Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
May 28, 2008 07:58 PM

Top Chef-Tramonto's [Spoiler]

QF: Trim a bone in tomahawk steak. Cook it to medium rare. Spike kicked butt on the butchering and apparently cooked it perfectly. Lisa is the other top performer. Richard and Stephanie are at the bottom. Antonia in the middle.

EC: Come up with an appetizer and a main course and serve it at Tramonto's. The past three season's winners are judges. This is an awesome challenge, I love this. I think this is the definition of Top Chef. What I would give to be in there that night.

They all looked nervous to me, really saw them quake in their boots. Even Richard, who has been really cool so far. Stephanie showed me a lot, she was very calm, as was Antonia.

I cracked up when Gail said Antonia's poached eggs were perfect.

Tom made a great point about Spike using the scallops and he should have sent them back and pciked something else. And Spike takes a shot at the owner of Tramonto's for having the scallops. I think he killed himself there.

It looks like they realize who the top three are. I wish they would just get rid of Lisa and Spike and let the three fight it out.

Is it me or does it seem like Tom is deliberately trying to mess with their heads this season, intentionally or not. He is in the kitchen much more often this season, and he has had to do more of a Tim Gunn this season yet he is still running JT.

I am glad Steph won. Now she is just over run with gifts. I guess Richard wants the Crate and Barrel $2K back. And Stephanie get a freaking kitchen of appliances! Nice!

I think lovely Lisa doubled up on her attitude this time. Man, did she look nasty.

And Spike gets the Tomahawked! Sorry, I couldn't resist. Wanna see my happy dance?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Haha, nice recap!

    I just have to say - I realize he was there as a past winner/ "VIP", but Ilan... cmon, a TSHIRT to judge in?! I did enjoy hearing what Harold and Hung had to say about the dishes though.

    I also was really hoping for Spike or Lisa (heck, even both of them) to get eliminated tonight... still got a soft spot for Dale's cooking and it would be somewhat better with one of them leaving.. haha.

    I think Gail will forever be known for her critical eye on eggs, even if she doesn't mean for it to be :-)

    I agree Chef Tom seems to be in the kitchen more- but I think that unlike Tim Gunn, Chef Tom does not offer any advice or anything specific during the preparation time. Tim Gunn usually tries to talk out the contestants' goal/vision and offers his take on what they could do.. not saying that one's better than the other, but usually all Chef Tom provides is a smirk and bemused look at the

    7 Replies
    1. re: gyozagirl

      Ooh, I meant to talk about former TCs being guests at the JT dinner. You're right about Ilan - Hung and Harold looked presentable for this dinner, based on the surroundings of Tramonto's restaurant. Ilan? Give me a break.

      I thought Harold and Hung offered the most inciteful comments on the food - at least what the editors chose to show.

      1. re: gyozagirl

        I still have a soft spot for Dale as well, and I feel really bad for him that his final challenge was a group one (the Restaurant Wars). Was anyone else thinking that it would have been really fun to see what Dale pulled out for this challenge, where he didn't have to answer to anyone but himself? He certainly would have done something more interesting than either Lisa or Spike.

        Very glad that it was between Lisa and Spike on the bottom tonight, but am still sorry that Lisa made it to the top four over Dale.

        1. re: gyozagirl

          That is what I mean with the Tim Gunn comment. They are both there to sow the seeds of doubt in the contestant's minds. Granted, Tim Gunn is much more helpful whereas Colicchio is just there messing with hteir heads all the while standing smirking with that "What? Me!!" look.

          1. re: gyozagirl

            "but I think that unlike Tim Gunn, Chef Tom does not offer any advice or anything specific during the preparation time. Tim Gunn usually tries to talk out the contestants' goal/vision and offers his take on what they could do"

            Gunn isn't a judge, but more of a mentor figure. I think it would be a conflict of interest for TC to offer advice to any of the contestants (as a matter of fact, I don't even think he should be in the kitchen pouting here and there and giving off positive or negative vibes, since that, too, might very easily be construed as giving a contestant an advantage into the mindset of probably the most powerful judge on the panel).

            1. re: jbw

              Totally agree with you there, I love Tim Gunn and Chef Tom for the different ways they relate to the contestants, but love them both all the same :o)

              I also agree that Chef Tom's mere presence during the elimination challenge seems to be enough to scare them/rethink what they've made- heck, imagine if he showed up to my place for dinner, watching me cook?? I'm nervous just thinking about it!

            2. re: gyozagirl

              Ugh! Seeing Ilan kind of ruined it for me. And his really asinine comment of, "This is the show before the finale. Show me something more." or something to that effect.

              1. re: Miss Needle

                This from a guy who did none of that.

            3. LOL! I have to join you in your happy dance - come on Phaedrus, whirl me about the kitchen floor! LOL Either Spikemeister or Lisa could have gone, and I'd be dancing. Damn - her attitude was majorly puss-faced tonight - I wonder what she thinks when she sees herself, especially after Bourdain said something at JT last week about it.

              I was wondering when Spike won the QF if he was going to go - that seems to often be the case. Richard realizing while Spike was choosing his ingredients that he took the frozen scallops and seeing him (Richard) and who he was talking to (Lisa or Stephanie?) roll their eyes made me think - could be him. However, I really thought that based on what the judges said (and what Harold, Ilan, and Hung all said at the dinner) that Lisa would be the one to go. I figured they'd both be bottom was SO obvious who was Top 3 in this challenge!

              LOVED hearing Rick Tramonto give it right back to Spike - WTH was Spike thinking? Even he realized he blew it in the Stew Room when he opened his mouth in front of JT!

              I didn't catch Gail's comment about perfect poached egg - but who else are they going to get to make that comment? She is the Egg Woman, She is the Walrus, Coo-coo-Cah-Choo!

              I also liked seeing Tom expedite - he got to see what they were made of in the kitchen. Giving it to Richard when Blais was slow in getting his tasting plates up to the pass - Blais had NINETEEN items on that dish? Whatever happened to K.I.S.S.?

              Stephanie rocked it tonight - she stinks during QF, but during Elim challenges, she is calm, cool and collected. Loved that Tom gave her that public recognition tonight as well.

              I'm happy with 3 out of the 4 making it to Puerto Rico. Still think Dale, based on his cooking ALONE, should be there. Lisa doesn't deserve it.

              ETA: I was surprised that Rick Tramonto was pleased with the peanut butter mashed of Lisa's - Tom even seemed surprised to hear he liked them - I don't think Tom did. But we all know Tom gets an idea in his head and it's hard to shake him of a preconceived notion at times.

              And how cool is it that Tramonto immediately said about Blais's appetizer that he would put it on his menu "in a heartbeat"?

              43 Replies
              1. re: LindaWhit

                As much as I dislike Spike, I think he actually had a pretty good point about the scallops. What were they doing in the restaurant, especially when Tramonto opened his walk-in to camera crew for a nationally-televised show? Something tell me that scallops sales will be down for a while.

                That said, Spike should have known better. All the other contestants knew that those scallops were bad news, yet Spike chose to use them. I would have loved to see Lisa go this week, but the judges got this decision right.

