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Top Chef Finale! (spoilers)

Yay Hung!

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    1. re: spinach

      I agree - I thought Dale's dishes looked better (as described, I think I would have picked them as an overall menu over Hung's dishes in a restaurant), and the judges seemed to enjoy those two dishes more.

      Casey definitely fell apart. But I'm glad Tom said he knew she was a good chef, and I laughed when she said that she had told Dale and Hung that she had been kicking their ass in recent weeks. :-)

      ETA - was Dale's scallop "surprise dish" a riff on Casey's mountainside win? He used a scallop; she used trout - but didn't they both have corn, halved grapes, and a citrus acid dressing of some sort?

      1. re: LindaWhit

        I guess that "inedible" dish killed it though.

        Todd English calling Hung's Duck "3 star michelin"

        how could he not win?

        1. re: Xericx

          I'd have to agree. They both had one knockout dish, one really good dish, one good dish, and a clunker. Dale's clunker tasted bad, Hung's was boring. I think they made the correct choice.

          1. re: sheriffblalock

            I thought his "safe" dish was more of a risk...desserts are usually hard on these competitions...they never go over well.

            1. re: sheriffblalock

              i think Hung's wasn't a clunker. it was in fact described as "perfectly executed". although i agree he should have done something more interesting. at least done cinnamon or asian spices in the cake or added citrus to the cream...

              1. re: AMFM

                I agree. He could really have jerked one out of the park if he had just spruced that dish up a little more or put a spin on it. Of course, he was playing it safe, and he didnt want to run the risk of putting out a dud, but just a little more confidence and adventurousness and Hung would have been the clear winner, hands down.

                I think that Hung is the top chef. But how awesome was Dale? He really impressed me in the last quarter of the season. Casey's meltdown was unfortunate because she is really talented and has a great sense of composition and really knows food. I'm sure all three of them will be very successful.

                1. re: batdown

                  I'm just glad she didn't break down in tears during the judging. See Rocco give her the "hey you" look. :)

                  1. re: batdown

                    If I had been in that group of finalists, I would have taken some of the break time to cook at that altitude... see how I responded physically, and what challenges might be to my cooking at that height.

                    I've cooked in Denver and Steamboat, and it IS a lot different than down here on the ground!

                  2. re: AMFM

                    Agreed, Hung's chocolate cake would have been more interesting with an added twist of something, but I respect him for making a dessert, which is something the others were afraid to do at all. The judges appreciated that someone made dessert. And, that stupid last-minute 4th course gimmick was a smack in the face for the chefs. Hung had to immediately choose something simple that Sarah could make, which would not mess up his menu. Given the time constraints, on top of the incredible stress they were already under, I don't blame him.

                    Dale did pretty well, but produced a dish so bad the judges couldn't eat it. Ted Allen sure seemed to push for Dale in the end, in spite of that, which I thought was weird. There was no question in the judges and in my mind of who produced the best meal. Congratulations to Top Chef Hung, who was already a Top Chef before he entered this competition.

                    1. re: Moka

                      Agreed. That he was able to delegate the dessert to Sara so that he could concentrate on his other dishes was a very smart move.

                2. re: Xericx

                  When English said 3 star Michelin I was floored...I need to taste that dish!!

                  1. re: Xericx

                    i had really hoped that casey would pull this off.. but she fell apart. and i have to say, I think that hung really showed some heart in this one. i loved dale, but overall.. i do felt hat hung deserved it

                    i LOVED the twist the celeb. sous chefs. I think that I would have liked to see the celebs take a more active role though...


                  2. re: LindaWhit

                    Yeah, the lobster dish seems to have done him in. Tom was pretty adamant about it.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      I thought for sure Dale had it, he even seemed to give it away during the speechifying--but Hung won me over again with truly humble speech at the end and his goofy excitement. Any of the three would have been a good choice really, but I was bummed that Casey couldn't get it together. Don't play the silly female space cadet, Casey! That may work in Texas but it didn't wash for the judges. Her best dish was Howie's! Ouch. I was sure Dale had it but glad Hung's consistency won out! You rule, Hung!

                      1. re: newhavener07

                        I think the fact that Dale said that the scallop dish everybody loved was a 50-50 collaboration with CJ hurt him. He should have claimed full credit for that dish.

                          1. re: Megiac

                            How could he take full credit for it when he admittedly didn't create the dish?

                            1. re: DanaB

                              Dale might have been generous in saying it was a 50-50collaboration, I think...no matter what CJ contributed, Dale made the decisions about what went into the dish and what was served. If the dish had been bad he would have had to take more than 50% of the blame.

                      2. re: LindaWhit

                        I thought the exact same thing about that scallop dish. It looked so familiar! Except for the protein choice

                      3. re: spinach

                        The lobster killed Dale. If it had been at least okay, he'd have had it.

                        1. re: spinach

                          I dislike Hung, so I was rooting for Dale. But if I had to choose a meal, I would go for Dale's. It was much more interesting to me, and that lobster dish looked fine from here. The chops looked amazing, but I'm still wondering what the hell poaching in duck fat is. It sounds disgusting.

                          Hung's duck dish did seem to be brilliant, but the rest was boring and to me very uninspired. If that's the best he can do, I doubt I would be interested in his restaurant.

                          1. re: Pete Oldtown

                            Poaching in duck or goose fat is cooking and storing something is defined as a "confit" preparation, I believe. (Can someone else confirm?) I also think it's cooked for a very long time.

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              Poaching does not indicate extra long cooking. It's gentle, submerged cooking. Poaching has nothing to do with confit, either.

                              Many chefs poach fish in olive oil. Dales use of the duck fat was a take on that, and imho, would have upped the flavor profile of that lobster exponentially.

                              1. re: ChefJune

                                it was the lamb he cooked that way.

                                1. re: AMFM

                                  Right, the lobster was butter poached.

                                2. re: ChefJune

                                  Sorry - I meant "confit" usually was longer, gentle cooking.

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    yes - confit is slow and low
                                    garlic confit in olive oil...mmmmm
                                    Zuni cookbook has instructions -- I think for a turkey confit

                            2. re: spinach

                              Great season - Hung deserved the win last night. I'm shocked that Casey fell apart in the finale. She was really on fire in the later part of the season and the judges loved her flavors.

                            3. Like I said in the picks, even my monkey thought Hung should win! Great job. Oh yeah, Padma's dress, Prom night in 1980 or what?

                              22 Replies
                              1. re: bookwormchef

                                I hate to admit it, but Padma looks even better live. She's not even human! She could make a pork belly dress look good. She may not have the most stirring delivery, but she's a good host and her fashions make the show more visually interesting. She also knows food and is not afraid to wear hats. Hats off to Padma for a great season.

                                1. re: newhavener07

                                  Really? I think she is totally gross, and I don't like the other female host/judge either. Both are sooo uninteresting and deadpan. I wish they would have a woman chef as a host like Tom whatever his name is instead of just having "attractive" woman who sound like ditzes and don't cook. BTW, we're watching that show to see the food, not the people. And Rocco looks damn good!

                                  1. re: SFGourmande

                                    Before they let Padma go, they should let Tom Coliccio go. He needs to get away from the cameras and focus on CRAFT-LA. The restaurant is receiving one horrible review after another.

                                    1. re: jocey

                                      I would love to see a blind tasting of his food against the cheftestants!

                                      1. re: DarthEater

                                        I'd love to see a blind taste test of any sort on top chef. Contestant versus contestant, contestant versus judge, season versus season. Anything. None of the competitions were ever blind.

                                      2. re: jocey

                                        True- but I ate there the night of the finale and I say try it for yourself! It seems the reviews all compare it to NY Craft, which it may not excel to that level, yet, but they are working on turning it around. Most the bad reviews focus on the service- which I found delightful, informative, and well versed in the food and wine. The food is phenomenal- Braised Quail, tender and flavorful, Hamaichi light and tasty, Sable with sabyonon was beyond words. All the sides were great. My hubbie and I were overall very pleased.

                                      3. re: SFGourmande

                                        i'm not a padma fan...i think she's pretty much just an exotic barbie doll. and her wardrobe choice for the finale was quite unfortunate...like a bad 80's prom flashback. surprising, because she's usually pretty stylishly - if occasionally a bit scantily - clad.

                                        but in her defense, apparently she can cook. she's authored a couple of cookbooks, and iirc, a magazine article i read about her last year [in food & wine, perhaps?] quoted a respected chef [of course i can't remember who!] saying that she does indeed have skills. i recall being surprised by the revelation as i read the piece.

                                        the former female host was katie lee joel, wife of one of new york's favorite crooners, billy. that woman has zero charisma. her minnie mouse monotone and lifeless eyes were excruciating to endure week after week. but again, i was surprised to discover recently that she's apparently a cook as well. although i found this out because i heard she was a guest on the 'butter queen's' show, and apparently paula is a huge fan of katie's cooking...i guess that explains billy's gut :)

                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          Apparently all those celebrity wives are reinventing themselves as chefs these days (both Padma and Katie Lee are only known through their marriages). Jessica Seinfeld just put out a cookbook. I wish I had me a rich boyfriend/sugar daddy to bankroll my cool-inary ambitions...sigh.

