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Top Chef-Foo Fighters (Spoiler)

I thought the Quickfire was wicked mean, but a lot of fun. It really put the chefs on the spot. I liked the way some of them thought, but especially Leah.

Achatz has always been kind of a clean cut type with short hair etc. I didn't recognize him at first. Its good to see him though, after all the travails he had to go through.

I was hoping Team Cougar would come through, and they almost did. Eugene is really surprizing me. This is what coming up through the ranks while you are resourceful will get you. Ariane's turkey did look very good. I couldn't tell just how good the vegan dressing was. I thought it was ironic that while the lead singer was all about the bacon, the thing that stood out for fancy pants was the vegan dressing.

Carla is growing on me. Except I cringe every time she goes hippy dippy.

Jeff is just an angry young man, he had the Hung syndrome, I will carry the team, its a group competition, organize it but let everyone do their thing and don't bite off too much.

I would love to taste that pumpkin tiramisu though.

Not a big fan of smores and wouldn't know if it was wrong anyways.

So Richard is going home without fulfilling his dreams of being with the the Big Tom Bear. Maybe they will give him a life size cutout.

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  1. I thought the QF was brilliant! Mean, yes, but very fun to see how they had to switch gears (and see who was able to do so). Good for Leah.

    But did anyone else seem to think that several of the cheftestants were left out of the QF? They didn't seem to show all of the soups - I don't recall Hosea's soup or Gene's soup being tasted by Padma and Achatz - or did I miss it?

    The organization part (signs of leadership) is definitely what saved Jeff. Otherwise, I'm thinking he was on the block. Carla - still not too wild about her, but she definitely seems capable. I don't think she'll make it through to the end. Danny is definitely the contentious one - he looks to be itching for a fight. Him flipping the bird in the stew room to Jamie could portend a knock down, drag out shouting match between them.

    Stefan is still ticking me off - as he did a couple of his team members. I was hoping the Cougar team would pull it out - ALL of the comments shown seemed to be mostly about how good their food was as compared to the Sexy Pants team....so they lost because of dessert? Pah.

    Grant Achatz seems to be very quiet and shy - almost like he didn't want to be there. Was he even at the Foo Fighters' Thanksgiving dinner? I thought I saw him, but there was *nothing* from him between the QF and JT.

    Product placement was definitely in the forefront this episode - the local Rochester, NY market had its outside shot, and LOTS of Butterball and Calphalon logo shots.

    And it looks like Rocco makes a return visit next week. :-)

    ETA: Looks like some of the blogs are up on Bravo's site - even Chef Colicchio didn't know they'd be cooking in toaster ovens and microwaves! Oh damn it - they've linked the teaser blog paragraph to last week's Time Warp blog....I hope they fix it soon!

    7 Replies
    1. re: LindaWhit

      Grant Achatz looks like the bi minstrel/composer from the Tudors. I too was surprised that the Cougars lost since everything was positives for them but dessert. If turkey is the center of the T-giving meal, and they rocked the turkey, and the other side put out mediocre turkey, then...?

      1. re: LindaWhit

        <But did anyone else seem to think that several of the cheftestants were left out of the QF? They didn't seem to show all of the soups - I don't recall Hosea's soup or Gene's soup being tasted by Padma and Achatz - or did I miss it?>

        No, you didn't miss it. They definitely did not show all of the dishes, which is par for the course this early in the competition. They didn't show all the dishes in the last QF challenge either, and I remember from past seasons the same thing happening. It does bug me that they don't show all the food, but I have to imagine they just remove some of the middle of the road dishes for time purposes. Oh well...maybe they are shown on the website or something.

        1. re: LindaWhit

          "ALL of the comments shown seemed to be mostly about how good their food was as compared to the Sexy Pants team....so they lost because of dessert?"

          Nope, they had bad stuffing, underdone and therefore inediblr potatoes, two awful desserts and one "okay" dessert (Carla's). The only people who insisted that Team Cougar had universally better food were members of Team Cougar.

          BTW, I thought it was amusing that they named it forr Ariane, but she didn't seem to know what the term cougar means (hot older woman who aggresively pursues younger men).

            1. re: ChefJune

              I assume you're referring to the cougar thing? That's how I've seen it defined (explicitly) in (admittedly lowbrow) pop culture.

          1. re: LindaWhit

            "Grant Achatz seems to be very quiet and shy - almost like he didn't want to be there."

            GA has just come off of a tough bout with tongue cancer. Hopefully, he's beaten it for good. Tranquillity and shyness may be an original part of his personality, but certainly that kind of experience can breed humility.

            1. re: jbw

              I'm fully aware of his battle with cancer. But humility and shyness are two completely different things, IMO.

          2. Hi guys, I missed the first half of the episode...what was the QF all about? Why was it so mean?

            1 Reply
            1. re: icey

              They were given knives with numbers on it, then were told to go to the page that corresponds to their number in the Top Chef Cookbook and rework that dish. After going 15 minutes in, Padma and Grant Achatz comes in and says, never mind, we want soups, so take the ingredients for your dishes and rework it into a soup. Very wicked.

