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Top Chef - Restaurant Wars [Possible Spoilers]

Guest Judges - Jose Andrés and Anthony Bourdain

Teams seem to be broken down to:
Antonia, Richard and Stephanie versus Dale, Lisa and Spike

I bet the reason the teams are broken down this way is that Antonia wins the quickfire and is able to select who she wants to work with, thus picks Richard and Stephanie

any predictions?

No, these aren't spoilers, just observations I made from seeing the commercials

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  1. yes, Bravo needs to do better editing in their previews, the camera alludes to either Dale or Lisa getting cut

    1. Wow, those are tough judges. Should be fun to watch.

      1. in other noteworthy news, Spike gets fired from Mai House and is replaced by Lisa - funny


        3 Replies
        1. re: attractivekid

          I can't wait to watch this.I have to work at TJMAXX tonight,but can watch the rerun when I get home.
          DUOH! Had a Homer moment.Did anyone watch Conan O'Brian last night?
          He had Tony Bourdain on,and I wanted to watch it,but feel alseep.What did they talk about?
          I hope Lisa goes home this time.

          1. re: attractivekid

            Pathetic is more like it. So Spike is coming to DC to grill burgers? Maybe I can stop in and tell him he sucks.

            1. re: Ericandblueboy

              <Maybe I can stop in and tell him he sucks.> He won't believe you. He's so full of himself, I'll bet he thinks he walks on water.

          2. My prediction and hope is that Richard and Stephanie continue to do well. I really hope that one of those two pull this one off.

            My other prediction is that they sit in front of a Glad advertisement and say 'Whole Foods' at least 37 times.

            just being a wisea$$, I love this show.

            1. The episode just started... did I miss this before, or is this the first time they've said that the finale will be in Puerto Rico?

              1 Reply
              1. re: gyozagirl

                I think they have announced it before.... but it's definitely on their website. There's a mini-interview with Tom about it.

              2. So THAT is how they got the teams that they got. Smart girl Antonia. My respect for her goes up.

                Outside of the personalities, the Buddha team seem to be all about themselves, again. Spike saying that the Laksa is not his fault right away after he tastes it. Not good form, but then again, that's Spike. Dale at least is trying to help, but he has turned me against him, wayyyy too volatile.

                I thought it was interesting that Antonia picked Nikki as her Pasta Beeyach. Has Nikki shown that she can do decent pasta? At least she doesn't have to take responsibility. Mark and Andrew looked forlorn after they got rejected. The women kicked ass.

                That's funny. Dale just said that he doesn't take criticism well and Lisa takes it worse than he does.

                "Baby vomit with wood chips?" Bourdain is a genius!!

                It looks like its down to Lisa and Dale to hit the road. Spike is his smug self but he is right, the other two are like kids. Smart man Spike, volunteering to be front of house and get the heck out of the kitchen, as far away from responsibility as possible.

                22 Replies
                1. re: Phaedrus

                  yeah but for Dale coming in second in the quickfire he sure got screwed in the team department...

                  1. re: AMFM

                    I agree. But he's gotta step up and forget about the BS.

                    By the way, is Bourdain the first judge to comment on Lisa's body language? About freaking time.

                    1. re: Phaedrus

                      Art Smith commented that she was too defensive to be a top chef, but I agree the body language was an elephant in the room and I was relieved to hear it said out loud.

                      1. re: Adrienne

                        Shouldn't Padma have commented then, that that's Lisa's stature every time she's on the bottom?
                        Had Ted seen Lisa and Spike on the chopping block before.
                        Dale was doomed with those two. So, FWIW was their sacrificial lamb the week before. Those two were SO not going to take direction from Dale.
                        Did Tom leave so Dale could be sent home without any senior judge's comment that the other bottom two never play well together?

                        1. re: shallots

                          I think Tom left to maximize Anthony Bourdain's airtime :)

                          1. re: shallots

                            I was just thinking... I think Lisa and Spike have set Dale up for failure... they knew the exec will be going home.... think it might have been a set up once they found out Dale 'won' the Coin Toss...

                            1. re: chefschickie

                              This is where Dale's control issues got him in trouble. He wanted that exec job so much because he hates to be told what to do, especially from Lisa. He should have just let Lisa lead and have her take the fall. It's a much smarter move.

                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                actually no, he got the exec job because he came in second to antonia in the quick fire

                                  1. re: attractivekid

                                    Ummmm... as you have all this inside information, I thought you would have known that there was a coin toss to determine who gets the exec chef position.

                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                      There was an overhead camera shot of the three of them sitting at a card table, and the narrator says that both Lisa and Dale wanted the exec job so they decided to do a coin toss.

                                    2. re: attractivekid

                                      I thought it was between Lisa and Dale and then they did the coin toss... no?

                                      1. re: attractivekid

                                        There was a point during planning where Dale mentioned that due to both he and Lisa wanting to to be exec chef, they decided to flip a coin. It was not a product of coming in second in the QF

                                        1. re: barndog

                                          Yeah, the scene where they talked about doing that went by so quickly I missed it the first time and only caught it when I had the second airing on while I was getting ready for bed -- it's right before they go into the interview where Dale says "Asian restaurant, Asian chef, makes sense."

                                      2. re: Miss Needle

                                        when did i say I had inside information?- cause I don't. All I can say is that working in the industry in NYC, rumors get spread.

                                        Bravo needs better editors

                                  2. re: Adrienne

                                    This made me laugh outloud: http://nymag.com/daily/food/2008/05/a...

                                    Josh Ozersky of NY Mag has nicknamed Lisa "The Gorgon" and describes how all fear her wrath and that she will turn us to stone.

                                    HAHA! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorgon


                              2. re: Phaedrus

                                Antonia's team should send Nikki a lovely bouquet for much more than just rolling out the pasta. Her insistence that the team continue washing the clams turned what would have been a negative into a strong positive. How many times, have we heard the judges criticize fish for scales and shellfish for bits of grit? That would have been Antoina's team's fate if Nikki hadn't been so insistent. I think it took at least two warnings and, finally, some executive chef behavior by Nikki, who had nothing on the line for the team's success, to move the team to corrective action.

                                1. re: Indy 67

                                  Yes --- it was very interesting to see her finally do what she should have been doing all along now that she has nothing on the line. Maybe the competition stressed her out too much to focus like that.

                                  1. re: Indy 67

                                    At the judge's table, didn't they (Antonia and Richard) give credit to Stephanie for making the pasta by hand?

                                    1. re: dave_c

                                      I think Stephanie combined all of the ingredients and kneaded the pasta. But it was Nikki who rolled it out.

                                    2. re: Indy 67

                                      what is Blais's problem with cleaning seafood? totally saved them.

                                    3. re: Phaedrus

                                      <I thought it was interesting that Antonia picked Nikki as her Pasta Beeyach. Has Nikki shown that she can do decent pasta?>

                                      Yes, in the first episode. She made lasagna with homemade pasta which received high praise specifically for the pasta from Rocco and Bourdain. Also, in Wedding Wars, I think the complaints were directed more towards the filling in her tortellini as opposed to the pasta itself.

                                    4. THANK YOU Chef Anthony B for being the first to vocalize Lisa's body language at the Judges' Table! It happens every week when she's being judged (QF and EC), I'm just glad someone finally vocalized her auto-defensive stance + scowl.

                                      34 Replies
                                      1. re: gyozagirl

                                        OK, I thought he was but I wasn't sure.

                                        And Bourdain calls Spike out for being a wimp. And why is he still there? Smart decision making I guess.

                                        And Dale is done.

                                        Is Steph going to share this prize with Richard and Antonia.

                                        1. re: gyozagirl

                                          it's about time someone called her on her horrible demeanor, but HOW could they send dale home before her??? man, this show really pisses me off sometimes.

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            agreed. i mean i knew he was going home - just felt it but for spike and lisa to be in the final 5 with dale gone. UGH!!!
                                            but dale did do a lousy job.

                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              I totally agree- I may be in the minority, but I actually thought Dale had a pretty good shot. Everything about Lisa just rubs me the wrong way. Out of the Mai Buddah group, I would not have predicted that Dale would be the one to go (although being the leader ends negatively most of the time).

                                              Also, Spike just does NOT deserve to be on this anymore. It's Top Chef, not the Top "Sneak out of any responsibilities"!

