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Top Chef-Healthy meal

OK, as if we didn't realize this already, but Spike is a jackass. Smart strategic move, but he is still an ass. Screwing everyone else is one thing but rubbing people's noses in it is another.

And Dale makes the big come back!!!! Steph is up there too. Awesome.

Problem children: Spike, Lisa, and Andrew Spike had the advantage too. What a tool! That salad looked not so tasty, and olive with grapes? Thats bizarre. I thought Stephanies box looked the tastiest of them all.

Andrew is an idiot, losing the rule sheet after taking on Colicchio about the dish. I thought Colicchio nailed Andrew pretty good too. You go Tom!!

Spike is even more of an ass at judge's table, as if that is possible. Lisa's not bugging me so much this time, for some reason. probably because Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber are bigger pains than she is.

I also liked Spikes facial expression while sitting in the middle of the Lisa and Andrew bitch fest. That whole "who me?" look is precious.

I see Andrew as the worst, Spike next, and Lisa.

Bye bye to Andrew.

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  1. agreed. as much as i dislike lisa, i'd like to see spike go home tonight. his behavior is beyond childish...and completely unsportsmanlike. when he made that comment to tom about his initial intention to simply leave the tomatoes sitting there to taunt everyone, i wanted to slap him.

    1 Reply
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      And he lied at judges table. He said he took those ingredients for his own use, not as a way to screw everyone else which is exactly the opposite of what he said in his solo interview. I was pulling my hair out that he wasn't sent home. On top of the fact that he's an a$$, he's just not any good!!!

    2. agreed too. and he didn't put them to good use either. but andrew forgot a grain and i don't think it tasted great so...

      1. What kind of soup exactly did Stephanie make? There were meatballs in it??

        7 Replies
        1. re: jules127

          mushroom leek with meatballs (don't know what kind)

          by the way all three of them (at judges table) are quite distasteful. lisa and spike especially. i mean really this competition does not bring out the best in them.

          1. re: jules127

            Mushroom and leek soup is what I heard her say, with meatballs in it. Sounded rather odd to me, but it was one of the Top 2? Will be interested to see the recipe tomorrow on Bravo's website.

            1. re: jules127

              I thought it was mushroom barley with meatballs - one of my favorite soups -

              1. re: weinstein5

                i could be wrong, but i think she did barley as a separate side with a vegetable puree and a yogurt sauce (at least that's my memory)

                  1. re: phee

                    well i wasn't totally wrong! i saw the right dishes (and heard the right name of the soup - mushroom leek) but then at the end you add the separate dish of barley to soup. thanks for the clarification. sounds pretty good for fall.

            2. Also agree. Spike's a complete jerk.

              But quite frankly, Lisa said something amazing that she obviously can't see the forest for the trees: "Some people don't deserve to be here and their personalities suck ass." Whoa - check the mirror.

              And yet again - she had crossed arms when Sam criticized her QF salad. In her argument with Andrew in the stew room, she had the same attitude - crossed arms and leaning way back. Body language would lead me to believe she knew she was wrong in her arguments.

              However - unanimous decision and it's looking like maybe Andrew because he forgot a whole grain? We shall see....

              ETA: Wow - Andrew is gone - someone that some said might be in the final 3. I haven't liked him much from the beginning, and for me, any one of the 3 could have gone and I would have been fine with it.

              And goody! It's Restaurant Wars NEXT week! :-)

              14 Replies
              1. re: LindaWhit

                Did you hear Andrew when he said his goodbyes? Padma said that she hopes she can taste his cooking again and Andrew said that she will. What a cocky schmuck.

                I wonder if Andrew had his culinary b----r when they chucked him.

                1. re: Phaedrus

                  "I wonder if Andrew had his culinary b----r when they chucked him."

                  LOL! Better line than anything Spike or Andrew has ever said. : )

                  1. re: Phaedrus

                    <Did you hear Andrew when he said his goodbyes? Padma said that she hopes she can taste his cooking again and Andrew said that she will. What a cocky schmuck.> not so much. at least at taping time, Andrew was sous chef at Le Cirque, so if Padma wants to taste his cooking, all she has to do is make a ressie and go there!

                    sorry he f...ed up so badly. would have much preferred to see either Spike or Lisa out of there. Ah well, there's always next week!

                  2. re: LindaWhit

                    What about Spike calling Dale a "little bitch"? The only little bitch I see is Spike.

                    1. re: Ericandblueboy

                      Yeah, the whole JT was a complete mess. I think Tom, Padma and Ted were a bit stunned with the whole backbiting the 3 of them did, and Sam just sat there thinking "you three are all idiots - do NOT do this in front of the judges!"

                    2. re: LindaWhit

                      Well, again in an attempt to be fair: Lisa hasn't been watching the show as the competition/filming happened, nor has she had a chance to read the comments. Thus, if she tends to cross her arms, she's not going to see that tic and train herself out of it until AFTER this is all over.

                      (I say this because just the other day, someone commented on a tic of mine that I had no idea about-- nothing aggressive, more self-deprecating. But I had no idea. That's why some people in my profession tape themselves-- to see what they don't know and can change.)

                      Give Lisa time, if in Top Chef: The Return, she's still doing it, then you can comment on the fact she has not yet given up the stance.

                      All this said, yes, the personality that's coming across is not pleasing.

                      (This does make me wonder about women in the kitchen, though, and how they are regarded/respected, etc. I don't think it's all about the cooking chops even if good food is what we all want. It's how they assert their authority as Chef and this is still a challenging territory in many cases.)

                      1. re: Lizard

                        chix have it tough in many kitchens. there are still plenty of male cooks who won't take orders from a female exec. the physical nature of the job makes for some tough and strong women carrying cases of #10 cans around on their shoulders. many women go for the "i'm butch-er than all of you, including the males" look in the kitchen--"i can lift more than you, i can work longer than you, i have a dirtier mouth than you, my motorcycle is bigger than yours, i have more tattoos than you, my unfiltered lucky strikes are tougher than your winstons, i like my whiskey straight, etc." i have unfortunately seen, on occasion, some amazonian senior chefs hazing and picking on smaller female, *and* smaller male junior cooks, kind of buying into the sexism of the industry and making these people's lives horrible until someone newer or smaller comes along. i am not saying that this is lisa's m.o, just that it is a common one in pro kitchens ime. otoh i catch myself thinking that zoi and nikki both were both just not physically tough enough for the real work, so maybe i'm just as bad.

                        i am willing to give lisa a lot of leeway on the bad-attitude problem if her normal work situation is: she's the lone female cook in an all-male kitchen--because that *sucks*!!!--but she's also shown a lot of immaturity in accepting constructive criticism and does not appear to work well in teams (exception-- her successful pairing with stephanie). none of the other chefs seem to like lisa at all, and i think that comes down to her personality rather than her cooking chops--but i think stephanie, antonia and jennifer are all more talented cooks than lisa.

                        while i do think that ultimately the competition is about what is on the plate, i think that personalities will figure in. there are some great chefs who are horrible to work for, and lisa's food just doesn't look good enough to counterbalance her crushingly negative personality. thinking about any of the female chefs on the show as execs, i could see antonia or jennifer as being successful. stephanie appears, for my taste, a little wishy-washy actually, although i think that comes down to editing--as she successfully ran her own kitchen in chicago. nikki strikes me as more of an events coordinator than a working chef. zoi and nimma-- embarrassingly inexperienced. if lisa were made an exec, i don't think *any* of her staff would be calling her by her real name behind her back, if you know what i mean. of course, you could say the same thing about spike.

                        it's tough to manage/wrangle diverse personalities and genders in a pro kitchen, and it's actually a lot like sports: all-male & all female teams can be very successful, although you have annoying juvenile tendencies with both; roughly balanced co-ed, mixed teams are ime the most successful/comfortable working environment, and when you start to get unbalanced with either males or females becoming too dominant, you end up with issues and power trips that get out of hand really quickly in stressful situations--so then you need a strong leader who is also perceptive and fair. my gut tells me i'd work for richard or stephanie; think about working for dale or antonia; would *not* work for lisa or spike.

                        1. re: soupkitten

                          "...if lisa were made an exec, i don't think *any* of her staff would be calling her by her real name behind her back, if you know what i mean. of course, you could say the same thing about spike."

                          You could also say the same thing about Marco Pierre White, or Gordon Ramsay (who appears to be making a boatload of money out of it).

                          1. re: Nettie

                            gotta disagree there. ramsay has a great staff retention and a lot of the top talent would chop off a toe to work for him. he may be tough but he's also supportive of talented people and molds his staff into great chefs. ramsay is very talented and well-respected, and you must bear in mind that he's not constantly yelling at his own hand-picked staff the way he does when he's calling inept cooking contestants "donkeys" on fox tv. :) i think that behind ramsay's back, his staff call him "chef"-- which wasn't the word i was thinking of to describe lisa and spike.

