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Apr 30, 2008 07:58 PM

Top Chef-Kids

Nastiness!!! 15 minute Quickfire. Interesting. And also plugging Uncle Ben's at the same time. How convenient! Oh, and I now hate Antonia, what an idiot, you messed up, and you got saved, thank you lucky stars and move on!!

Nikki's fried rice looked good. Well, you know, lowered expectations and all that.

Mark, Stephanie and Lisa is the bottom on Quickfire/

Dale, Richard and Antonia is top three, and Antonia wins. Yeah, I hate her even more.

More nastiness. dinner for four for just ten dollars. Awesome. They might want to snag some of the Uncle Ben's given how expensive rice is these days.

Stephanie is overthinking it. Hey, I thought they weren't supposed to have cell phones?

Awwww, how cute. Little helpers.

Ok, they've been giving Antonia the up close and personal treatment, portent of things to come?

Beets for Richard. Big gamble with kids.

Kind got an ixnay for Steph.

Tom is sticking around the kitchen for the whole time, he is getting into Mark's head.

The kids like the beets!!! Hey Mikey!!

Richard wans kids? I thought he was gay?

This one is a little underwhelming, not really exciting but the idea is very cool, getting kids to cook. Now they are blasting Mark's curry.
Gail goes after Stephanie.

They liked Nikki and Antonia so far. Lisa and Steph gets ripped.

Nikki gets her ass saved, Antonia and Andrew rounds out the top three. Freaking Antonia wins. OK not happy here. Her dish looked boring to me. Andrews looked better. I like one pot meals too, so I thought Nikki finally stepped up.

Stephanie, Mark, and Lisa are the bottom. Mark gets defensive. Lisa gets super defensive. Stephanie admits defeat and throws herself on the mercy of the court. Peanut butter couscous? Yech.

Mark is called sloppy. I am thinking Mark is gone. Oops, now they are really ripping Stephanie, please let it not be so....

Um, so who else is sick of the Step It Up and Dance promos? Not the show, just the promos.

Mark goes home. Yep, good choice. Fun mate, but the sloppiness killed him.

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  1. I'm thinking the show's done, and Bravo throws in Andrew's "I've got a culinary b-ner" ??? what was that???

    I know this was filmed a while back, but I thought it was pretty interesting to watch a $10 (at freakin' WHOLE FOODS) challenge, given all the news nowadays about food costs etc.

    14 Replies
    1. re: gyozagirl

      I heard that as well and said "WHAT was that???" Completely unnecessary.

      1. re: LindaWhit

        OK. Yeah. Unnecessary, but funny!
        Maybe because I'd noticed how little cussing and swearing there was during the whole show (due to the kiddies in the kitchen, no doubt). I was lulled by the wholesome G-ratedness. Andrew's final comment was so unexpected that I busted out laughing. I'm 12.

      2. re: gyozagirl

        I thought the same thing about Whole Foods. Once they said "$10 only" I was like "At WFs??? Good luck man!"

        1. re: Elyssa

          I totally agree! $10 is the price of admission at WF!

          1. re: Gingerleen

            Actually, the big announcement of the $10 limit and all the drama at the cash register turns out to be very disengenuous. If you read Lee Anne's blog on the TC web site she writes: "I think it was great that certain contestants were able to utilize their time and the pantry to create extra dishes, like Spike and Stephanie." Looking at the list of ingredients in the recipes and knowing the price of food at WF, in particular, I suspect several contestants blurred the distinction between using the ingredients in the pantry to make an extra dish and the challenge dish. Why announce a specific dollar amount yet build in escape clause opportunities?

            1. re: Indy 67

              I'm wondering if it might be because that's similar to what a lot of families already do. They might only have a limited amount to go to the store with, bu they have staples and non-perishables at home that they can use in addition and spend their money on the fresh stuff.

              1. re: rweater

                Yeah, but those staples need to be purchased initially, and they need to be replaced when they've been consumed. So it's really just a gimmick: you may be able to make *today's* meal for $10 out of pocket, but that doesn't reflect the true cost of feeding your family.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  If you took that logic to its end, then they would have to budget for the pots and pans, cleaning liquids, utensils, china, energy used in the cooking, the stove, the lights, etc. I think what they did was a decent compromise.

                  1. re: Phaedrus

                    Someone with a better memory for detail than I have can probably supply the episode from a different season that had the following situation: The contestants were given a dollar limit along with a clearly defined list of allowed ingredients from the TC pantry. I find that model to be a very reasonable one for a competition in which budget is one of the central elements. I don't understand why it wasn't followed. As long as the contents of the pantry remain unspecified -- as long as it is unclear how much in the pantry meets the classic definition of a staple and how much was simply extra ingredients -- it feels as if the show was playing fast and loose with the constestants' budget.

                    1. re: Indy 67

                      Ultimately the show has to show case it's expensive sponsor. We can all agree that love it or hate it WF is no in way the place to go to feed a family of four. Despite every one knowing this the producers have to somehow make it seem like it is just that kind of place. That is why IMHO opinion the lines were blurry leaving a huge gray area rule wise.