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                I was horribly pissed off about that. Dale is so much more talented than Lisa (and Spike who's just a smarmy little worm). And he cooked the best dish of the night -- the shortribs. Lisa screwed up totally on the laksa and the mango sticky rice. Dale just screwed up on the scallops. But he was the leader, and leaders generally take the fall. I find this decision a lot more surprising and controversial than Tre's departure last season. I know everybody was so upset about Tre leaving, but Tre pulled off a couple of really bad dishes. He deserved to leave for his performance that night. I really don't think that Dale deserved the same fate. But I kind of expected it after I read Ted Allen's blog last week about some controversial things happening. And I'll bet Spike was happy because he really knows that deep down inside that he's not as talented as the other people who are left. He figures the only way to get to the finals is to finagle his way through.

                                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                                  I wonder what Dale was thinking with the scallops--butterscotch is a pretty difficult flavor to make work in a savory dish. Anyone ever had something with a savory butterscotch?

                                                  1. re: newhavener07

                                                    Bacon. Not that I've tried it, but if it's been put in chocolate and brittle, why not butterscotch.

                                                    1. re: viperlush

                                                      Yeah, I was kind of thinking about the bacon thing, which Lisa did like a miso caramel on a few episodes ago. I think it can theoretically work, but you've got to be really judicious with the butterscotch (more like a smear) and not glop it on like Dale did. Bacon is a stronger flavored meat and can hold up to the butterscotch. But scallops are very delicate.

                                                      1. re: viperlush

                                                        pork belly in butterscotch/miso sauce at tailor in NYC worked brilliantly

                                                      2. re: newhavener07

                                                        Caramel shrimp is a classic Vietnamese dish and only a couple tiny steps removed from butterscotch scallops.

                                                      3. re: Miss Needle

                                                        I agree on Spike. Actually, lets just get rid of the Mai Buddha crew altogether.

                                                        I am watching the repeat and Dale won being the exec by the flip of a coin. he may have screwed himself by wanting to be the exec. This is where Spikes sneakiness comes into play. He knew this was a disaster waiting to happen, so he stepped out of the way. if Dale played it smart, he would have let Lisa take charge and let her swing in the wind and he might still be in.

                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                          Spike certainly can't get far on talent alone. So, yes, he's being very smart. Dale really should be in the finals IMO. I don't think he deserves to win as he's got problems working with other people. But he should have at least had the opportunity to go to Puerto Rico. This sucks!

                                                        2. re: Miss Needle

                                                          But did Dale really cook the short ribs, or was he just in his usual whiny "I did everything" mode? Because earlier there was a scene where Spike is in the kitchen -- cooking something -- and says that they only dish that is completely his dish is the short ribs, because they just braise for 3.5 hours and don't need babysitting while he's working on the front of the house. And then at judges table when Dale says he did the short ribs Spike starts to argue with him. Then he backs off -- I think by that point he knew he was safe and that his best bet was to keep a low profile and let Dale and Lisa push each other under the bus. Either that, or there was a much longer discussion that got cut.

                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                            I'll bet there's a lot that gets cut. I've heard that Judges Tables last for hours but we only see a few snippets of it. From what I saw, it seems that Spike conceptualized the dish and Dale did the actual cooking of the shortribs, which probably involves searing, making the marinade, cleaning the ribs and just watching it. Not a labor intensive job by any means, but there is some work involved. I missed the scene where Spike is cooking something in the kitchen, but I'm thinking it could have been any number of things he was working on unless they did show that he was specifically working on the ribs.

                                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                                              It's actually really hard to tell sometimes what the chefs are working on -- did you see Dale do the steps you described? Dale may have done the finishing (making the braising liquid into a sauce), since Spike was working the front of the house, but I don't see any reason to disbelieve Spike when he said he did the dish "100 percent," at least up to the point that was shown in the kitchen. On the other hand, Dale tends to put his hands on whatever he sees in the kitchen and then either take credit for it or blame someone else.

                                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                Spike didn't seem to argue at Judge's Table when Dale said that he did the execution and that it was Spike's recipe, but then that could have just been editing.

                                                                1. re: JasmineG

                                                                  He clearly did start to argue when Dale said he did the short ribs, but whatever he was going to say was cut short, either by his own restraint or the editors. Who knows what they were trying to do with the editing? They clearly chose to use the clip of Spike saying the short ribs were his -- maybe they were trying to make Dale look bad for taking credit for a dish that was supposedly Spike's.

                                                                  Spike has shown himself to be a better strategist than a chef -- he may have decided that it was better to shut up, rise above the frey in front of the judges and let Dale and Lisa sink themselves.

                                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                    Yeah, I'm sure that Dale touched the short ribs at some point, but I'm equally sure that Spike did a lot more to them than just hand Dale a recipe and say go for it. Dale is good at taking credit for the good things and throwing blame on someone else for the bad things (as is Lisa), so it was definitely smart of Spike to just stop arguing and step aside (if that is what he did).

                                                                    1. re: JasmineG

                                                                      Actually, this was where Dale and Lisa actually agreed because Dale started to say that Spike conceptualized the dish and then Lisa finished his sentence by saying that Spike conceptualized but Dale executed the dish.

                                                        3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                          I agree. Dale's behavior is childish but Lisa made 2 dishes and Dale made 4 and Lisa's were both inedible. baby food and wood chips inedible... this show is supposed to be top chef, so if the food tastes bad you should go. i also can't believe they didn't comment that spike didn't cook. at all. wtf.

                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                            Another terrible decision.

                                                            Lisa has been on the chopping block week after week. Why? Because she can't cook. How many dishes can she screw up before they send her home?

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              If they crown Spike or Lisa as top chef they would exceed their previous top chef mistake of Ilan because these two can't cook AND they're assholes too.

                                                              1. re: marblebag

                                                                "If they crown Spike or Lisa..."

                                                                i'll go on record right now saying that if this abomination occurs [which i truly can't imagine], i'll start a top chef boycott.

                                                              2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                <but HOW could they send dale home before her???> he was the Exec Chef. he had to take the fall. same thing happened to Tre, remember? as well, the food wasn't good at Mai Buddha, either... except for the short ribs, which Spike claimed, even tho he didn't cook them. Didn't you see Dale shrug his shoulders when Spike said that?

                                                                The minute I saw Dale and Lisa flip that coin, I knew Dale was the goner. Too bad. Both Lisa and Spike deserved to exit before him, imho. and now one of them will definitely be in the top 4. I'm betting on Spike. I can't imagine THREE WOMEN in the top 4!!!

                                                                1. re: ChefJune

                                                                  That's a perfect comparison, Chef June -- and we were outraged when Tre was booted off too. This "executive chef takes the fall" doesn't make any sense to me in this game -- it gives the other chefs incentive to do poorly instead of doing well!

                                                                  1. re: Adrienne

                                                                    what's even odder is that the executive chef of the other winning team didn't even get the win, the server (stephanie) did.

                                                                    1. re: attractivekid

                                                                      <what's even odder is that the executive chef of the other winning team didn't even get the win, the server (stephanie) did.> not "odder" to me... Stephanie not only did FOH, she also made two outstanding dishes!

                                                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                                                        If your team screws up, it's mainly your neck on the line (look at the past seasons as well). If your team does well, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll win.

                                                                        tip for future TC contestants, based on the odds, one should never play the role of executive chef if one wants to make it to the finals; that role is basically reprised in the finale again anyways when you have to do a four-course menu with an assembled team

                                                                      2. re: attractivekid

                                                                        And the questions Stephanie answered on the Bravo site didn't really explain the good/better things she did to merit the trip to Spain over the Richard and Antonia.
                                                                        The editing of their part of Judges Table really left me wondering what the H was going on.

                                                                        1. re: attractivekid

                                                                          I noticed that and a small flare of hope fired in me (I was all prepared to Dale to go home after I saw the preview on Bravo's site). If they were going for food and contribution, it's clear that Dale made an equally strong contribution for the other team. Lisa had two things to do and botched up both (and really, for all the judges' talk of quality control, Dale couldn't very well not send out *both* of Lisa's dishes - neither Lisa nor the judges would have stood for that). Ah well. The decks were stacked in Antonia's favour when she got to pick *both* the people she was working with (talk about a ridiculously unfair advantage), though I would imagine that she's probably annoyed that, for all the seasons of exec chef taking the fall or winning, she didn't take the prize.

                                                                          I still can't believe that Lisa & Spike are still around. Dale was my favourite, but even disregarding that, Lisa & Spike are terrible people. Ick. Lisa may or may not be able to cook, but her "take no criticism" attitude is awful. Spike, on the other hand, just seems to be unable to cook.

