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Top Chef Premiere (spoilers)

Okay, seriously? That's how you're going to represent Chinatown? With a freaking Chinese chicken salad? Or with mirin basted salmon over black rice noodles? How is that Chinese? Oh yeah, I forgot... there was bok choy on the plate. Good Lord, I cannot believe the pair that got Chinatown!!
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  1. Two chefs from Boulder, CO, where I live are on the show -- Hosea Rosenberg and Melissa Harrison. I'll watch as long as one or both are in the game. I don't get the appeal of this show (or any other so-called "reality television" for that matter). I really like more cooking and less "drama." I found even the opening round -- 17 chefs at folding tables on what I think might have been Governors Island peeling apples with paring knives! Stupid and irrelevant, IMO.

    The cooking-as-competition and soap opera in the kitchen concepts have infected a lot of 'Food Network' shows too. I don't watch it too much any more.I far prefer PBS food programs to most of the FN programming.

    18 Replies
    1. re: ClaireWalter

      "The cooking-as-competition and soap opera in the kitchen concepts have infected a lot of 'Food Network' shows too."

      That's the bulk of their evening programming now, the Food Network Challenge and the reality shows.

      1. re: Phaedrus

        How much did you expect from the kid that was still in culinary school? When I heard he was still in school I hoped that he would lose, plus it made the show look dumb for putting an rookie in with seasoned pros.

        1. re: mondog1

          It's not like they haven't done that before. They also have the caterer - they always seem to have one each season. Who knows? Maybe one time, there will be a brilliant culinary school student or caterer that will go far in the competition. This year? Patrick's gone, and I'm thinking that Carla the Caterer won't last long either.

          1. re: LindaWhit

            Yeah, and don't forget The Successful Suburban Restauranteur, e.g. the pasta girl with the Amy Winehouse bouffant from last year, and Ariane this year.

        2. re: Phaedrus

          Phaedrus - Indeed it is, which is why I don't watch very much of it. I don't find dumbed-down TV shows with super-artificial stiuations presented as "reality" to be entertainment -- and they certainly are not enlightening. But different strokes. More people enjoy this "basura' than not. Still, because they are local, I'm rooting for Hosea and Melissa, tho' barely mentioned in the first episode's assembled dramatic moments.

        3. re: ClaireWalter

          "I found even the opening round -- 17 chefs at folding tables on what I think might have been Governors Island peeling apples with paring knives! Stupid and irrelevant, IMO."
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~
          Skills tests have always been a part of TC competitions. Why is it irrelevant? Because everyone usually uses peelers instead of paring knives? Why not see how they can deal with it as a skills test?

          1. re: LindaWhit

            LindaWhit - It was the setting that I found contrived. And to me, the ultimate skill test is what a finished dish is like -- not whether a chef uses a peeler or a paring knife.

            1. re: ClaireWalter

              Yes, but that's to you - who doesn't seem to like the reality show format. But obviously to the show's producers, judges, and usual viewership, the knife skills are an important test to see what knowledge they have/don't have, as well as making for more interesting TV (to most viewers).

              1. re: ClaireWalter

                Knife skills are always a fun part of each season. Everyone talks about how Hung butched those chickens like a buzzsaw, and prepping the steaks last year was fun too.

                Maybe you should just stop watching regardless if elements like this annoy you so, and stick to Lidia Bastianich. There'll be plenty more to come this season, i'm sure.

                1. re: ClaireWalter

                  Can you imagine how many TV sets in the US would be clicking off if the show was all about a bunch of chefs making a bunch of dishes all the time? You need variety with this type of format to engage the audience. And I really didn't have a problem with Governor's Island -- not sure exactly why you thought it was contrived. It's just a lovely setting with the skyline in the backdrop. As a native NYer, I am still awed by the beauty of the skyline. Contrived would be to do a challenge in Times Square with Applebee's, a Disney store, a Broadway theater, a peep show booth, drug dealers and a prostitute in the background.

                  Personally, I'm not a reality show fan. But I'm really hooked on Top Chef. However, I've promised myself that I won't get too obsessed about it this season.

                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    "However, I've promised myself that I won't get too obsessed about it this season."
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~
                    Too late, oh Creator of our TC Fantasy Game. ;-)

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Oh, I was really debating whether or not I should start that group for some time. My obsession got the better of me. : )

                  2. re: ClaireWalter

                    Lee Ann mentions Iron Chef Sakai's apple peeling in her blog - if you've ever seen that scene of him peeling apples with a chef's knife (more likely a super-sharp, thin gyuto), it's obvious what a real Top Chef's knife skills are all about. By that standard, not one of these clowns is a Top Chef. Or at least, they're not Iron Chefs.