                                          1. re: Fuser

                                            Padma and Katie Lee may both be famous because of their marriages, but both were cooks long before they got married. Katie Lee was in food (a caterer?) before she met Billy Joel. Padma started to cook and create cookbooks when she was travelling as a model in her late teens and early 20's.

                                            1. re: Honey Bee

                                              They were in their early 20s and they were considered "cooks?" Neither has any serious claim to being a cook (summer jobs really don't count) -- and both have used their famous husbands to gain entry to a rarified world where most people have to work for years to earn any kind of serious culinary reputation. Like I said, I wish it were me.

                                              1. re: Fuser

                                                Honestly. Padma Lakshmi was a world famous model and had already published a cookbook and won awards...6 years before she married Salman Rushdie. She was in rarified airs all on her own.

                                                I'm growing weary of this celebrity as dart board for things other than actual merits. It seems worse since, in my experience, it tends to only be the women who get shredded in such a way.

                                                1. re: ccbweb

                                                  Agreed. and that's all I'll say about it. :)

                                            2. re: Fuser

                                              Yes, indeed. Padma Lakshmi had her first cookbook published in 1998 and it won "Best First Book" at the 1999 World Cookbook Awards. Then was on the all-too-short-lived Melting Pot on The Food Network back when it was worth watching at times. And at least as regards the "known" part...also that whole modeling thing that started around 1990.

                                              Good thing she married Salman Rushdie in 2004 to make all of that happen.

                                              1. re: ccbweb

                                                THAT'S who she's married to? How did I not know that? Interesting. Either she's brighter than she appears on TV (which I'm certain is easy to have happen) or I'm just totally thrown. Didn't take him for the trophy wife type. Not after all he's been through. Hmmm... food for thought today,

                                                1. re: AMFM

                                                  They are actually in midst of a divorce.

                                      4. re: bookwormchef

                                        Ahh! Stupid Padma. At least she stopped with the melodramatic talk and her drawn out syllables. She came off as downright pretentious in the previous episodes. At least we don't have to see her nipples poking through that blouse everytime the show opens!!!! HOORAY!

                                        It was a good season none the less. There wasn't as much drama as the first two seasons. They really focused on the food this time. Yay Bravo!

                                        1. re: porkbutt03

                                          I'm female and I would rather deal with Padma, who is much more lively than the previous cold fish of a host. I watch Top Chef because I'm passionate about food so I want to see the host get excited as well. Although I think Padma really had a thing for CJ, she looked especially sad to see him go.

                                          1. re: windycity

                                            I am glad someone else noticed that Padima seemed more emotional at CJ's departure than any other chef. I watched that episode again yesterday and she did seem upset to see him go and have to tell him to "pack your knives". I thought the returning contestants did a great job helping the final three-so much more professional than the bias helpers of last season.

                                            1. re: foodseek

                                              cj must've wooed her with his quickfire breakfast. he did claim that he 'knows what women like' when it comes to food. too bad for him they didn't have an all-female judges' table.

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                Hung won the breakfast quickfire that Padma judged. Guess CJ doesn't know as much as he thinks he does.

                                                1. re: Scott M

                                                  hahaha Hung put Grand Marnier in his smoothie!

                                        2. re: bookwormchef

                                          The first words out of my mouth were that my mom wore an astonishingly similar dress as a bridesmaid in my aunt's 1978 wedding! Talk about a wardrobe malfunction...
                                          I think Hung deserved to win, but I have to say his duck sous-vide looked repulsive to me. That color and texture just freaked me out. He did seem humbled by the win and extremely happy.

                                          1. i knew someone would post first! it was a great episode but i felt bad watching casey crash and burn since i genuinely liked all of them this time. but you could tell from this episode and the final that they'd played up some of how hard he was to work with because obviously they all get along reasonably well this time. Sara and Rocco and the other two had no troubles with him. Fun dishes - I have to say that I'd probably personally most like to eat at Dale's restaurant someday - all around. But hung deserved to win. And all three will do great! Can't wait to read the blogs!

                                            31 Replies
                                            1. re: AMFM

                                              I felt really bad for Casey too!!! I wish she had been able to execute one really great dish...but if she had it would have broken the 2-2 tie!

                                              I was rooting for Hung the whole time but all three of them showed that they can make winning dishes. Wow--Michelin 3 star duck--that was amazing. Dale's lamb, too. I don't think judges have ever shown this much effusive praise on the show before--well, definitely not season 2.

                                              I wish we had heard more from the celebrity sous chefs, because all of their comments were really interesting and insightful. I really liked the twist and I think they celebrity chefs did a great job of staying in their roles. More respect for Rocco.

                                              1. re: kenito799

                                                Yeah. Rocco seemed cool where i had previously lamblasted his captain douchebagness in the past.

                                                1. re: Xericx

                                                  the line where he said that hung just gave him jobs to keep him out of the way - too funny!

                                                  1. re: AMFM

                                                    One of my favorite lines ;-) That and MichelleB saying something along the lines of "That was perfect. I'm jealous."

                                                    1. re: momjamin

                                                      My favorite line was someone (I think Rocco or Hung) asked "did you just sweat on (into?) the food?

                                                  2. re: Xericx

                                                    If you haven't read Rocco's blog on bravo please do so. It is well written and insightful.

                                                2. re: AMFM

                                                  Him? Casey was the kick ass woman who came inches within winning.

                                                  1. re: tastyjon

                                                    I'm sorry, I know there are alot of Casey fans but she was not "inches within winning." Not one of her dishes in the finale was a favorite and the one dish that garnered the most favor was actually done by Howie. Casey's a great chef but she didn't show up for the finale.

                                                    1. re: moymoy

                                                      agreed. i was a huge casey fan, and really rooted for her to win. but she crashed and burned on this one. i don't know if it was the altitude, nerves, or what, but we're talking choke with a capital c.

                                                      it was depressing to watch.

                                                      i've always been a very vocal rocco supporter, and i just KNEW the minute i saw hung hit the jackpot with him as sous-chef that he would pull it off...and his good fortune at drawing sara on day 2 was the clincher. i'm not 'qualifying' or diminishing the validity of hung's victory by any means...he won because he deserved it. but for some reason it was the rocco/sara combination that convinced me long before the reveal that he was going to win.

                                                      i did think it was sweet the way michelle bernstein kept trying to come up with ways to defend/support casey during the critique of the meal. you could tell she was really searching for positive things to say about casey & her food...without compromising her own credibility by praising dishes that were clearly sub-par.

                                                      one thing i just don't understand is why they even bothered to have malarkey there. i love brian and it was nice to see him again, but i'm not convinced he contributed anything. i know they edit the hell out of these tableside discussions, but supposedly the purpose of inviting brian was to get his perspective as someone who knows what the contestants go through during these challenges...and he didn't utter a word to that end. comments like 'i can't find a single thing wrong with this dish' [i believe it was in reference to hung's '3-star michelin' duck] aren't exactly gems of insight that attest to the cheftestant experience.

                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                        Casey was definitely not herself. It seemed from the get-go she was off. I think also having a celeb sous chef flustered her, whereas Hung & Dale thrived on it.

                                                        I agree with you, not sure why Brian was included, maybe a guest judge couldn't make it and he was a seatfiller?

                                                        1. re: moymoy

                                                          Brian was already in Aspen. If he wasn't at the table, he should have been a sous-chef as a recently eliminated competitor. Perhaps they intended for him to contribute more insight than was actually shown. And MALARKEY! was probably on vacation nursing his recent defeat.

                                                          1. re: moymoy

                                                            i don't think it was the 'celeb' factor. in all honesty, it almost seemed like casey didn't know who michelle was when she first wallked out. iirc, dale was the one who said 'is that michelle bernstein?' casey didn't act too jazzed or star-struck about it.

                                                            hell, if i had been in her shoes i probably would have been a little bummed that i missed the chance to work with rocco...but how could she NOT recognize michelle bernstein?

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              I also thought Casey missed a beat in recognizing Bernstein. Could it be a new hairstyle on Ms. Bernstein? I think she is one of the most confident judges on Top Chef and doesn't let her ego get in the way of her critiques.

                                                            2. re: moymoy

                                                              I am sure Michelle and Casey got along well, but I have a feeling that Casey would have been more comfortable with a male sous-chef. There is often an unfortunate competition that automatically occurs between women battling it out in a male dominated field. Just a thought--maybe not...in the end Michelle did really want to support Casey and I thought that was great.

                                                            3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              Michelle Bernstein's an interesting woman. I'd love to see her replace one of the other judges or at least be a occasional judge.

                                                              1. re: Moka

                                                                She judged once last season, no?

                                                                1. re: momjamin

                                                                  I think you're right, the dinner at Social in LA? Great commentary and very photogenic.

                                                              2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                Read Tom's blog for more insight on the Brian issue.Basically they were being nice!


                                                                1. re: jme1beachbum

                                                                  yep, he was pretty matter-of-fact about that one!

                                                                  i have just one issue with colicchio's conclusions about casey on the last page:

                                                                  "Casey is a methodical chef, a serious planner who works out every detail of her menu -- flavor, textures and colors -- ahead of time with pencil and paper. If we had given the chefs four hours to plan, Casey just may have come out on top. The circumstances, however, called for more spontaneity, which just isn’t Casey’s strong suit."