                1. re: Jackpot

                  A thought occurred to me, fleeting as it was because I just don't think they'd do that, but what if the scallops were a plant? You know, just to see if someone would actually use them or have the smarts to pass them over for something else.

                  I didn't realize till Tom read off the numbers that Spike had been on the chopping block more times than Lisa. Regardless, I would have been okay with either of them going - until Spike made that comment to JT. While I don't believe the judges would let that influence their decision, it certainly did mine.

                  I will say this for Lisa - the new haircut shown in the previews is a vast improvement. :)

                  1. re: phee

                    I also wondered if the scallops had been put there on purpose....but regardless, particularly since Spike was given his first choice, I think it was a dumb move to try and blame it on the fact that, 'hey, they were there...'.

                    1. re: susancinsf

                      Exactly what I thought. The minute the discussion between Richard and whoever he asked "were those scallops frozen?" happened when Spike was choosing what he wanted, I thought they were a plant as well. So - still a dumb move on his part.

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        If those scallops were a plant I'd have to rate it as a bit of a brain fart for Tramonto. I would not order seafood there after watching that. If they were a plant I don't think Tramonto would have been that indignant firing back at Spike nor would he have said that he has to take the hit for having them in his walk in. Since when do you not know you are buying frozen instead of fresh? I'd rate that as a big WHOOPS for Tramonto and Spike.
                        In regards to Spike blasting Tromonto I think it was one of the few things he's done right on the show. It didn't help him any but I think what he said to Tromonto was right on the money. Bad product should never make it in to the walk in. Period.

                        1. re: Docsknotinn

                          I disagree that he was indignant. I actually thought he handled Spike pretty well, because he didn't make it awkward that Spike had been so rude. But Spike's comment that if it's in the walk-in it must be perfect was just stupid -- food doesn't stay perfect forever!

                          Anyway just out of curiosity, I checked Tramanto's menu. No scallops:
                          So maybe it really was a plant.

                          1. re: Adrienne

                            I also don't see any offal of some sort, which is what both Richard and Stephanie used in their main dishes.

                            I wouldn't be surprised if Bravo's production crew bought a bunch of ingredients and dropped them in the walk-ins

                            1. re: attractivekid

                              I'm thinking the menus currently available at Tramonto's site are spring/summer, while the contest was in the fall, so the ingredients may have changed significantly.

                            2. re: Adrienne

                              Tromonto wasn't exactly happy about Spike blasting right back. Tromonto admitted he had to take the hit for having them in his walk in. However he did handle Spike well. I'm no fan of Spike and I was glad to see him go but if he wouldn't have responded to Tromonto he would have been criticized for that as well. I think they both took a bit of a hit on that exchange.
                              If it was a plant, putting inferior quality food in the walk in was a really poor move for Tromonto. Based on his blog comments about not knowing they were there it's hard to believe they were a plant.
                              Either way they were obviously frozen so it was a really poor move for Spike especially when he had first choice.

                              1. re: Docsknotinn

                                I just read Tom's blog, and no, the scallops weren't a plant, but they are not usually found in Chef Tramonto's freezer either. It seems Allen Bros., the meat purveyor they went to for the QF, was charged with filling the walk-in for this challenge, and they added those frozen scallops (probably along with other stuff) unbeknownst to Chef Tramonto (although I can't imagine it was unknown to the Lee Anne and the rest of the TC staff). Apparently he also knew this at the time Spike challenged him but chose to say nothing. I'd say the guy's got class.

                                1. re: lisavf

                                  The scallops weren't in the freezer they were in the walk in cooler. I'm not sure what to think because there is so much speculation but it really would have been a little under handed to plant or "stock" the cooler with inferior product then bust spikes chops for taking it. Spike should have easilly known better just by looking at the scallops but if Tromonto actually knew about the scallops at the judges table then was he rubbing Spikes nose in it?

                      2. re: phee

                        I wondered about it being a "plant" as well. I thought that once he saw how they were, he should have tried to make a scallop mousse or something like that, provided that they tasted ok.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          We're on the same page, MMRuth. I was thinking he could have done some kind of scallop forcemeat stuffed into something. Or he could have wrapped them in bacon -- as Stephanie knows, everything is better with bacon.

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                            Why all the hating on frozen scallops? Last I checked Chicago was pretty far from the ocean, so I'd expect a lot of seafood to be frozen, except at super-fancy places. Tramonto's seems high-end, but as it's a steakhouse, so I wouldn't expect it to be getting lots of fresh seafood.

                            1. re: newhavener07

                              I think this has more to do with hating on Spike.

                              1. re: newhavener07

                                Actually, while it makes sense that all five contestants chose steak for their entree protein given the centrality of beef to the episode from the get-go, the restaurant is called Tramonto's Steak and Seafood, so I would indeed expect high-quality fresh seafood to be available there.

                                1. re: newhavener07

                                  Tramonto's only uses fresh seafood - the scallops were brought in by Bravo along with some other ingredients. The prices reflect transportation costs.

                                  1. re: Morton the Mousse

                                    Tromontos can't say that they only use fresh seafood any longer as they served those dishes to the entire restaurant at service not just the judges table. The only way they could still make that claim is if the restaurant was closed to normal business that night and all the other tables were invited guests.

                                    1. re: Docsknotinn

                                      Well, they can't say they've never served it. But if you want to get technical as soon as that episode was finished with they could resume saying they don't serve it, which just means they don't now and doesn't neccessariy mean they never have.

                                      Regardless, I think the point here is that Tramanto would have known not to use frozen, broken scallops for an actual whole scallop dish, as would many of us. Even Spike said his comment was stupid! I'd still probably order steak if I were at Tramanto's though.

                                      1. re: Adrienne

                                        I agree completly Adrienne. I'm being very nit picky. I just feel that Rick needs to hold himself to the same standard he held Spike to. No excuses.
                                        I would never, ever, never have picked a cryo bag of scallops and If I go to Tramantos I will absolutly be getting a tomahawk steak. YUM!
                                        Like others I have to believe that the shrimp are still frozen. There is such a minimal difference with a frozen shrimp product and it's so much easier to hold and handle when I can order 50# cases and keep them in the freezer Vs 10# fresh every other day and cost is always a factor.

                                        1. re: Docsknotinn

                                          I've never worked in a restaurant, but I worked in a college catering service for 7 years, throughout highschool and some college. We did banquets and the like.

                                          I would have assumed those were the 'emergency' scallops..fresh ones were off, ran out, etc, if I wasn't told that Allen Bros. stocked the freezer. We always kept a similar sub par cheap ingredient frozen for emergencies.

                                          But that just proves Spike's inexperience in picking it. And not knowing how to use it. (i.e. not wrapping it in bacon, stuffing it in a fish or etc.

                                          I was surprised no one did a big old pork chop, everyone did beef.

