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Top Chef-Puerto Rico

OK, is it me or have all four of them put on weight since we last saw them. It might be the chef's jackets.

QF: Friturras. Two friturra dishes, both with plantains. Con cervezas! Stephanie freaks on the QF. Antonia gets docked for not having plantains in one of her dishes. Lisa with the mofongo. Richard needs to learn to say albondigas. Stephanie wins a QF!!! Whoohoo.

Richard is uncomfortable dancing. He's a geek. I know geeks.

EC: Butcher and cook a 600 lb pig. At least two dishes for 100 people at the governor's mansion for a cocktail party.
Steph's edge is that she gets to assign sou chefs. Four ex-contestants. Steph grabs Dale, of course, keep him away from Richard. Sends Spike to Richard, thanks for being a nice guy Richard! Nikki with Antonia. Lisa with Andrew. Lisa is realizing she has battled with everyone of the sou chefs except for Nikki. Oops. Revenge of the Andrew. Think Bravo is embarrassed that she is still there?

The pork butchering was pretty pitiful, kind of funny they are doing this right after the tomahawk steak butchering.

Dale messes up, leaves pork belly out over night. Steph has to throw that portion of the pork out and has to rethink her strategy, comes up with chicharones salad with Dale. Can't go wrong with fried pork fat.

Richard is doing something with a malted soda and ribs. Looks awesome.

I'm sorry but with the two bald guys, I keep thinking its Colicchio asking questions and its the guest judge.

Judges Table:

Richard and Stef are top two.

You know how some people shouldn't wear shorts? yeah Richard is one of them. It looked like something Ilan would wear. :)

Richard wins the challenge. HOLY CRAP. Richard gets a car!! OK, being a good guy does pay.

Lovely Lisa is lovely once again. Even with the new do. Lisa made Richard look prescient. Tom whales on her about going latin when its not her specialty. And her tostones. She didn't know what a Mojo was either.

Antonio gets beat up for her pigeon peas. And for her choice of serving three dishes on the same plate.

Lisa knows she doesn't belong and finally said so.

OMG!! They send Antonia home??!!! Lisa stays??!!! Not dancing the happy dance tonight. This is messed up. I never liked Antonia but I even feel sorry for her. This is ridiculous. Pathetic.

Now Lisa is throwing a hissy fit because people were upset that Antonia left and neglected to congratulate her backing into the finals? Bravo is getting their money's worth out of this villainess.

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  1. Stephanie is a class act. The pork belly left out much have really upset her, but you'd hardly know it. She was dignified and afforded Dale with the same dignity when he messed up. Hard to tell yet, but it looks like they've recovered.

    On another note, Lisa Ferdandez is Jewish? Who knew?

    8 Replies
    1. re: chicgail

      I was thinking the same thing about Lisa...and prior to her announcing her religion I noticed she was wearing a shirt that said KOSHER.

      Now that I think about it she does look Jewish.

      1. re: isadorasmama

        I thought that t-shirt implied her girlfriend was Jewish.

        1. re: Adrienne

          ROFL. Nicely played Adrienne..... take a bow.

          1. re: Adrienne

            bravo, adrienne! that's absolutely hilarious.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              heh, thanks folks. i'll be here all week.

            2. re: isadorasmama

              Huh. Don't know what to make about that last sentence there.

              Lisa is truly a shanda fur die goyim. Not much left to say about a woman who is now resolutely unpleasant.

              I tried to be sympathetic to her, assuming that she had no idea how she was coming across. But by the time they hit Puerto Rico, they know how people are responding and she's not listening.

              1. re: Lizard

                But not listening to criticism and not taking it to heart is what she does best! Why should she not stick with her strengths? ;-)

          2. I thought the guest judge was Chef Tom with some craaaaazy plastic surgery, it freaked me out! And now when they're judging the cocktail party, it's like a look-alike sandwich of the two of them... ok, enough of that.

            I also am super impressed by Stephanie's ability to keep her cool under difficult circumstances. Also, I appreciate the fact that she wanted as much of a level playing field as possible for the challenge- imagine if someone like Spike was able to pick everyone's sous-chefs!!

            8 Replies
            1. re: gyozagirl

              i thought he looked like the love child of tom colicchio & lee hefter, with a little bit of howie from last season :)

              so proud of steph. as always, she's a total class act. it's great that she finally won a QF, and it looks like she really pulled it out with her last-minute adjustments after the pork belly fiasco.

              sounds like the judges thought antonia's food wasn't quite special enough...? we'll see in a minute or two...

              okay, there's something VERY wrong here. HOW did lisa make it into the final three?


              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                How many times has Lisa been in the bottom? Even my roommate (who I think has seen 3 episodes) was shocked that she is still in it.

                1. re: viperlush

                  According to Tom last week, she had been in the Bottom group 5 times up to then. This makes 6 times.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    That's what I thought.

                    I understand that they are judging based on that challenge, but I think they need to start looking at the whole series when judging the final episodes. Hopefully Stephanie and Richard will prevail next week...

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      I think she has incriminating pictures of Tom..its the only explanation that she made it this far.

                  2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                    Lisa is the absolute worst.

                    Terrible cook, terrible personality. Seeing her survive makes me dislike this show.

                    1. re: Jackpot

                      Lisa or Spike HAD to continue. This is television, remember? And good drama requires a villain -- Tiffany, Marcel/Ilan (take your pick). The producers made sure that a villain would be with the show to the end.

                      The best chef is just the premise for the show. They were certainly not going to have three lovely, lovable human beings who were all good chefs at the final. Project Runway goes the same way, and I'm sure the hairdresser and dancer and model versions have an identical format.

                      Look at the 50 or so outraged comments on this thread. It keeps viewers buzzing to their friends and coming back for the final episode.

                      1. re: Jackpot

                        Hate the personality, too, but I'm baffled as to how you're making the claim about her cookery.

                        1. We can't taste the food she prepares.

                        2. The guest chef referred to a tremendous showing across the board. Not being as good as some hardly makes her 'terrible'.

                        She has, however, often shown up in the bottom three, which means that it is a shame that is not taken into account during judging.

                  3. BIG YAY! on Stephanie winning the QF challenge first off! Her choices for who got who for their sous chef was excellent - level playing field (although she definitely chose the best of the lot - didn't realize she and Dale had known each other for 10 years!)

                    Yes, I also thought they all put on weight - and Stephanie saying she was gone for 6 months in Cambodia and other parts of Asia - wow - wasn't thinking it was that long they had a break, but I guess it makes sense. They finished the main part of the show in September, and probably only filmed the finale in March in Puerto Rico...so yup - that's about 6 months!

                    My heart just DROPPED when I saw the pork bellies left out overnight! I'm so glad Dale and Stephanie came up with a superb substitution with salad with the chicarrones! The two of them work brilliantly together.

                    I thought Stephanie might also win the Elimination challenge, but Richard just seemed to have it done right.

                    And ROFL! Just saw the survey - 91% of those who answered the survey said Lisa should pack her knives and go - PLEASE let it be her! DAMN - it's Antonia that leaves! ANd Lisa said the judges won't be disappointed. They've BEEN disappointed since Day 1 with her stuff! Stephanie and Richard were stunned to see Antonia leave. Lisa getting totally snotty with Stephanie and Richard after Antonia left? What a beeyotch!

                    I sincerely hope that Stephanie and Richard whip her butt in the finale Part 2.

                    44 Replies
                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      I know -- Lisa's attitude was unbelievable.

                      Quote of the season: "Congratulations you won the bronze medal."

                      1. re: Adrienne

                        Right up there with, "She just has a bad attitude. She's a cloud in the kitchen." Is this not the first time Richard has said something bad about anyone in the sidebars?

                        1. re: garfish

                          Totally cracked me up. we rewound that one a few times. NOticed the negativity for the first time from Richard as well. Can't believe her arrogance. And btw, anyone else wonder what part of her was kosher? Attitude, personality. . .

                          1. re: Icantread

                            Puleeze. I certainly hope that unrelenting nastiness and dislikable personality is not "kosher."

                            This is a bitter, unhappy woman who likes to pretend that she is better than everyone else and who has never taken responsibility for her own life. She'd be someone to feel sorry for if it weren't for how unpleasant she is.

                            I wouldn't want her in my kitchen and I wouldn't want her in my life.

                        2. re: Adrienne

                          LOL the bronze medal comment was hillarious. 91% of the survey wanting to send Lisa home was just poetic.

                          1. re: Docsknotinn

                            When he said, "Congratulation, you won the f---ing bronze medal", I slapped my knee.

                          2. re: Adrienne

                            That quote was so amazing I think it actually may have moved me from Stephanie’s camp to Richards.

                            1. re: Adrienne

                              Did Lisa congratulate Stephanie and Richard for making it to the final? I don't seem to recall hearing that, although it could have been edited out.

                              1. re: LabRat

                                I watched the show again last night, and it wasn't shown. She was standing there when Stephanie and Richard came back into the stew room and Stephanie said "he won a car!" and Antonia said something and hugged Richard, but all we saw of Lisa was her standing off to the side with a smirk on her face.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  acually, lisa's one comment was "you won a f**ing car, dude?"

                                  i'm the last person to defend lisa, but it is possible that she congratulated them after a moment or two and that it was edited out. i'd say someone should send the question in for andy cohen to ask her on the reunion show, but i'm guessing it was already filmed.

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    I absolutely agree it could have been edited out as well. Those editors are sneaky little buggers. :-)

                            2. re: LindaWhit

                              totally agree - the "you didn't congratulate me" comment was SO awful. as if i didn't dislike her before.

                              1. re: AMFM

                                She also learned nothing about her awful body language at judges table after watching the show. Still standing there with her arms folded and a chip on her shoulder.

                                1. re: KTinNYC

                                  The body language, the snide comments, the general unpleasantness -- in and outside the kitchen -- make me wonder what kind of internal dialog goes on inside Lisa's head. Then, on second thought, I'm glad I don't have to hear it.

                                  Both Richard and Stephanie are not only talented, creative chefs, they are solid human beings. Wouldn't it be great if they could share the title? I hate to see either of them lose.

                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                I have no doubt Richard and Stephanie WILL whip Lisa's butt in Part 2. Stephanie has truly gotten stronger each week, Richard had a strong start with a bit of a lull in the middle, but has shown how well he does when he can truly "create". Lisa - frankly, it baffles me she's still there AND that she had the nerve to scold Richard and Stephanie for not congratulating her. I feel badly for Antonia, especially in light of Lisa making it through.

                                Most impressive for me tonight: the fact that Stephanie could brilliantly come up with the salad idea - which the judges loved - when Dale left the pork belly out over night. You just KNOW Lisa would have gone completely mental, but Stephanie just put it behind her and thought of something she could put together and incorporate what she had left of the pig. I truly hope she takes the title.

                                1. re: phee

                                  LOVE stephanie so not to take away and he did leave the pork belly out, but Dale helped with that salad idea!
                                  Still she earned picking him as a sous chef and he was so cute when he said that he would just never forgve himself if he cost her with that.

                                  1. re: AMFM

                                    And she thanked him for it after the judges walked away from the table.

                                    1. re: AMFM

                                      Agreed. I have alot of respect for Dale as a chef, but even more so after he said that. And, yes, we must give him credit for helping with the salad idea. Stephanie did have first choice for sous chef, and she chose well.

                                      1. re: phee

                                        I loved Stephanie not yelling at Dale for leaving the pork out. She is so calm under pressure. Can you imagine what he would have done to her if the roles had been reversed?

                                        1. re: NYCkaren

                                          That is really an unknown htpothetical.

                                          1) They have known each other for 10 years and have worked together.
                                          2) He refrained from whining when he worked with Richard, so that tells me that he plays well with others when the others are people he respects.
                                          3) He goes off when he knows he is the one, the only one, that is capable of fixing the problem, this somewhat goes back tot he respect issue, but I think that if he knows the problem could be solved professionally, he won't panic.

                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                            I agree -- I think Dale is just extremely intolerant of others' limitations, and that almost all the problems we have seen with him stem from this one flaw. It is a major flaw, but a different one from what some seem to be saying.

                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                              I see no reason why anyone should coddle incompetence. We fire incompetent people from our workplace. If we have time, we would do it respectably, but given the parameters of the show, it's hard not to get to the point.

                                      2. re: phee

                                        Lisa wouldn't have just gone mental. She would have made it into huge drama by calling it sabotage.

                                      3. re: LindaWhit

                                        ok..I seriously hate Lisa now. Why the need to be a bitch because she wasn't congratulated? She made it to the final 3! Who needs their congratulations! Come on!
                                        She's this season's Ilan.