                                                                          1. re: Ali

                                                                            i was upset, because here is another example where playing the game is more important than ability to make great food. Forget Lisa--it's Spike hanging around that drives me crazy. He is just as defensive and unwilling to take criticism (grapes/olives in chicken salad) as Lisa. And has not displayed much cooking talent.

                                                                            Dale has been the most consistent and has made the food that I have wanted to eat most throughout the season. The fact that he wants control, loves to cook, and cares deeply, is why he fought to be executive chef. If he thought for one second he would realize that he was putting himself in jeopardy unecessarily. If he had not made a scallop dish that the judges didn't like, maybe it would have tipped the scales to offing Lisa even though Dale was exec chef. But sneaky Spike being rewarded time and again because he cares more about the game than food makes me hate the way they arrange these competitions. I hope next season they cut all the @%#$@ team catering challenges and focus on food more.

                                                                            While this episode was better than the abysmal kid and cop challenges, I was also annoyed that they only spent a few seconds focusing on how well the winning team did. I would have liked to hear a lot more of the judges' impressions of the successful dishes. It seemed to me that this was the most successful restaurant wars team to date, and they sort of got blown off because they needed to show every single time Dale swore or shouted to set up his elimination.

                                                                  2. re: gyozagirl

                                                                    thought EXACTLY the same thing and wondered if he's reading these threads.

                                                                    The elimination surprised me (though it was justified) - wonder if would have happened if Colicchio had been on the JT.

                                                                    1. re: gyozagirl

                                                                      If they crown Spike or Lisa as top chef they would exceed their previous top chef mistake of Ilan because these two can't cook AND they're assholes too.

                                                                      Is this the next generation ?

                                                                    2. Spike has to be the luckiest contestant in this show. Is it just me or is he the first of the contestants (all seasons) to actually "play the game" and see this as a contest? Last week it was his choices (lettuce, tomatoe, bread) and this week by staying out of the kitchen and by not sharing his recipe w/Lisa.

                                                                      How is Lisa still in this?

                                                                      Was this the first season where the judges obviously liked one restaurant over the other? As soon as Antonia picked Richard and Stephanie I knew they would win. They seem the most professional and calm in the kitchen. I hope they make it to the finals.

                                                                      Andres and Bourdain were amusing judges, I wouldn't mind seeing more of them. I liked their comments about the contestants (Lisa and her crossed arms, Spike and his avoiding the kitchen).

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: viperlush

                                                                        Scallops + butterscoth = bye,bye. Spike played that group like a cheap guitar, They never mentioned who made the dumplings, but not much challenge in that.
                                                                        They should have goten rid of all 3.

                                                                      2. Yo Dale, so long, sucka! Wow, his outbursts were getting really tiresome, although it was kind of sad to see him lose it at the end. Interesting choices on gastropub vs. Asian fusion, just goes to show that Asian food is a lot more difficult than it looks. Deeply puzzled by that gorgonzola cheesecake, but I'd love to try it!

                                                                        11 Replies
                                                                        1. re: newhavener07

                                                                          Ever try gorgonzola with honey? It's a great combo. Totally could see gorgonzola cheesecake.

                                                                          Asian food can be very difficult. It's a bit more than just throwing soy sauce on everything.

                                                                          I love Antonia, but I kind of got pissed at her comment about Asian food and then her talking about Chinese food. I think Dale's team's menu had nothing Chinese in it except perhaps the potstickers.

                                                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                            Asian food can be more difficult, but all along Spike and Lisa have been touting their expertise in this cuisine so it's their own fault for not living up to expectations they themselves created.

                                                                            I am so angry that Lisa and Spike are still in I just don't know if I can watch any more. And kudos to Bourdain for mentioning her horrific body language.

                                                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                              I do NOT love Antonia and her ignorance is a big reason...hello, Asia is vast and varied, calling Asian food some little niche is a ridiculously self-centered American worldview. And didnt Dale make bratwurst? How is that Asian? And didn't she also make some bizarre comment about being part Cuban so they were using tequila? I think she needs some geography and history classes.

                                                                              1. re: kenito799

                                                                                I like Antonia because she's a non-nonsense kind of gal -- cooks well, is a very smart lady, kind of tells it like it is. But you're right that she needs a remedial social studies/geography course. I think she's saying those comments out of ignorance as opposed to visions of grandeur.

                                                                            2. re: newhavener07

                                                                              I think Bourdain does read these threads. They show Antonia make her comment about Dale making Asian foods all the time, and someone else in the earlier thread that there are lots of different Asian cuisines: Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, Thai, Indian, etc. Lo and behold, Bourdain makes the comment about how big Asia is and how difficult it is to pull off an Asian theme.

                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                It does seem like most of No Reservations are filmed in Asian countries, so I would expect A.B. to make that comment. I almost feel bad for them, choosing Asian fusion with him as a judge.

                                                                                1. re: viperlush

                                                                                  That was my exact comment I made to my SO, viperlush: "Bourdain is going to hate this. Asian-Fusion?" Fusion was hot in the late-90's, early '00s, but not anymore. They should have figured out a different concept.

                                                                                  1. re: azhotdish

                                                                                    "Fusion was hot in the late-90's, early '00s, but not anymore."

                                                                                    I think David Chang would disagree. He has become the hottest chef in NYC and maybe all of the United States by cooking Asian Fusion.

                                                                                    1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                      I'm not saying there aren't exceptions, and I should have specified "Asian-fusion". Bourdain has made it clear that he is not a fan.

                                                                                2. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                  That or we're making comments that SHOULD be obvious.

                                                                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                    You do realize that Bourdain said that more than six months ago, right? It's not like Bourdain hasn't been all over Asia and doesn't know first hand that Asia is a big place with lots of diverse cuisines.

                                                                                3. Sooooooo disappointed that Lisa is still on~ over DALE! The chefs language even wore off on my hubby, he dropped an f-bomb when Padma say ..."dale"!!! Heres my thoughts, Lisa is always in the bottom. Dale is usually in the top (unless paired with ...Lisa), both have crappy attitudes (although Dale can be upbeat time as well as cranky). Why oh why did the Top Chefs gods (ie- judges) send Dale packing (pun intended, haha). Oh well, looks like Lisa is done next week, someone must have sabotaged her food. Wait no, her food was already doomed when she started cooking it, esp if it was rice!

                                                                                  18 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: jme1beachbum

                                                                                    Lisa's responsible for the rice desert but she tried to blame someone else for picking the rice? That is so wrong.

                                                                                    When Antonia won QF, they could've given her the first pick, not first pick of the entire team. Dale was doomed from the get-go.

                                                                                    1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                      i like dale and am sorry he's gone. but i actually think he might have picked the rice. or spike did. i actually don't think lisa did. would be interesting to see that in the replay since it mattered a bit.

                                                                                      1. re: AMFM

                                                                                        I think it's funny that Lisa said she didn't pick the rice in this tone of 'I couldn't have even reached the high-up rice, it must have been Dale.' Umn... Dale is 5'5" I don't think he reached anything for Lisa. Though if he did of course it would not make him responsible for her potpourri babyfood.

                                                                                        1. re: AMFM

                                                                                          Dale is adamant that he didn't pick the rice. So maybe Spike did? But why would Lisa let someone else pick her rice? Dale went home because he didn't do quality control (I'm not sure anyone can do quality control over Lisa and her 10,000 mistakes), but the judges don't hold Lisa accountable for her dish?

                                                                                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                            Dale picked the rice, Dale has issues

                                                                                            1. re: fishfry

                                                                                              was that something that I missed that was in the show?

                                                                                              1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                they couldn't find the kind they wanted so then they found a different kind - they did make a bit of a deal about it.

                                                                                                they were at a disadvantage trying to have an asian restaurant without an asian specialty store and ingredients.

                                                                                                1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                  Definitely. And there's a really high mark-up on Asian ingredients at Whole Foods.

                                                                                                  1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                    Yes, BUT they knew ahead of time that they'd be shopping at WFM, where they have shopped before. They could have figured this into their menu-planning ahead of time.

                                                                                                    1. re: heathermb

                                                                                                      don't disagree - they could've/should've taken that into consideration

                                                                                                      but it would be hard if you hadn't thought of it before you got there.

                                                                                          2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                            I hate how they've done so many things this season i.e. the picking of teams and partners for things...