                                                                  so how does he explain her 3 quickfire wins?

                                                                  [ironically, aside from hung - who won 4 - the only other chef to win 3 qf's was malarkey.]

                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                    I wondered about that myself. Seems like although she's a planner for big meals, she also overthinks stuff (ie Celeb sous chef wanting to take away items). So in a QF she just goes with the gut, which in most women is usually a good guiding force. Maybe?

                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                      Logistics. She didn't have to plan a 3 course (and the surprise 4th) menu for more than 2 people in the quickfire. The choice of ingredients is a bit more limited in quickfire. When you cook for more people, timing in keeping the food served in the correct temperature and doneness is harder (hence the overcooked pork belly).

                                                                      But I don't buy Tom C's rationale on her needing 4 hours to plan. She had a couple of weeks to think about the menu of her life that can win her 100K. I can't believe that she didn't have a game plan on.

                                                                      From the past they know that the final meal tends not to have constraints. All she has to do is to think of dishes she would do if she has - beef, lamb, chicken, fish, pawn, etc. What sauces and cooking method, side dishes, etc.

                                                                      I think Hung was prepared. I don't think he dreamt up those dishes, especially the complex one with many ingredients, on the fly. The chocolate cake recipe was definitely pre-planned. Surprised that he's the only one who read Sam and other's blog that suggest that the final 2-3 contestants should have a couple of dessert dishes under their belt, just in case.

                                                                      1. re: notmartha

                                                                        actually after watching the reunion show i think casey herself made it pretty clear...she admitted her head just wasn't entirely in the game for the finale. and if that truly was the case, no amount of preparation time and/or advance planning would compensate...the execution's bound to suffer.

                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                          I think her excuse that she has a job outside of Top Chef was pretty lame. I'm sure Dale and Hung both were pretty busy outside of the show as well.

                                                                          1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                            i was merely pointing out that if her head wasn't in the game, that would explain why she choked. i wasn't "excusing" her. in fact, i thought it was a copout...much like her whining at judges' table when she tried to blame her poor performance on unforeseen challenges such as the additional dish. as colicchio was quick to point out, they were all working under the same conditions, the other just handled them more successfully.

                                                                            1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                              Casey actually seems to make a lot of excuses for everything. Bad ones to boot.

                                                                      2. re: jme1beachbum

                                                                        Good blog by Tom. Found it interesting that about halfway through he complimented all of the chefs on Season 3 for being professional enough and respectful of each other to not demean themselves with any "hazing" or late night drinking...an obvious reference to Season 2 cheftestants.

                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                          I think the hazing was referring to Season 2, but the late night drinking was definitely a shot at Season 1. Remember Stephen and Dave drinking the night before the finale?

                                                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                            I agree with LindaWhit. The shot was definitely at season 2. I think the drinking preceded the hazing.

                                                                            1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                              "Hazing" definitely referred to Season 2. Although I'm sure it went on in Season 2 as well, "Late Night Drinking" was a clear reference to Season 1, where Dave and Stephen showed up hungover and were pretty much useless in helping Tiffany as sous chefs in the finale.

                                                                              1. re: DanaB

                                                                                We'll have to agree to disagree. I think Tom really liked season 1 and even hungover Dave made Tiffany's entire dessert course so I wouldn't call him useless.

                                                                                1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                  I think there was a lot of drinking in both seasons 1 and 2, and much less in season 3. I think the show is becoming a bigger deal in the culinary world and they are all taking it more seriously...it will be interesting to see how the seasons progress, how long a run this show is going to have...

                                                              3. Yay!! I was rooting for Hung!!!

                                                                1. Another Yay from me! Hung has really grown on me in the past few weeks. His reaction to winning was priceless.

                                                                  1. Yay from me too! Congrats Hung! Great episode. I would have gladly eaten any of the dishes served. And loved the whole sous chef twist. Can't wait to read the TC blogs in the morining.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: tachis

                                                                      I'm bummed most of the blogs have not posted.

                                                                      I guess everyone's busy with the reunion show, catching up with family and friends and recuperating from hangovers. I wish I could party on someone else's tab. :-)

                                                                    2. Congratulations Hung! The right top chef won tonight. Wow, and I guess "what goes around" doesn't come around. Hung drew the best sous chefs: Rocco & Sara were the top of the lot.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: moymoy

                                                                        Yeah, he lucked out on that one. But I had him pegged from the start - and i also think the editors played up his competitive nature because they needed to spice up the narrative.

                                                                        I am so glad he won, and he really did do it for his parents.

                                                                        1. re: moymoy

                                                                          Rocco was a great match for Hung in that case, but neither Michelle Bernstein nor Todd English is chopped liver when it comes to cooking!

                                                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                                                            Not knocking English or Bernstein but like you said, Rocco was the best fit for Hung...and thank goodness he drew Sara. She actually said she enjoyed working with Hung.

                                                                        2. Thank goodness, now we get to look forward to Project Runway. I just couldnt get into this season of Top Chef. But did love Dale!

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: skisvalley

                                                                            Yeah, food and clothes, my 2 favorite things ever!!!

                                                                          2. That was fun.

                                                                            A nice twist to give them A-list chefs as help.

                                                                            No gimmicks. They got a lot of time and free range of ingredients. It simply came down to execution. All 3 did well - it was never clear who'd win. It was clear at the end that Casey had an off night, but she was still resolute and passionate.

                                                                            I like how they told Dale and Hung to "bank" their top dishes (the lamb and duck). These are young chefs and if they can figure out a few more signature items, they'll be set. Kudos to all. This was the first time in any cooking show where I liked them all.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: tastyjon

                                                                              Re: the no gimmicks and free range of ingredients - I was glad Ted pointed out at JT that he was glad they got to cook as they would normally cook without any restrictions. Hopefully the producers will do more of that next season in ORD.

                                                                              1. re: tastyjon

                                                                                it's just great help/exposure for them now. i mean win or not they have a "friend" in some big name chefs who could really help them out. great move. in addition to a great move from a tv ratings perspective.

                                                                              2. right contestant won. no losers to speak of.
                                                                                really makes a mockery of last year's final.

                                                                                1. funny, the judges didn't seem to notice hung's use of foams on 2 of his four final dishes. to me their use was too reminiscent of wolfman from last season. i will admit the duck looked very tasty, i still preferred dales lamb.

                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: spinach

                                                                                    i think the difference was/is that foam's ok occasionally. it's just that marcel did it ALL the time. i did notice though. and also noticed that he didn't call it a foam!

                                                                                    1. re: spinach

                                                                                      Haha! So true. But didn't Wolverine have foam issues in the finale? At least Hung's foams worked.

                                                                                      I'm dying to try the duck! I hope I can win the Bravo contest to have the TC winner cook for me and 10 friends!

                                                                                      1. re: tachis

                                                                                        I also thought it was funny that Wolverine was in Hung's corner. I was concerned that Hung's coconut foam looked like mold, but I am sure it was delish.

                                                                                        1. re: tachis

                                                                                          I thought Wolverine's issue was more related to his salad-dressing-in-a-ball thing he tried to do. It didn't hold up due to the Hawaiian humidity. Although there may have been a foam problem, too.

                                                                                          I have to say the foams just do not look appetizing to me in any way. Unless it's on coffee.

                                                                                          1. re: rweater

                                                                                            me neither. they look like ocean foam. and not in an appetizing way.

                                                                                        2. re: spinach

                                                                                          Hung called his foams "froths" -- a wise move, I think!

                                                                                        3. I would have been happy with any of them going in, but seeing the judges' responses to the dishes, and the glee Hung exuded during the entire challenge, they made the right choice.

                                                                                          And honestly, having seen all the dessert attempts over 3 seasons, having a "well executed classic chocolate cake" IS a blow-away dessert ;-)

                                                                                          19 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: momjamin

                                                                                            Actually, the more I think about it, I'm pretty disappointed in Casey. She really let down the (female) team. What, she went into the kitchen and was overcome by all the choices? Every season has had this final challenge, so why not be more prepared and stick to a plan? The guys at least seemed professional. Granted, the editing could have skewed things, but heck, even I have some dishes ready if I'm ever in the finale. Sure, they're all from "The Moosewood Cookbook," but at least I could pull them off under time pressure.

                                                                                            1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                              It was like "early season" casey...kind of all over the place.

                                                                                              1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                I don't think it was the overwhelming amount of choices that disjointed Casey. I think Dale hit it on the head when he remarked that Casey gets frazzled when things are not working as she expected. So when the burners/boiling water/altitude/add a dish & Howie came into play it seemed as if she went into "wing it mode."
                                                                                                She only added the salmon roe for presentation & color!! That's so un-Casey like. It messed up her dish.

                                                                                                1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                  definitely totally melted down. you knew when michelle bernstein said she wanted to take ingredients away...
                                                                                                  she just looked so disappointed in herself. dale too at the final.

                                                                                                  i think it'd be hard to think that hung has no passion after this episode!

                                                                                                  1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                    Perhaps that altitude was affecting her more than others. I dunno. But yes, it was clear she wasn't on her game tonight.