                                        1. re: sugarbuzz

                                          I just realized they didn't do a reunion show this season - wasn't it always held before the finale? I'm bummed, because I would have liked for a few pointed questions to have been whipped Lisa's way, i.e., her demeanor, her stance at judges' table, her continuing to blame everyone else for her own mistakes the nasty puss on her face (and I realized tonight who she reminds me of - her facial expressions, hair, and demeanor are all Rosie O'Donnellisms - and that is NOT a compliment! LOL). Wonder how she would have handled it.

                                          Actually, they probably wouldn't have asked her much about it, although it sure would make for a helluva montage to show her standing at JT the gazillion times she did!

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            not that i'm rosie's biggest fan but she is WAY more of a sourpuss than rosie. and that don't mess with me or i'll punch you look makes me crazy. ugh - seems obvious no one there likes her either so it's not just in the editing.

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              Last season, they did the reunion show after the finale. So I'm hoping Bravo will do that as well for this season. I'll bet a lot of people will have questions for Lisa. She's the villain producers dream of -- though I have to say that the worst villain on Top Chef is far better than the average Hell's Kitchen contestant.

                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                "I have to say that the worst villain on Top Chef is far better than the average Hell's Kitchen contestant."

                                                Heads and tails better!

                                                1. re: Miss Needle

                                                  Last year they used the Survivor model and did a reunion show after the last challenge and announced the winner as part of that show. I think it works well to have the reunion after all the contestants have had a chance to see all the shows.

                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                              I was wondering if anyone was going to mention the Dale and Steph 10 years thing. That made my jaw hit the floor.

                                              Makes one wonder what else we'll never know because of editing. (Grrr.)

                                              1. re: HarryK

                                                they are both chicago chefs so i guess it shouldn't be surprising but it is interesting it never came out before. maybe they were intentionally trying to hide it - not to seem like "friends" or something. or they could just barely know each other from the culinary world through mutual aquaintences so it never mattered.

                                                1. re: AMFM

                                                  Or they could have dramatically "come out" to everyone in the cast like Zoi and Jen.

                                                  Steph: Yeah, I just wanted to let you know that Dale here is my boy toy, isn't that right Dale.

                                                  Dale: Yes, mistress.

                                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                                    LOL! Well, it *is* the Bravo network. Who knows which direction they might go in? ;-)

                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                        I love Dale! He has the best one liners ever.
                                                        Hoping for Stephanie, classy gal that can and does cook well with a cool head. Pulling for Stephanie in CA...

                                                      2. re: AMFM

                                                        I'm pretty sure I'd heard that they knew each other before. I'm not sure whether it was on the show, or online somewhere.

                                                        1. re: momjamin

                                                          Stephanie said it in one of those televised asides. They've been friends for 10 years.

                                                          1. re: ChefJune

                                                            I'm pretty sure it was mentioned very early on that they knew each other...

                                                          2. re: momjamin

                                                            Steph was also friends with one of the women that left 2nd or 3rd. I can't even remember her name at this point. But early on in the show they showed them working out on the yoga mats and they mentioned they use to cook together in Chicago.

                                                              1. re: ChefJune

                                                                yup, valerie. and steph and valerie are good/close enough friends for steph to feature valerie in her bar/club photos in her photo diary. looks like a lot of liquor shots flying in their crowd, actually :)

                                                              2. re: Elyssa

                                                                Valerie. I remember that. the dreaded up close and personal on the friendships.

                                                          3. re: LindaWhit

                                                            I think the main part of the series was filmed in October since I was at the football game and that was mid-October.

                                                          4. How does Lisa keep dodging the bullet? Voodoo dolls, Santaria, deal with Satan, compromising pictures of the Judges? I don't know but it has to be something. I refuse to believe she is a better Chef than Dale, Antonia or even Spike...

                                                            It was good to see Steph choosing Dale as her sous. He did a good job at the market and even if he did leave the belly out it is her responsibility to make sure everything is buttoned up at the end of the day. To paraphrase Mikey, "I'm not here with a chance to win $100 grand he is". I think the two of them did a great job recovering and to tell you the truth it may have helped her out in the end because I'm pretty sure pork belly was on two other menus.

                                                            17 Replies
                                                            1. re: KTinNYC

                                                              i thought the same thing about the pork belly. if steph had served it, i'll bet the judges would have commented on the fact that pork belly is ubiquitous these days & someone should have done something more unique.

                                                              of course steph's probably would have tasted the best.

                                                              lisa is evil. i understand that she feels like the redheaded stepchild in this scenario, but that's too bad...she's lucky to be there and needs to suck it up. just this once it would have been nice to see her take the high road and show some class, instead of sniping at her fellow chefs.

                                                              richard's line was priceless!

                                                              "so you won the f***in bronze medal. congratulations."


                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                I truly think Lisa is incapable of taking the high road in situations like this. She has a huge chip on her shoulder, but EVERYTHING that goes wrong for her is always someone else's fault - I can't recall her ever saying "I screwed up" - she alway blamed someone else. If she can't accept that she screwed something up, why would she *ever* take the high road and keep her trap shut and just let Richard and Stephanie sit in their stunned silence that Antonia was gone? Physically and mentally incapable.

                                                                We don't know how long the 3 of them were sitting there (editing makes it seem like less than a minute) before she said "the least you could do is congratulate me". (Have to admit - Stephanie's and Richard's faces were priceless: "Are you freakin' KIDDING me, lady?")

                                                                But even if it was 5 minutes, she should have just shut up and let it come from the other two naturally if it came at all. Hell, she even SAID that she was going home - so she KNOWS she sucks and shouldn't have been there! Shut up, and prove yourself in the kitchen - "bring it" as you've said countless times. Don't disappoint the judges, as you've done countless times. PROVE HERSELF and then maybe she'd have the right to say what she said so quickly after Antonia left.

                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                  But does Lisa really know that she sucks? It seemed like Lisa thought that they were upset to see Antonia leave because they were her friends, not because they thought that Antonia was the better chef. Didn't one of the chefs in Season 2 volunteer to leave because she knew that if she didn't a better chef would go home? I wish Lisa did that at some point this season.

                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    What I noticed at the begginning of the show was the update of each Chef. Richard has a restaurant, Antonia opened a restaurant, Stephanie on a Chow tour but Lisa.......Lisa was billed as a sous chef in NY. It seems not even her employer wants to be associated with her.

                                                                    1. re: Docsknotinn

                                                                      From Spike's exit interview, he indicated that Lisa had just gotten his old job so she probably went back to it. But seriously, who would hire that sourpuss.

                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                        She does make Tiffani seem lovable, no?

                                                                        1. re: Docsknotinn

                                                                          I thought the info about Richard running Trail-Blais was around at the beginning? i seem to recall him saying stuff about knowing how to run a restaurant and that it took 6 months to open his compared to the hours they got in Restaurant Wars.

                                                                          BTW, looking into Foxtail reservations, despite the whole "supper club" thing. I want to try Antonia's menu for myself.

                                                                          1. re: Docsknotinn

                                                                            When you say Chow Tour...is that like a a Chowhound tour or am I just misunderstanding? I heard her say she was traveling around Asia, discovering different foods and recipes etc.

                                                                        2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                          I'm sure in Lisa's world view she thinks that criticizing Stephanie and Richard for their lack of contratulations points out their shortcomings. I suspect that few folks watching the show came to same conclusion.

                                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                            Richard's comment was befitting. "
                                                                            Take your bronze medal and shut the he** up, now go and pout...and be sure to cross your arms just in case anyone can't tell how unhappy you are." She would of lasted 5 seconds with my Dad,"wipe that look off your face before I knock...." Ha! you know the rest! Crimineys some people I guess were raised by wolves.

                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                              LOVED Richard's line. I wish he would have said it to her sourpuss face.

                                                                              1. re: Elyssa

                                                                                NOOOOOO, this way, she can watch it over and over and over she would be thinking of a comeback, which is impossible for her now....maybe she'll grow out of this experience, and decide that that chip she's been carrying is so unattractive.

                                                                            2. re: KTinNYC

                                                                              "How does Lisa keep dodging the bullet? Voodoo dolls, Santaria, deal with Satan, compromising pictures of the Judges?"

                                                                              I was thinking the same thing. That girl's got more lives than she can count.

                                                                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                LOL! Deal with the devil? I'd be afraid of her, and so should Satan!
                                                                                That she is still in this, it sure does make you wonder.

                                                                            3. Wow. Just watched the last four episodes at once, and didn't see this coming! I would never have guessed that Lisa would be in the final three. And her "congratulations" comments didn't gain her any points, with either me or her competitors.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                                Lisa screwed up every week, but each week someone else screwed up just a little more than she did. It's the work of satan. ;-)

                                                                              2. Did anyone else think Padma looked just like the statue of liberty tonight?

                                                                                10 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                  Come to think of it, you're absolutely right! All that was missing was the torch.

                                                                                  1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                    Adrienne, the gown style Padma wore, like the French sculptor's model, is derived from classical/hellenistic Greek tunics. You can see them on Indian sculpture as well, going back to Alexander's foray through northern India, so I think that might have been Padma's leaning.

                                                                                    1. re: moto

                                                                                      The first thing I thought of when I saw that gown was a sari.

                                                                                      1. re: moto

                                                                                        Oh I'm cool with draping -- it's the color she chose that I question.

                                                                                        1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                          See, I thought that color was stunning on her. Very appropriate color for being in the islands.


                                                                                        2. re: moto

                                                                                          Yep, she could have worn it in Alexander's time and not looked a bit inconpiscuous fashion-wise.

                                                                                          1. re: HarryK

                                                                                            Except that in one shot I saw you could see that it was quite short (knee length, which I actually didn't think was a very graceful proportion). Greek women may have worn draped tops, but they wore long, full skirts.

                                                                                        3. re: Adrienne

                                                                                          Did anyone else think that Top Chef and Project Runway are colliding again? (Rami designing for Padma?) ;-)

                                                                                          1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                            I thought she looked exceptionally gorgeous. I loved the color of it. It was very "Greek-Goddess-meets-my-mom-in-the-1970's chic". I loved it. I wish she had worn her hair in a beehive or a Doris day wig with light blue eye shadow. (Seriously - she did look stunning).

                                                                                            1. re: southernitalian

                                                                                              Wow. Getting some fantasies out there, now aren't we?

                                                                                          2. "Each dish is a painting, each dish has a story..." and I forget the rest of the quote.

                                                                                            This is what makes Richard special, this is why he is special to me. He has a point of view, a philosophy. He obviously has the chops to pull all of that off, but that attitude is the defining thing about Richard's culinary being.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                I really do love Richard. I wonder if all the Richard haters at the beginning of the season changed their minds about him?

                                                                                                And his bronze medal quote was priceless.

                                                                                              2. When Tom said that the most telling sign was that Lisa's table wasn't popular like the other three, I was sure that meant Lisa was going home. And I could have possibly, somehow, in some way dealt with Lisa making the final three had she NOT done the "congratulate me, losers" bit. Ugh. So tacky.

                                                                                                By the way, weren't the chicharones Dale's idea? I thought they were, but people here are giving Steph credit (though she does deserve much, much, much kudos for being the epitome of cool under fire).

                                                                                                I wish we could have heard more about Richard's dishes. I felt like, with him winning, I didn't know much about what he was cooking (other than that malted soda). Instead, all I remember is how much the judges thought Lisa fell down with her tostones and that there was drama in the kitchen.

                                                                                                33 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Ali

                                                                                                  I think you're right about Dale and the chicharrones. But Stephanie was saying that she and Dale were throwing ideas around and I figured that was one of the ideas.

                                                                                                  1. re: Ali

                                                                                                    <When Tom said that the most telling sign was that Lisa's table wasn't popular like the other three, I was sure that meant Lisa was going home. >

                                                                                                    Listen again. He didn't say a name when he said that, and he was looking at Antonia! I was still surprised when Padma said Antonia's name, tho. What a bummer.

                                                                                                    1. re: Ali

                                                                                                      Tom didn't state explicitly which chef's table had fewer visitors. He said (and I'm paraphrasing) that "in the end, one table had fewer guests around it than the other three." It seemed to me that he was saying that this was the thing which tipped the scale against the loser. Since the loser was ultimately Antonia, I took it to mean that Antonia had fewer people eating her food.

                                                                                                      1. re: kmcarr

                                                                                                        Actually, this makes a lot of sense. I distinctly remember a shot of Antonia's table being significantly less crowded than the others. However, I think my desire for Lisa to go home overtook that particular scene and I just heard what I wanted. :)

                                                                                                        Oh well. Lisa's last moments in the stew room with Richard and Steph still is the most grating thing for me.

                                                                                                        1. re: kmcarr

                                                                                                          That's what Tom's blog on Bravo essentially said - longest line was Richard, then Stephanie, then Lisa, and no line at Antonia's.

                                                                                                          1. re: notmartha

                                                                                                            I really think, unfortunately, that that's a result of function. RIchard and Stephanie had lines for their cuisine. Lisa got hers for having food they recognized (somewhat). Points for familiarity, though I don't think they would have lined up as much if they'd heard her say that mojo is any kind of "dipping sauce".

