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Top Chef 3 Reunion

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I know that the reunion episode just started, but anyone have any "bets" for Fan Favorite? I'd guess that it would be either Casey, Dale, or Tre.

I also think that overall, the chefs all were pretty professional and genuinely had respect for one another, which is drastically different than last season. I'm going to miss these folks, I hope we continue to see these chefs in the future!

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  1. It's over now; since others might not have seen it yet I won't say who won the fan favorite. But I was struck by how little nastiness these folks had for one another. In the clips, when they criticized one another, it was usually about the food, not about personality. There were a couple of those moments, I remember, early in the show, but by the end folks seemed truly to like and respect one another. Teasing in the reunion show was good-natured, even affectionate.

    Group dynamics are interesting...Put one group of people in the high-pressure situation of Top Chef and they turn into schoolyard bullies; put another group of people in the same situation and things turn out completely different.

    I'm very impressed with all of these folks. As I said in another thread, any one of the three finalists could have won and I'd have turned the TV off happy. Bravo will have to work hard to make season 4 this good.

    1. This was a fun reunion to watch, unlike Season 2. They all definitely seemed to enjoy each other's company and have genuine respect for each other - even Micah didn't seem that irritating.

      Some funny bits throughout - when Andy asked Clay what his favorite challenge was [grin]. I LOVED the "love story" the editors created! LOL And we now know what the latest Top Chef tee-shirt is (although nothing will top Dave's saying "I'm not your bitch, bitch!")

      2 Replies
      1. re: LindaWhit

        Haha, while Andy's question was pretty funny, I thought it was kind of rude too. Maybe it would have been less offensive to a different person.

        1. re: LindaWhit

          Wow! I thought they were joking about the tee shirt being on sale at the website, but it's there... along with Dave's quote from season 1.

        2. Good season! My boy Hung won the title....and my boo Casey won the cash and fan favorite! woot woo

          Tom vs. Hung for the pre-premiere next season. Get it done!

          Glad to see Howie is in a good place mentally and is loved! Seemed like he was the guy always on the edge of the party watching everyone else having fun.

          1. Ditto to all comments thus far. It was fun to watch, and refreshing to see everyone having a good time (at least it seemed that way!).

            My only regret is that no mention was made of Hung's signature line about his monkey! I'd totally buy a t-shirt with "My monkey can do that" emblazoned on it!

            3 Replies
            1. re: tachis

              ditto that. i proposed it a while back in another TC3 thread...but at the time i figured there would be no way to get it to them before they taped the reunion show. if only i had known it was happening AFTER the finale...i really would have sent one in!

              1. re: tachis

                Interesting all the positive comments - I found it hokey, for lack of a better word, and even though I taped it and could fast forward through it, quickly erased it.

                1. re: tachis

                  No joke! What was up w/Hung's "monkey"--oops, that sounded kinda bad! :)

                2. Not one word from Lia on the show-- weird, huh? Odd too to hear people express surprise that Tre departed (perceivedly) early, but no such compliment for Jean George's exec sous chef.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: alias wade

                    Lia always kept a low profile on camera, anyway. Casey expressed appreciation for her.

                    imho the reunion was totally unmemorable.

                    1. re: ChefJune

                      What about Hung jumping out of bed in his boxers?

                      Or the Casey Bikini shot?

                      All good times. Black widow and the Padma-CJ interaction was nice!

                  2. They really did seem to get along well. I didn't realize Casey was a "black widow" lol. And could Padma be more smitten with CJ?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: lawgirl3278

                      The black widow segment was pretty hilarious. Of course they had to show Casey in a bikini. Sometimes I think reality shows have pool scenes to get "candid" photos of the women.

                      I never bought into the Padma and CJ thing, but they did cut to Padma after the comments and she did seem to be blushing. However, with editing, we're not sure if the "blush" was spliced in to give us that impression.

