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Top Chef-Reunion

OK, is Bravo paying for the psychiatrist visits? It seems they are all whacked out!

I though the homoerotic spins were kind of interesting, Dale and Richard and then Spike with Mark, and Spike with Andrew. That Spike, he's quite the player.

Did everyone feel the tension with Jen and Zoi? And what rumors about them breaking up? Are you all holding out on me?

Antonia the Black Hammer is freaking hilarious! I didn't really realize she is the kiss of death until they put it all together.

And Lisa gets the verdict from the viewers. She is still in denial/

OK, I get Andrew now. I want to party with him!!!

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  1. Watching now...

    I agree, how did the "rumors" of Jen and Zoi go completely unnoticed by us Chowhounds?!?! And, yeah, you could cut the awkwardness with a laaaaaarrrrge knife.

    I'm glad that Chef Tom is defending his critique of the decision to eliminate Dale, being a Dale fan myself.

    I think this reunion show is actually pretty good- lots of footage that's never been seen before, although I have to say it seems sort of boring/uncomfortable for the early exit chefs, that weren't really around for most of the stories.

    5 Replies
    1. re: gyozagirl

      Perhaps Zoi got fed up with Jen's whole "I'm doing this for Zoi." thing.

      1. re: gyozagirl

        Yeah, I don't think Jen's face could have gotten any redder. She was very uncomfortable.

        1. re: ajs228

          I am watching the finale for the third time. I just caught Lisa's comment about being at a lesiban party. I have never once said "I was at a straight party....." I guess she was jealous of Zoi and Jen getting all of the attention.

          1. re: bandmom

            yes, what WAS the purpose of that comment? it was in really bad taste. but then again, this IS lisa we're talking about...

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              Was anyone really surprised that she was there?

      2. Ah, the Culinary Boner T-shirt is now available. Must waste money....NOW!!!

        3 Replies
        1. re: Phaedrus

          A much better T-shirt than last season's "Oh big time." Like what was that about?!?!?!?!

          1. re: Miss Needle

            I couldn't even remember what the T-shirt was from last season...it *should* have been "Even my monkey could make that!" ;-)

        2. can't wait to talk about it when it's over...this is by far the most entertaining reunion show yet.

          but one question...where's nikki?

          3 Replies
          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Hmmm....I'm pretty sure I saw Nikki there....but maybe it was clips from the show. Will have to check out the group sitting there when they come back. We *know* Richard's not there, but I'll have to count to see if Nikki's there.

            Just saw Nikki - she's in yellow sitting behind Dale.

            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

              I think Nikki is there, but on the end (possibly behind Dale?)... at least I thought I saw her flash by on the screen...

            2. Antonia the Black Hammer was great! I hadn't figured it out that she was the Black Widow either.

              Yes, it seems pretty obvious that Jen and Zoi are on the outs. I hadn't heard any rumors, but perhaps they were more prevalent on "other" boards. :-)

              But this year's tee-shirt - Andrew's "I have a culinary boner" is right up there with Dave's "I'm not your bitch, bitch!" Classic!

              1. "I have a culinary boner" was the favorite quote? ! thought it was "So you won the f!ckin' bronze medal. Congratulations". I think that would have made a great tee-shirt.

                29 Replies
                  1. re: amethiste

                    I loved how Blaise's snotty Bronze medal remark came back to bite him after he placed 3rd in the finale BEHIND Lisa. Touche!

                    1. re: surfgirl458

                      Not sure that he did place third behind Lisa. It was never established who was 2nd. I think both Richard and Lisa had a dish that "won" the round.

                      Either way - with the overall number of QF and Elimination wins that Richard had, he was heads and tails better than Lisa. In a New York minute he's way better.

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        I had been rooting for Richard the whole season - I voted for him for Fan Favorite about 10 times & I absolutely think his culinary talent overall far exceeds Lisa's. But in Richard's own words, he "choked". According to the judges comments Stephanie clearly won the 1st & 3rd course, Lisa the 2nd & 4th. Richard started floundering during the Steak House challenge & lost his momentum. By the time he got to Puerto Rico he was a distracted mess & I started thinking hey, this guy's losing it & knew that he wasn't going to win.

                        1. re: surfgirl458

                          No, not according to the judges' comments. According to Lisa in the Stew Room, she won 2nd and 4th. See what others have written below - Lisa self-awarded herself the 2nd place trophy.

                          I don't discount that Richard knew he didn't perform up to his own high standards. But Lisa never did - and always blamed someone else for her own failings. Richard had the integrity to call himself out on his own failures. Lisa's incapable of doing that.

                          1. re: surfgirl458

                            The only person who said Lisa won the 2nd and 4th was Lisa, in the stew room. Looking back at the comments, I think it's quite possible that Richard won the dessert course. I'm not sure that Lisa won the second course, either. Gail loved the soup, but I saw other comments that implied the judges thought it wasn't very original.

                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                              has anyone here tasted tom ka kai before btw? Seriously, that's one of my favorite dishes done right, but I just can't see how she could have made it so revolutionary.

                              1. re: Icantread

                                Well, she did add what she called a "soup dumpling" -- although it wasn't clear to me exactly what that was. It appeared to be a dumpling served in a Chinese soup spoon, but I don't know if it had soup in it, like a Shanghai soup dumpling, or if it was just a dumpling that went with the soup. I don't remember any of the judges commenting on it, only on the soup itself.

                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                  It didn't look like a shanghai soup dumpling to me. It didn't have the characteristic shape, heft, or size.

                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                    According to the recipe on Bravo, it contains soup gelled with agar agar, allowed to set, minced and mixed with a chicken preparation before being encased in the wonton wrappers and steamed.