                                                                                                            1. re: Icantread

                                                                                                              ha! i'm so glad you mentioned the mojo. i couldn't believe no one called her out on it. if you're going to serve it, at least know what it is, genius.

                                                                                                              after casey's coq au vin debacle, i was really hoping tom would nail her on the semantics for that.

                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                umm, am I missing something? mojo is basically garlic, lime and water that you dip tostones into. Isn't that what Lisa was calling mojo?

                                                                                                                1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                  kenito - i tried to edit my reply, but the system isn't cooperating with me today.

                                                                                                                  i think i was more struck by the fact that when gail asked her, it seemed as if lisa didn't know how to answer. she hesitated, and appeared to be searching for an explanation. maybe it's the way it was edited, but if a judge asks you to explain what you're serving, you should be able to answer immediately & confidently...and simply saying "a dipping sauce" without explaining that it's the traditional dipping sauce served with tostones in puerto rico seemed really lame to me.

                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                    Same here. It may be my bad memory, but I think I heard:"Its just a dipping sauce." Well, there is a history behind every traditional dish. I don't expect you to give me an encyclopedic rehash of the history of the dish, but at least have the appreciation to say that this is a sauce that is usually served with tostones and then give a list of ingredients. There is a reason for everything, some may be interesting, some may be mundane, but you're the one making it, at least understand it.

                                                                                                              2. re: Icantread

                                                                                                                Yeah, they edited tom's comment about no line so you weren't sure who he was talking about--when i watched I also thought he was talking about Lisa. It was actually Antonia, and if they had made it clear it would have been obvious that Antonia was going. As it played, it was a shock, up till the announcement I really thought it woudl be Lisa.

                                                                                                                To bring up a point argued extensively on previous threads, I think Antonia's misstep was trying to cook Puerto Rican food, and she clearly has very little understanding of food other than "new USAmerican" or whatever her style is. Gandules (pigeon peas) are made in EVERY Puerto Rican household, so everyone at that party knows exactly how they are supposed to taste, which is how their grandmother made them...you better know you can nail that ingredient before you try to sell it to Puerto Ricans. EDIT: she mentions in the EaterLA interview that the Cuban half of her family makes gandules all the time...gives her even less of an excuse. I have only used gandules from a can...maybe they require substantially more cooking than other legumes...

                                                                                                                She and Richard made a similar mistake using raw ripe plantains in the quickfire. Maybe that ingredient is edible raw, but plantains are NEVER eaten raw in PR. The taste and texture was inherently offputting to the judge who has been eating plantains in countless ways his whole life.

                                                                                                                1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                  I was horrified at the idea of raw plantains. Your poor intestinal track! Anyhow, just to clarify, tostones and mariquitas (plantain chips) are dipped in mojo, but the actual root of the "sauce" is as marinade.

                                                                                                                  1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                    i had refrained from joining in the various "what were they thinking?" discussions thus far, because we all seem to agree it was risky and unwise for antonia & lisa to focus on puerto rican flavors. when they both said they were going to do it, i cringed and said to the TV, "don't you remember what happened when hung made arroz con pollo for the spanish soap opera challenge???"

                                                                                                                    raw plantains? so wrong.

                                                                                                                    re: the mojo issue. it's traditionally used as a pork marinade in cuba, but since they were in puerto rico lisa obviously chose to use the way it's most commonly used there. come to think of it, i wonder if that's the reason she seemed stuck when gail asked her what it was. "it's a marinade. no, it's a dipping sauce. wait, where are we? its andrew's fault! why doesn't anyone like me?"

                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                      I have to say that the "arroz con pollo" case was very different. puertorican arroz con pollo is very different form cuban arroz con pollo, the puetorican one is indeed a little dry, the judges in miami (and padma, colichio et al) were judging the rice as if it were a cuban dish, they were clueless. now, Hung's problem was not the arroz con pollo but the OBVIOUS fact that in puerto rico you do not eat arroz con pollo alone, you NEED to dip it in habichuelas guisadas, that's why it does not taste dry, hung served the rice without habichuelas en salsa and there is no way to eat it like that. OTOH the mojos in cuba, republica dominicana and puertor rico are also different. I don't remember what ingredients did lia put in her mojo, can someone tell me?

                                                                                                                      1. re: LRS

                                                                                                                        i just checked the bravo site and i can't find the recipe.


                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                            are you sure? i saw this one, but i thought it was one of her QF frittura recipes. didn't she serve the EC mojo with tostones?

                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                              My bad - I found her QF recipe via the "Rate the Plate" for Episode 13....Lisa called it "Sweet Plantain, Red Onion, Chorizo Fritter with a Spicy Chutney Slaw and Tostone with Pan Roasted Duck & Spicy-Sweet Mango Papaya Salsa" but the link calls it "Mofongo Fritter with Chorizo".


                                                                                                                              So there's a "glaze" but no mojo.

                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                ok, so i just re-watched the episode.

                                                                                                                                re: the mojo, lisa's comment was "it's just a dipping sauce, typically." and it turns out that initial recipe - the one you & i both found in our searches - was the right one. it was a pineapple mojo, and she served it with pork-filled yuca rellenas.

                                                                                                            2. re: Ali

                                                                                                              If you watch all 3 of the showings of the episode, like me, you'll make note of Richard's dishes:

                                                                                                              Ham and beans a la homecooking in America
                                                                                                              Pork Belly and pickled watermelon rind
                                                                                                              Pork ribs with malta glaze
                                                                                                              BBQ pork shoulder with greens and mango

                                                                                                              1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                But how did it all taste? Was it seasoned well? Did the judges like the watermelon rind, which I know is a little odd outside of the south? The malta glazed ribs were different and interesting but what else? I want to know more!

                                                                                                                Or maybe I'm just greedy. :)

                                                                                                                1. re: Ali

                                                                                                                  No you're right, they barely touched on *why* he won.

                                                                                                              2. re: Ali

                                                                                                                >>When Tom said that the most telling sign was that Lisa's table wasn't popular like the other three, I was sure that meant Lisa was going home. <<

                                                                                                                He actually said something like, "we took note that one of the chef's table wasn't as crowded as the others," but did not mention Lisa by name. It had to have been Antonia's table. I think Antonia was disadvantaged by the several months' long break, and the fact that she just opened a restaurant, and so was not as focused as she might have been if this final four challenge had taken place right after the last set of challenges.

                                                                                                                I agree with the poster up-thread who commented that at SOME point, the judges need to take into account prior accomplishments over some minor mistake in the given week's challenge when eliminating people. It really says something that a chef who was in the bottom in 6 out of what? 12 possible elimination challenges ended up in the top 3 over people who were in the bottom once or twice but happened to make a slightly bigger blunder in a given week than the person who was skating by, i.e. Lisa. I seriouisly cannot believe she made the final three. I'm wondering if the producers made them do it simply for drama. It's so upsetting!

                                                                                                                I especially found it telling when Lisa sniped at the shocked and emotional pair of Stephanie and Richard that they hadn't congratulated her on beating out Antonia, the obvious contender for top three. Um, Lisa? They didn't rah! rah! for you because they were upset that you were even there. Give them a minute to rein in their tears after hugging Antonia good-bye, and another minute to get over their shock that you were still standing, before you start harping on them for not rushing over to congratulate you.

                                                                                                                Even if she didn't get it at the time, I'm sure Lisa's got to be feeling bad that the public vote wanted her gone by 91% tonight. I don't really think the judges did her any favors keeping her around -- the viewing public would have a lot less vitriol for her if she'd just been eliminated earlier.

                                                                                                                That said, I will absolutely die if she beats out Richard or Stephanie in the final three.

                                                                                                                1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                  If you watch the end of the episode where they are running the preview for next week along with the credits, you will see in small type a very disconcerting disclaimer. It stated that the juding is done with input from Bravo and the producers, which leads me to believe that drama is taken into account. I will watch it again tonight and then post the exact language.


                                                                                                                  1. re: samlev

                                                                                                                    We've seen it before, but Tom Colicchio has adamantly stated that the producers do NOT have any input into who stays and who goes. Only one time, when Colicchio wanted to get rid of the lot of them in the head-shaving incident and award the title to Marcel did the producers step in and say that just Cliff goes for pinning down Marcel, as there was an explicit rule of no physical contact (i.e., fighting).

                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                      The other point to consider, in taking this disclaimer as evidence that the producers influence the judges, is that it's awfully hard to imagine that judges like Tom, Tony Bourdain, Ted Allen, and all the guests like Eric Ripert, Wylie Dufresne, etc., etc., would let their votes get overthrown by the producers without having any rumors of it appear anywhere.

                                                                                                                    2. re: samlev


                                                                                                                      This isn't really a pure culinary challenge, boys and girls.

                                                                                                                      It's television.

                                                                                                                      1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                        The producers statement is more a legal escape clause to allow them to make decisions in case of emergency, change the rules if there is an unforeseen incident (eg: head-shaving), or or generally keep the show from derailing in a manner that would be detrimental either logistically or financially or otherwise to the program.

                                                                                                                        It's the producer's way of saying, "No matter what, we control the show in the end. We may not use that control, but we reserve that power". It also allows them to present the whole kit and kaboodle as entertainment without any real fear of the consequence of ever being labeled "fraudulent".

                                                                                                                        1. re: Scortch

                                                                                                                          You're exactly accurate about the legal escape clause, Scortch.

                                                                                                                          But that disclaimer also allows them, when they deem it necessary, to assure "good television," good ratings, buzz like that on this board and thereby enable them to charge more for their advertising time.

                                                                                                                          It's the business of television. Controversy and villains are essential to good drama, even on a "reality" food competition show.

                                                                                                                          1. re: chicgail

                                                                                                                            It does, but everyone says the producers haven't interfered in judging decisions and I see no reason to disbelieve them. I think Tom said that if the producers had had any influence, Ken wouldn't have gone home in the very first episode of Top Chef. The drama quotient is pretty much assured through the casting process: cast enough quirky and volitile personalties and some of them are bound to make it through. The pressure cooker atmosphere brings out the worst in some people who might ordinarily be nice folks, and you can always edit someone to accentuate their bad moments (we all have them) and hide their good ones.

                                                                                                                            Also, it's not correct to say they can "change the rules" -- any competition with a prize with monetary value is subject to game show laws, which means that the rules of the game can't be changed while the game is in progress. Head shaving would be covered under the "no physical contact" rule which has been in place from day one, plus I'm guessing there's also some kind of general behavior clause they could have enforced against Ilan and Elia if they wanted to, even if they never physically participated in the attempt to shave Marcel's head.

                                                                                                                            The clause mostly exists to guard against exactly the kind of speculation that happens here: someone doesn't like the result, so they sue the producers claiming it was fixed.

                                                                                                                            Edited to add that there's a long discussion about judging (and editing) on Tom's blog for this week.

                                                                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler


                                                                                                                              I misspoke (mis-typed???) when I stated change the rules. What I should have stated was fall back on a pre-designated set of rules that may not normally come into play or be known to the viewing audience. You are indeed correct, I believe, on the game-show legal requirements.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Scortch

                                                                                                                                Yeah, there are a lot of rules that cover what goes on in their day to day behavior outside of challenges -- some contestants complain it goes down to asking permission to go to the bathroom (presumably on set, not at the house!). For that matter, after Padma announces the challenge (or maybe before), off camera they give the contestants a chance to ask questions and clarify the rules, and also -- per the episode when Andrew mentioned losing his -- give them a rule sheet. Things are nowhere near as spontaneous as they appear due to the magic of editing.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                  Exactly. Besides the basic "Rules" that we all as viewers get to know (or think we know), that whole slew of others that probably go into fine, fine print. As long as they are made known at the onset, they are fair and applicable.

                                                                                                                                  It's those basic "Rules" we familiarize ourselves with, the episode to episode basic playbook, that I was referring to as the ones that can be "changed" when something drastic arises and that are the rights that the producers reserve as per that end credit statement.

                                                                                                                2. wow, 6 months from the last Chicago episode to being in Puerto Rico?, what's with Dale's new wardrobe?

                                                                                                                  interesting how Stephanie choose the pairs/partners. and lol at ""Congratulations you won the bronze medal!"

                                                                                                                  AND what's with next week's preview saying, "The most shocking Top Chef winner yet!"

                                                                                                                  hmm, they can't possibly be alluding to Lisa winning this, no?

                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                  1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                    <AND what's with next week's preview saying, "The most shocking Top Chef winner yet!"

                                                                                                                    hmm, they can't possibly be alluding to Lisa winning this, no?>

                                                                                                                    They could be, but I sure hope not! They had a few misleading things in the preview for this week, like the voice of Stephanie saying "Holy Schnockers" and showing a slicer that alluded to perhaps she had cut herself? thank goodness that was a ruse. so perhaps that "shocking" thing is too. I cannot feature that Lisa, who has been in the bottom group 7 times and each time has skated by "somehow," while a more talented chef has gotten the gate is still there to cook in the finals. Imagine how Dale, et al feel?