                      Also, for the trailer, I could have sworn the trailer showed Lia ripping into Hung which wasn't seen in the show itself. Again more creative editing?

                      Overall, an entertaining show. A little slow. It was too much of a love-fest.
                      I'd really like to see a season 2 reunion show and hear Ilan's reply to comments that he didn't deserve to be Top Chef.

                    2. I like him but I thought Dale came across surprisingly bitter in the beginning part. The only one to seem nasty to hung and just not that nice. He mellowed a bit. I know they filmed it only a few days later so maybe the sting hadn't worn off - or the offers come in. I'd think by now (since he's obviously going to do GREAT) he'd be pleasant and gracious. I was hoping to see that.
                      I thought the CJ/Padma thing was creepy. And Ted is so in love with Dale. Funny.
                      I thought it was big into CJ, Dale, Howie, and Casey. Tre came off like the class act we've all known he was but there was very little about anyone else.
                      Honestly I thought there wasn't even much about Hung. Although it was good to hear most peoples comments. And I loved his ending advice to "take criticism better than I did".
                      Would agree kind of boring but not bad.

                      1. I missed it, but plan to catch it on one of the 97 times that I'm sure Bravo will replay. No surprises here about Casey being the fan favorite; towards the end, she was mine, too, even if she choked on the finale.

                        1. The reunion was pretty entertaining and the chefs seemed like a genuinely funny and interesting bunch of people. Made me really sad it had to end! The chefs have so much more personality than any of the other reality TV shows out there--I can't watch drivel like the Bachelor, Survivor and Top Model anymore, which I used to enjoy as occasional junk food. I need more chefs!
                          Great outtakes as well.
                          Best moment: Dale on his type: "I like men because they're men." Perhaps the bluntest statement of gay identity in TV history.

                          33 Replies
                          1. re: newhavener07

                            Re: the outtakes - Padma admitting she was going to have to "lean" while taping her next bit after all the alcoholic beverages she tried during the breakfast in the suite challenge. Guess she tried more than just a sip of that Grand Marnier-laced drink of Hung's. :-)

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              very funny - but i think it was in the trying all the bombay sapphire cocktails challenge! a bit more of an excuse. :)

                              1. re: AMFM

                                You're right - it wasn't in the suite - it was in the TC kitchen. Either way, gin that early in the day is going to make anyone lean. :-)

                            2. re: newhavener07

                              BEST Dale line: "Beauty is just a lightswitch away"

                              Casey seemed pretty grumpy so I was glad she won $10K. She also looked irritated when Hung wanted to defend sous-vide...he had been on record saying that Casey only uses sautee pans to heat her food and he brought it up again.

                              I think a judges/TC winners battle would be a great way to start season 4, but it sounds like they are filming already and who knows how they are opening the next season.

                              Interesting how they discussed Tre's controversial elimination but no mention of Sandee--when she was kicked off for "not making BBQ" the other contestants were shocked, and others who stayed definitely had worse food (Howie's dry pork, for example). Sandee definitely felt that the rules of that competition were not made clear to her, since she had cooked everything on the grill like everyone else had.

                              1. re: kenito799

                                i loved that line and the i like men because they're men line. priceless. however - it's interesting what's OK. i mean it would have never been okay to ask such questions of a woman. or a straight man for that matter. but he handled it well.

                                you know who actually surprised me was Gail - i think she added more to that than she may have the entire few seasons before.

                                1. re: AMFM

                                  They asked the same kind of question of Harold in the season 1 reunion -- "what's your type/are you single."

                                  1. re: AMFM

                                    50 years ago it would have been a given that all the women would have been asked that question--assuming they were even allowed on such a program. But it would not have been okay for anyone to have been gay. It's about dogbone time, in my opinion, to have a few gay people on TV who are comfortable with who they are, not stereotypes or the butt of someone else's jokes or portrayed as having mental or emotional problems just because they're gay. (Did anyone besides me hear Sandee make a mildly suggestive comment about having Padma in her bedroom?)

