd love to see her win the whole thing.

                                                                                            malarkey's a total cutie [even if he is married], i've heard wonderful things about the food at oceanaire, and i used to live in s.d. so i initially sort of wanted to see him pull it out. but you're right, he's just not THE top chef.

                                                                                            go casey!

                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                              ghg, if Hung doesn't win the whole shebang? He'll definitely blame it on the judges for "not knowing a top chef when they see one" or "I didn't get help from my line cook/cheftestants like they were supposed to help me." It will not be his fault.

                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                i know. apparently in hung world, he can do no wrong. and in case you were wondering, even his monkey can make 99% of the dishes his fellow cheftestants have prepared. speaking of which, he was going on and on so much last night about just how EASY the le cirque dish was, i couldn't believe he didn't play the 'monkey' card. i was waiting for him to say it.

                                                                                        2. re: SweetPhyl

                                                                                          Yes, Hung was helping her plate...he was done. He was helping. Not refusing to help because no one would help him. Everyone else was still cooking and couldn't/wouldn't help him plate, since he was going first. Are you implying that Hung deliberately put out an underdone piece of chicken to try to sink Sara? Please. He was letting her present what she had cooked. I am sure he didn't think her dish was such a threat that he would need to do something that evil. None of these contestants have stooped to the depths of immaturity that we saw last season.

                                                                                          Besides, I am not as horrified by rare chicken as Americans have been trained to be. Assuming that they were using some good chicken there, not factory-farmed Purdue garbage.

                                                                                          1. re: kenito799

                                                                                            Sarah clearly said that she'd sliced the chicken and checked every piece herself. Even if somebody else plated it, she was responsible -- and took responsibility for -- the doneness of the chicken.

                                                                                            1. re: kenito799

                                                                                              <factory-farmed Purdue garbage.> Which BTW, isn't good for anyone to eat, even when it's completely cooked through. (ugh)

                                                                                          2. I really appreciated the fact that these two challanges didn't have the severe money and time restrictions that most of the challanges this season seem to be based on. I actually got to see their real skills. Execution wise, I thing Huang has the most skills - just lacking in imagination imo.

                                                                                            1. Even with his faults, I think Hung is far and away the best chef. He's someone who seems obsessed with cooking, and his love of cooking is apparent. I hope he wins.

                                                                                              I think Casey has had a run of good luck. She's not bad, but I don't think she's really as talented as the past few recent episodes suggest. Wouldn't be surprised to see Brian or Dale edge her out for a spot in the top two.

                                                                                              Brian's on the right track by focusing on flavor. A lot can be forgiven if the food tastes good. He needs to stick to what he knows from here on out even if it does mean more seafood.

                                                                                              That's twice in a row that Dale has made big blunders related to lack of attention. Wonder if the pressure is just getting to him or if he's someone who habitually does that. Dale usually produces decent food, but he needs to pull his head out.

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Chimayo Joe

                                                                                                What about Dale's comment while the judges were at Judges Table, when he said to his fellow cheftestants "Anything I make the first time isn't going to be good. Third or fourth time? It'll be great, and I'll put it on my menu. But the first time? Never." Odd looks from his fellow cheftestants.

                                                                                                Wouldn't it behoove him to make something - anything! - that he's made before? I have to believe that a chicken, onion, and potato combination has been used in a previous dish that Dale has made before.

                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                  Wasn't it Dale who said he has a very weak sense of smell? That must make cooking something for the first time incredibly difficult.

                                                                                                  1. re: Chimayo Joe

                                                                                                    Yes, it was him. Even more reason to make up a reasonable facsimile of something he's made before and perfected vs. creating something brand new.

