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May 8, 2008 11:14 AM

Favorite top chef so far

so far who has been you favorite contestant this season? who has been you least favorite? AND who do you want/who do you think is going to win it this time aroundand why.for me my personal favorite is andrew because hes funny and he holds up well in the challenges although i dont think he can win it (but i would like for him to). my least favorite has to be dale or lisa because of their attitudes but who i think is gonna be in the final two it will prboly be dale and richard with richard most likley to win it. so chowhounds what do you guys think?

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  1. Looks to me like it's Richard's to lose. Broad skills and experience, flexible, thinks fast on his feet, no ego problems.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      I know I will catch flack for this but I really like Antonia, she seems like a genuine person who loves what she does and isn't pretentious. I also like Dale and Richard. I'm so disappointed that there isn't a tall drink of water this season (think Trey).

      1. re: dream_of_giusti

        I said in another thread after seeing episode one that it would come down to Richard and Antonia.

        Richard is definitely the favorite. I really don't like the editing this year. Just from what we saw, Lisa should have gone home almost every week. But she's still there, looking like she's ready to kill someone. Nikki didn't have a chance to win it, but I think she was better than Lisa and Dale this week

        I have to say, arrogant as he is, Spike makes the show with his comments. Andrew is a close second. Antonia actually is pretty funny too.

        1. re: dream_of_giusti

          I completely disagree. I don't know why but Antonia strikes me as completely pretentious...personality wise. I just don't enjoy her very much. Stephanie and Richard on the other hand...I like!

          I want the two of them in the finale for sure.

        2. re: Robert Lauriston

          <Looks to me like it's Richard's to lose.> I agree. and I don't think Dale is more technically proficient than Richard.

          I also like Stephanie. I still think it will come down to her and Richard.

          I don't care for Andrew, but he's not my least favorite. Of those who are left, Lisa is my least favorite. She's had that defensive, defiant attitude from episode 1, ALWAYS folds her arms at Judge's Table, even when she's not being challenged -- and I wish she would wash her hair!

          1. re: ChefJune

            It's comments about her appearance that always get me feeling for Lisa. Snark about her hair, particularly as she is living under circumstances that may not be conducive to those fighting with hair issues (relentless pace, constant cooking), seems so unnecessary. And I like snark, just not about things that are not easily remedied-- and hair is not easy for everyone ChefJune.

            At the same time, comments about judge's hair is welcome: they are not living in a group home, staying up 14 hours straight to cook wedding dishes, or struggling with problem hair that is not managed by stylists.

            As for the crossed arms, it's unfortunate. This is body language that signals discomfort, and the person's feeling of being attacked and judged. I see it as perfectly natural, even though I also understand how bad it looks. Many people (especially Americans) want their television characters to be friendly and open, and Lisa's body language and apparently negative demeanour doesn't help.

            I don't know, I concede that she's negative in her actions and statements- and that she'll probably learn that from watching the show. But I am loathe to make character judgements based on that. She's not terribly telegenic, and her demeanour probably leads to an easier characterisation by editors, but yeah, I just can't get it up to be nasty about her. (It would be different, say, if she were sabotaging chefs rather than consistently grousing...)

            1. re: Lizard

              <hair is not easy for everyone ChefJune. >
              Thank you for telling me that, Lizard. I also have difficult hair to deal with, but I keep it clean..... that's not being nasty. in the kitchen, that's part of hygiene and sanitation.

              I don't think she's bad looking, either, and if she were, that wouldn't be important to anything. She definitely continually displays a negative attitude... very defensive, and that is very unbecoming.

              1. re: ChefJune

                Hmmm. You're welcome to judge her and find her 'unbecoming' all you like. But I get the feeling you want me to support you in this, and I don't know that I can. I just feel bad for her and am not convinced that I can tell if her hair is dirty simply because it looks bad in challenging cirmstances.

          2. re: Robert Lauriston

            I was a little unsure about Richard, but I've always thought that I wanted to eat in any restaurant at which he was cooking. However, in the last several weeks he's done some things that I really liked: the way that he demonstrated enthusiasm for challenges that made lesser chefs bitch and moan--"tofu? What awesome thing can I do with tofu?" "Sure, I'll cook for the bride on her special day!", plus he rightly recognized the risk that Stephanie took in baking the wedding cake this week.

            I think they're setting up Richard for a fall--he's seemed so awesome in the last few weeks that the producers must have a spectacular failure in store for him in the future.