                                  2. re: kenito799

                                    "Casey seemed pretty grumpy so I was glad she won $10K. She also looked irritated when Hung wanted to defend sous-vide...he had been on record saying that Casey only uses sautee pans to heat her food and he brought it up again."

                                    This seems as good an opportunity to clear up a point as any. Thanks for the opening!

                                    I've been rather irritated with the amount of serious misinformation this show has passed along about sous-vide. In one show, Hung (rather self righteously) said it is a "classic" cooking technique that every chef should be familiar with. It is not.

                                    It is a technique developed in Fraance, to ensure less loss of meat product weight and/or volume through evsporation or shrinkage. It is cooking or warming -- usually portions -- of food in a bain marie, often a large electric counter-top bain marie manufactured in France.

                                    When you do this with a steak (for example) that has been quickly seared, then sealed in a cryovac pouch, you will retain its seared weight, whereas traditionally finishing the steak in an oven reduces the finished (presentation) weight of the food. However, unlike traditional oven-finished meats and/or poultry, you cannot let it rest, as you do with steaks, or all of the juices will bleed out and you're left with a pretty tasteless end product.

                                    Sous-vide is to the kitchen what "wet aging" is to the butcher shop. If you've ever had dry aged beef, you won't find anything inviting about wet aged beef.

                                    Sous-vide does seem to be an excellent method for cooking foi gras if you want to preserve the fat content. But there are serious questions of whether cooking in any sort of plastic is safe, including cryovacked bags of food.

                                    End of rant. Thanks for reading. It just really bugs me when misinformation is passed along as gospel. <sigh>

                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                      It might not be "classic" French but it probably taught at every French cooking school. It's also a pretty good technique at high altitude. Once the water is at the right temp, there's less that can go wrong.

                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                        i agree with you that it's unreasonable for hung to suggest that ALL chefs should be familiar with the technique. but are you saying that sous-vide isn't an example of classic french technique? if so, i'll have to disagree with you there...i think it certainly qualifies as such. it's not necessary for something to have been in existence for eons in order to warrant designation as classic...it just has to serve as a true representation of its genre or culture.

                                        and i hate to say it, but some of your other information isn't entirely accurate.

                                        for one thing, the term "sous-vide" is simply french for "under vacuum," and the term was coined initially to refer to the process of sealing food [specifically foie gras] in a plastic bag and immersing it in hot water kept at a constant temperature. and "bain-marie" is the french term for "water bath," and refers to the process, not a particular piece of equipment. in fact, any setup in which a smaller container holding the substance to be heated is partially immersed in a larger container holding liquid/water is technically a bain-marie. it can be done on a stovetop, or in specialized equipment such as the "electric counter-top" version you mentioned - or in one of the newer immersion circulators.

                                        btw, you definitely ARE right about the wet- and dry-aged beef issue. mastro's steakhouse is the only high-end place here in l.a. that still wet-ages their steaks. people seem to love it, but personally i think it gives the meat a really unpleasant, "off," almost sweet flavor.

                                        but hey, to each his own, right?

                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                          I'm still disappointed the Thermal Immersion Circulator didn't make its appearance this year. Maybe they used it? I just like the name! hah.

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            I am absolutely saying that sous-vide is not a classic cooking technique. It was "invented" by French chef (as in lives-in-France) George Pralus in 1974. Now, does 1974 qualify as old enough to be classifed as "classic?" Well, it does if you're talking rock'n'roll, but in my opinion, it doesn't if you're talking Julia Child, or Escoffier, or Brillat-Savarin. And by the way, I have a smallish (hundred or so) colection of old cook books. "Sous-vide" isn't mentioned at all in my 1961 LaRousse Gastronomique. I wouldn't presume to try to find it in Escoffier or Mrs. Beeton!