                    Why is it important? Because you can't execute the really great, creative and meaningful dishes without having the fundamentals so well ingrained in your hands and your psyche, that you don't even think about that level any more - it just comes when you need it, and you can count on it each time you do. It's why sushi chefs apprentice for 6 years cutting daikons. It's why there's a long road of apprenticeship in European kitchens. It's only here in the US (and on a game show) that someone might think, even for a second, that a CIA student, or even a recent grad, might be a top chef.

                    I've always thought that the title Top Chef is a misnomer - there ought to be some clarification in meaning to say that these are top up and coming chefs, not people who are already top chefs. That becomes obvious as you're watching it, but things like this apple peeling competition, really reveal the level of skills we're dealing with.

                    I'm not saying that there aren't true top chefs that never developed their skills to the point that Sakai did. But I'm reminded of Yehudi Menuhin, who was a child prodigy, and the world thought he was going to be the best fiddler ever. He went to play for one of the world's most renown teachers at that time, Ysaye, who told him that he had to play scales - to develop his fundamentals better. Menuhin laughed at him - after all, he was already playing the great concertos with the world's great orchestras. He eventually had a breakdown and never played to the level he had played before - never achieved the best in class that had been expected. He achieved fame nevertheless, building on his youthful fame and doing eclectic music - but he was never a Heifetz or a Milstein - true masters of their instrument.

                    I see a direct parallel with cooking, with sports, with any endeavor where people build continuously on skills and knowledge - without a large, sound base, the pyramid can only go so high without toppling. The chefs in Top Chef are never people who have already done their woodshedding (musical term) or staging (cooking term) in Europe or in multiple restaurants around the world. They are all journeyman chefs with enough experience to show off - perhaps with a few concertos under their belt. They can whip out the first 8 bars of any concerto, but they can't troll the depths of the most intricate parts of the Chaconne. These guys on TC may be able to think up a lamb slider, but execution? Burnt. That's just a lack of experience - practice, practice, practice.

                    So they got rid of the ones that can't play a scale first - good thing. More to come. For me it's a matter of expectation. As long as I know that I'm going to hear mistakes and listen to mediocre musicality, fine I've enjoyed many student recitals. These shows can be entertaining - you just have to drop the high expectations, just because it happens to be called TOP chef.

                    1. re: applehome

                      Similarly in Germany, a shop worker is assigned a piece metal and a file and is told to file it down to nothing, the idea is to feel the grain and make up of the metal. They are also teaching the shop worker computer literacy, drafting, etc. all the tools that he will need.

                      Nope we don't do that here.

                2. re: ClaireWalter

                  Hosea was the one chef I took particular note of when I saw all the plates. I was surprised he wasn't one of the winners. Too early to make predictions but I think he'll be around for a while.

                  1. re: tofuburrito

                    He was a winner in the recent Denver International Wine Festival's Taste of Elegance competition (http://culinary-colorado.blogspot.com...).

                    1. re: tofuburrito

                      i definitely think Hosea is one to watch...i lucked out, and on a hunch chose him as one of the three for my Top Chef fantasy team before having seen the show.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        :-P I need those kind of hunches. Can't play this fantasy team the way I play my football one (which city/state I'd like to visit). I'm winning on that one. ;-)

                  2. I enjoyed it. Felt bad for the girl who lost the quick fire and 'didn't even get to see the kitchen.'

                    One lady does seem, for lack of a better word, endearingly insane. Others seem very intense.

                    But I am already bored with the whole 'team rainbow'. Ten minutes into the new series do we really need to start up with this? I'm just not interested in what anyone's orientation happens to be.

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: Withnail42

                      "Endearingly insane" - perhaps that's Carla the Caterer? I thought the exact same thing when she said she's letting her spirit guides tell her what to prepare. ;-)

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        I immediately thought of Elisa on PR4, who spit-marked her fabric.

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          She's got the crazy eyes like that Runaway Bride a few years back -- you can see white all the way around the iris.

                          1. re: a_and_w

                            OK, you really made me laugh out loud. WHite all the way around the iris! LOL

                            1. re: a_and_w

                              oh my gosh...i totally thought the same thing. her eyes kinda bug me out. she seems nice enough but like someone on the verge of a crack binge

                            2. re: LindaWhit

                              i think we all have pretty much the same take on Carla the Caterer...she's definitely quirky, that one ;) if nothing else, at least she brings entertainment value.