                                                                                                    For me, the only downside of Hung winning was seeing Marcel's smirk. In general, the live reveal did nothing for me -- cutting back to Padma saying "And Casey has friends, too!" was pretty pointless.

                                                                                                    1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                      I enjoyed the live reveal. No leaks like last year.

                                                                                                      1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                        The live reveal did nothing for me either, it was like a big infomercial. And I'm a bit peeved that the judges didn't ask the sous chefs' opinions like in prior years. It would've been great to see Rocco, Michelle & Todd English standing in front of judges table.

                                                                                                        1. re: moymoy

                                                                                                          The "celebrity" sous chefs may have gotten their say at the dinner table -- they did make some comments related to their time working with the contestants, and I'm sure we didn't see it all.

                                                                                                          1. re: moymoy

                                                                                                            Yeah I muted the live part when it came on.

                                                                                                          2. re: momjamin

                                                                                                            I think the altitude did play into her problems. I was in Colorado this summer and going from sea level to 8000 feet really made me feel crappy--I can't imagine trying to perform perfectly. It took me a few days to feel normal.

                                                                                                            However, Casey did perfectly well last week and she had some time to get used to the altitude, so maybe just the different physics of cooking was throwing her off.

                                                                                                            I was impressed that Hung was able to bake up there.

                                                                                                            1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                              I used to live in Colorado and it totally throws your cooking, especially at the higher altitudes. Food really doesn't behave the same way up in the mountains. That's why I've always through it odd that Food and Wine would have a food festival in Aspen. I'm not making excuses, but perhaps Casey wasn't prepared or didn't take it into account (the raw elk). And it is impressive that Hung was able to bake; he must have done his homework.

                                                                                                          3. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                            Looking back over the last three seasons Tiffani Faison from season 1 probably should have won. I think she was the most talented. However, they really made her out to be a villian and her team kinda sabotaged her effort. Even through all of that Harold barely pulled it out. So as far as talent goes she was probably robbed. After seeing the past two seasons I think she should have won the first season.

                                                                                                            1. re: Scott M

                                                                                                              I politely disagree with you here. From what I remember, Tiffani lucked out a few times during TC1. In an earlier challenge, she was low person on the totem pole and most likely would have been voted off, but another chef quit thus saving her butt.

                                                                                                              Also, the final three competition with Dave, Tiffani and Harold. I believe it was the easy to eat foods for poker players challenge, if Dave didn't space and missed the third dish, he would have gone to the finale with Harold. Tiffani's dishes were missing the mark completely and she was again the low person on the totem pole.

                                                                                                              1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                I don't recall anyone quitting and saving her. However, you are right with regards to the poker challenge and the other one where Dave forgot a dish. However, those were the exceptions. All chefs have/had missteps and slip-ups throughout the course of the seasons. Even Harold was at the bottom several times. However, in the finale Tiffani was bold in attempting two dishes for each course and Harold played it safe, and add to that the fact that Tiffani's sous chefs were drunk. Also, there were no celebrity chef tasters, it was the panel and Lorraine Bracco. The judging seems to be different today than it was in season one and I think that would have helped Tiffani. Playing it safe worked in season one but I think the judges now look for someone to take risks, have their style shine through and cook the best meal of their lives.

                                                                                                                1. re: Scott M

                                                                                                                  Tiffani sabotaged herself somewhat by overreaching with the double menu, a bit the way Casey seemed to be trying to do too much. But yes, Tiffani's skills were great. Colicchio has said that her artichoke risotto was one of the best dishes ever made on TC (until Dale's lamb and Hung's duck?)

                                                                                                                  1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                    After eating at Perilla I am glad Harold won the 100K.

                                                                                                                2. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                  no one 'quit' during season 1...cynthia sestito chose to leave to care for her dying father. her departure had no effect on how far tiffani made it in the competition.

                                                                                                                3. re: Scott M

                                                                                                                  Tiffani and Harold would have been handily knocked off by Lee Ann, who got unlucky in the Napa dinner challenge.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Scott M

                                                                                                                    I agree with that. I thought that season 1 had the most interesting chefs, and Tiffani's food looked the best of all of them. She got robbed. If you go back and watch the judging they basically admit they gave the edge to Harold because of personality.

                                                                                                                    The challenges where she lost were mainly when she would refuse to dumb down her food. I think Tom liked her best of all and may even regret that she didn't win it. He even mentions one of her dishes on his most recent blog

                                                                                                              2. anyone else shed a tear when they saw hung win it? Just a hard worker, focused, etc.

                                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Xericx

                                                                                                                  I did. His exhuberance was really touching.

                                                                                                                  1. re: tachis

                                                                                                                    I always knew he had heart, even before the return from home episode. It's all in the editor's touch, and he and Casey had a good relationship.

                                                                                                                    I was really afraid that he was going to throw up though - did anyone else notice how green he looked, and how much more green he got when they kept delaying the decision? Or was that just terrible lighting/green background?

                                                                                                                    1. re: windycity

                                                                                                                      Yeah, the lighting was really weird and dim and the shooting looked sort of amateurish. But this was their first try with the format, and I thought the judges (and cheftestants) did a pretty good job on live TV. I am looking forward to how they will tweak things next season!

                                                                                                                      1. re: windycity

                                                                                                                        Bad make-up jobs on Casey and Hung...

                                                                                                                        1. re: windycity

                                                                                                                          I also thought the "technician" critique of Hung on the show was so similar to an Asian stereotype. I wondered if he wasn't Asian if they would have just said he was traditional, classical, in technique etc. like Elia last season.

                                                                                                                          1. re: redbecca

                                                                                                                            I don't think it was a stereotype. The knock on Hung was that he was precise and skilled, but his food lacked soul - i.e. if Hung was grouped among 20 other chefs with the same skill level, and a dish was presented and you had to try to figure out which of those 20 chefs made it, the dish would have no characteristic that would make you say "this is something Hung would do".

                                                                                                                            1. re: Bunson

                                                                                                                              It's hard to judge as the challenges were hooky a lot of times.

                                                                                                                              I thought his 'smurf village' quickfire has a lot of personality, soul, charm and wit, although I wouldn't want to eat it.

                                                                                                                      2. re: Xericx

                                                                                                                        Yes, I thought Dale would win but when I heard that Hung won I was really moved, he fought very hard all season and I loved the exuberance (thanks tachis) he displayed throughout this season and the finale.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Xericx

                                                                                                                          I always did when he won a challenge. He has soul, but us asians are just harder to read and we don't wear our heart on our sleeves. But, I totally get him. Yes he does have a soul with the techniques to back him up.

                                                                                                                        2. Best Top Chef ever. Very happy that Hung won. I would have been very mad if Dale had won. I think that Hung is a way better cook than Hung.

                                                                                                                          I also think there wasn't all that drama like last season so yay for that.

                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: madrusec

                                                                                                                            Even if Hung is kind of arrogant, no one in this group came across nearly as spitefully as the people from last season. It was refreshing to see the group leave the judge's table arm in arm. I'd eat in any of their restaurants.

                                                                                                                            1. re: rweater

                                                                                                                              I thought the exact same thing. They actually like each other and (I hope) respect each other as chefs. Compared to last year, this entire season was a breath of fresh air.

                                                                                                                          2. I was really glad to see Hung win Top Chef this season. I know they've been editing him to be the villain, but he's completely in love with cooking. You can see it when he talks about it, and he's right - this has always been a competition. He has the technical skills and definitely the soul to become Top Chef. Congratulations Hung!

                                                                                                                            1. I am happy that Hung won. I completely agree it made last season's finale look amateurish. My monkey can copy an executive chef's spanish dish or put irrelevant foam just to put foam on something. Both Dale and Casey are great chefs also. I just wonder if there was Howie sweat in Casey's food?

                                                                                                                              1. The judges made the right decision but I was not happy for Hung. His smug attitude rubbed me the wrong way and I sensed that at JT he would say whatever he thought the judge's wanted to hear. A laugh out loud moment for me tonight was when Hung said something about all the support he had from America - the text message poll results indicated that he was contender that was the least popular.

                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Nikki NYC

                                                                                                                                  I think his reference to America was more on the order of gratitude for opportunities provided him and his family as immigrants.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: clepro

                                                                                                                                    yes, I understood it that way as well, clepro
                                                                                                                                    It's a big deal to move into a completely different culture when you're a school age child!

                                                                                                                                    The text poll just means that people who enjoy texting tv polls like Casey.
                                                                                                                                    Basically they mean nothing, and sell $.99 text messages.

                                                                                                                                    It cracked me up when Hung said his hamachi contained "a little bit of love"
                                                                                                                                    THAT was funny.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: pitu

                                                                                                                                      I wonder how many votes those scores were based on--about 62? LOL

                                                                                                                                    2. re: clepro

                                                                                                                                      I definitely agree with you, Clepro. I don't think it would even occur to Hung to be talking about text message voting as representing America.

                                                                                                                                    3. re: Nikki NYC

                                                                                                                                      His supporters knows this is his show, hence there is no need to pay to text a support.

                                                                                                                                    4. This may sound crazy but I think the altitude really affected Casey. At the beginning when they were planning their menus it sounded like she was wheezing...and in the introductory segment she mentioned she had trouble sleeping...a sign of altitude sickness. They were at 11,000 feet when they cooked!