                                          1. re: sommrluv

                                            In LeeAnne's blog there's a discussion of ScallopGate and also a list of what Allen Bros. donated for use in that episode. There are a number of wonderful things they could have used instead of beef (and didn't two of the other three use sweetbreads?), although apparently no pork chops:

                                            "Here’s what I had in the cooler for them to use, a combination of things from Allen Brothers, Whole Foods, and Rick’s Restaurant: filet mignon, skirt steak, dry aged NY strip, bone in rib-eyes, the long bones from the Quickfire, prime sirloin, duck, sweetbreads, bacon, quail eggs, white anchovies, colossal shrimp, those damn scallops, jumbo lump crab meat, hamachi, tuna, halibut, oysters, clams, salmon roe, and caviar."

                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                              That is strange that there was no pork chop available. I think everyone did beef for the entree, but Richard and Stephanie both used sweetbreads in their apps, Lisa used shrimp and Antonia made the salad with the egg. Seeing that list, I am surprised no one used duck, crabmeat or oysters... and even more surprised that Spike couldn't come up with a better plan B.

                                    2. re: Morton the Mousse


                                      if they serve shrimp they serve frozen seafood.

                                    3. re: newhavener07

                                      My suspicion is that those were refrozen scallops, not frozen, to produce that much water in thawing.

                                      The thing that suprised me most about this episode was how few finished their steaks in the oven. The ratio was the reverse of my expectation.

                                    4. re: Ruth Lafler

                                      I did note that I think Tom C. posted on his blog that frozen scallops aren't good for that either, but I still think it would have been a better choice.

                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                        I agree. A good should be able to think on his feet and compe up with an alternative preparation. Well, I'm just glad that immature, spiteful Spike got booted....but I would also give Nasty Lisa the boot and bring Dale back.

                                    5. re: phee

                                      I was suprised tom read the numbers as well since I thought prior performance did not matter. Perhaps, it should. I would like to see them consider that a little more especially to get into the top 5. That way dale would still be around.

                                    6. re: Jackpot

                                      <I think he actually had a pretty good point about the scallops. What were they doing in the restaurant,>
                                      Well now, they could have been planted there just to see who, if anyone, would go for them?

                                      As much as I don't care for Lisa, I was super-glad to see Spike finally get the gate. Proof positive that what goes around comes around! He tried so hard, so often to throw his compadres under the bus... not one specifically, but anyone he could catch unawares, that I've been through with him for many episodes. and then his comment that he hoped Antonia would get sent home????

                                      It will be interesting to see how Lisa performs in the final when she is up against the three calmest of the chefs.

                                      Wonder whether winning that whole beautiful kitchen full of prefessional equipment will entice Stephanie to open another restaurant? She got high marks for Scylla.

                                      1. re: ChefJune

                                        Maybe the new hairdo will mellow Lisa out. You know a clean break from the greasy hair do-rag look.


                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                          I'm not too sure that is any sort of improvement...

                                    7. re: LindaWhit

                                      I'm worried for Stephanie in the final - because they send one person packing after the quickfire.

                                      I was glad Spike was the one to go. It probably has everything to do with the timing of the exit interview, after having been in concentrated Top Chef mode for those weeks, but he came off really poorly. "Frozen scallops sometimes aren't terrible."* Geez, what were you thinking?

                                      *From the exit interview at Bravo's website.

                                      1. re: MplsM ary

                                        Shhhh, Mary - she has had time between this Steak challenge and going to PR for the Final 4 - perhaps she's played QuickFire challenges back home to "bone up" on them. :-)

                                      2. re: LindaWhit

                                        Interesting that both times Spike won quickfires that gave him the advantage of choosing his ingredients first, he ended up on the chopping block.

                                        1. re: LabRat

                                          I was thinking that Spike tended to do well in the QFs, where he had to quickly come up with something on the fly given a limited set of ingredients, but failed at times when he had a lot of time and more options. Stephanie, on the other hand, has generally done poorly in the QFs but well in elimination when she had more time and fewer limits.

                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                          About Richard's sweetbreads -- I read in an interview with Hung that he tasted the best sweetbread dish of his life on Season 4. And in Harold's blog, he says that the sweetbread dish is one of the best dishes he's had in the lats five years. So I think that's saying a lot.

                                          And I agree with you about the whole Tom preconceived notion thing. If Tom was the quickfire judge for the pizza challenge, he probably would have dismissed the peach/tea pizza.

                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                            I think that RICHARD's sweetbread dish looked delectable, and from a viewer standpoint it was my favorite.

                                            I'm a bit confused, however, about the origin of STEPHANIE's sweetbread dish. Are lightly fried sweetbreads dusted with fennel a classic preparation, or her interpretation of the famous, and incomparable, Mario Batali recipe? Chowhounds that have visited Babbo or read Batali's Babbo cookbook, am I alone here? What's your opinion?

                                            1. re: Hurner

                                              Yes, I would have LOVED to try Richard's sweetbread dish.

                                              That's probably why Stephanie's dish sounded familiar -- I've got the Babbo cookbook. However, his recipe calls for fennel seeds as opposed to straight fennel. It's certainly different enough from Babbo's. And the ingredients are pretty different as well. I think most of the stuff you'll see out there has been done at some point by other cooks/people -- though I haven't seen Richard's riff on the vitello tonato anywhere yet. Antonia's rice salad which to her sounded so unique -- Silver Palate cookbook has their own version of it. And I think the Silver Palate gals have been around a lot longer than Antonia. I remember I had this "ingenious" idea to enter the burger contest sponsored by a wine company where the grand prize was $50,000. I wanted to make a bulgogi burger only to find out that you can easily find them in Korea. I probably should have done it anyway as it was my original thought -- but I'm sure lots of people had this "original" thought way before I did.

                                              And even though a lot of the recipes Top Chef contestants use may either be or inspired from other people, you have to execute it correctly. That's the only way Ilan Hall could have won Season 2 because he did use a lot of the same recipes as his restaurant (where he was just working as a line cook) did. And I'm pretty sure that the pastry recipes that were used on Top Chef were certainly not original -- I'm taking more about things like the wedding cakes as opposed to things like halo-halo or banana scallops. Pastry is a science, and as they are not pastry cooks, I doubt that they forumulated their own cake recipe.

                                              1. re: Hurner

                                                Stephanie's sweetbread's weren't dusted with fennel, they were served with sauteed fennel bulb. You can see the recipe here:

                                                1. re: Hurner

                                                  I didn't appreciate Stephanie comparing sweetbreads to chicken mcnuggets! What?!

                                                  1. re: melly

                                                    I can understand the comparison the way she cooked them... she compared the textures, not the flavor.

                                                    1. re: melly

                                                      yeah, i hate all things mcdonalds too, but i think stephanie meant that sweetbreads are crispy, addictive, and accessible when done right, not some esoteric flavor or texture that can only be an acquired taste.

                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                  Tom seems to not like the idea of peanuty flavors in combinations that he isn't familiar with, and as you say, he gets the idea in his head that something can't taste good and sticks with it (seemingly, who knows - maybe it really doesn't taste good). I've seen him dis "odd" combos like that which other people see fine with and/or are known combos in various ethnic cuisines as being some sort of out of this world wacky idea.

                                                3. ditto on the happy dance..i only wish i had his stupid hats to stomp on while i was dancing!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: cellar_door77

                                                    Lol, you could borrow Spikes', as he no longer needs them! (just leave him one for the reunion show!)