                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                Her "spirit guides" didn't help her out much with those apples. :)

                            3. re: Withnail42

                              At least that young woman and her buddy can hang out in sequesterville. Or can they? I know that sequestering eliminated contestants is standard practice for some competitive reality shows to keep people from figuring out who got eliminated early and who was still in -- The Amazing Race even has a video segment about theirs on their website. But I don't remember anyone talking about that happening with these Bravo shows. Does anyone know what they do with the eliminated contestants? Do they get to go home? Or do they get to sit around and party for the rest of the time?

                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                Two class mates: not a banner year for the cooking school.

                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                  Project runway sequesters eliminated contestants, so I'd bet Top Chef does, too, since they've had the same production company through this season.

                              2. BTW, blogs are up on Bravo's website. Tom, Gail, Stephanie (winner from Season 4), Richard Blais, Malarkey!, and "Team Top Chef" - someone who works at Bravo, I think.

                                ETA: Richard's is especially good. His comment to Lauren (kicked off without even putting on a TC chef's jacket) was priceless:

                                "There are two good things to know here, Lauren. First, losing doesn't discount your career. Second, the 14 or so others who will be told to PYKAG will be scarred with an incident that people will remember. There are so many contestants whose names people don't remember. Did you really want to be the girl who always made pasta? The guy who shaved that other guys head? Or the angry lesbian on "that cooking show?" You'll be alright."

                                :-D

                                17 Replies
                                  1. re: ChefJune

                                    No. There is still the Wong Way To Cook link, but no blogs from her. :-(

                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                      I thought the chefs did quite well on opening night, it looks to be a strong competition. The chefs who had the Russian and Jamaican challenges both excelled.
                                      Is salmon used in Chinese cooking? I may be mistaken but I don't think I've ever seen salmon on a Chinese menu. I realize Chinese-American isn't the same thing but Bourdain has done shows from China and I don't recall ever seeing salmon.
                                      The kid mentioned he had a class on Chinese food and the judges didn't bust him on it so I guess it must be part of the cuisine.

                                      1. re: tofuburrito

                                        I've never seen salmon growing up in Taiwan served in a restaurant. My mom would cook salmon when we moved to the U.S. but not with any chinese recipe.

                                        1. re: tofuburrito

                                          I don't believe I've seen much salmon either. But all the Chinatown fish stores carry it.

                                          They actually went to a Southeast Asian market as opposed to a Chinese market. I'm sure there were production reasons why that market was chosen. And the mirin the CIA student picked is Japanese.

                                          1. re: yamalam

                                            Oh brilliant! So glad she's still going to blog - I *love* getting some behind-the-scenes insight as to how things run in each episode.

                                            Although I could have done without the political lead-in paragraph. I've had ENOUGH with any and all politics!

                                            Interesting she says there's not a Marcel in sight. But her calling them a "bunch of boozers" after going through two cases of wine on the first night could prove to be *very* interesting. :-)

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              "Interesting she says there's not a Marcel in sight."
                                              ~~~~~~~~~
                                              i don't know about that. Stefan clearly rubs people the wrong way, and comes off as something of an elitist...to me, that's totally Marcel. or maybe Stephen Asprinio from Season 1...?

                                              as for the boozing, let's hope no one goes after Jeffrey, Mr. "My hair has to be perfect," with a razor ;)

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                See, I thought Stephan was very Marcel-like as well - instantly unlikeable (as the Elves have portrayed him, of course).

                                                And yes - the boozing could result in some interesting times in the suite.

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  At least Stefan, Marcel, and Hung know what they're doing and what they're talking about. I personally dislike sniveling whiners like Spike, Ilan, and Lisa.

                                                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                                                    Agree on most of that (which is why I liked Richard's blog) - but then again, we've only seen one episode with Stefan. However, Marcel was too overly reliant on foams and molecular gastronomy techniques, and he didn't *always* get it right - bacon & avocado ice cream, anyone?

                                                2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                  Stefan's not a molecular gastronomist, which is how I interpreted Lee Anne's comment. There's plenty of arrogance to go around, and I'm sure there will be plenty of opportunity for people to get aggravated. (Us included!)

                                                  1. re: momjamin

                                                    i thought that at first when she said there was no Marcel & no Richard Blais...but he also mentioned Hung, and he wasn't a mad scientist...he just went a little overboard with the sous-vide.