                                                                                                                                      Altitude affects some people more than others...and turns some folks' brains into total mush. Especially if you have even a little alcohol...She just didn't seem to be thinking clearly....and I think it was the altitude.

                                                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                                                        yeah, she had this "hangover, next day after" vibe to her. Not saying she drank, but probably similar physiologically....

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Xericx

                                                                                                                                          Actually, if you have so much as a glass of wine at higher altitudes it will really go right to your head and you will end up with a raging hangover. So maybe ...

                                                                                                                                        2. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                                                          She also was making a lot of excuses at JT, and trying to blame all her missteps on the elements of the challenge -- her demeanor came across as more flustered than I remember seeing her before. Could be this was the last JT and she knew she'd blown the win, or could be the altitude.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                                                            I thought I heard her wheezing too. I was wondering if that was her or just a sound effect in the music. I was hoping she would get an oxygen tank.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: amethiste

                                                                                                                                              I think I read in one bravo blog that they did have oxygen on site for any of them that needed it.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                Since using oxygen in the vicinity of open flames is an exceedingly bad idea, she would have had to take a break and leave the kitchen in order to take advantage of the on-site O2. When working in a time critical environment, it's difficult to rationalize taking a break even if you need to.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: LabRat

                                                                                                                                                  Good point. Especially if your head is already not thinking clearly.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                                                              She seemed terribly scatter-brained, not at all like she had been in recent weeks. I wondered if she was badly affected by the altitude too... she certainly didn't seem 'up to par'!

                                                                                                                                            3. All three showed that they actually were worthy finalist, compared to last season.

                                                                                                                                              I think I echo a common sentiment. I was cheering for Hung, but would have been pleased if Casey had won. I'm really bummed that she got frazzled in the final challenge. Dale impressed me with his skills and how he held it together.

                                                                                                                                              The live reveal was kind of a waste, other than preventing leaks. I was expecting the previous guest chefs in the audience, interviews with them and giving their opinions. Interviewing the families and friends... you know building up the drama, anticipation and showing a personal side of the finalist. There were no pans showing the families or their reactions. It was like watching an episode of People's court with a stoic audience in the background. Bravo needs to see how American Idol "uses" the audience to build excitment and drama... Maybe even a couple episodes of The Price is Right would have helped the producers and directors to a better job.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                I'm glad that they DIDN'T waste time 'increasing the suspense' with the 'live audience'! When the show came on and Padma said 'we're here in the studio live' I groaned and almost switched off on the spot because I thought it would be a waste of time! Fortunately I hung around for a few minutes and discovered that yes, they were actually doing real cooking...

                                                                                                                                              2. I fell asleep right before JT. I woke up to some new show. I knew somebody would post the winner here!

                                                                                                                                                Can't say I'm surprised about Hung. I figured it would either be him or Casey at the outset, but as soon as Casey started flailing, my sympathies went straight to Dale. At one point I was convinced he had it in the bag,

                                                                                                                                                I liked the celebrity sous chef twist.

                                                                                                                                                The live feed? Eh, I'm not sure what Bravo's point was about that other than "Let's try something new!"

                                                                                                                                                18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: xo_kizzy_xo

                                                                                                                                                  I knew Hung was gonna win but I was really rooting for Dale at the end there. His comments cracked me up, like when he said he wanted to punch Colicchio in the face.
                                                                                                                                                  He has always been totally honest and hasn't minced his words.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MysticYoYo

                                                                                                                                                    I liked all three. I think Dale is funny. Casey heartfelt (although I'm certain to be that accomplished she isn't always as "sweet" as people think - not a bad thing just likely). Hung driven. But I do think it's odd how people love Dale for not mincing his words but hate Hung for it. They definitely come across differently but since I'd like to be funny like Dale but might be awkward like Hung if everything I said was on TV it's just hard to judge. By the way - not accusing you MysticYoYo. Just an overall observation.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                      It's not what Hung says that makes me dislike him. It's his rudeness to others, his selfishness, and so on. The one thing he said all season that showed anything other than a self-obsessed narcissist was when he mourned Trey's passing. I have no doubt he'll be a pretty good chef, but I would much rather eat at Dale's or Trey's or Brian's place. Howie too, for that matter.

                                                                                                                                                      It sorta says a lot that Hung and Marcel or whatever his name is are friends. They're both obnoxious.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pete Oldtown

                                                                                                                                                        Do you really know the personalities of the person who cooks your food? I don't believe that Hung is either rude or selfish but if you go by this premise than you'll certainly miss a lot of great meals. Read Jacques Pepin's book about how he became a chef or go and read Marco Pierre White's autobiography.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Pete Oldtown

                                                                                                                                                          I agree with you 100% except for your opinion of Hung's friendship with Marcel. I never felt that Marcel was extremely obnoxious or self-obsessed. On the other hand, Hung would appear to be shocked at JT anytime he was criticized (more so than Marcel ever seemed). If a general comment was made, Hung would reply, "of course". It was as if there was nothing left for him to learn.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Nikki NYC

                                                                                                                                                            I agree: while I didn't particularly like Marcel, I never saw him be rude or mean to anyone, but I did see everyone being rude to him - to the point where he won my sympathy by the end of the season. I though Ilan was obnoxious, and progressively meaner, along with his band of buddies, with each episode.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Claudette

                                                                                                                                                              agreed Claudette. he was arrogant but not rude. and the others got very rude - they just acted more like mainstream popular kids as they did it. marcel was an outsider from the start whose social skills were off. i didn't love him either - or his foams - but i think he got a bad rap.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Claudette

                                                                                                                                                                Keep in mind that we only saw what the editors/producers wanted us to see in the final TC episodes. But if you've seen any of the live stuff with Marcel (i.e., the interviews after the show) you'll realize he was just as much an ass and obnoxious as Ilan was.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Claudette

                                                                                                                                                                  Marcel sat next to Cynthia niggling at her during the firehouse challenge. He provoked Sam into yelling at him during one shopping trip, continually making little comments. It seemed to me like he was actively being obnoxious in ways that didn't translate very well on screen. I don't think everyone was rude to him just because they were rude people -- I think there was something in his personality/demeanor that made people who otherwise would have shrugged him off get totally fed up. Season 1 Harold even told him to chill shortly after he'd met him. As Linda mentions, the live stuff shows him to be pretty obnoxious. His body language in the Season 3 finale turned me off -- sitting slouched and spread-legged with a smirk on his face.

                                                                                                                                                                  I'm not saying anyone was justified being rude to him, but I think he wasn't exactly Mr Sunshine, either.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                    fair. who would want to live 24/7 with ANYONE. (frankly that is just one of the many good reasons not to be on a reality show!) and i certainly wouldn't want to be his best friend. it's just that i think ilan was just as bad. liked sam though.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Pete Oldtown

                                                                                                                                                                I agree. he lied about knocking the bottle of oil over, he tried to lie about the lemon in his fish, he "outed" the others when they couldn't help him plate - even tho he had the extra hour to cook . . . i can't see how the nastiness helps him in his kitchen - he doesn't seem like someone who can work well with others. and reading below, it may not matter if or how the personality of a chef affects the food, but this contest was about being TC, which means how you run a kitchen as much as how well you cook.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                  I think you're stretching so much here that you should be a yoga instructor. He did not try to lie about the lemon juice. he said there was lemon juice in the dish, as there was supposed to be, and then corrected himself. also, you don't have any proof that he knowingly knocked over the oil and then lied about it. plus, he didnt out anyone for not helping him plate - he simply said that he had to plate by himself and thus didnt have the time to do what the judges wanted. this wasnt a shift of responsibility, he just told the truth about what happened. He took responsibility for the fact that he should have planned his plating as if he would have to do it himself.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: batdown

                                                                                                                                                                    well, his co-chef contestants all said these things about him, on air, and they were with him when all these events happened, so i think that they would know. this is how hung was perceived. anyway, i do think he was the right choice for the evening. overall do i think he should have been top chef? no, i think Casey should have won it - and yes, i know she blew it last night.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                      1. No one on the show said that Hung lied about the lemon juice

                                                                                                                                                                      2. No one on the show complained that he 'called them out' by saying he didn't have anyone to help him plate

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mariacarmen

                                                                                                                                                                        I didn't think Hung could work well with anyone either, but the final episode disproves that imo.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: s0memale

                                                                                                                                                                          Hung actually worked very well in the restaurant challenge once Sara started exerting leadership.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                            Some editing made Hung look like an ass, and yes he did not share his technique for cooking the fish. But overall his fellow chefs did not say anything horrible about him. No one complained about having him on their team and Sara seemed more than happy to work with him.

                                                                                                                                                            2. What a fantastic season! Minimal drama, great cooking. Perfection.

                                                                                                                                                              In the end - I think the right chef won. I really wish there was some way to see the judge's final decision making. You know - the moment when they say to each other "Hung is Top Chef because.....". Fortunately we have the Bravo blogs - they usually clear up some of the unanswered questions.

                                                                                                                                                              I also thought it was interesting that one of Casey and Dale's best courses were the last minute ones (It was really the only one Casey seemed to knock out of the park). No chance to overthink those dishes. Which I think was Casey's downfall.