                            from what i hear, m.p.w. has mellowed out a lot lately, & doesn't throw stuff all the time anymore. he's still a a nutjob though. ;)

                            1. re: soupkitten

                              Thanks Soupkitten.
                              Just to add that Lisa seemed to work well in the wedding wars group where the overall sentiment was that Dale was the unpleasant one. (Comments in shows-- editing, I know-- suggest Dale is less than desirable in group projects, even with his chops.)
                              As for defensiveness I think the contestants on this show must be going a bit mad. In so many shows up until now, judges used the inability of a chef to stand by his or her work as an excuse to knife them. Perhaps this is what has led to these uber-defensive judging tables-- although I do have to say that Lisa's 'I don't know, you tell me' was pretty lame. And her other trips are just as annoying.
                              This does make me wish we could see the event in real time, though. Wish they'd post raw footage on Bravo, Of course, like I'm not wasting enough time with this show.

                              1. re: Lizard

                                <Just to add that Lisa seemed to work well in the wedding wars group where the overall sentiment was that Dale was the unpleasant one. (Comments in shows-- editing, I know-- suggest Dale is less than desirable in group projects, even with his chops.) > Interesting comment. I didn''t see it that way. I saw Lisa as going off by herself to bake the cake. No serious interaction with the others. Likewise, Dale. he expressed displeasure at being "stuck" with a bunch of fairly uncreative (and perhaps less talented) chefs, and then went off by himself and made all the dishes the others either didn't want to make or wouldn't take on. I thought all four were pretty disconnected from the others in that episode.... to their misfortune.

                                1. re: ChefJune

                                  Yes, you're right about the Lisa wandering off to do her own thing, but the sense I got was that her presence wasn't commented upon to the degree Dale's was (someone made a comment about how half the house didn't like working with him).

                                  That said, whatever, The way this is going, there are a group of people who don't seem particularly nice. I reckon this is part editing/character making and part extreme circumstances and fatigue.

                                  1. re: Lizard

                                    I think Lisa was really smart in entering this challenge; she knew they were the misfit team and she separated herself in a way that was natural and fit in with the challenge. I wouldn't say this means she plays particularly well with others; what I would say is that she had good insight into the situation -- better insight than Dale had, for sure -- and she played it right, sacrificing a little on what she was making (she mentioned her hatred of making pastry in a previous episode) in exchange for 14 hours of cooking alone instead of dealing with Nikki, Spike and Dale.

                          2. re: soupkitten

                            If you listen to the Chow interview with Nikki, you'll get a different impression. She works damn hard at her restaurant, and she admitted she's a lot more domineering than she was depicted on the show. In a situation like Top Chef, where everyone is equal and many of them have strong personalities, some people may choose a quieter, less assertive persona relative to the others.

                      2. I totally agree! I can't stand all these crybabies, they are so immature! last week at the wedding one just pissed me off, haha!
                        I think Finals will be between Antonia and Dale and Dale is definately my Favorite! Go Dale!

                        5 Replies
                          1. re: chefschickie

                            my two favorites are Richard and Stephanie - dale is too childish - richard and stephanie seem the most professional and consistent - making foos I would like to eat - ok except for the peanut butter and tomato thing

                            1. re: weinstein5

                              the peanut butter and tomato thing seemed funny to me. when I make african Peanut soup In alway add diced tomatoes and it tastes really good!!!

                              1. re: chefschickie

                                Yeah, I didn't get the problem with peanut butter and tomato...one of our favorite dishes here is an African-style chicken stew with potato, sweet potato, rice, spinach, tomato, and peanut butter. I suppose it's a matter of proportion and what else is involved.

                                1. re: revsharkie

                                  I am seriously hoping that one of you pose this as the question for the reunion show (they do take questions from the Bravo site, no?).

                                  As revsharkie points out, the issue should have been more about the execution than the logic of the combination.

                        1. Tom says their decision was unanimous, but I think Sam wanted to send Spike home for being such a jackass. Sam, as a prior competitor, sees Spike's move for what it really was: he picked ingredients he didn't even want to use to make the others' lives harder. He picked bread and then used pita chips, for goodness sake! Ironically, I think by not being able to use those basic ingredients, the other chefs had to be more creative and may have actually done better because of that.

                          Lisa is nowhere near as annoying to me as Spike is but (1) I agree with LindaWhit that Lisa has no insight into where she fits in this group and (2) I think saying someone's "personality sucks" is worse in that it is more generalized and nasty than almost anything else I've heard someone say. (3) More interesting really: I can't believe that little-miss "I know you said Polish sausage but I wanted to make Chilean Sea Bass" pulled the he-didn't-follow-the-rules card. What a freaking hypocrite.

                          I don't think Andrew's offering was that great, but I think the grain issue could have been compromised considering that overall his dish was so healthy. The taste issue though, never compromises. I think Andrew is very odd but less annoying than either Spike or Lisa and a better all around guy, obviously based on Bravo-edited knowledge only :) Shame to see him go home first.

                          19 Replies
                          1. re: Adrienne

                            I also agree that Spike's move against the other cheftestants definitely forced them to be more creative - hell, Stephanie said she had planned on using chicken, and what she ended up with put her in the Top 2!

                            And Lisa's rule card baloney was totally hypocritical. I will be VERY interested to see if that comes up in the reunion show at all!

                            What I just...cannot....understand is why Spike made chicken salad. CHICKEN SALAD? You can get that ready made in any freakin' cafeteria - why make it all?

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              What I just...cannot....understand is why Spike made chicken salad. CHICKEN SALAD? You can get that ready made in any freakin' cafeteria - why make it all?
                              ___________________________________________________________

                              Because he's Spike? Because he's got the innovative mind of a flea? Because he painted himself into a corner because he was trying screw everyone else?

                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                Bingo. Which is why, if Andrew hadn't forgotten to use a whole grain in his box lunch, I think Spike would have been the one gone.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  Nah I got the impression that it wasnt really the whole grain issue that was the deciding factor, despite what Andrew (and even Lisa) thought; it seemed like it was just the judges' perception that his dish tasted the worst. Too bad, because Spike and Lisa both were behaving atrociously during that judges table.

                                  1. re: jeanki

                                    That and the fact that the serving was pretty light and unfilling. I forget who commented, I think it was Ted, that if they ate the lunchbox, they would get hungry soon thereafter and go grab a candy bar, which defeats the purpose of teaching them to eat healthy. I think the challenge was to feed them, i.e. make them sated, with healthy food.

                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                      I don't have the largest appetite, but even I would have been unsatisfied with the four pieces of raw sushi.

                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                "I also agree that Spike's move against the other cheftestants definitely forced them to be more creative"

                                I don't know. I think this is the thought pattern of a very uncreative chef, who thinks that if he eliminated chicken/bread/tomato/lettuce, other chefs weren't going to be able to find suitable meats/fish/grains/fruits/vegetables in the world's cornucopia for healthy dishes. He should've looked for what served his needs best and gone from there, but so far he's shown a spectacular lack of creativity in his selections: a plate of charcuterie, a squash soup, a spring roll, a street taco, grilled vegetables, sea bass cooked in a simple sauce, and, with all the ingredients in the world at hand, a chicken salad (and what the hell am I going to do with this bread and all these tomatoes?) Most of what he's made, anyone commenting on this board could have put together in an hour!

                                1. re: jbw

                                  You made me think of something Spike said during the one-on-one interview. "How can you make a boxed lunch without bread and salad?" That is an uncreative thought if I ever heard one!

                                  I think the protein choice may have thrown some for a loop but didn't knock them down. However, Spike should have really focused on his personal creativity. I think his decision backfired big time. He admitted at JT that he failed to creatively exercise his advantage.

                                  Spike screwed up big time.

                                  1. re: jbw

                                    I don't disagree with you at all - he hasn't shown to be creative. But what I had said that Spike's move *against* the others forced them (the other cheftestants) to be more creative - thus coming up with a dish more interesting than chicken salad and putting Spike in the bottom three.

                                2. re: Adrienne

                                  lisa's comment about people with personalities that "suck ass" was the epitome of the pot calling the kettle black. i really can't stand her attitude, and i'm annoyed at andrew for screwing up & consequently saving her ass.

                                  i agree with adrienne that sam was gunning for spike to go home. and i think he deserved to, not only for his attitude, but also for producing such a lame [and apparently not at all tasty] dish when he had such an advantage.

