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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?

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  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 chefs...lol.

    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 2...it 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: http://www.cenitare.com/export/sites/...
                          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: http://recipes.mt.bravotv.com/top_che...

                                                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'...you'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 season..one? 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 Tramonto..here 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 conformity..it'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

                                                                                                                                                  3. Happy with the results. Curious of one thing (or two though).

                                                                                                                                                    First, it seems especially on this forum Steph gets more high marks than Antonia. To me they're pretty much even. In fact, I think what they said tonight said it best. Stef had the best overall. Antonia (and Richard) though can on a single item out cook Stef. Just curious as to why the "lower" applause for Antonia.

                                                                                                                                                    Oh, second thing, and hopefully this isn't too far off topic. I read about Harold and Hung all the time on the news, what they're doing, where they are. I never hear anything about Ilan. I mean really. I hear more about CJ, Casey, Sam, and what's-his-face with the wine than I do about him. Did he open a restaurant or what?

                                                                                                                                                    44 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: HarryK

                                                                                                                                                      There is no way Ilan opened a restaurant. Didn't we all know as soon as he won that he was going to spend the money on a year of "bumming around"? And from what I see on this episode, my thought about him was right: young (isn't he 23 or something?) punk!

                                                                                                                                                      I think it's great that it's 3 women and one very talented man in the finals...

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: mudaba

                                                                                                                                                        Wasn't there mention somewhere that Ilan wanted to open a bar with food? Somewhere in NYC?

                                                                                                                                                        Was he being paid to wear the Tshirt to advertise something?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                          No, Ilan is definitely in LA. In fact, he's on my Myspace page, and recently was having roommate troubles that was causing him to move out of his current place (Wilshire neighborhood). Maybe he shaved their head?

                                                                                                                                                          Anyway, here's the story: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23583842/...

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: azhotdish

                                                                                                                                                            I proceeded to read about all the other former contestants. This blurb from Lee Anne's update caught my eye:
                                                                                                                                                            "So many people are passionate about food and want to learn," Lee Anne said. "But there is only so much good food television out there right now. I want to bring substance to the content."

                                                                                                                                                            Hmm, a veiled dig at FN perhaps?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: azhotdish

                                                                                                                                                              Thank you for the link.
                                                                                                                                                              Tapas at a sit down restaurant with wheels attached.
                                                                                                                                                              That might just be a niche untouched by any other top chef winners.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: HarryK

                                                                                                                                                          I prefer Stephanie for several reasons. As far as cooking -- Antonia keeps winning with things she announces she's made 1000 times. There isn't really anything "wrong" about that, I don't think she's cheating or whatever, but I am more excited to see someone creating a new dish well -- that shows her cooking brilliance. On a personal level, Stephanie has never made a nasty remark about anyone on the show, and every time Antonia is interviewed she talks smack. Although I think she's pretty good, it's hard to want her to win the whole thing with her attitude about "stupid boys in the bathtub," "if that wins i'll throw up" and "dale only makes asian food" comments. She's meaner than we are!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                                                            I agree that Stephanie comes off better in the edits, but I'm not sure I buy her nicey-nicey personality. You don't run a restaurant without breaking some serious eggs, not to mention balls. But she consistently seems to try interesting things and pull them off well, while Antonia seems to think that "cooking with heart" means only sticking to a tried-and-true list of dishes. But heck, it worked for Ilan...

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                                                              Lisa is lucky, Stephanie is inconsistent, Antonia pretty much sticks to the book, the cookbook that is. Richard's dishes are the only ones that the judges have said they'd serve in their own restaurants - though I'm still not sure he's going to win -- this show isn't about how much talent you have (e.g. Jen and Dale), but really about how you play the game (e.g. Lisa, Nikki, Spike)

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                                                              I find those comments by Antonia pretty mild compared to some of the crotch grabbing, expletive laden, scream fests that have gone on this season. In fact, it seems to me Antonia has been enjoying this competition more than any of the other competitors and she is generally positive and upbeat. I also agree with an earlier poster who thinks she is on par with Richard and Stephanie in the cooking department.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                on par with Richard?...lol, no way. When Richard was able to win with tofu (which Collichio said was something he couldnt even do), she couldn't find a way to use polish sausage. Antonia only cooks what she knows, give her an ingredient she's not experienced with and she's doomed. That's not to say she can't win TC, we already know this show isn't about who's the best. Based on skill and technique, I would have put steph, dale, and jen in front of antonia as well. Remember during restaurant wars when Antonia was executive chef?, she didn't even win that one, the judges gave the win to Steph. Wedding wars?, Richard. The only challenge she's won is for creating a healthy dish for under $10, which was really just a bunch of noodles with some bok choy and chicken...something she mentioned she's cooked for her daughter before.

                                                                                                                                                                As Dale said, "scoreboard bitch", and to that here's what it so far with the remaining four...

                                                                                                                                                                Most Wins:
                                                                                                                                                                Stephanie: 4
                                                                                                                                                                Richard: 3
                                                                                                                                                                Lisa and Antonia: 1

                                                                                                                                                                Least appearances on the chopping block:
                                                                                                                                                                Richard: 1
                                                                                                                                                                Stephanie and Antonia: 3
                                                                                                                                                                Lisa: 5

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                  Season two clearly showed that a chef with no originality or creativity can win. I'm not saying that she is in any way as bad as Ilan.

                                                                                                                                                                  However IMHO I think Antonia is a talented chef. She is not the most flamboyant or dominant and therefore tends to get overshadowed.

                                                                                                                                                                  And wasn't Lisa her partner who refused to cook Polish sausage say that it was beneath her?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                    In defense of Antonia:
                                                                                                                                                                    Won the best palette contest.
                                                                                                                                                                    Her food is always seasoned and cooked correctly.
                                                                                                                                                                    She won the challenge with the most pressure (diner).
                                                                                                                                                                    She performed extremely well on the line last night and had the best entree.
                                                                                                                                                                    Even though Steph won Restaurant Wars both of her dishes were extremely well received.
                                                                                                                                                                    She outperformed both Richard and Stephanie in the butchering challenge last night.
                                                                                                                                                                    Give her a hit on the polish sausage but nobody has been perfect. Anyone remember scales on fish and the phallic plate?
                                                                                                                                                                    How do you but Jenn ahead of Antonia, we didn't even have a chance to see what she can do. Can you remember a single dish she made? All she is remembered for "I have to do it for Zoi."
                                                                                                                                                                    I agree that if Richard and Stephanie hit home runs in Puerto Rico then Antonia will come in third but I also think she is the one who is least likely to blunder.
                                                                                                                                                                    You're not counting Quickfire wins or Highs in your stats. Antonia is in the same ballpark statistically as Richard and Stephanie.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                      I don't think she's bad at all, just not in the top 4. She has very limited range and like everyone's been saying, can only cook what she's really familiar with or has cooked a dozen times before. Why Jen?, her professional resume is probably the second most impressive next to Richard's

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                        And they both have faux hawks. Hmmm, could there be a link?