                                                                                                                                                              I'm not a big dessert person - but any time chocolate and raspberry are on the menu - I'm ordering it. So Hung got my vote there.

                                                                                                                                                              My favorite dishes were Hung's hamachi & duck. I thought the whole take on the fish and chips w/ the hamachi was cool - would have been a good idea for all those twists on a classic dish, etc.. And Dale's scallop & lambchop (duckfat!).

                                                                                                                                                              As a previous poster said - I got a big kick out of Michelle Berstein saying (about Hung's duck) "I'm a little bit jealous". Funny.

                                                                                                                                                              I'm going to miss this show - but look forward to Season 4 in sweet home Chicago.

                                                                                                                                                              1. If only Dale hadn't produced that inedible dish, I think his other 3 were enough to have beaten the best 3 of Hung's dishes. I thought picking the scallop for his extra dish was the most logical decision amongst the 3 finalists. I hated the way Casey made excuses for her performance. Hung came under so much fire for that (rightly so, IMHO) during the regular season and then Casey resorts to it during the most important episode of all. And the way Colicchio ruled his eyes at her when she said she didn't taste the pork belly! How many times during the season did he ream people for that? It was as if she forgot all the lessons learned. I was rooting for her going in to last night, but she just didn't deserve to win. I'm not sure that I agree Hung did, either, I really thought Dale had a wee bit of an edge, but it wasn't my decision to make.

                                                                                                                                                                14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: mercyteapot

                                                                                                                                                                  I think one of the reasons Hung edged out Dale is because his scallop dish was created in collaboration with CJ. I noticed that the judges pointed asked that question to Dale.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: moymoy

                                                                                                                                                                    Sara made Hung's chocolate cake, but they didn't ask him about that....

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                        No, it was Hung's own recipe and Sara assisting as sous chef, there was even a shot of Hung squeezing the batter into the molds, whereas CJ (I think, not sure) helped conceptualize Dale's scallop dish.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: moymoy

                                                                                                                                                                        Yes, I noticed that, too. He said it was "100% a 50/50 collaboration" or something else that sounded kind of redundant. As if Casey's goose weren't already cooked, she made an even more telling statement about her best dish, the steak, when she said it was all Howie. I felt like the finale was hers to lose and she did a good job of losing it! Hung was definitely in charge the whole time. It's hard for me to say for sure whether I feel like Dale was just a bit better because I like him more in general. I wish I could've tasted the dishes (maybe I'd skip Dale's lobster, though!)

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: mercyteapot

                                                                                                                                                                          The judges do care about "collaborations" they hammered Tiffany from Season 1 when she took credit for "her" fabulous dessert but in fact it was actually her sous chef's recipe and execution. I admired Casey for giving Howie all the kudos for the sirloin dish.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: moymoy

                                                                                                                                                                            I didn't say that Casey shouldn't have given credit where it was due; my point was that when all the credit for the best dish you've made belongs to the sous chef, it doesn't exactly make the best statement about your meal.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: mercyteapot

                                                                                                                                                                              That was the one moment that I really liked Casey -- she was honest about Howie making that dish. It doesn't say anything good about her abilities, but at least she was giving credit where credit is due.
                                                                                                                                                                              I think she knew by then that she had lost the competition.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                                                                                                                Totally. And it must have been really hard for her to watch the finale and then have to be on live TV after hearing what they said about her food.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                                                                                                                  agreed. that's one of the things i've liked most about her all along. it was sad to see the look of resignation on her face when she had to confess that her only successful dish of the night had been prepared by howie, but the admission showed a true strength of character.

                                                                                                                                                                                  once i knew that casey had completely blown her chances, i was pretty much rooting for dale because hung's attitude & immaturity have always bugged me and it was nice to see the underdog shine...but that odd, uncomfortable '100% 50/50 collaboration' comment he made about the scallop dish pissed me off. unless they tricked us with editing or cj was lying, dale didn't have much of anything to do with that dish...and he should have owned up to that fact at judges' table by at least recognizing that cj had been responsible for the entire plating/preparation.

                                                                                                                                                                                  it was at that moment that i had to swallow my negative feelings about hung's personality and accept the fact that he was truly the most deserving of victory.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: mercyteapot

                                                                                                                                                                              I was disappointing that Casey didn't do better, and I think her main problem really was trying to do too much. There are so many times I have had dishes at restaurants that suffer from being overwrought. A chef can be innovative and exciting with just a few well-chosen ingredients and then make them work together. That said, I thought it was telling that Rocco and Tom both said that Hung's duck had a lot going on but it didn't seem like there were too many ingredients when you weer eating it...it takes a lot of skill to be complex (duh!).

                                                                                                                                                                              If Casey had been more successful and won at least one of the courses, it might have tipped the scales toward either Dale or Hung, depending on which course she won. The 3-way competition had a lot of ways to play out, only one was the near tie between Dale and Hung.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: mercyteapot

                                                                                                                                                                                I think your assessment of Casey is spot on. She's done so well, but this wasn't the moment to, as you say, forget everything she's learned all season -- she simply couldn't win with a finale performance this bad.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. As a side note, did anyone else think it was amusing/sad that Todd English himself couldn't name all of his restaurants? Maybe it was meant as a joke, but to me, he seems to have spread himself a little thin... the life of a celeb-chef, I guess. Overall though I loved the idea of the top three having these sous-chefs!

                                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gyozagirl

                                                                                                                                                                                  Brian Malarky looked like he wanted to die during the final dinner. He was jealous, uncomfortable, freaked out and overwhelmed by being on the other side of the fence. I felt bad for him.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Brigita

                                                                                                                                                                                    yeah...so it was smart to have him eat instead of assist someone in cooking...

                                                                                                                                                                                2. It was all a beautiful scene worthy of tears of joy until that smug wolverine walked onto the stage.

                                                                                                                                                                                  13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: amanda3571

                                                                                                                                                                                    i thought it was telling though - he obviously wanted the spotlight but hung really wanted much more to do with his family. not sure he wants to be affiliated anymore!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                      indeed, he was crying out for America to remember him.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Your right, I think Marcel was expecting to share the win with Hung and get more camera time. He did look kind of lost and out of place at the end. The judges and contestants were hugging and talking and Hung was surrounded by his family and friends.

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: amanda3571

                                                                                                                                                                                        Well... Marcel and Hung are friends. I'm sure Hung invited him to the live reveal. I doubt very highly that Marcel needs or wants any more time in the spotlight.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Also, I thought I saw that Marcel was the first person to give Hung a hug. Afterwards, Hung went down the line and hugged his family.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, I am aware they are friends. These comments are said (partially) in jest.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: amanda3571

                                                                                                                                                                                            I thought Top Chef season 3 ended long ago? I am seriously out of the loop.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: melly

                                                                                                                                                                                              What do you mean by re-runs? The season that just finished as of last night, was never shown before, unless there was a HUGE oversight on most of our parts?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gyozagirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                Sorry...just thought it was over already. I guess they took a break before the finale? I was not an avid viewer..but after reading these posts, I am going to be next season.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: melly

                                                                                                                                                                                                TC3 ended last night. Perhaps you're thinking of TC2? If you're wondering about the Marcel comments - it's because he was present at the finale last night.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                                                              marcel went RUNNING out. it just looked like he wanted to be on tv. at least my take. hung did acknowledge him but just for a second - then went right to his family where he focused. that's all. i know they're friends. it was just marcel's not taking a back seat that i thought was telling.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                I sort of got the impression that someone was working real hard to keep marcel off camera.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: revsharkie

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Well, it DID seem as tho he was trying to horn in on Hung's "Day in the Sun."

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh, I don't know about that. Marcel didn't even get up from his seat to congratulate Hung until Padma called him over.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Yeah Hung!
                                                                                                                                                                                            Dale *almost* won, which was great to see. Casey...well, she lost on her own merits.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Loved the guest sous chefs, hated the flat live bumpers. The live studio stuff is cheap to produce, and they didn't even DO anything with it except keep the security tight on who won. I'd rather see/hear more of what happened in Aspen.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I'd love to see more of cheftestants cooking without the absurd part of the challenges next year, at least by the end of the season. One or two gimmicky things are great, early on.
                                                                                                                                                                                            I'd like them to get dumped into a SEAsian grocery, or a Mexican grocery, or an Italian grocery, as well as a vending machine/gas station challenge.

                                                                                                                                                                                            enjoyed alton brown dissing the show while pimping The Next Iron Chef

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. what the heck is "ocean-scented rice"?
                                                                                                                                                                                              shrimp stock in the rice perhaps?

                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: pitu

                                                                                                                                                                                                Well, it was *supposed* to be "ocean-scented" - that was one thing I think Gail pointed out - where was the ocean scent?

