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Dec 6, 2007 05:49 AM

Top Chef Holiday Special - Chicago

I guess I'll kick this off. Did my DVR somehow get a magic preview version in error? Everywhere I look, it says it's airing tonight (December 6) but it was on last night from 11:30 p.m. - 12:30 a.m. Central Time (I'm on Comcast Digital Cable in MSP).

Then I come on here to read people's thoughts on the glimpse into Chicago/Top Chef 4/etc. and there isn't even a word (granted, I'm still waking up and maybe glossed over the search function).

It was nice to soothe my Top Chef withdrawl and I honestly wasn't even aware this show was going on.

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  1. I was surprised as well to see it on Bravo last night at 12:30. I felt bad for the one's elminated not even being able to present their food. I won't say anymore to spoil the show, but I wonder why they put it on last night and advertise for tonight.

    1. I caught it late last night too. It was great to see old contestants and really nice to see them get to cook their hearts out. I think the winner has had a big win comming for a long time! Way to go ______!!

      1. I really liked this special TC but there were a couple of cheftestants that I thought had no business being there, Sandy and Betty. I would loved to have seen Cliff replaced either of them.

        12 Replies
        1. re: KTinNYC

          Agree that Sandy, and perhaps Josie, shouldn't have been there. I also would have liked to have seen Cliff.

          Overall, I liked this show. Everyone seemed relatively cool with each other - glad to see that Marcel and Betty seemed to have buried the hatchet. When I heard both of them were going to be on together, I was thinking "there's the drama", but they were completely civil and friendly with each other. Marcel seems to have toned down a LOT (for which I was thankful!). He's still very confident in his abilities, but not so damn cocky and arrogant in thinking he is best and everyone else sucks.

          Had to laugh at the "surprise ending" - Yes, you should have seen it coming, Final 2! LOL I think the person who won deserved it - although I would have been happy for either of them winning!

          1. re: LindaWhit

            DH, who hasn't watched TC as religiously as I have, made the same comment that Marcel wasn't nearly as annoying. I was already thinking, "Are we just not seeing enough of him, or is he really doing better?" But yeah, we didn't see him making digs at anyone else.

            I do have to wonder how many people they asked out of all the chefs before they got this lineup. Let's assume it's given that they couldn't pick the winners. I got the impression from Dave's appearance on the season 1 vs 2 that one return was enough for him -- judges' table and everything else were just too stressful and not that fun. LeeAnne is out because of her job at Bravo. Perhaps they thought it wasn't a good idea to bring Cliff back given the circumstances of his departure. But how about Brian, Casey, Mia, Elia, SaraM, Howie, or even Miguel?

            1. re: momjamin

              Agree on Dave not wanting to come back after the other "contest" between TC1 and TC2. But I think he also has just opened up a place in NYC, so he could very well have been busy with that.

              After watching the show, I had also wondered why not Miguel. The others? I'm kinda glad they didn't have Howie there, or Brian. Perhaps for Casey and/or Brian, the holiday special was happening too soon after their season. Plus they're both working at their restaurants; probably couldn't take the time away again?

              1. re: momjamin

                I imagine that a lot of people were unable to make it because they have jobs in restaurants. It seemed that a handful of the folks there said they could really use the money because they were in the process of opening their own restaurant. Meaning there is a chance they have thier own schedule and don't have the man a stove or run a kitchen on a nightly basis in someone else's business.

                Also Dave opened a restaurant in NYC? Any info on this? (Last I heard he has been spotted waiting tables in some restaurant in Manhatten...which seemed a little sad but I feel like we didn't have the whole story---like perhaps he was doing it for research purposes etc).

                1. re: Elyssa

                  Dave's restaurant is called Crave. Pics from opening night here:

                  The filet mignon dish on the homepage of Crave looks AWESOME:

                  1. re: kenito799

                    While I'm not a big Dave fan, I looked at the menu on Crave's website. (Thanks for the link.) Gosh, no wonder they include the prices. Crave must be the most reasonably-priced restaurant in Manhattan!

                    1. re: nosh

                      The prices were indeed very reasonable, probably because of it's out-of-the-way location. It's on 42nd Street, right by the West Side Highway.

                    2. re: kenito799

                      I think that menu looks really good. Certainly a place I would want in my neighborhood if I lived in NYC. Very Dave---lots of flavors and richness.