                                                                                            There's so many filmed moments that remind me of an elementary school gym class, it's frightening. I'm curious if the outcome would be different if some people hadn't been forced to work together. Than again, some strong people have continued to pair up, and it's been in the favor of my favorites (Richard, Stephanie).

                                                                                            But the producers have been milking this psuedo rivalry between Dale & Lisa that I don't think really existed, to the extent we were made to think the animosity existed.

                                                                                            1. re: sommrluv

                                                                                              I don't think this was a pseudo rivalry. There was a newspaper article before Top Chef Season 4 came on the air where they interviewed all of the NY chefs. And they were all asked the same question -- who did you hate the most? Dale and Lisa went off about each other.

                                                                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                While I still think it's being milked a lot, I might take back my pseudo rivalry take.

                                                                                                Someone referred to Ted Allen's Blog and I wandered over to bravotv to read it, and they have a bunch of edited scenes from top chef there. They have at least 3 scenes of a drunk Dale screaming and yelling at everyone...basically the best parts of the stew room fights, it seems to me. I'm surprised the producers cut them. Maybe they wanted him to look like a nicer guy.

                                                                                                Makes me totally see him in a different light.

                                                                                                1. re: sommrluv

                                                                                                  Near the bottom of this thread is a post by mudaba, who links an interview with Dale done after he was evicted by Chow.com. In that interview, Dale says a couple of times that if he could do anything differently, he would have consumed less alcohol. When I first listened to the interview, I was puzzled, because I hadn't really seen any indication that Dale had acted badly "under the influence." Your post makes me think differently. At least the boy himself recognized his shortcomings in retrospect!

                                                                                                  1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                    I'll have to listen to the interview. I think that's where the outbursts came from, that made some of the others not like him.

                                                                                                    My husband kept saying..Wine and Beer and Champagne AGAIN...they are just setting them up to do something stupid.

                                                                                                    Haven't they learned anything from the whole Marcel head shaving thing? Alcohol and stress and big emotional highs and lows just don't mix. Hindsight is 20/20

                                                                                                    1. re: sommrluv

                                                                                                      "Haven't they learned anything from the whole Marcel head shaving thing? Alcohol and stress and big emotional highs and lows just don't mix. Hindsight is 20/20"

                                                                                                      Oh, so true. If I was a contestant, I think I would play it safe and not drink any alcohol. Besides, alcohol screws my palate up.

                                                                                                      Sommrluv, you'd probably be interested in this interview of Dale. He pretty much says the same thing he did in the Chow one about his feelings for Lisa.


                                                                                            2. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                              that's a good point, it was pretty brutal that Antonia got to pick the two obviously best chefs. If they had alternated choices, it would have been much more interesting.

                                                                                              1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                agree! if antonia was chef 1 and dale was chef 2 and they got to choose the other members of their teams one at a time, it would have been a much tighter race and a more interesting challenge. the teams were horribly unbalanced, with 3 strong cooks against 1 1/2. i think this season's restaurant wars was conceptualized (a year ago) with the the idea that all 6 of the chefs would be strong ones by this point, yet spike and lisa have managed to worm through thus far. i think it was clear as soon as antonia made her picks what was going to happen (wedding wars redux), even padma was kind of like "doh."

                                                                                                i'd imagine if they made team selections 1 at a time, with antonia leading and dale runner-up, that she would have gone with her gut and picked stephanie, and dale would have picked richard. or, if antonia wanted to mess up the blais/dale power team, she'd have picked richard and dale would have picked stephanie, and antonia would probably pick spike just to stick dale with lisa. . . with nikki and jen added back in it may have been much more of a close contest and more interesting to watch as a competition rather than as a trainwreak.

                                                                                          3. WOW - did i call it or what!!!

                                                                                            and yeah, good decision by the judges...

                                                                                            Dale is obviously the least talented and so deserved to go. Cause you know, Mai House Spike (and now Lisa) are that much more talented than Dale.

                                                                                            oh, and yeah, Cookbook Antonia calling out Dale doing his Asian thing...again, cause you know, anything Asian is all the same.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                              haha, funny how spike tried to get all the credit for whatever was good and totally said it was a group decision for all that was bad.... incredible....
                                                                                              Oh and his remark to Dale at the end, haha, about "we've had our differences, but you are very talented' are you effing kidding me?!?!

                                                                                              1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                I don't think he can predict that... Four of them will be going to Puerto Rico, and I'm pretty sure it will be Spike over Lisa...

                                                                                                No, I don't "know" anything... just an educated guess.

                                                                                                1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                  I meant that since his predictions come true, I'd like to request a prediction. Just joking around.

                                                                                              2. for all you, "dale shoudn't have gone before spike or lisa" -- I wouldn't feel too bad for Dale, considering how his two former teammates are faring out now...it's almost poetic justice.

                                                                                                60 E 65

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                  60 E 65?? trying to tell us something? :P

                                                                                                  1. re: Jstern35

                                                                                                    60 East 65th St. in New York is the address for Daniel.

                                                                                                2. wrong decision. dale, richard, and stephanie were the three best chefs on the show.

                                                                                                  1. They could have thrown any of those three out, and I would have been fine with it. Yes, Dale's a talented chef, but he wanted the executive chef job, and he paid dearly for it. Anyone remember Tre from season 3? Good chef, lead his team in Restaurant Wars, team failed, goodbye Tre. And he was a helluva alot more of a team player than Dale!

                                                                                                    Spike is the one that really pisses me off. First he says they need to put differences behind them and work as a team, yet he's the first one to disavow responsibility for anything. Didn't Lisa want to make a ramen and Spike came up with the laksa? Yet did he even offer to help when he found it to be "sour"? Sure, the short ribs were good, but how hard are braised short ribs? Ah, well, they should have booted the whole team.

                                                                                                    Thank you, A.B., for commenting on Lisa's body language. That's the one thing about her that has bugged me all season. And thank you, A.B., for being a guest judge. Getting to watch him twice in one week made it a very, very good week. Woohooo!

                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: phee

                                                                                                      Dale and Lisa wanted to be the top dog of the pack, but neither had the ability or the respect to be effective as such. So Dale won the nominal title and took the bullet. Sadly, they are all too much alike. They would have been collectively far better off, for all their faults, had one or two been more humble. Three b-holes of equal rank can only make poop.

                                                                                                      1. re: phee

                                                                                                        dale was the one who wanted to do a ramen soup, lisa and spike both shot him down for laksa, lisa botched it, bourdain was extremely critical of it, dale was criticized for the "decision" to run laksa "when he doesn't even know what it's supposed to taste like," and it's probably one of the biggie issues that sent him home.

                                                                                                        spike of course: "oh my recipe's better than lisa's, i would have cooked it very differently, ooh, don't i just smell like roses today!"

                                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                          And I also think the ramen would have worked better with the menu as it's generally lighter than laksa. It would have been a better counterpoint to those awful butterscotch scallops and the heavy short rib dish. It's quite a shame.

                                                                                                      2. Dale screws up his dish. Gets so perfectionistic about it he concentrates only on his dish. But he's excecutive chef.

                                                                                                        Lisa messes up two of her dishes. Dale should have realized as exec he would take the fall. But to him HIS dish is more important. Dumb.

                                                                                                        Plus yes, Lisa did mess up the dish with the smoke. The rice dish she did a) use a rice she was not familiar with and b) Dale lied, the camera shows HE did pick out the rice at the super market.

                                                                                                        The right one went home tonight, IMHO.

                                                                                                        .... All that said, who would have thought Spike would make it to the Final Five?! Oh and his both taking the front section and making the braised short ribs dish ... brilliant. Like him or hate him, Spike is a definite player and plays the game well.

                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: HarryK

                                                                                                          "Like him or hate him, Spike is a definite player and plays the game well."

                                                                                                          Actually, I'd love to see Spike in the finals, where he's finally forced to prepare some top-of-the-line cuisine on his own. I'd love to see the look on the judge's faces ("What have we done!?") when confronted with a menu of squash soup, braised short ribs, and a chocolate-chip cookie.

                                                                                                          1. re: jbw

                                                                                                            Let us not forget his Asian cuisine "experience". Add the nasty spring rolls he made to that menu.