                                            In this country, sous-vide is also called cryovac cooking. And if you just want to get the concept across of a massive water bath, it's perrfectly acceptable to call it a "bain marie." It just doesn't have to go in an oven, but the control of temperature is still the objective.

                                            The most common types of restaurants to use sous-vide are places such as Bennigan's, with it's massive menu, Olive Garden, and the like. I once asked that the red pepper flakes in my mussels starter be left out at Olive Garden, and was told that was impossible since it all arrived on site in portion size sous-vide packages. Such restaurants are not, in my opinion, Michelin class eateries.

                                            If you want to be technical, I guess someone could make an argument that dishes such as the classic Scotch haggis is "sous-vide." It's cooked in a "sealed membrane" for hours and hours. And maybe Christmas puddings are something of a sous-vide. But the difference is that modern cryovac cooking allows no flavors, vapors, liquids, or solids to enter or escape. That's not always a good thing.

                                            Plus I'm not sure sure I don't prefer having some of the fat rendered out of my foi gras. It gives you "free mileage" for adding that foi gras flavor to other things such as sauces or spreads. For a nice touch of tasty decadence, you can even use it to paint the inner side of the puff pastry as a moisture barrier to keep the bottom crust from getting soggy when you're making a beef Wellington. DEEEElicious! But then, I've never seen a beef Wellington (or anthing Wellington) or a tournedos Rossini on Iron Chef or Top Chef. <sigh> So much is being lost...

                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                              <But then, I've never seen a beef Wellington (or anthing Wellington) or a tournedos Rossini on Iron Chef or Top Chef. <sigh> So much is being lost...> talk about "Classic!"

                                              1. re: ChefJune

                                                :-) Hey, somebody's gotta be the anachronism around here, right?

                                              2. re: Caroline1

                                                "The most common types of restaurants to use sous-vide are places such as Bennigan's, with it's massive menu, Olive Garden, and the like. I once asked that the red pepper flakes in my mussels starter be left out at Olive Garden, and was told that was impossible since it all arrived on site in portion size sous-vide packages. Such restaurants are not, in my opinion, Michelin class eateries."

                                                I'm not sure I follow your logic. Are you saying that because this technique has been adapted for massive chain eateries, that it renders any restaurant using sous-vide on par with the chain eateries? Nice to know I could have saved all that time and money at the French Laundry and gone to the Olive Garden instead.

                                                1. re: daveena

                                                  I wouldn't have guessed that chain restaurants are slow-cooking at low temps in plastic bags. I would certainly guess that their portions are pre-prepared and frozen in plastic bags.

                                                  I don't know much about sous-vide, but I have only heard it associated with various high-end, leaning toward avant-garde, places in NYC (Jewel Bako/Degustation, WD-50) who were running into trouble with the health department which was wary of low cooking temps. This makes me doubt that chains routinely use sous vide in the same way these places and Hung are using it.

                                                  1. re: kenito799

                                                    Yeah, it doesn't sound like Olive Garden cooks the food that way, there was just a mix-up in terminology - the dishes come pre-portioned in vacuum sealed bags, not the cooking method.

                                                    1. re: Bunson

                                                      I would guess they use a professional steam oven. I worked at Sbarro's in high school and that's how we cooked some of the proteins and frozen veggies that were pre-packaged.

                                                  2. re: daveena

                                                    What I am saying about sous-vide is that Hung was way off the mark when he said that any well trained chef (or whatever his exact words were) should be familiar with sous-vide cooking. I don't think that is true.

                                                    On a personal level, I don't like sous-vide cooking. Why? Because cooking is about balance and perfecting flavors. It's about adding a dash more of this or a dash more of that because today the humidity is high and the flavor needs boosting. Or it's cold out and people will appreciate a dash more of smoky Spanish paprika. Or a tad more butter in the sauce or a dash more cognac. Good cooking comes from someone with a sharp sense of taste and smell and the ability to use those talents to bring a dish to perfection.