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                          I have thought that they could have been separated at birth

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                        I agree with your assessment. I think she's the most consistent out of the four. I'd prefer to eat Steph's or Richard's food but I think they are more at risk for failure -- either with their flavor profiles or conceptualization of the dish. Antonia does lack some creativity, but TC history shows you that you don't have to be mega creative to win -- Harold and Ilan. I think Richard and Steph are more talented overall, but Antonia plays the game better. The one thing I can't stand about Antonia is her cultural ignorance -- tequila, Dale and his Chinese food. And I don't mention Lisa at all in the Final 4 because she's not worthy to be in the finals.

                                                                                                                                                                        To credit Richard, he's only seen three episodes of Top Chef before going on the show. So while the other contestants could have studied these shows, Richard pretty much went in not very informed and still rocked. And I do have a feeling that some of the contestants who are "nicer" may not perhaps be that way in real life -- that they are just playing the game because they know in the long run, it's better to be perceived as easy to work with and will open more doors for you than to make it all the way (ahem, Ilan), especially if you're not extremely talented. Eg. Niki chastising Dale during the wedding wars about Dale being seen as THAT guy. Niki is a smart cookie -- she knows how to play.

                                                                                                                                                                      3. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                        My original expectation for the final 4 was Richard, Dale, Stephanie and Antonia.

                                                                                                                                                                        Too bad Dale couldn't keep a level-head like Richard, Stephanie and Antonia.

                                                                                                                                                                        Personally, I think Richard and Stephanie are the best chefs where both have a flair for creativity. However, Richard does take risk, he can set himself to lose while Stephanie seems to get flustered quite a bit.

                                                                                                                                                                        As someone has mentioned already, you don't have to be the best chef to win. You just win by cooking what you know and by taking few risk, Antonia.

                                                                                                                                                                        One thing I'm getting tired of hearing about is the emphasis that there could be a female Top Chef.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                                                                      Good stuff, Adrienne. Then again maybe that's why (I hadn't thought this before) I like Antonia ... I like fiesty. She's so right in that Dale is a one-note chef. And yeah, that really did look like a cheap porn flick with the guys in the tub! hehe

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: HarryK

                                                                                                                                                                        I think that was one of the most ignorant comments this season made by Antonia

                                                                                                                                                                        as for Ilan, he opened up a taco stand (seriously) in Los Angeles a few months ago. I'm not sure if anybody knows this, but Ilan was only 23 (he's 25 now), so i don't blame him for not opening up a restaurant. That's a lot of responsibility to take on when most people that age are still hopping around gaining experience.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                          lol! Whole-heartedly agree.

                                                                                                                                                                          I'm surprised Antonia hasn't complained about all these chefs cooking only European food. Those overrated one-trick ponies.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: HarryK

                                                                                                                                                                          Assuming that Antonia is correct (which I'm not certain that she is) that Dale only cooks Asian, he has shown he can cook the flavors of many Asian countries. Her comment is ignorant at best, prejudicial at worst.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                            And yet IF it's true -- it is still TRUE.

                                                                                                                                                                            When political correctness gets in the way of truth, it's not truth that should fall to the wayside.

                                                                                                                                                                            One more thought ... If I were to say Lydia Bastianich seems only able to cook Italian. Why is that not considered prejudicial? Oh, cause Asian is considered more a minority than Italian? See what I mean?

                                                                                                                                                                            And yet, Lydia has said she will never be a fusionist, that she is a traditionist. She said if lemon grass worked great in an Italian dish she would never never (her quote) use it. That is her choice. Many would argue that is not a limitation; some might consider it so. Either way, it's true, Lydia (by her own choice) cooks only Italian.

                                                                                                                                                                            Again, that particular truth ruffles no feathers (as indeed it should not)... yet we have the knee-jerk reaction when the same is applied to Dale. Sorry. THAT is the ignorance to me. PC gone overboard and the truth be damned. Tsk tsk, folks. Be more open.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: HarryK

                                                                                                                                                                              i think the point was not pc-ness, but my take was that antonia was saying not that dale only cooks "asian" but only CAN cook asian... Lydia could cook something other than italian f she chose to ( i assume). Now I think dale COULD cook non "asian" food - but i don't think antonia thought he could. But that's just the way i heard what she was saying.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                actually, i think the point - as anthony bourdain himself pointed out - is that asia is a vast continent with numerous regional cuisines.

                                                                                                                                                                                i have the same problem with people who talk about a chef specializing in mediterranean cuisine, or going to a mediterranean restaurant...ummm, which part of the mediterranean?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes, goodhealthgourmet -- the point for me is definitely the stupidity of her comment. Asia has so many cuisines -- and though a few are similar, Dale has successfully made Indian fusion at the BBQ, the tofu curry which approximates Thai, the ice dessert thing is Filipino, the butterscotch scallops, though a failure, I think we decided were closest to Vietnamese.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Also, re vs. complaining about someone only making Italian:
                                                                                                                                                                                  The problem isn't at all that Asians are more of a minority. The problem is that NO ONE complains when someone ONLY makes Italian. Why not? Italy really is only one country. Why do we close our eyes and imagine the world with Italy huge and diverse and Asia one-note? It's simply incorrect. And for a chef to not understand that... makes her less of a good chef, for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                                                                                    Plenty of people complained about Ilan only doing Spanish.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                      That's true. Freaking Ilan only did the dishes from one freaking restaurant too.

                                                                                                                                                                                      I can't remember though, RL, was he criticized for this on the show or was that just us?

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                                                                                        On the show there were one or two veiled references to the fact that all he was doing was replicating restaurant recipes, and playing it safe. I think that was even a comment at the final JT. Here on CH people caught on right away.

                                                                                                                                                                                        After the show people, including judges, were more forthcoming and straight forward about his cooking Andy Nulman's food.

                                                                                                                                                                                        For me the classic was one the reunion cook-off. Ilan was given a duck and he said he couldn't do it, and didn't know how because duck is not used in Spanish cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: HarryK

                                                                                                                                                                                "Asian is considered a more minority than Italian?"

                                                                                                                                                                                I don't see the point of the comments is political correctness.