                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                          Wow, I liked Richard's blog. Well written, insightful and funny.

                                          "Risotto makes me want to take a nap"

                                          I miss him- imagine how much fun he would've had with the elimination challenge. I doubt we'll see anything close to the famous beef fat marinated Willy Wonka tofu from last season.

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            I chuckled at this from Richard's blog:

                                            "Besides Tom's approval of Stefan's hairstyle, he seems very happy with him. I think Padma wants to put Lil' Eugene in her purse for nailing the Indian theme. Gail's indifferent. Jean Georges is thinking about his next concept."

                                            If he keeps it up, his will be an entertaining read.

                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                              I think the fact that Eugene nailed the Indian theme without knowing much if anything about it is very promising: it shows that he has an innate sense of how flavors and ingredients work together. I think the reason he's risen fairly quickly through the kitchen might be that he has a great natural palate, and if he has an excellent palate and decent technique, he can go a long way -- just look at how far a great palate took Lisa last season. Plus, he strikes me as the kind of guy who will do well in group challenges, as he doesn't have the ego of some of the others and he presumably is well-versed in the in and outs of kitchen teamwork.

                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                I think balance is the key Ruth. Training balanced by innate sense as you said. Enough ego to go for it and humility to accept criticism. Technique balanced by imagination, as poor Patrick so amply demonstrated.

                                          2. I wanna know how the out of towners knew where to go or how to get there? Were they given specific directions to a particular shop or left to their own devices? I ask because the Astoria Ave. stop on the N/W train is not where I would've gone to shop for Greek ingredients (I work in that nabe). That team would have done better to take a bus through Astoria and get out where all the shops have signs in Greek, don't you think?

                                            Anyone else familiar with the boroughs share my puzzlement?

                                            33 Replies
                                            1. re: Sloth

                                              Don't think they had the time or knowledge to brave the bus.

                                              Have to say, I let out a whoop when the Indian crew hit Kalyustan's. Someone should have told them to grab some mujadarrah at the cafe upstairs (where they were buying the olives).

                                              1. re: a_and_w

                                                Also loved that they went to Di Palo for Italian food.

                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                  Totally! It's going to be a blast this season seeing so many familiar spots...

                                                  1. re: a_and_w

                                                    i wanted to be at Kalustyan's with them to drag them around & make sure they found all the good stuff! i got unreasonably excited about seeing Kalustyan's & the facade of the Union Square WFM on the show :)

                                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                                        Yes, it was Whole Foods on Bowery.

                                                        1. re: Hurner

                                                          wow, really? i thought the facade they showed during the opening sequence was the Union Square store. i stand corrected.

                                                2. re: a_and_w

                                                  If one isn't familiar with Indian food, Kalustayan's could have been really confusing as it's got so much more than Indian goods. Props for that guy with the tats for doing so well.

                                                  1. re: Miss Needle

                                                    I thought the exact same thing when I saw that.

                                                    1. re: Miss Needle

                                                      Totally agree -- I was thinking the challenge disrespected ethnic cuisine (what those dodos did with Chinatown) until that guy pulled off the lovely feat of Indian without knowing Indian - it really separates out the natural talents to deal with the unfamiliar.

                                                      I thought the first quickfire was well-designed, although a cruel culling of the pack from the start. Knife skills followed by cooking skills, excellent!

                                                  2. re: Sloth

                                                    My guess is that they were assigned one store in a particular neighborhood, and sent there with a camera crew.

                                                    1. re: milklady

                                                      LeeAnn explains in her blog...she says that they had to get the store to agree to interrupt business with camera crews, etc, plus they had to pick a store that was technically in the assigned neighborhood. She also mentions they didn't get their first choice for certain ethnic neighborhoods, e.g., the producers thought "Curry Hill" might be offensive.

                                                      1. re: yamalam

                                                        What do you mean they didn't get their first choice for ethnic neighborhoods? They were in Curry Hill, they just incorrectly called it Little India.

                                                        PS: Does Jamaica actually have a significant Jamaican population? I would have gone to Brooklyn for Caribbean food...

                                                        1. re: a_and_w

                                                          Yes, Jamaica does have a Jamaican population. But it's got a whole bunch of other groups as well. I guess they thought that Flatbush for Jamaican wouldn't have had the same cache has Jamaica for Jamaican.