                                                                                                        2. My favorites have been Richard,Stephanie and a bit less Antonia. My least from day one has been Lisa -her attitude and general demeanor has distracted from any of the culinary tasks she has attempted. Having said that, I have no clue what was Dale thinking he could accomplish trying to be an ex. chef to someone who will not take direction or criticism. How many people did she need to tell her the dish was smoky or sour? I wish they had brought Jennifer to the Judges Table to shed some light into the workings of the Buddha kitchen. She could have cut to the chase on who really contributed. It also bothered me when Lisa and Spike returned to the waiting room for the judges decision and acted so unprofessional chatting behind Dale's back. Sorry to see Dale go but now I can't wait for Lisa's and Spike's departure.

                                                                                                          1. it was a given that dale was going to go home once we found out he was going to be exec. chef. no way would they get the win. just like how tre took the fall. and also you could already see in the interviews he was sobing.

                                                                                                            1. Don't you love how they edited the quickfire segments down?

                                                                                                              1. God help me, I've started watching Spike's hat, as if it were a contestant on its own.
                                                                                                                Hat, of course, being one of an interchangeable mess of hats and head covereings.
                                                                                                                Last night, he tore it off his head as he was leaving somewhere, as if there were Spike rules about not wearing a hat through a doorway.
                                                                                                                Does Spike know Jeffrey from Project Runway? Jeffrey has said that he had a pre-throught-out persona defined by clothes and actions and designs. I wonder if Spike and his hat and his not shaving before being front of house are part of his grand plan?

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. re: shallots

                                                                                                                  While it was a tough choice to pick the loser between Dale and Lisa, I think they were right to kick Dale, he really blew it as the "Executive Chef" and the way he acted actually made Lisa look OK in comparison. And Spike actually cleaned up pretty well when they got rid of the hat and put him in a suit. I think Bourdain got it right, by some combination of luck, Spike managed to stay out of the middle of the train wreck that was Dale and Lisa in the kitchen.

                                                                                                                  I certainly hope that Lisa is the one to go next week.

                                                                                                                  Couple of things about the rice. Yes Dale picked it out. And apparently Dale took if off the burner and then Lisa had to put it back on because it wasn't done. It was Dale who decided to doctor it to make it sticky using whatever it was that they made.

                                                                                                                  Much as I don't like Spike, he did all the decorating and setting up the restaurant, and he did a good job in front of the house.

                                                                                                                2. I cannot believe I didn't watch the show last night! Arrrgh! Don't know why I forgot - it's must-see Wednesday night TV!

                                                                                                                  Will have to forego reading any of the posts here until I watch the repeat tonight at 9pm.

                                                                                                                  1. I thought Dale should go home both because he was the executive chef so had ultimate responsibility for the team's failure and because the butterscotch scallops not only tasted bad, but didn't even make sense conceptually.

                                                                                                                    It also doesn't seem to me that someone who whines about having a team that won't listen to him has what it takes to be a Top Chef. How many of us have to supervise people who are real pains in the butt? I know that I do. And I know that my boss isn't going to accept that as an excuse if we don't get our work done or screw up. I wouldn't have minded if Lisa had gone, but in my opinion, Dale was the better choice for elimination.

                                                                                                                    11 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: mercyteapot

                                                                                                                      A true executive chef would just fire people s/he doesn't like to work with. That's how the industry works. But this is just "Reality TV".

                                                                                                                      1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                        Wasn't there an episode once where they asked the EC why they didn't just "fire" a teammate, though? I can't remember who it was, maybe during one of the finales?

                                                                                                                        I work in California and it is much harder to fire someone than it should be. Still, complaining that someone "won't listen to you" is a surefire way to demonstrate your lack of leadership ability.

                                                                                                                        1. re: mercyteapot

                                                                                                                          I'd agree about the complaining, except that, in Dale's case, it's sadly true. To go along with attractivekid, a true exec chef would also know not to hire people he couldn't work with - this being television, Dale, Spike & Lisa got thrown together instead of choosing to work with one another.

                                                                                                                          And by the way, Dale's scallops actually worked conceptually since it's not a very far jump from scallops in, say, a sauternes or ice wine sauce. Had he been [significantly] more judicious about the butterscotch, the dish would've worked practically, but I think the concept is sound.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Ali

                                                                                                                            But is it a sound concept in a restaurant called Mai Buddha? I don't think so.

                                                                                                                            Dale made so many mistakes as Exec.
                                                                                                                            His dish didn't fit with any of the other dishes served, even if all the other dishes had been well executed.
                                                                                                                            When they couldn't find sticky rice he should have picked a different dessert.
                                                                                                                            When he tasted Lisa's laksa, he should have told her to start over or asked Spike to fix it. Which would have meant Spike starting over.
                                                                                                                            His suggestion of mixing in a pastry cream to the rice? How was that supposed to fix it? Was that pastry cream made entirely of corn starch? (I actually blame the editing for making it seem like cornstarch = pastry cream).

                                                                                                                            Dale was not a team player and it showed in his appalling lack of leadership. It was mete and just that he "pack his knives and go."

                                                                                                                        2. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                          A true executive chef would just fire people s/he doesn't like to work with.
                                                                                                                          Wow Don't I wish that's the way that worked. You can't always just fire some one because you don't like them. It's just not that simple IRL. The hardest part of this job IMO is working with difficult people. Dale had zero leadership ability and seemed to lack the ability to work on a team at all. Lisa is the same and I'd flush her and spike in a second.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Docsknotinn

                                                                                                                            depends where you work, but if you're the exec, you can pretty much fire/hire at will. Most places make you trail (work w/out pay usually) for a few days before even hiring you to see how well you get along in the line. remember, a few of the cooks in the kitchen aren't even 'legally' able to work.

                                                                                                                              1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                if you're the exec, you can pretty much fire/hire at will. Most places make you trail (work w/out pay usually) for a few days before even hiring you to see how well you get along in the line.
                                                                                                                                That's not been my experience at all. I have never been asked to trail for free nor would I allow that in my kitchen. As the Exec I can tell you from personal experience that even in most right to work states that you don't just get to fire some one because you don't like them. However I can easilly make you not want to work for me!
                                                                                                                                As I mentioned earlier working with difficult people is one of the toughest aspects of being a Chef from my perspective. I think Top Chef does a very good job representing how opposing personalities must function together to work as a team.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Docsknotinn

                                                                                                                                  Whether or not you technically are able to fire difficult people, it may not always be in your best interest. What if you find someone who's a really great sous or pastry chef or saucier etc., and you need them professionally, but you don't get along with them personally? Knowing how to work with people is simply a useful skill to have if you want to be able to run the best kitchen possible.

                                                                                                                                  Though -- in the specific example of Mai Buddha, an Exec Dale would never have hired Lisa and Spike to begin with, I think.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                                    I agree completly. Unfortunatly I don't always get to pick my staff. People get replaced by HR when I'm off at other locations or on vacation.
                                                                                                                                    I can think of several people that I've worked with over the years that I did not like on a personal level at all and they were really very good chefs/cooks. No way would I fire them just because we are different people.
                                                                                                                                    I don't think the biggest issue for Dale as the exec of the challange was firing some one. If he did he would have made a scene and left himself at a huge disadvantage considering the time frame.
                                                                                                                                    He should have deligated tasks and said THIS is what you are going to do and no way are we going to make a dish that I know nothing about. It's very hard to go with the flow when you have opposing personalities. This challange was not the time to play safe but to really step up and be the chef. But hey I laughed the minute I heard butterscotch scallops.
                                                                                                                                    Dale seems to have a lot of talent but really needs to work on the people skills. If he can master that end of the kitchen and his personality he will have a very good career.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Docsknotinn

                                                                                                                                      I think what you are saying is to be a professional. Dale has a very hard time separating the professional and the personal. For that matter, Lisa, Spike, and Dale all do, as do Jen , Zoi, and Andrew. Critique of your work is not a critique of you as a person and it is difficult to snatch back the ego from attacking someone when that happens, but you have to, I am not a chef I am an engineer and I find self censorship is a really good quality to have when you are dealing with people while in the throes of emotion and the stress of work all the time.

                                                                                                                        3. I love Stephanie - she's probably my favorite. BUT - Did anybody else think she was doing a bit of subversive sabotage by reminding the judges that Richard had made the banana scallops before? (Of course, she could have been responding to a judge's comment and it was edited out - or I missed it.)

                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Mushroom

                                                                                                                            I was also confused about her saying she did the pasta, when they made a big point of bringing in Nikki to do it? I'm sure I just missed something.