                      1. re: Elyssa

                        i'm just happy to see that he finally got his's well-deserved...he worked his ass off for it.

                        the menu is smart in the sense that a majority of the ingredients appear in numerous dishes, which should make things easier in the kitchen. i don't know that i'm so crazy about some of the flavor combos, though...i.e. the jumbo sea scallops. serving them with smoked tomato butter sounds perfect to me, but the idea of adding vanilla cream to the mix sort of makes me want to gag.

                2. re: LindaWhit

                  And Marcel seems to have chilled out on the foam and other chemical stuff--which was nice to see since all that stuff always kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

                  1. re: Elyssa

                    Had to laugh at Tom asking him if he was going to foam anything. :-)

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      With the beard and a couple years of maturity, Marcel doesn't even look like wolverine-boy anymore. And his "aw, shucks" kind of reaction to his dismissal would have been unthinkable in Season 2.

              2. Bravo indeed gave a late-night sneak preview of the 1.5(!) special last night but, promo was heavy for tonight's prime time encore. I won't act as a spoiler but, it was a very entertaining and a nice gift for those among us who have TOP CHEF withdrawal pains and can't wait for next season's TOP CHEF Chicago.

                The end result ... ah, let's talk about it after more Chowhounders have had a chance to see it.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Kris P Pata

                  OK, so we've 4 hours until the show airs here. On a related note we were in Chicago last month and ate at sola & lucky to have Dale Levitski as our server. It was great catching up with Dale and hearing some of his stories especially all the fun he had with Eric Ripert in the Cayman Islands. He is still working through the permit process and hopes to open early next year. BTW, the food at sola was really really good!

                  1. re: manomin

                    Is Dale waiting tables at Sola or cooking there?

                    1. re: Elyssa

                      Dale is working the front of the house at Sola. Interview here:

                      And he is dating Jack from Project Runway S4. I saw Dale at a bar in Manhattan recently...Jack was not with him.

                      1. re: kenito799

                        Is he really???? Oh I sooooooo love that! Bravo bringing folks together one reality show at a time.

                2. The show just ended here, but seeing as there's a time lag, I'll reserve my comments until other people have seen it.

                  *points out that she's fuming a bit here*

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: xo_kizzy_xo

                    i'm with you kizzy.

                    particularly since the judes said they didn't "understand" tiffani's first course AND would have liked to see it cooked more, yet they loved tre's scallops and his lamb.


                    NOT happy with the outcome. i also thought padma was unreasonably excited about tre's prize. yes, i know they were signed by some incredibly talented & respected chefs, but her segue into the announcement made it seem like she expected him to jump up & down with glee over it. cookbooks as consolation for losing out on 20 grand? whoop-dee-freakin-doo.

                    but overall, it was enjoyable to watch, although i, too, would have liked to see cliff participate.

                    btw, is it just me, or is norman van aken always an ass when he appears on TC?

                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                      Actually, I was thinking that the female judge (don't know her name, but she looks like Switch from the movie, "The Matrix") was being her rude self. Also, wasn't she the one that didn't get Mac and Cheese as holiday food?

                      1. re: dave_c

                        <Also, wasn't she the one that didn't get Mac and Cheese as holiday food?> That was Elizabeth Falkner from Citizen Cake.

                        1. re: ChefJune

                          Brings a tear to my eye that she doesn't get Mac and Cheese. lol.
                          I sure hope she doesn't think she's above such low-brow, country folk food.

                          Reminds me of Cheftestant Sara Nguyen making milkshakes, stating that they should be watered down (with ice?) so that they aren't so thick and rich. What! That's why we love milkshakes!

                          Some people just don't get it I guess... lol.

                          1. re: dave_c

                            Haha, I got into an argument over this on imdb. I actually sometimes put ice in my milkshakes and I guess I never thought it was weird until I saw that episode of Top Chef. Though it does suck for her for being eliminated for putting ice in her milk shake.

                            1. re: digkv

                              She was eliminated more for her whiny attitude rather than the milkshakes. But she is moving to Chicago to work at Dale's new restaurant so it's all in the past!

                        2. re: dave_c

                          Yes - She was like "We wouldn't eat this in my family!" Gimme a break. Pass the crescent rolls and margarine, honey.

                          ee gad.