                                                                                                                    1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                      I thought about too- did Dale borrow Nikki's glasses for this episode? haha

                                                                                                                      1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                        I missed hearing that preview re: "the most shocking Top Chef winner yet!" I would seriously question all of the judges' decision if Lisa ultimately wins this entire thing. This would be even WORSE than Ilan winning TC2!

                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                          Maybe they're saying it's shocking because Stephanie won!!! The first feamle Top Chef! She & Richard are both class acts. And I was SUPER sad to see Antonia go home last night. Lisa needs to learn a couple things about having class...

                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                            If Lisa wins this year ...

                                                                                                                            Top Chef Season Odd-Number = real winners
                                                                                                                            Top Chef Season Even-Number = corporate sponsored mockery

                                                                                                                            I read on the interweb (so it must be true) that Ilan will host a reality show for Bravo.

                                                                                                                            1. re: marblebag

                                                                                                                              It will be called "Pimp my Taco Truck!"

                                                                                                                        2. to Phaedrus' original post-- the pigs were 60 lbs, not state-fair-winning 600 lbs. there is an, er, *huge,* difference :-).

                                                                                                                          lisa sucks. i will say that her new haircut is nicer than her old look. i turned to dh and was like, "i'd hate to wake up to that," and we both shared a shudder. blais' comment about "congratulations, you won the bronze medal" is the classic of the whole season. the dale/steph team was perfect for all the hounds who said dale could never respect females in the kitchen. dale screwed up by leaving the pork belly out overnight but was absolutely mortified-- most genuine statement of the season: "i would never forgive myself if i got her sent home." the dale/steph team pulled it out, yay! blais won the car-- his menu looked absolutely delicious and i would *love* to eat it, 72 times more than the other contestants' menus, blais came out with real thought and style. i actually felt bad for andrew getting stuck with lisa-- how horrible.

                                                                                                                          omg i can't believe it's antonia rather than lisa. yet undercooked beans is one of the worst possible offenses in cooking--esp for a pro scratch chef. how does that happen at this point (final 4)? how is lisa still here, squeaking along past others' mistakes?

                                                                                                                          17 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                            I think Antonia lost with her comments to the judges. She said she likes her beans Al dente....Huh? I think that stunned the judges a bit that she planned to under cook to any degree.
                                                                                                                            Stephanies stock just keeps climbing. So calm yet she never gives up. That's exactly what it takes to be a Chef. Dale was indeed mortified. You could actually feel the sincerity in his voice when he said he would never forgive himself. Why couldn't Dale have worked this well with others before? I hope he learned from looking back as he has a LOT of talent and personally I think Dale should be in the top three not the bulldyke from hell.
                                                                                                                            Richard, dude PLEASE fix the hair. It's like when some one has a big zit between their eyes and you feel like your going cross eyed trying not to look. It was very nice to see Richard get a car as well as Stephanie win the QF.
                                                                                                                            I think this is the best season ever and while my vote goes to Stephanie I think it's a going to be a real battle between her and Richard. Over all Richard may be the most talented Chef we have seen on this show.
                                                                                                                            I was in my happy place when I saw miss piggy on the counter. Please send one over here. I want to play too!

                                                                                                                            1. re: Docsknotinn

                                                                                                                              <I think this is the best season ever and while my vote goes to Stephanie I think it's a going to be a real battle between her and Richard. Over all Richard may be the most talented Chef we have seen on this show.>

                                                                                                                              I agree with you, and also that Richard and Stephanie are the best One-Two, in whatever order you want to put them.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Docsknotinn

                                                                                                                                I agree completely with your take on Antonia's comment. As soon as she said it we get one of chef Tom's classic looks, his head snaps back, his face scrunches up and he gets a very pained expression. Kind of like a baby with gas.

                                                                                                                                1. re: kmcarr

                                                                                                                                  i thought it was interesting though that nikki commented that antonia was "off" and not focused or herself. nerves/pressure. i think it got to her and annoying as it was i think lisa's food was good. at least 2 of three are right.
                                                                                                                                  and on dale - i think if he hadn't REPEATEDLY been screwed by being paired with the most annoying people he would've done better. one challenge here or there, but he was with lisa the whole time. she obviously annoys everyone.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                      agreed. especially in the quickfire where it's not like he lost - he came in second and then got the terrible team for restaurant wars!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: kmcarr

                                                                                                                                    "Kind of like a baby with gas."

                                                                                                                                    gas-- is *exactly* what may have bothered tom c. the most about antonia's undercooked beans! LMAO! ;-)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                      LOL You know your in deep kimchee when Tom cocks his head and gives you the look.

                                                                                                                                2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                  Regarding waking up to Lisa... during the entire episode last night, I kept thinking, there really is someone for everyone, since she apparently has a girlfriend! I was just sick to my stomach over her being in the top 3! Grrrr!!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                    you know, i wish that i hadn't typed that part about waking up to lisa. it's too damn snarky, even for me. i'd retract it if i could, and i like her new haircut better than her old one. i won't retract what i said about her personality. she needs to have some sort of "awakening" type attitude adjustment. it's hard to believe there are folks out there who are so negative, and that they'd choose to work a creative job with others and suck them down. i don't see any spark with lisa, no love, or joy, or pride in how she cooks, the way you can see it with the other top 3. the woman cooks as if she's a highly gifted collections agent, simultaneously disengaged and ruthlessly efficient, but cold & uncaring as hell.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                      Brilliant analysis of how Lisa cooks, soupkitten!

                                                                                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                        Soupkitten: There's no reason to regret your honest observation about Lisa. Throughout the competition, she has done very little to endear herself to her peers or the viewing audience. It would be fair to say she ranks as one of the worst colleagues in Top Chef history.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                          Soupkitten: Absolutely spot on with your personaltiy and cooking assessment of Lisa. Very well put. I also admire that you had the class to rethink an intemperate comment. That kind of self-awareness is completely absent in people like Lisa.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                          I kept thinking, there really is someone for everyone, since she apparently has a girlfriend!

                                                                                                                                          What does that have to do with anything?


                                                                                                                                          1. re: delk

                                                                                                                                            It has a lot to do with anything. She's a really negative person, and obviously difficult to be around. I can't imagine being with someone like that full time.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                              That's what anti-depressants are for.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                Maybe sneak some onto the Mojo...

                                                                                                                                      2. did anyone else notice that antonia left gail hanging on the handshakes when she got eliminated? gail seemed to have her hand up and a stunned look on her face...anybody notice this or was it just weird editing?

                                                                                                                                        12 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: soypower

                                                                                                                                          Yes, I saw that too. It appeared that Antonia when straight to Tom and skipped Gail.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                            I think your phrasing that "it appeared that Antonia went straight to Tom..." is appropriate. I'm sure that it was simply editing; I can't imagine that Antonia would do something like that. What possible reason would she have?

                                                                                                                                          2. re: soypower

                                                                                                                                            I wondered about that and assumed weird editing ('cause IMHO, Antonia wouldn't have skipped Gail, especially with her hand out), as in, Antonia had just shaken Gail's hand, so Gail's hand was still outstretched, and Gail was stunned like all of us.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                              i watched that a few times and i couldn't see it as anything other than a dis. she went straight to tom. i guess that could have been editing, but then you see gail's hand extended. and it wasn't extended in a way as though it had just been shaken; it was extended as though it hadn't been shaken. and her face bore a wtf expression.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Shiloh

                                                                                                                                                i watched that part again on my dvr and antonia walked straight to tom to shake his hand and after she was done shaking everyone's else hands, they wouldn't show gail's face again...

                                                                                                                                                maybe gail made some stupid remark during JT that p*ssed antonia off and got edited out, or antonia was just so shocked that she inadvertently skipped gail...

                                                                                                                                                1. re: soypower

                                                                                                                                                  From an interview with Antonia on Eater LA:

                                                                                                                                                  Q: You totally left Gail hanging with the handshake at the judges' table.
                                                                                                                                                  A: When it happened it was so surreal. I was going in order of who I was with all the time, like Padma and Tom. I dove in to them first. And of course I just go to Tom, our head judge. I have the most respect for him. It was such a surreal moment. But later we laughed and I told Gail 'of course I love you'. She genuinely cares about us and our process. I would've jumped on the table and hugged them all if I could.

                                                                                                                                                  Link to entire interview: http://la.eater.com/archives/2008/06/...

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: farmersdaughter

                                                                                                                                                    Now there is another twist. "I did shake Gail's hand. Did they not show that?" This is a quote from Antonia in her chow.com interview. She states that she did approach Tom first because he's the head judge but that she shook everyones hand. It seems to contradict a bit the Eater LA interview but either way I can't see a major case for some sinister intentions on Antonia's part. Remember that this took place at 6:00 AM THE FOLLOWING MORNING. The chefestants had been up for ~24 hours including all the prep work and cooking. It's understandable that their brains might be a little fried.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kmcarr

                                                                                                                                                      Yes, that totally contradicts her Eater LA interview.
                                                                                                                                                      From the reruns, it's seems quite obvious that she skipped Gail.
                                                                                                                                                      Anotonia heads straight to Tom. When she's just about done with Tom, Gail raises her hand. However, Antonia moves the other way towards Padma.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                        Where's the contradiction? "I dove in to [Tom and Padma] first." The key word is "first." So...she went straight for Tom, just as she said, seeing as how he was the head judge. Then she went for Padma, like she said. This is what was shown on the air.

                                                                                                                                                        Her statement "I dove in to them first" does not exclude the possibility that she then shook Wilo's and Gail's hands afterwards but that this footage was not aired. We already know that there's tons of footage that never makes it on the air.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: youngho

                                                                                                                                                          From the Eater LA article, Jun 5, 2008:
                                                                                                                                                          Question: You totally left Gail hanging with the handshake at the judges' table.
                                                                                                                                                          Answer: When it happened it was so surreal... But later we laughed and I told Gail 'of course I love you'...

                                                                                                                                                          However, on Chow she claims to have shook everyone's hand.

                                                                                                                                                          Yes, Bravo edited all the handshakes, but the contradiction is that she acknowledged leaving gail hanging in the Eaters LA article. It was surreal and later they laughed about. Why would Antonia have to make amends with Gail, "Of course I love you." if she didn't shine her on in the first place.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                            I think she did eventually shake Gail's hand, but that didn't change the fact that skipping her at the beginning was a snub... she was sitting closest and already had her hand extended.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                                                              Right, I think she "totally left Gail hanging" initially but eventually shook her hand later. As she herself acknowledged, it was an unintended snub, and she later laughed about it and told Gail she loved her. Thus, there really were no contradictions, certainly not a "total" one. Can we put this issue to rest, please?

                                                                                                                                          3. <AND what's with next week's preview saying, "The most shocking Top Chef winner yet!"

                                                                                                                                            hmm, they can't possibly be alluding to Lisa winning this, no?>

                                                                                                                                            Just throwing this out there . . . maybe they will be bringing BACK a more deserving cheftestant (Dale, Andrew, Jennifer) for the final competition. I'm reminded of the most recent "Next Food Network Star" competition when one of the leading two contenders was ousted for going 'Robert Irvine' on his resume . . .

                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Roo

                                                                                                                                              roo: i had exactly the same thought...that dale would come back and somehow pull of a huge upset.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                If you check out Antonia's chef bio page it says she's "still cooking" even though it's been a week since she "packed her knives" . . .

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Roo

                                                                                                                                                  yes, she's "still cooking," but as the chef at the restaurant/supper club 'foxtail' in west hollywood.

                                                                                                                                            2. Logically, there's no reason someone like Lisa wouldn't get through to the semi-finals, because the judging of the eliminations is intended to punish the worst blunders. She's consistently in a range of mediocre to o.k., and her worst blunders were exceeded by another competitor's, or covered by the nature of a team competition. It's not a contest based just on talent and skill, chance and random 'luck' (incl. how teams get set up) are intentionally thrown into the game. Lisa's personality ends up being the big plus for drama and conflict, more than making up in the tv scheme of things her failings talent-wise. Mediocrity and a single minded vacuity can take someone to the very top, we only need to reflect on our country's leadership this past decade.

                                                                                                                                              With an entire pig to work from and two talented, inspired cooks, losing that pork belly ended up having a neutral or positive effect on the results. I also wouldn't be surprised if Stephanie practiced a little gamesmanship in her picks of the chef pairings, despite what she said about trying for harmonious combos.

                                                                                                                                              17 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                ^possibly, I'm surprised she didn't pair Richard with Andrew rather than Spike since they never worked together before.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                  Richard and Andrew paired together on a sous vide salmon (which Richard failed to scale) for which Andrew made tapioca-ball faux caviar.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                                                    That was the Ming Tsai episode right?