                                                                                                                            1. re: mselectra

                                                                                                                              Nicki rolled the pasta. But - I was a bit confused there, as well. Because I thought I saw Antonia making the pasta.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Mushroom

                                                                                                                                I definitely remember Stephanie working the pasta dough. But I don't remember anything about who did the rest of the pasta dish, other than Nikki making sure the grit was gone, and it seems like they all had their hands in the sink then.

                                                                                                                                1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                  I assumed Stephanie took credit for the pasta dish not because she executed the dish in the kitchen (after all, she also had to put together the FOH while they were cooking), but because she created the dish in the first place.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                    I believe what she said to the judges was that it was her recipe (at least when she delievered the pasta, I don't remember what she said at Judge's Table).

                                                                                                                                    1. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                                                      At Judges' Table, they asked who did the pasta, and I believe she said "It was mine," or something to that effect.

                                                                                                                            2. re: Mushroom

                                                                                                                              I didn't interpret her comment as sabotage. It struck me, wondering if it was TMI, but her demeanor made it sound like an affirmation that they were well received before, and most of the judges hadn't tasted them before, of course -- just Padma, since it was a quickfire.

                                                                                                                            3. Hi:

                                                                                                                              If you are interested in making and discussing predictions on the outcome of Top Chef episodes going forward, please do so on the thread below, rather than on this or on any future threads about new episodes. Any predictions on this thread, or on new threads that discuss upcoming episodes, that come to our attention will be removed. We hope that this is a reasonable compromise for all posters involved.


                                                                                                                              Thank you.

                                                                                                                              1. I wanted to see MORE of the quickfire challenge. RATS. They edited that down to nothing. I was really looking forward to watching them in action in a really busy kitchen.

                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: melly

                                                                                                                                  You know, I'll bet that Bravo would make a ton of money if they sold extended scenes Director's cut versions of Top Chef seasons as opposed to those lame T-shirts.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                    They could make a ton of money by just showing the out takes of the discussions at the Judge's Table. Show just how desperate some of these folks get when they are trying to talk their way into staying.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: melly

                                                                                                                                    Me too! I thought it was really interesting to see who did well, and who seemed confused (Richard and Stephanie).

                                                                                                                                    1. re: JasmineG

                                                                                                                                      i thought the QF was kind of ridiculous. This QF was about who's the strongest short-order cook at a diner? Seems more appropriate for an earlier episode challenge.

                                                                                                                                      You'd think they'd have more high-level technique challenges like the one featuring Daniel Boulud from episode 3 in the later stages to really show who's elite.

                                                                                                                                      I also think they really underutilized Jose Andres. It would have been nice to have incorporated something he's known for into the elimination or quickfire challenge

                                                                                                                                      1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                        Too bad Ilan wasn't around for this season!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                          I don't have any problem with the QF challenge. What it showed was who could deal with the pressure of getting things right in the line.

                                                                                                                                    2. Restaurant Wars always throws a curve with who is eliminated! And finally a team got it right with this challenge. Bourdain seemed really impressed with "Kitchen Warehouse" (or whatever they called it) ability to create a simple cohesive menu that took the time constraints into consideration. In past seasons the cheftestants had never considered the unintended consequences of an overly ambitious menu. Richard, Stefanie and Antonia kept it "simple, stupid" and executed each dish to near perfection - EXACTLY what this challenge is all about.

                                                                                                                                      While they do not show the full judge's table discussion Dale didn't seem to do himself any favors with the leadership he did show in the kitchen. Examples are below:

                                                                                                                                      1 - He continually told Lisa that the soup was too smokey, and offered ideas to help her change that and to add "heat".
                                                                                                                                      2 - He pointed out to Lisa that the sticky rice wasn't sticky enough and offered suggestions to change it, he tried to adapt to the situation.
                                                                                                                                      3 - His guacamole shaved ice thing needed to be altered because of coloring, he again adapted to the situation and was willing to change the dish if it didn't work.

                                                                                                                                      I fear that becasue AB and not TC was the head judge for this one that the questions which are normally asked were not asked. Tom normally knows how to get down to who was behind what dish and the thought process to it, Bourdain has great insight on flavor profiles and kitchen dynamics but hasn't had the same level of experience at judge's table. I also think Spike would have taken much more of the blame had Tom been there - I think Mularchy was criticzed for much of the same reasons last season, and Stephen in season 1 (the this isn't top somonlier comment).

                                                                                                                                      22 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: wingman

                                                                                                                                        "Restaurant Wars always throws a curve with who is eliminated!"

                                                                                                                                        Except for Season 1 and 2 -- Miguel Morales and Mikey were eliminated -- they were the weakest link and they were not executive chef.

                                                                                                                                        I totally agree with you that Tom C not being at judges table could have affected the outcome. In Season 2, I believe Sam was the executive chef and really botched the watermelon dish. Mikey was just accused of not really thinking when he was buying the plates and glasses by not purchasing any bread plates. Tom knew that Mikey was the weakest link and that Sam was a lot stronger from knowing their histories. Mikey was the one to go, not Sam.

                                                                                                                                        And as much as I think Tom can be a curmudgeon, I think he's a more effective judge than Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain, however, is a better host with a lot more witty commentary.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                          As much as I like restaurant wars, I think they should make this the challenge for the finale. It makes more sense since they're almost identical in nature.

                                                                                                                                          I also think that rather than letting Antonia get the first two picks for her team, she should have only gotten the first pick with Dale getting the second.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                            Perhaps AB could take Gail's place? Then we could have Tom's questions AND Bourdain's snark.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: revsharkie

                                                                                                                                              I actually like Gail and her perspective as a diner (as opposed to somebody who works behind the scenes). And her blogs are pretty well written and analytical and fair. I wouldn't mind if AB replaced Padma, though. Padma is supposed to be there for eye candy. However, it seems that a lot of viewers prefer the male sex as Tom seems to win those sexiest judges poll Bravo likes to have.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                Bravo's core audience is women and gay men -- not surprising they prefer Tom to Padma.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                  This show would be 10x more entertaining if every few episodes they'd let Gordon Ramsay sub in

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                    LOL. That would be fun. Imagine him calling Lisa, Jen, or Zoi a fat cow to their face. I would think that he would end up being fileted.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                    I have no problems with Gail's expertise but I do have huge problems with her delivery. She seems to be whining all the time. It seems to me that she wants to cross the threshold between the diner role and a chef. I don't mind her giving her opinions as a diner, but she always insists on putting a word in as a chef. She is surrounded by chefs on the JT so her input as a chef is superfluous at best and annoying at worst.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                      To me, listening to her is like being stabbed in the ear with an ice pick!

                                                                                                                                              2. re: wingman

                                                                                                                                                Dale seemed to get short shrift for attempting to do what an executive chef should do - he tasted all the dishes, he identified the problems (specifically, that both of Lisa's dishes sucked), and he tried to help fix them. Unfortunately they were unfixable and in addition, one of his 2 dishes sucked too (and the other one was a repeat of something he'd already done earlier).

                                                                                                                                                I thought it was curious that the editing clearly showed Dale trying to make suggestions to fix both the laksa and the sticky rice dessert during the preparation (while Lisa just acted helpless), but that this didn't come up at Judge's Table. I think if both of his dishes had been good, he would have avoided the axe and it would have been Lisa instead. I still think this was the wrong decision - Lisa crapped the bed not once but twice, and Dale tried to fix it but couldn't.

                                                                                                                                                Surprised more folks here aren't commenting on the fact that not one but two chefs repeated dishes that they had already done - including presumed front-runner Blais. That's just weak. I can't believe if you know you're going on this show that you can't expand your repertoire enough to be able to bang out at least a few different desserts successfully.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                                                  i thought they only had 5 hours?, they're not pastry chefs so I don't blame them for using their desserts since they were pretty successful with them before and they don't take that much time to do.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                    I'm not suggesting that they should be making puff pastry from scratch, but egads, they're (theoretically) professional chefs. And it's not like they just pulled these folks out of their kitchens like it was Candid Camera and said "Hey, make me something" - they had to apply, they had to be selected, and they presumably had a chance somewhere in there to bone up a bit and figure out how to make more than one quick dessert successfully before they went on the show.

                                                                                                                                                    I find the level of talent in this season particularly to be disappointingly low.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                                                      Well, Padma was the only who had tasted the banana as scallop dish, if she had found it as offensive as you did, she certainly didn't voice her concern.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                        I have to agree: Richard invented the dish for that quickfire, and the only people who tasted it were Padma and the quickfire guest judge. What chef only makes a dish once and then never tries it again, especially if they got good feedback on it (Richard won with that dish)?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                          Of course no chef makes a dish once and never tries it again, it just strikes me as incredibly uninspired to do so when you're on national television and supposedly demonstrating your chops to be a "Top Chef". The exact same dish - without even tweaking it?