                                    1. re: LabRat

                                      OK, the stuffing is correct, not sure about whether the agar agar is a shortcut, I was under the impression that they used a lot of fat in the stuffing to create the soup. They certainly don't use wonton skin, but I can buy that for a shortcut, it wouldn't taste the same or have the same texture though. The dumpling that I saw looked a bit skimpy.

                                      1. re: Phaedrus

                                        Only if you're comparing it to an Americanized a la Shanghai Joe in NYC soup dumpling. Authentic soup dumplings are small enough to pop in your mouth (although you risk scalding your mouth if you don't hit just the right moment).

                                        Still, I don't remember any of the judges, either at the dining table or at judges table mentioning the dumpling at all, let alone whether it was good or bad.

                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                          Well, there is soup dumpling: tong bao, that literally translates to soup dumpling. Which is very large and sits in its own steamer. The skin is cut open and the soup inside is slurped down with a spoon or a straw. Then there is shiao lun bao, which is the shanghaiese specialty, its smaller and is as Ruth described, filled with scalding hot soup and it fits into ones mouth easily, until you bite into it, that's when the mixture of pain and pleasure overtakes the senses. The supposed soup dumpling that Lisa made looked like jiao tze, or a steamed version of the pot sticker, which is the Americanize version.

                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                            Ah yes. I guess I was just assuming she was going for the Shanghai version, since it was sitting in a spoon -- I just looked at the picture on the Bravo site and that's what it looks like to me.

                                            I wonder if another problem they had with the dish was that it wasn't really a "fowl" dish, in that the chicken components were not really the center of the dish. Unlike other finales where they were just told to make a multicourse dinner, this time they were told they had to have a fish course, a fowl course, a meat course and dessert. In theory she met the requirement, but I wouldn't really consider what she made a fowl course. I'm thinking that she went into the finale with a menu planned, and then tweaked it to fit the requirements of the challenge. Thus her comment about how she just got this idea to make a soup dumpling. According to the recipe, the soup itself didn't have any chicken meat in it, just chicken stock, so I don't think it would have counted as a fowl course on its own.

                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                              Interesting. I hadn't thought about it like that, but it could very well be.

                                              So, as Stephanie was traveling about the world learning, Richard is trying to open a restaurant while Lisa is working some and plotting her coup, planning her "generic" menu and recipes. Pretty smart strategy, and she almost pulled it off, considering how far back she was from the others. I guess the true genius comes through and you can't just follow a structure and tweak the details.

                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                Interesting on the fowl course, Ruth - I had forgotten about that aspect of the final challenge! So yet again, she skirts the issue and barely made something that complied with what she was supposed to do. Barely.

                                                First the Polish sausage; then this. And she calls out Andrew on not using a grain? :::::shaking my head:::::

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  Yeah, her pointing fingers at Andrew was ridiculous. She said "people have been sent home" for not following the rules, when in fact, neither she nor her partner was sent home for that dish. She was aggrieved that she was in the bottom group for that dish, but that isn't the same as being sent home. But then, the world Lisa inhabits has very little relation to the world the rest of us live in.

                                                  As I said, the show was edited so that we only heard the good things about her dishes. They needed to make it look close so there was some suspense, but the didn't want to give up the "Richard choked" story line, so they edited it to appear that it was between Steph and Lisa, when from all accounts (except Lisa's, see "Lisa world" above) Lisa really didn't do that well.

                                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                    At least, to Lisa's credit (ouch, did I just write that? [g]), during the reunion she admitted how ridiculous it was for her to have called Andrew out on the whole grain issue, though I do wish Andy Cohen had brought up her "Polish sausage" fish dish when he asked her about it!

                              2. re: surfgirl458

                                Richard won the Finale Pt 1 and the Toyota Corolla.

                                What was interesting about the reunion show is that Lisa implied that only Stephanie deserved to win over her.... Richard below Lisa. Only in Lisa's mind.

                              1. re: surfgirl458

                                According to Tom, Richard was a close second behind Stephanie, and Lisa was a distant third. It was edited to make it seem closer than it was.

                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                  Chef Tom did say that?

                                  I thought I had read that Ted Allen said it on another blog's message board, but someone pointed out that the way the blog was set up to have the writer's name at the top of the next person's post, it wasn't...it was the following poster.

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    ted allen said it in a blog post [not the same post as the one that was erroneously attributed to him], and tom said it in an interview.

                                    interesting how tom makes no secret of his obvious disdain for lisa.

                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                      OK, then I *did* read it. I thought I had. But then I thought the brain cells were dying off faster than usual. :-)

                                2. re: surfgirl458

                                  If you read the judge's blogs (particularly Ted's) I think you'll see that Richard was clearly second in most of their minds. Lisa seemed to have appointed herself the silver medal winner.

                                  1. re: surfgirl458

                                    According to Lisa she was second and a very close one.

                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                      Only because she can't say she won the whole thing. Feel for her though, seems like there's a lot of insecurity being magnified for the whole world to nitpick at.

                                      1. re: Icantread

                                        Even though all the contestants professed to be completely shocked at their experience, i.e. they had no idea how difficult and demanding the experience was going to be, I could safely say that most of them had a modicum of idea about reality shows in general, well maybe not Andrew. So I don't feel that bad for Lisa, even though she did expose more of her insecurities in a very public manner because she made the choice to be front and center. Of course that is taking responsibilities for her actions, which is an ability that she is definitely missing.

                                    2. re: surfgirl458

                                      <I loved how Blaise's snotty Bronze medal remark came back to bite him after he placed 3rd in the finale BEHIND Lisa. Touche!>

                                      If you read the judges' blogs, you will see that isn't the case. Technically, there is only TOP CHEF, but they did say that Richard was second. all of them.