                                                                                                                                                    Obviously Stephanie went for the best for herself, but it looked to me like the other teams were meant to be even with each other. I liked Andrew's cooking better than Nikki's or Spike's, and he was sent to the worst remaining chef. It seems like the idea was to average out the teams...unfortunately for her, Richard's strong will combined with Spike's willingness to listen and learn to result in a new Corolla for Blais.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MeAndroo

                                                                                                                                                      Woohoo, a Corolla!
                                                                                                                                                      Filled with Evian and fine products from the Glad family, no doubt.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                                                        i watched it again yesterday, and realized that padma only said "corolla," and not TOYOTA corolla. if the sponsors had anything to say about it, you can bet they would have re-shot that take.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                                                          Not a bad car for toting around his new baby...

                                                                                                                                                          Hopefully, the other sponsors (Clorox) will throw in some baby wipes and diapers to go with that car.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coney with everything

                                                                                                                                                            With gas prices over $4 a gallon, I wouldn't stick my nose up at a brand new Corolla.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                                                              i would happily accept, then see if i could trade it in for a Prius :)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                                                                I wonder if you can trade it in toward a Prius?

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                  funny how all our minds work the same way. that's precisely what i wondered when they gave him the car.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                    I thought sort of along the same line, except I thought that they were too cheap to give him a Prius outright.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                      i was thinking-- dang-- what's it going to cost to ship that thing from puerto rico back to the continent-- cuz it sure won't do richard any good on the island?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                        I have to believe that Toyota Corollas are sold on the island of Puerto Rico, so that wouldn't be the exact car he'd get.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                          Exactly our first thought here, we were laughing about it, because we actually have shipped a car from PR to the mainland -- and it was a big pain, not cheap (but less than buying a new car, so worth it to us, I guess), arrived late, so we were waiting around in Jacksonville, FL for it, and then still had to drive it home. Let's hope that he gets to pick one up back in Atlanta instead.

                                                                                                                                                                          (PR has loads of Toyota dealerships.)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: mselectra

                                                                                                                                                                            one blogger commented that Richard must have been thinking, "great, how am I going to take that on the plane. There must be more than 3 ounces of liquid in that thing..."

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                          >>I also wouldn't be surprised if Stephanie practiced a little gamesmanship in her picks of the chef pairings, despite what she said about trying for harmonious combos.<<

                                                                                                                                                          How would you have done it differently to be more fair, if you were in her shoes?

                                                                                                                                                          Me, personally, I would have picked, as she did, the best chef of the bunch to be my sous chef, i.e. Dale. Between the remainder, I'm not really sure what benefit or deficit each contestant could have received differently. Lisa could have done worse and gotten Spike as a teammate, for instance. And once Stephanie picked the best for herself (as she should have, being the challenge winner), who else could she have picked for Richard and Antonia than who she did?

                                                                                                                                                          All that selection process did for me was make it that much more clear that Dale should have been in the final four over Lisa.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                                                            Oh yeah. I think that's what Richard was referring to when he said that they're all surprised that Lisa is in the Final Four. I'll bet that he was referring to Dale.

                                                                                                                                                            And I do think Stephanie was smart with her pairings. She picked the best sous-chef for herself. And I think she's probably looking out for Antonia, and Niki is the best match for Antonia. If she wanted to screw Antonia, Spike would have been a better choice.

                                                                                                                                                        3. My jaw dropped when Antonia was booted.
                                                                                                                                                          I dislocated my jaw when Lisa had the fit about not being congratulated.

                                                                                                                                                          Kudos to Richard and Stephanie. Both of them show that they are great chefs and great human beings.

                                                                                                                                                          Apparently, she knows she's not that well liked among the fans, based upon her stew room comment. I wonder if the cheftestants read these blogs or the bravo blog?

                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                          1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                            This finale was probably filmed several months ago, based on Stephanie's "6 months of travel in Cambodia, etc.". The series started filming back in late August/early September, based on another thread's comment of weather in Chicago at the time of one episode. 30 days to film up to the finale - end of September? 6 months later would mean around March?

                                                                                                                                                            So I'm not sure the cheftestants even knew how people feel about them while the show's being filmed. But I'll bet they do now. :-)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                              Actually Linda, there is a large break between the Chicago portion and the finals in Puerto Rico. Stephanie made reference to something like six months traveling throughout southeast Asia. Antonia had time to get her restaurant up and running. If the initial filming ended in late Sept., followed by a 6 month break, that would put the Puerto Rico finale in early April.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: kmcarr

                                                                                                                                                                Based on the tailgating show, the clothes they were wearing at the time, the football, the weather, I think that was probably around November or October, definitely not December.

                                                                                                                                                                And judging by this article here http://www.guidelive.com/sharedconten... the finale was shot early- to mid- May.

                                                                                                                                                                And as someone said there was at least six month between with Stephanie travelling.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: kmcarr

                                                                                                                                                                  Yup, I noted the 6 month break in my first post further upthread.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                    I was at the football game that was featured and that occured mid-October. Lucky for them it rained once the game started, not during the competition. So, figure they finished at the end of October.

                                                                                                                                                            2. The bronze medal comment was so great it is overshadowing two other brilliant comments. Hopefully someone payed better attention then me and can quote them right. But when Lisa was at JT and she was asked why she was there, she said that she tried Richard and Stephanie's dishes and they were good too. Basically, well all our food was good but someone had to be on the bottom. Then after JT when she was commenting how she felt she was going home she said something like, not then I screwed up or cooked bad, someone help me out, I wanted to slap her for both comments! Your food was not all that and it never has been and stop saying every time you skate through that next time you will prove yourself!

                                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                              1. re: elliora

                                                                                                                                                                What were they supposed to say to Lisa? Congrats on being second worst again? Boy, lucky for you, someone has always screwed up worse than you?

                                                                                                                                                              2. How about Richard's brilliant use of tape?
                                                                                                                                                                That fluorescent green to separate his stuff and his trays were numbered. He or someone who cares for him had obviously seen the Marcel problem and developed a simple, totally elegant solution.
                                                                                                                                                                For that alone, I'd say the shocker would be a man winning PR4 against the odds.

                                                                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: shallots

                                                                                                                                                                  That was confusing. They showed him with the tape and then they showed Antonia asking to use it too and then there was a bland shot of Richard reacting with a musical thud in the background. Then...nothing. Did he say no, that would defeat the purpose of having a bright tape, or was he a nice guy and shooting himself?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                    Use Antonia using the tape as well

                                                                                                                                                                    Did you notice Spike's opinion on Richard make a complete 180 degree turnaround?

                                                                                                                                                                    There's also a clip on Bravo's website at Judges Table when all the sous chefs give their inputs. Dale's comments are hilarious.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                      thanks for the heads-up, i just watched the video. i didn't think dale's comments were "hilarious," but i thought it was funny when padma pointed out the irony that he could have lost the show for steph after she purposely chose him.

                                                                                                                                                                      andrew was incredibly classy & mature. kudos to him. too bad lisa doesn't know how to follow his example & take the high road.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                        I didn't think Dale's comments were hilarious either. I thought the way he talked about Steph's being po'ed about his mistake made it sound like she totally lost it on him, but from what we saw, she was clearly upset, but held it together, didn't take it out on him, and rallied to come up with plan B.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                          That was his point, that he has known her so long that he knows when she is PO'ed. And that she really held it together evn though she was ticked.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                            Whether or not it was Dale's intent, I think his saying she was really pissed made it even more impressive how much credit she gave him in front of the judges, even when he's no longer being judged.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                            It speaks a lot to her. He messed up, but it's still her moment of glory and therefore her responsibility to make sure everything is prepped, packed and cooked right. Not too many chefs would have recognized that.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. Missed the part with Lisa giving Stephanie and Richard hell because they didn't congratulate her for going on to the finale. I think what did Antonia in was putting the tree dishes on one plate,but more importantly,what she did with the piegon peas.Never heard of cooking them al dente,don't blame Chef Tom for his reaction.
                                                                                                                                                                    When they showed the shot of the pork belly Dale left out,I was upset.I wonder if he wasn't told to do that to add to the drama,though he really seemed upset with himself for doing it. Yah got to love Steph. She didn't get angry,and they worked up the chicarone salad.Still don't know why Lisa is here except for drama,but I feel either Richard or Stephanie is going to win Top Chef.

                                                                                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: HollyDolly

                                                                                                                                                                      for me, it's the way the person responds and bounces back from the little cooking catastrophes that separates the chefs from the cooks. steph could have freaked out on dale and sunk herself. part of her wanted to-- you could watch her struggle momentarily, control her panic, take a deep breath, and instead, come with: "sucks that that had to happen and it puts us back a bit, but what are we as a team going to come through with to win this?" same in the real world where a team member burns a trayful of roasts, the delivery's 2 hours late, or something else doesn't go exactly as planned-- you still have to perform and serve something--something good, and blame games and crying over spilled milk or spoiled pork won't feed hungry people.

                                                                                                                                                                      contrast steph's attitude with lisa's needing to blame others for rice problems, not getting congratulated for the bronze medal, getting born. . .

                                                                                                                                                                      steph, richard, and antonia all *get* the roll-with-it element of running a kitchen and dealing with the small stuff not working perfectly every time. they work well as team leaders and as a result they get 100% from their co-workers or sous in this case. lisa's a negative, raging, blaming, obnoxious control freak who crumples under pressure and can't switch gears appropriately when a minor crisis happens. she'll ride an unsuccessful dish (restaurant wars) to the end because she can't conceptualize dramatic shifts when necessary. she'll instead try to salvage a bad idea, coming off as a weak chef. she seems increasingly abusive of those working with and around her. nobody's happy to be around her at all-- we saw nothing from andrew after lisa kicked him off the sausage grinder, he seemed to contribute nothing to the menu planning (he wasn't allowed to, & wasn't even allowed to even have an opinion on lisa's menu). it looked like lisa used andrew as a fetch-boy and a waiter and i'll bet he didn't get to go to the bathroom without her okay, let alone any element of the prep w/o her micromanagement. i'm far from andrew's biggest fan but i felt very sorry for him in this episode. by the time lisa had dogged him, yelled at him, and run him ragged, andrew didn't even look like he could offer emotional support to lisa in the same way that nikki did for antonia. a real chef would have pulled in andrew's talent and ideas and used his abilities wisely, instead of just using him as a grocery runner and extra set of hands. very insulting to him-- none of the other sous felt that way, they all were pulling for the chefs they cooked ***with--as opposed to for***.

                                                                                                                                                                      lisa sucks. the woman has no business thinking she can run a kitchen successfully--she needs to have an attitude, heart, and soul transplant first.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                        I wasn't the biggest Andrew fan as well but have to say that he was terrific in his post sous-chef interview talking about Lisa. He never once bad-mouthed her and handled it with class.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                          Somebody mentioned an interview with the sous chefs above as well, and I thought you were referring to something on the bravo website but I can't find it. Could somebody post a link if I am missing it. I would love to watch.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: littleneck

                                                                                                                                                                                I find the Bravo site so persnickety when it comes to the videos. I use NBCs Hulu to view them.

                                                                                                                                                                                The sous chefs: http://www.hulu.com/watch/22037/top-c...

                                                                                                                                                                                All Top Chef clips: http://www.hulu.com/top-chef

                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                It's a shame that Nikki didn't show as much enthusiasm about Antonia's cooking as Andrew did about Lisa's. I wonder how much the sous chef's comments affected the judging.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                                                  this was interesting to watch. seemed like andrew really "sold" lisa's food, very enthusiastic, as you say, & classy, as Miss Needle says. maybe i was tricked by bravo's choice editing in thinking that lisa was completely domineering to andrew during the cooking. or maybe he's a bigger picture guy who'd forgive lisa's snapping and snarling, putting them down to nerves, and absorb it all, because to andrew, it's all about how the food comes out in the end?

                                                                                                                                                                                  nikki was a little ho-hum. unenthusiastic. i wonder what would have happened if nikki took the blame personally for undercooking the pigeon peas--it is not clear that this is actually what happened, but the interview made me wonder. what would nikki have stood to lose, by taking one for a friend, in theory? hmm. antonia still should have caught the problem, though. and i think the partygoers' response to antonia's food was most telling, as tom c. has stated.

                                                                                                                                                                                  dale didn't seem to know how to address the bacon blunder-- seemed like he didn't want to hurt steph's chances by mentioning it or not mentioning it, & once it was out, he blabbered a bit and looked relieved when they cut him off to go to the next sous.