                                                                                                                                                          Others have gotten grief for "only doing pasta" or "only doing Asian," it's just surprising to me that 2 chefs could duplicate the exact same dish they had done earlier without it getting much comment.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                                                            i doubt richard didn't tweak the banana scallops-- they did look different on the plate for RW. he did the original dish on the fly, & probably got a few more ideas about the presentation and flavor complements after he first served it. trying the same dish with those enhancements, after he's had time to think about it, for this part of the competition makes a lot of sense to me.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                              i agree that it made sense to use that dish, even if I cant understand what is so great about it. Only padma and that douchy pastry guy got to try it as a one-ff, so I think it's fine that he put it into production. There is also some risk--what if he can't get it to taste as good when expanding the recipe, or if Padma and Johnny-Blue-Man-Group-but with-marshmallow-fluff http://www.johnnyiuzzini.com/ are the only people who might like it?
                                                                                                                                                              At least it was an original dish, not some flavored creme brulee or something. If they didnt want dishes to be reused, the could have put it in the rules for the challenge.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                                                                Johnny-covered-in-marshmallow-fluff http://www.johnnyiuzzini.com/

                                                                                                                                                                OK - that's just a horrible entry to a website. Pastry chef or not.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                Take a look at the pictures in the "Rate the Plate" for Episodes 7 and 11. Other than the actual plate it's served on, Richard's banana "scallops" looks to be exactly the same dish - sliced bananas, torched on the top, banana "guacamole" (with cilantro both times), chocolate ice cream, even with the same "smear" underneath that offended the judges. Dale at least slightly changed up the components of the halo-halo.

                                                                                                                                                                Indeed I'm a little dubious now about the whole "I happened to be slicing a banana and thought of this dish" thing - I think he probably came into the competition with 1, maybe 2 dessert ideas up his sleeve and this was one of them. (As I noted above, it would be foolish for anyone going into this competition to NOT have a couple desserts ready to go). When the Ep. 7 QF was a dessert he had to use dessert #1, then had to do a dessert for Restaurant Wars so repeated dessert #1, rather than using dessert #2 which he is holding on to for the finals if he should get that far.

                                                                                                                                                                Or we've seen his one dessert trick.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                                                                  I think any of them on the current show have *learned* from past cheftestants' not having one to come into the competition with at least 1 dessert up their sleeve. They'd be nuts not to do so.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                                                          Frodnesor, I got the impression that this year's elimination challenges didn't really isolate chef's flaws and weaknesses to the same extent as in the past because of the emphasis on catering. Taking the egg station at Lou Mitchell's showed how deficient in basics some of these 'fine dining artisans' are. The technique they showed in washing/rinsing the clams for the pasta wasn't the most efficient nor thorough either, but the final product apparently was grit-free.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                                                        Totally agree. I think if Dale's scallop dish was great, they would have had a hard time booting him over Lisa.

                                                                                                                                                        While it's pretty easy to understand why the judges chose to boot him due to his poor teamwork and executive chef skills, I am still disappointed to see Dale go before Lisa or Spike, both of whom he can cook circles around.

                                                                                                                                                    2. Antonia was very smart picking Stephanie and Richard. I find it laughable that she complains about Dale cooking only Asian dishes, but has Antonia really brought the goods? Seems to me she's really riding the wake of Richard and Stephanie.

                                                                                                                                                      Sad to see Dale go... Knew he was in trouble when he became executive chef and things were falling apart... He couldn't get past the pettiness and the ego to work the team without being snippy. Based upon the show, Dale is a great chef. He just has an ego where he doesn't listen, unlike Richard and Stephanie.

                                                                                                                                                      Kudos to the Spanish Chef for calling Dale and Lisa out about not being team players, especially in a kitchen setting.

                                                                                                                                                      The judges also made a good comment about the "artistic" smearing on the plate.
                                                                                                                                                      Whenever I see smears and streaks on a plate, it just grosses me out. I think it just brings me back to my kids and having to clean fingerprints off of walls, counters and table tops. Dots and lines I don't mind... it's the smearing the really gets to me. Bleech!

                                                                                                                                                      1. I thought for sure you guys would be on fire about Lisa's comment "this is the first time I've really messed something up in this competition" can't remember if it was about the rice or the lakhsa Boy does she live in her own reality...she has been on the chopping block so many times for bad flavors and i guess she has never heard it.

                                                                                                                                                        1. In my interview with him, Dale owned up to his ego getting in his way : http://www.chow.com/stories/11115 of this last elimination challenge. He just couldn't take orders from Lisa.

                                                                                                                                                          I just keep wondering if Lisa is watching the episodes and horrified by her own negativity...then again, I know that when I was a sullen teen I didn't seem to notice how dumb I was.


                                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mudaba

                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for posting the link to the interview -- very interesting! Dale comes across as young (i.e. immature), but passionate and somewhat introspective, in recognizing why he lost, accepting his failures (i.e. the butterscotch sauce) and what he might have done differently. Lol that he wants a career in the entertainment business. Good luck with that! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                            A little while ago, I caught the end of the prior episode, where Andrew was booted, but both Spike and Lisa were in the bottom two as well. I still can't quite get my head around the fact that Dale and even Andrew are gone, but Spike and Lisa are still standing, and one of them is going to make the final four. It's a travesty!

                                                                                                                                                            I understand why both Andrew and Dale were eliminated in their given weeks, but in retrospect, I don't think either boot was the right result, as it meant promoting Lisa and Spike to the final six and then the final five. Ugh!

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                                                              Having a "villain" in the final four (Lisa or Spike) is a good decision for the producers. It makes for what they call "good television."

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                Assuming that means that neither "villian" makes it to the final three, I guess I can live with that decision. Given the judging criteria of this show, however, where they vote on the meal before them without taking into account prior accomplishments, I'm not sure we can make that assumption. It would take a miracle of perfectly executed, delicious inspired food and impeccable behavior from Lisa and/or Spike for me to believe they deserve to be where they are over Dale.

                                                                                                                                                                From a viewer perspective, I think the producers are dead wrong. I'd much rather see some real drama generated by inspired cooking from more talented chefs in the final five/four, over manufactured "drama" generated by the big sourpuss, or some more slippery eel behavior from our resident snake.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                                                                  "From a viewer perspective, I think the producers are dead wrong. I'd much rather see some real drama generated by inspired cooking from more talented chefs in the final five/four, over manufactured "drama" generated by the big sourpuss, or some more slippery eel behavior from our resident snake."

                                                                                                                                                                  Amen to that. I watched the parts of the episode dealing with Antonia's well-run team with fascination. In contrast, I watched the parts of the episode dealing with Dale's team like the old cliche: "I know I shouldn't gape at the car wreck, but I just couldn't tear myself away.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                                                    I think you just explained why it makes for good TV....Those who are fascinated by the cooking (ie most CHs) will enjoy watching the finalists who do a good job, but seeing the train wreck adds to the appeal for those who aren't fascinated by the cooking....

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                                                                    I happen to think that both Lisa and Spike are totally offensive, dysfunctional personalities that don't ever belong running a kitchen or anything else. There's also nothing to recommend either of them as a great chef.

                                                                                                                                                                    I can totally get the perspective that a genuine cook off among brilliant chefs is well worth watching. But TC is television. And reality television at that. Having nothing but delightful, warm, caring, brilliant, talented chefs (the Richard/Stephanie/Antonia/Sam variety) would be ultimately boring for most people.

                                                                                                                                                                    Snakes, eels, rats, etc. are par for the course and, in fact, casting looks for them to add interest to the show. And so it's not at all surprising that at least one of them will be part for the final four.

                                                                                                                                                                    So be prepared to boo for the bad guy next week and beyond.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                                                                      I agree Chic, I don't think there would have been over 145 replies to this post if it wasn't for the 'bad guys'.....

                                                                                                                                                            2. I *finally* got a chance to see Restaurant Wars - I'm thrilled that Stephanie won Elimination on her own right. And while I'm sorry to see Dale go, as he has done some good food, it was obvious that it was either him or Lisa. I really think that Lisa should have gone first, but by Dale winning the coin toss for exec chef, kinda figured he was going to be a goner. Lisa hates taking direction from him, and Bourdain was right - through guile and staying out of the kitchen, Spike slipped through the net. But it’s really ticking me off that both Lisa and Spike are still there!