                                  btw, is it just me, or did sam seem very subdued & not particularly happy to be there?

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    Re: Sam - he was always quiet during TC2, except in the frenzy of cooking. But he definitely seemed VERY low key. He had on a heavy sweater and this was filmed when - last September? Maybe he was sick?

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      Sam didn't look very happy, but maybe the quiet attitude is part of his image. That man is one sexy salad ;)

                                      1. re: Adrienne

                                        I agree. Sam was never exuberant but in this episode was almost not there (and I HATED his haircut!). He didn't look as good as I remember
                                        ;-)

                                        1. re: dockhl

                                          Also, Sam disliked the term "Cops" and definitely called his family policemen, which is what many folks call their family policemen. He all but corrected Padma.
                                          The studio may have been used to make icecream in their absence, even Padma (seldom known for clothing her cleavage) was wearing a jacket at final JT.

                                          Sam was subdued...does he have a blog this year?

                                          1. re: shallots

                                            At the JT he refered to his family as "cops" so he wasn't that bothered.I thought he was bothered earlier and corrected Padma but at JT he used the term "cops".

                                          2. re: dockhl

                                            its all a matter of taste, i thought he looked much hotter this time around (not a ponytail fan).

                                      2. re: Adrienne

                                        Lisa pls don't walk in my Pride parade as you need your gay and human cards revoked.

                                        1. re: marblebag

                                          LOL right now! I was almost starting to think of her as human after her little happy-cake dance last week.

                                        2. re: Adrienne

                                          Yeah, I'm thinking Sam probably wanted to send Spike home also, but most likely because he picked him to win the QF then watched as Spike failed to use his advantage wisely.

                                        3. Tonight's elimination was the three faces of ugly. Each one found elaborate ways to rationalize their lousy product: Andrew was going to demonstrate his two years worth of nutritional education no matter what; Spike sought sanctuary in the misinterpretation of two hungry cops; and Lisa manufactured sabotage.

                                          As Richard alluded, the contestants were not well-rested, and for Lisa, Spike and Andrew the usual filter that kept their poop in check was absent.

                                          Andrew creeped me out with his inflated ebullience then gloating facial expressions. Good riddance, but thanks for the entertainment.

                                          Dale is indeed coasting on his Asian flavors.

                                          11 Replies
                                          1. re: Minger

                                            I was secretly hoping all three would be sent home.

                                            1. re: newhavener07

                                              Some unexpected mishap not withstanding, I think it's obvious that the next two weeks will be about the elimination of Spike and Lisa.

                                              Then it gets interesting with four strong cooks competing. I still lean toward Richard and Stephanie as the final two, but Antonia or Dale could surprise me.

                                              BTW, was it Spike or Andrew who opined that "people are weak?" It was a very interesting comment that revealed more about the person who said it than anyone else, since most of the other competitors did not occur to me as weak at all. It's interesting to see how, inside that mindset, all he did was to look for evidence that others were weak, all the while looking pathetic himself (it actually doesn't matter if it was Spike or Andrew who said it -- they both came out badly).

                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                I think it was Andrew who said people are weak, but I can't remember the context.

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  Definitely Andrew said this during his closing comments. He couldn't walk away without making one biting comment first. I personally liked Andrew the whole way through and thought he was entertaining to watch, although didn't think he was talented enough to make it to the finals.

                                                  That being said, I think both Spike and Lisa's attitudes (especially), cooking skills, integrity and basic decency are so despicable that I was disappointed to see Andrew go home before either of them. Spike's shameless display of pleasure in disadvantaging his competitors just for the sake of it was unsportsmanlike and is just (one more) reason he is not top chef material. Lisa clearly accidentally turned her burner too high and then chose to blame the others - if she legitimately had thought that someone had intentionally sabotaged her, she would have taken it more seriously and gone straight to the judges with her accusation, even if she didn't have a suspect.

                                                  I am so turned off by the two of them that I really can't wait to see them go down in flames!

                                            2. re: Minger

                                              Asian flavors covers alot of ground. None of the judges have said he's a one trick pony. I don't really value Antonia's opinions that much.

                                              1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                I thought the comment about Dale and his Asian flavors was pretty ignorant. If I recall he has used, Indian, Thai, Filipino, and Vietnamese flavors, pretty diverse, if you ask me.

                                                1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                  Yeah, I don't think someone who only cooked European food would be criticized.

                                                  1. re: Nettie

                                                    Wasn't Hung criticized for doing a lot of French dishes? Or was it that he wasn't doing enough Asian cooking? Both use what they trained to do, and do it well enough to win the challenges. That's what matters. I don't recall the judges complaining about Dale's flavors.

                                                    1. re: rumgum

                                                      They definitely criticized Hung for not doing enough Asian. The judges haven't commented on Dale being one-note, but I think Antonia did.

                                                      1. re: Adrienne

                                                        I don't see being very good at one style of cooking as "one note." Bobby Flay has made a career out of applying Southwest techniques in a wide variety of situations, ditto for Mario with Italian.
                                                        If you understand the flavors and the seasonings, and you apply them correctly, the food will taste good and I think that is what Tom is looking for.
                                                        The difficulty for the Top Chef crowd is trying to apply what they do well in situations they wouldn't normally find themselves. In that respect they're all in the same boat.

                                                        1. re: tofuburrito

                                                          I'm not sure if your comment is intended to disagree with me really, but what I meant was that only Antonia (whose opinion is irrelevant to me) claimed Dale was one-note. He is indeed NOT one-note, and the judges seem to agree with this. The issue of Asian influences not being one-note is discussed somewhere else in this thread.

                                              2. Looking at it now. I still see Richard as being the top chef, but the others are closing in. Dale and Stephanie make up some ground. Dale recovered from last week's debacle to make up for the whole he dug. Stephanie had two great showings in a row. I see Antonis as bridging the chasm between the top and bottom and still able to go one way or the other. Lisa and Spike bringing up the rear.

                                                29 Replies
                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                  steph had another strong showing tonight [well, at least in the elimination challenge]...i was glad to see that. doing a hearty soup was a very wise choice - she definitely cooked for her audience.

                                                  oh, and for the posters who questioned the addition of meatballs...beef with barley is actually a pretty common, traditional soup - i grew up eating it - so i didn't think it was odd at all.

                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                    ghg, I thought the soup was a mushroom/leek with meatballs soup during the QF? Or did she end up making two soups - one for each challenge? I'm tired and not remembering well anymore.

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      no, the QF was salad, remember? she used mushrooms, sunchokes, artichokes, pear vinaigrette...and forgot to put the artichoke chip on the plate.

                                                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                      I don't think beef & barley is odd, I just thought the meal also had to be low in cholesterol. Maybe she went with lean ground turkey breast?

                                                      1. re: jules127

                                                        She did use turkey. I think she almost chose ground chicken and then remembers that the idiot spike took the chicken and she couldn't use it.

                                                    3. re: Phaedrus

                                                      Something caught my ear after Dale won - he said in the off-camera interview that he had 5 out of 20 wins? According to Wikipedia's entry (updated with the contestant progress only for this episode) he has 4 total wins - 3 Elimination and 1 QF.

                                                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_Chef...

                                                      Stephanie has a total of 3 Elimination wins, and Richard has 3 Elimination wins and 3 QF wins - so currently, he's on top with a total of 6 wins combined.

                                                      Antonia has a total of 4 wins as well, but the reverse of Dale - only 1 Elimination win. And Lisa and Spike only have 1 Elimination win and 1 QF win respectively.

                                                      I still think this is Richard's to lose. But either Stephanie or Dale could pull out an upset. I really like Stephanie, and she did great early on, but Richard has been consistent throughout. And now that he's backed off a bit on his molecular bag of tricks, I like him more. :-)

                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                        in episode 4 dale won the quickfire and it's not on their tally but it is in their text

                                                        1. re: Adrienne

                                                          No, that I've already counted - it is in their Contestant Progress tally, and that's where I got the 1 QF win for him.

                                                          ETA: There was no "one winner" for the first episode - the group won, and Dale was in that group - so maybe that's where he's counting the "5 wins" from.

                                                          Episode 1: Anything You Can Cook, I Can Cook Better

                                                          Quickfire Challenge: Create a signature deep dish pizza. Rocco DiSpirito and Padma Lakshmi served as Quickfire judges. Prize: Immunity from elimination was not awarded to the winners of this Quickfire. No other prize was noted in the broadcast airing.

                                                          WINNER: There was no one winner for this challenge.