                                                                                                                                                                                The point is Antonia buckets Asian as one cuisine.
                                                                                                                                                                                Italy is a country, but what country is Asia? What country represents Asian cooking?

                                                                                                                                                                                Hence, the comments about Antonia's ignorance about geography.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                                                  Antonia never referred to Asia as a country, so I'm not sure we can fault her geography. We may be able to, but not based on this. (As for Dale's range, I still think of him as limited to a certain part of Asia-- not really seen him go to the Indian subcontinent or try his hand as Uighur dishes; but when I say this, I am aware that he has covered a wide variety nontheless and would love to have him cook for me.)

                                                                                                                                                                                  Everyone here is correct regarding the vastness of the continent and its varied foodways, but then why not ding Dale for his comment "Asian Chef, Asian restaurant'-- he seems as ready to harness lazy shorthand as anyone else.

                                                                                                                                                                                  This is a game in which interviews are constructed to goad catty and televisual comments for TV. It's not really an accurate gauge beyond that.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: HarryK

                                                                                                                                                                                  What does your rant about Lydia have to do with Antonia trying to punk Dale? The rest of your post is as incomprehensible as your analogy to what Lydia "chooses" to do.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: HarryK

                                                                                                                                                                                    To add to the pile-on, if you are accusing a fellow contestant of being "one note" because they "only cook Asian," then you are showing your ignorance of geography and the cuisine of Asia. That would be akin to criticizing a chef for "only cooking European," or, in other words, *only* cooking French, Spanish, German, Italian, Greek, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                    To criticize a chef for only cooking "Asian," is to somehow demean the cuisines of China, Japan, Viet Nam, Thailand, India, (even Russia), etc., etc., etc. It was an ethnocentric comment.

                                                                                                                                                                                    To quote wikipedia: "Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent. It covers 8.6% of the Earth's total surface area (or 29.4% of its land area) and, with over 4 billion people, it contains more than 60% of the world's current human population." So, by criticizing a chef for being *limited* to "Asian food," you are basically saying they know how to cook the food that 60% of the world's population eats. Just not Europe.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                                                                                      The word "only" has two meanings: one refers to quantity and the other is a demeaning word. Other than our own personal spin, I don't see how anyone can determine whether Antonia's stupid comment about Dale "only doing Asian cooking" means she's demeaning the cuisines of China, Japan, VietNam, etc or whether she's accusing him of limiting his recipes to those from the Asian continent.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Lizard's comment about Dale himself using the same "Asian" generalization is a point well taken.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                                                                        You are throwing semantics at us. Whether the speaker intended it to be dismissive, or simply was ignorant is beside the point.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                                                                                          Actually, I'm not clear on that given that this debate has generated some pretty nasty assessments of Antonia's ignorance.

                                                                                                                                                                                          I don't think any one of us is disputing the fact that Asia is a large landmass with diverse foodways-- so what point are we missing here?

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                                                            Whether Antonia intended to be dismissive in her comment about Dale "only cooking Asian food," and by that comment, display a preference for other types of cooking (i.e. European), or whether her comment was based on ignorance, i.e. she didn't have the clue that Asia is a big continent with lots of different varieties of cuisine, hardly matters. She said the comment. People can now draw their conclusions about her -- she's either ethnocentric, or she's simply lacking in knowledge about the vast array of food that is "Asian." That's all I meant, and no nastiness implied.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Edited to add: or, I guess, you could assume she knows all of the above and simply thinks "Asian" food is lesser quality or easier to cook, and thus really meant the comment as a slur. I'd rather think her ignorant.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                                                                                              i think she meant that dale couldn't cook outside his own comfort zone, and it had nothing to do with either ignorance nor ethnocentrism

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                I would like to clarify since I think I started this mess... I do not hate Antonia or think she's racist. I do think she's a little ignorant about other food, which makes her a less good chef. But the reason I brought all of this up is only that I think that the fact that she has made some nasty comments about her competitors, and ones we don't even agree with, is one of many factors in why in general people seem to prefer Stephanie, who is always humble and never talking smack and always trying to improve herself instead of talking about how other people suck. That makes her more appealing. That was the point I was trying to make.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                                                                                                I think it was a comment on Dale staying with his comfort zone and the ability to predict where he would go-- I really don't think it goes further than that, save for that the 'comfort zone' might be larger and more varied than she imagines.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I am thinking that its the pot calling the kettle black for Antonia to be saying that Dale never does anything outside of his comfort zone. it seems like every time she makes something she proudly proclaims that she has done this a million times before.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                                                                                                  We'll agree to disagree on "Whether Antonia intended to be dismissive ...or whether her comment was based on ignorance ... hardly matters." I see a major difference between someone who is dismissive because he/she ignores the facts to fit a particular mind set and someone who doesn't have adequate information on a topic. Other posters must feel the same way since the level of hostility in posts with the dismissive interpretation is much higher than the level of hostility based on the ignorant interpretation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I probably should have used "unaware" rather than "ignorant" or "dismissive," as I don't think Antonia had any intentional hostility behind the comment, nor do I think she is stupid. Lizard put it best a couple of posts above.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: HarryK

                                                                                                                                                                                          Hey Antonia, since when is Halo Halo a Chinese dish?

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HarryK

                                                                                                                                                                                            EXCUSE ME? I'm not sure what you're getting at but "Asian" food has a huge amount of variety and a key source of most herbs, spices, fruits and veggies found out west. If anything, there's tons of flavors to play with from "Asian" cuisine

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Unsurprisingly, Hung and Harold's comments were useful and interesting, and Ilan's were useless, but then, that's Ilan.

                                                                                                                                                                                    I loved this challenge, what a great one for the final challenge before the finals. Cook with great ingredients with no limit, design your own two dishes with no influence from anyone, be in a restaurant setting, just showing what they can do. Fun episode.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. Looks like the considerable section of the show's fans hoping for a woman champ will get their wish this season. Seems that the performances from the exec chef and two chef/owners verify their qualifications over the sous chef Lisa--her gift lies in avoiding elimination after so many times at the bottom. After her recent 'healthy' choice of half-raw shrimp she chooses another variation of botched shrimp!

                                                                                                                                                                                      From what I've recently seen, though, it wouldn't surprise me if Richard goes before Lisa--it just takes one mis-step/one adamant judge. His weakness in fundamentals doing short order eggs, then meat cutting and 'steak 101' seems to have dampened his confidence and ardour. As far as whose food I'd be most inclined to pay to eat, I'd probably feel more secure with Antonia's, with Richard's next (I suspect his stuff might be too effete and out of my price range though).