                                                  2. Ugh..I guess Spike was the right choice. Based on his stupid decision to use frozen scallops. Too bad both he & Lisa couldn't get the boot.
                                                    And Ilan couldn't spend any of his money to get some nice clothes? He probably spent it all already on bling. Seriously..go to the freaking Gap & spend 30 bucks on a shirt to at least not look like you just rolled out of bed.

                                                    I'm really feeling Stephanie is going to take it all. She's cool, calm, level headed & produces tasty well balanced food.

                                                    127 Replies
                                                    1. re: sugarbuzz

                                                      Ilan's one of those guys who thinks he's too cool to be "conformist." He kind of has the Spike syndrome.

                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                        He (Ilan) is also the kind of guy who'll throw a hissy fit if you call him on it.

                                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                                          And both of them (Ilan and Spike) have been observed egging other competitors on to spill their bile.

                                                          1. re: momjamin

                                                            They're both very similar. They live in their fantasy land where they think they are so cool and enlightened and they're not THAT guy (eg. Marcel, Dale). No wonder I couldn't stand either of them. Though with Ilan, it took me a few episodes to dislike him. Spike -- couldn't deal with that guy from the get-go.

                                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                                              Ok. Like this thread needed any more posts -- but just wanted to mention that I read something last night where Spike said his least favorite chef was Ilan. Really ironic!

                                                      2. re: sugarbuzz

                                                        Last week when Dale was eliminated, one of my first thoughts was that meant that one of either Lisa or Spike was going to be in the final four. I guess that Spike annoyed me more so I'm glad to see him go!

                                                        1. re: sugarbuzz

                                                          I can't figure out why so many people care how Ilan was dressed. I didn't even notice, but otoh i'm not one of those people who get in a tizzy if someone is 'underdressed' at a restaurant either.

                                                          1. re: jgg13

                                                            I am not big on sartorial displays either, but I would have thrown him out on his butt if I didn't know him by sight. casual is one thing, looking like a delivery boy is another.

                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                              when they first showed him, he was wearing a sports jacket over the t-shirt... who else thinks they provided him with that at the coat room because he was not properly dressed????

                                                              1. re: ChefJune

                                                                Uhh not me.

                                                                If anything, they would have been dressed by Bravo's crew if it wasn't just their own doing.

                                                                You *really* think that the restaurant is going to overrule Bravo during what is essentially free publicity for them? Yeah right.

                                                                1. re: ChefJune

                                                                  they were at a steak house, you don't need to wear a jacket for that.

                                                                  1. re: attractivekid

                                                                    It's not whether or not he wore a jacket. It's that he dressed and looked like a slob. If "You are what you eat" means anything at all in the food world, then "You are what you wear" goes double in the television world. You don't have to wear a jacket in order to not dress like a slob.

                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                      Ilan's a hipster, that's how they dress, that's their style/aesthetic. He's from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, that's pretty much standard attire there. I'm no fan of his, but I'm glad he doesnt try to portray himself differently from who he is in real life to tv by wearing something he normally wouldn't wear.

                                                                      1. re: attractivekid

                                                                        I don't normally wear a dress or skirt with any regularity (heck, hardly ever!). But if the occasion called for it, you can bet I'd be wearing a dress or a skirt. It's not a matter of portraying yourself differently; it's a matter of dressing to the situation you're in and respecting where you're going to be.

                                                                        Ilan wasn't eating at a diner or a hot dog stand - he was in a nice restaurant. At least he could have worn a jacket (if that one was provided to him, which we don't know if it was) and collared shirt. Instead, he completely disrespects his dining companions and the restaurant and wears a t-shirt with some logo or writing on it.

                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                          I asked Spike about Ilan's shirt only because it annoyed me so much. Does he think he's too cool for Top Chef? In which case why did he do it to begin with? I can't stand his smirk. There, I've said it. I've tried to be impartial in vain. Smirks and t-shirts apparently are my hot button.


                                                                          1. re: mudaba


                                                                            Any other repercussions from your improper scallop question? Did the food police from Bravo beat you with a hose?

                                                                            1. re: mudaba

                                                                              I listened to the interview, Meredith, and it was not surprising at all to hear Spike - so much like Ilan - defending him.

                                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                              Its not as if Bravo/the restaurant would have allowed it if they disliked it.
                                                                              People should stop being so melodramatic.

                                                                              1. re: jgg13

                                                                                Melodramatic? How about being a bit more respectful, as Ilan should have been towards the show that gave him a LOT of recognition? As Caroline said - if this is the way he thanks the show and the people who gave him that chance, he is so far from being hip. He's just plain rude.

                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                  Once again, there is a 0% chance that the crew would have allowed him to go on camera if he didn't look acceptable to the image they wanted to convey. This implies that Bravo 100% was okay with his clothing choice and thus he's not being disrespectful.

                                                                                  For all we know, Bravo chose the clothes for him.

                                                                                  This is television, its not like he just showed up one night and there happened to be cameras there.

                                                                                  1. re: jgg13

                                                                                    Was Bravo ok with the fact that Ilan egged on Cliff to assault Marcel and then practically begged Sam to shave his head? Probably not, I think.

                                                                                    1. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                      Actually they probably were. These reality show producers want as much drama as possible. There was a thing on NPR recently about how these shows go out of their way to deprive contestants of sleep specifically so that they'll end up doing crazy stuff.

                                                                                      1. re: jgg13

                                                                                        If they *really* weren't ok with it, they probably wouldn't have shown it. They could have just made an announcement that there was unacceptable behavior and they had to dismiss Cliff. They didn't have to show the whole evening on TV.

                                                                                        1. re: jgg13

                                                                                          with chefs, sleep deprivation is really saying something. 16 hour days happen regularly. i guess that's why TC goes for the double whammy: sleep deprivation *and* booze! ;-)

                                                                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                            They actually used that wedding challenge as one of their examples (that was the one this season where they went basically a day and a half straight, right?). Also, didn't Dale mention in his podcast that the booze caused a lot of extra drama?

                                                                                        2. re: KTinNYC

                                                                                          According to Chef Tom's Blog about the head shaving incident, Chef Tom wanted to elimate them all and let Marcel win, but the producers didn't want that to happen so I guess you can say that Bravo was okay with Ilan.

                                                                                        3. re: jgg13

                                                                                          Ilan was a jerk when he was on his season; why wouldn't they continue to allow him to remain looking like a jerk? And for all we know - Ilan chose the clothes he wore. Either way - Ilan SHOULD have had better sense to say to Bravo (if they chose the clothes) "No, I'd rather wear something more appropriate." And he didn't. Yes, Ilan KNEW it he'd be on TV. He didn't care. Yet again - lack of respect to those he was eating with and the show that put him the public eye.

                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                            I'm still confused as to why he was dressed inappropriately.

                                                                                            Keep in mind that despite what it might have been presented as, he wasn't dining at a public restaurant, he was being a TV personality. I'm going to bet that none of the guests there that night accidentally stumbled in on the "night that the Top Chef cooks were working"

                                                                                            1. re: jgg13

                                                                                              I can't explain my position on this any more than I already have. You have one train of thought on this; I have another. Let's just leave it at that.