                                                          The Winners' Group: Antonia, Dale, Erik, Jennifer, Mark, Richard, Ryan, Spike

                                                          The Losers' Group: Andrew, Lisa, Manuel, Nikki, Nimma, Stephanie, Valerie, Zoi

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            Ok maybe I'm just confused about how the counting works, so here's what I thought counted:

                                                            Episode 4: Winner of QF AND winning team for Elim (movie one)
                                                            Episode 5: Winning team of Fire
                                                            Episode 6: Winner for tailgating.
                                                            Episode 7: Winners Dale and Richard for meaty tofu
                                                            Episode 10: Winner of police lunch

                                                            So maybe it's 4 full wins but I think he probably counts a team win even if he didn't get the prize... alhtough then it would be 6. i dunno.

                                                      2. re: Phaedrus

                                                        Not much Richard in this episode. Still think he is the one....

                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                          I like Richard, but not sure if he'll make it all the way to the end because of his cooking style. He pushes boundaries which can either wow or end up backfiring because some people won't get it. All the past three winners of Top Chef were chefs who tended to play it safe. I'd also like to see Stephanie make it to the end as well but I'm afraid her nerves may get the best of her (like how she forgot to put the artichoke chips in the quickfire). Dale definitely seems like a strong contender but may have problems working with his teammates if he makes it to the finals. Antonia seems to please the judges with her flavors. However, she always play it safe and I think that will be her downfall. Lisa -- I think she's a wildcard. She has talent, but her attitude totally sucks and will probably do her in. And Spike really should be the next one to go. He doesn't have the talent that the others do (and I also really can't stand him). So in light of everything, my top three is Dale, Richard and Steph with Dale winning. But we shall see ...

                                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                                            If you recall Hung's "smurf village"--hard to say that's playing it safe.

                                                            1. re: nyomi

                                                              But he never does that in an elimination challenge. He'll take risks in a QF (but really won't expect to win). Hung played the game smart. His finale meal -- fish and chips, forgot the second dish, duck and a chocolate cake. He's very innovative, but by no means somebody like Richard.

                                                            2. re: Miss Needle

                                                              I disagree, like Hung, Richard seems to only take huge risks in the QFs - he's only been on the chopping block once because he left scales on a fish (note, that dish was never criticized for lacking flavor, just texture), he consistently produces dishes that taste and are seasoned enough to put him in the middle to top of every EC except for that one mishap

                                                              Dale* and Antonia are the only other two contestants that have not put out a dish that has been criticized for lack of or bad flavor

                                                              *his achilles heal seems always to be team challenges, the only time he's been on the chopping block (block party, zoo challenge, wedding wars, and from next week's preview, restaurant wars)

                                                              1. re: attractivekid

                                                                I think the tofu cooked in rendered beef fat and the addition of beets in his dish for the $10 family meal challenge is taking a risk. I think he shines when he does have to be daring, its when he doesn't take chances that he falls short.

                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                  Since the judges are basing their decision primarily on taste, it's only a 'risk' if he doesn't taste and season his food through out the cooking process, it's hard to believe that some of the other contestants forget to do that.

                                                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                    I like Richard, but would love if he just made something, instead of "a play on something". Ie- play on cevice, play on a burrito, play on a scallop (dessert challange) etc etc.

                                                                    I really think Antonia has her wits about her and is very consistent. Also glad Steph dug herself outta that hole. If they do top 4 add Dale to the mix and thats that. (Buh-bye Spike & Lisa, we can dream right...)

                                                                    1. re: jme1beachbum

                                                                      Interesting observation of Richard. I hadn't really thought about that.

                                                                      1. re: jme1beachbum

                                                                        He made a pretty straight-forward brisket for the wedding, no?

                                                                    2. re: attractivekid

                                                                      I don't know -- fish and chocolate sounds kind of risky to me.

                                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                        really?, chocolate has been used a lot as a sauce for proteins, especially in traditional latin american cuisine (e.g. mole)

                                                                        1. re: attractivekid

                                                                          Oh, come on. If you ask almost anybody, they will say that chocolate and fish is a risky combo. And btw, I really haven't seen too many dishes for fish mole (though I know it's out there). And the chocolate Richard used in that dish was white chocolate which really isn't technically chocolate.

                                                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                            i agree fish in a regular or dark chocolate sauce sounds iffy, moles aside, but white chocolate with fish actually makes more sense in a way because its almost more like butter or a creamy fat essentially.

                                                                            1. re: jeanki

                                                                              as long as you taste it through out the cooking process, you should be fine.

                                                                              1. re: jeanki

                                                                                first of all, all moles don't have chocolate in them. Second, white chocolate is not really chocolate.

                                                                                and as a chef who specializes in fish, I have to say that the sweetness of white chocolate, regardless of how buttery the texture might be, would turn me off. I know, diffferent strokes for different folks, but please don't invite me to that dinner!

                                                                                1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                  That was what I was trying to get at. Is a chocolate (whether it's dark or white) and fish combo plausible? Of course it is! Almost anything is plausible. But is it a safe choice? Absolutely not! Not a classic pairing by any means.

                                                                                  Hung was into the classics. Even Ilan was into the classical tried and true pairings. In the Hawaii finale, he may have morphed Hawaiian and Spanish cuisine together. But the flavor combos were still very classical -- ie. his fried saffron coconut dessert which is a classic flavor combo used in India.

                                                                                  I've heard that even some of Ferran Adria's dishes will bomb. The thing about El Bulli is that you get so many courses -- so a couple of bombs are nothing compared to all the delicious combos he creates. In Top Chef, the judges aren't privy to a 20 course tasting menu. One atypical flavor profile that the judges don't get can be the difference between winning and losing.

                                                                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                    yeah didnt think of the sweet factor, that would be yuck. maybe he should've just used plain cocoa butter instead, j/k.

                                                                          2. re: attractivekid

                                                                            It does look like Dale and the rest of the team will be on the chopping block from the video preview on Bravo's website. I'll stop now fearing I'll start a "spoiler vs. speculation" debate.

                                                                      2. whoa - next week's restaurant war's challenge is Richard, Antonia, Stephanie versus Dale, Lisa, and Spike

                                                                        Lol - who do you think is the bottom three?

                                                                        I think Lisa is being sent home

                                                                        1. All I know is, ass that Andrew could be at times (though overall I liked him) the person with the best lines in the show is gone.

                                                                          ... Now who's going to write the stuff for the T-shirts, huh? :)

                                                                          1. Did I miss something in the rules or the show itself. Dale won with I thought a lettuce wrap. I thought they could not use lettuce, tomato, bread, and chicken. What did I miss? Did I not understand the rules, could they use a different type of lettuce?

                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Janet

                                                                              Didn't Dale use Napa Cabbage as the wraps?

                                                                              And I felt like reaching into the TV and slapping all 3 losers silly.

                                                                              1. re: dty

                                                                                Thank you, we missed that. It was driving me crazy.

                                                                                The bottom 3 were a little bitchy. I feel Lisa stands that way as a defense. I think that is a way she fights being a little insecure. Of course that mouth on her does the job also.

                                                                                1. re: Janet

                                                                                  All three were so aggressively defensive; I found it quite off-putting that they challenged Tom that way.

                                                                                2. re: dty

                                                                                  I thought Dale said he was using Bok Choy instead of lettuce.
                                                                                  Maybe someone Tivo'ed it and can freeze frame. Napa would look and function a lot more like lettuce.

                                                                                  1. re: shallots

                                                                                    He said he knew he couldn't use lettuce, so he was going to use Napa cabbage leaves.

                                                                                    1. re: shallots

                                                                                      it was richard who said he was using bok choy in his burrito.

                                                                                3. Andrew is a meth freak, no doubt about it. And I know this will be yanked momentarily, ....

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: karenfinan

                                                                                    Given his very strong and passionate opinions about health I HIGHLY doubt that. I find him endearing and entertaining and was very sad to see him go.

                                                                                    I also seem to remember reading somewhere that at some point in the last 5 years or so he lost something like 100 lbs so that may have something to do with his commitment to nutrition and the comment about fist-sized meals every 3 hours.

                                                                                    1. re: heathermb

                                                                                      I do think he was very sincere about his healthy dish. You can tell he's really passionate about his views as to what is healthy. And I'm sure his losing a ton of weight definitely played a role. In light of competition, however, I don't think his raw sushi meal was the best choice -- kind of similar to Season 1's Andrea foods -- while it may be healthier to eat those types of foods on a daily basis, there's no way you're going to win a competition like Top Chef cooking those things. And he did miss a grain which was one of the rules.

                                                                                      I wasn't too crazy about him in the beginning but he grew on me. I'll miss his antics. He made for some good TV.