                                                                                                                                                                                  barely heard from spike but seems like he loved the menu and was possibly a little in awe of richard. 180 turn indeed, if so.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                    It sounds like Nikki WAS responsible for the undercooked pigeon peas. Antonia should have just told her to make pasta.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                                                                                      Well, Antonia stuck her foot in her mouth at judges' table going on and on about the peas and how she kinda liked them al dente anyway. So if Nikki had tried to take blame, that would have made the judges zoom in even more.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. Who do you think will be the guest judges for the finale?, don't they usually have around 6?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. The highlights of the night for me were Richard's bronze medal quote and Stephanie being the epitome of grace under pressure.

                                                                                                                                                                              The lowlight was Lisa making it through to the final three. I agree with others that think maybe the judging needs to be rethought, I don't think that anyone who spends half the competition on the bottom should be in the final round. What truly gets me is at the JT and Tom is giving his recap of what went wrong and with who, her laundry list always sounds more egregious than the other cheftestant. Every week I am surprised that she is still there. While I'm on the subject, how did she not learn from watching herself exactly what her body language is saying? Finally, her comment to Richard and Stephanie, if I'm not mistaken she has said that she is not there to make friends so why does she care if Richard and Stephanie congratulate her or not?

                                                                                                                                                                              19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lizzy

                                                                                                                                                                                I don't think they had a chance to see themselves before filming the finale. The air date of the first show was March 12th; the finale could have been filmed before then? And even if she had seen one or two episodes before the finale filming, she wasn't in the bottom group until the 7th episode (I could have sworn it was a lot earlier!) - so we didn't see her standing there with arms crossed, nasty look on her face, until mid-April.


                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                  Actually, the finale was filmed in May. So Lisa had plenty of episodes to learn from

                                                                                                                                                                                  To me, even though Lisa says she's not there to make friends, I think she's kind of hurt that people hate her so much. She seems like a very sad woman and probably a lot more vulnerable than she lets on. Her attitude and defensive postures say it all.

                                                                                                                                                                                  That said, I still don't like her, but I feel sorry for her.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                    Update from Tom's blog, which has just been posted:

                                                                                                                                                                                    "For the uninitiated: the bulk of the Top Chef season is shot over six grueling weeks some months before the show airs (up until the finale, which is shot as the early episodes air.) " So the finale was shot in March, as the first ep was mid-March.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Tom's blog also offers insight into how the judges make their decision (and he reiterates that the producers don't have a say in who goes). A lot of info on Page 3 of his blog.

                                                                                                                                                                                    And as for Lisa being hurt people hate her so much - hasn't she brought some of this on herself? Yes - I know we see what editors want to show us, but her nastiness about others in the private interviews are all hers to say or not to say.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                      My bad about the date of the finale. I think another post on this thread said it was in May. But obviously it was wrong if Tom has it on his blog.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, Lisa definitely did bring this all upon herself. She's not a very well-liked person and I probably wouldn't get along with her in real life. I went to school with someone just like her -- except that she was a bit worse than how Lisa was portrayed on TC. People like that usually are very depressed. It doesn't excuse their behavior, but I think it helps me understand them more.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                        And I was making "guesstimates" re: the initial filming and the time frame between the last show and the finale show based on Stephanie's "6 months' traveling" comment. So I was glad to see Chef Colicchio clarify it on his blog.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                          I also thought the finale was filmed in May not in March when I made my comment about Lisa's stance at the JT. I understand that Lisa's demeanor might be because of a lack of self esteem. However, she also has a history of blaming others for her mistakes adding to her unenviable qualities. I did feel a little bad for her when she chastised Stephanie and Richard for not congratulating her, but she doesn't seem like the happy-go-lucky type when away from the JT either.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                          I already pointed to an article that said the finale was in May. Your six months is repeatedly off, Linda.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: HarryK

                                                                                                                                                                                            Just because the article came out in May doesn't mean that the finale was shot in May.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: HarryK

                                                                                                                                                                                              Let's see Harry - I copied and pasted from Chef Colicchio's blog just above your post (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/52589...) as to when the finale was filmed (although not defined to the month - but at least end of March/early April).

                                                                                                                                                                                              And then below, attractivekid posts an L.A. Eater interview with Antonia herself (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/52589...) who says: "We opened Foxtail on February 22, and we left for Puerto Rico in April."

                                                                                                                                                                                              Who am I going to believe? I think Chef Colicchio and Antonia, who were there. Looks like it was early April, based on Chef Colicchio saying "...(up until the finale, which is shot as the early episodes air.) " Early episodes - they started being shown in mid March, so "early episodes" were in late March/early April.

                                                                                                                                                                                              If Stephanie said she was gone to Cambodia and the Far East for SIX MONTHS (and she did say that), counting back from April would have meant they finished filming the main episodes in late September/Early October.

                                                                                                                                                                                              So my "six months" is *not* repeatedly off, Harry.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                There are numerous sources showing they taped Puerto Rico in early May - Ted Allen and Bravo among them. I don't have the links, but if you do some digging, you will find it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Ok so Ted Allen saying IN MAY in that article that he was going to Puerto Rico to do the finale should be tossed out? Fine. Tossed. Whatever. You win, case closed. This issue is not worth this much time or pixels to me in the scheme of life.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: HarryK

                                                                                                                                                                                                    You mean the filming calendar is not as worthy of debate as say: whether the frozen scallops was being served in Tramonto's?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    You take all the fun out of beating a dead horse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                      LOL! These two most recent threads have been kind of interesting, haven't they? Just shows the passion with which people (or some people <g>) watch this show and pick up on all the little details.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Well, I forgot about Ilan's t-shirt, that was the other one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Details, details. If there are any, we'll discuss 'em. To death, if need be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I sincerely do like the sense of humor of the folks on this board!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            We all should figure out a way to have a big dinner someday. Of course, we'll all argue for different restaurants and not agree. hehe

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: HarryK

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Just because the article was published in May doesn't mean the interview was done then.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Were it not for the specific date references in the article I would agree with ya Ruth. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Miss Needle

                                                                                                                                                                                                Ms. Needle, you're a kind soul to acknowledge there must be more to Lisa and possibly sympathetic, than what we see and hear.(Jewish mother? Iberian/Portuguese father?) I wouldn't be surprised if she has devoted friends who see her in a milieu (rough and tumble 'kitchen confidential' stuff) where she has had to be relentless and never back down to gain what she's secured as sous chef. She's had to know she's not really in the same league as some of her competition, all the more reason not to show weakness or back down.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. So.... there really isn't going to be a reunion this season?! That's my favorite part... I know, I know, but I enjoy the drama! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                                                                                                              Miss Needle replied further upthread to me that last year, the reunion show was after the finale, so perhaps we'll see it next week? Nope - just checked TVGuide.com - looks like the Reunion Show will be on Wednesday, June 18th.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Jfood is late to the game on this one and he did watch last night, so just a couple of comments:

                                                                                                                                                                                              - If was very appropriate that given size difference of all the contestants from weeks earlier that the Competition round focused on a pig. Wow, jfood could not believe how much weight everyone has gained
                                                                                                                                                                                              - Loved the twin sons of different mothers judges. Tom travelled a little south of the border to find his twin. Now when the two of them find the third member of the threesome they can open a restaurant in NYC called Triplets (for those of you who do not know this is a place where long lost triplet brothers, who discovered each other in college opened a restaurant similar to Sammies Rumanian).
                                                                                                                                                                                              - Jfood understand that Lisa used her cell phone to log 1000 calls voting herself off the show. And the 91% was precious, but was less than the 100% of the contestants that thought she should go home
                                                                                                                                                                                              - Can we please go one more week after nixing Lisa so we cn have a head-2-head between richard and steph. Love them both
                                                                                                                                                                                              - Major Kudos to Steph on snatching victory from the jaws of defeat when she saw the pork belly stayed out all night. Although it would have been fun to watch the judges wretch for ten minutes.
                                                                                                                                                                                              - Interesting comment from Tom at the end. It appeared that they final blow was how many people were at the Lisa's table. Hmmm, now they look to the audience?
                                                                                                                                                                                              - Richard's comment about bronze medal was priceless.

                                                                                                                                                                                              Next time he should tell Lisa that there have been 6 times where she proved the theory that when you are being chased by a bear, you need not be the fastest, just not the slowest.

                                                                                                                                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: jfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                "when you are being chased by a bear, you need not be the fastest, just not the slowest." That, jfood, is by far the best explanation of how Lisa has made it this far. Lisa didn't cook better than Antonia last night, just not as badly that particular night.

                                                                                                                                                                                                As for Lisa's unpopularity, my God, if Richard, who has not said one bad word about anyone the entire season, is even starting to make negative remarks about Lisa, there is something diabolically wrong with that woman. We loved the 91% too. Actually I thought it would have been more like 98 or 99%.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Would have been nice to see the three classiest chefs ever on the show all compete in the finale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: pisang goreng

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Antonia is not classy. She's ignorant at best and prejudicial at worst. Al dente beans, HA!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                                                                                                                                                                    So Antonia choked under pressure. Who hasn't?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    What exactly makes her ignorant & prejudicial?

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: amanda3571

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I can't speak on behalf of Ericandblueboy, but I agree about Antonia:

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ignorant -- several disparaging remarks throughout the season illustrating her lack of knowledge regarding the scope and complexity of Asian cuisine (e.g., "Dale, Lisa and Spike can only cook Asian food, so naturally they open a Chinese restaurant").

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Prejudicial -- her "West Hollywood" remark to Spike and Mark while they were bathing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Hurner

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I can't help but wonder if people are mistaking snark for actual ignorance and prejudice. I found her remarks to be entertaining at the very least.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Then again, PC is a term I attach to my desktop, not my lifestyle.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        And I think Manuel may have been the classiest chef on this year, and few remember him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: MeAndroo

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Agreed, Manuel was definitely the best example of class this season. Richard is a very close second.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: MeAndroo

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Manuel aka "Memo" probably had to be after Buford's characterization of him in the book Heat

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Hurner

                                                                                                                                                                                                            that's a bit harsh, I haven't gotten an impression that Antonia is homophobic, she was teasing the supposedly straight boys, innocent enough.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            ignorant about other cuisines, yes she has displayed that trait several times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: kenito799

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I agree on the snark rather than the prejudice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I can tell you if it was Bourdain saying "West Hollywood" it wouldn't be met with even a blink...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I can't belive no one has brought this up before: The minute Steph chose the sous' my friend and I turned to each other with shock--by giving Nikki to Antonia, she showed that she was threatened by Antonia. Nikki clearly has the least 'sous' skill--her mistakes tend to be basic prep. As annoying as the boys can be, they have shown a clear ability to do kitchen tasks well (exceedingly well in the case of andrew and dale). With Dale the obvious choice for herself, I thought by giving Andrew (I think pretty obviously the most skilled at kitchen tasks) to Lisa, she showed that she was confident that would help her. I assumed she would then give the worst person (Nikki) to her biggest threat---but she didn't give her to Richard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Not that I'm in anyway implying that Nikki was at fault for Antonia's dismissal, but you do have to wonder how things could have been different with Andrew and Nikki being switched...

                                                                                                                                                                                                    27 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: dagoose

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Spike and Richard have never worked with each other, the other pairs have at certain points, so this pair could have been a total wildcard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Antonia and Nikki pairing up together makes perfect sense and I'm sure Antonia would have picked Nikki as well had she won the QF.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Richard obviously would have picked Dale

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Lisa, well...I'm not sure who she'd pick, probably Spike considering he interviewed her for a job?

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'd love to hear your reasoning on why Antonia would have picked Nikki. It seems to me she clearly has far less culinary skill than the other three, based on the shots we've seen of them in the kitchen. I think Antonia is smart enough to have picked someone who chops with skill and could give useful creative input.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dagoose

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Antonia chose Nikki immediately in Restaurant Wars. Of course, the specific need at that point was the pasta, but Steph could easily have been thinking "they like each other fine." I don't think there's any real reason to doubt that Stephanie's primary motivation in the assignments was to minimize tension in the (small) kitchen. Secondary motivations -- there may have been plenty, but I don't think she had time to be all that strategic. She's not Spike, after all!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: dagoose

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Why would Antonia, based on her comments from the previous episodes pick Dale, "who only can do asian food and is a crybaby", or "Butternut Squash Soup Spike"?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Even though Andrew is clearly more talented than Nikki, those two girls get along well and have when teamed up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: dagoose


                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think Antonia and Nikki had bonded, Nikki was the one that had helped Antonia roll out the pasta the last time they brought them in to help. I think she knew Richard could roll with the punches no matter who she gave him, and she claimed the best sous chef for herself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Spike has excellent butchering skills, and none of the others did. Knowing they had Mr. Porky waiting for them, I would think anyone other than Lisa would have been glad to have him working with them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                              except their 'sous-chefs' had to do the shopping and could not do the butchering

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think Spike and Richard could have been a total wildcard, remember that Spike has mentioned quite a few times in the previous episodes that he wasn't a fan of his cooking and style, though during the last episode, he seems to have made a 180 turnaround after working with him and saying he learned a lot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                                                                You tend to suck up a lot more after someone else takes your job.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: dagoose

                                                                                                                                                                                                              It seems that Stephanie is pretty secure with herself and her abilities that she wouldn't need to "pull a Spike" and screw with Antonia (or any of them for that matter).