                                                                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                                                        I thought it was interesting that Tom said at judges' table that they really don't understand Lisa's attitude (or as I interpreted what he was saying, her philosophy) about cooking. I agree. I don't see a passion for food in her, and she has repeatedly displayed nothing but contempt for the people she's cooking for. More than almost any TC contestant I can remember she seems to cook purely for ego, and not for love of either food or feeding people.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I was happy to see that they got to take the extra tomahawk chops they prepped back to the house to eat. I would have hated to see all that lovely meat go to waste. I'll bet the crew ate well that day, too!

                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Once again Lisa skates by. She should buy lottery tickets.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I for one applaud Spike for standing up to Tramano (aka Mr. Excitement). Tramano was talking down to Spike for using, rightly or wrongly, the scallops. Then to start going on about quality and how he would never accept such things like that into his restaurant is a bit much. He completely ignores the fact that these were his scallops found in his restaurant. The big wind bag/blowhard needed reminding of just where they came from. I know I won't be eating his scallops anytime soon

                                                                                                                                                                                        And since when are contestants allowed to change key ingredient choices mid-challenge?

                                                                                                                                                                                        Ilan reminded us all of really and truly just how useless he is. So cool, only a tee shirt will do. A real PAB.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Nice to hear say something nice about eggs.

                                                                                                                                                                                        I can't complain about the final three. Lisa is really nothing more that an also ran. How many weeks in a row has she announced about "stepping it up and showing her stuff?"

                                                                                                                                                                                        I too assume it will be Richard and Steph in the final, but can't completely rule out Antonia.

                                                                                                                                                                                        16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                          The blogs at bravotv.com (interview with Tramanto and Tom's blog) indicate that Tramanto had no idea the scallops were there and confirm that he'd never use them. The point being that sometimes suppliers deliver random stuff, and it's not always the exec chef that accepts the inventory. By choosing frozen scallops, Spike was showing his relative lack of experience/knowledge/class/imagination/whatever you want to call it. I think he picked the tomahawk steaks to play it safe, having just worked with them successfully. He chose rather plebeian ingredients in the box lunch challenge, and it certainly didn't seem to bother the other chefs for long that they couldn't use those items. I've never used frozen scallops, but I didn't realize that they were quite the death knoll that all the other chefs knew instinctively. Keeping it "safe" without thinking it through -- not a top chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                            I certainly see your point. But he is the boss, he is also the one who accepts the glory. The fact was they were there and had been accepted by a member of his team into his kitchen. The buck stops with him. Is a bit like the captain of a ship saying 'I was having a nap so hitting the iceberg has nothing to do with me.'

                                                                                                                                                                                            Lucky for Lisa they were there...and if Spike had changed his ingredient I'm sure he would have been called out for that.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                              OTOH, if one of Tramonto's people had tried to serve the scallops on a regular night, he would have put a stop to it.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                I agree he would have stopped it. I just thought it was a bit much for him to lecture spike about using inferior products. When the products in question were untimely his.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Spike was right to point that out. And if he hadn't it he would have been asked 'why didn't you defend yourself?' at JT.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Just because it's in the walk-in doesn't mean it's going to get used. If something is inferior quality or past its prime it'll get tossed out. That's part of the judgment you would expect a decent chef to exercise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Just because it's in the walk-in doesn't mean it's going to get used
                                                                                                                                                                                                    That's true but it's not exactly normal to keep bad products in the walk in.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's not an issue of a product being past its prime. We are talking fresh Vs frozen and you can be sure that every cook there knows whether or not they are using fresh or frozen scallops. Obviously some one pulled them from the freezer and put them in the walk in. Really poor move for Spike but I can't fault him at all for tossing it right back at Tromonto.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Either way it's kind of an interesting twist.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Docsknotinn

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chef Tom's blog indicates that Allen Brothers had stocked the kitchen with additional items in order to round out the inventory for this challenge. So Tramonto really might have had no idea that they were in his walk-in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Now that's funny. No wonder Tromonto was a little miffed. So it wasn't a deliberate plant but it wasn't a normal house product either.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Either way the Spikester should have avoided the frozen scallop. I mean geez the guy had first pick.
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Maybe we should take up a collection and mail spike some fresh scallops. LOL
                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm glad that Tom put that on his blog and cleared this up because I think it did look rather poor for Tromonto.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                                                                                                            If I were allen bros. I would be royally pissed about the dissed quality of the frozen scallops. LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                                                                                                          To which chef are you referring, Tromonto or Spike?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                                      If Spike had not had the quickfire advantage, picking on his choice of the scallops might have been unfair- - after all, we can't see what else was available there, even if it seems like something else might have been better. But with the ability to pick first I just can't understand how he chose scallops over the ingredients the other contestants used... he had first pick and chose something frozen. What does that say about his decision making skills?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                                                                                                        no surprise - remember his choices the last time he won the quickfire for the healthy lunch for the police man challenge?

                                                                                                                                                                                                        as Dale said, they were very "pedestrian"

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm not really surprised. But I think taking shots at Tramanto for calling Spike out on it is a little unreasonable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I find it interesting that Lisa has been solely responsibile for making long-winded pep talk/congratulatory speeches after the last few challenges in spite of the fact that her performance least resembles the compliments she is throwing about. Is she operating under the impression that if she includes herself in the top tier no one will notice that she doesn't qualify?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. Having worked in TV programming for 20 years, I know well that every show needs an antagonist. However, there is always a very fine line between a character that audiences love to hate and a character that audiences just hate. IMO, Lisa has one toe over the line, and with the reduced number of chefs as TC nears its end, Lisa has become a more and more of an obvious toxic personality. Clearly, at this juncture, the decisions are being made in terms of drama and not ability since, after last week's debacle, Lisa rightfully should have been asked to leave. I feel that audiences will now be turning in to watch for Lisa to get the ax, but my hope is that this is not delayed, allowing her to make it into the top 3 just for the sake of drama.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I feel as if most of the challenges are geared toward line cooks, not a "Top Chef"