                                                                                              1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                I'm still confused as to why he was dressed inappropriately
                                                                                                I would have hoped that after looking back at his behavior for the season on film Ilan might have taken some time to reflect. In essence he was given another chance to present himself to his peers. Opportunities to appear on TV and promote your self don't come down the road every day and I would hope that most chefs would want to capitalize on that opportunity. Dressing with a T shirt? Come on. That's inaproppriate and foolish, as were some of his comments.
                                                                                                Does any one think Hung was a sell out or compromised who he is as a person or a chef just because he wore a jacket?
                                                                                                My first thoughts when I watched Hung were, now there's a Chef that's really grown in the time since the show.

                                                                                                1. re: Docsknotinn

                                                                                                  Thank you for putting it much more succinctly than I obviously did for this poster, Doc.

                                                                                                  What you said. :-)

                                                                                                  1. re: Docsknotinn

                                                                                                    Stating "Come on. That's inappropriate ..." doesn't answer my question as to how what he wore was inappropriate.

                                                                                                    Why do you think that his peers would think less of him based on his clothing choice?

                                                                                                    Why do you think that his target demographic (whatever that might be) cares?

                                                                                                    If you care, you're probably not a group that he cares about.

                                                                                                    1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                      Who goes to a restaurant in a T-Shirt?

                                                                                                      Guess that's why he has a Taco Truck. So people can go eat in a T-shirt.

                                                                                                      1. re: Icantread

                                                                                                        i find it odd that in this absurdly long discussion about ilan's immaturity and inappropriate appearance, no one has mentioned the one thing that most clearly illustrated the fact that he hasn't matured or become any wiser in the time that has passed since his experience on the show.

                                                                                                        when asked for any words of wisdom or advice he'd like to pass on to the current crop of contestants, he offered this gem:

                                                                                                        "don't shave anyone's head."

                                                                                                        it was a truly childish and self-serving comment, obviously intended to serve no greater purpose than perhaps to garner a cheap laugh...though i personally didn't find it amusing at all. he's got a lot of growing up to do.

                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                          I thought of that exact thing driving home from work tonight, and completely agree with it being an "all about me" comment. As for Ilan's growing up, not sure when that's going to happen.

                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                            i find it odd that in this absurdly long discussion about ilan's immaturity and inappropriate appearance, no one has mentioned the one thing that most clearly illustrated the fact that he hasn't matured or become any wiser in the time that has passed since his experience on the show.

                                                                                                            I see his choice of attire as a direct reflection of his immaturity but I think your statement was well put.

                                                                                        4. re: attractivekid

                                                                                          Excuse me, but that is pure and simple hogwash. Hipster? More like very un-hip! I suppose when and if he gets married in a formal ceremony, he will wear a slovenly tee shirt while the groomsmen wear tuxedoes or morning coats? And when/if he should ever graduate from university, he will refuse to wear the gown in favor of flying his true colors in the form of a slovenly tee shirt?

                                                                                          Ilan gained a great deal from Top Chef, it's producers, the cast, the network, and this is his idea of how to say thank you by behaving inappropriately? If that's what being a "hipster" means to Ilan, he very obviously doesn't have a clue about what being "hip" really means, 'cause he ain't it! Not even close.

                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                            you're joking right?, they were eating at Tramonto's Steak & Seafood restaurant...people come in there with t-shirts, jeans, shorts and sneakers all the time!

                                                                                            i think a lot of you are making a big fuss over nothing. If you looked at his fellow judges harold and hung, it's not like they were dressed that much better. For one thing, all they had on were button downed shirts and a blazer.

                                                                                            1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                              they were at a steak house, you don't need to wear a jacket for that.

                                                                                              I'd say that's pretty subject to interpretation based on the steak house. A sport coat or blazer is always appropriate but at the very least business casual. This was a professional dinner, not that it makes any difference at all to me what others wear but I would not be comfortable like that. The phrase dress for success comes to mind. No matter if you are into grundge or a hipster or what ever the flavor of the moment is you can dress appropriatly and still be your self.

                                                                                            2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                              and by that, you obviously don't know what a "hipster" is.



                                                                                              ...again, he's lived in Williamsburg, what he had on was standard attire. It's not like Harold and Hung were really dressed that much better...all they had on were button down shirts and a blazer.

                                                                                              1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                LOL! Honey, I was a jazz singer in the '50s. I *know* what a hipster is! You guys have just misappropriated a very good word and changed its meaning. '-)

                                                                                                But that's okay. It just says something about the current state of "erudition." Today's chefs think they can confit carrots. The language is being ruptured!

                                                                                                Oh. And by the way, you have made my point byt stating what Harold and Hung wore. Thanks!

                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                  the language is not being "ruptured" it is doing what it has always done, evolving. Unless you use the word "terrific" to mean terror inducing, and still use "sun-rise" because you think the earth stands still, you are not using words in their original meaning either. Language evolves. And that's a very good thing.

                                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                    These definitions of "hipster" are cracking me up! Essentially, it's come to be defined as a conforming non-conformist, I see.

                                                                                                    "They're quick to call the rest of the world conformists when in reality, they are the ones conforming by partaking in a "too cool for mainstream so i am going to reject it by looking and acting like a grungy a**hole" way of life only to seem uber-fashionable. They just end up looking like idiots. "

                                                                                                    Being a "hipster" is not all it's supposedly cracked up to be. :-) But I guess the people who call themselves hipsters will need to figure that out for themselves.

                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                        Reminds me of the nature shows in which the mountain gorillas are pounding their chests in order to seem the most impressive to the females. :-)

                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                          Holy crap, you mean that doesn't work? Doh!!!

                                                                                                          The artiste act gets old very quickly and is pretty transparent to begin with.

                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                            um.. they don't do it to SEEM most impressive to the females, but to BE most impressive to the females. and it works.

                                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                                              Or so the male thinks. Same thing in bars - when guys throw out those lines they *think* work on women. :-)

                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                Hey, don't blame us, its the testosterone.

                                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                  LOL! Oh, go beat your chest, Phaedrus. ;-)

                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                    It really hurts to do that with my knuckles all bloodied from being dragged around all day.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                      ROFL! OK, you win - I don't have a comeback for that one! ;-) Thanks for the giggle.

                                                                                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                          "Essentially, it's come to be defined as a conforming non-conformist"

                                                                                                          I have to say that's what my definition of a hipster is as well. I know somebody who lives in Astoria, Queens who dresses like a "hipster" who once told me, "Oh, I so want to live in Williamsburg and be like those cool people there." On the behalf of hipsters, there are some people who genuinely are "alternative" doing their own little thing. But most hipsters I know are posers who just want to be seen as cool and have this knee-jerk reaction to anything that is considered conformity -- which is so uncool in my eyes.

                                                                                                          And I agree with those who was disgusted with Ilan not because he was just wearing a T-shirt to a steakhouse, but because it showed a lack of respect as he was representing himself on the behalf of Bravo as a judge.

                                                                                                          1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                            no surprsingly, i don't agree at all.

                                                                                                            bravo knew who he was, and if bravo had a problem w/ the way he was dressed i can guarantee you they would have dressed him differently.