                                                                                                                                                                                                              And remember in Restaurant Wars it was Nikki who caught the gritty clams and made them rinse the clams again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think that Andrew is a fun chef to watch, but I think that Nikki's and Spike's laid back attitudes might have seemed more appealing for a sous chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: viperlush

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think she would have done everyone a favor (including the viewers) by pairing Lisa Dale together

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Talk about your ratings boost. Lisa and Dale, cage match. Winner will take on Kimbo Slice!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Imagine what Lisa would have done if Dale had left the pork belly out on her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Or if Dale was in the finals and his sous chef left the pork belly out. I don't think he would have handled it any better. In fact, I could see him causing quite a bit of damage to that kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: dagoose

                                                                                                                                                                                                                If Nikki truly has no sous chef skills, how do you explain her major save for Richard's team on the pasta with clams for Wedding Wars? I think the pressure of actual TC competition was Nikki's undoing. The instant Nikki was no longer in the running -- any time she served as sous chef for anyone -- she seemed light years more competent than she ever seemed in her own behalf.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ^except for the fact she didn't catch Antonia's undercooked beans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  by the way, Nikki wasn't on Richard's team for wedding wars. She was with Dale, Lisa, and Spike and got eliminated. You may be confusing her for Antonia's team on restaurant wars.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I stand corrected. Antonia's team. The essential point remains. In that episode, Nikki was more attentive to detail and more assertive to bring about needed change than she ever was on her behalf.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    In this episode, Antonia praised Nikki's shopping skills: good food choices and selection of prime ingredients. So let's talk about the pigeon peas...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Perhaps some of the working chefs in this conversation can chime in here. What are the responsibilities of a sous chef? Are they restricted to the tasks that have been assigned? Do they include generally providing back-up on everything and anything? Based on the editing, I can't recall any specific instructions to Nikki to be responsible for the pigeon peas. (I'm perfectly prepared to be corrected. I certainly wasn't attentive to that detail when I watched.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Lacking any clear evidence that Nikki blew her specific assinment to cook the pigeon peas, I watched the video of the sous chef interviews. There Nikki says, "The one shortcoming that I have is that pigeon peas were slightly undercooked. [Question from Tom: When did you realize the pigeon peas were undercooked?] I really was doing other stuff. I wish I had caught that for her in time, but I didn't. They had great flavor, but I knew, as soon as I tasted them downstairs, that we were going to catch it for that."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    By using the pronoun "I" Nikki seems to suggest that she, Nikki, was tasked with the responsibility of cooking the pigeon peas. But I'm not so sure that's true. First of all, the "really" in the phrase "I really was doing other stuff" seems to suggest the pigeon peas were Antonia's dish. Beyond that, I think we need to look at Nikki's answer in context. Her words are in response to Padma's prompt: "Okay, Nikki, let's hear some dirt from you." Nikki begins by saying "I don't really have a lot of dirt..." But Nikki seems to want to be responsive to Padma specific question, even if it will provide amunition against her friend. It's clear that Nikki hasn't mastered the politician's art of giving the answer the politician wants to give instead of the answer to the question that was asked. It's as if Nikki realizes, "Oh yes. I can answer's Padma's question by pointing out Antonia's shortcoming with the pigeon peas." Which brings me right back to the question about kitchen protocol. What are the responsibilities of a sous chef?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      well, the sous' most important job is to make the exec look good. . .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      so i'd say nikki fell down on the job ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Indy 67

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "I really was doing other stuff" is not mutually exclusive to "when I was supposed to be making sure the pigeon peas were properly cooked."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          we think alike-- see my post to Viperlush above, which you responded to as well, Frodnesor. i am not sure we can totally blame nikki for the undercooked legumes-- antonia should have caught it. . . the thing about any beans is that all they need is time, so if they were started early enough, there's no reason they should be undercooked. perhaps nikki *started* them late, and thus feels responsible? in any case, nikki could have made a bid to take the blame for the dish and deflect it from antonia, possibly keeping her (antonia) in the competition. indeed, she wouldn't be the first sous chef to cover up the exec's mistake by doing exactly that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If the beans were old to start with, overnight soaking and cooking longer just might not help them. I don't know how to tell they're old other than remembering that I've had them in my pantry for n years, though ;-) I've made an "al dente" black bean chili myself, despite what should have been plenty of time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              doubt they'd have run into ancient pigeon peas anywhere on the island of puerto rico, though! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: momjamin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I think that what happened was that she didn't want them to be mushy, so she took them off a little early thinking that they would continue to cook, but her timing was off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: soupkitten

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                In an interview someone linked to, Antonia indicated she made the pigeon peas so I'm off the mark on putting that on Nikki.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: dagoose

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm giving Stephanie the benefit of the doubt and believes she wanted to be fair to everyone...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Dale was the obvious choice for Stephanie
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I also think Nikki with Antonia is another obvious choice... based upon their compatibility in previous episodes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That leaves Andrew and Spike. Both seem equally skilled to me so Richard would have done well with either of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        If she really wanted to screw Lisa without hurting her own chances (keeping Dale for herself... You know that 10 year relationship <wink> <wink> ), Nikki would have been paired with Lisa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          See but, I think she thought she didn't need to screw Lisa, so she figured it didn't matter who she gave to Lisa. She would manage to eliminate herself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: dagoose

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I disagree -- I don't think they all agreed about Nikki being the worst. Remember Antonia immediately chose her as her helper in Restaurant Wars -- sometimes the best assistant is actually someone with a little less personality and opinion, not the best chef. And also just someone you get along with -- Antonia always seemed very annoyed with the boys' shenanigans, I think Nikki was the right person for her personality-wise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Adrienne

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            She very very clearly chose nikki immediately for the RW challenge because they needed someone to roll out pasta, so that is pretty much a failing argument.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. Something to think about: Antonia's bio on the Bravo Top Chef site has her listed as "still cooking".


                                                                                                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Roo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            actually, Antonia comments that Dale would have been her first choice as well

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            eater LA

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for that article. This part pisses me off:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              "Oh, right. Jose Andres was a guest judge on the show. Were you already both with the company?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              When he judged that episode, I brought it to the attention of the producers. We didn't know each other, never worked together. But I thought this could either be really great for SBE or really embarrassing."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Conflict of interest? How can Jose Andres be an impartial judge when Antonia is his business associate?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                everyone but lisa knows he's the best so....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Nice article, Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Mystery solved about the handshake... Antonia left Gail hanging.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    really great article. loved to see her opinions. very pro richard and dale despite their male gender. sounds like she's doing great though - and that indeed nikki was right, she just wasn't all there that day.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Even though it's surprising that they sent Antonia home and not Lisa, I think in the end it doesn't matter. Now if Stephanie/Richard doesn't end up being the top 2 I will be shocked, outraged and won't bother watching Top Chef X.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think Antonia's mistake is serving rustic food in an obviously more formal setting. Pigeon peas would not have been my choice to impress. It may be good, but with so much as stake, and the setting being the governor's mansion and all, I would have thought she'll pick something a little bit more refined.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I really, really dislike Lisa, but in that episode she did sneak by, unfortunately. I think she knows that she's not as good, and her low self-esteem probably contributes to her attitude and combativeness.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think even though Stephanie said she tries to pair the sous chef up well, I think she's really try to make sure that Richard, Antonia and herself are the final 3. She seems to be friends with Antonia, and she respects Richard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. i'm not surprised antonia went home , i found here overrated from day one

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    she always played it safe, and her mistakes were never mistakes of trying something and failing but basic conceptual technical cooking errors - poorly seasoned food, poorly plated food, unimaginative dishes, etc..... i thought she lasted way too long

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i'm not talking personality - but this isn't a personality contest - it is a show to see who has the skills to both cook and run a kitchen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. as funny as Richard's bronze medal quote was, I think this quote by him was by far the best of the season and possibly all four seasons...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Tough lesson to learn on Top Chef, you know, is that the goal is to bend each challenge to your strength, not to totally change your style to the challenge."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. Love the notes. I was so pissed when Lisa threw that "hissy fit'. I mean come on...was that really necessary? And I agree with chicgail, Stephanie is TOTALLY a class act. She didn't get upset at Dale for his HUGE mistake...she simply stayed calm and tried to come up with a new plan. Luckily for her (and Dale) Dale came through with a good idea. Talk about sportsmanship!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. Anybody noticed that if it wasn't for Dale's screw up every contestant would have use the pork belly? In a way it's nice that Stephanie used something different like pork skin.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Not to defend Lisa, since I don't like what I've seen of her, but we have no idea how the editors are slanting things. They may have decided from the beginning that Lisa was going to be the one every one hated and edited everything to make sure it happened.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: dinwiddie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Very possible, but you can only edit so much. Lisa still brought the snarky comments and horrible body language. Whatever the situation, stuff like that is going to turn people against you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ajs228

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                True. But they have all been guilty of snarky comments, we just don't see all of them. Did you see Antonia's comment while hugging Stephanie or Richard (can't remember which)? While I agree that Lisa is definitely not someone I'd like to know, we haven't tasted any of the food, and we haven't seen the hours and hours of film that were left on the editing room floor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: dinwiddie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Quit screwing up our "reality" with facts!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bourdain commented on her body language, so I don't think it's totally editing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: ajs228

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah, but I still have some sympathy for her--I'd like to think that I'd be all gracious even when I was sleep-deprived, stressed, and had a camera stuck in my face 24/7, and that even when they encouraged me to say mean things about people I'd be above it, but somehow I think I'd come across more Lisa than Stephanie in those circumstances.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. In the clear minority here, but count me among those who don't get all the crazy Antonia-love out there. I understand that she's a very good chef, but I found her SO overconfident and cocky, her confessionals made me want to throw something at the TV. Was actually pulling for Lisa to beat her out on this one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And speaking of which, the Lisa-bashing is out of control. She's got a crappy personality, yes. She made lots and lots of mistakes throughout the season that under less lucky circumstances would have sent her home. But at this point people are nitpicking her apart on every little thing (hesitating on the mojo description? come on.) She's far less consistent than the other two finalists but she could pull it off and I for one would be happy for her. Needles is right, beneath the miserable bizzo face and crossed arms (and unflattering camera angles) lies a very depressed person.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                42 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: slices

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think that Richard's comment at the beginning was at least as bad as Lisa's at the end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Richard said that he, Stephanie and Antonia deserved to be in the finals but Lisa didn't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Lisa probably knew this was their opinion and lashed out at them at the end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: RBCal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Well, one could argue that Richard's opinion coincides with most viewers' (as evidenced by the poll and the vast majority of online commentary), thus this may well be the normative view and therefore more justified from a nonsolipsistic perspective, thus perhaps not "as bad as Lisa's at the end." However, as colorblind folks might say, maybe we're missing something, Based on comments on the show and in interviews with Richard, Stephanie, and Antonia, as well as the judges (like Tom Colicchio), though, it seems to me that many Dale should made it to the final four, along with the three other contestants listed above. However, many would also disagree. Lastly, I do have to admit that I always find that it's SO much more meaningful to force other people to compliment me, rather than wait for unsolicited praise.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: youngho

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think the editors are painting Richard as a little more mean now because he doesn't win.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm sure the interviewers have been able to get snarky comments out of Stephanie as well, but choose not to show them. It's not like she hasn't said stuff about her fellow contestants before. e.g. tailgaiting challenge "Ryan is a full of shit schmoozer guy...some of us are just here to cook."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        good call - i think we've all pretty much assumed that steph is going to win. come to think of it, they "humanized" hung a little more right before he won last season's finale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        nice work, bravo. way to tip your hand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Also, remember that what he said about Lisa was probably not something he volunteered spontaneously. Those interview snippets are always edited so that the viewers don't hear the actual question the chefs are responding to, which can be quite leading. For example, he was undoubtedly asked something like "Are you suprised by who made it to the final four?" If any of us had been asked that question wouldn't we have responded in basically the same way? I doubt very much that he sat down in front of the camera and spontaneously started ragging on Lisa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: RBCal

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        he never said lisa didn't deserve to be there. he said that all along people had been saying they expected him, steph & antonia to make it to the finals...but that he thought people would be "surprised" to see lisa there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is interesting since many have said that our POV on Lisa is a result of editing. But since Richard has been there and has been aware of all of Lisa's creations (and also knows what people think, apparently), he clearly thought that Lisa was not as good as Stephanie and Antonia...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            you know i thought that initially, but not necessarily. he would have seen a number of episodes before the finale so to say people would be surprised to see her there may have been followed by (and edited) "those who have eaten her food the whole time are not."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            i'm not saying that's the case. i think the expected was dale, but we really don't ever know.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            makes me realize that as someone with the ability to put her foot in mouth on her own, i could certainly look like an @ss with editing help!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm sure if they asked Stephanie and Antonia that (which I'm sure they did), they'd have the same answer as Richard. (e.g. Antonia: "When Dale left, that was just wrong on so many levels I can't even start. That would take a lot longer than I have to with you.")