                                                    In sous-vide, you dump it all in a cryovac bag, seal it, toss it in the hot water, and whatever comes out is what you get. To me, it's "semi-home made" Knorr.

                                                    Just one person's opinion.

                                                    But the important thing in ANY meal out is that the customer should be satisfied and feel his money is well spent. If sous-vide does it for you, by all means, enjoy!

                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                      I've never had a sous-vide dish where every component on the plate was cooked in the sous-vide bag. It's always only one component (usually the protein, although I've had sous-vide matsutake at Alinea). They usually are simply seasoned (although I had a sous-vide short rib at Degustation that had been infused with rosemary that was fantastic). The other components on the plate are almost always cooked through other techniques to provide contrast with the buttery texture of the sous-vide component. The sous-vide chicken dish I had at the French Laundry also had white asparagus, mache, an egg emulsion, and a serrano ham vinaigrette. They certainly were not all dumped into a sous vide bag together.

                                                      To me, sous-vide is just a technique like pan-frying or poaching. It's the part you do to get the main component the texture and temperature you want. Most of the artistry occurs in the choice of sauce and accompaniments. It's not the best technique for every protein - I prefer foie gras pan-seared, because I like the contrast between crust and tender middle in my foie. But used judiciously, it's a fantastic weapon in a cook's arsenal.

                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                        <cooking is about balance and perfecting flavors. It's about adding a dash more of this or a dash more of that because today the humidity is high and the flavor needs boosting.... In sous-vide, you dump it all in a cryovac bag, seal it, toss it in the hot water, and whatever comes out is what you get. To me, it's "semi-home made" Knorr.>

                                                        Does this also rule out cooking en papillote? My point: sous vide (like cooking in parchment or foil) is an excellent way to infuse (if that's the right word) flavors into a protein-- I believe Hung's duck also had butter and onion in the bag (probably also spices, minimally salt).... If you've done a dish this way before, you can expertly anticipate final flavor, and make minor adjustments (if necessary) at the end.

                                                        1. re: alias wade

                                                          Well, I didn't taste Hung's duck for myself, and I'm beginning to develop a great distrust for the taste buds of many of the "experts" on TV. '-)

                                                          But there is a major difference between sous vide and en papillote. Sous vide uses very low (sub boiling) temperatures. Papillote does not. Papillote also provides some air to help blend the flavors and aromas that sous vide does not. But hey, if sous vide rings your chimes, go for it!

                                                    2. re: Caroline1

                                                      regarding the term "classic" it's a question of semantics...a topic near & dear to my heart as a former editor. i could happily argue my point all day, so we can just agree to disagree here.

                                                      but the contention that "The most common types of restaurants to use sous-vide are places such as Bennigan's, with it's massive menu, Olive Garden, and the like." isn't accurate. perhaps these places do use a version of the technique, but you make it sound as though classically trained and/or highly respected chefs would never use it. this implies that you don't consider alain ducasse, paul bocuse, david bouley, thomas keller or sirio maccione [just to name a few] to be world-class chefs. they've all been trained in the technique, and have either used in the past or currently use it at their restaurants.

                                                      btw, that server at olive garden may have told you that the packages were "sous-vide." but my guess is that they were simply vacuum-sealed IQF portions - that weren't necessarily heated in a water bath. they could easily have been prepared on a stovetop or in the oven depending on the nature of the dish.

                                                      i'm not trying to be difficult or argumentative, here, just accurate.

                                                      btw, slightly off-topic, but your comment about preventing soggy beef wellington crust reminded me of a recipe i was rather surprised to see in the most recent issue of bon appetit - "slow-cooker chessecake"..crust and all! i understand the principle behind doing it this way to retain the moisture for a custard-like texture to the cheesecake, yet i can't imagine how the crust doesn't become a soggy mess sitting in all that steam. bizarre.