                                                                                                            TV isn't a random affair. It is rigidly controlled. Bravo clearly had no problem with way he was dressed. Otherwise we never would have seen it.

                                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                                              Its time for a new episode. Look at all the postings generated by just an idiot wearing a t-shirt.

                                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                            All non-conformist subcultures enforce an internal code of conformism. That's just how it is.

                                                                                                            1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                              Which just makes it all the more ridiculous when they *do* pretend to be hip.

                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                On this point, we can agree.

                                                                                                                When I was younger I found myself moving from one subculture to the next (all relatively closely related, but not quite the same). Eventually I'd be disillusioned, realizing that the culture really was just a bunch of insecure conformists (and deep down, I was an insecure conformist) with the occasional person who just liked being there. From there I'd find myself moving into the next one, until I became disllusioned with nonconformist subcultures entirely.

                                                                                                                This latest "hipster" trend really makes me shake my head ... they infest the area that I live in ... they manage to marry various things together that for some reason just make me angry :)

                                                                                                        3. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                          Class and propriety when the public eye is on you is not a sin.

                                                                                                          1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                            If you have to call yourself a 'hipster''re not.

                                                                                                        4. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                          I don't wear coat and tie everyday but if a restaurant requires the attire, then I wear it. Going to a restaurant isn't about being "real." It's like going to a business meeting isn't about showing who you are, but rather observing the proper decorum.

                                                                                                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                            going to a restaurant is all about enjoying yourself. Tramonto's Steak & Seafood does not require formal attire. get over it, it's perfectly fine to dine there with sneaks and a t-shirt.

                                                                                                            1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                              Yes, but he wasn't 'going to a restaurant'.

                                                                                                              He was appearing as a guest judge on a show he was a prior competitor of, and appearing on television. You'd think you might want to look presentable.

                                                                                                              While the other two weren't dressed like Steven from They looked clean, and presentable. We rarely see Padma in less than evening attire.

                                                                                                              Ilan not only looked glaringly underdressed, because he was being compared to those around him, but he also looked to me, UNCLEAN. I'm not a fan, but I had a ick factor just watching him.

                                                                                                              1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                <oing to a restaurant is all about enjoying yourself. Tramonto's Steak & Seafood does not require formal attire. get over it, it's perfectly fine to dine there with sneaks and a t-shirt.>

                                                                                                                I am glad to know that YOU are the official arbiter of what is appropriate!

                                                                                                                imho, Ilan was not just "going to a restaurant" he was judging Top Chef. Apparently Hung and Harold know how to dress appropriately. They weren't dressed "up," just "nicely." Too bad Ilan doesn't apparently know what that is.

                                                                                                          2. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                            I don't think he looked like a slob. He looked neater dressed than most people I know (and I'm much closer to his age group than most posters here)

                                                                                                            1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                              And perhaps that's the difference. Being closer in age to Ilan (25 is how old I think Ilan is), your perception of "neat dressing" is completely different, as it's all you've known. Ultra-casual dressing during grade school/high school and work, should you be working in a business.

                                                                                                              Whereas others who are discussing how Ilan was dressed sloppily grew up wearing "nice" clothes to school and work, and have only recently been afforded the opportunity to "dress down" at work.

                                                                                                              It still comes down to a respect issue. Ilan's attitude of "I don't care, I'm going to do whatever *I* want to do" eventually won't serve him well in the public. Even Anthony Bourdain, a notorious bad-boy, knows how to dress for the occasion. Ilan hasn't yet learned that lesson. Perhaps he never will.

                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                I'm actually on the cusp of the ultra-casual generation (and the people behind Ilan's age are even more casual ... pajamas on the subway, oh la la).

                                                                                                                But there is simply *no* way that barring oversensitivity to the subject that what he did was rude or disrespectful. yet again, this is television ... bravo very well could have dressed him.

                                                                                                                Someone above (don't remember who it was) mentioned that he looked 'unclean'. Uhh, he had to go through makeup and likely hairstyling. He was groomed better than most people posting here probably.

                                                                                                                1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                  But there is simply *no* way that barring oversensitivity to the subject that what he did was rude or disrespectful.
                                                                                                                  Your opinion. Obviously lots of others think otherwise.

                                                                                                              2. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                Sorry guy, I'm 25 and that's not how you dress in the public eye. Are you kidding me? Our generation has a serious problem if they don't know how to dress up and still look good. That being said, I didn't think he was horribly dressed, but the t was wrong

                                                                                                                1. re: Icantread

                                                                                                                  Would I go like that to a fancy restaurant? No.

                                                                                                                  But that's not what he was doing. He was appearing on TV as a personality. At the very least, he chose his look to convey a particular image. More likely, Bravo played at least some part in it. That's a big difference.

                                                                                                                  I didn't even notice what he was wearing, and it never would have occured to me in a million years that this would be an issue to anyone until I saw this thread.

                                                                                                                  1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                    I said he looked unclean, and I'm 27.

                                                                                                                    I imagine Bravo does have a hand in outfitting the normal staff, but I'm going to wager a guess that they do not handle the wardrobe for guests, just as they wouldn't handle the wardrobe for guests judges. It would seem innappropriate to me, I could be wrong, it's not my field.

                                                                                                                    "Chef is what you are supposed to wear on camera, thank you." I imagine Hung, Ilan, and (Howard?) are done with most of their PR hoop jumping and are now allowed to dress themselves like good little boys.

                                                                                                                    And I love what Miss Needle said about people who label themselves as non-comformists and must carry this knee jerk reaction around to anything labeled as's the same people who are always 'talking' and not doing.

                                                                                                                    1. re: sommrluv

                                                                                                                      I personally don't think that Bravo chose their wardrobe, but it is a possibility. OTOH, there's absolutely no chance that Bravo was mortified by their clothing selections. If one of them showed up w/ a shirt that said "I F'ing hate Bravo" they would have been told to change it.

                                                                                                                      Again, this is TV, its all image and extremely intentional.

                                                                                                                      1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                        Bravo might not choose their wardrobe for the guest judges but I suspect that there is a pretty good chance that they require them to bring 2 or 3 outfit options and they determine which they will allow them to wear.
                                                                                                                        IIan did NOT walk off the street and into that restaurant. As mentioned above, he went through hair, makeup, etc. since he is, after all, a celebrity appearing on a TV show.
                                                                                                                        IIan appeared exactly as Bravo wanted him to.

                                                                                                                        1. re: sebetti

                                                                                                                          Ok, this subject has been beaten to death, however I think its pretty funny that anyone could take a poster seriously that refers to Ilan as a "hipster" and who's name refers to their supposed good looks on a cooking website (not that my preference for the beach is much better!). I am Ilans age (as is Hung, who was dressed appropriately) and I scoffed- "geez nice outfit" when I saw him. My husband (who lives in flip flops and board shorts) agreed. Very tacky, but not surprising whatsoever. On a side note- didn't Tramonotos just open... how would anyone know what "people wear there all the time"? Hm.