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think they're trying to make Stephanie look as favorable as possible (e.g. Dale/pork belly incident) and Richard look just a tad bit less favorable for the finale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: attractivekid

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                but that doesn't mean steph's going to win. seeing how they even use the term "shocker" and let ilan win and even hung (everyone loves him now but last year not everyone was a fan) - they may do anything for ratings!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Come on - they didn't "let" Ilan win. It's who the judges felt cooked the best dishes in TC2's finale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Tom Colicchio has reiterated this countless times - the producers don't have any say in who goes home or who wins (except with the potential head-shaving incident where they stopped Tom from sending everyone home and giving the win to Marcel). The judges who are there at that particular challenge make the decision after hours of debate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It would do the show and the judges a disservice in their own personal careers if the winner was predetermined.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    well said, linda.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    for those of you who are still skeptical, listen to tom's interview on salon.com. granted, we only know what he tells us...but i'm inclined to believe him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You know, I was just thinking about this. I think Tom doth protest too much. I understand why he takes exception to people with conspiracy theories calling into question he and the other judge's decision making integrity, but he needs to point the finger not at the bloggers and people like us who are pretty much obsessed with the show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The deal is this, Bravo manipulates the editing and they manipulate the contestants. Whats to say they didn't manipulate the judging. Believe me, watching these judges work makes me believe that they are fair and impartial, but as long as the audience does not see all the footage and the audience know that they are being manipulated by the producers, complaints about the judging will be de rigeur.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The questioning of the judging is the price they pay for doing what they do in order to build drama in the show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        i don't know, i like tom so i want to believe him.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        on another note, he did make a very good point during his interview that gave me pause regarding something we've all been griping about with top chef in general. we talk about how we think it would make more sense if they took past challenges/episodes into account at judges' table...but the guest judges don't have any frame of reference for that. so they have to judge based solely on what they see & taste during their one appearance. it's a pretty basic, sensible variable that i, for one, haven't considered before now. personally i don't like it. i think there are times when past performance matter...as in the case of lisa, who's been in the bottom three basically more than any other chef all season, yet somehow she landed in the final three.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Hey, don't get me wrong, I believe Tom too, but I point was that they can never get away from it because that is the nature of the show. You can't very well show all the footage, that would be boring. They could refrain from manipulating people via their edits though.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As for the point you made about not judging history, I would be fine with that if only Tom himself hadn't brought that up when he was beating up on Lisa, so that instance drew attention to the fact that the history is in the judge's mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Re: Lisa's past history - yes, this inconsistency still bugs me, as we've seen it pop up on other seasons as well. But they're human - they can only remember so much (although this *does* seem like a major one to forget!).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I posted on Tom's blog about this: Lisa's far more than lucky, being in the bottom 6 times and making the final three -- that's more like miraculous. At some point along the way (probably the week with Dale), I think they made a mistake in the judging. Lisa really did just skate by most weeks, and for somebody with such a poor track record to make the top three is just wrong and leaves the judging open to scrutiny. It wasn't the right result, and whatever the little idiosyncracies that happened in a given week to lead to that result, I think the judging needs tweeking so it doesn't happen again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Dana - I don't disagree with you at all. Skating by is exactly what Lisa did, sliding right into the finale. Even she seemed to know it, based on her comment in the stew room that she was the one going home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  in his salon.com interview tom acknowledged that he was shocked to discover that dale had been sent home while he was gone. he said that from what he has seen, he absolutely understands why the viewers were so pissed about the decision, and questions it himself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe they should impose a "three times and you're out" rule in future seasons, so that if a chef's cooking is so poor that it warrants them being in the bottom that many times, the third time they are out over whoever might have performed better in the past but made a mistake that week.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Well, there is also the luck of the draw with the team events. if you are unlucky enough to be on a lame team three times in a row, you are toast under that rule.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think there's more to simply being unlucky if you are on a team that loses three times in a row. You are a contributor to each of those teams, after all. In my scenario, the "three times you're out rule" would have put the elimination on either Spike or Lisa over Dale in the Restaurant Wars week, because both of them had been in the bottom more than Dale, even though all three of them were also on the losing Wedding Wars team as well. Actually, Lisa/Spike would have gone the Wedding Wars week over Andrew under my rule.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It was just a thought, and I'm sure there are problems with such an approach as well, but I really do think there should be some extra penalty that attaches to people who are repeatedly in the bottom so they can't skate by over more talented people who happen to make a bigger blunder ONE time, while the skater gets to squeek by yet again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I really do think there should be some extra penalty that attaches to people who are repeatedly in the bottom so they can't skate by over more talented people who happen to make a bigger blunder ONE time, while the skater gets to squeek by yet again.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This really makes the most sense. Perhaps not a 3-strike rule, but at least a 4 or 5-strike. It would automatically force those that have been in the bottom too many times to step up their game and work harder to *not* be in that bottom group again. Perhaps Spike then wouldn't have coasted being the FOH (as Bourdain said) during the Restaurant Wars because he had been there so many times. And if they *did* screw up, those in that group who had the more than the set # of strikes against them automatically get looked at as one who could go - i.e., Spike and/or Lisa vs. Dale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            dana: i love your idea. if only one of us had a contact at bravo to pitch it to the producers!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              that doesn't make sense to me, because different challenges test different aspects of what it takes to be a top chef. so you might have great chops when it comes to prep, but if you can't run a kitchen, you are not top chef material. that is why each challenge needs to stand alone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: DanaB

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Dale got hosed when Antonia was able to pick two chefs for her team... instead of winning the right to pick first and alternating with Dale afterwards (since he was 2nd place in the QF). Alternating would have ensured the teams were more even.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I do wonder if Padma or AB inadvertently gave the QF winner the pick two option, but as I think about it some more. It does make sense that she got to pick her team...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          As Miss Emily Litella would say, "never mind." :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  goodhealthgourmet, if Bravo wished to eliminate someone on repeated follies and falling 'among the worst' in multiple episodes, it wouldn't be difficult to set up a fair system of accumulative penalties, so it's their deliberate preference that "lucky losers" squeeze through. In the end, they way they prefer things doesn't fully ensure the 'top chef' wins, the "lucky" knife draw could win, providing plenty of entertainment fodder along the way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Even so, the judges couldn't stay employed if they did admit to getting "feedback" from sponsors et. al. that could influence them--they're only human, right, and it's impossible to be truly impartial. [as many here have brought up, the tastings would need to be done w. the identity of the cooks concealed, as one step toward less bias] Sometimes the bottom elimination candidates are essentially tied--don't the judges admit there are 'split decisions'--and aren't there sometimes an even number of judges? For tv drama's sake, they make it seem like the verbal feedback the chefs give when they're on the chopping block has an effect on the judging--are we supposed to believe that's just so the judges have the correct info, and there isn't a significant subjective element/bias introduced ? Influence could be something benign-seeming as telling Colicchio the results of some of those polls and surveys--he'd never say.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    look, i'm not saying the judges are 100% impartial or that they completely lose all memory of prior challenges when sitting at judges' table. and i don't make the rules...nor, as have stated on many occasions, do i agree with them. i'm just pointing out the facts as we know them, based on what we've been told & what we've seen. during his interview colicchio was asked if he feels pressure from the fans to make sure the next winner is a female, or if any of his decisions are based on those mid-episode texting polls they do every week. his response? [i'm paraphrasing here] "the viewers aren't tasting the food, so how can they choose who the better chef is? and if we were going to let the viewers have a say in who becomes the top chef, we might as well just open it up to a viewer voting process and let them decide."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    at the end of the day i'm inclined to believe that tom does his best to preserve the integrity of his vote - and the show - and act as a fair & impartial judge so that the person who is crowned really deserves it. whether or not it actualy works out that way is an entirely different story.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    this thread has become tiresome, and i'm through beating this dead horse. as i've said time & time again, we're all entitled to our opinions & interpretations.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    i'm just looking forward to tonight's finale.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      at the end of the day i'm inclined to believe that tom does his best to preserve the integrity of his vote - and the show - and act as a fair & impartial judge so that the person who is crowned really deserves it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Agreed. Also looking forward to tonight's show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  "Whats to say they didn't manipulate the judging."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Essentially - it's a game show. There were laws created after the late 1950s quiz show scandals. It's now a federal offense to rig a game show. (I know you know all that.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Is the editing being manipulated? Of *course* editing is manipulated. That happens with every show - "reality" show or not. A good film editor creates suspense/drama/interest in the way film or tape is edited together. Has TC4 been edited in such a manner to make Lisa the bad girl and Stephanie the good girl? Quite probably. They're still telling a story. Who knows if Lisa is actually the jerk she appears to be, except her friends and family and those that work directly with her. It seems Antonia still speaks to Lisa on a weekly basis, according to interviews with her. So perhaps she's not the beeyotch she has appeared to be. But she sure didn't do herself any favors with her snottiness in one-on-one interviews or her interaction with the rest of the cheftestants, her stance and her pursed lips while standing at JT 6 times.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So yes - because we can't see hundreds of hours of footage that is taped for each episode, the only thing we can bitch about is the judging. But Tom doth protest too much because he keeps getting hammered by blogs, message boards, and interviewers asking him about it. If he just brushed it off and said "I've talked about that already" people would suspect even *more* that the judging has been rigged. All he *can* do is continue to say what he says - that the judging is well thought out, well discussed/argued and on a challenge-only basis.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I can see how Tom can get annoyed with the incessant chatter about conspiracies and questions about the judge's decision making abilities, but that's part of the job. They don't pay him the big bucks to be the judge and the personification of the rainbow bear, they also pay him to represent the show in an honest way and all I am saying is that questions like that are unavoidable in his situation. Bravo can help though when they allow guest judges to write about their experience judging the program. Bordaine has done it in blog format, perhaps a long essay in a respected magazine would help. Having Daniel Boulud or Ming Tsai write about the experience, about the hours and what went into the decision would definitely. Having an outsider's view of the machinations of Judge's Table would be fascinating and illuminating at the same time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      a million years ago i taught video editing for documentaries. i always told the students "every edit is an opinion"

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          True. Or every edit tells a story - which is what these editors are doing. But ultimately, are they telling it in a way that twists the outcome to the way *they* want? I don't know.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            it's their show to twist, isn't it? lets not forget what television is - it is not a device to deliver content supported by advertising, it is a device to deliver advertising that uses content as a hook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: thew

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Of course it is. But as it's been said a gazillion times - the editing doesn't force a certain outcome as perhaps desired by the producers. The judges are still making the decision as to who stays and who goes. The editing just focuses our attention one way or the other, at times throwing us a head fake to make us think they're going to zig when they actually end up zagging.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      whoooooooah. i meant that they don't just make someone look nice because they are going to win. despite his portrayal, ilan won. they didn't keep it from him because he wasn't likable.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i just am not certain that a few snarky comments from richard are them prepping us for him to lose is all.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i don't think the winner is predetermined.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      i just don't think they NEED to make the winner look the most likable by back editing - it certainly doesn't appear they did that in previous years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ahhh, OK - I misunderstood where you were coming from. I agree - a few snarky comments from Blais doesn't mean he's out the door - HOWEVER, having not heard it from him before does make you wonder, doesn't it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          he did just come back from six months with a pregnant wife... :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: AMFM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ladies, please send all hate mail to AMFM, C/O Chowhound at....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              hey - i'm a lady who's had two of her own. i KNOW i was a pain - i earned it by constant throwing up, having a PICC line and being on bed rest for 7 months twice in a row but all I'm saying is if he seems a bit edgier... :) LOL.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              p.s. don't tell my husband i admitted it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As the number of contestants gets smaller, we hear more from all of them, and we tend to hear more from contestants who are closer to elimination than from ones for whom there is more time to tell their story or develop their "character." When Spike was hogging all the camera time available for snarkiness and attitude, maybe they didn't bother with Richard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As for manipulation by editing -- remember that the editing is done after the judging. They don't have to manipulate the judging to match the story -- they manipulate the story to match the judging.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. There is a sneak preview of tonight's finale just posted on the Chicago Tribune TV blog...


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In it, Padma describes the challenge and introduces the sous chefs and how the finalists get to choose them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LabRat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I think I'd choose Eric Ripert because......well, *blush*....just because....


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: dockhl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                No spoilers please! Please don't post any details about this sneak preview in this thread, for those of us who want to go into the finale "cold."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: LabRat

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                looks like Stephanie DID choose Eric! but personally, I would be just as happy with Dan Barber... then, I've already cooked with him. ;>)