                                                                                                                                                                                                      ...anyways, reading Tom Colichio's blog, he felt that Lisa should have gone home last week rather than Dale (as does most of America)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      21 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wonder if they'll bring Dale back in a surprise twist, like they brought back an axed dancer in Step it Up a few weeks back? Much as he annoyed the piss out of me, I kind of miss him and I think he would bring much more interest to the final four. Maybe Lisa and Antonia will get in a slapfight and they'll both be axed, and Dale will be brought in as a sub, then he'll get in a slapfight with Richard and they'll bring back Mark and Spike...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think they might bring him in as a sous or a judge in the end. I would love to see him cooking without the competition pressure, I think his actual food is great.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Bring Dale back as a sous assigned to Lisa.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Now that would be Karma.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            He'd probably behave and she'd freak out.
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Karma squared.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                                                                                That is funny...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                If they do bring back sous chefs, who do you think the final 4 would pick?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Richard and Dale would be a tough team to beat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm trying to remember if it's the Final 4 that get to pick, or the Final 2. Just checked wikipedia.org, and all three TCs had eliminated cheftestants come back in the finale - so it's Final 2. Maybe they'll switch it up this year, as there were a few more cheftestants in this seasons. But I don't think we'll see them until after a couple more are gone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Last season wasn't it Final 3? IIRC Hung, Casey and Dale all cooked for the final dinner. They started the finale with four, and then one was eliminated after the cowboy challenge. Season one they started with three (Harold, Tiffani and Dave), eliminated one, and had two in the final cook-off; season two they started with four (Sam, Elia, Marcel and Ilan), eliminated two, and again had two (Marcel, Ilan) in the final cook-off. Since they have yet to do it the same way twice, I would say that there's really no definitive way of saying how many people will be cooking at each stage of the finale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My bad - you're right - all three in TC3 had a former cheftestant helping them out:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        no way they'd let Dale back with Richard in the finale, that would be game over for everyone else

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm pretty sure they bring back the last few booted off, so Dale would most certainly be a choice for the final 2/3/4 to choose from. Perhaps this time they'll mix it up a bit. But it makes more sense to bring back the better cheftestants that someone like Nimla or Nirma or whatever her name was - the first one let go.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Well Dale and Jen would be automatic, who else would they take?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Icantread

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm not sure Jen would be automatic, but then again, I didn't work side-by-side with them. Keep in mind that out of the 4 left, up to 2 others might be booted before they get a chance to choose sous chefs to work alongside the finalists. So any one of the current top 3 (leaving Lisa out of it, I think <g>) Mark and Andrew are also good possibilities, depending on how they work with the remaining cheftestants.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Somebody please refresh my memory - I seem to remember that Michelle Bernstein, Todd English and Rocco DiSpirito were sous chefs at some point in the Season 3 finale. Is that right?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Mushroom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  yeah they aided in prep, Rocco helped Hung, Todd helped Dale and Michelle helped Casey

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  after that, the eliminated contestants helped with service, Sarah helped Hung, CJ helped Dale and Howie helped Casey

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks! I wonder if they will do something similar this season? If so - I wonder who will it be? I guess I should pose that question on the spoiler/prediction post.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I agree. If Dale is available and the chefs get to pick, then it would be in everyone else's interest not to let Richard team up with Dale because their combine knowledge will far surpass any other potential team.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                yes i agree, dale has worked well with richard before, dale respects him. i would love to see what they come up with. dale could also work with stephanie i think. not a cxhance we'll see him with antonia or lisa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      How about going all the way to total evilness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Have a Good Guys Vs. Bad Guys special. Take all the people they had labeled villains and all the people they had labeled as good and have them go at it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Like Lee Anne and Harold against Stephen and Tiffany. The aforementioned Dale and Lisa Vs. Richard and Stephanie. Marcel and Ilan against everyone else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      or have Tiffany as Dave's Bitch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah I know, I have too much time on my hands.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        What I'd really like to see is winners vs. fan favorites. That would be really interesting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          i love that idea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          any bravo execs who might be trolling the boards...take note!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Excellent re-cap. I'm very happy with the top three but I have to say I'm rooting for Antonia or Stephanie.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I would have loved to see this be the final three instead of four. Lisa and her nasty disposition needs to hit the trail. I'm sick of listening to her whine on the line in every challange.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I really enjoy Tom messing with their heads!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The thing I noticed the most was how well spoken and succinct Hung was.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. I think Lisa should have gone personally.I really think Spike blew it when he was giving it to Tramonto's owner. I have used frozen scallops before,not a whole lot just three or four,ones I bought at H.E.B. Grocery Store.I don't recall any problem with them,and I think I even cooked them frozen.They tasted pretty good.Maybe it wasn't the fact they were frozen,but rather the quality of these scallops that was the problem.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Who would make a shrimp salad and serve it cold if you previously cooked them in butter or Bluebonnet margarine,the poor man's butter.I believe one of the judges commented on her shrimp salad about the congealed butter.If I did a warm shrimp salad for myself, I'd haul out the PAM spray to saute them in,not butter or BB.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I just knew that Richard was going on. He has been consistent and I think really works hard.Glad Stephanie won, and Antonia is going on as well.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Can't wait to see the next challenge.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yah Chef Tom really doesn't offer them any advice or suggestions.I like Tim Gunn.As Gyozagirl says,Tim trys to make suggestions and offer his take on things. He suggest ways to improve things and has a feel for the judges thinking,like telling one contestant not to bore Nina Garcia .Forgot who he was talking to,but he was saying you got to step out of the comfort zone and do some wow here.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As far as the scallops Spike chose,there is a classic french dish in which you can blend scallops with other ingredients and make a mousse,which is usually molded I believe.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    That maybe what you are thinking of.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I still believe that Sam should have won Top Chef,not Ilan,but that's just
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    me.Yeah,and he should have worn a shirt,even just a polo shirt,anything besides a t-shirt.Can't wait for next week.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Wonder if since they are going to Puerto Rico,that maybe they will have to cook using local ingredients.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: HollyDolly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      It would have been better to bring back Sam again, but without a shirt...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: HollyDolly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oooh, some lechon? Platanos? Some outstanding seafood from the Caribbean? Maybe something simple like moros y cristianos.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I hope that have to make that thing where they smash the plantain into a bowl and fill it with meat. What is that a mofongo?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: HollyDolly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          they're going to be slaughtering a pig - you can tell from the previews

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. To chefs out there: Do steakhouses butcher their own meat? Does the chef generally do it or is there someone on the line assigned to that task? Does it require serious upper-body strength? I found the whole QF quite interesting in that I don't know anything about butchering.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I can't answer your question, but Stephanie showed upper body endurance (perhaps different from strength) in the relay quickfire, making mayo. That didn't seem to help with the butchering.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              One thing that Spike did show was how easy it was. While Richard was trying to cut it into chops first, Spike was trimming out all the aged (hard to cut) parts off. When he was at the center of the moist part, he then cut them into chops. It made sense to me watching, of course I wasn't standing in a freezer wielding a knife and hacking at the aged fat and sinew.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Credit to Spike for his butchering skills.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: newhavener07