                                                                                              2. Although I know the Top Chef episodes are taped, I would like to think the producers are reading our comments and have adjusted their competitions accordingly. I loved the quickfire challenge and the elimination round as well. Classic head to head quickfire and I agree it was somewhat gutsy of Dale to ask Hung his technique. I haven't been much of a fan of Hung in the past but I find myself routing for him now. Two reasons-one he is well schooled in classic prep and knows his way around a kitchen not to mention a knife. The second reason is I saw a different side of him when he was helping Sara, I think he will step up and help if asked and it does not interfere with his own play-it is a competition after all. I believe the trip to Aspen will result in a Hung/Casey final at least that is what I am hoping. Another interesting note-I enjoyed the interaction of judges for the quickfire-they seemed more thoughtful and generous in their comments-constructive criticism especially the comment about Sara and how she perhaps could benefit from a bit more experience and training.

                                                                                                1. Just caught up to TC on my DVR.
                                                                                                  Loving the smurf/shrek vomit comments. Hilarious.

                                                                                                  They are totally playing it up to be a Casey/Hung elimination. I gotta say...I love Casey. She's shining through and finally making an impression. Does anyone else think she looks like Jennifer Aniston, or is it just me...?

                                                                                                  Anyway... I felt bad for Sara tonight, but she deserved to go. The sea bass was atrocious, and her chicken - undercooked or not - was missing all the flavors.

                                                                                                  Brian's dish looked totally unappetizing...loved Dale's comment about a "huge green turd on a plate"....but they seemed to love it. Can't always judge by appearance , I guess...but kudos to him for pulling it off.

                                                                                                  Dale is like your favorite gay boyfriend. I can see he's a good cook but I don't think he has what it takes to make it to the final 2.

                                                                                                  Lastly, I hate to say it since I've bashed him in previous posts...but Hung is growing on me. He seems to have gained a *TOUCH* of humility in the last few weeks. Mind you, I said a touch. I know he's still cocky - but he seems to be more of a team player as of late. He still thinks his you-know-what doesn't stink...but he's growing on me. He's a maniac.

                                                                                                  I'm excited for next week, can't wait to see what the finale holds...sad for the season end. I'm liking this season way better than Season 2. They were a bunch of dramatic whiners.

                                                                                                  Also excited for the greatness of Eric Ripert next week.

                                                                                                  17 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: amanda3571

                                                                                                    yep, she does bear a noticeable resemblance to america's favorite 'friend.'

                                                                                                    hung may have offered us a teeny glimpse into his human side lately, but humility? that's a stretch. i'm not sure the guy has a humble cell in his body. his antics and kitchen lunacy certainly make for entertaining viewing, but i still think he's a pompous a** who deserves to be knocked down a peg or two. go casey!

                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                      Rocco's and Colicchio's blogs are up and give a lot of very good insights into the episode. Colicchio still harping on coq au vin but Rocco dismisses that point as silly. I am still amazed that Colicchio hasn't said one word about Brian not really making a chicken dish, he just says how good it tasted. Rocco is very complimentary of Hung and his methods and passion.

                                                                                                      1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                        I'm rooting for Hung. I like Casey, too but I'm really getting tired of her "I-worked-from-the-bottom-up-it's-not-all-about-classically-trained" spiel. So chefs who are classically trained, don't work from the bottom up? Everyone in the food world pays their dues. If you cook good food, you will be recognized regardless of technique.

                                                                                                        I was actually rooting for Dale as the underdog but he's getting on my last nerve, he tries to play up the whole integrity-ethics-good heart thing and then tries to cheat off Hung. Dale's not Top Chef material, he miscounted on the airline challenge and then forgot his sauce when plating. How can you forget the sauce!?

                                                                                                        So far Hung has been favorably reviewed by Boulud, Maccioni, Soltner & Bourdain. I hope he wows Ripert this week. Hung's techniques may not win him the Top Chef title. It's as Colicchio likes to say, you can make it to the playoffs but will you win the World Series? But I tune in every week hoping that they will show more of his knife skills, it's mesmerizing.

                                                                                                        1. re: moymoy

                                                                                                          Also keep in mind that Hung, should he be one of the Final 2, has to work with his former cheftestants, using them as line chefs for the finale. The "doesn't work well with others" issue could come back to bite him in the ass, whereas Casey always been willing to help out others in almost every case, including volunteering without being asked (such as helping CJ get his airplane trays into the rolling thingie before time ran out).