                                                                                                                                                              Overall, after Antonia won the QF, and picked Stephanie and Richard for her team, I figured they'd win unless there was a major screw-up with their food or serve. VERY smart move on Antonia’s part - she rises quite a bit on the "smart scale" in my eyes. That group knows how to work *together* and not individually - an obvious problem on the other team. And the menu for Stephanie/Richard/Antonia just seemed more cohesive than the Asian restaurant’s menu.

                                                                                                                                                              And I agree with everyone who thanked Bourdain for being the one judge to FINALLY note Lisa's stance in front of the judges! She's very obviously not willing to accept criticism, and AB came right out and said it. However, with the # of times that Lisa has been in the bottom group, and for the number of times her dish(es) failed, why isn’t she gone yet?

                                                                                                                                                              Finally - Bourdain should be a guest head judge again next season - LOVED seeing him in Tom's role! His comments (baby vomit with wood chips) were classic Bourdain.

                                                                                                                                                              1. i don't know why people expect great chefs to be nice people

                                                                                                                                                                1. I caught this scene the 2nd time around...

                                                                                                                                                                  Yet another reason I love Chef A.B.: When he addresses the teams during the Elimination Challenge prep, and calls Antonia's team "Team Woodstock" aka, Richard..heehee!

                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gyozagirl

                                                                                                                                                                    what was funny about that was that the other team was team altamont

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Lot of Dale fans here. But one thing to remember, this is "reality" tv, and strategy does factor into the equation (as Spike has proven over and over again). At a certain point, you're going to have to prove what you can do, but strategically-wise decisions can save your skin once in a while and move you forward. The fact that Dale fought to be Exec on this team whose weakness he knew all too well (an act of extreme hubris in my opinion), when Lisa was quite willing to put her head on the block, was a HUGE strategic mistake. The only thing that might've saved him was to produce sterling dishes of his own, which he failed to do. Second fatal error.

                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: jbw

                                                                                                                                                                      Indeed. As exec chef, he was trying to help Lisa's dishes, and perhaps he could have saved his own if he wasn't worried about hers (and Spike's) and about the flow of service. Nikki was sent home for not being willing to take leadership, but Lisa was willing, so there was no need for Dale to captain the sinking ship.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jbw

                                                                                                                                                                        Except Spike is playing this like Survivor, like others have said. Wasn't it he who told other cheftestants during the neighborhood scouring of foods that he had "cleaned out the pantry" in one house when there was plenty of food? As you said, eventually, if he makes it to Puerto Rico, he'll have to prove himself. I really dislike his style of "play". But it's either him or Lisa that will make it to the finals if they take 4. God help us.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. So the latest tally on wins/losses/highs/lows are:


                                                                                                                                                                        Richard - 3 Quickfires, 3 Elimination (1 shared QF and 1 shared Elim)
                                                                                                                                                                        Stephanie - 1 Quickfire, 4 Elimination (1 shared QF and 1 shared Elim)
                                                                                                                                                                        Antonia - 4 Quickfires, 1 Elimination
                                                                                                                                                                        Spike - 1 Quickfire, 0 Elimination
                                                                                                                                                                        Lisa - 0 Quickfires, 1 Elimination

                                                                                                                                                                        In addition, the "Highs/Lows" are:

                                                                                                                                                                        Richard - 2 Highs, 1 Low
                                                                                                                                                                        Stephanie - 4 Highs, 3 Lows
                                                                                                                                                                        Antonia - 5 Highs, 3 Lows
                                                                                                                                                                        Spike - 1 High, 5 Lows
                                                                                                                                                                        Lisa - 1 High, 4 Lows

                                                                                                                                                                        Pretty obvious who the Top 3 SHOULD be. Whether they will be or not is the big question. I do hope that Lisa & Spike are given the boot next.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. Something I noticed at Bravo's website that made me smile. Anyone's who's watched TC over the past few seasons are aware of Gail Simmons' love of eggs....eggs *done properly* and are not "rubbery, overcooked, too-browned (insert any assortment of adjectives here) eggs".

                                                                                                                                                                          So what does Bravo have up? Gail Simmons showing how to make a proper egg. :-)


                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks for that, Linda. Glad that she's able to kind of poke fun at herself.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                              Oh, you KNOW she's read all the guff people gave her that season (was it TC2?) when all the editors showed was her going on and on about eggs and how they should be made. So I agree - good for her to be able to slyly jab herself in the ribs. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                          2. I'm so pissed they chose Dale over Lisa to cut this episode. I understand why....but WHY is Lisa still there?! Ugh!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. Also...was it me or didn't Padma say in the Wedding Wars episode that that was the substitute for Restaurant Wars? I was surprised to see them do both.

                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Chew on That

                                                                                                                                                                                That was a head fake to throw the contestants off.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Chew on That

                                                                                                                                                                                  She did say "no Restaurant Wars," since they would have expected RW when they got down to 8 competitors. But I don't remember the exact wording, if she said "not at all" (which was certainly the impression she gave) or "no RW (for now) -- we're doing Wedding Wars."

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                    i agree it was a head fake-- iirc; padma said that they were not doing restaurant wars "this year," *cue everyone looking bummed* --& then for this past episode she said "restaurant wars is back" or some such.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. This is a bit out of left field, and a longshot of the highest order, but what the hell...

                                                                                                                                                                                  Can anyone identify the crocodile-like cufflinks Spike wore with his suit during this episode?

                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: big o

                                                                                                                                                                                    This is totally a guess, but I saw them and immediately thought "Izod"

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Any one have any idea where Dale got that tool box?

                                                                                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Docsknotinn

                                                                                                                                                                                      Ask him. He cooks at Buddakan in New York.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Docsknotinn

                                                                                                                                                                                        It's a Glestain, you can pick one up from Korin in New York, a lot of sushi chef's use it to carry their delicate and expensive Yanagi/sashimi knives - a knife I've only seen Dale use on Top Chef, I think he was tourneeing an avocado

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                                                            From wikipedia:

                                                                                                                                                                                            Small knives


                                                                                                                                                                                            Also known as a Tourne Knife or Bird's Beak Knife, a peeling knife has a pointed tip that curves downward sometimes upward ad side to side (towards the blade). They are often used for many of the same tasks as paring knives. They can be used to cut decorative garnishes (such as rosettes or fluted mushrooms), slice soft fruits, or peel skins or blemishes. They are also used to make a cut known as a tournée cut in vegetables such as carrots.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: phee

                                                                                                                                                                                              I also use my Bird's Beak to slash bread loaves before baking.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                                            Thanks. I looked at Glestain but I didn't see a box as small as Dales. Nice stuff either way.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yup thats the one! I didn't see it when I looked at the web site before. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I was disappointed by the losing team very much. It's pretty much a free-for-all challenge where everyone can bring out their big guns and wow people. There were really no restrictions in terms of food. But at the end of the day there was really only one item on the menu that was good? C'mon!

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Here's Tony Bourdain, at his angry best, defending his boot of Dale:


                                                                                                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: jbw

                                                                                                                                                                                              Very interesting. So dale's scallops were worse than Lisa's two disasters. Interesting. Spike in politics, maybe he can change his name to Dubya.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                Loved Bourdain's explanation of everything. And regardless of booting him, he'd hire Dale over the other two yahoos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                  loved it too. wish he was still blogging about all of them...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Same here - I miss his Bravo blogs - this season's blogs have been beyond skimpy what with Tom gone for several weeks, Padma's gone into the ozone somewhere and only intermittent blogs from the others (Gail and Ted seem to be the steady-Eddies in their blogging about each episode).

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I haven't been reading the blogs after Bourdain stopped doing them. Ted Allen has a wicked sense of humor at times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Gail with her shrillness and ova obsession really turns me off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I find Gail annoying on the show, but enjoy her blog. Makes sense -- she's a food writer/editor, not a TV person or a chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: jbw

                                                                                                                                                                                                Here's Tom Collichio agreeing with pretty much everyone else that Dale should have stayed:


                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                                                  HUGE clarification on your statement that Colicchio agrees that Dale should have stayed - he said that *AS A VIEWER ONLY* of this episode, he agrees with everyone that Dale should have stayed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  But he *wasn't there*. If he had been judging, he could very well feel as strongly as Anthony Bourdain.