                                                                                  2. Oh, the irony...

                                                                                    Lisa continually talking about following the rules of the challenge. Hmmm... I guess that doesn't apply to her in the Improv episode. Her rant about the following the rules is getting as old as Jen's "winning one for Zoi" rant

                                                                                    Next week, Dale appears to be on the team with the chefs that love him the most - Spike and Lisa..

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: dave_c

                                                                                      She made some comment about having been at JT before on a technicality even though the food was good, so her talking about the rules was her having learned from the Improv challenge -- not going to make the same mistake twice. (At least four other mistakes, sure!)

                                                                                      1. re: dave_c

                                                                                        Another irony...

                                                                                        Antonia complaining that Dale is all about Asian dishes.

                                                                                        Hello! This coming from someone who keeps telling us her dishes are inspired by what she cooks at home!

                                                                                        She needs to cook for adults... maybe she'll do better.

                                                                                      2. I was disheartened by this whole episode--pedestrian challenges, another nasty scene at the end. They all seem like jerks to me and I'm not learning much of interest about cooking, so perhaps I should spend my Wednesday nights reading great cookbooks instead. Ugh.

                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                          After having slept on it, and I am ashamed that I even devoted any more brain cell than necessary to this, I thought this one was kind of weak too. Doing the challenge with Chicago cops was interesting but using Sam and using the eat healthy tag was kind of lame. I thought using Sam was coasting even though they did say that Sam is a diabetic and used that fact to complement their challenge. I think making a healthy sit down meal for a firehouse or a police precinct would have been better.

                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                            i agree with you that doing the sit-down meal probably would have been better, but they already did that at a firehouse in in season 2. personally i think they should repeat some of the challenges each season [besides restaurant wars & the speed QF]. it would be interesting to see how the chefs each season do the same things differently [or not].

                                                                                        2. I'm with the school of thought that wished all three of them could have been sent home. What a bunch of petulant children!

                                                                                          I think Spike and Lisa's gripe with Dale is more of a (unconscious) response to his blantant contempt of their skills than it is his alleged negativity. I like Dale - I don't find him to be arrogant at all - just very confident.

                                                                                          As far as the fact Dale only does Asian - good point. Ilan from Season 2 and his one trick Spanish Pony irritated the heck out of me.

                                                                                          I'm hoping for Richard & Stephanie in the final. OR - anybody but Spike & Lisa.

                                                                                          15 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Mushroom

                                                                                            I remember during the Element episode (guest judge Ming Tsai) Dale said, "I don't want to do asian"

                                                                                            1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                              And he didn't do Asian in the kids challenge. Didn't he make Brats and braised cabbage?

                                                                                              1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                For some reason I'm drawing a blank on most everything he's cooked. Has he done some non-Asian stuff? I'm sure he has - I honestly don't know/remember. I do know that his dishes are usually the ones I want to try the most. Those tailgating ribs he made looked and sounded incredible.

                                                                                                Even if he only does Asian - he does it very, very well. And I think the recipes are his own creations - not ones he has memorized from the restaurant where he works (Ilan).

                                                                                                1. re: Mushroom

                                                                                                  Lisa and Spike have done just as many asian influenced dishes as him, just not as well

                                                                                                  1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                    Agreed - if memory serves me (which it so rarely does) - didn't Lisa say at one point say she only liked and/or wanted to make Asian? Or, did she just say Asian was her thing?

                                                                                              2. re: Mushroom

                                                                                                I actually found the comment that Dale "only" does Asian as mildly insulting. The flavors in Asian cuisines are *at least* as diverse as the regional cuisines of Western Europe. He's successfully used flavors from Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, the Philippines, and India - hardly what I'd call one-trick. As you guys have pointed out, he has avoided doing exclusively Asian dishes, and when he does go Asian (based on judging) it's generally better than Lisa's and way better than Spike's.

                                                                                                Ilan's reliance on dishes he learned at one restaurant was indeed irritating. Didn't Marcel win the all-star challenge quickfire with a saffron foam? Marcel was kind of irritating himself, but that was awesome.

                                                                                                1. re: nfo

                                                                                                  I agree. Dale has used influences from several different Asian countries in his food. Asia is a huge continent with such diverse cooking techniques, ingredients and styles. You can't lump Asian cooking as one style. And one can certainly not compare him to Ilan. I remember reading Batali saying that Ilan won the finale by just rehashing Casa Mono's menu.

                                                                                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                    You're absolutely right about Dale's diversity within Asian cooking techniques, ingredients and styles. I completely agree with everything you just posted.

                                                                                                  2. re: nfo

                                                                                                    Absolutely. There are a lot of ethnocentric comments on this show. Dale has an amazing repertoire of Asian cuisine, not only from his own culture but from many others. And there are other people on this show who basically always make American or Italian food, which I find much more limited.

                                                                                                    1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                      I agree and if I offended - I sincerely apologize. I didn't have a lot of time to write a lengthy post this morning - if I had I would have been more thoughtful in my posting. I would have clarified that I - in no way, shape or form - think Dale is a one trick pony (I do however think Ilan was/is). I think Dale is incredibly talented. (He also forever endeared himself to me with how stoked he was about cooking for the former Bears players and he's a Cubs fan! (love))
                                                                                                      However, after rereading my post (and taking a little time to see who cooked what for each challenge) - I can absolutely see how my statement would come across. He obviously cooks other types of food and does them well - and even if he didn't cook other types of cuisines - you're absolutely right - Asian food is incredibly diverse and the fact that he has done everything so well is a true testament to his skill.
                                                                                                      At the beginning of the season, Richard's propensity for molecular gadgets (which he hasn't brought out for a few episodes, correct?) and Nicki's penchant for pasta jumped out at me as limiting (or one trickery) more than anything anybody else was doing.

                                                                                                      But now - I think Dale, Stephanie & Richard could cook whatever cuisine you threw at them. And...I should have incuded Dale as one of my favorites to win. Next time I'll think before posting.

                                                                                                      Again, I apologize.

                                                                                                      1. re: Mushroom

                                                                                                        I don't think anyone took offense to your comment - I was just annoyed that on the show they aired Antonia's quote about Dale without offering any kind of rebuttal. Many of the show's viewers probably don't know any better, and found themselves agreeing with her comment.

                                                                                                        You know, there's probably enough regional variation in Spanish cuisine for someone to be considered a well-rounded chef specializing in Spanish. (I don't think Ilan proved this to be the case for him.)

                                                                                                        1. re: nfo

                                                                                                          No, Ilan proved himself well-rounded in Casa Mono.

                                                                                                        2. re: Mushroom

                                                                                                          I agree with nfo -- I didn't read you that way at all, Mushroom. It was more that your post and that discussion reminded me of the questionable comments people on the show made, not that it sounded like you were getting on Dale for only doing Asian food.

                                                                                                    2. re: Mushroom

                                                                                                      Halo halo - Phillipines
                                                                                                      Tandoori pork ribs - India
                                                                                                      Lemon grass bison - Vietnam
                                                                                                      Poached chicken salad - Japan
                                                                                                      Tofu steak - Thailand

                                                                                                    3. I'm really worried that Spike makes it alot longer than all of us here on CH hope! Last night he was interviewed in 3 seperate hats; now unless that means he keeps hats at his side to change for each question type I would think he's around for 2 more episodes - YIKES! If not more - god forbid; but we have seen strange things happen before, especially with Restaurant Wars coming on, in past seasons it hasn't really been the food that has sent someone home.

                                                                                                      My one big annoyance with the show last night was having Sam promote healthy eating because he is a diabetic. Padma said that because of the obesity epidemic facing America, diabetes is on the rise. Sam, like myself, is a type 1 diabetic which is an auto-immune disease and has nothing to do with weight or eating habbits; it really bothered me that they didn't make the distinction between type 1 (juvenile) and type 2 diabetes.

                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: wingman

                                                                                                        Who was the chef on Season 1 that focused mainly on healthy eating. She kept referencing foods that will "move you" or "make you move". I just remember an ugly carrot salad. Anyway, she would have probably been more fitting. But Sam is still more pleasant to the eyes.

                                                                                                        1. re: rumgum

                                                                                                          Ah yes, Andrea. Packing veggies into everything. She was eliminated early, then brought back after Cynthia opted to go home to her father.

                                                                                                          1. re: rumgum

                                                                                                            The producers had the camera playing TOTALLY to the little war going on between Lisa and Dale, if you notice, during the QF, they pan between her and Dale, and I'm just going to assume those little smirks were edited in. No one cares about the other's failures that much, really.

                                                                                                            There was no other reason to show her while they were calling out the winners after they were proclaiming losers. And if it's true (haven't seen anymore promos) that she is on a team with him for restaurant wars, than this whole thing is just SO skewed anymore for optimum drama.