                                                                                                          What goes around comes around could very well happen to Hung.

                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                            great point.

                                                                                                            jfood understands that the short order cook (or b&tch) from HK is coming to help out Hung. Now that would be good TV, Hung telling her to clean up, she's tells him to stuff it and he raises his cleaver. Now that's reality TV.

                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                              I'll leave the karma issue to the Gods, I've never seen Hung in the villainous light that seem to pervade this thread. I agree he doesn't go out of his way to help but nor does he sabotage folks. So if it comes back to bite him in the rear, then I'm sure his "speed & finesse" will make up for the lack of willing help.

                                                                                                              In any case, if he has to choose a sous chef, I hope has a chance to select Sara. She has worked well with Hung and knows how to chop an onion.

                                                                                                              May the best man or woman win.

                                                                                                              1. re: moymoy

                                                                                                                on the other hand, if Hung somehow doesnt make the final two, what a perfect sous chef to have on your side! He could just do all your cooking for you (like Elia did for Ilan).

                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                i just hope casey isn't foolish enough to choose cj. regardless of my personal feelings about his attitude, i just don't think he has the skills. he's already said he has no real formal experience, he's never cooked on a line, or in any real high-pressure situation.

                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                  I agree - I don't think CJ would be a helpful addition. Sara - yes. Howie? Hmmmm....not sure how he'd deal with Hung, but he might be good if Casey could keep him in line. (You *know* they're bringing back Howie!)

                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                    i'm sure casey's #1 pick would be lea, but she was cut too early on to be brought back for the finale. IF she has the choice...i think she's likely to choose dale since he's obviously got some talent and they seem to have bonded.

                                                                                                                    too bad they wouldn't bring back tre, i'd love the chance to watch him again.

                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                      I would love if both Lia and Tre were brought back. That would be some powerful line chefs for either Final 2 candidate.

                                                                                                                      So let's see - the choices are Howie, Sara, CJ, and probably Dale or Brian. Wait - they bring back 6, don't they? Three former cheftestants to help on the line? Tre was eliminated just before Howie, so he would be the other one to be brought back!

                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                        I can't remember how it worked in Season 1, but last year I know that they brought the 6 most recently eliminated contestants (excluding Cliff, who they disqualified) and let the finalists choose their sous chefs. Something tells me that if they do that again this year, Howie isn't going to be one of those chosen. If it were to come down to Casey and Hung, I'd think the sous chefs could well end up being Tre, CJ, Brian and Dale.

                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                          you're right! we might get to see tre again after all, but i won't get my hopes up just in case.

                                                                                                                          oh, and i have to correct myself...i misspelled lia's name in my earlier post, and that's one of my biggest peeves. [makes for some pretty frustrating reading in these boards :)]

                                                                                                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                        nobody should have to deal with Howie as their sous!
                                                                                                                        *this is how HE makes risotto! people like it!
                                                                                                                        spare us...

                                                                                                                        I'd rather see the people who were booted out early - Camillle and Lia. And Tre of course. I'd rather never see CJ again.

                                                                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                      Maybe...maybe not.

                                                                                                                      If nothing else culinary types are in a small community run by relationships. (look at TC and AB hanging out). Connections are important (next job, rec) and ability is respected. Given it's a one time deal, what cheftestant wouldn't want the chance for some notice and perhaps make/solidify a connection and garner a big, big favor?

                                                                                                                      Seems part of the test is to pick someone you can trust...like real life and the real skills of a top chef. Even if you didn't like the chef (a bit unlikely since who would pick you in the first place) few would blow someone else's chance given they would benefit from the situation. People usually don't shoot themselves in the foot.

                                                                                                                      1. re: ML8000

                                                                                                                        But sometimes you don't have a choice as to who you get to pick if you're left with someone you wouldn't want to deal with - as may be the case with Howie. He might end up being the last kid picked for kickball. :-)

                                                                                                                        1. re: ML8000

                                                                                                                          I think in terms of picking people for your team, a huge issue I haven't seen mentioned much is that choosing chefs who have specific skills you don't have is key. Like Dave on season 1 who could make dessert, always an area many of the chefs are less skilled in... or, if I were in the top 2, I would want to pick Sara and have her make a few amazing fresh cheeses to be featured throughout the meal, or perhaps Brian who knows how to make his own sausage, etc.