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Some do cut and age their own meat. Those that do often have an in house butcher. Spike was the only one that cut the meat right. You have to remove that dry aged fat cap first, then cut the steaks. That's why all the others were struggling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. i think lisa is a way lesser cook than spike

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i think dale was better than both of them

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              and i think antonia is fairly bland and mediocre cooking wise
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              i would like dale and spike to be in the final 4, and lisa and antonia not

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Did anyone else think that Antonia looked pregnant in the previews for the finale? Sure looked that way to me (either that, or a very unflattering dress).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. When Padma congratulated Lisa for making it into the final four, do you think she was thinking to herself, "Lady, you're screwed." Seeing Lisa walk out into the Stew room as Antonia, Stephanie and Richard were celebrating, you know that she couldn't have felt good about her chances.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As for Chef Tom joining the action, I thought it was great. We all know his resume, but it's good to see him get into the mix. I'd like to see him get more involved in future seasons. Maybe, cooking a dish or butchering something and then requiring the chef contentants to replicate his efforts, ala Chef Ramsey's The F-Word.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Without question a great episode; although from the beginning I was nervous as anything that Richard was going to get sent home; the editing had made me believe he was a bit off his game. Thankfully he pulled through with his ironic twists and created what appeared to be an amazing app.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm pretty much over all the quick fire challenges. In no way do they showcase the true talents of these chefes. They rarely use flavor profiles or things that will distinguish them from sous or line chefs. The more interesting quick fire challenges are the relay, and taste tests; butchering is a special skill, it is like expecting all the doctors on a medical reality show to know how to do brain surgery or heart surgery (god that's a scary thought!) but the best cardiovascular surgeon probably wouldn't have a clue how to play with a brain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Illan's comment of "don't shave anyone's head tonight," showed how freaking ignorant he is, him and Spike should go hang out in hipster heaven together and stay away from the rest of America; I'm not sure what made NYC look worse, Illan and Spike or Joey.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  At the end of the episode I was praying they would get rid of both Lisa and Spike, while a twist may put Lisa through to the final 3, she is so overmatched by the other 3 chefs it is rediculous to have her in the finals. She has done little, if anything, to distinguish herself throughout the season and really will dilute the final rather than add to it. I can't wait to see what Richard can come up with, wtih free range and an unlimted budget - should be mind bending!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tramonto's comment of "Point taken bro," to spike may have been my favorite soudn bite of the season.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. this was my favorite episode thus far this season. my girl steph walked away with the big prize, spike finally got the boot...if lisa had also been sent packing it truly would have been perfect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    but the best moment of the night? the following exchange between antonia & lisa:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A: i want to make sure the fire doesn't die.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    L: what if i die?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A: well, then i guess you won't be going to puerto rico.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        LOL I was rolling when she said that.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The prize for Steph.....Wow now that was a seroius prize.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. Regarding the frozen scallops, from Tom's Blog:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "I’ve known Rick for years and can say with certainty he doesn’t use frozen seafood in his restaurant...Allen Bros. had included a variety of other products to round out the restaurant’s existing stock, including frozen scallops, which is how they came to be in Tramonto’s walk-in."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And from Tramonto:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "I didn’t know there were frozen scallops in there. We never ever purchase frozen seafood, so it isn’t anything that’s kept in my coolers normally."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Morton the Mousse

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          <"I didn’t know there were frozen scallops in there. We never ever purchase frozen seafood, so it isn’t anything that’s kept in my coolers normally.">

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Regardless of whether or not the scallops were there accidentally or purposely planted, it was a brilliant stroke. Talk about separating the "men from the boys!" No one made Spike choose those, and they clearly were FAR from the only thing he could have chosen.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I agree with the brilliant stroke, but did they really have to resort to trickery to get rid of Spike? This is Spike for crying out loud!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Not trickery, IMO, just complete and utter stupidity on Spike's part. It's like the cookie for Alice in Wonderland that says "Eat Me" and she has no idea what it does. Yet she does what it says. He had a choice. And made a stupid one this time, yet again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Spike was playing this round like he played the Chicago's Finest challenge - he partially took the scallops because he *thought* he was going to screw over the other cheftestants, and instead, got royally scrod himself. Serves him right! LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Interesting analogy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I was just thinking about the previous seasons and how some worthy contestants left early, Lee Anne, Tre, etc. In that context I can see how they could have let Dale go, BUT I don't think they have had as many hopeless cases left as Spike and Lisa this late along in the proceedings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I hope I get to do my happy dance for Lisa leaving next week, even with the new do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "I hope I get to do my happy dance for Lisa leaving next week, even with the new do."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  i'll gladly join in that jig!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah, trickery. Like trapping James Woods in a box with a trail of candy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Icantread

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  mmm, piece of candy.... mmmm, piece of candy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  (sorry, I had to!)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. LOL I referred to a spoiler I'd seen weeks ago that turned out to be WRONG and my post got deleted. Glad to see Spike leave. I hope Richard wins but won't mind if Stephanie does.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. During the elimination challenge when the chefs were donning their protective clothing, it showed them putting on what looked like a rectangular, plastic shield-like thing around their abdomen. Can someone explain to this non-butcher what that's for?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: spkspk

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I believe that plastic shield is a "belly guard" where main purpose is to protect your front should the knife slip.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Also, another benefit (secondary) of the plastic shield is to keep cold (being in a large walk-in) moisture from being in contact with your skin for a long time while working in the plant should "moisture" start to saturate your clothing from the counter top. Actually, they were probably wearing plastic/water-proof apron too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                This is my guess... I worked in a small butcher shop and never needed to use a belly guard since we didn't have that much volume to break down as you would in a slaughterhouse..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. Would have loved to see more comments from the previous Top Chef winners, there must've been some interesting conversation no? Also Hung should get a chance at being a judge like the previous two....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. I loved everybody's discussion of the "planted" scallops so much that I had to ask Spike about them: http://www.chow.com/stories/11125

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As you'll hear, the Bravo publicist didn't like that question at all (she often doesn't like my questions). But it made for an interesting exchange. Would love to hear what you all think.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: mudaba

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Wow she didn't like that question. That means you asked the right one! LOL

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: mudaba

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So you can discuss things off-the-topic of the show like his new restaurant and the backstory about Lisa @ Mai House, but she scolds you to "keep it to what was on the show last night". Inflammatory indeed. Something doesn't add up about those scallops...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: azhotdish

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That kitchen will be fun to work in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: mudaba