                                                          1. re: a_and_w

                                                            They were referring to Little India - 6th St in the East Village- but featured Kalyustan's in Curry Hill.

                                                            And I thought Jamaica for Jamaican was lame.

                                                      2. re: Sloth

                                                        Sloth - Re "I wanna know how the out of towners knew where to go or how to get there? Were they given specific directions to a particular shop or left to their own devices?" They have a whole friggin' TV crew w/ them. They are no more left to their own devices than "Survivor" participants are on a deserted island or jin a jungle. I don't know, but I'll bet they were either accompanied on the train or, more likely, taken around by limo or van.

                                                        1. re: ClaireWalter

                                                          Yes, but the production team doesn't have to be helpful, just record what happens. It seems silly to base a challenge on neighborhoods and then not let the chef-testants see more of the neighborhood than just one store.
                                                          I guess I just want a little bit of Amazing Race mixed with TC. Allowing them to get lost and not make it back to the studio kitchen for start time would have been a nice twist.

                                                          1. re: Sloth

                                                            "Allowing them to get lost and not make it back to the studio kitchen for start time would have been a nice twist."
                                                            ~~~~~~~
                                                            i was thinking the same thing...but then it would be more like a challenge on TNFNS, and we don't want our beloved Top Chef to turn into another one of those, do we? ;)

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              LOL Absolutely not! I could never make it through an episode of that show.

                                                              1. re: Sloth

                                                                but see, i actually watch it, for the same reason rubberneckers slow down when they pass a crash site even if the cars have been moved to the side of the road...morbid fascination. that show's a train wreck.

                                                          2. re: ClaireWalter

                                                            Of course they were taken in an SUV -- no one who has ever watched the show thinks otherwise. The only thing that was different was that they didn't actually show the vehicle -- no Toyota product placement this season, I guess. Not only do they have a camera crew with them, but they have time constraints and confidentiality contraints -- reality show contestants are only allowed minimal contact with the outside world.

                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                              Hmm...now that I'm thinking of it, there was very little product placement in this episode. I can only remember an extreme close up of Korbel being poured. Are they just trying to get us hooked? How will we learn about the '09 Gladware line up, or which Bertoli's frozen dinner to buy, or why Uncle Ben's is so healthy yet delicious?????

                                                              1. re: yamalam

                                                                I noticed the same thing about the lack of excessive product placement - I figure they'll lure us back in slowly!

                                                                1. re: MMRuth

                                                                  give it time...by the end of the season we'll be boycotting all items in "The Glad Family of Products" and vowing to never purchase a GE appliance ;)

                                                                2. re: yamalam

                                                                  Other than the appliances in the beautiful kitchen!

                                                                  1. re: farmersdaughter

                                                                    Korbel "champagne" in their apartment was clearly a product placement. Maybe they're just getting more subtle.

                                                                    It looks like Whole Foods isn't doing product placement with them, because although the bottles I saw from the Top Chef pantry looked like they had Whole Foods 365 lables on them, they were arranged so that the lables were partially hidden.

                                                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                      I don't know, didn't show a Whole Foods store front in the opening NY montage scene?

                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                        Pretty sure the 365 brand olive oil labels were prominently displayed and not obscured in the least. And the ever conspicuous zoom in on the GE Monogram label was very subtle.

                                                                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                          I thought it was a little odd -- and disappointing -- they didn't similarly publicize the names of the stores they visited for the ethnic challenge.

                                                                          1. re: a_and_w

                                                                            Only if those stores wanted to pay for the product placement, I'm sure.

                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                              yup. I thought it was downright criminal not to have Kalyustans' and DiPaoli mentioned.

                                                                            2. re: a_and_w

                                                                              I thought they showed the name of at least one store by taking a shot of the entrance as they went in: though I don;t know NYC well enough that I could remember it anyway....

                                                                        2. re: yamalam

                                                                          Did you notice the cases of Dr. Pepper in the purgatory room?

                                                                  2. any thoughts on best quote of the episode? for me it was Jean-Georges' comment about the lamb sliders...

                                                                    "your technique of over-cooking the lamb didn't work for me."

                                                                    LOL!

                                                                    btw, did anyone else notice that they spelled Jean-Georges' name wrong on-screen? they left off the "S." it's not the first time that's happened on this show...someone needs to get on that.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                      They're terrible with those chyrons. They misspell people's names and names of ingredients, and sometimes the dish descriptions are different from what the contestants are describing.

                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                        thank you! it's called a chyron...i had a temporary mental block & couldn't remember the term for it.