                                                                                                              3. I was a fan of Sara's and am sorry to see her go. I was hopeful she was going to make a late run. Not contesting the decision but I do think that if it had not been for the 'undercooked' chicken she would still be around and Dale would have gone. They liked her concept but not implementation. Dale's they didn't like the concept or the implementation. He forgot a sauce. But very thing he presented was cooked properly. I also think that it was unfortunate for Sara that it was Gail of all people who got the piece in question. She has always struck me as someone who tends to be a bit on the dramatic side and loud.( I think we all know how she likes her eggs cooked.) Never a good combination. It was interesting to note that it was Jaqcues Torres sitting at the far end who thought that her chicken was under cooked. Gail didn't seem to notice until it was suggested to her. She then brought out her high horse and took a seat.

                                                                                                                One thing I don't get is how Brian got away with using a pheasant sausage, that he did not make, in a chicken dish? The challenge was about simplicity. Is this another case of him not cooking. Never mind how bad the thing looked. There seems to have been much more discussion about the proper terminology regarding Cassey's dish then what, to me at least, seems like Brian skirting the rules. Big Tom is still going on about it Cassey.


                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                  I suspect what saved Brian was that his dish tasted good. If Sara and Dale (I got the impression that Dale's dish was bland) had been successful in their dishes he would be probably be out.

                                                                                                                2. I finally saw it last night and I am voting for a Casey/Hung cookoff. I was cheering from my local boy Brian but he has made it this far and Oceanaire still gets amazing reviews. I am cheering for Casey but I have grown to appreciate Hung as well.

                                                                                                                  1. I think that Hung is talented at creating and preparing dishes, but part of being a great chef is having strong leadership abilities. He has spent the entire season telling us that he doesn't care what people think of him and alienating his fellow contestants. To at least some extent, this same attitude contributed to both Tiffany and Marcel losing their final challenge and to Harold and Ilan winning theirs. Hung could be a great chef someday, but he has a little growing up to do first.

                                                                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: mercyteapot

                                                                                                                      I'm sorry you can't compare Harold and Ilan.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                        No need to apologize. I wasn't comparing Harold and Ilan anyway; I was drawing a parallel between the previous two season finales. The winners had sous chefs with whom they had cultivated respect and loyalty and the runners-up had both managed to alienate nearly all their competitors, including their eventual sous chefs. If he makes it to the finals, Hung is likely to find himself in the same boat.

                                                                                                                        1. re: mercyteapot

                                                                                                                          Personally I think we can almost count on Hung coming in #2. The editing is all done after they know who wins and who comes in 2nd etc., and they try to make it as interesting a battle as possible. I believe this is why the #2 competitor is villainized each season. Clearly Tiffany and Marcel fit into this pattern, and if I'm right, Hung will come in second too.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                              Last season the practice wound up biting them in the a-s. They had created a villain. But the guy in the good guy role was Queen of the Weenies. Great choice for the viewer. As for cooking skills you had the Weenie Queen who could only cook a few recipes stolen from his boss whining that the villain can only do foams. The villain simply won’t put down his canister giving the Weenie Queen more ammunition. A vicious circle.

                                                                                                                              But they seemed to have learned from their mistakes.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                A very succinct and accurate epitaph for Top Chef, Season 2! LOL

                                                                                                                      2. This will be the first season where there is someone in the final four I don't desperately want to loose. Hung is obnoxious, but not nearly as much as Marcel or as Tiffani was. He does help others a little here and there, and has some concept of team work. Not as much as he should, but some. Plus, I think he's a better chef than at least Marcel was. If Marcel didn't have that molecular gastronomy going for him (and his damn foams!), he was merely a very, very good chef. Hung has some serious skills.

                                                                                                                        I am nearly certain the finale will be Hung v. Casey, and I too am on Team Casey.