                      Perhaps the real challenge of the week wasn't for the contestants but the producers.

                      1. re: Indy 67

                        I don't know how many people watched the Scrapyard Wars on the Discovery Channel a few years back.

                        The premise is that two teams are given an entire scrapyard, i.e. junkyard for material and they are to build some very specific machine in order to perform a function. Some of the projects were cannons, submarines, wreckers, etc. They weren't allowed to go out and buy anything and they are given a pretty spiffy set of tools picked specifically for what they would need for the challenge. Well, no junkyard, however well stocked could meet the wishlist of people trying to build these machines, so the property master for the show once came on one of the anniversary shows and discussed how he had to listen to the design discussions and then try to sneak the desired parts into the junkyard and then discreetly hint at where these people could find the parts that they needed. If he hadn't done that, there would be no show, because they would just sit around and twiddle their thumbs because they did n't have any thing to work with. I think this is a similar situation: give them enough material to be creative with but not give them too much so that there is no challenge involved.

                        1. re: Phaedrus

                          I liked that show and alway wonder about how so much stuff could be in one spot.

                2. re: Indy 67

                  I freeze framed the shot with the cash register screen close-up - it's right after Antonia removes leaves from her bok choy- and it reads 10 items, $1.93 in tax, and a total balance of $52.95????

                  I don't know if this means it was $10 per person and they had to serve 6 portions, or if multiple contestants ring up on the same tab...just wanted to share the fruits of my fun with TIVO!

                  1. re: yamalam

                    The blog at addresses this $50 shot at length. To summarize, the register also showed "...navel oranges, figs and half & half (among others). None of the dishes this week put those ingredients together, so I'm inclined to think the shot was from another episode, or from a roving camera that grabbed a few random register shots that the editors worked in."

          2. OK Phaedrus - you and I were writing at the same time - so I've copied my other post over here and will ask TPTB to remove my thread. :-)

            My original comments were:

            I *loved* the sous chef help from the kids from Common Threads! The kids initially look nervous to be on camera, but get into helping their chefs prepare the meal. I was very impressed that while they might have initially been uncomfortable with trying new things (beets and fennel and the curry come immediately to mind) I loved that they ended up really liking what they made. This is exactly what I'd hope that most parents would do - at least get their kids to try something new - and by helping out in the kitchen, the kids begin to "own" the meal and are more willing to try something that they'd previously have said "Ewww!!! No way I'm eating that!"

            So Antonia gets a double...the Elimination challenge was definitely right up her alley. I'm really disappointed to see Stephanie so scattered in the fear is that with the concentration on her early on in the show, she's a goner. Please not yet!

            Although the guest judge was *not* happy with Lisa's attitude in being judged. So maybe it's her?

            Ahhhhh - it's Mark. :-( Very sad to see him go. I think they're going to miss him in the house as well.

            And next week's previews...14 hours of straight cooking, what seems to be a time challenge with Tom on the whistle....and they're cooking/baking for a wedding? Oh THIS ought to be interesting!

            And in reply to your comments above - I was a bit surprised at Richard's desire to make "little Blaises" - definitely not something I was expecting to hear. But even if he is gay - he can still have kids. :-)

            I had the warning bells go off about Stephanie as well...but I'm glad to see her live to cook another day. I *really* thought that Lisa was going to go over Mark or Stephanie - when the guest judge was pretty adamant about being able to take criticism for her underseasoning, and after watching her YET AGAIN stand there with her arms crossed, head tilted, and her stance like she was ready for a fight - I thought she might be the one to go. But Mark's dish just didn't look good to me.

            I thought the same thing about Antonia's dish - but she did exactly what she was supposed to....simple, healthy, under $10. I figured it would be her or Nikki. Can't believe that Nikki's actually made it this far to have actually made it into the top 3 for this episode. She shoulda been gone weeks ago, I tells ya.

            ETA: BTW - after re-reading your post, Phaedrus, I noticed - the same 3 were in the bottom for both Quickfire and Elimination. I can't recall that ever happening before.

            10 Replies
            1. re: LindaWhit

              Linda, maybe we ought to coordinate. I was working on my laptop in front of the tube so it was just easier to type as I watched rather than trying to remember.

              Yeah, as you read, I too, was rooting for Steph to not get dropped.

              OK, point taken about Richard, and I guess what threw me off was when he said he wanted to go home and make babies, so I assumed, you know, he'd do it the old fashioned way.

              I was very impressed with the way the chefs worked with the kids. Very patient, very cool with all of them. I am impressed with them as people this episode.

              In hindsight I think the comments on Andrew's dish was pretty insightful. Getting the kids to like fennel? That took as much guts as serving beets.