                                                                        i'm glad i'm not the only one who noticed how bad they are about that...it drives me NUTS.

                                                                    2. The other things I noticed:

                                                                      Too many bald dudes.

                                                                      And last year they seemed to have hit their faux-hawk peak. This time around it seems to be the year of the beard.

                                                                      1. Here is what baffles me: Don't the Top Cheftains watch the preceding seasons' epsidoes? The two CIA friends both made salads out of their apples. No! Not salad! Didn't they recall Tom Terrific's classic "But he didn't cook anything!" about Sam in Season 2? Then, in the Elimination Round, we encountered yet again the Grain Drain when someone (sorry, too many Cheftains keep track of) made a mess of risotto. Even though he was obviously the weakest link, I was sorry to see the young 'un leave because he was so darn cute.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: forsythia

                                                                          How did the guy win the Russian challenge by stacking up ingredients and NOT COOKING ANYTHING? Quality shopping, great plate of caviar and smoked fish just like in Russia . . .

                                                                          I think the judging favors what tastes great as opposed to what is cooked, what is authentic, what is inspired by -- those are reasons given when they have to 'splain the decision

                                                                          1. re: pitu

                                                                            Actually, according to Lee Ann's blog, each of the three stacks included a differently flavored potato pancake and a coordinating sauce. So yes, cooking and plenty of thought went into the dish.

                                                                        2. Anyone have any early favorites? I'm a sucker for an underdog and I really liked Eugene, not classically trained he started out as a dishwasher. It's the kind of success story Bourdain might write about. I hope he continues to do well. Josea looks like another one that will be around for awhile. I think it's way to soon to for someone of the others There were a few that just weren't featured as much but I'm, sure we'll get to see more of there personality as the show goes on.

                                                                          Hello when your butt is on the line and your in danger of going home NEVER make a salad.

                                                                          No Bourdain , No Rocco? Who am I going to crush on now?

                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                              1. re: farmersdaughter

                                                                                Oh yum! Thanks my dvr cut off before the "scenes from next week's episode".

                                                                                1. re: farmersdaughter

                                                                                  No, I think he was shown as a "future guest judge" - it looks like they serve lunch fare to actual customers in a restaurant "founded by Head Judge Tom Colicchio." Guest judge is "celebrity restauranteur Donatella Arpaia". (Who's she for the uninformed?)

                                                                                  And the Foo Fighters get into the action on the night before T'giving - "cheftestants create cuisine for the rock band, Foo Fighters" in a Thanksgiving-themed episode. Grant Achatz is the guest judge for that episode.

                                                                                    1. re: tofuburrito

                                                                                      <<
                                                                                      If Viviani were to win, he would apply the prize money to the creation of his Firenze4Kids Foundation, which will be devoted to the promotion of healthy eating.
                                                                                      >>

                                                                                      nice.

                                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                      Thanks for the correction! Rocco is good eye candy, so I'll just have to wait patiently. Donatella Arpaia has a couple restaurants in NYC, davidburke & donatella and I can't remember the other restaurant's name right now. She's been a judge on Iron Chef America as well.

                                                                                2. The caterer, Carla Hall, reminds me of someone i have seen on tv before, but i cannot think of who it is! It's driving me crazy...anyway, i don't think she's going to go very far in this competition, but maybe she'll surprise me.

                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: iluvtennis

                                                                                    That's funny. I had the exact same thought.

                                                                                    She reminds me of someone else, too, but I don't know who. I don't think it's a chef or Food Network personality, but man, she sure does hit a chord (or maybe it's a discord). If I think of who, I'll post it.

                                                                                    1. re: iluvtennis

                                                                                      I thought the same thing also. Carla reminds me of Tracee Ellis Ross, the daughter of Diana Ross and star of the tv sitcom "Girlfriends."

                                                                                      1. re: Hurner

                                                                                        By jove, I think you've got it!

                                                                                        http://www.bravotv.com/Top_Chef/seaso...

                                                                                        Look at Carla's picture gallery - especially the 1st one in the second row, and compare it to Tracee Ross's picture below.

                                                                                        http://enamored2beauty.files.wordpres...

                                                                                          1. re: Hurner

                                                                                            I was thinking the same thing. Tracee Ellis Ross also has that same eye thing going on as well

                                                                                            1. re: Hurner

                                                                                              amuse-biatch has the same comparison to Tracee Ellis Ross. http://amuse-biatch.blogspot.com/2008...