                                                                                                                                                                                                After sleeping on it - while I don't mind that Hung won (nowhere near like last year when I didn't like either Ilan or Marcel and thought neither of them should have been in the Final 2), I do wish Dale had won it. I like his flashes of food brilliance and creativity. Hung just seems to do food I wouldn't be interested in eating (although the duck did look good!). And Casey just wasn't even in the contest this episode. I liked her (and as she said at JT live finale, she was whupping their butts in the past few weeks!), but she fell far short of what she seems capable of.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pitu

                                                                                                                                                                                                  According to the recipe on Bravo, he boiled a sheet of kombo (seaweed) in four cups of water until only 2 cups of liquid remained, then added 1 cup of rice. (plus a little salt I would assume). I guess algae = ocean.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LabRat

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hard to beleive that the rice did not have an "ocean" flavor from that technique.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. It ain't Bourdain, but Gail Simmons's blog is posted on the bravo website. Also Rocco gives a bit of insight into his sous chef period with Hung.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. It was amazing to me how much the personailities of Dale and Hung came out in their "signature" dishes. Dale is a master at creating upscale comfort food (my favorite cusine) while Hung has such a mastery of technique he's able to turn classics into something modern and inventive. The deconstructed ratatoulie and the modern take on duck confit were just amazing - each would obviously be served at completely different restaurants but each has a place at a great establishment. In the end Dale's major problem throughout the competition has been reaching a bit too far and being overly ambitious - Dale's lobster dish clearly had that going for it and cost him the title. But I feel like comparing Dale and Hung would be like comparing Per Se and Babbo - both amazing restaurants but each does something completely different, Hung hit 2 home runs then did just enough not to loose, Dale hit 2 home runs but couldn't hit one more single.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: wingman

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I found it interesting that Marcel was there. I know he's friends with Hung. However, none of the other season 2 contestants were there. Marcel was the only one from season 2 who could match the quality of season 3.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Whats Ilan doing since he quit his job? I doubt he will be heard from again, at least at a restaurant. He's completely forgettable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: RBCal

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ilan has been doing various charity/promo cooking events. I believe I read somewhere that he's in talks to open a tapas style restaurant of his own.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: peachblossom

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Even tho he won Top Chef last year, at 25 imho he has a LOT of learning to do before he's ready to open his own place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: wingman

                                                                                                                                                                                                        What restaurant was Dale a part of before the owner retired? He mentioned in one episode it was one of the top 20 restaurants (in America?, in the world?). Kinda strange that owner would retire and restaurant would just close and Dale would be out of a job if the restaurant was that good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Scott M

                                                                                                                                                                                                          From Ted Allen's blog at bravo last week:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Before this show, [Dale] was cooking at the now dearly departed Trio, a nationally famous, avant-garde restaurant just north of Chicago that helped slingshot the careers of such great young chefs as Shawn McClain and Grant Achatz (both of whose food I’ve been privileged to eat there more than once). And then, owner Henry Adaniya decided to close Trio and retire.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Edited to add link: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi...

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks, it seemed strange that Dale said he hadn't cooked in over a year before Top Chef or something along those lines. I would have thought he would be in high demand coming from a top restaurant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Scott M

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Well, then he got dumped on top of losing his dream job, and reportedly spiraled into depression. Understandably... Thus the talk of him finding his inner chef again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. What about the comment Hung made to Rocco regarding Anthony Bourdain's blog?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Goodness...I'm drawing a total blank on what they actually said...but I remember thinking..."Hmmm, I wonder if we'll hear more about that on Mr. Bourdain's final Bravo blog."

                                                                                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Mushroom

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I *think* it was something along the lines of doing a cookoff challenge between Rocco and AB - with Hung assisting Rocco. And it was a "see who wins then!" Essentially saying that Rocco and Hung would whup AB's butt.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I thought it was a cookoff challenge between Hung and Rocco that AB wanted to see. I thought Rocco said they should open a restaurant together (Hung/Rocco) and he would never know. Maybe I have that wrong, but that was how I understood it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Scott M

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I heard Rocco say that, as well!

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Scott M

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Nope - you're right! Couldn't remember all the details. Work was a bear today so I couldn't concentrate on TC3. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. They should have let Casey go right after the challenge when they knew she was definitely out and instead of dragging out her inevitabe loss. She seemed a bit teary eyed at the end, probably moreso of embarassment. She should have stuck to her guns of less is more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Huang definitely became more personable towards the end. Think he figured out even though he can cook he may be disliked based on his attitude and softened a bit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: steeltowngrl

                                                                                                                                                                                                              You're right -- they should have let Casey go at judges table when it was clear Hung and Dale were head to head. It seemed cruel, after watching the show.
                                                                                                                                                                                                              But then, they weren't showing that part until they did the live thing anyway . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think she knew (actually, based on demeanor when they walked into the studio last night, I think both Dale and Casey and Hung knew in their hearts what the outcome was...)

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. While I know the contenders in TC are put through challenges, both quickfire and elimination, which require them to demonstrate their creativity, depth and breadth of experience, quick-wittedness and artistic skills, I can't help feeling that time is the truest and most accurate challenge for a chef. In ten years it will be interesting to look back at the top finishers in this series to see what they have accomplished, and what mark they have left in the culinary world.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Casey really bombed, which was disappointing, but congrats to Hung.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                One thing I noticed throughout the season is that Hung kept going on and on about being classically-trained, so what would his chef-instructors say about duck sous-vide? It seems to me that that preparation method is not classical at all, and rather something he's picked up from working in fine-dining restaurants that are doing it. Am I wrong here? I have the latest edition of the CIA's "The Professional Chef" (8th Ed.) and I see nothing in there about sous-vide.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Does anyone know what the point was of filming the finale live in Chicago? Cutting to the Chicago studio for 30 seconds before going to commercial seemed utterly pointless and somewhat distracting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  All that said, I really had expected Casey to win. She was coming on so strong -- it was a surprise to see her fall apart at the end. Maybe my personal hatred of Hung's personality and arrogant style of cooking got in the way of accepting that he made an excellent meal, but Dale's dishes all truly spoke to me. I was surprised at the strength of his cooking as at the start of the competition I pegged him for an early loss. While Hung might have been crowned the winner of the competition, I think whatever Dale does will come across even more success.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: JungMann

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I agree. It seemed like something out of Donald Trump's "The Apprentice" and was pretty tacky. The only reason why (besides ratings) may be that that way they can prevent the name of the winner leaking out. This happened last year with Ilan.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. It's interesting to me that how people's bias for/against the personalities of the contestants really color their view tremendously.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    When you pay for a meal at a restaurant, you normally won't care about the chef's personality, likeability, or anything other than that they put out good chow in front of you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The show is called Top Chef, not "Top Personality Chef". Casey and Dale have better on camera personalities, but at the end you have to judge the food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I thought it was clear after Todd English's comment about the 3 star Michellin that it's Hung's to lose. He put out 2 good dishes, 1 great one and one good but boring one. The most they can fault him was that he underseasoned a little. Chocolate was a safe choice, but putting out a dessert course wasn't. He probably could have knocked it out of the park if he had put another meat course out like the others. However, in a 4 course meal in the real world you expect and demand dessert.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Casey really self-destructed, which is a pity, but being a Top Chef is to have grace under pressure, so I guess in that sense she didn't cut it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    When I first heard Dale's description of the curry lobster I was completely repulsed. I don't know how anything strong as a curry (powder) broth will not overwhelm the taste of delicate and sweet lobster. I guess if he use a lighter touch or more the Thai style curry he may have squeaked by. Once again a gnocchi did the contestant in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Anyway, even though it's drawn out to be really close call, I didn't see how Dale can be that close to Hung if all he got was one great dish on his own, 1 great one that he shared with CJ, 1 OK one and 1 totally subpar one. The math doesn't add up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Lastly, I am glad that they finally pick a contestant that does have skills, so at least I can put the travesity of season 2 Ilan Hall's win behind me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: notmartha

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I agree with much of your summary. Also, don't forget that when the three of them were going over menus at the beginning, Dale had originally planned to use prawns, but switched to lobster when both the other two mentioned they were using prawns....I wonder if the prawns would have held up better to the curry broth?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Doubt any seafood will taste good if the broth is overwhelming. Plus he overcooked the lobster, so I just kept having a mental picture of rubberbands in curry powder broth.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          My hubbie pointed out that the fairer way to judge is not to compare course by course, but just rank all the dishes. You can add extra points for top dishes, and deduct points for bottom ones. Since they inserted a surprise 4th dish, comparing courses head on seems kind of dumb. This is especially true when you compare a chocolate cake with lamb and beef?!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. I'm glad Hung won. I think he is the most talented by far. Figured he wouldn't make anything that was less than very good in the final challenge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Dale also performed pretty much as I expected. Mix of very good and very bad dishes. Seems to be much more of a "trial and error" type of chef than Hung is. Still have to wonder if his weak sense of smell causes him to make some bad choices in his spicing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not exactly sure what happened to Casey. Reading the blogs, it sounds like her dishes were almost right. She blew it by adding things like the roe to try to "fancy up" what she was offering. She's done best by going with homey, relatively simple food. Must have felt that approach just wouldn't cut it in the end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Also of note, did everyone notice how awkward the "hug" at the end as the credits were rolling of Hung and Tom Collichio? Maybe Hung didn't really care for Tom or they had that kind of strained sort of relationship...maybe Hung saw him as merely a judge and that's it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Xericx

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Haha, I thought the Hung and Padma hugs were kind of awkward too (and do note that there were 2!). The live taping all around was awkward, and you could tell how much editing they do for the real episodes!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chew on That

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Asians are more reserve in the 'feelings' dept.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DarthEater