                                                                                                            I think Lisa's dish suffered because she's too emotional, and after she got so angry about her rice, she completely screwed up all her other components. (didn't she buy turkey too? or did she decide against that?)

                                                                                                            Sabotage...I guess we'll never know. I've thought I've turned things to low, and turned things to high myself...on my oven, it's has a 12345 setting, and than a click to low before 1 and a click to high above 5..you think it would be easy to bypass, but I've done it at least once.

                                                                                                            It's also a vintage oven reproduction, to look like a coal stove, so it's a little touchy...but that's for another day.

                                                                                                            I'm glad Andrew is gone, I just wish he would have owned up to it being his thought...he did a lot of stand behind your dish shouting in the stew room, but than put it all on Lisa for 'throwing him under the bus' and just wouldn't acknowledge he forced a small, raw sushi raw, with no whole grain, on a bunch of hungry cops and expected to win with that. (I practice 4 oz portions because of a metabolic disease, and I tend to have a cup of soup and a sushi roll, or at least a six or eight piece sushi roll if it's alone--not alot of fish by weight in one roll, maybe 2-3 oz in 8 piece?)

                                                                                                            But the best part??? FINALLY I can now tell which one is Spike, and which one is Andrew....for a week, at least, because hopefully they will ax Spike.

                                                                                                          2. re: wingman

                                                                                                            I think they should have sent Spike home just for being a jerk,but the one i think
                                                                                                            should have gone home was Lisa.Get tired of the attitude. If I was a judge,would tell her to ditch the attitude,stands there like some street tough all the time got that sour face always, never really see her smile.
                                                                                                            Spike was being an ass,and yeah why pick chicken salad?
                                                                                                            Surprised no one thought of getting whole wheat flour tortillas at Whole Foods,and making like a pita type sandwich with low fat cheese and lean meats,could add some onions and peppers to it,since you can't use lettuce and tomatoes.Add some sort of barley salad,and some fruit.
                                                                                                            Or do a rice or barley salad and coleslaw.Use cabbage,carrots,bean spourts,etc with a lime giner soy dressing or something.
                                                                                                            Yeah Sam didn't look to happy to be there it seemed when at the judging table.Also,I still believe he should have been the winner,not Illan.
                                                                                                            Well,Andrew's gone .I wonder if he hadn't been so cocky with Tom,would he have stayed?
                                                                                                            Looks like next Wensday the Restaurant war or quick fire challenge is in a real restaurant.

                                                                                                            1. re: wingman

                                                                                                              I noticed the same thing about Diabetes I and II being completely conflated. As we discussed last season about seafood NOT being high fat, I get really annoyed when they go out of their way to miseducate people.

                                                                                                              1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                <I noticed the same thing about Diabetes I and II being completely conflated.> Sadly, I think the American public, in general, doesn't understand that there IS a difference.

                                                                                                                1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                  Right, but I'm sure Sam Talbot does. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he was pissed through the whole show that the challenge made no sense and maybe he even mentioned it and was told to pipe down.

                                                                                                              2. re: wingman

                                                                                                                The interviews could also be from previous episodes -- sometimes they reuse interview clips (like Andrew's culinary boner and I think Jen's "win for Zoi") and sometimes they use something they didn't use for a previous episode but which fits better in the narrative/theme of the new episode.

                                                                                                              3. OK, this crazy thought just came into mind. See if this fits.

                                                                                                                Spike in TC season 4=Santino in Project Runway season 2.

                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                  I think you might have something there. Only difference being Santino did have some talent...

                                                                                                                  1. re: heathermb

                                                                                                                    I have always liked Santino, and I think his talent level is way above Spike's. Sure Santino could be grating, but he did have redeeming qualities, like his Tim Gunn impression.

                                                                                                                    I think a better comparison for Spike would be Ricky from this past season of PR...the talent, staying beyond their time, and don't forget the hats. ;-)

                                                                                                                    1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                      I was thinking in terms of verbosity, cockiness, and obnoxiousness. Although I would put Spike as being far more obnoxious and far less talented than Santino. Even though we are talking apples and oranges.

                                                                                                                  2. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                    No offense but I think this is sort of offensive. I LOVE Santino and rooted for him all the way through. He may have been loud and outspoken, but he was talented, had a deep connection to his craft and was ultimately revealed as being a very compassionate, caring and thoughtful artist (when Tim visited his home in CA). Spike is a childish, undignified self-important jerk with little talent.

                                                                                                                  3. I hate when Top Chef tries to do "healthy". The only time they truly made the effort (with the dieticians), it ended up not working because they couldn't police the kitchen well enough. So then it ends up being a case of trying to squeak around the 'healthy' aspects as much as possible.

                                                                                                                    From everything I gathered from Antonia's meat choice - her meat was only "lean" compared to items like bacon and back fat. And while most of Stephanie's meal sounded fine, I never caught what her meatballs were made from. While ground turkey (and some beef), can come very lean - it would have been nice to hear what she used because making lean and still tasty meatballs is really really hard (think season 2 fat camp challenge).

                                                                                                                    While Andrew was always a bit of an ADD train wreck bound to mess up with directions at some point - I admired his attempt to make something truly healthy. That being said, I'd just rather Top Chef stay away from "healthy". Since they usually can't do it. That being said....I'd be highly amused by a low sodium challenge. Give them a certain amount of sodium that can be in an entire dish, have a dietitian check what they buy, and measure out the remaining amount of salt they can use. It'd probably still be too hard, but I'd be amused to see what would happen.

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                      Stephanie used ground turkey. They show her buying it at Whole Foods.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Morton the Mousse

                                                                                                                        Ah, I thought it was Lisa who bought the ground turkey.

                                                                                                                    2. I was up last night thinking about the "sabotage" issue: Had a few bouts with macrobiotic living so I can sympathize with the difficulty of making good brown rice. At best, it's fit for livestock, imho. If you burn it badly, the whole pot tastes off. But if you can salvage the top, you can re-boil the rice that didn't cook completely to finish it off. Why didn't she do that? And two minutes in a microwave will barely warm it, much less cook it through.
                                                                                                                      Upon reflection, Lisa definitely should have gone if all the elements of her dish were off. Kudos to Andrew for trying somehting different, although his behavior was so bizarre I fear for his mental health--and if I were Lisa, I'd hire a bodyguard.

                                                                                                                      30 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                        Does anybody know if Andrew a raw food guy? Most raw food people I've met have been on the hyper side. It may partially explain his behavior.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                          highly doubt it, he works at Le Cirque

                                                                                                                          1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                            He may work at Le Cirque and taste foods as he cooks there because that's his job. But chefs don't necessarily eat what they prepare at work. In fact, lots of chefs don't want to eat the same types of food they make everyday. What he does at home may be totally different.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                              At restaurants they have something called "family meal". After the lunch rush and before dinner service, a staff member (usually someone low on the ladder) prepares a meal for the entire kitchen staff to eat. This is also the opportunity for the staff member preparing to show his/her skill. I seriously doubt at a restaurant like Le Cirque they're going to do a 'raw food' family meal, especially with the high quality ingredients they have access to.

                                                                                                                              I can also bet that Andrew (as well as most chefs/cooks) do not cook when they go home. Considering the typical sous-chef finishes work at midnight to 1am, the last thing they want to do is more cooking after doing an 8-hour-plus shift, nor is that something they're probably going to want to do on their day off. Furthermore, it's pretty much impossible to cook properly in a typical NYC apartment. Most people in the nyc restaurant industry eat out during their days off. In fact, Dale mentions this after winning the Calphalon cookset.

                                                                                                                              1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                I don't know Andrew. I don't know what he does in his everyday life. Just because there is a family meal doesn't mean that one has to eat it. My friend who used to be a waitress always ate at home before her shift because she was on a diet and couldn't eat what they served at the restaurant.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                  I don't know Andrew either, but I do know the restaurant industry very well. If you work at a high-caliber restaurant like Le Cirque, you're going to want to eat their family meal because it's that good. If Andrew was a 'raw-food'ist /vegan, he would have worked at a restaurant that served that which Manhattan has a lot of. Furthermore, he's a sous-chef, so he's in charge of overseeing his station in the kitchen at Le Cirque, and from what I understand, he works the fish station aka "poissonniere"

                                                                                                                                  1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                    As I said before, I don't know him. He may do raw foods, He may not. He may eat raw 50% of the time. I don't know. But I think you're making a lot of assumptions here.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                      here's an interview with him from nymag,

                                                                                                                                      Q: Do you follow that diet of five or six small meals a day?

                                                                                                                                      A: I have my one shake in the morning, and then I pretty much taste all day. In a way, it works out for me, because I do eat a lot of duck confit and foie gras, but it doesn’t really show.