              1. re: Phaedrus

                LOL! My computer is in the living room (desktop) but I'm usually ensconced on the couch watching until the end of the show. I'll just wait for your initial comments as I kinda like your running comments all-in-one post. :-)

                And see below re: Richard and his wife making babies the old-fashioned way. :-)

                This was one of my favorite episodes...the chefs really had to think to get a complete meal for $10 (purchased at WF, no less!) and then had to slow down a good bit to work properly with the kids. I liked seeing Tom in the kitchen and hearing his comments that *all* of them worked well with the kids - agreed, very impressive on all their parts. They really made the kids feel like they belonged. I'll bet the kids were tickled pink to see themselves on TV!

              2. re: LindaWhit

                Question: Do you think "Wedding Wars" is replacing "Restaurant War??" I sure hope not!

                1. re: Elyssa

                  Elyssa, I wasn't sure when Restaurant Wars happened during TC3, but Wikipedia said it was Ep. 9. So...the fact that Common Threads was Ep. 8 for TC4, I'm going to assume that Wedding Wars is going to be replacing Restaurant Wars in this season.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    In other words, it's when they have 8 chefs to have 2 teams of 4, no? And we're now down to 8 this season. It kinda makes sense, given that smart contestants are starting to come with ideas for Restaurant Wars themes and all, so this would be an interesting curve ball.

                    1. re: momjamin

                      Exactly. They're expecting one thing if they've watched the past seasons, and whoopsy! - the rug gets yanked out from under them. Or as Padma likes to say with her big grin "Annnnnnd there's a twist..." :-)

                    2. re: LindaWhit

                      Boooooooo! I so much prefer Restaurant Wars. They did a wedding during the first season. It was pretty much a disaster if I remember correctly.

                      1. re: Elyssa

                        It will be interesting to see how they changed the parameters of the challenge, since I think they pretty much knew that season 1 wedding was a disaster. The promos don't promise much success!

                        1. re: momjamin

                          I'm sad that restaurant wars would go, but that makes sense now that I SWORE I saw a PRIEST and parts of a Jewish wedding.

                          I wasn't sure if I was reliving parts of a bad joke told me earlier in the day, or if it was two seperate weddings.

                          1. re: sommrluv

                            Perhaps they are having to cater 2 seperate weddings...only because of the "wars" part.

                            The 1st season wedding challenge was 1 wedding (a gay wedding in CA with a cake that came out of a box and pretty sad looking food options) and more of a group challenge.

                2. I usually watch the show in silence. I just broke that policy when I saw Mark taste his food with the large spoon and stick it right back into the pan. Totally disgusting. I wonder how Mark cooks in restaurants in the real world. In the real world, restaurants have to comply with health regulations. How have Mark's bosses let him develop such terrible sanitation habits? How can they let his behavior put their business in jeopardy?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Indy 67

                    It looked like Richard did the same thing with the spoon. When Big Tom came into the kitchen he said hello to Richard who was in starting to taste his dish slight cut the conversation continues as Richard tells him about the menu and the spoon is back in the pot. Based on the audio it would seem Richard double dipped.

                    1. re: Withnail42

                      I counted several double dipping incidents including the two you guys mention above. DISGUSTING!

                      1. re: Withnail42

                        After Mark's stunt, I watched for double-dipping obsessively. Richard's behavior seemed more ambiguous. The instance that caught my attention was one in which Richard was tasting a grain. He lifted some of the food out of pan, brought the spoon towards himself, and grabbed a pinch of the product in his fingers. He ate the grain out of his fingers -- not off the spoon. Of course, there was no evidence he washed his hands afterwards. Is the instance you've described a different one?

                      2. re: Indy 67

                        To be practical, there's no problem with tasting from a spoon and putting the spoon back in the pot *IF* the pot is simmering, boiling, or frying. Heat kills bacteria. If the chef's got prions, well... We're all hosed.

                        Along these same lines, but on other shows, that Zimmer guy (I'm abominable with names) and Bourdain have been doing a lot of shows from all over Asia, and in NO CASE did I ever spot anyone using the wrong end of their chopsticks to take food out of the communal bowl. It's always everybody dig in, eat, and dig in again. So much for etiquette. AND germs!

                      3. The original comment has been removed
                        1. no real surprise that mark went home. he had it coming for a couple of weeks now.

                          hopefully lisa will be next. how can someone be so negative ALL the time? it's exhausting & infuriating to watch. i wish one of the judges would point out to her that she's the only one who stands in front of judges' table with her arms crossed like that. it's obnoxious. anyway, it appears from next week's promo that she & dale will be paired up again - judging by his outburst, perhaps she makes a huge mistake...? [please, oh please.]

                          i'm still not impressed with nikki. one successful dish does not a winner make.

                          i would have liked to see andrew get more kudos. his looked delicious, and was obviously very successful. it appealed to me much more than antonia's did. not quite sure how she won with that.

                          bummed to see steph in the bottom 3 in both challenges. bad week for her, but thank goodness she didn't go home!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            I had to give props to Nikki at least for this round. That was a good dish---a well thought out dish.

                            If you noticed I believe all 3 of the Top 3 either were raised by a single parent or were a single parent themselves. I think its good that they put thought and heart into their dish. I would love the recipe to Nikki's's smart cooking.

                            Do I think she should still be there based on her past performance though? Nope.