                                                                                                                          1. re: jme1beachbum

                                                                                                                            ...because I've eaten there. This restaurant is out in the boonies of Chicago, it's not actually in the city. When I was there, the people were not dressed any differently from what they'd wear to Applebee's or a sports bar and the like. It's not a fine-dining establishment, just an upscaled steak-house adjacent to a hotel. This isn't an insult to Tramonto's, it's just that no one really dresses up to go out to eat in Wheeling.

                                                                                                                            As for whether or not Ilan was dressed approrpirately, I'm surprised people care that much. This is a cooking show.

                                                                                                                            1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                              <it's just that no one really dresses up to go out to eat in Wheeling.>

                                                                                                                              Really now? Then I guess you never dined at Le Francais. You wouldn't have been allowed inside the place unless properly dressed.

                                                                                                                              1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                Nope, i've never dined there, were you required to wear a jacket? When I lived near there and wanted upscale, we'd just drive into the city.

                                                                                                                                1. re: attractivekid


                                                                                                                                  Then you really need to go. It is legendary. People would drive out there FROM Chicago.


                                                                                                                                  From their blurb

                                                                                                                                  "Le Francais, the 30-year-old legend tucked away in Wheeling and once called “the best French restaurant west of Paris”,

                                                                                                                                  1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                    <were you required to wear a jacket? When I lived near there and wanted upscale, we'd just drive into the city.>

                                                                                                                                    Being a woman, no, I wasn't, but the men in our party always were.

                                                                                                                                    If you missed Banchet's food, or Nieto's, you missed a great experience.

                                                                                                                                2. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                  Dress code according to Zagat- Upscale Casual. The "boonie" hotel you mention is the Westin Northshore. A fabulous high end hotel in the prestigious area of Chicago. We are not talking about the Days Inn with an attached Applebees off the Interstate. I don't really care what Ilan wore (nor do most posters- the point is that we were all surprised how inappropriately he was dressed regarding the situation) and hope that he (and perhaps you) should get a clue on how to dress in social situations.
                                                                                                                                  Per Wiki:
                                                                                                                                  A "formal" or white tie dress code typically means tail-coats for men and full-length evening dresses for women. "Semi-formal" has a much less precise definition but typically means an evening jacket and tie for men (known as black tie) and a dress for women. "Business casual" typically means not wearing jeans or track suits, but wearing instead collared shirts, and more country trousers (not black, but more relaxed, including things such as corduroy). "Casual" typically just means clothing for the torso, legs and shoes. "Wedding Casual/Upscale Casual" defines yet another mode of dress, where guests dress respectfully, but not necessarily fancily. Basically, no jeans and T-shirts.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jme1beachbum

                                                                                                                                    I completely agree with Zagat's assesment and think people should respect the dress code of the restaurant...they do have the right to refuse to serve you.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: jme1beachbum

                                                                                                                                      btw, Wheeling is NOT prestigious, but it borders some prestigious suburbs (e.g. Northbrook and Deerfield).

                                                                                                                                      I'm not saying Tramonto's is like Applebees, but most of the people there dressed like they were. That's how people dine there.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                        And "like they were" were a lot more dressed up than Ilan was. Women in dresses, men in jackets and collared shirts.

                                                                                                                                3. re: sebetti

                                                                                                                                  Finally, someone with some sense. These people all seem to think that he must have had reservations that night and just happened to be there the same night that Bravo was filming, or something like that :)

                                                                                                                                  This is TV, image is everything. If you don't like the image someone is trying to convey, either you're not their target audience or they screwed up. I'm going to guess the former is the case in 100% of these objections on this thread.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                                    Oh good lord - "these people" know full well the restaurant wasn't open to the public that night and it was special invite only - that's already been stated elsewhere!

                                                                                                                                    Perhaps a re-read of the entire thread is in order, as the majority seem to think that Ilan was not dressed appropriately. However, if you as a hipster want to continue thinking he was, you will probably remain in the minority.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                                      Or, Ilan shows up dressed like a bum, Bravo tries to get him new wardrobe, Ilan refuses for what ever reason, knowing that he has Bravo over a barrel because they don't have someone else available and that it was more of a hassle to explain why only two of the last three season winners were there than it is to overlook his sloppiness.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                        There's a saying in the human resources field that applies to Ilan's clothes: Dress for the job you aspire to. Now, consider the three previous TC winners and their different aspirations. Enough said.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                          which works perfectly for Ilan since restaurateurs really don't care about what chefs wear (you're wearing chef's whites all the time anyways)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                            Anyone think he'll be picketing with NBA players if Stern implements a dress code?

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Icantread

                                                                                                                                              Interesting thing about injured players in the NBA, when they sit on the bench showing support for their team, I would think they wear sweats, but they typically wear suits or actually dress up more than Ilan did in an event that required his "professional" opinion/judging.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                That's a relatively new phenom, imposed by league rules and the very poor NBA players were up in arms about it. At least one player suggested that the league reimburse them for the nice clothes.

                                                                                                                                                And why was that rule passed? For TV/PR Image, the exact thing I've been saying all along. Everything on TV is about image - if you don't like it, you're probably not someone they care about.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                                                  "Very poor NBA players." You're kidding, right? That's an oxymoron if I've ever heard one!

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                    "Very poor NBA players." You're kidding, right? That's an oxymoron if I've ever heard one!

                                                                                                                                                    I worked under Richard Mack CMC for the '89 and '90 Championship seasons for the Detroit Pistons. You have no idea how hard I am laughing right now. I'd love to be "poor" like that even based on salaries from almost 20 years ago.
                                                                                                                                                    (Wow, time flies!)

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                                                    <That's a relatively new phenom, imposed by league rules >
                                                                                                                                                    wonder what you mean by relatively new. I went to many, many games in the 60's, 70's and 80's and the injured players ALWAYS were dressed up on the bench.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                      But what were they wearing in the 90s and 00s?

                                                                                                                                                      People used to wear jackets and nice hats when they went to baseball games, that's not really the case now.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: jgg13

                                                                                                                                                      First of all, none of these guys are what one would term "poor". Second, I think the dress rule was about the travel clothes and not about what they wear on the bench. They wanted to get rid of the image of NBA guys hanging out at airports looking like gangbangers.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                        I was being snarky w/ the poor comment ... because it was ridiculous that the players were demanding reimbursement (like when they went on strike and some players were trying to start up a fund that people could donate to so that the players wouldn't go hungry).

                                                                                                                                                        Anyhoo, I haven't seen last night's ep yet but I hope there were no clothing faux pas made so that this stupid argument can be put to rest.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                          Yes but did they have a problem with Rodman driving a semi-cab covered with X-mas lights? LOL

                                                                                                                                                2. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                  Ding, ding, ding! We HAVE a winner! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                    let's try to get this thread to 1000 posts!

                                                                                                                                                    It is amazing how strongly people feel about dressing. Every cruise ship discussion board also had endless arguments about how terrible/ok it is for people to dress casually on cruise ships. If only americans were as concerned about the behavior of their government.

                                                                                                                                                    Ilan is annoying and dressing any other way than as a wannabe hipster would have been a shock. But I still would have been annoyed with him. He did win season 2, even though Harold and Hung are far more deserving and accomplished, so I guess they had to let him in.