                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                        Call me strange, but when I want cheesecake, I want cheesecake. If I want pudding with a crust, there are always crushed vanilla wafers... (blech!) But then I don't own a crock pot. '-)

                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                          Giving this moist cheesecake thing a second think-through, if you want a creamier cheesecake and are willing to give up a spring mold, you could do one in a leak-proof container, put plenty of butter in the graham cracker crust, then par-bake the crust before adding the filling and bake it in a bain marie. My bet is you would get a creamier texture with a pretty rich crust. Just don't pack the crust or you'll get graham cracker brittle!. But I like the dry texture of real New York cheesecake. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                            oops, i just realized it was food & wine, not bon appetit.

                                                            still, the entire premise just seems odd to me. the recipe calls for packing the UNBAKED crust in the bottom of a springform pan, pouring the batter on top, and setting the cheesecake on a rack inside the slow cooker with water in the bottom. it's baked in this makeshift steam bath for 2 hours, then sits, covered, for an hour. i'm sure it results in a gloriously silky & creamy custard, but i just think the crust would retain too much moisture. i don't mind moist, but i do mind soggy.

                                                            i'm so skeptical that i want to try it myself just to see...but i refuse to buy a slow cooker just for this recipe.

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              I empathize with your curiosity but I think a kitchen is best equiped sans-crockpot! '-) I would think you could get the same result if you put a round cake rack in the bottom of a stock pot, put the cheese cake on that over simmering water. But like you, I suspect the crust would be soggy... Unless you "water proof" it with lots and lots of butter! Ain't nothin' wrong with that!

                                                      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                        I doubt that Hung meant _all_ chef should know the technique, but definitely strange that those that ended up in Top Chef do not and deride the technique.

                                                        But then I would have expected every one of those Top Chef contestants to have proper knife skills too. ;)

                                                        Personally as a consumer I don't really care what cooking method is used - steamed, boiled, panfried, sous vided, baked, etc. The important thing is that the desired outcome is reached using the technique. If sous vide yields a more tender piece of meat then by all means - as long as one doesn't get food poisoning who cares?

                                                        I am not into those fancy cooking methods nor am I a chef, but to me sous vide is similar to the current fad of butter poached, olive oil poached, Dale's duck fat poached etc. cooking in that it's done in a very low temperature for a long time to get the protein succulent and tender. Just that sous vide the flavor is whatever you use inside the vacuum bag whereas butter, duck fat and olive oil probably imparts a flavoring of their own onto the meat.

                                                        1. re: notmartha

                                                          You brought up a very good point about the knife skills. The fact that a finalist seemed to have nonexistent skills should be more of a big deal that a contestant who has mastered a modern/non-traditional method.

                                                          If you're a traditionalist (as am I) then you know there is no substitute for good knife skills. We know that Hung clearly has those.

                                                          http://meandmyfork.blogspot.com

                                                      3. re: Caroline1

                                                        While vacuum sealing in plastic is not a classic technique in the traditional sense of the word it is in fact the evolution of a classic. Cooking something en vessie ( Vessie means bladder. This comes from either a pig or a sheep) is a long established method poularde de Bresse en vessie is one of the more famous of these dishes and is still served in some of the top restaurants. Haggis, as a previous poster mentioned is an other example. In 1974 a French chef realized that the same results could be archived with the vacuum sealer. It was then that this new, simpler, economical, less-labor intensive method gained favor.

                                                        http://meandmyfork.blogspot.com

                                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                                          Call me mercenary, but when I pay top dollar for a meal that reflects the rent of the location in the amount of bare plate showing around the food, I am not in the least interested in "simple, economical, less-labor intensive." But hey, maybe that's just me. '-)

                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                            But if the results are the same why would you care?

                                                      4. re: kenito799

                                                        Back to kenito's comment -- I think they probably got way more flak from Tre's elimination -- Sandee left when we were still trying to remember who was who, and it's not like most of the viewers were expecting her to be a finalist.