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Publicists are a PITA, aren't they? Only talk about what WE want you to talk about!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As azhotdish said - talk about OTHER off-topic stuff, like Lisa working at his restaurant, as it promotes both of them, but otherwise - you get your hand smacked. Talk about a restricted interview. Leads one to believe that production did plant them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Spike's still a moron for taking the bait, and deservedly got booted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. I like Richard and think he is the front runner. But sometimes I wish he would simply cook things plain and simple. His dish which they all liked so much had nineteen elements. When talking about how he'd like to cook a steak he said something along the lines of 'in a bag submerged in 60 degree water for two hours. I have never had a steak cooked this way and perhaps it is quite nice. Although from the description it does not sound like it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        When he actually cooked the steak he mentioned using three separate techniques, including charing with a blow torch...It's a steak just cook the damn thing!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I hope for the finals he doesn't make things too complicated for himself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        On a side note I was hoping for Hung to throw in an 'Any monkey can do that...' at some point.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I assume that he meant 60 degrees Celsius -- which would be 140 degrees Fahrenheit. That would be pretty typical for the sous vide method of cooking that's so popular these days and that he used in earlier challenges. As for the 19 elements -- the results spoke for themselves. Everyone loved the dish. Really loved it -- according to some other quotes people reference above, one judge said it was the best sweetbread dish he'd ever had, and one said it was one of the best *dishes* he'd had in the last five years. Maybe if there had only been 18 it wouldn't have been as good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I can see Big Tom at JT "Your dish had 18 elements, but it was missing that 19th. if it had that it would have worked. This is Top Chef you have to put yourself out there you should have gone for 19."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            No wasn't trying to bash the 19 elements it certainly worked well. More power to him for getting such a complex dish to work.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Perhaps I'm old fashioned but I don't see how a sous vide steak can compare to a grilled or charbroiled steak.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              BTW, Thomas Keller's new book on sous vide is available for pre-order.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Withnail42

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Seems like Richard has created a persona with the judges that he the guy that creates intricate dishes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I need to see the episode again, but didn't Tom C comment about Richard playing it safe? Which Richard was bothered by?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I don't think Richard will let himself create a dish plain and simple dish.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Tom C commented that from Richard's description of his entree (grilled steak, potatoes, turnips), it *sounded* like Richard was playing it safe. Richard said something to the cameras that although he wasn't planning on using "smoke" or other tricks, he *would* be doing it his way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                His way was to present the entree plated in an ornate fashion with his usual flare. I believe his entree presentation engendered a couple of "wows" from the judges at it's elaborateness. So although he said he was cooking basic foods, his final presentation wasn't basic at all. Indeed, it garnered criticism from several who said that since it tasted so good all together, why wasn't it plated together and not in dots and streaks? In other words, I think Richard's entree failed, not because it didn't taste good, but because he went for elaborate presentation over function.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. there is not much for jfood to add to all these wonderful, insightfu and funny posts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But jfood did not see any mention of the deplorable handling of simple eating utensils by some of the former winners. unblievable, reminded jfood of kids who were raised by animals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I did notice that with Ilan (not sure if Harold does the same thing), but it was so beaten to death last year or the year before. Tom's use of eating utensils leave something to be desired as well - a fist-grip on the fork is just *so* unnatural!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Watch the meaty sausage paws of Jeffrey Steingarten envelope a fork on ICA sometime...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Scortch

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I think I've seen that before. Truly amazing! As Phaedrus said, a bit like a caveman just learning that a stick will hold down the hunk of raw meat while they cut at it with a sharp rock. Or childlike as if they haven't learned how to properly use utensils.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. I just watched the episode again and I honestly think the scallops were indeed a plant. Tom asks Antonia if Spike choosing the scallops changed her plans and she says no because they were frozen and you could see Tom smirk.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What I didn't understand was at the judges table Tom said to Spike, if the scallops were bad why not put them back and choose some thing else? If that was indeed an option then Spike really did blow it.....twice. The scallops were in cryo and he knew they were frozen. In his defense I can understand why he would not expect them to be crap just because they were frozen in a kitchen like this. Still I would never choose frozen and that was obviously the nature of the plant.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think Tramonto was indeed rather smug as he started his spiehl about if you get a bad product you have to switch gears and change plans. Another hint they all knew about the scallops. Spike says they should never make it in the walk in if the quality is not there and he is absolutly right about that. Tramonto also called Spike bro which was more than a bit condescending. Spike went down and he deserved to but at least he did it with his head held high and stood his ground. Too bad he didn't have that ethic in executing quality product. Easy to play arm chair quarterback. They all deserve credit for making it this far.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As far as Tom stating that Tromontos never uses frozen seafood that's obviously no longer the case as they served those dishes at service.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  17 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Docsknotinn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Rick Tramonto said it was the Allen Bros. meat company who "fleshed out" the order and delivered the frozen scallops - it was nothing he himself had ordered. And if he was busy with the show, it is quite possible he wasn't aware they were in his walk-in. I can definitely see a scenario whereby the meat company delivers the whole order saying "this is for the Top Chef episode filming here tonight" without saying they chose items to put in the order. How is anyone going to know that the scallops weren't on the order from the TC production crew?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I understand the scallops were brought in for this event. It can no longer be said that Tramontos does not serve frozen seafood as they obviously have. If he allowed his standards to be dumbed down then he takes the hit for it just like Spike. Remember what Tramonto said to the Cheftestants about not screwing up his restaurant? He should have given that some thought before he let some production company stock his walk in coolers with food. Stating that he did not order the food is just not a viable excuse. You are always responsible for what's in your walk in.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I do conceed to your point to some extent but I think the irony of his statement to the chefs was interesting and watching it for a second time I think it was obvious the judges were all aware of the scallops. So even if he didn't order them he allowed them to be served. He could have easilly told the production company - No frozen seafood in my house and all house standards have to be observed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Docsknotinn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        And we don't know if Tramonto's restaurant was closed down for filming, so your statement "it can no longer said they don't serve frozen seafood" is a supposition until you do know that fact. A one-time service of frozen seafood during film production does not mean he "now serves it" meaning on a regular basis.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think most people who know Tramonto and his high standards are willing to forgive one error made by an outside film production company and know it was *not* he who brought in the frozen scallops. I would be *more* than happy to eat at his restaurant, assured I'd would be getting the freshest seafood he can get!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (And please note the spelling of Rick Tramonto's name and restaurant name - "Tra" not "Tro". Kinda like leaving the "k" out of your name. :-) )