            2. This was discombobulated. The Quick Fire was straight forward enough, but then the two team split up.
              Ilan's year, the cooks were seriously dinged for not being cutting edge; this time they were expected to be conventional Thanksgivings.
              All the wishes of Happy Thanksgiving just rang hollow, from folks in upper NY state in cutoffs at the end of .....November......
              So far there have been no prizes for winning the challenges, not even a cookbook.
              And I could have listened to Achatz for sixty minutes just to hear his take on the soups.

              1 Reply
              1. re: shallots

                >>So far there have been no prizes for winning the challenges, not even a cookbook.<<

                Actually, the winners of the Thanksgiving challenge got to go to the Foo Fighters concert, while the losers had to clean up the kitchen.

                I think not having prizes per se is par for the course this early on in the competition. The winner of the quick-fire *does* get immunity, which is pretty important at this stage, while they are all still getting accustomed to the competition.

              2. Not sure why you think Jeff is angry. He's more organized and more talented and he's forced to work with what he's got. No need to be jumping for joy. Just need to get things done. Ultimately that saved his butt from elimination.

                As for the elimination challenge, the turkey and the pork from the Cougars were good. Everything else wasn't. That's 4 out of 6 dishes they lost on. They can't count the turkey as more than 1 dish, even though it's the focus of Thanksgiving dinner.

                2 Replies
                  1. re: Ericandblueboy

                    He was definitely POed, but didn't lose his temper or throw his teammates under the ol' bus. Nice to see someone maintain control ;-) He'd had hours to stew without knowing why they were losers (concert time, trip back to NYC...).

                  2. I just got to watch it this afternoon and two things about the QF puzzled me............

                    hadn't any of these contestants even SEEN that book before? Wouldn't you kinda want to look through it before you came on the show?

                    Didn't a lot of them seem to think the challenge was making the dish in the book? Can you IMAGINE Tom's face if that had happened?

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: dockhl

                      i would agree that many of them weren't being inspired by it, rather trying to recreate it. i mean, the recipe's right there, i could do that at home.

                      1. re: AMFM

                        Precious little time for actually cooking when there's all that DRAMA and tears and being kicked off the kitchen island, to say nothing of all those long, lingering camera gazes at brands that paid beaucoup bucks for product placement.

                        1. re: AMFM

                          "i mean, the recipe's right there, i could do that at home."
                          Now come on - you KNOW the line is supposed to be "Even my monkey could make that!"


                      2. I actually like Jeff. I could see that he was angry but thought he showed restraint talking to the judges. I too would have been pissed in his situation, especially since Tom thought that the winning team should have been the Cougars. According to Tom's blog, he was trying to persuade the Foo Fighters to pick Sexy Pants as the loser. I really think that judging the winning/losing teams should have gone to the judges and not a rock group.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: Miss Needle

                          I still don't think there is a clearly established hierarchy. It seemed like last season it was apparent early on that barring a major screw up Richard, Dale and Stephanie would be contenders.
                          I had lunch at Fabio's restaurant on Saturday. It was an enjoyable meal, quality-wise it was a notch or two above the Italian-American chains (Olive Garden. Macaroni Grill) but in that same price range. There were four of us and I had a bite off everyone's plate. Everything was good and the butternut squash ravioli was excellent. I'll go back.

                          1. re: tofuburrito

                            Did he put a little faux olive on your plates?

                            1. re: Phaedrus

                              No faux-olives, maybe you only get those at dinner.

                            2. re: tofuburrito

                              I would hope it's more than a notch above Olive Garden.

                              1. re: fame da lupo

                                That's what I was thinking - a notch or two above Olive Garden/Macaroni Grill isn't much of a distinction.

                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                  The Roberto Benigini accents has got to account for some style points! Yes?!

                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                    OK - I'll give you that. But if Fabio jumps up on the arms of a seat and shouts in his accent ""There must be some terrible mistake, I used up all my English!" if he wins again, I'm SO outta there! ;-)

                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                      i LOVE Fabio, he is Leonardo DiCaprio playing an Italilian soap opera TV chef.

                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                    Remember it's in that same price range and I guess it depends on what you're definition of "notch" is. I see two notches as a big difference. The point I was trying to make was that the food was very enjoyable but not in the wow category.

                              2. re: Miss Needle

                                I agree with you on Jeff. Before this episode I thought he was just a pretty boy with an air of arrogance about him, but I liked how he handled himself for this challenge. He didn't take control, he simply presented his organizational skills and the leadership role developed quite organically. He does have a strong confidence in his talent that borders on cockiness, but I thought he showed a lot of character on the chopping block. He did not claim to be the leader and instead of throwing anyone under the bus, he stood up for the entire team and took the criticisms as they came. Everyone else followed suit and it was very refreshing to me. It has taken far less for teammates to attack each other on past seasons, but this team held their ground which I think was admirable.

                                As for why they lost, I didn't like it. I understand they had a couple of sub-par side dishes and their desserts were severely lacking, but let's face facts: Thanksgiving is about the meal, not the dessert. In particular Thanksgiving is about the meat (sorry vegetarians) and in that department Cougar seemed far and away the better team. Sexy Pants had a dynamite stuffing, but nothing else that stood out except for dessert. I think two good meats should trump three good desserts on Thanksgiving, but that's just me I guess.

                              3. Carla is growing on me too. I think Richard was a little jealous of Tom's interest in Jeff! I also noticed that Leah has wisely backed off Mr. Canned Crab...

                                PS: Who was the guest judge at elimination? He was surprisingly articulate!