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                you've obviously never met my relatives.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. So I'm sure this has been hashed and rehashed already, but here's my two cents:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I felt so bad for Casey! I wanted her to win the whole time, but they picked her apart during that final meal and she knew it was coming that she didn't win! She handled it very classily though, and I'm a huge fan of hers!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hung was hilarious when he found out he win. I'm glad he did because he deserved it for consistency sake, but he acted like a little kid! And Marcel...oh man, seeing the two of them together was classic.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Dale definitely put up a good fight for this challenge and I'm impressed by his growth during the season. He's talented but it took me and maybe him too awhile to realize it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Chew on That

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm just thrilled that this season, the show pulled itself up from that debacle of last year. I'm still determined to never spend one dollar in one of those brat's restaurants from last year. This year was very entertaining and it was a thrill that the competition right up to the last episode was nail-biting and very high quality. Game was on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chew on That

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh! I forgot to mention, did anyone find it funny that Hung pulled out some foams in his final meal? No wonder Marcel and Hung are friends!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Right person won and he did it on coleman stoves.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Amazing what happened when the other two did not have anyone around to help them as they did for most of the season. People were always critical of Hungs independence, but in the end it helped. Casey just looked overwhelmed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I could be off base and wrong, but people keep saying Hungs cake was safe. Yet it came out "perfectly executed". I think that is fairly impressive as the other two blamed the altitude for flaws in their food. Baking in high altitudes is difficult and different so I am suprised that was not mentioned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Good Final, but Hung v CJ would have been better

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ChrisZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I will say that Dale really impressed me in the final as well. Going into judges table I did have them at 2 dishes each. Although I said CJ would have made a good finalist, I think Dale did put out food that was very impressive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Alas, we come to a close of the Top Chef & HK threads for the season. In the end the duracell bunny won and i am glad. although i had my issues with how hung interacted with the other contestants, the show was about cooking and he pulled a great dishes. Some observations:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Favorite moment - Casey telling the other two that she "kicked their asses" over the previous weeks.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Game over moment - Casey choosing pork bellies. Way too sensitive for this competition. Then she double down with the knife challenge giving her Howie. But then Howie NAILED IT with the steak.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Losing comment moment - Dale uttering "it was absolutely a 50-50 collaboration" with CJ. DUH,! this is you kitchen, everything that comes out of it is yours.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Ping Pong Moment - Hung's effervescent description of his dishes and the return shot by the judges
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Yes I am a jerk moment - Every time Chef Collucci opened his mouth.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - We don't care moment - Dale uttering about English "and he's cute". Right up there with his unneeded comment two weeks ago, "I'm just a big gay chef." We're watching the show for entertainment and truly do not care about any of your preferences outside the kitchen
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - I want to take a leek moment - Casey stating "there were no leeks." Tom response, "I saw them, they were about this big." At least we know where tom slept since he did not have time to shave.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Who was that guy moment - The return of Howie. I guess the trick is oxygen deprivation makes him a nice guy.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - What did she mean moment - Food & Wine's offer to Dale. Was that a job offer?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - Stupid ending moment - the producer thought is would be so cool to have it live. It was a retarded version of American Idol meets the Apprentice.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  - You gotta be kidding moment - Tom looking at Casey after he just blasted her and saying "i know where i can get a good meal in Dallas. Casey should have responded. "Sure I'll give the names of some good restos." Kick me when i'm down and then act like my friend?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Can't wait for the three-party cook-off amongst the seasons.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    < Every time Chef Collucci opened his mouth. > Who is "Chef Collucci?" Tom's name is Colicchio.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      okeedokee, i will call him chef tom instead of butchering his last name.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Kick me when i'm down and then act like my friend?"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That's taking it a bit far. Casey lost the grand prize by her own doing, Colicchio wasn't kicking while she was down, it was a genuinely NICE thing to say.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: moymoy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Someone has to play the heavy on that show in the judges for drama. Tom Colicchio does seem a bit mean, but I think he plays up whatever jerkiness he honestly possesses. It made the "triumph' comments he made to Dale and Hung seem better. Ooo we have impressed Big Bad Bald Tom!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Brigita

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Not everyone cares for Tom Colicchio, I get it but I honestly feel that there is no guise behind his remarks. Yes, he rolls his eyes and smirks every so often but he does that to EVERY cheftestant and his style upon dismissing a chef at JT is to highlight the exiting chef's strong suit. Him saying that he knows where to get a good meal in Dallas is acknowledging the great chef that Casey is, there was no malice in that. In fact at times, I find Tom not mean enough...there have been chefs from seasons past that were disrespecting him at JT, particularly Carlos & Betty from Season 2.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: moymoy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          no disagreement that casey pulled a nose plant in the finals but chef tom spent the previous 15 minutes all over her and then tells her can't wait to eat her food. seemed that the timing could have been better. like telling the driver of the car you just hit that you really like his bmw.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I thought that was Chef Tom being tremendously kind to Casey and telling her he thought she was good, after she messed up thoroughly. I think it would mean a lot to her to have him say that, under any circumstances. Plus she's popular on the show, so someone had to say something nice to her!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As for jfood being bothered by the "big gay chef" chatter
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            + Dale gave us most of the best comedic lines
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            + consider it equal time for the playing up of Casey as the heterosexual girl next door, or the CJ hunkiness (I sooooo don't get that, but whatever - it's in the show)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pitu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I agree, that comment about "preferences" didn't sit well with me either...I

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: deibu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                no un-PC intended. Is there a better word i can use that would sit better.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  jfood, it's not the choice of words - it is the idea you expressed:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "We're watching the show for entertainment and truly do not care about any of your preferences outside the kitchen"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  but it's only a problem with the gayness, not other expressions of sexual preference that infuse the show SO . . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think that everything other than the cooking is of less interest, but that's not what you are objecting to when you are bothered by Dale's "big gay chef" patter.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  His comments address views like the one you expressed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pitu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    ok, i understand, but i really do not care about their outside lives.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I also expressed complete disgust on these boards when Rock (winner of this year's HK) spoke of the congugal visit with his wife, so i have been pretty consistent and (a) gayness and (b) congugal visits with wives, have no business on either of these shows.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If i offended anyone with this comment, my apologies, and that applies to this thread and the thread when i commented on Rock's unneeded words.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Tom C's blog is now posted to Bravo's website.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Chef Colicchio's synopsis of Casey, Dale and Hung is very heart-felt.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Not bad for a "jerk".... lol

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i thought it was better than i expected. And you should read Rocco's part 1. It is excellent.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Hung irritates me a little. But, he has consistantly proven that he deserves to be the Top Chef. He has excellent technique and execution. I was so happy for Dale though! No matter who won, Dale stepped up to the plate and actually gave Hung a run for his money. Too bad for Casey though, I thought for a while that she would win it all. I guess that just proves the best man won.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: linz_e_moore

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            dale has already lined up backers and will open his restaurant in chicago. windy city is pretty excited about this. but first, dale has to fly out today to the caymens to cook with eric r. at the ritz. his future is bright.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            hung hasn't tipped his hand yet. we'll see. the man can cook and that's a simple fact.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            casey has global plane tickets (biz/first class) and her new macbook pro. road trip may be a good idea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: steve h.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yeah, it's good to hear Dale ended up doing well. I think that even though Dale and Casey didn't end up with $100k I think it put them on the map. I thinked Chef Ripert seemed very interested in Dales talents and I am sure a lot of Casey's fans will visit her restaurant in Dallas.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. By the time we got to the end I was happy with all three...whichever one won was fine with me. It seemed like they were playing Hung to be the next villain, a la Marcel, but it just didn't fit. There really wasn't anyone this season who was uniformly unlikeable, even with editing. Maybe if Howie had stayed longer...After season 2, I was quite impressed (after the few forgettable ones were weeded out, at least) with the quality and maturity level of all the contestants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. In the following interview Top Chef Farewell: Final Thoughts from Hung, when he was asked why Marcel seemed so excited to see him win, Hung commented that Marcel felt it was "me winning for him -- it was revenge time."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hung says he'll be back at Guy Savoy, Caesar's for a while, but has plans to move on. The $100,000 will go towards enhancing his culinary education. He'll travel and work for a while in Chicago, Spain and Asia. And, he says that part of the money will be donated to Buddhist temples -- what a guy. Best of luck to you, Hung!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. FYI Bourdain's blog is up. I found it disappointing. But it's there.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But you have to admit, his compliment for Dale was classic AB. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "He's got balls the size of casaba melons."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think he might want to see a doctor about that...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. BTW, Yesterday's Las Vegas Review Journal featured an article about Hung on the front page of the "Taste" section. Nice picture. In the interview he says he plans to stay at Guy Savoy for awhile. His final challenge meal is apparently being featured there now.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: janetofreno

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks for the lead... I didn't find the article yet, but also from the Las Vegas Review Journal an quick blurb from Oct 5th... "On hand in Chicago to offer support to Huynh was his Las Vegas pal, Marcel Vigneron, the Season 2 runner-up. They have talked about teaming up in the kitchen of their own Las Vegas restaurant."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hung and Marcel opening their own place?!?!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Here's the link to the article mentioned by janetofreno: http://www.lvrj.com/living/10597017.html