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Linda if the the restaurant was closed then indeed you are correct. They made it appear as if it was a normal service on the show and that was supported to some degree by Rick Tramonto's statement on the show about not screwing up his place. (whoops).
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We operate on a lot of suppositions here, planted scallops etc. With out all the facts it's the best we can do.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          In regards to frozen seafood I was commenting on the stance that Tramonto's "never" serves frozen seafood. Sorry but once you serve frozen seafood to guests even for one night you can never ever again state that you "never" serve frozen seafood. This was his house and production company or not there is no reason to assume he would not have complete control over the quality of food brought in. If he did not then he scrwed up just as much as Spike.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have to say those scallops looked horrible and I doubt that Spike could have seen that through the cryo. They were actually coming apart. To me they looked like they had been frozen and thawed many times. While we are banging away at frozen seafood I rather doubt the shrimp were fresh. The vast majority of shrimp are frozen.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm not sure I would eat at Rick Tramonto's after watching this. I'm just not a big fan of those who will give up control of their own house and dumb down their standards just for a little bit of free advertising. I just can't feel bad for Rick. He put himself in this position. Hopefully he sells a lot of books. ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Docsknotinn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If they weren't really open for dinner that night, they sure wanted us to think they were.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't see why we're still arguing about whether it's his responsibility when Tramanto himself immediately said he'd take the hit. I think his sarcasm toward Spike was more "well that's hardly going to save you, buddy" than "how dare you criticize my walk-in"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Interesting quote from Tramonto in the Chicago Tribune's food blog...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              “Their team purchased all the food and put it in the coolers,” he explained, saying he felt that most people realized it was part of the challenge. He just wants to set the record straight. “They put those in the mix to see ... who would use them or not.” And certainly Spike went for them. “It’s interesting that he had first choice and he obviously didn’t have to use them” but he did anyway.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LabRat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ah HA!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Now, back to Meredith's interview with Spike. What did the PR flack think she was accomplishing by being so coy about the scallops? Did she think that maintaining the lie that this was supposed to pump up the show? All it did was make Tramonto look bad, until people figured it out. That Emily certainly got her money's worth when she got her lobotomy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LabRat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  the heck with the verbiage, take a look at the twin hamburgers to the right. Wow they look good.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh you just HAD to point that out at lunchtime, didn't you jfood? My "pretend" panini has nothing on those burgers. :::Sigh::::

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tramonto said something like "we're going to have a full house" which led me to believe that these were "regular" diners w/ reservations who did not know they were going to be eating TC cooked food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So now I am wondering: were these people unaware coming in or were these "regular" diners specially invited by the production company?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  There was no attempt to get "regular" diner reaction to the food; only the judges.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: HDinCentralME

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Easy enough assumption, however, given that it's a reality show, it could very well have been diners invited to be there. Only a few comments from those diners about the food they were given; wonder if they had SAG cards if they spoke on camera? ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    They weren't open to the *public* for dinner that night. It was the judges and 60 special guests.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not sure how you know that, but you do have to admit it sure seemed like the restaurant was open to the public. Nothing was said about "special guests that I can recall.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I believe it was said during the episode -- at least I thought it was. Maybe I am mistaken.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          the "special guests" comment was a reference to the 3 previous top chefs - harold, ilan & hung.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Adrienne, No ones arguing. We just have a different take on the show. Tramonto may have said he would take the hit but he sure is trying to point fingers and deny responsability. The bottom line for me is it was his house and if he gave up control he does take the hit just like Spike. No excuses. Especially if there were unkowing customers getting those frozen scallops or steaks, shrimp etc that were not the normal quality. I give Spike more credit at this point. At least he admidts he screwed up. Live and learn.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If you look at the time stamps the post you are referring to down here was posed much earlier than the one I made further up in the thread. We continued to get more tid bits of information as the day progressed. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: Docsknotinn

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You're right Tramonto made that big 'impassioned' plea about how it was his restaurant and his customer so 'don't screw it up.' Unless he's says they planted that too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      He opend his restaurnat and himself to all this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. I could not imagine being within a 5 ft radius of Lisa. I can't stand her attitude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Not much to add, but I LOVE that Spike fell for the frozen scallop bait. Showed his true colors. This episode was by far the best of this whole season, with the focus purely on food and what each chef can do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Which also makes me even more annoyed with this entire season!!! If this contest did not waste time on so many idiotic catering/team/useless food challenges, people with less talent (Spike, Lisa) would have been gone long ago and better chefs would have a chance (Dale, Jen, who knows who else because they were saddled with stupid challenges and didn't get to show how they could cook!!!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I REALLY hope they improve the challenges next season. It was great to actually have time spent describing the food, too, wow I want to try Stephanie's and Richard's dishes. I will be really upset if both of them don't get a chance to go up for the finale win.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                43 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  All the talk about whether the frozen scallops were planted and whether Tramonto was in on it...but I think the term we're searching for is "poetic justice." That the guy who was always trying to gain an advantage fell into a trap ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    being a good cook is not all there is to being a "top chef"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    you ahve to be able to work as a team, to lead a team, to plan a menu, to execute a special function, etcetcetc

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I would also enjoy that final but unlike most posters I would be just as content with Antonia. Her cooking strikes me as very similar to Harold's from Season One in that execution is a priority over creativity.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      When considering the three best remaining cheftestents which one do you think would be best at running a very busy kitchen on a Saturday night?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Do you think that is one of the factors a Top Chef should be judged on?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      One of the aspects of this competition that seems to cause so much controversy is that there doesn't seem to be a clear definition of what the Top Chef is supposed to be.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The most creative?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The best at running a kitchen?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The one who has the best repertoire?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The one who can come up with new recipes on the fly?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Some combination of those and other factors?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I don't know, my opinion is that it should be the one who has proven that he/she is best at running a successful kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I kinda agree. I don't know why people seem to think that Antonia is "less qualified" than the others. According to her bio she was trained at the French Culinary Institute, worked at Spago for six years (and considering the turnover restaurant kitchens, that's positively miraculous), and now is executive chef at Foxtail in LA. Just because she didn't gain her restaurant chops in NY doen't mean she doesn't have any. I think people are fooled by the whole "single mom" shtick, which plays into people's stereotypes that women are amateur "home cooks" rather than serious professionals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          No, its the Asian food comment. (See previous threads).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I know people are picking on her for that, but I don't really see that as a legitimate criticism of her chefly skills. Lots and lots of great chefs don't know anything about cuisines outside their own.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            People seem to be glossing over the fact that Top Chef is in the US, where -- like it or not -- European-based cuisine is the default. An American "Top Chef" would be expected to be trained in that cuisine, with other regional cuisines being "electives." Furthermore, most American chefs who do Asia