                                                    3. Brian is here in orlando promoting the new oceanaire on I-Drive. I was at an event last night at universal for March of Dimes signature chef gala and we met him. He was so nice. I guess oceanaire said get this boy out of the kitchen and use him to promote our restaurants. everyone was getting pictures with him "myself included" he looks really good too. he even took time to talk to me about his mother and invited me to oceanaire tonight for dinner "he is cooking a special dinner tonight"
                                                      should I go?

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: orlando1foodie

                                                        <should I go?> Is the Pope Catholic?

                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                          seriously, why on earth would you even ask? get your a** over there tonight...and report back with a review!

                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                            Hahaha I love all these reactions. YOU NEED TO GO. I'd kill for that opportunity.

                                                        2. re: orlando1foodie

                                                          Hello! Yes, go!

                                                          I liked his comments too, about how the whole group never got tired of talking about food. That did not seem to be the case as much with other seasons. This was a good one, I hope S4 is as good.

                                                          1. re: kenito799

                                                            I hope S4 gives them plush accommodations again -- I suspect the S3 living conditions (compared to S2, for example) also contributed to the sense of camaraderie!

                                                        3. I'm going to miss Top Chef (until it's back for season 4 in Chicago- woohoo!!) This reunion was fun and I'm glad they gave Casey something to be proud of. The question about CJ and Casey getting together was awkward!! Casey has a boyfriend, leave her alone. Haha. Also, Padma definitely has a little crush on CJ....

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: Chew on That

                                                            Padma's explanation of her fondness for CJ was none too subtle -- "because I rarely find anyone as tall who I can look up to"...here, let me stretch my long neck and emphasize the line down to my low-cut top...

                                                            And yes, Casey was grumpy. She definitely wasn't this fan's favorite last night. CJ handled the question with humor and grace, she wanted to emphasize "no way," which never comes across nicely on shows like this. But in other instances, she got on my nerves, too.

                                                            1. re: momjamin

                                                              He did handle it well, but man do they flirt with eachother. Haha!

                                                            2. re: Chew on That

                                                              If I were CJ I'd be takin' a peek at that Padma. I'm just sayin'.

                                                            3. Definitely needed more Padma-drinking scenes and shots of Casey in her bikini, but good show. Why was Clay so quiet? Sure, he was the first to go, but I know he had something insightful/funny to say.

                                                              The emotional Howie shots were priceless.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: azhotdish

                                                                They edited this show, just like the regular episodes. I'm sure the two Sara's contibuted more than just dancing to the discussion, but they weren't as strong personalities during the competition, so they didn't get featured much on the re-cap.

                                                              2. Anyone know how much time elapsed between the actual cooking part of the finale and the live part in Chicago? I was hoping they'd reveal that info during the reunion...like maybe asking the chefs how stressful it was to wait a day? a week? a month? between cooking and finding out who won. Am I the only one wondering?

                                                                1. I thought it was interesting that they are in the "stew room" for 6+ hours waiting for decisions.

                                                                  1. I found the reunion a bit dull and underwhelming, again Dale annoyed me with his santimonious "I am a true chef" therefore I help my competitors speech. Get over it, dude. I did enjoy the outakes though.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: moymoy

                                                                      The part of his speech I hated was when he said, "anyone of us could have been the top chef". Right, but the points is that you weren't. Try and be a little more gracious.

                                                                      Also, did anyone else notice how much weight Sara (the Jamaican one) has lost?

                                                                      1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                        dale did seem pretty snarky. i don't think he really appreciates how lucky he was to make it to the finals.

                                                                        and while i didn't notice sara's weight loss, was i the only one who thought howie looked heftier? his face now appears embody sara 's assessment of his personality. kinda bulldog-ish.

                                                                      2. re: moymoy

                                                                        I have to say I am bothered by Dale's sore loser attitude; this is so different to Tre's class act. He should thank his lucky stars that he was part of the finale, if not for the untimely/too early exit of Tre and Lia.