                                                                                                                                                    But what credentials, exactly, does Sam have to be a judge? I thought that was an awful choice, wasting a whole episode that could have featured another Chicago chef with the experience to deserve a spot as a judge. Lame.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                                                      Well, we do have Padma to look at every week, so Sam is the payback eye candy for the half of the demographics that enjoy looking at good looking men.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                        I remember the gf saying, "wow, he got really hot!". That mgiht have been reason he was judging ... trying to pull off the "hot chef" angle to push him towards celebrity.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                          And this is why I like you, Phaedrus - always looking out for the other gender's eyeballs. <vbg>

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                            only half? i'm inclined to think that straight women & gay men might comprise more than 50% of the top chef audience. could be an interesting topic for discussion, actually.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                              if i want to look at hot guys i don't need to turn on Top Chef...there are many other venues! On TC I want to see talented, qualified cheftestants and talented, qualified judges, not eye candy!

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                                                                As we have hashed over before on CH concerning all TV shows in regard to: product placement, contestant ability, judges decisions, challenges, language used, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                This is commercial television not PBS.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                                                                  Well... uh.... no. I want eye candy! Lots of seductive, gorgeous, drool over eye candy. But in the form of food, not people!

                                                                                                                                                                  Just thought I'd clarify that. '-)

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                                                                    kenito : i don't think any of us are tuning in for eye candy - slim pickings on TC. i was thinking more about the general bravo demographic, and the fact that i don't know a single straight man who watches the show...or any of the other bravo reality shows for that matter.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                      really?!? i know *tons* of straight dudes who watch top chef. . .

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                          LMAO!. . . ack. . . hack. . . cough. . .hairball--!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                          whew! Phaedrus you are too much! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                          i think it's probably a sign that i need new men in my life :)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                            GHG-- i thought about all the "straight dudes i know who watch top chef"-- and realized that they're. . . all. . . chefs!!!

                                                                                                                                                                            circus music plays, soupkitten smacks forehead, screaming *DUH*

                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                          yes but my point is that i want a qualified judge, not just a good-looking judge, and Sam's only qualifications seem to be that he was a cheftestant and that he is cute. I am part of the demographic that would supposedly be attracted to him, but his hotness is not enough for me to want him as a judge, when there are hundreds of accomplished chefs in Chicago who Iam sure would have been happy to do it. I am also in the demographic of foodlovers who want this show to be primarily about how well these cheftestants can cook!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                                                                            Well, there was also the "bonus" that he's diabetic and the challenge was supposed to be healthy. It was a pretty thin connection, to be sure.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                                                                              he comes from a family of cops as well

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                                                                                Never got why Sam was a judge. He wasn't even a finalist. None of the winners have been a judge this season.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                  he was the fan favorite. we've all agreed -- i think -- that many things on this show are done just to keep people watching. they don't have to analyze why we liked sam, they have a vote to prove we did.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                Crap, does this mean I have to have the 'talk' with my husband?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sebetti

                                                                                                                                                                                  nah. as long as he doesn't make catty comments about padma's clothes or talk about how hot sam looks with is new haircut, i think you're ok ;)

                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                                                                                Agreed! Top Chef is one of the worst places to look for eye candy. All the people think Tom C is so sexy because there really is nobody else. Kind of how I liked Alexander Siddig in the Star Trek series because there really was a dearth of handsome men on those shows.

                                                                                                                                                                                I'd also rather see more talented contestants and judges than having somebody be there because they're considered hot.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: sugarbuzz

                                                                                                                                              I'll bet that was a $90 t-shirt he was wearing. Don't believe me? Go into Nordstroms or some local hipster boutique. Fashion t-shirts are all over the place, and pricey. And the material on them is paper-thin, so these genius clothes manufacturers must have incredible profit margins!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: boingo2000

                                                                                                                                                Well, you bring up an interesting point. Now, I will (once again!) admit to not being the youngest participant on these boards. I am of a generation that wore suits and dresses on airplanes, and they were not jets. But damn, the food was good! And served on real china, with linen place mats and metal flatware! But I digress...

                                                                                                                                                When jeans came into fashion, admitedly I didn't recognize any brands but Levis. For the life of me, I could not then and I do not now understand the willingness to spend two or three hundred dollars on a pair of jeans that only the most cogent of cognoscenti can recognize!

                                                                                                                                                And the same goes for tee shirts. The ONLY way I have of knowing that a tee shirt is probably "up market" is if I see the person wearing it lounging in the corner of an ultra chic restaurant spooning in an ounce or two of caviar. Paying a hundred bucks for a Big Mac wouldn't make it a better hamburger. The same thing goes for tee shirts... In my humble opinion.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                                                  Clothes are only as 'cool' as the person wearing them.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: boingo2000

                                                                                                                                                  It probably was a $90 T-shirt. DH (who's hitting 40) wears $90 T-shirts. And they are sometimes not the best made. I accidentally threw one in the dryer once and had to spend some time stretching it out because it shrank so much. But even DH knows what is appropriate in that type of setting. He was the first to say how inappropriate Ilan's clothing was.

                                                                                                                                              2. I usually just read theses threads silently, but I had to comment on one thing. Even though Spike has proven not to be the best chef was there not something else he could have done with the scallops once he realized they were frozen?

                                                                                                                                                To me trying to sear those scallops was obviously going to have problems, Spike even mentioned it. I am totally blanking now on a specific dish but I know I have seen recipes with scallops put through the food processor. Something where it would be mixed with other ingredients and cooked in a way that would be less problematic. Wish I had gotten more sleep last night and could think of something, but I'm sure someone else out there can fill in the blanks.

                                                                                                                                                I was really wanting Lisa to go, even more after seeing those potatoes, but Spike not being able to work with those scallops was worse. Before JT I had assumed he could not send the scallops back once he picked them, which Lisa also made a comment about him being stuck with his ingredient. But in either way he should have found a way to make it work with finals on the line. Like he said they were in the walk in, so they must be good for something!

                                                                                                                                                5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: elliora

                                                                                                                                                  I almost mentioned this same idea (of doing something else with the scallops) in my post above. Coincidentally, hubby was supposed to cook dinner tonight but didn't feel like doing much cooking, so he bought some scallop cakes at Whole Foods, sauteed them and served them with a lemon sauce of some type, on arugula. They were surprisingly tasty. So, when Spike was trying to save the scallops with paper towels (and hey, even I've tried that and know it doesn't really work!), I was tempted to yell at the TV, 'make scallop cakes'...but didn't, as I knew I'd be happier to just see Spike go.

                                                                                                                                                  Though have to say, his butchering was very nice.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: susancinsf

                                                                                                                                                    I actually thought "I'll bet Tramanto uses those for cakes or soup" the second I saw them. Strange that it occurred to all of us and not to Spike...

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: elliora

                                                                                                                                                    my first thought when i saw that he was still going to use the frozen product was scallop mousse...i was really surprised he didn't even consider doing one.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                      I thought the same thing. A scallop mousse could have been a thing of beauty.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                                                        Right. As soon as I saw how bad they were, I was like, surely he'll make a scallop quenelles or something cool like that and then....he didn't