                                                                                                                                      http://nymag.com/daily/food/2008/05/d...

                                                                                                                                        1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                          Does anyone else find it ironic that he's talking with authority about how people get fat to justify his portion sizes, meanwhile he apparently eats duck confit and foie gras all day?

                                                                                                                                          He doesn't sound like someone with a well-rounded healthy diet either.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: rweater

                                                                                                                                            He has some authority on being fat: he used to be 100 pounds heavier. He eats tiny amounts of those things throughout the day, tasting as he cooks. He also starts the day with a huge nutrition shake he developed himself. It sounds to me like he has a very well-balanced diet: large amounts of foods that are healthy and nutritious and small amounts of foods that are just delicious.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                          Hmm....you're the one who started assuming that Andrew eats raw foods.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                            No, I made no assumptions. That's why I asked if anybody knew he was a raw foods guy. If I had made assumptions, I would have said something like, "Well, a lot of raw foods people are hyper. I'll bet that Andrew is a raw foods guy because he made raw sushi. That explains his hyper behavior." Now that is speculation.

                                                                                                                                        3. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                          It sounded like he was into the raw food movement but not that he eats exclusively raw food by any means.

                                                                                                                                          I think your comment that if you live in New York you probably can't cook in your kitchen is ridiculous. Working until midnight or 1 am has much more to do with why someone wouldn't go home and cook than the shape of their kitchen.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                        I can also bet that Andrew (as well as most chefs/cooks) do not cook when they go home.
                                                                                                                                        ____________________________________________________

                                                                                                                                        You mean not all chefs rush home to make pre-packaged rice dishes for their wives like in the commercial? I am shocked!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                          "Furthermore, it's pretty much impossible to cook properly in a typical NYC apartment."

                                                                                                                                          Why do you have that impression? I have a tiny - and I mean tiny -New York kitchen and certainly "cook properly" on most occasions.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                                                                            I have a tiny kitchen as well, and when I turn the oven on my entire apartment turns into a sauna. Unless you're really wealthy or live in large apartment with a bunch of roommates, most kitchens in Manhattan are a joke. But who knows, maybe he lives in the outer boroughs

                                                                                                                                            1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                              My apartment gets hot as well in the summer when I use the oven - so I try to use it in the morning to make things ahead, or to avoid using the oven in the summer. I'm neither wealthy (really or otherwise) nor do I live in a large apartment. My point was more than one can cook wonderful food in the tiniest, poorly designed kitchen - really - what does it take? A heat source, a fridge, a modicum of counterspace (that's about what I have), some knives and pots and pans. I do have to confess though to occasionally running the A/C while cooking, on days that I otherwise wouldn't need it.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                When I lived in NYC, my roommate and I cooked a lot, even though our kitchen was tiny and our apartment was a walk-up -- it was pretty much when I started entertaining. That's not to say it wasn't a challenge, but we did it and made elaborate meals as well. I think you will find that the people who post on this board will find a way to cook even under the most daunting of circumstances :-)

                                                                                                                                                Julie Powell's Julie/Julia Project provided an interesting perspective on cooking in a tiny NY apartment, although she did live in the "outer boroughs" as you put it:

                                                                                                                                                http://blogs.salon.com/0001399/2002/0...

                                                                                                                                                I think your better point is that a person who cooks for a living is less likely to want to cook at one on their time off, although in my experience, this is not the case. Some of my best homecooked meals have been prepared on the fly in the homes of my friends who are chefs.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                                                  cooking for friends is not the same as cooking for yourself.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                                      Did anyone also hear Andrew say "I'll leave quietly - no security will be necessary." when Padma told him to pack his knives? It's almost like he knew they thought he might go off the deep end based on past history.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                        I think he said that because in a previous episode, he said something about how they were going to need to drag him away with security guards in order for him to leave (perhaps the block party episode?).

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                          That's right - thanks for the memory jog.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                            You're welcome. I actually kind of find it scary that I remember something like this. I think I spend too much energy thinking about top Chef. : )

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                              Miss Needle, we are all scared at how much time we spend on the show. Look at the length of the thread. We should all be put away.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                As long as there's a well stocked kitchen we can putter in while in the looney bin, I think we'd be happy if we're all put away. Oh wait - I suppose they'd take away the sharp knives in that case, wouldn't they?

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                  Yeah, I think we all need a bit of help. What are we going to talk about when Top Chef ends?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                        Yes, unfortunately it involves watching all episodes multiple times and writing about them in blogs.

                                                                                                                                        2. I'm beginning to think the petulance and talk-back at the judges table is an equation of outspoken personality + figuring out that there's a story arc progressing that has little to do with food + inconsistent decision making = lack of respect for judges.

                                                                                                                                          I'm getting irritable with the judges as a viewer.
                                                                                                                                          I can only imagine what I'd have to say to them after sleep deprivation, hours in the hot stew room with nothing but alcohol, and a row of challenges that were more about "Top Caterer" and "Top Food Transporter", and "Top Single Mom" than "Top Chef."

                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: steamedbun

                                                                                                                                            Maybe it wasn’t right that Andrew went ahead of Lisa and Spike but I don’t think he could have lasted more than a couple more weeks so it’s just as well. It seemed all three executed poorly but his whole concept was destined for doom to begin with.
                                                                                                                                            I’ve been on the Lisa side in the Dale/Lisa feud but Lisa’s food continues to spiral downward and Dale continues to make food I would like to eat. I think Lisa can bounce back but her time is just about out so she better turn things around quickly.
                                                                                                                                            In considering the rankings, finding a slot for Dale is tough for me. I think he has the skills to go the finals but I also think his temper tantrums could get him bounced after any given challenge. He lacks Richard and Stephanie’s diversity so the next consideration is Dale vs. Antonia for third. Dale has better “wows” than Antonia but lower lows. Antonia may not be spectacular but she is rock solid every week. I think her consistency will take her farther than Dale’s off and on performances. Dale also seems to struggle when he is outside his comfort zone whereas Antonia seems to roll with whatever they throw at her.
                                                                                                                                            I can’t recall any of the comments about Richard’s burrito. It seemed like the ingredients were a bit bland. Did he liven it up with any kind of salsa or sauce?
                                                                                                                                            1. Richard
                                                                                                                                            2. Stephanie
                                                                                                                                            3. Antonia
                                                                                                                                            4. Dale
                                                                                                                                            5. Lisa
                                                                                                                                            6. Spike

                                                                                                                                            1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                              Dale's only been on the chopping block once

                                                                                                                                              1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                True, but he has two bandwagon wins with Richard's green perplexed tofu and Lisa/Stephanie's grilled shrimp and miso/maple bacon.
                                                                                                                                                Also, his two solo wins were ribs on the grill and the bison wrap from last night. Both were well executed but I don't know that they were so great one would consider his presence in the finals a slam dunk.
                                                                                                                                                The problem is that (like Lisa) he fights the challenges he doesn't like instead of embracing them like Richard and Stephanie. He's been able to coast by with sub-par performances because of the volume of bottom dwellers but he isn't going to be able to rely on that much longer. It's almost to the point where there is no middle; you're either top or bottom. I just don't think he has Richard/Stephanie/Antonia's ability to stay calm under pressure, he seems easily rattled.

                                                                                                                                          2. Did anyone else wonder how Lisa mucked up the courage to call out Andrew for not following the rules? Talk about gutsy and nothing to lose. Sadly, she had been growing on me as "not that horrible". It was an idiotic move I'm surprised she survived.

                                                                                                                                            On another note, Andrew drove me nuts the first couple episodes, but he was a fun character to have around and I thought he had a lot to offer. Spike was the best bet to go I thought. Offered nothing, failed at offering nothing, was a complete a-hole

                                                                                                                                            11 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Icantread

                                                                                                                                              Lisa was the one who didn't follow the rules in the Improv challenge by essentialy skipping both the drunken and polish sausage ingredients in her dish.

                                                                                                                                              Pretty hypocritical.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: RBCal

                                                                                                                                                I don't think hypocritical. She said she lost previously because she didn't follow the rules. Granted she wanted to be sure they knew he left out something.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Janet

                                                                                                                                                  She didn't lose -- or she would be gone. She was in the bottom group. There's a difference. According to her logic, if not following the rules means someone should be eliminated she should have been eliminated, and she wasn't, which makes her hypocritical. Also a whining baby and a tattletale. And she kept harping on it until Colicchio basically had to tell her to shut up, that the judges were well aware of what the rules were and what the chefs had and hadn't done, and that they didn't need her to tell them how to judge.