                                                                        Tre had some bad dishes at restaurant war, he's out. Lia had the bad dish at the latin soap catering thing, she's out. Dale served an inedible dish at the finale, so he should accept that he's not Top Chef because of that. At the top caliber, there's no excuse for serving a dish that nobody can take more than 1 bite of.

                                                                      3. One of the favorite questions was the one regarding a cooking challenge between Chef Tom and any of the contestants...Tom had that "are you kidding me...I'd crush them" look. One of my favorite parts of the show is when Tom goes around and sees what everyone is making and drops hints about possible problems with the dish on the fly, many of which end up being true problems.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Bunson

                                                                          Well, Tom DOES have a few years of experience leading the kitchen at one of New York's top tables -- and I'm not referring to Craft.........

                                                                          I would guess he could kick any of their a$$es.

                                                                        2. My dream followup show would be a Tre, CJ, Chef Tom, Tony Bourdain and Howie cookoff--in speedos. More cheesecake for the ladies!

                                                                          10 Replies
                                                                          1. re: newhavener07

                                                                            And my dream follow follow-up to your show would be Padma and Casey mud wrestling in the cheesecakes made by Tre, CJ, Tom C and AB. :-)

                                                                            1. re: dave_c

                                                                              One vote for dave c's dream.

                                                                              1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                Mmmmmm, cheesecake wrestling.

                                                                              2. re: dave_c

                                                                                Bravo always seems desperate for new programming - this is a great idea for them. I'm sure they could find a way to turn it into an hour special!

                                                                              3. re: newhavener07

                                                                                And a vote for newhavener's dream. Except NO speedos, please - especially on Howie! LOL

                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                  ...and thank you for that visual...

                                                                                  1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                    LOL! Blame it on newhavener, not me. :-)

                                                                                2. re: newhavener07

                                                                                  maybe it's a matter of taste, but aside from watching swimming & diviing during the summer olympics, i'd be happy to never again witness a man in a speedo. it's just so unattractive. 99% of the male population has no businesss sporting a banana hammock.

                                                                                  and chef tom??? or even worse, howie??? ewww. i'll pass.

                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                    What can I say, I'm trying to diet.

                                                                                    1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                      now THAT makes sense. a great visualization to suppress one's appetite :)

                                                                                3. What I'd like to see is a Top Chef Dream Team: Harold and Tiffany from Season 1, Sam and Cliff from Season 2, and Tre and Hung from Season 3.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                                                    now THAT would be a cookoff worth watching.

                                                                                    if any bravo execs are reading this...get on it!

                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                      Completely agree - that would be a GREAT Top Chef Cookoff Challenge that would pit the best of the best (regardless of who won in each season) against each other.

                                                                                  2. Even though hung won it, I wish dale had won it. Hung came off as being the arrogant bastard he is, and Dale was a little catty about not winning. BUT... I still think he should have won. Casey should be grumpy. If all the questions are about who did she hook up with and pictures of her fake rack I'd be a bit miffed also.She's just begging to be taken seriously in the very male world of being a chef. Tre and Lia whom i think did not get to showcase their true talents were not really featured through out the show. I would have rather seen segments on them and even all the rest as opposed to the love fest for Howie and Chef holy crap whats his name? More real and less stupid questions. let the chefs talk!

                                                                                    1. did anybody else think that casey looked completely different on the reunion show? i couldn't figure out why...seemed to be beyond new haircut or makeup...anyone? am i crazy?

                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: etowernyc

                                                                                        It was the lighting.

                                                                                        1. re: etowernyc

                                                                                          her hair was longer, and styled, she had on a full face of makeup. and as KTinNYC said, the lighting was different...much softer & kinder than the harsh brightness of the TC kitchen.

                                                                                          1. re: etowernyc

                                                                                            She had a lot of makeup on in the reunion - tons of eyeshadow and her brows were filled in. Her hair was down and it seemed to be highlighted. Thought she looked good.