                                                                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: pgokey

                                                                                                                          well said.

                                                                                                                          while i'm hoping casey wins, i, too, like all 4 finalists. i may be critical of hung, but he's still entertaining to watch and i've never disputed the fact that he has mad skills.

                                                                                                                          season 3 has definitely been the best thus far...and i'm glad we get to see four chefs who deserve to be in the finals duke it out for the title.

                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                            How can you say Brian deserves to be in the final 4? When he works with any protein that isn't seafood it never turns out well. Possibly with the exception of the peasant pie but that was augmented by sausage he didn't make.

                                                                                                                            1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                              i agree he may have more to prove than the other contestants, but i can't help it, i'm a fan of brian's. yes, he's obviously focused on - and most adept at - working with seafood, but he does it well, and i like his personality. he did choose steak for the plane challenge, and while he wasn't in the top for that, he also didn't wind up on the bottom.

                                                                                                                              plus, his restaurant repeatedly gets rave reviews & takes top honors for best seafood...and he was named best chef in san diego in 2007. i have to believe he's talented.

                                                                                                                              look at it this way...eric ripert primarily prepares/serves seafood at le bernardin, and he's not exactly a hack. [hmmm, interesting timing on my comparison considering the identity of the guest judge on the upcoming episode.]

                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                You're comparing Brian Malarkey to Eric Ripert?

                                                                                                                                Oceaniare is a chain. This means Brian probably doesn't create dishes. He just cooks what the Executive Chef for the chain creates.

                                                                                                                                1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                                                                  it wasn't supposed to be a direct comparison [work with me here!], i was simply trying to say that just because a chef specializes in a particular protein doesn't make him or her any less of a chef.

                                                                                                                                  and yes, i know oceanaire is a chain, but malarkey has still received honors & kudos for his skills, and that particular location has won awards under his reign. he's also been invited more than once to cook at the james beard house.

                                                                                                                                  anyway, at the end of the day it's just my opinion, to which i'm most certainly entitled. that's the beauty of the first amendment [and article 19]. you don't have to agree with me.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                    I think the underlying point is well taken, we certainly all are aware that many famous chefs have very particular specialties and we do not respect them less for that. But at the same time, the point of going on a show like this is to try to broaden your horizons and be recognized as uniformly competent, and it is probably the wrong move for any cheftestant to pick one protein and stick with it, even if out in the real world having one thing you're awesome at at is probably worth just as much as being generally good with food.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                                      The problem with Brian is that he is inconsistent at best, even with seafood--the lobster on the plane was terrible, the tartare on the fashion boat forgettable. He did make great seafood sausage (the first time, then he remade it and the CJ remade it twice!!) and I think he won the "pull the critters out of the tank" challenge with simple shellfish in wine. So I see him as having about a 50:50 chance of doing something really well this week--if he does, he might make it to the final two.

                                                                                                                                      But I think Hung-Casey would be the most interesting because they have been the most consistently impressive especially in the last few weeks.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                                        yes, he has been inconsistent. i can't help myself, i just have a big crush on him :) [i know, he's married, but girl can dream.]

                                                                                                                                        but i've actually already said that although it'd be nice to watch my eye candy all the way until the very end, i'm pretty sure it will be a hung-casey final, and i'm rooting for casey all the way.

                                                                                                                        2. I wonder what would have happened if the judges who clearly had Hung's respect and admiration had hated his dish. Would he revert to his tried and true excuse(s) that the judges were:
                                                                                                                          A) Ignorant.
                                                                                                                          B) Possessors of bad taste buds.
                                                                                                                          C) Wrong.
                                                                                                                          D) Confused and clearly not expert enough to comprehend the marvel he had created.
                                                                                                                          F) Monkeys.
                                                                                                                          E) Any combination of the previous answers.

                                                                                                                          One of life's hypothetical questions.


                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                              My thought is he'd go with "D" but also touching lightly upon "A". :-)

                                                                                                                              That would have been interesting to see if they hadn't liked it and he was not a winner but not a loser in the contest what his reaction would have been.