                                                                                                                                                  She's a nasty, nasty piece of work. I keep wishing they'd lock her and Tiffani in a small kitchen with lots of knives.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                    I'd watch that. I'd pay to watch that. Although I would pipe Stephen and Dave from the first season and Dales voice into the kitchen with their commentaries to add to the torture quotient.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                      LOL. You're a sick, sick human being. I like that.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                        LOL! You're good. Very evil, but good. ;-) I think you need to bounce it off the Bravo execs.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                          I'm sure bravo is quite happy that Lisa has emerged as such an edgy, emotive force, getting exposed each week, yet obscuring with the turbulence she generates what her game might really be. She could simply be going the selfish, win at all costs route, or so narcissistic/self protective that her capacity to self reflect/criticize has disconnected. I can't recall her acknowledging any defects in her dishes, as many times as she's been grouped with the worst quickfires or elimination candidates. That bit before the judges when she aggressively harps on another chef's errors, then acts like she fears for her personal safety when she gets a reaction was classic theatre.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                            Yeah, when they asked her why she thought she was in the bottom three this time, she said something like "you put me here, you tell me" -- I would have eliminated her right there. And I agree the fear for her personal safety was a real cheap shot. Cheap, cheap, cheap. I really liked what Andrew said: that everyone would see how she behaved and that would be his payback. Does she not understand that she's acting like a total bitch on a television show being seen by millions of people, including current and future employers and co-workers? Really, she can't be gone too soon for me -- I've been hoping she'd go since she was so snotty about the Improv challenge.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                          It doesn't stop me from watching TC, but I'm becoming cynical. The producers keep the contestants in a hot room for hours while the judges debate. The only place to sit is on uncomfortable metal folding chairs and the only food or beverage we've seen or heard about is liquor. Add in the fatigue from the reality show pace and you've got a hugely stressful situation designed not to identify the top "anything", but to generate the best drama. As a result, I've become quite skeptical that the personalities we see emerge are accurate. Sure, there's the possibility that the reality-show self is a more extreme version of his/her real self, but I also think about a dear friend who became appallingly nasty when he had even a bit too much to drink, let alone get drunk.

                                                                                                                                                          Bottom line: Although I don't like the person Lisa appears to be, I'm far from persuaded that's who she is and that's who friends, family members, fellow employees, and bosses deal with on a daily basis. Furthermore, I don't think she was hypocritical pointing out Andrew's ignoring the grain rule. A tattletale yes, but not hypocritical. She can't read the judges' minds; she had no way of knowing that they were aware of Andrew's rule problem since, I don't believe, they said so until they reacted to Lisa's tattling. Lisa clearly recalled the grilling she got over the rules of the Improv challenge and apparently believed Andrew was going to escape a similar fate. I know we'd all like to think we would behave more kindly, more rationally, more humanely than Lisa in a similar situation, but, without having competed in a reality show, I'm not willing to make draconian judgements.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                                            selbstverstaendlich, Indy, that we can only critique the personas as presented by the editor/producers, and it's their schtick to exaggerate for the sake of dramatic conflict. Making 'em go without sleep for forty hours under the expectation that they'd keep cool and charming for that "special" day and serve perfect food was the equivalent of a test 'til destruction. We should refer to the contestants as "Dale" (probably a nicer person than how he's been contrived to appear) usw.

                                                                                                                                                            This "reality" venue isn't just a lot cheaper to produce than a culinary-based sitcom, it's an all-they-can-eat in your face buffet of product plugs and placements. It it were a sitcom, "Lisa" would be the haughty, aggressive, clueless blunderer, substituting toothfish for kielbasa, mistaking shrimp for health food and serving it half-raw along with the indigestible brown rice she tried to blame on sabotage.

                                                                                                                                                            Your rationalization of "lisa"'s gushing before the judges to avoid elimination could be as accurate as it is charitable, but as things turned out, she herself wasn't eliminated at the improv for not adhering to the rules, and this time she remained because Andrew took the "healthy" guideline to the extreme of 'so healthy, it's neither filling nor tasty', which isn't quite the same thing as ignoring a guideline as an inconvenience.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                              I don't know that you need bother with the inverted commas, but you made exactly the point that everyone needs to keep in mind (and maybe already are):

                                                                                                                                                              We are watching a show with characters and narratives, Unlike fiction, however, our characters are being shaped not by writing, but by extreme circumstances (not only the challenges, but by being kept in small rooms with only fold-out chairs and alcohol for hours on end) and by editing. Our ability to know who they are outside this show is limited to the paratext (the bravo blogs, the interviews) and even that will be a challenge.

                                                                                                                                                  2. I think some of the chefs didn't really take their "clients" into consideration.
                                                                                                                                                    Cooking healthy for blue collar workers, I think the smart thing to do was to work with beef like Antonia and Dale.

                                                                                                                                                    Stephanie's meatball were a good idea too. Meatballs = hearty.

                                                                                                                                                    I think shrimp has potential, but not with Lisa.

                                                                                                                                                    The worst things I thought was chicken. Everyone goes to chicken when they eat healthy. It's boring.

                                                                                                                                                    Tuna is another stretch for blue collar workers, especially raw. That's fish bait.

                                                                                                                                                    1. Lisa could have become the producers' best cook, had she remembered that they had Instant Rice on hand from the Uncle Ben's promo. Had she demanded Uncle Ben's on camera to save her dish, the producers would have been all aflutter and Andy Cohen would have been there polishing her eyebrow stud.

                                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                        Yeah, the product placement on Top Chef is pretty annoying. The one saving grace of Hell's Kitchen is that they don't do that as much.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: RBCal

                                                                                                                                                          Well, while it's annoying, the "Glad Family of Products" is providing the $100K prize to the winner - so I kinda understand the overload of Glad products behind the cheftestants in the stew room, on the shelves in the TC pantry, etc. I don't much like the blatant zeroing in on the GE Momentum logo on the ovens when the Chicago policemen and women go to nuke their box lunches.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                            The ubiquitous and disgusting product placement on Hells Kitchen, which is illegal to advertise directly, is cigarettes. Gordon Ramsey ought to be ashamed, as it is something I'd assume from Fox.

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: RBCal

                                                                                                                                                            I can stomach product placements above idiots who cant cook or constant yelling & screaming of Ramsey along with the general fake & staged feel of HK

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: RBCal

                                                                                                                                                              Whole Foods gets pretty prominent placement as the only place the chefs can shop, and I don't remember them carrying any Uncle Ben's rice.

                                                                                                                                                              What they DO carry, though, is frozen microwaveable already cooked rice. If there was no monetary limit on their spending, Lisa should have just bought that. Foolproof.

                                                                                                                                                          3. Much as I hope that Lisa or Spike will be axed next week, Restaurant Wars is always unpredictable. It is often the leader of the losing team that goes down in flames, and it is usually one of the stronger contenders who opts for the leadership spot. Lisa and Spike are far too selfish and conniving to leave themselves vulnerable to elimination.

                                                                                                                                                            I can't stand Lisa. First she has a hissy fit when she is called out for flagrantly ignoring the rules on the Improv episode. Then she turns it around and claims the Andrew should be going home because he didn't read the rules properly. (I do think there's a huge difference between a conscious violation and a careless lapse). What a whiny, opportunistic, hypocrite. And a poor cook to boot - she has never been ranked "high" in an individual challenge.

                                                                                                                                                            1. In the introduction to all the Top Chef episodes, when they are describing what the winning chef will receive as a prize...does anyone know the hotel/resort they show when they mention the trip to the Alps? Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: iluvtennis

                                                                                                                                                                It's the Évian Resort and Spa in Aix-les-Bains, France... owned by the water people.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                  Hence the seductive shot of the carafe of Evian water.

                                                                                                                                                              2. I'm not sure what it is...but I liked Andrew! His food looked better to me than Lisa's. And frankly, Lisa pisses me off. She doesn't take responsibility for her own food and blames everyone else for her mistake. Plus, regardless of the "rice" situation...her food did not look good!

                                                                                                                                                                You know that if it were Stephanie...she would have been like "oh no my rice, alright....let's work this out..."

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chew on That

                                                                                                                                                                  I agree, Andrew cracked me up on the show, and I actually liked him too because he at least had genuine passion for his food and his ideas and had some cooking talent, crackheaded and bizarre as he was. That being said, I can see why the judges picked him to go this time because ultimately, its the taste that matters and his puny veggie sushi rolls looked virtually inedible to me. But I do hope Lisa and Spike both go next, in either order.

                                                                                                                                                                2. best of episode of the season for me, and one of the best in the series actually.
                                                                                                                                                                  also andrew leaving is quite a big shocker to me, similar to tre going home last year. the season definitely picked up.