          3. 1. Richard
            Solid technical skills second only to Dale, has deep experience in almost all forms of cooking, has the most range out of anyone

            2. Dale
            Has the best technical skills, rarely makes bad decisions, can also push the envelope but his experience has predominately been asian style cooking but has range

            3. Stephanie
            technically proficient, solid experience, limits her cooking ability to what she's only confident in

            4. Lisa
            technically proficient, is aware of her capabilities and strengths/weaknesses, not a risk taker. Like Dale, her background is mainly asian-style so her range is limited

            T5. Antonia
            limited technical abilities, small range but has yet to put forward a bad tasting dish, not a risk-taker, cooks by the book - literally

            T5. Andrew
            technically proficient, willing to take risks, has often lacked focus and made conscious oversights.

            7. Spike
            limited technical abilities, limited range, not a risk taker, little professional experience (only 2 years out of culinary school)

            1 Reply
            1. re: attractivekid

              I think I would rate Antonia higher than Lisa. But your explanations are right on. I agree completely that Richard has the most range. He probably has the best leadership skills as well.

            2. My favorite - Stephanie
              Least favorite - Dale (hate the throwing under the bus crap)

              I agree with you, ChefP, that it's Richard's to lose but he's just not my style. I like real food, without fluff, and his seems to be pretty dang fluffy. I'm enjoying this season but season two is still my favorite. Sam was robbed! :-(

              5 Replies
              1. re: Heyteacher

                except that he apparently made some FINE brisket last week and that's pretty no fluff in my book. i'm actually starting to think he can do many things.

                1. re: Heyteacher

                  Richard has worked in the kitchens of Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller aside from being trained at the CIA. So I'm pretty sure he's mastered "traditional" or classical cooking, but just finds "molecular gastronomy" more challenging and fun to do.

                  Dale graduated the same year (98) as Richard from the CIA, the only other contestant left that is a CIA grad is Spike, but he graduated two years ago (06). The only reason I bring this up is because all of the past three winners of Top Chef have been CIA grads.

                  1. re: attractivekid

                    Spike graduated from CIA? How disappointing. Is this before or after Tim Ryan did his curriculum pruning??

                    1. re: Phaedrus

                      Most likely afterwards.

                      To me Richard is by far not only one of the most skilled but has good direction, is willing to take risks, plays well with others and seems like an all around stand up guy. One of the best contestants so far. Unless he really screws up on something he should be a clear winner.

                      1. re: Phaedrus

                        If knuckleheads could graduate out of Harvard then I wouldn't expect more from CIA.

                  2. Well,My favorite is Richard,my least favorite is Lisa,becuase as you say,she has such an atitude when at the judge's table,just seems mad at the world a lot. Dale is okay,but not my favorite.I like Antonia and Stephanie.Andrew and Spike I don't mind.
                    I think in the promos for Wensday it looks like Andrew and Lisa team up? and they show the group in the back awaiting the judges descison,and it looks like Andrew is trying to psychic out Lisa.

                    1. I've gotten the impression that, at some point early in the season, Richard realized that the goodwill he could get by acting magnanimously on TV is worth more than a trip to Europe or stuff from Crate & Barrel. Thus his eagerness to share wins with Dale and Stephanie. The way it's presented is a bit fake.

                      I kind of regret feeling this way, since for all I know it's completely genuine, and I've just gotten too cynical about TV. If it's any consolation to Richard fans, if I were opening a fine dining restaurant and had to pick someone from this season to be the chef, it would have to be Richard.

                      I don't like Dale or Lisa's attitude, Antonia's stuff seems boring, Andrew's too crazy, and Spike is not nearly as good as he thinks - so I guess by default I'd put Stephanie at #2, and Dale at #3 (I do sympathize when he gets really mad).

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: nfo

                        I strongly feel that all challenges should be either individual or the contestants should be allowed to pick who they want to work with. In real life, you go through the interview process and you only accept jobs or employees that you think you would work well with. If I had to work with Spike, I'd either fire him or quit myself. My top 2 are Richard and Dale.

                        1. re: Ericandblueboy

                          I can't remember if there have been challenges in previous seasons where the chefs to got pick their teammates/partners, but it seems like certainly it's happened more times this season -- and it's been interesting to watch.

                          1. re: momjamin

                            IIRC, only one challenge last season allowed the contestants to pick their own team-mate. If allowed, I think Dale and Richard would team up all the time and they would be unstoppable. No other combination has the creativity and skill.

                            1. re: Ericandblueboy

                              Richard and Dale choose to work with each other during the Improv episode

                              if you look on Bravo's site, the bonus clips show Nikki complaining that no one wanted to work with her

                              1. re: attractivekid

                                I haven't watched the bonus clips, but my first thought to your last sentence was "Well, DUH!" LOL

                        2. re: nfo

                          i mentioned in another thread that i thought it could definitely be fake that richard shared wins - but he won me over by how gracious he was to the people at the wedding despite being as exhausted as everyone else. that takes work and it really did make the wedding more pleasant. and even if it was a calculated move to look good on tv rather than make people happy, it still was impressive.